Monday, September 24, 2007

Denison Witmer @ Schubas

Pretty songs and idle chatter make for a perfect Sunday evening

There's a line in Denison Witmer's "Steven" that perfectly sums up his sound: "Simple chords are lovely; simple words are heartfelt." The Pennsylvanian singer-songwriter writes quiet and uncomplicated -- yet emotional -- acoustic folk that can make certain audience members tear up at points during his live sets. Which may or may not have happened Sunday night, when he played with Marla Hansen and supported Picastro.

Witmer opened the seated show by thanking the audience for forsaking the Bears game, but there wasn't an Urlacher jersey in the art-kid crowd, so he had nothing to worry about. Especially when he started taking requests ("Postcard Song," "Sets of Keys," "Paper Doll") -- explaining that he was bored with his usual set list and wanted to mix it up a bit -- and telling anecdotes about driving a rental car that happened to be a convertible and the camaraderie that comes along with it.

Hansen, who opened the show, joined Witmer on stage for two final songs, including a gentle, pretty rendition of "Little Flowers," with her viola and delicate vocals chiming in perfectly with Witmer's careful guitar picking and earnest delivery. It was the perfect way to end the weekend. - Kim Jeffries

Check out Witmer's "Stations." See? Pretty.