Saturday, April 07, 2007

Tin Pan South 2007 (Friday, 3/30)

Having a day off from the day job on Friday helped me rest up for the remainder of TPS, a vital part of any attendee’s plan for survival. My best friend Bob, a lifelong fan of country music, was in town on business and up for the combined challenge and delight that is Tin Pan South. We headed for the Rutledge, a great new nonsmoking venue on 4th Avenue, to see “Radicals in The Round” featuring a couple of my favorites, Don Henry and Craig Carothers, in the round with Angela Kaset (“Something In Red”) and rocker Michelle Malone (a new Nashvillian).

Bob & I found good seats on the wooden benches (apparently recently made, so they had that nice lumber smell). I put in a request with Carothers for “Open Mike” (“Open Mike, Open Mike, sang the songs that no one liked”) and he nodded and smiled; no doubt this is a standard for their shows…but a good one. Whether the song is a redemption story of a lousy songwriter turned hitmaker, or a comment on the unfairness of the music business, it’s a brilliantly funny song. Malone’s song and accompanying back story of meeting an inebriated Tanya Tucker was amusing and relatable, but it was her intense bluesy guitar and her formidable voice that left an impression on the audience.

Bob, who was at the end of a work day, enjoyed all he could stand for one night so as he departed to find food and rest, I ventured down to the Bluebird to see if I could at least find a place to stand to check out the show. Skip Ewing ("You Had Me From Hello," Kenny Chesney; "Love, Me," Collin Raye), Hugh Prestwood ("The Song Remembers When," Trisha Yearwood) and Aaron Barker ("Love Without End, Amen," George Strait) were on the roster and my friend Dani Carroll was slated to do a song as a special guest of fellow California native Ewing. I’m always glad when more people get to hear Dani, and she demonstrated why she belonged behind the microphone, as everyone obviously agreed. Unfortunately the volume was too low for me to catch most of the between-song patter (my favorite part of these shows, really) from where I was standing; this was unusual given the intimate nature of the club.

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