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Trigger Hippy at Stage 1

by Bill Clifford on January 17, 2014

Photo by Chad Anderson

Trigger Hippy

Stage 1

Fairfield, Conn.

January 15

With The Black Crowes currently on another hiatus to allow members to concentrate on “other projects,” drummer Steve Gorman had some ideas of his own; teaming up with multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Jackie Greene and vocalist Joan Osborne, as well as guitarist Tom Bukovac and bassist Nick Gorvick to reform Trigger Hippy. Gorman first assembled the band (albeit with another line-up) in 2009, but it has solidified in the years since with the addition of Osborne and Greene. With a four-song ep recorded and a cadre of their own originals, 2014 seems to be the year for Trigger Hippy. On Wednesday evening, the quintet performed to a sold out crowd at the very intimate Stage 1 Theater in Fairfield, CT.

As the lights dimmed, a children’s choir could be heard over the loud speakers singing a Beatles verse as the band sauntered out on stage. They opened with “Turpentine,” with a rat-a-tat-tat count off on the skins from Gorman and sultry guitars from Greene and Bukovac. Greene and Osborne traded verses and sang in unison on the chorus. Osborne was animated and fiery from the get go, shaking her hips and soulfully howling out in time with guitar solos.

Greene moved to the Hammond organ for the next several numbers, starting with the spooky groove of “Cave Hill Cemetery,” which found him leaning heavily on the keys. “Pocahontas” was a much more rock oriented tune, which found Osborne’s sensual vocals as the lead instrument, while Bukovac added rhythm melodies on guitar. But the early highlight came on a Greene song, “Rise Up Singing.” Osborne and Greene share a love of rich, Gospel rooted songs, and this one found them in their element. They threw graceful and loving smiles by one another as they sang and soulfully belted out the loving chorus and sensually howled between versus. The emotional high of this tune was the first to get the sold out crowd to its feet and clapping along.

The tempo slowed on the bluesy groove of “Pretend Your Still in Love,” with Greene back on guitar slicing through the dense and aching sentiment of the song’s lyrics. That was countered with a cover of The Beatles “Don’t Let Me Down,” showcasing the beautiful, almost familial vocal melodies shared between Greene and Osborne. Here, Bukovac took on the piano role, while Greene added guitar fills and solos.

The blues and Gospel roots made a return on the scalding ache of “Ain’t Persuaded Yet,” which found Greene back on the Hammond organ, and he raised the roof with some dense Gospel swing as the song concluded. They maintained the upbeat tempo on a bluesy yet rollicking “Who Will Wear The Crown” that found Osborne encouraging the crowd to clap along and to its feet where it remained for the conclusion of the evening, while Greene stretched the vibrato playing slide up and down the neck of his guitar.

Taking the stage again for an encore to boisterous applause, Osborne introduced the band members, concluding, “We’re Trigger Hippy and don’t you forget it!” They left the crowd with a beautiful love song that would make it hard for anyone for forget this particular evening; “Heartache On The Line” was a heartfelt performance, with the harmonious vocals of Osborne and Greene bellowing out with aching emotion, drawing rapt applause from the sold out crowd as the quintet bowed out with a wave and pleasant thanks.

Authors: Bill Clifford

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