Shame on you, Chapel Hill. I know it’s spring break, I know people are thinking about the tournament and the basketball team, but that’s still no reason why the turnout for Christopher Paul Stelling, Cousins, and JPhono1 was so craptastic last night. None at all. CPS and JPhono1 are both amazingly talented, and so I bet Cousins is too, and you weren’t there to listen to CPS do these huge and haunting versions of the songs off Songs of Praise and Scorn, and you couldn’t buy what is undoubtedly one of the best records of 2012, and you couldn’t get hugs from CPS and his lovely lady Julia, and they were both great huggers, so there.
So, yeah, last night’s show was a dud in terms of turnout but a sellout in my heart, because it sealed for me how strange and gothic and enormous and shivery Songs of Praise and Scorn is, and it’s not like I really needed that sealed, but it’s nice to confirm that you’re right about things like albums no one is paying enough attention to. CPS is immensely talented, in terms of songwriting, and particular in terms of stage presence and, Lord, his fingerpicking with a guitar. He and Julia harmonize together in lovely ways (and I am sure that her own stuff, which she told me she doesn’t play out much, is just as lovely) and the whole thing was peaceful and sad in the best kind of way.
I needed a show that was soothing and warm, and that was it. You missed it, and I know because I was there. Too bad for you.
Full set here. If you’re heading to SXSW, you can catch Christopher Paul Stelling a bunch of times, so you should. Tell him and Julia I said hi.