Ryley Walker | Photo by Rocco Peditto | roccopeditto.com

The house lights were still up and upbeat pop music was coming from the speakers hanging from the ceiling, when unannounced, a man in a coat and winter hat with its ear flaps down to his chin took the stage and began tinkering with a guitar. Just a couple minutes later another fellow emerged from the crowd and sat down behind the keyboard at center stage, seemingly adjusting its volume and softy warming up his fingers with different chords. At that moment, this show stated that it’d be an intimate affair.

Ryley Walker then stepped onto the stage in same way, picked up his guitar and sat down at his microphone before taking one last long pull from his can of beer. While he started plucking at his 12-string, his accompaniment seemed to get louder and the house lights dropped. Walker took a deep breath and murmured a relaxed “All right,” into the mic, as they set up the head of “Summer Dress.” The trio played through many tunes from Walker’s much-anticipated album, Primrose Green. Their delicate and well-orchestrated jams garnered “shooshing” from the crowd, but then Walker cracked jokes in between songs about heading to New York City the following night and quickly changed the vibe. A psyched-out “Sweet Satisfaction” struck a chord that revealed an earthy passion in Walker and showed a nearly carnal instinct to his playing before he ended the set with the literary “Fair Play,” by Van Morrison.

The headline spot was filled by Kevin Morby, also back by two bandmates. They opened with the forlorn “The Dead They Don’t Come Back,” off of 2013’s Harlem River. It was a bit of an unexpected song to lead with, but it framed up what was to come nicely. Morby’s heavy-hearted songs didn’t weigh down the energy he brought to his set. “Amen,” a deep-set and dark tune seemingly about giving up on life from 2014’s acclaimed Still Life, delivered an improvised jam that replaced the album version’s horn section to the crowd’s approval. The band leader connected with the crowd, asking who’d seen him the last time he played Boot and Saddle with Cate le Bon, and shared a story about writing lyrics that referenced Philadelphia and Market Street specifically. Morby seemed most comfortable as he wrapped up the intimate show with a couple solo songs. This gave a great emphasis to the heart-on-his-sleeve feeling to the looping and sparse, “If You Leave, and If You Marry.”