On Saturday, April 15, I journeyed to the hills of Hollywood to attend yet another event at one of my favorite venues, the Secret Bowl. Nestled high in the hills near the Hollywood sign, and up a road posted as “Locals Only”, the Secret Bowl provides a beautiful venue in a natural settings. Sight lines are great and the acoustics are wonderful, making this an ideal venue for House Concerts.
I was there to see an event curated by my friend James Combs. James, who has been performing lately with his own project “Great Willow”, is about the nicest person in the music business. He is always looking for ways to advance the careers of other artists, and the Secret Bowl is a perfect arena to showcase those artists. For this Tax Day event James had assembled a lineup of Jesse Macht, Abby and the Myth, and Simon Petty.
The standard format of the Secret Bowl has the gates open at 4 pm and music starting at 5. There are three featured acts each doing 30-40 minute sets, and then an open mic until 8. The show opened with Jesse Macht, a solo troubadour who also has his own gig doing “Sunsets at…” house concerts at locations of your choice.
Jesse, whose favorite artist is Jeff Buckley and who has a vocal range worthy of that comparison, did a very enjoyable set of mostly original music. For his last number he paid homage to his own heritage and the time of year by performing a rendition of a Passover classic, “Dayenu”, first enlisting audience participation with a bit of pranayama.
Then it was time for the highlight of the afternoon, the performance by Abby and the Myth, a collaboration between Abby Posner and Donny Bullen. One of the advantages of hanging out with James Combs is that one gets to meet some really fine up-and-coming artists. I was able to cash in on that advantage once again in the form of Abby Posner.
Abby, accompanied by band mate Donny on stand up acoustic bass, put on a captivating performance that left me wanting to hear them again, soon! Abby has a beautiful voice that is at times evocative of some of my favorite vocalists from bands like “Of Monsters and Men” or “First Aid Kit”, but she can also blues it up with the best of them. Her guitar skills are something that separates her from the standard singer/songwriter mold, and I haven’t heard a woman who made better use of her guitar since I was following Janet Robin. I get the sense of a creative enthusiasm that is ready to explode!
Next up on the program was a British import, Simon Petty, who was accompanied on the fiddle by Emily Moore. I confess that I was kind of blown away by the performance of Abby and the Myth, got carried away in conversations, and didn’t pay adequate attention to Simon and Emily. He is a troubadour in a Richard Thompson vein, an accomplished songwriter, and a seasoned performer; together with Emily he provided a rousing end to a delightful evening of music.