November 7th, the Mill hosted a couple amazing talents with Cedar Rapids based Dickie Prall of the band Dickie, and the Talbot Brothers, Nick and Tyler, from Portland via Nebraska. This was the Talbotts first time playing Iowa City and with the welcome that they received, I believe it wont be the last. The 250 person capacity venue may have just about been at it’s limit but it was very intimate and a wonderful night of music.
My buddy Paul Quillan, a Talbott Brothers fan that I invited to the CSPS show last year in Cedar Rapids, and I meet up at the Mill a couple hours early to help welcome Nick and Tyler back to Iowa and to and interview them for my video series, The Art Inside the Craft. The brothers greeted us like family, with big hugs and catching up since the last time we meet up, as Paul and I grabbing whatever they were carrying to help with the load in. The interview yielded a fantastic look at the brothers and whether you’re already a fan or just getting on board, it will only help grow your affection for them and their music.
Dickie Prall, opened the show with a solo acoustic performance that set a great tone for the rest of the night. When a good musician presents an acoustic set the right way, it draws you into the story they are trying to tell and you can see yourself in the artists narrative.
Dickie’s distinct, and occasionally haunting vocals, matched with the sometimes powerful, sometimes sparse guitar playing, achieve exactly that effect and while this was my first time seeing him preform, it wont be the last.
The Talbots take the stage and preform “Deadman Road”, “We Got Love”, and “Traveler” off of the 2016 album Gray before a new track, ‘Without A Doubt” from the new album Ghost Talker. They next grace the engaged audience with the Bill Whither’s classic “Ain’t No Sunshine”, and a couple songs later, a powerful version of Paul Simons “Sound of Silence”. While it’s difficult to drop my jaw with a cover song, Nick and Tyler always seem to choose songs fitting their style and stamp them with not only a Talbot Brothers sound but with a truth that permeates the music as though it was one of their own.
Being brothers, there is plenty of lighthearted banter between songs that touch on things like Tyler catching flack for not letting Nick sing more, to Tyler and Nick both laughing when Tyler explains that he used to write the extensive lyrics to “Sound of Silence” on his arm so he wouldn’t forget them. Tyler leads the way on vocals with Nick picking up the harmonies and back up as need. They both trade off between electric and acoustic instruments and while Nick will generally take the lead guitar spot, they are both proficient musicians and their guitar work is at times as interesting as the lyrics and vocals they put together.
From the new album they also preform “The State Line, “Shadow Boxing”, “Run No More” and possibly my favorite Talbott Brothers song, “Family” They have been using that song to close out their shows for quite a while and decided this was the right time to put it out on an album. It’s the story of the Talbott family and as they step away from the mics, often times completely off the stage, and into the audience, they are in essence inviting you into their family and thanking you with a heartfelt song that means the world to them.
That performance of “Family” will be the featured performance on The Art Inside the Craft episode coming at the end of December. You can find their new album Ghost Talker most places online and I always encourage fans to go directly to their page for all their albums or catch a live show to help support them and their music. Their tour schedule is also available on their website and if you can see them, it will be an experience you carry with you for a long while.
Dickie Prall, whose band recently opened up for not only Wilco but also presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, can be found at Dickie Music
The Talbott brothers music and tour schedule can be found at The Talbott Brothers