They had just returned from Nashville where they picked alongside some of the industry’s finest, so playing in a hilltop barn in Manlius could be considered a big drop in status, but they clearly had a great time.
It’s important to note that when you go to a Loren and Mark show, that’s what you get—Loren and Mark. There’s no band, no singers, nothing fancy or high-tech. It’s still simple, dazzling and thoroughly entertaining.
Friday they played plenty of material from their new CD, their first together, but left plenty of room for a couple of Merle Haggard songs, a bluegrassy Gillian Welch tune, a banjo-less breakdown number and a lively western medley—both boys donning borrowed cowboy hats
They left plenty of room for improvisation and audience requests, some shouted out by fans and even treated the crowd to a new song, the breezy “Traveling Light,” with Mazengarb soliciting the audience’s opinion of the song, “If you don’t like it, don’t clap.”
But man, it’s really hard not to clap for these guys, two extraordinary talents and truly nice guys. They even gave us a lesson in New Zealand-style English when Mark asked for an adjustment on the “fall-back,” Loren telling us, “That means monitor, it took me a couple of shows to learn that.”
Their charisma sparkled as they dueled intensely, clearly having as much fun as those listening in the mostly-full barn. Between sets, they renewed acquaintances, signed CDs and talked about their upcoming tour of Northeastern states. It wouldn’t be surprising at all to see these guys expand their fan base and spread their fame with career success far beyond Central New York—and soon. That’s made this night even more special as we root for a local hero and an adopted son.