Sunday, August 23, 2009

Betty Soo

We were back at Uncle Calvin's this Friday to see Betty Soo. I'd been hearing, and seeing her name around, and just assumed that she was a cross between Rosie Flores, the "Rock-a-billy Filly", and Marty Brom, a torch singing sweetheart. I guess she's nowhere near either one of them. After seeing her, though, I'm definitely a fan, and would call her music "Power Folk". Uncle Calvin's is, after all, a folk music venue. She shared the bill with a woman from Oklahoma City named K.C. Clifford. I figured that Betty Soo would close the show, but it was actually Ms. Clifford who had that honor. For the first time I've ever seen, Uncle Calvin's had an opener for the opener, a young man named Chuck E. Costa.

Although Ms. Clifford and Mr. Costa were both very talented singers, and songwriters, it was Betty Soo who was the headliner of the evening for me. At first I thought she might be all hype because of maybe being this Korean-American folkie, you know, like "How odd is this?" When she came out and started talking, it became evident that the between song banter would be a major part of her act. She is absolutely hilarious, and maybe missed her calling as a stand up comedian. She opened her set with a great novelty song "I've Got Secrets" that had the crowd laughing out loud at almost every line. So the girl could not only sing, but, really deliver a song well. Her performance just kept getting better with each song. Like most acts, she did some slower numbers and some more upbeat, powerful ones. She played a big jumbo Taylor cut-away guitar that was really beautiful, and she can really play it well. It's so refreshing to see someone who can really play a guitar instead of just strumming it.
Betty performed eleven songs, and I videoed every one of them. K.C. Clifford came out and sang a duet with her on "Whisper My Name", and they sounded great together. Along with her own material, she did the great old Guy Clark song "Dublin Blues", and closed with a fantastic rendition of the old Aretha Franklin song "Do Right Woman". What a great set!
After the intermission, K.C. Clifford came out and performed her set. She has a wonderful voice, and really knows how to get the most from it. I was really impressed with her singing. She is a guitar strummer, and her husband David Broyles is her guitar playing side man. He is an excellent guitarist, but took no part in the singing. At one point he left the stage, and Betty Soo came out and sang harmony with K.C. on the last two songs. David came back for the encore, playing guitar while K.C. sang and played dulcimer, and Betty Soo sang harmony on the show closer, "Generous Friends".
Another great evening of song at Uncle Calvin's Coffee House. I got videos of all the songs performed by Betty Soo, and the last three of K.C. Clifford's, with Betty Soo singing harmony. All of these videos, and many others, can be seen at my YouTube channel:
I bought a copy of Betty Soo's CD "Heat Sin Water Skin", and she autographed it for me. I listened to it on the way home from the show, and while driving around the next day. It's quite good. Most of the songs she performed at Uncle Calvin's are on this CD. It was produced by the great Texas singer, songwriter, musician, and producer Gurf Morlix. If you need an album produced in Texas, or anywhere else, he's your man. I liked her live show better than the CD, but, I'm weird that way. Seeing her sing and play that guitar the way she does is powerful stuff.
For more on Betty Soo, click here:
For more on K.C. Clifford, click here:
For more on Uncle Calvin's Coffee House, click here:
Keep listening to great music, and let me know what you find!

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