Full Disclosure: Heidi Spencer is my great friend. I hold her in high esteem, and have a profound regard for her talents as a musician, songwriter, and filmmaker, and for her unwavering ethics regarding the creation of her work and her respect for the creative endeavors of others.
But that's part of why I know that a couple of years ago Heidi organized a cadre of local musicians to approach the folks at The Pabst Theater about regularly scheduling local musical acts as openers for national touring artists.
Karma wasn't instant, but last night at The Pabst Theater Heidi Spencer received her reward -- an opening spot on the sold-out Iron & Wine bill. Heidi will soon celebrate the U.K. January 2011 release of her first Bella Union CD; her third record overall.
The domestic release follows in March. Following a series of dates in the U.K., this triumphant return to her home was a welcome and well-deserved event.
Striding onto the stage in a knit dress and boots, and slinging on her acoustic guitar, Heidi shyly launched into "While Away," following it with other older tunes "Nebraska" and "Texas in A Drawer."
Heidi's winsome presence charmed the crowd, and audience members snapped along to the finger popping "Alibi" and laughed with delight when Heidi warned the crowd about a tricky turnaround in the song, inadvertently missed it herself, swore softly onstage, then, wide eyed and aghast, covered her mouth in horror, realizing she was live on the radio.
Her new record's title track, "Under Streetlight Glow," replete with forlorn whistling, was followed by "Moth Met Spider," and "Red Sky." Heidi's set concluded with her near-signature "I Slept In Cars," and the appreciative audience teetered on an ovation as she modestly left the stage to cheers and whistles.
Heidi's triumphant debut at The Pabst will likely not be the last time she sees the theater from that side of the stage. Iron & Wine followed with a lovely, well-received headlining set.