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The Music House is notable for presenting “unusual” music. In Greenville that's code for anything other than Brahms or Tchaikovsky. Much Music House music is even farther afield than that. Impresario John O'Brien often features fresh and unusual music from the Baroque and Classical eras, but by no means always. There have been troubadours and jazz. The latest music, without a printed program, was the Bluegrass duo Lynda & Pattie.
It is epigrammatic that in any team of mules, there will always be one that steps out first. Mostly this would be Lynda Dawson, whose song-writing is one of the strong pillars of Lynda & Pattie. She also plays strongly on guitar and sings with a high lead voice that cuts through the ensemble like a new file. Balanced against this is the astounding fiddle playing and lower singing voice of Pattie Hopkins.
This powerful concert was greatly appreciated by the Music House audience, but perhaps not as Lynda wanted; they are notoriously not a rowdy crowd. When Lynda said it was time for some foot-stomping, she was unable, with even the best effort, to break any stomping loose in this crowd. There were one or two tentative knee slaps, but that was about all. So much traditional music is limited by the thirty-two beat matrix, so it was delightful to hear Lynda's quirky harmonies.
Pattie provided rich and varied insight into country fiddling on a five-string acoustic fiddle. Little different from a classical violin, Pattie's five-string fiddle had the rich C string of a viola and a visibly flatter bridge. Pattie's scrupulously precise tuning made her almost continuous double-stopping a magical feast. Pattie is one of our own, providing us with the rare opportunity to mention Joanne Bath and Ara Gregorian in the same breath with fiddlers Bobby Hicks (Marshall, NC) and Mark O'Connor (New York), a partial list of Pattie's teachers.
Ultimately this was all dance music, forcefully rhythmic and limited by the format; to have to sit for an hour and a half imposes a false boredom that would not be present if one were active on the dance floor. Playing with their associates of the Kickin' Grass Band would have provided more variety as well as more bass support. In a band of that size, in a dance hall/bar, Lynda & Patti are not to be missed.