Nick Takénobu Ogawa is not your typical cellist. His self-described genre is "Indie, Modern Classical, Folk, Alternative," which probably describes no other artist on the planet. Using his middle name as the moniker for his group (it translates from Japanese to “Iron-Will”), he has released four studio albums and the Christmas Songs EP. Seeing Takénobu live is a visceral experience, as his skilled cello playing integrated with his smooth vocals take the listener to another place. Although he is a proficient song writer and his set was dominated by original compositions, he is not opposed to the occasional cover song.
Gordon Lightfoot’s “Early Morning Rain” was brilliant. When finished, Ogawa said, “I wish I had written that.” The near sold-out Eddie’s was full of adoring fans who exploded with a collective roar of applause after each song. One of those true fan had driven 500 miles from Bradenton, Florida just to see this show. Ogawa gave her one of his hand-carved corks which appeared to be a tiny cello. Brian Harper was the accompaniment on violin and provided a wonderfully harmonious sound.
While many of Takénobu’s songs are instrumentals, when Ogawa sings, you wonder why he doesn’t sing on every song. That voice is not to be overlooked. Among other covers was the 18th century folk song “Shady Grove” and a transcendent version of Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On.” The always intimate Eddie’s Attic provided fans an authentic live music experience with exceptional acoustics.
As the evening’s end approached, “To the Stars” offered listeners a brilliant stuck-in-your-head song to take them into the weekend. Closing the show was Bob Dylan’s “Don't Think Twice, It's Alright.” Dylan would have smiled to hear such a fantastic variation of his work. After playing a few shows in Kyoto, Japan in May, Takénobu seems to be hanging around the Atlanta area for a while. A forthcoming album is in the works, but no specific release date yet. The new song, “Broke it All” will be on it and was performed on this night.
With a persistent sea of bland music always surrounding us, it’s refreshing to hear the likes of an act such as Takénobu. Support local music – strike that – support great local music. Visit Takénobu now.