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Pete Donnelly ~ 2013 August 17 ~ The Grove ~ Providence, RI

... by Joanne Corsano ...

Pete Donnelly accompanying himself on electric Gibson guitar

Set List

Careful - Hear It From Me First - A Thing Or Two - Something Happened {Figgs} - Delicate Elocution - Are You Still Mine? {Figgs} - American Town {new song}


The Grove is the name of a house concert series held on the top floor of a three-decker apartment house on Grove Street in Providence, RI. The last couple of times I saw The Figgs (Pete's band) perform, I told Pete that I wished he would come and do a solo show somewhere near me, so I figured I'd better get myself to this one. I allowed myself a little extra time since I am notorious for getting lost in Providence, but not only did I find the place no problem, I pulled right into a (legal!) parking space right in front of the house. Good so far. Up the three flights of stairs to be greeted by one small apartment sized dog (Randy) and just around the corner, one humongous St. Bernard (Rocky) who I think weighs about half again what I do. Out from a back room came a delightful young woman, Chrissy, the hostess, and then her brother Phil and later on her mother Debbie. Tyler the extraordinarily talented chef put out three delicious vegan dishes he had prepared, I helped put water bottles in the fridge, and concert goers started filing in. It felt much more like a party than a concert. Pete arrived, bringing along with him some friends who happen to be other musicians from the Providence music scene -- Chris Daltry and Michael Moore of The 'Mericans. Michael Moore I was acquainted with from his many times road managing Graham Parker tours, and we instantly bonded over happy reminiscences about times we've had on the road with GP.

The performance space was in the front of the first of the three large common rooms of the apartment. Pete tuned up the nifty Gibson electric guitar he'd brought and we had a little chat about what he was going to play. "This is an intimate space," said Pete, "so I'm not going to blast their ears with anything loud." "Just sissy songs?" said I. "Just sissy songs," agreed Pete; and in unison we said: "No Cheap Cassettes." Hostess Chrissy invited the concert goers to take a seat on the floor or on a few seats scattered around the edge of the room, and the overflow crowd seated themselves in the second of the three common rooms where they could see just fine. Pete sat down on a chair. He plugged in the guitar but needed no vocal microphone. He played about a half hour, seven songs, including two Figgs songs, four songs from his two solo records, and one new song ("American Town"). He told a few stories about the songs, explaining that "Delicate Elocution" is a song about the moment when a person realizes that they have to say something to their friend about the bad situation the friend has gotten themselves into. He said he doesn't usually write "protest songs" (he said he professes in his songs, he doesn't protest) but that he was moved to do just that and came up with "American Town" (which made me think of Willie Nile), and said it took some nerve to play it since he doesn't really know it yet. But it was an indulgent audience, and enthusiastic, too; it was really great to listen to these seven well-crafted and beautifully performed songs in the company of people who were there to appreciate and enjoy the music.

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