There may be no better pair in musical history than Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen. They have made music together for the last 50 years, and their influence on American music looms largely. When I saw the opportunity arise to see these two iconic musicians at Denver’s Paramount Theater I jumped onboard.
The night’s show was an acoustic Hot Tuna show. That meant only multi-instrumentalist Barry Mitterhoff would join Jack and Jorma. This trio of musicians displayed a vast array of musical fortitude and the absolute bottomless depth of Jorma’s fabulous songwriting. Jack Casady is truly an indulgence to watch play. He so effortlessly danced up and down the neck of his signature Epiphone bass, offering distinguished authority and free roam to Jorma’s unique style of picking and Barry’s exquisite mandolin play.
The early appearance of “Candy Man” stood out amongst gems like “More than My Old Guitar” and “I’ll let you Know Before I Leave”. However, with the wonderful acoustics of the Historic Paramount Theater and the astonishing talents of these musicians, everything seemed to be nothing short of perfect.
Jorma’s “Hesitation Blues” led into a section of deeply rooted soul stirring numbers. Slim Smith’s “Breadline Blues” followed, digging in deep with provoking lyrics like “All of us good folks are in distress and I’m gonna get something off my chest”.
The whole evening drew heavily from Jorma’s Blue Country Heart project with “Big River Blues,” “Prohibition Blues,” “Blue Railroad Train,” “Blues Stay Away from Me,” and “Just Because” helping to bulk the lengthy setlist.
The blessing of the show being fully acoustic set in during “Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning” and “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out.” It was apparent that these musicians still love to play together. While I think we still have many more Hot Tuna shows to catch, I still recommend seeing every show that you can.
They are simply that good!