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Review: Adrian Hulet and Eric Flynn of Oso Closo at Live Oak

Adrian Hulet and Eric Flynn of Oso Closo Live Oak Music Hall & Lounge 1311 Lipscomb St., Fort Worth 817-926-0968 http://theliveoak.com/

Posted 8:09am on Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012

It was Sunday morning, and the coverage of the shooting in Connecticut saturated every minute of the news on television. The videos and photos blasted our Christmas spirit to hell. I had pretty much forgotten what time of year it was, but I saw a Facebook post advertising a brunch concert at The Live Oak, with Adrian Hulet of Oso Closo and his sister, Erica Flynn – it sounded like just the kind of diversion I needed.

The show and the brunch were held in the performance hall of The Live Oak, and we got there and got seated just before show. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t the very traditional Christmas carols and hymns Adrian and Erica were belting out. Adrian has one of the best voices in the business, and his sister sang like an angel while playing piano. With good food (I got the chicken fried buffalo), and great music, the evil of the world took a back seat.

We got to hear It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, Joy to the World, Angels We Have Heard on High, It Is Well With My Soul, Nothing But The Blood, and Away in a Manger. I grew up listening to and singing all these songs as a kid, and it was comforting to listen to them – and occasionally I couldn’t help but sing along.

When Adrian took a break, we got a chance to hear some originals from a yet-to-be-named group consisting of Joe Prankster of Animal Spirit (bass), Njia Martin (vocals, keyboard), and Lost Child (guitar, vocals). They normally have a drummer, but drummers don’t get up this early. Joe met Njia and Lost Child at open mic nights at various venues, and convinced them to work together. So far, they have only played open mic shows, and they haven’t completely gelled as a band yet. It was a pleasure to see the raw material.

At times, they were as a shaky as a new colt. The piano could be a little heavy-handed, and the guitar a little discordant. Njia has an incredible voice, but occasionally over-uses her vibrato. No matter, the resulting emotion and intensity more than makes up for a few rough edges. Lost Child and Njia took turns doing their own songs, and there was a spiritual, redemptive quality that put a more contemporary edge on the overall effect of Sunday’s show. I hope they continue to perform together, and I hope to see more from them with the full band. This could be the beginning of something special.

Adrian and Erica took the stage again, with an emotive performance of What Child is This, On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand, We Three Kings, and O Come, O Come Emanuel. There were too many to list, and all of them perfectly executed.

Switching back from the traditional, we got another brief set from Lost Child, Njia, and Joe. The contrast between them kept things interesting, and the simple message of the gospel music was the perfect tonic after such a savage week.

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