Live On The Green – Week 5
- Article by: Matt Dodson; Photo by Brian Waters
- Posted: 10/11/2011
Hundreds of fans showed up early for Live on the Green’s fifth week to catch a short set from sweet songbird Marie Hines. Breaking from the tradition of the 6:45 p.m. start time, Hines’ set was over in time for Nashville’s favorite folksy hipster/songwriter Rayland Baxter to take the stage just before 6:50.
Baxter was backed by only an upright bass and a steel guitar, and the minimalist setting gave his honest and organic Americana a chance to really shine. Sounding like an established veteran, Baxter maneuvered masterfully through his songs’ lilting melodies. The growing crowd seemed to connect to his unassuming bluegrass-inspired folk ballads, especially my favorite, the minor-keyed “Willy’s Song.”
After Baxter’s chilled-out opening spot, Nashville was in for one of the most hyped middle acts of the concert series, as East Nashville’s Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors kicked off their rocking set to a wild audience that knew their songs by heart and was there specifically to see them. The standers at the front were singing along to nearly every song as Drew and Ellie Holcomb’s sweeping harmonies charged out in front of an energetic set built mostly of songs from the band’s bestselling 2011 release Chasing Someday.
After the last notes of “Fire and Dynamite” rang out through the monitors and the band began to leave the stage, hundreds of fans began to scream “One more song!” It was the first time I can remember hearing encore demands for a non-headlining act. I have to say, it was really cool to see the crowd get behind a supporting act, and as Holcomb took an iPhone video from stage of all the roaring fans in front of him, it was clear that the band has earned the full support of their hometown. Unfortunately, the show’s schedule was tight, and the band couldn’t grant their fans’ request.
After The Neighbors’ set, Lightning 100 DJ Wells Adams made a special announcement. He called guitarist Mark Trussel back out onstage and handed him an oversized red envelope containing a letter explaining that Dugger had been chosen to perform in the blind auditions of NBC’s The Voice.
Finally, right at 9:00, redheaded folkman Brett Dennen began his first song. His set was solid, and I enjoyed it from start to finish, but I have to say that it wasn’t the best I’ve seen. It was hard to understand Dennen’s vocals much of the time, even on the songs
I knew the best, and that’s a pretty serious problem for a songwriter whose lyrics are as astute and just plain brilliant as Dennen’s.
But the performance was great, and the audience was grooving to his Dylan-inspired tunes. The misunderstandings aside, “Wrong About Me” and “Ain’t No Reason” drew massive applause from the crowd, and the whole performance had a feel-good air to it that made it well worth the trip to the courthouse.
My favorite part of the night was Drew Holcomb’s encore-worthy show, which seemed at times to overshadow Dennen’s solid, but not outstanding, set. With just one concert left in the Live on the Green series, this entire show ranks high on my list just below Robert Randolph and The Family Band’s two-and-a-half hour knock-out blues jam and Ten Out of Tenn’s singer-songwriter symphony.