Heartroot concerts and snow in Utah are highly correlated. The Heartroot duo, featuring Mindy Dillard and Eric McEuen, was on my follow up list from the first time I saw them back in November. The first two attempts were thwarted by severe snow and snow packed (not plowed) roads. The third time was the charm.
Heartroot’s concert at the Holladay United Church of Christ began with the exquisite “Teach Me to Love You,” sung a capella. Thereafter, the “typical” configuration was Mindy on banjo, Eric on guitar, but they traded for a few numbers and also reached to their array of instruments on the stage, which was expansive and easily viewed from any seat in the house.
Gnomie is the couple’s mascot of sorts and he’s been blogging their adventures during their cross country tour, which began in their adoptive hometown of Portland and culminated in Utah with this final concert. Mindy’s appreciation of the childlike was notable throughout the performance. While in Utah, incidentally, she performed “Snow White and the Submarines,” an original operetta created for children of all ages. Last Saturday evening included learning how to make snail eyes and a few sing alongs.
The duo’s strikingly beautiful harmony, theatrical quality, and dramatic lyrics combined for a final charming tour performance in Mindy’s hometown of Salt Lake City. Playing from their extensive song list, tunes as “It’s a Tiny Fish In a Big Ocean,” “Break Me Open,” and the mellow and ponderous “Can I?” made the lineup.
The second half opened with a gorgeous capella number “Oh Sisters Let’s Go Down In the Valley to Pray” and continued with “Love Is a Tanglewood Tree,” “There From Here,” and “Little Bird,” which I have heard and written about previously. Both Mindy and Eric had written songs about their grandfathers, which they performed. “Hidden Water” painted a picture of a water dowser while “Grandpa” described a domino-playing grandpa who liked raisin pie.
The show – which ran well past 90 minutes past the 9 pm published ending time – finished strong with “There From Here,” “You’ve Gotta Move When the Lord Gets Ready,” “Somewhere Over the Rainbow, “Angels All Alone,” and my favorite, “Guess We Made It Afterall.”
I quickly exited as I was late for a social engagement with friends. As I walked outside to my car, it was snowing fiercely. Imagine.