The performance under consideration is one of the Blackwing Sessions. It is a part of the Old Crow Medicine Show. The song is played by Willie Watson in front of the band and the audience acts as a part of the performance. It has taken place in California (Costa Mesta) on June 27, 2013. Performance reaction is based on the detailed examination of it.
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In order to review this performance it should be taken to pieces, figuratively speaking. It is appropriate to analyze all the details carefully for the purpose of seeing the whole picture. There are basic elements that we can identify in the given performance. Firstly, the exterior that is the background of the show. It is not about the design of the place, settings and lights, but the image that was created during the time of the song playing. There is a stage of a middle size with five men on it. One of them is the anchor who organizes the process. The others are Watson’s group. It has the effect of the show to be expected. The musicians have guitars with them. No other instruments are to be seen until Willie Watson takes out the mouth organ. It is specific for the bluegrass and folk genders to play the guitar and the mouth organ sometimes. The main thing about this performance is that Watson plays and sings solo. The anchor leads him to discussing this matter. It works for the audience to watch a singer perform solo. One can see the development of the artist. This show holds interest. Secondly, there is not just visual perception of the performance that appeals, but the inner atmosphere that is created by participants. A listener may feel like playing a role there.
The video is about 8 minutes and 30 seconds long. During this period, there i a three-minute-long conversation with Watson. He explains what was going on with him while he was writing the song. It did not work for me because of the contrast one may notice. It is one state of mind that Watson talks about how he has gotten to create the song, and completely another when he plays it. It is the effect of expectations being played with smiles and jokes. Conversation before the song diverts attention from it. During the communication episode, it is all about a verbal story, while a song is completely different story that cannot be explained, but played. Nevertheless, it shows how important and meaningful this piece of music is for the author in his personal and professional life.
In order for the performance to catch the attention, it should have some appeal. The performance is especially effective because of the way Watson presents it. There is a dim light and soft sounds coming together in a combination of a beautiful music creation. It appears that he sings it from his heart, having his eyes closed. The audience is completely mesmerized by the performance, because it is not just about the author, but it concerns everyone around. People tend to be a part of something. This idea is supported by the song that Watson chooses to perform. The title is “We`re all in This Together”. It was written in cooperation with Ketch Secor. Reaction to the song is positive from the first moment, when the words “Well my friend…” reach ears. Words have their semantic effect on the musical background that suggests considering the performance successful (based on the audience reaction as there is a round of applause at the end of it).
The performance is organized in pleasant rhythm and tempo. It is emphasized by the sounds of the guitar and mouth organ in the prelude. After the second and before the last couplet another member of the band accompanies on his guitar. This detail turns performance into an intimate sharing of the deepest thoughts between Watson and the audience.
One may take another approach in an attempt to examine the performance comprehensively. It could be divided into two pieces, where one is a verbal (sound) language of music, and the other is a non-verbal one that includes body postures and all the movement on the stage. Musicians and the anchor sit comfortable on the chairs, so they can feel relaxed and act naturally in front of other people. There is practically no movement the whole time except Watsons’s gesticulation. As far as the song continues, other band members become involved in it that is evinced in slow swing moves of the bodies. This sign of affection pleases much and reflects the idea that this performance is valuable on the emotional level.
The performance of Willie Watson is not original, but it may be special for everyone who sees it. The performance holds the interest because of the impulse that it sends. Watson expresses it by giving himself to music. It is like there is nothing else around him, but the thing that he wants to convey from his heart to the mind of each listener. His closed eyes, posture, and voice tell people to listen and absorb the energy of the message. It sends a message that people should be together, strong, and on a “slow road to freedom”. It provides support and lifts spirits. The perception of it is a combination of elementary details that determines its beauty. Generally, the performance under analysis awakes positive sensations.