Music » Livewire

Dave Dondero/Tilly & the Wall

Friday, June 9, at the Grog Shop.


"Some decisions are incisions/Much too late to make revisions/Sorry's just a suture/Leave the scarring to the future," Dave Dondero sings on "If You Break My Heart." Indicative of his clever wordplay, the song rides an extended mercantile metaphor ("If you break my heart/You bought it") over a light strum.

An itinerant tunesmith in the mold of Townes Van Zandt or Richard Buckner, Dondero displays an unvarnished honesty that eschews the tooth-gnashing emotion of most confessional songwriters. His style is understated, but the tunes are fraught with meaning, such as his tender ode to damaged, "overripe" individuals, "The One Who Fell From the Vine."

Headliner Tilly & the Wall features an innovative use of percussion in the amplified tap shoes of dancer Jamie Williams and accompanying handclaps of vocalists Neely Jenkins and Kianna Alarid. Singer-guitarist Derek Pressnall and keyboardist Nick White fill out the rambunctious, harmony-rich, indie-pop sound.

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