Lagniappe (/ˈlænjæp/ lan-yap) is a small gift given to a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase (such as a 13th doughnut when buying a dozen), or more broadly, “something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure.
Lagniappe. That’s what we got from Jimmy LaFave at his recent show at Houston’ Mucky Duck. We went to see Jimmy and thoroughly enjoyed his lyrics and songs. Austin based singer/songwriter Jimmy LaFave gently took us through his engaging collection of tunes about love, heartache, desire and loss, throwing in a few of his favorite Dylan classics too. It was a treat to see another Texas (Oklahoma transplanted) legend.
However, if Jimmy ever reads this review, he may not be so pleased to read that my recollection of that night wasn’t filled mostly with Jimmy’s performance but rather, his backing guitar player Anthony Da Costa (http://anthonydacostamusic.tumblr.com).
At first, I thought he was just a geeky kid that was snagged to help out with a traveling band. Turns out, this kid was astonishing – herky-jerky, twitchy and weird as he was.
Anthony Da Costa, according to his website bio, is ..” a 23-year-old singer/songwriter originally from New York, now living in Austin, TX. In 2009, Anthony was named an MSNBC.com “Top 5 Up-&-Coming Young Singer” and a “WFUV-FM New Artist To Watch”. In 2014, he was named one of Acoustic Guitar Magazine’s “Top 30 Guitarists Under 30.” He’s quite a singer/songwriter himself with lots of time with his own folk bands.
This kid worked his guitar magic without ever overpowering Jimmy, merely taking his guitar solos and mesmerizing us with his alternate rhythms, volume control notes that developed and dissolved, slides, fading and hanging notes and lightning speed arpeggios that usually drew a round of applause from the appreciative crowd around us. Okay, to be honest, he stole the freakin’ show!
He was Joe Cocker in spasms. Scrunched up faces, bent-over, squatting and arched back in the middle of an acoustic love song solo. He was alternative, funky, dreamy, bluesy and …he was totally fresh, original and genuine. He played his heart out and his guitar sang out from within him. It was exciting! I rushed to get his name right after the show because he was that good. Because he deserves to be listened to. Because he’s on his way up and I got to see him as he was ascending!
To be fair, let me throw it back to Jimmy LaFave again. For whatever his reasons may have been in bringing Anthony Da Costa with him, Jimmy recognized that including top talent helps make him better too. It was true humility and respect for his music that Jimmy let Anthony join him. He wasn’t afraid to be overshadowed or overlooked but instead, generously let an emerging musician share his stage. For that, I admire and applaud Jimmy LaFave because Jimmy’s music was made even better by graciously including a top, new musician. Rock on, Jimmy! Thanks for the lagniappe in the form of the fascinating Anthony Da Costa.
I couldn’t find a video of Anthony doing his magic on electric guitar, but here’s an acoustic introduction to a fella to keep your eye on.