Amy Ray and Friends: Benefit for NOA’s Battered Women’s Shelter (3/2/2007)
It was a packed crowd for two shows at the listening room on Dahlonega’s town square for two great shows to raise and awareness for an important social problem. An evening with Amy Ray, who was named the 13th most influential lesbian by AfterEllen.com for her solo albums that do not shy away from controversial topics such as the Christian right, homophobia and violence against gays raised money for the local battered women’s shelter in town. Ray brought along her touring pals Tommi and Trina and her good friend Danielle Howle, as well as poet activist Cara Page to perform spoken word.
South Carolina’s Danielle Howle stole the show with her open hearted stage presence, funny stories, and field songs that kept fingers snapping and voices laughing. There’s a lot going on in Howle’s head, and it’s all interesting. Her lyrics are poetry and her talent is her personality. The highlight of the evening was a cover by Howle, "What a Bitch it is being Poor," that garnered loud applause.
Trina and Tommi were great, as usual. This talented duo from rock band Three5Human did a jazzy, breathy cover of the Beatles, "Revolution" with Tommi providing harmony vocals, and the Police’s "Message in a Bottle," as well as several of their own original songs including "Yesterday’s Girl." All of this duo’s original songs are great, melodic rock. Trina’s presence is strong and infectious and her enthusiasm inspires.
Amy Ray sang her confrontational Rolling Stones bashing "Lucy Stoners." The shy Ray kept her eyes closed most of the time she sang and tended to lurk back of the stage when not playing. Ray’s "Dirt Roads and Dead Ends," about lives disrupted by the methamphetamine epidemic was timely to the night’s cause. "Dirt Roads" includes the chorus, “Silly man…” Her voice dropped to a lower register for “I got your dog… you’re a good guy deep down inside.” Some got up and danced to ‘Let It Ring’ with Ray, on mandolin, singing about people who love Jesus, too. “I get down on my knees and I pray the same as you…” Ray played a new song, "Sugar Tongue" with Flamenco style guitar playing. Her voice sounded in top form, soft, high, and low. She shared another new song, "Stand and Deliver."
Cara Page is an artist who would be better used in another setting. Her strong words tended to clash with the party atmosphere and by the end of the night a drunken woman was repeating Ms. Page. The event raised over $3,000 for a worthy cause.