Seaholm Power Plant, Austin Texas 2010box bow performers: Travis Weller and Sarah Hennies
Developed as Fullman’s homage to the sound of the harmonica in folk music, the box bow created repeated rhythms that jigged along sounding also sometimes like an accordion or a pump organ or a harmonium or a couple of banjoes or even the vestiges of marching band heard from a distance. Its simple harmonies — characterized by big wide open fourths and fifths — bore the unmistakable sounds of early American folk music, at once joyous and plaintive and nostalgic. Though there were seats for the sold-out audience of 250 (the second of two shows last weekend), people were invited to move quietly around the vast turbine hall. And wander they did, some slipping off to far corners, others drawing closer to the musicians. As shadows in the industrial setting grew deeper as the night outside darkened, the audience only seemed to grow more engaged. As the last sounds resonated, people seemingly froze for a moment — venue, musicians and audience by then in perfect synch.