Radoslav Lorkovic and T. Bruce Bower at CSPS
Review and Photo by Charles Rain Black-www.eyeguessphotography.com
I have a friend who looked forward to seeing Radislav Lorkovic and T. Bruce Bower since she saw them perform with Ronny Cox last August. She told me how much she like Rad's accordion playing. When we arrived at CSPS Hall to see Rad and Bruce in concert on their current tour, I still hadn't told her the secret.
That secret is that Rad and Bruce, together in concert, are far removed from the folk/country/bluegrass backup band for Ronny Cox. That was more than demonstrated Thursday night, December 11, to the very appreciative audience in the hall. Songs they played ranged from some of Rad's evocative originals such as "Emily" or "Northwind" (two of my favorites) to jazz and classically infused instrumentals. Rad's encore number was an inspiring cover of John Lennon's "Imagine", which drew shouts of appreciation from the audience as he sang the first line.
Rad only played a single song on accordion, but it was worthwhile. A traditional song from his homeland of Croatia, he and Bruce stepped off the stage and serenaded the people sitting at tables nearby, as though they were a Gypsy duo in a cabaret in Zagreb.
T. Bruce Bower's masterful fiddle playing is a perfect complement to Rad's classically tinged piano virtuosity. Bruce used an extensive set of pedal effects to fill the hall with the sounds ranging from an entire string section to a growling electric guitar on some of the bluesy numbers. He did all this without the effects being overdone or sounding clichéd, which is an admirable accomplishment.
Rad has a tremendous amount of support here in Cedar Rapids, and that support is extended to Bruce as his current touring partner. Thursday's concert proved why that support is well deserved.