Chuck Ragan and the Camaraderie - Crescent Ballroom - 5/9/14
Chuck Ragan and the Camaraderie
Thursday, May 8, 2014
Chuck Ragan's reputation precedes him. The Hot Water Music singer has now released four albums rooted in acoustic folk, and he's one of the manliest guys in music (just take a look at his Instagram page). Chuck is also one of the nicest- he recently gave a writer his boots, and in spite of seeing what I'm assuming to be the tour manager impatiently motioning toward the watch on his wrist, Chuck Ragan stuck around after the show to chat with fans. These weren't quick hellos, Chuck had full on conversations with anyone who walked up to him.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect from Chuck Ragan's set. Best case scenario would be seeing him wrangle a bear before performing a few acoustic versions of Hot Water Music songs but let's be realistic, that wouldn't happen -- Chuck's more of a fisherman, anyway.
Crescent Ballroom cleared out a bit between The White Buffalo and Chuck Ragan's sets, presumably for the audience to take quick smoke and drink breaks. Chuck Ragan and the Camaraderie quietly took the stage in the interim -- no introduction was necessary, as Chuck was invited on stage with The White Buffalo moments prior (more on that later).
The band opened with "Between the Lines," from Chuck's first solo album, Feast or Famine. Given how long Chuck Ragan has performed as a solo act, I wasn't expecting too many Feast songs, but he bookended the show with songs like "The Boat," "For Broken Ears," and "California Burritos."
Midway through the set, Chuck talked about the soundtrack he recorded for the short film, It's Better in the Wind. He reminisced about hanging out with motorcyclists (which he described as "guys who are good with wrenches"), and shared his biggest takeaway -- "we were so focused on the journey rather than the destination."
"Gave my Heart Out," from Chuck Ragan's newest album, 'Til Midnight followed shortly after, as Chuck beamed about discovering music at an early age.
"Right as Rain" was one of my favorite moments of The Camaraderie's performance, as all eyes were on Chuck and the pedal steel player for this sweet, subdued song.
"Meet You in the Middle," another Covering Ground track, followed, as the band's energy picked up a bit and peaked with a fun performance of "California Burritos." The audience loudly echoed back the chorus, before the band left the stage before the encore. Chuck stuck around to perform the first verse of "For Broken Ears," and then was joined by the rest of the band.