Live show: Jim and Penny Malmberg album release

Jim and Penny Malmberg, formerly Back Porch Swing, along with Nico Humby and Miles Zurawell brought an energetic and enthusiastic crowd to The Aviary on Friday night.

We were each given a copy of their new CD – it was, after all, a CD release party – and welcomed into the party. The merch table had so much love it would have been easy to mistake it for Valentine’s Day. There were hearts everywhere and smiling happy faces to greet us, one of those being co-owner of The Aviary, Philip.

This was all in the entryway; next stop was the venue itself. Teacup candles, hearts and love were on every table and the stage … it was like a big ol' family get together. There was boisterous laughter as people moved about the room greeting each other and spreading the love.

Although every table was taken there were a few loose chairs at the front of the house so that is where we parked ourselves. An unobstructed view of the stage, or so we thought.

The evening opened with Jim and Penny coming on stage with a large poster board stating that "We're Here For Love" and a warm welcome to everyone. They then introduced the “first period” – there were three just like a hockey game – Nico and Miles.

Nico and Miles are straight ahead no nonsense bluegrass and they nailed it. Nico plays a mean mandolin and sings in the finest traditional style. Miles plays flat top guitar and sings in a style that blends traditional bluegrass with traditional country, in a good way. They are fun, funny and fantastic musicians and singers. They peeled off one song after another almost effortlessly and were obviously enjoying it as much as we were. I would be happy to see them play again.

After a short intermission, Penny and Jim took the stage and proceeded to entertain us with a walk through their new CD, in order of appearance on said disc. They were joined by Keith Rempel on upright bass (he plays on the CD as well).

There was a lot of love flowing back and forth between the stage and the audience. It felt more like a wedding anniversary than a CD release party, but a party it was. There was banter back and forth from the stage to the seats, hoots and hollers were frequent, and several songs were sing-alongs that clearly most people had sung previously.

It was a fun night out and we heard some mighty fine pickin'-and-a-grinnin' too. We're Here For Love is an appropriate name since it was obvious both the musicians and the people listening where indeed there for the love.

Norman Weatherly | Weathered Music

Photography: courtesy of Joel Weatherly

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