by Shirley Lorraine
Lonesome Traveler Hits All the Right Notes
Lonesome Traveler: Generations, now playing at the Rubicon Theater, is an inspiring, uplifting, renewing and timeless concert experience. The magic doesn’t just happen when the curtain goes up. Musicians tune, strum, and greet the audience. The audience immediately becomes a part of the experience. The performers aren’t performing “at” us or “to” us – they are performing with us. We are involved. The concert embraces the audience with warmth, welcome and a sense of pride in the heritage brought forth by the chosen musical journey.
The featured trio, The Folk Legacy Trio, commandeers the continuum, leading both musicians and audience through familiar favorites of the folk song era. Listen to the lyrics carefully as many are just as relevant today as they were at the height of their popularity. As stated in the title song Lonesome Traveler originally sung by Pete Seeger in 1950, “this old world is in a sad condition.” A statement for the ages.
The Trio is comprised of George Grove, long-time member of the Kingston Trio; Rick Dougherty, also with the Kingston Trio and The Limeliters, and Jerry Siggins, best known as lead singer of The Diamonds. Sylvie Davison, Trevor Wheetman, Alexcia Thompson and Andrew Huber add their considerable musical talents to the mix. Both the musicianship and vocals are spectacular throughout. The audience is even encouraged to sing along, which many did.
The harmonies are angelic and, as one song intones, “sweeter than wine.” At times I closed my eyes just to concentrate on the delicious purity of the sound. A particularly moving rendition of the Sounds of Silence was amplified by the telling of what stirred Art Garfunkel to write it. Simply stunning.
Most of these songs were ones with which I grew up. They haven’t lost their charm. Instead, if anything, through this staging, the songs are more meaningful than ever. I was thoroughly transported. In fact, just before intermission, I was thinking “I could listen to this over and over.” Lo and behold, at intermission, there at the newly spruced up snack bar (which is beautiful) there were CD’s available including one of the original Lonesome Traveler production, now playing in the background as I write.
The audience is also treated to an original song by Sylvie Davidson which blends in beautifully to the rest of the tapestry.
The performance is augmented in style with projected historical references and backgrounds that embellish the emotional impact of the songs. Lighting and Projections Designer credits are given to Brian Gale.
The World Premiere Lonesome Traveler musical events, conceived by George Groves and Rubicon Co-Founder and Artistic Director James O’Neil are taking their place in the Rubicon’s history as a vital and integral unifying element of theater. I, personally, am eager for the next installment.
Lonesome Traveler: Generations continues through June 26. Wednesday and Thursday performances begin at 7 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturday shows are at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Sunday matinees are 2 p.m.www.RubiconTheatre.org, (805) 667-2900.