Last night my wife, Jess, helped put on a benefit concert for Arizona Together, the coalition to stop fundy right-wing Christian group the Center for Arizona Policy's so-called "Protect Marriage Amendment," which would make any sort of legal recognition for unmarried domestic couples illegal. It would hurt old people living together unmarried to stop losing Social Security money, gay/lesbian couples who are each other's health insurance and who want to visit each other in the hospital, and prevent domestic violence laws from applying to unmarried couples living together, among other obvious social ills.
Anyway, folk singer/lawyer Kathleen Williamson performed for about 70 supporters. The event was very successful for Jess, but Williamson is a mildly annoying act. Her cover of Leonard Cohen's "Story of Isaac" was strong, but other than that, I saw little evidence that she listens to her folkie idols, Cohen, Dylan, Paul Simon, Woody Guthrie. The songs that she writes have a very limited artistic vision: she has a song about herself as a character that "makes a scene" and causes trouble and shakes up the status quo. Doesn't sound like material the aforementioned quinumvirate would utilize. She has mildly amusing, unoriginal quips about the Bush Administration. She sees her Tucson through her perception of Tucson as an idea, instead of a place where individuals interact--love, hate and die--in a certain way.
And the golden shiny jacket she put on for her final song made her look old. The show made me tired. I suspected it might. I listened to Bob Dylan as I drove to the show, thinking, "I've got to listen to some good songwriting before I listen to some bad songwriting."
Nevertheless, as a critic and a reviewer, telling the truth is the most important thing. --adam