Frances Luke Accord bring their mesmerizing harmonies and powerful folk music to the intimate settings of Johnny’s Speakeasy to Michigan college country.
It is standing room only inside Johnnyâ€™s Speakeasy in Ann Arbor as local artist Chris Dupont and his band make their way up on the stage. Chris (vocals/guitar) is joined by Luke Jackson (drums), Betsy King (vocals), Christina Furtado (cello), and Katie Van Dusen (violin) with everyone except Betsy having recently been on the road with Chris to support his new album, Outlier.
With heartfelt thanks and a warm smile, Chris Dupont begins to take us on a musical journey. “Evergreen Waltz” is delicate with the violin adding a magical Celtic element. Betsy and Chris harmonize with somber beauty during the chorus. A cover of “Donâ€™t Think Twice, Itâ€™s All Right” pays homage to the legendary Bob Dylan. I will dare to say that this version is the best I have ever heard. It hits home with many in the crowd who give a hearty applause.
While paying his respects to the greats in music, Chris digs down deep into the vault and pulls out “I Donâ€™t Want to Live on the Moon” by Bert and Ernie (you know, the guys from Sesame Street). This heart-warming song makes everyone at Johnnyâ€™s Speakeasy smile.
Chris mentions that his new album has a lot of emotional weight, and we can feel it pulling upon us with “Ease the Blow.” The song explores the tragedy of suicide and its impact on those who are left behind in the wake of such devastation. Chris Dupont and his band left everyone in the audience filled with wonder and inspiration with his musical performance.
Sharply dressed in their finest suits, Brian Powers and Nick Gunty of Frances Luke Accord take the stage to rousing applause. They sing and play with a melodic harmony that is a testimony to the simple beauty of the music they make. This duo exudes a joyful and uplifting spirit, which shines brightly in their performance.
The set includes the songs “Insomnia” and “Nowhere to be Found” from Kandote, their first album recorded in the Ugandan village of Kkindu with the Barefoot Truth Childrenâ€™s Choir. “Insomnia” invites you to close your eyes and dream of the wind, the rain, and echoes inside your mind. Brian and Nick encourage the audience to sing the chorus to “Nowhere to be Found.” Sometimes audience participation songs feel contrived, but there is a genuine inclusive feeling that has everyone singing along.
You canâ€™t help but think of Simon and Garfunkel when Frances Luke Accord plays “Over Your Roof” from their latest Queen For Me EP. The delicate “Save Me Your Laughter” is a crowd favorite as it captures the heart and mind. The band includes a brand new song called “Who Do You Run From?” that we hope will be on their first full-length album planned for 2016.
Chris Dupont, Luke Jackson, and Katie Van Dusen add their artistic talents to make this sonic experience much richer. Before Frances Luke Accord can escape the stage, the crowd asks for one more song and the band is happy to oblige. They play a stirring rendition of the “Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel, which still haunts my heart.
Johnnyâ€™s Speakeasy provides a unique and intimate venue for music. Seeing the overflowing talents of Chris Dupont and France Luke Accord in this wonderful place makes every part of your being feel good.