By Rhetta Akamatsu
Photos: Takesi Ken Akamatsu
Walking through the door at Waller’s Coffee Shop, a wonderful smell tickled our noses. For a coffee lover, it is one step closer to nirvana. And the taste lives up to the smell, at least for the caramel mocha latte! Looking around, we noticed the homey wood walls and shelves of books. Now we felt even more comfortable, especially as Ken found a Star Wars book right away!
We had come to hear Mudcat, aka Daniel Dudeck, who had bounded out to greet us with a big hug already. He was playing solo and then with Sam Aranson of the Foothill Boys. So we walked back to the listening room, which contained a mix of booths, tables, and some sofas and chairs. We chose a table. Mudcat soon took the stage and we were off for two hours of pure entertainment.
Mudcat is not only an excellent guitar player and singer, but he is also a great storyteller and talker. When Sam joined him, he added fantastic mandolin and someone who could keep up the fast picking pace Mudcat set, plus someone else for Mudcat to bounce things off.
I really can’t explain how entertaining Mudcat can be, and informative. He spent some time, for instance, explaining the true history of the song “Delia” before performing it. I eat it up! He even was kind enough to mention my book when he was introducing one song! And he is funny, too. In fact, he is a natural entertainer with a great sense of timing. He was fantastic alone and Sam Aranson just made it even better!
If you are not used to acoustic shows, you may not realize the intimacy just one or two people on stage with no wires or amps can create with an audience. That’s what we got Saturday night. Waller’s presents a variety of live music and I know we will go back, not only when Mudcat is there, but we are happy to know he has a regular gig there. Also, you can taste the fun because he has recorded several shows live and you can buy them on Bandcamp!