February: the Month in Music

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Being the new entertainment correspondent for Out and About – and also being a lover of music who goes to a lot of shows anyway – I’ve been inundated with opportunities to review some of the most AMAZING concerts lately. These amazing talents, both local and touring, represent some of the best of the best:

Travis Meadows played to an insanely full and sold out show at The Basement on February 1st. Meadows is known around town for his incredible talent at songwriting. He’s written songs that have been cut by very popular country artists. His albums Killin’ Uncle Buzzy and Old Ghosts and Unfinished Business garnered lots of attention. He’s also had a few people record his music, from Jake Owen and Dierks Bentley. Owen cut the moving What We Ain’t Got, Bentley recording the uplifting Riser as his title track on the album he released in 2014. I hadn’t been to the basement before, but truly enjoyed it. I have been following Meadows ever since I saw him a few years back at Douglas Corner Café in a writer’s round with another favorite Cheley Tackett who was there showing her support that night with her lovely wife Tera. Any time you ever get the chance to see either Travis or Cheley, you need to be there. I’d never been to The Basement, surprisingly. Sad to say I thought it was a bit too crowded, but I hear that’s just because it was Travis. I’m looking forward to giving it another try, hopefully with somewhere I can sit and/or have a touch of air conditioning. I kept going outside because the body heat was making the room nearly unbearable. I will be back though! The music was good and the staff was efficient.

Beth Hart was an artist I had never heard before, but blew me away at her sold out show at the Ryman Auditorium February 12th. Knowing virtually none of her music, I decided it best to google her before I went to the show. I found a clip of her performing at the Kennedy Center Honors for acclaimed guitarist Buddy Guy. I knew I was in for a treat. Her brassy twang mixed with smart writing made for a great night of music. Playing the piano for most of the night, Hart connected with her audience in a way that would make most other artists with bigger paychecks incredibly jealous. Hart’s intimacy, going into the crowd several times to perform, was unparalleled. Her fans were going gaga and she just kept right on entrancing them. The entire time she was playing, you felt like she was your best friend having you over for a glass of wine or five. Backed by a band of gentlemen who were as talented as they were handsome, she played for almost three hours. I didn’t know who she was going in, but by golly her music was purchased on iTunes and I’ll be doing my damnedest to go see her again. Especially if it’s the Ryman. I’d even go see Kanye West if it were at the Ryman, just with tomatoes. I really love that place.

Bryan White was everywhere in the 90’s. For country music, he was someone equivalent to a Thomas Rhett or Brett Eldredge type. Not doing the huge arenas on his own, but touring with big names and getting into medium sized venues on his own. He was a successful artist charting six number one hits like Rebecca Lynn and I’m Not Supposed to Love You Anymore, White had a huge career. He’s probably best known for his duet From This Moment with international superstar Shania Twain. White sort of disappeared in the early 2000’s, losing his voice for a time. He recorded another album independently in 2012 and still does shows here and there. I was very lucky to get to see him in a rescheduled performance at The Listening Room February 21st to a small, intimate crowd. He was one of my absolute favorites growing up, so the idea of getting to see him in such a small venue was incredibly appealing to me. He did not disappoint. Accompanied by a dobro and a piano, Bryan and his guitar held me captivate as he played me back to my childhood as I swooned when he played Someone Else’s Star. He says he’ll be playing again, and I’m very tempted to return. Listening Room is quickly becoming one of my favorite venues. The menu really is to die for. The smoked wings are out of this world, and so is the music. I’ve got plans to go again this weekend to see Shane McAnally and Josh Osbourne, so I’m looking very forward to that. Tickets may or may not still be available at www.listeningroomcafe.com. 

Local Band The Wild Feathers played a secret show for Lightning 100 on February 22. I’m really learning a lot about the Indie Rock genre lately and The Wild Feathers are a great introduction to the genre. Their song The Ceiling peaked at #7 on the Adult Alternative charts in October 2013 around the time when Lorde was being crowned as America’s next big pop star with Royals. The show was a preview of their new album dropping March 11. I don’t know the last time I went to a full-fledged East Nashville rock show, but I tell you that I was in heaven. Their smart lyrics mixed with their modern rock mixed with a little Americana is some of the best new music I’ve heard in years. This new album, Lonely Is A Lifetime, is going to rock your socks off. Their new single Overnight is going to be robbed if it’s not the next big hit. You can hear it on Lightning 100, they’re playing it a lot. The Wild Feathers are playing SXSW later next month, but I’m sure you’ll be able to hear them around town again soon. When you get the chance, take it. They may be too busy soon. Although, I hope, if they do to perform at the Basement East again. If you’ve not had a chance to make it there yet, imagine a mix of Marathon Music Works and 3rd & Lindsley to picture it. It’s a wide open space with a nice stage with good lights and sound with a bar full of quick bartenders. I’m a big fan. Good work, Grimey.

Rounding out my month was Natalie Stovall and the Drive on February 23rd. Sadly one of country music’s best kept secrets, take the voice of Martina McBride with the musicianship of Natalie Maines of The Dixie Chicks and you’ll have the best lead fiddle player country music has had in a decade. She’s featured with CMT’s Next Women of Country, a group headed up by two of my favorites Jennifer Nettles and Brandy Clark. Natalie celebrated her recent EP release Heartbreak (also the tilte of her new single) with a ton of her friends. I even spotted Dave Haywood of Lady Antebellum fame in the crowd that night. Stovall is one of my biggest reasons for being constantly upset with country radio. The fact that she isn’t as big as Reba McEntire is possibly the biggest mistake country has made lately. The quality of her voice and the showmanship she gives is far and away better than ninety percent of the country acts I’ve seen, male or female. The crowd was electrified when she played her last single Baby, Come On With It. There was a group of young girls sitting in the front row that had come all the way from Knoxville to hear her. They were going on about her like the kids do about One Direction or something. It was precious. Her opening band Post Monroe, a local girl trio, sounded great. There is a movement in country music to even out the scales right now between the playing of males versus females, but there is still so much work to do. The show was held at the incredible 3rd & Lindsley. I had to give up after 930, but she had a ton of girls playing with her too. I’m looking forward to my next show at 3&L, the HerHRC Benefit Show featuring Lucie Silvas and Shelly Fairchild, to which a few tickets are still available for the show in late March.

Have a show you’d like me to review? Email my awesome editor at editor@outandaboutnashville.com and I’ll try and make my way to your show!