Saturday, April 07, 2007

Tin Pan South 2007 (Wednesday, 3/28)

Since I was unable to get reservations at the Bluebird Café for the late show Wednesday to see my first choice of shows (Mac Davis always offers lots of laughs and familiar songs), it was “lady’s choice” for my friend who accompanied me. She chose well; we saw Jennifer Hanson, Mark Nesler, Blue County, Tim Johnson and “special guest” Blaine Larsen at 12th & Porter. The precious few seats were taken so we headed for a good standing spot.

The congenial and laid-back Nesler comes across onstage as the strong, silent type, but his songs spoke well for him. He presented some of the smash hits he’s written for Tim McGraw (“Just to See You Smile”) and Darryl Worley ("I Miss My Friend”) kicked off the proceedings with “Living and Living Well” (George Strait).

His wife Jennifer Hanson could easily be confused with Jennifer Garner of “Alias”… except I’m not aware of that other Jennifer writing and performing such impressive songs. Tonight’s offerings included “Leave The Pieces” for The Wreckers (Michelle Branch and Jessica Harp) and “Beautiful Goodbye.”

Tim Johnson was next in line and provided solid country songs all night, some serious ("To Do What I Do," Alan Jackson) and some, not so much: his list of “Things That Never Cross a Man’s Mind” included “watchin all this football is sure getting old/Wish I was workin this weekend/Not on the lake reelin’ my line.” That American Idol contestant Kellie Pickler had chosen to record the song seemed to be a pleasant surprise to him.

Musical duo Blue County (Aaron Benward & Scott Reeves) joked among themselves and the rest of the writers enough to dub themselves the “bad kids” of the round. Their rowdy hit “Good Little Girls” would seem to support that (“Good little girls make some mighty wild women”)…but on closer examination (MUCH closer) it’s actually supporting a traditional approach to romance that even a Southern Baptist like myself can say “amen” to: “She's waitin' for a gold ring, before she tries her wings/That's what I'm waitin' for.” (Not that I'd expect to see them play this or some other songs in church; I'm affirming the positive here, not offering an unqualified endorsement). They also showed a serious side, in what I hope will be a “serious” hit: “I Get To,” a song by Sherrie Austin that is about choosing a thankful attitude toward things we easily complain about, such as hugging dad, going to church, etc. (“I don’t have to/I get to”).

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