It all started when my husband gave me the CD “Dennis Lichtman’s Brain Cloud featuring Tamar Korn” as a stocking stuffer. He ordered it off on my Amazon wishlist, but I could’t remember why it was there in the first place. After a good laugh, we listened to the CD, not expecting much. But I loved it, and he loved it. A quick visit to the band’s website and we learned that they play most Monday nights at a bar in Brooklyn. So off we went.
Barbés is located in the South Slope part of Brooklyn. Named after a neighborhood in northern Paris, Barbés is owned and operated by two French musicians who are also Brooklyn residents. The place is tiny, and could be aptly described as a hole in the wall. But what a fantastic hole in the wall it is.
Step in off the street and you’re in the main bar area, about 12’x50′, with the bar and about a dozen stools running most of the length of it. At the back of the bar is a doorway that leads to the performance space, which is even smaller. When the six-piece band is performing, it’s close to busting. Under the bright red painted tin ceiling are two dozen folding chairs, three square café tables, and standing room for another dozen people.
While the space is tight, it’s just perfect, like hanging out in a friend’s livingroom. The band is right there. I see each facial expression, and feel their energy. No one in the audience is trying to have a conversation overtop of the music, no one is shooting video on their phone. It’s as if everyone in the room realizes how lucky they are to be here.
And I haven’t even begun to describe the music.
From CD Baby:
Informed by the old Texas masters, rearranged and interpreted by the young New York masters. Western swing – the infectious mashing-together of American southern roots music with old-timey jazz.
The band is great. Dennis Lichtman plays clarinet, mandolin, and fiddle. And boy can he play! Raphael McGregor is on lap steel guitar, Skip Krevens on electric guitar, Kevin Dorn on drums, and Andrew Hall on upright bass. But the thing that brings me back again and again is Tamar Korn. Her special voice is unlike anything I’ve heard before. It’s both soothing and arousing. She embodies the music she produces–and what she can do with a single note!
I have no idea how it’s possible that this immensely talented group plays this tiny room for tips on a Monday night. But I, for one, am grateful.
Photo Credit Diego Britt