There is something about a well appointed theater in a small town setting that when combined with local A-List talent, that I find absolutely irresistible. That in a nutshell is what I experienced on Saturday night at The Sheldon Theatre.It was the Minnesota Music Coalition’s (MMC) Caravan du Nord concert and The Current that brought the music to the quaint, or as a friend called it “Bedford Falls-like” river town of Red Wing, MN. The MMC has made it an ongoing tradition to bring a series of concerts to smaller communities in MN to showcase local and regional music acts, kind of like a musical outreach program.
This particular evening at the lusciously gorgeous Sheldon Theatre was my second time there with Caravan du Nord, and the talent onstage was as striking as the first time when I had seen Caroline Smith (who was joined by Lizzo), Black Diet and Andy Hartin. Beyond the talent onstage, the sound at the theater is luxurious and almost decadent–cocoon-like.
This time around it was Red Wing local Tony Cuchetti who warmed up the audience with his high energy alt-country rock. His four piece band performed a rollicking cover of Waylon Jennings “Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line” that was punctuated by an absolutely stellar guitar solo. A crowd favorite was Cuchetti’s song “Loving Biscuits” which ended in a frenzied high speed jam. FUN band.
PaviElle brought the R&B soul and funk to the Sheldon Theatre and its appreciative audience who gave her a standing ovation for her 33rd Birthday! PaviElle is a rare talent, she can hit the high notes, trill and scat with the best of them–all with a grace that I was awed by. PaviElle opened her set with an inspired cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” followed by the late Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down”. PaviElle couldn’t miss, and when she performed “Runnin'” the place went crazy while she went down a welcome rabbit hole “tangent” of funky scats. Her backing band is phenomenal and a pleasure to watch. Keep an eye on PaviElle because she could be unstoppable!
Caravan du Nord’s headliner was the inimitable Aby Wolf. I have seen Aby Wolf collaborate with so many artists–making them sound even better might I add, but I like to see her perform in her own light because she is amazing! Wolf captivated the audience with a stunning cover of The Cocteau Twin’s “Alice”, a song particularly suited to her gifted vocal range and artistic presentation. She treated us to some of her older tracks including a few songs from her recent EP Call The Rocks (2016) and then played a couple of new ones with collaborator Eric Mayson. Watch for Wolf’s new music–specifically a song called “Human”.
The mission of Caravan du Nord is outstanding. I applaud them for putting Artists onstage in communities that are often overlooked by touring musicians. I specifically love the fact that they make a point of showcasing a musician who is from the community that hosts the concert. AND the more audiences that can fill these long loved institutions like the Sheldon Theatre, the more the Arts and venues in small communities will continue to survive and thrive. A win-win for all concerned.
~By Rebecca Marx, Photo Credit Tony Nelson