Singer, songwriter Craig Mecham charms eager audience

Local singer, songwriter Craig Mecham headlined another weekend of the Random Acts Community Performance Series with a laid-back appearance at the Ellen Eccles Theatre on July 31.

LOGAN – The Random Acts Community Performance Series continued over the weekend with a cool, laid-back appearance by local singer, songwriter Craig Mecham.

While I doubt that Mecham smokes a pack-a-day and swills rotgut whiskey straight, his voice sounds like he does both. It’s a rusty, raspy low tenor that’s perfectly suited for the mellow, rambling tunes that Mecham writes.

His stich is a cross between the kind of lyrical storytelling popularized by the late Jim Croce and the deprecating musical humor of the Smothers Brothers. Odd as that sounds, it works.

Mecham initially warmed the audience up with a few jokes about his childhood, but needn’t have bothered. The small, socially-distanced crowd in the huge Ellen Eccles Theatre obviously included fans of Mecham’s previous local performances who were eager for another dose of his witty songs and stories.

The local troubadour’s original material humorously ran the gamut from ditties about hating broccoli, being attacked by mosquitos at Boy Scout camp and finally to the teenage trauma of being short and shy. But his compositions also included heartfelt songs about love and loss that were performed with breathtaking sincerity.

Mecham broke up the hour-long set of his original works with an early rock n’ roll tune borrowed from the Everly Brothers, a couple of traditional cowboy songs that could have been corny but weren’t and even a 170-year-old, little-known composition by Stephen Foster that was still hauntingly appropriate for our time. Those covers were performed in Mecham’s inimitable style and the appreciative audience ate them up.

In addition to giving local entertainers like Mecham a chance to shine in these dark days, the CacheARTS organizers of these low-key Random Acts events say they are intended to gradually bring Cache Valley’s performing arts community back to life during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Seating for upcoming Random Acts events through Aug. 28 will be limited to approximately 100 ticket groups within the 1100-seat Ellen Eccles Theatre to ensure social distancing.

A separate entrance that by-passes the theater’s lobby will be available for attendees who feel the need to take special precautions to avoid public groups.

Events in the Random Acts Community Performance Series will be presented with no intermission, to limit mingling in the theater’s lobby and aisles.

The wearing of face masks is also being strongly recommended at these performances.

During the next Random Acts event, members of the Cache Theatre Company will celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in America with an all-female concert with performances from previous CTC productions of “Mama Mia!,” “Frozen” and “The Little Mermaid.” That event is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Eccles Theatre on Aug. 8.

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