Shortleaf performs at annual Concerts in the Courthouse

Written by Muleskinner Staff

(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) — I went to an 8th annual concert series called Concerts in the Courthouse on Saturday, Oct. 1 and watched the band Shortleaf perform some unexpected, different sounds.
The two performers had beautiful, warm voices that blended together to make a sweet, unique sound. These two people who performed at the concert series did a fantastic job of blending two different instruments into this sound that left me speechless. The only word that comes to mind is greatness. My honest gut feeling is that these two did an unbelievable job that deserved a standing ovation. Let’s get into why they wanted to play in the first place.
Their names are Michael Frazer and Tenley Hanson. Their sound is a combination of old folk and foot stomping that makes you want to dance. Frazer played the fiddle and mandolin and Tenley did the guitar and vocals.
The concert was held in the Johnson County old courthouse. I think this is the only setting that is perfect for the concert series to be held in. It is intimate and a little rusty for the look of what the sound is meant for. The songs they picked had meaning and were fun to dance to. Some of the songs were riddles from back in the day. And the songs also tell a story from a long time ago.
This concert didn’t start on time but I heard people there love to watch them play. I love what I heard. Frazer and Hanson wrote their set list on a cardboard bag from a previous concert they did. Both of them were right on pitch and in tune. I was there early, before the concert began, and I saw how they arranged their set up. The stage was right in the middle of the room but I couldn’t see both of them because of an old brick pole that was right in front of me. So
I had to depend on my hearing since I couldn’t see them and I loved what I heard.
The softness in their voices came across like an old married couple, but they aren’t married. Frazer taught Hanson the mandolin a long time ago and so they became partners.
“I was 30 years old when I first picked the fiddle and the mandolin,” Frazer said.
Frazer said he listened to a record from a band a long time ago and it inspired him to perform.
Hanson said she also plays the piano, but she didn’t during the concert.
“I always have a guitar in my hands,” Hanson said.
Frazer said he has been performing for 20 years and Tenley has performed for 10. “We perform around nature centers and square dances,” Frazer said “My inspiration is rock ‘n’ roll and blues.”
Their music is a range of old folk with a little bit of twine in their voices. The danceable beat of the foot stomping makes the songs upbeat and fast going.
Overall, I think everyone should have a chance to get to see how wonderful Frazer and Hanson did.
AnneMarie Carrigan is a THRIVE intern reporting for the Muleskinner. THRIVE is a two-year program to help intellectually- or developmentally-challenged young adults build skills for transitioning from home to independence.