There's something to be said for days gone by when big boxy microphones were used by a bluesy soul songstress as she soothed stressed audience members with her sultry tone.
Maureen Washington performed at the Prince George Playhouse last weekend to celebrate her new CD release Blues in the Night and what a night it was.
Washington floated to the microphone in a siren-red dress and when she opened her mouth the sheer emotion she poured into her music was enough to set my heart stirring.
I know I was only one girl sitting with one boy in the audience but Washington moved me like I have never been moved before. I cried through her entire first set of songs.
At Last my was complete undoing and right along with Peel Me A Grape, Blues in the Night and the heart break of You Don't Know Me left me shattered - but in a good way. It was so moving.
Washington's voice is unique, strong yet smooth and her dulcet tones are those of a familiar friend and a vamp. It's just amazing to me to watch the emotions wash over her lovely face in a very telling way and she connects to her audience by including them in her joys and triumphs, her sorrow and heart break.
Because the album is dedicated and created for her mother Barbara Washington, who was in the audience, there was a dialogue being carried on between the two of them and I don't mean emotionally. I mean they were talking to each other throughout the concert with Barbara sharing some sweet moments with the audience as well. It was great to be a witness to this tribute that honoured a mother well loved by her daughter.
Washington grew up in Prince George and moved to Victoria to further her career four years ago. Because of her strong connections to this town she returns often.
I must say Karel Roessingh the piano player that accompanied Washington was superb. He literally tickled the ivories and I finally got what that phrase meant. His fingers flew so quickly and the notes were so clear and crisp and I get it. He really did tickle the ivories.
Shawn Smith played saxophone and clarinet to lend a lovely tone to the songs. He seemed very experienced and was very good humoured when Washington got a bit playful with him, adding to the performance.
Washington gave the evening her all and left nothing undone. Her performance is something I will never forget and for her finale she chose Georgia because it reminds her of Prince George and finally, I was not alone with my tears. Several members of the audience joined me and I was so happy to see that.
So, Prince George music lovers, don't miss the next opportunity to hear Washington sing. She's coming back to town at the beginning of December.
I'll keep you posted on the details.
In the meantime check her out at http://www.reverbnation.com/maureenwashington.