The Encore Gallery series at the Taos Center for the Arts continues to impress. Last month’s installment featured two great acoustic Taos duos: Nat and Zeke Bob’s Gutter Gospel alongside Square Peg. I was especially pleased to have the opportunity to hear Gutter Gospel in that setting — I’ve only ever seen them play in loud bars, so this was a great way to really hear the nuances of their authentically old-timey sound.
Sharing a single mic, and totally unplugged, Nat (Nate Puffer on vocals, guitar, mandolin, and old-timey fiddle) and Zeke Bob (JR Logan on vocals, banjo, guitar, and, you guessed it, old-timey fiddle) really put the gospel in Gutter Gospel. Some of their repertoire is recognizable to anyone familiar with early American folk music, but they’ve also put in the work to dig out some deep tracks, so there are plenty of great surprises in the form of tunes that I, at least, have never heard before.
The best part hands-down was the chance to clearly hear their two voices together — in the aforementioned loud-bar settings, it’s harder to tell how well-balanced JR’s rich low range is against Nate’s higher bluegrass-y twang. Close your eyes and you could easily be moonshining in Appalachia 90-some years ago, while your drunken friends feel their feelings. Also, banjo jokes.