Jennifer Westwood and Dylan Dunbar brought a passionate mix of honky-tonk, rock and soul to the Manchester Underground Music and Art.
Jennifer Westwood and Dylan Dunbar
It has been too long since I’ve listened to Jennifer Westwood and Dylan Dunbar play music. My prior encounters at PJ’s Lager House, Ann Arbor Summer Fest, and jamming with our friends Captain Ivory, have all been as a band; Jennifer Westwood and the Handsome Devils. I was elated after reading that Jennifer and Dylan are playing as a duo at the Manchester Underground.
Manchester Underground Music and Art
For those new to Manchester Underground Music and Art, it is the love child of local music enthusiasts and promoters, Steve Girbach and John Mooneyham. Their mission is simple: bring the music they love to their hometown. The shows take over the inner courtyard of the Shoppes of Alber Mill. The space is intimate and perfect for close interactions with the artists.
Moved by the Music
Dylan starts the evening with an impassioned cover of “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder. I loved Dylan’s expressive playing when I first saw him four years ago at PJ’s. He just keeps getting better and better. He had walking bass notes dancing in a field of gorgeous grace notes. All of it wrapped in gypsy jazz sass that would make Django smile.
Jennifer shared that they didn’t have a set list planned for tonight. Instead they would let inspiration take the helm and share stories about the music along the way. I was too enthralled with their performance to write down the entire set list. However, I will do my best to share with you the joy that Jennifer Westwood and Dylan Dunbar shared with us.
The Magic of a Duo
I was struck by how different the original music sounds when Jennifer Westwood and Dylan Dunbar perform as a duo. The elements of blues, country, and soul are still there. However, the swing jazz and gospel facets blossomed rich with warmth and color.
The duo setting allowed the wonderfully nuances of Dylan’s guitar work to gleam on songs such as “Wade In The Water”. You also experienced the incredible power and range of Jennifer’s vocals on “Divorcee” and “Marfa Lights”. Judging from the cheers and applause at Manchester Underground Music and Art, I’d say that the audience was as impressed as I was.
In addition to their original music, Jennifer Westwood and Dylan Dunbar played some outstanding covers adding their personal touch to each. “Soulful Dress” by Sugar Pie DeSanto was as alluring and sultry as ever. Their cover of “Wild Horses” by The Rolling Stones capture its mournful loss and longing. Being a metalhead, I thoroughly enjoyed their version of “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne. I imagined Randy Rhoads saying “Right on man!!”.
After two sets of music, it was time to end this splendid evening with Jennifer Westwood and Dylan Dunbar. Their performance was one of the best I’ve seen this year. Jennifer and Dylan are tireless road warriors, so be sure to follow them on social media and go see them live. Many thanks to the great people at Manchester Underground Music and Art for this exquisite night of music.
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