seduced by “a man whose name need never be mentioned.”
The concert began with the rage of Pappy Rosewater who brought along the shotgun to force the unnamed man to marry his lovely Violet. Pappy escorted the young man (lead singer/songwriter Darrell Marrier) to the altar to marry sweet Violet (Jenika Marion). With the song Shotgun, the musical event was in full swing.
It was a rollicking song that began the story in earnest. The song is sung to the young Violet and tells of the first encounter that led to the shotgun wedding. “And now I’m headed to the altar with a shotgun in my back” is the concluding line and sets the pace for the remainder of the musical tale.
Chris Marion provided the stomp-inducing violin and Carl Torgerson handled the lead guitar and inter-song quips. Most of the one-liners were hilarious and the ones that were not made for even greater laughter as Darrell Marrier chastised Carl’s improvised humor.
Carl is an extremely entertaining guitarist with an impressive repertoire of styles and techniques. He is funny and he is a thoughtful man. All of this comes through in his guitar solos. Chris Marion is a great arranger and musician. His skill on violin and mandolin is excelled only by his compositional prowess.
For the second song,“mostly innocent” Violet (Jenika Marion) was introduced and joined Darrell in the following duets which began with the song Wedding Day. It opens with the scoundrel singing the following: “Soon as the preacher man/Closed the good book/He turned to us both/And he gave me a look/The kind that said, Son/You’re in over your head/So I put my right hand/On the bible instead.”
It had its own bit of humor as Darrell raised his left hand instead of his right but the song had a moving and thought-provoking feeling because of a slight but dramatic chord change that belies the lines that Jenika and Darrell sing in
unison “I swear this is the happiest I’ve ever been/I swear this is the happiest I’ll ever be.”It carried a foreboding of what the shared life of these two young people would become.
The music truly enhanced the mood of the storyline found within the lyrics. This was well-written music and narrative. The musicianship was first-rate with Adam Box on drums who supplied driving rhythms and subtle brush-work. Ryan Jasurda played rhythm guitar and provided backing vocals as Matt Osowski carried the bass extremely well.
The focus of all attention, however, was on Violet (Jenika Marion) and the unnamed scoundrel (Darrell Marrier). Their blending of vocals was very complimentary and the interaction between them was convincing. This was evidenced in the mood change between them at the conclusion of Wedding Day, wherein the foreboding actually turned a little more hopeful.
One group of young women came as part of their own bachelorette party and arrived in full regalia being driven to the event in a limousine. One gentleman arrived dressed in his father’s World War II era U.S. Coast Guard uniform. He even brought along a pocket-sized photo of his father wearing the uniform. The
audience truly became part of the theatrical aspect of the music.
After the bouquet toss, the band broke into Young Love and the tale of the young couple continued to unveil. It was a fun romp centered on the enthusiasm and energy of discovering love. However, the young man’s feelings for the young
woman begin to take deeper meaning in the song Violet. He sees her as a girl trapped in the prison of a domineering father and the small-mindedness of her surroundings. Carl Torgerson’s lead guitar took on a haunted tone as if to reveal the depths of Violet’s dilemma.
Talking ‘bout Love developed the story line further as Violet begins to understand the depths of her feelings. She then has to confront the rascally aspects of her new husband in On the Run as he describes his wandering ways with lines such as “She wanted love and I wanted lovin’.” Chris Marion’s hard-driving violin partnered with the raucous pounding of Adam Box made for a great song experience as the theater continued with Violet/Jenika posturing from hands-on-hips to folded
arms. But the following song gave as good as it got as Violet sings of the temptation to wander on her own and the anger it evokes from her new scoundrel-husband.
Jenika Marion is adorable. She is sweet and talented and beautiful. All of this combines to make her the perfect Violet Rosewater. She can reflect the innocence as well as the disappointment of Violet in a completely believable way. As a
musician, she is a brilliant singer capable of so many different styles and moods. She is also a very good violinist and who wouldn’t love to see a willowy blonde playing violin in her wedding dress?
Chris Marion was featured on mandolin to open the second set. This set showed the deepening growth of the couple’s affection and love as revealed in the song Home. The song was set as a folk spiritual that spoke of the rich devotion that had begun to develop in the life of Violet and her husband.
Killing the Blues was a sweetly sentimental look back at the maturing man who was truly becoming Violet’s husband. This emotion was brought to fulfillment in the great song of completion and maturity. The piece was entitled Swinging the Night Away. While the title may have recollected the rowdy ways of the young rogue who had seduced innocent Violet, it was a turned phrase to reveal the aged love that had resulted from commitment in the face of dire circumstance. The couple had grown together and had become one. They were swinging the night away on a porch swing, reminiscing whence they had come, where they had been and where they now found themselves. They had become a mature couple dedicated to each other in spite of how it all began.
The performance and set list was laced with humor and rough-boy fun. There were covers of Johnny Cash and a reprise of an earlier Fragile song but it was the steady thread of Violet’s story that held the concert audience’s attention. It was a drama played out in two sets and the story was brought to a very satisfying end with a testimony to how love can truly save one from oneself.
The musicians were energetic and accomplished. Their collective skills allowed for them to be at ease and have great fun. They were the right line-up for the compositions so beautifully laid down by Darrell Marrier. It should never be forgotten that the sound of Rosewater was conceived, developed, and birthed in the heart and mind of this extraordinary songsmith. This performance transcribed that music from his heart to ours.