This was not the usual Mucky Duck opener, some member of the street team with a guitar and a desire to hang with rock stars.
Dustin (son of Kevin) Welch stunned the sparse crowd at the Duck last night from the first note of "One False Move," the brilliant opener to his new album, Whisky Priest. While the graying crowd had mostly come to hear the father, young Dustin took advantage of his six-song set to wow some new fans into his corner with a strong show that included three Mark Germino co-writes and "Lower East Side," which young Welch explained "was the first song I ever co-wrote with Justin Townes Earle."
I've heard so many singer-songwriters complaining lately about "people won't be quiet and listen when I'm singing." I usually tell them "nobody's going to shut up and listen just because you're up there singing your precious song, if you want them shut up give them something to shut up for." This can be a problem for openers at the Duck, but young Dustin stilled the crowd from the first notes. He's that good.
It was a night of great songwriting, with memorable lines falling faster than this reporter could scribble them down.
"Rich or poor man, baby, you better keep your pistol clean."
"Every breath I take is another I've spent."
"We were born with strengths and weaknesses that blend."
"I never shove a cold bit in a horse's mouth."
After his set, young Welch carried his other instruments to the stage and tuned for his father's set.
"If you open and roadie for your dad, do you get paid more?"
"I've been roadie-ing for my dad since I was eight years old."
When dad walked by, I asked if he paid his son more if he roadied for him.
The elder Welch deadpanned. "Well, not really, 'cause I'm sure he'll sell more Cds than I do tonight."
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Fans of Americana should be on the lookout for young Dustin's new album. Nothing against Justin Townes Earle, but Welch's Whisky Priest may just be the stoutest, most well written album of the year. Certainly for a debut album, it is stronger than a garlic milkshake.
Welch will formally present the CD at a release show scheduled for the Continental Club May 9, when he'll be appearing with a full band on a show that includes his writing partner Germino and The Gougers.