Vagabonds and Jayhawks: Gary Louris at High Noon Saloon

Gary Louris

Last Friday (May 21), former Jayhawks songwriter and midwestern treasure Gary Louris took the stage at the High Noon Saloon, topping off an evening of heartfelt, country-tinged song.  Elizabeth Maxwell was there to soak it all in and share her impressions.  Read on for a review of the evening and a free mp3 download.

My first pleasant surprise of the evening was Ben Kyle, frontman of Romantica.  A young father (his third child, a boy, was born at 4:30 a.m. the morning of his High Noon appearance), Kyle is originally from Belfast and more recently from Minneapolis; both places ring through in his music.

Kyle’s stage presence was simple and smooth in a confluence that created one of the most genuine performances I’ve ever seen live. His voice rang of artists like Ryan Adams and Ray LaMontagne and the light country influence he claims to have looked up to was there in both the sound and the flower attached to the headstock of his guitar.

Stripped down and solo, the Ben Kyle-Ryan Adams comparison is impossible to miss. His sound is the same sort of heart-wrenching beautiful that assures the audience that these songs are rooted in true emotion.  But above all, Kyle is a storyteller. Whether it’s the stories of mini vans and family between songs or the stories of Gram Parsons and war within the songs, he has a talent for tales and the audience at High Noon hung on his every word.

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