Powerful "Gentle Annie"

By Wally Stewart

Halloween came two nights early to The Rudyard Kipling as "Gentle Annie" (alias noted folk artist Anne MacFie) brought her songs and wit to thoroughly entertain a small group of friends. If you weren't one of them you missed a lot of fun, as the Rud is greatly suited for MacFie's acoustic stylings.

Anne McFie

Costumes were encouraged and the performer did her part, wearing an outfit used for the cover of her solo cassette titled Gentle Annie, complete with chains, whip and handcuffs. Her garb blended well with the stage setting, which held jack o' lanterns and other seasonal trappings. I had wanted to come as my main man of literature -- Alonzo Quixano -- but due to the "curse of the working man" was too busy to do so and arrived disguised as a mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper.

"Annie" accompanied herself on guitar most of the evening, occasionally switching to a lap dulcimer, weaving humorous stories in with those of life's serious emotions. I howled on "Andy Pruitt's Honda" and "Have A Nice Day," while joining the utter silence forced by "Bittersweet Woman" and "The Hunger Like My Own." "Honda" presented a man who kept accidentally driving "the motorcycle of his dreams" through plate glass windows and being "carted off to emergency where the folks in white gathered round and held a quilting bee." "Hunger" powerfully stated, "The first time we ever did touch I knew we were of one kind ... Now and then I may travel along another's path for a while but I've come to understand that it will always be the man ... He has the hunger like my own, and he's my love."

Long before intermission came the house had the feeling of being at a friend's home and this increased at the break when Anne took a chair in the audience. As I talked then with local musician Jak Son Renfro he greatly complimented the classy brunette: "Her words are good enough to stand on their own even if she couldn't sing, but her delivery is excellent."

Due to the late hour and the previously mentioned curse, I was going to leave before the second set, but stayed for one song, then one more ... etc. I finally left during a tune I've felt part of at times -- "The Four Left Feet Waltz." If you want to see what goes with the chains, handcuffs and whip get a copy of "GA." If you like fun and folk music be sure to take advantage of your next opportunity to hear Anne MacFie.