In Britain, Boxing Day originated as a day that servants and tradesmen would get a gift box for their good service over the years. Like most holidays, it’s now a day to buy things (like our Black Friday). In the U.S., it’s a cool thing to call the day after Christmas, and a good day for live music.
As luck would have it, the Live Oak was holding a song swap with two of my favorite local performers. I grabbed a table down front and ordered a barnyard burger, and listened to Ginny Mac cover Queen’s You Take My Breath Away.
Ginny Mac is an amazing performer, but I’m used to seeing her with a world-class backing band – belting out vintage tunes from behind an accordion bigger than she is.
But on this night it was just her and a piano and that incredible, Patsy Cline-like voice.
Next up, we had Katie Grace (formerly Katie Robertson) of Foxtrot Uniform behind her piano, singing You Send Me by Sam Cooke.
Katie has a powerful, emotive voice that I’ve been impressed with since the first time I heard her at an open mic at the Moon several years ago. Both she and Ginny are amazing performers.
The swap continued, with both performers following the covers with originals. Then, Katie knocked it out of the park with Do Right Woman, by Aretha Franklin. Ginny followed with a nice cover of True Love Ways, by Buddy Holly, then Katie did Chelsea Hotel, by Leonard Cohen.
The musical back and forth continued.
Ginny gave us Marie, by Randy Newman; Folsom Prison Blues, by Johnny Cash; She’s Got You, by Patsy Cline; and a couple of originals.
Katie countered with Runnin’ Out of Fools, by Aretha Franklin; Mama, You Been on My Mind, by Bob Dylan; After Hours, by Lou Reed; Harvest Moon, by Neil Young; A Whiter Shade of Pale, by Procul Harum; and Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out, by Jimmy Cox.
The singers have a good deal of chemistry and history — they grew up together. That kind of familiarity shines through in their interaction on stage and the mutual respect for each other’s talent. Ginny has more of a vintage torch singer aura about her, while Katie is more straight-up blues and rock.
The combination works, and if they continue doing these kinds of shows I’d love to see them do some duets in addition to the swap.
In any case, I’ve seen both ladies perform many times and I’ve never seen either of them have a bad night. If you haven’t had the opportunity, make it a point to catch them in the new year.