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Issue: December 1989

Jugglers and Thieves at Uncle P 's

When I walked into Uncle Pleasant's on November I7, I beheld what I thought was an apparition from the Sixties. Then, to my pleasure, I discovered that, no, there wasn't a gap in the time continuum from whence these people came they came from Detroit, Michigan and I'm glad they did.

"They" are a band called Jugglers and Thieves and, just as they visually evoke images of the "hippie" era, so does some of the music they play. This is especially true of "Mara's Song," an instrumental penned by guitarist Matthew Sage, which features some quite excellent lead guitar work.

Fine musicians all, the group consists of Crissy McCall on vocals and keyboards, Jill Zimba, bass, Colin O'Brien, drums and, in addition to Sage, Paul Cortex on guitar.

As if that weren't enough, everyone writes some fine lyrics. In "Silence Calling," McCall and O'Brien write "Oh, the silence calling me / like the hymn of a piper / hanging like crystal / over the snow" and "Scratch the cold blue sky / while life's breath / plays in the air / and the winter's moon / speaks to me / of nature's ecstasy."

After an evening of poetic rock 'n' roll, with such songs as "Springtime," "Train Tracks," "Perfect in Autumn" and "In the Shadows of Your Eyes," they ended the night with one of the best arrangements of "Amazing Grace" I've heard.

McCall sang the first two verses a cappella with a crystal-clear voice that is more than reminiscent if Heart's Nancy Wilson, but, at the same tune, her very own. She was then joined by the rest of the band for a rocking, inspirational final two verses and out.

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