the erstwhile medicine show

Last Saturday morning, we traveled to old eastern europe (while in the privacy of our own town). Down at the local cafe, The Erstwhile Medicine Show, nudged us all back in time into the narrow streets of petersburg, budapest and prague. The band of 17 and 18 year olds played (well) an array of old time instruments including fiddle, standup bass, guitar, accordian and washboard. Their claim: “From new orleans funeral marches to alabama hoe-downs and klezmer gypsy jigs, the Erstwhiles will cure all your ails.” Simple and effective.

Our friend Eve, who was a dancer and now builds stone walls, summed it up when she said “It’s so nice to see good, decent teenagers these days!”. Of course, she meant, teenagers who focus on the intrigue of life itself.

And these teenage musicians dragged us all with them into the intrigue. Sound is mysterious, transporting the listener in the same way that scent or flavor does. Less obvious that the visual, music blindsides you and takes you where it wants you. And if you aren’t a musician yourself, then the next best thing is music in real life—on the street or in cafés—melodic notes that pull you into the moment, whether that moment is from some other time, right now, or both.


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