TicketMOMster Review: Erin Propp @ Centre Culturel Franco-Manitobain (Mardi Jazz)
This show was Tuesday night. I had a jam packed day and was so exhausted when I got home, that my eyes wouldn’t focus on my computer screen. I really hate writing a review the next night because that “after the show” energy (and my memory) is gone; but on Tuesday night, I had to opt for sleep instead.
If you asked me who my two favourite female vocalists are in the city, I’d say Joanna Majoko and Erin Propp. I’m by no means an expert on either one of them or their abilities, but this is what I’ve observed:
Joanna can make any song sound amazing; she just opens her mouth and everything comes out warm and rich. It looks effortless.
Erin is a bit of a wild card. Her voice is sweet and if she stays in her comfort zone, I’m perfectly happy. Her tone and delivery usually give me multiple goose bumps every show.
But once in awhile, she’ll push her voice a bit harder. Those moments really excite me because it feels like she’s a bit out of her comfort zone. I love that.
I’ve never seen it not work for her, but it feels like the possibly is there; like we’re all teetering on the edge with her. I’ve noticed it’s always those moments when she pushes her limits or holds a note for longer than you’d expect, that Larry Roy (guitar) smiles. I think he’s enjoying it just as much as I am.
There weren’t a lot of those moments during this show, but there were a few occasions when Larry and I smiled.
Larry’s fingers moved at break-neck speed during his solo for “Night & Day”. Whenever I watch his solos, I often wonder if he has the fastest guitar fingers in Winnipeg. If not, he must be close. The whole song came together and ended beautifully.
Reggie Lewis (sax) played a handful of songs, but the bulk of his contribution came in the form of solos. I’m not sure if he was unfamiliar with the tunes or if he lacked the confidence to take his place in them. I enjoyed seeing the other musicians encouraging him.
The more I see Julian Bradford (bass), the more I enjoy his playing. He was solid on “(There Is) No Greater Love” and the arrangement of “Waters Of March” was excellent. It sucked me in completely.
At this point in the show, it looked like Larry pulled a song out of his hat because Erin and Julian scrambled for their notes. Julian looked a little lost for a bit, so it was just Erin and Larry that started the tune. Once Julian got on board, the song felt stronger and deeper.
But then something interesting happened: Marco Castillo (vocals & percussion) got up from his seat and slowly inched towards the stage. He had something in his hands and was playing percussion along with the song. Erin graciously moved over while he sang and once it was over, Erin announced he was playing sugar packets. YES. LOVE THAT.
Marco stayed on stage for the next song too. It was nice, but went on for a bit too long.
After intermission, Larry played a slower, more melodic solo during Leonard Cohen’s “In My Secret Life”. The tune was tranquil and Erin sat back with her eyes closed and listened to Julian and Larry play.
Unfortunately, I had to leave early. The last song I heard was “Deloris” which is an original by Erin and Larry. The song is on their album “Courage, My Love” and I’ve heard it before, but the album is four years old and Erin’s voice is much stronger now. The lyrics touched me very deeply and I struggled to keep my throat from closing and my eyes from welling up with tears. It wasn’t easy. Suddenly I didn’t feel so bad about leaving; it was time to go.
I don’t know if you would find Erin’s singing as endearing as I do. But I will tell you this, unless she has a brutal show, my reviews will always be positive. She’s such a treat to listen to.
TicketMOMster is a Rock and Jazz-loving Mom; single-handedly keeping Ticketmaster alive in Winnipeg. Follow her musical journey here: www.facebook.com/TicketMOMsters