David Wilcox is arguably the most sensitive of all sensitive singer/songwriters. For those afflicted with terminal cynicism, he is either a welcome balm or an insufferable irritant. His live shows are even more intimate and confessional than his studio recordings. Finally we have some recorded evidence of just what goes on onstage. This is not David Wilcox’s first live album, but it is his first live concert album comprised of previously released material. It’s interesting to see how his best-known songs have evolved since they were first recorded in the studio. Jake Amerding sweetens the mix with his fiddle, mandolin, and background vocals.
Over 75 minutes long, Live Songs and Stories includes not just songs but many of the introductions and anecdotes that pepper David’s live shows. The outro to “Start With the Ending,” entitled “Get it Out of The Way,” is completely charming. His introduction to “Show the Way” called “The Terminal Tavern” highlights why David is both adored and excoriated. It’s both insightful and self-pitying. Wilcox, the entertainer, can be heard on the introduction to “Eye of the Hurricane.”
The sound on this is excellent. Recording engineer Charlie Peacock did a fine job of nailing the sound of David’s voice and Olsen acoustic. More than merely a souvenir of his live performances, Live Songs and Stories captures the essence of a live David Wilcox show.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s May ’02 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.