Moonie has great taste. When his eyes gleamed as he mentioned that he was planning our Friday night, I figured it would involve some kind of junk food. Instead, our plans involved tasty, hearty food for the soul: a house concert starring Ben Stalets, John Faraone, and Ian Fitzgerald. It was held at a cozy home in East Providence with a respectful audience, and it was such a wonderful night of beautiful tunes.
Ben was the only one Moonie and I hadn’t yet seen perform, although we knew he’d been touring with Ian and were more than a little curious about the guy described thus: “His shit-eating grin gives way to a Hank Williams howl, a knack for storytelling reminiscent of your grand pappy, and a level of honesty only shared amongst life-long friends.” The description turned out to be 100% true. Ben was a great storyteller and fingerpicker, and he wasn’t shy about making us groan a few times with bad jokes, either. Moonie’s pipsqueak little voice howled across the room when Ben introduced a song written while dating a blind woman and joked that at least he hadn’t had to worry about her seeing other people. All in all, wonderful music from the grinning storyteller.
Next up was Moonie’s pal John Faraone, who is always enjoyable for his lovely songs – many of which invoke scenes of nature that invite you to revisit scenes in your head of similar places you’ve been and breathed – balanced with a witty sense of humor. With his slightly rounded feet, Moonie had a little trouble climbing up and balancing on John’s guitar, but John was patient and waited for him to stand just where he wanted so we could take this great pic of the two of them. John didn’t even mind that my phone blinded him with its flash.
Last but not least to play that night was Moonie’s pal Ian Fitzgerald, who is receiving recognition as a Newport Folk Festival performer and yet is humble enough to go to the same barber as Moonie (or at least we can assume that from this photo of their matching ‘dos).
Ian is ridiculously talented and somehow manages to be quietly stoic and hysterically funny at the same time. He’s an enigma wrapped in a puzzle wrapped in bacon, and Moonie adores him and his colorful songs about ladies and cities.
And now my pint-sized DJ is flipping back and forth between Ian’s beautiful album “No Time to be Tender” and Ben’s newest EP and a free burned CD Ben gave Moonie of some older songs, all the while streaming John’s album “Houses.” Just as he was on Friday, my nude little dude is in musical heaven. Here’s to amazing local talent, and here’s to folks like Alyssa who provide intimate venues where folks like Moonie can fully appreciate them.