Photos by Chris Besaw
Review by Kelly Besaw
Editor’s note: This article was edited to change the names of the touring musicians.
It is a Monday evening in Homer, New York. You are probably wondering what was going on that is notable to write about. One of folk-rock’s finest, The Wallflowers, were playing the second of a two-night sold out run at the Homer Center for the Arts. Opening for them on this stint was none other than American folk singer and songwriter Stephen Kellogg.
If you have never been to the Center for the Arts Homer, it is a pretty cool joint. It is a former church built in the early 1900s that was renovated into a performing arts venue. The people who run it are awesome, the volunteers are sweet and helpful and the acoustics are out of this world. It was my second time attending a show here and I have it on my radar for future events. I also must give a shout-out to the venue’s restaurant sponsor who provides all the artist’s meals. My husband and I ate at Dasher’s Corner Pub prior to the show. It is located about one block from the center and the food was delicious, the atmosphere fun and the service was wonderful. I would highly recommend giving it a try.
Now let’s talk about the opener. Stephen Kellogg brought the perfect mix of traditional folk storytelling, humor, and songs to the delight of the crowd. Kellogg opened his set by informing everyone that he, “ran an eighteen-minute mile today. They said it couldn’t be done, but…”
He wove stories flawlessly between songs and by the end had won over the audience. He finished his set with the title track from his most current release Objects in the Mirror, a reflection of dates and events that impacted his life. Kellogg also published a collection of essays and stories titled Objects in the Mirror: Thoughts on a Perfect Life from an Imperfect Person. Stephen Kellogg is a man with a lot to say. I suggest giving his music a listen and picking up his book.
I saw The Wallflowers for the first time in the mid-nineties at the Harrow East Ballroom in Rochester and fell in love. The band took the stage and immediately started drawing the fans in with a few back-to-back hits. Lead singer Jakob Dylan’s voice alone is enough to make things work, but he is backed by some amazingly talented musicians. Aaron Emery (keyboards), WhyNot Jansveld (bass), Stanton Edward (guitar), Ben Peeler (lapsteel, mandolin, guitar), and Mark Stepro (drums), produce a thunderous sound.
The crowd sang along to “6th Avenue Heartache,” “Sleepwalker” and “God Don’t Make Lonely Girls.” Toward the end of their set someone yelled out, “One Headlight!” to which Dylan quipped, “It’s becoming a bit like Freebird… every show.” To the fans’ delight, they did play “One Headlight” and ended their main set with “Who’s That Man Walking ‘Round My Garden.” By this point, the area near the front of the stage had filled in with people dancing, singing along, and having a great time.
The Wallflowers left the stage for a brief respite and returned to end the evening with one of the best Tom Petty covers I have heard to date, “The Waiting.” Dylan donned a top hat and shook hands and fist-bumped people in the front row throughout the performance. The band ended the evening with “The Difference.” The audience went nuts and everyone was on their feet. Not a bad way to spend a Monday night in Homer and definitely worth writing about!
The Wallflowers have several more tour dates scheduled through the beginning of October, so if you missed them, you still have a chance to see them live. You will not be disappointed.