Live On The Green

Live On The Green

  • Article by: Matt Dodson, Photo by: Brian Waters
  • Posted: 10/04/2011

For the fourth installment of Lightning 100’s Live on the Green concert series, a much more chilled-out crowd sprawled out on blankets across the courthouse lawns just in time to catch TV-friendly singer-songwriter Carey Ott.

Ott’s hook-filled melodies and killer guitar work shined as he debuted several songs from his most recent album, Human Heart. The title track of the album shined in its stripped-down acoustic version.

The blanket-sitters in the crowd weren’t up and dancing, but the applause was loud and sincere as Ott, whose songs have made appearances in Grey’s Anatomy and Kyle XY, among others, wrapped up his short set.

In stark contrast to last week’s killer rock ‘n’ roll show by The Dirty Guv’nahs, this week’s show returned to the ‘middle-act-as-filler’ formula. Edwin McCain’s songs were good, at least that one that everybody in the audience knew, but the audience seemed to tire a little before he launched into “I’ll Be.”

After McCain’s set came one of the coolest and most unorthodox concert performances I’ve ever seen. Nashville-centric singer-songwriter collective Ten Out of Tenn rocked the audience with a two-hour, 20-song set that highlighted exactly why TOT members and alumni consistently dominate the singer-songwriter genre.

Each member showcased their vocal and songwriting talents on two songs apiece, and each song was unique and noteworthy enough that if I had time, I would write a few paragraphs on each one. 

Butterfly Boucher’s first song was a co-write with fellow TOT artist Katie Herzig titled “Five Six Seven Eight” that sounded like a really weird ‘80s dance anthem, and needless to say, it was awesome. The song was made complete with the addition of some robot-style vocals from Herzig, who sang into a vocoder microphone while Boucher gave her a rapid-fire back massage to get the vocal effect.

The only song played completely solo was Jeremy Lister’s ballad “The Bed You Made,” which also appears as the last track on the Ten Out of Tenn, Vol. 4 compilation. Lister’s incredible tenor vocals are so strong on the recorded version of the song that I couldn’t imagine him singing it as well live, but he blew it out of the water. The audience even stopped its beach ball tossing for a few minutes just to soak in his soaring voice.

Live on the Green veteran K.S. Rhoads didn’t have a symphony this time, so he did it all himself, creating an intricate series of melodic and rhythmic loops to back his vocals on his atmospheric tune “Invisible Fortress.” Rhoads was joined toward the end of the song by the rest of the TOT members in a symphonic choral section.

TOT newcomers Amy Stroup and Gabe Dixon showed off their chops as well. Stroup’s sweet indie-pop ballad “Redeeming Love” and Dixon’s jazzy piano-rock anthem “On A Day Just Like Today” were standouts.

The highlight of the night, however, happened to be the group’s final song, a cover of “Ring of Fire” that featured all ten TOT members plus a six-piece brass section. Tyler James and Jeremy Lister provided extra horn support while Matthew Perryman Jones and K.S. Rhoads took lead guitar duties.

After one loop through the song, the band started off down the stairs and into the audience, where they paraded around the courthouse lawn for several more minutes, playing the song and inviting the audience to sing along.

There were too many great songs and performances to talk about here, and I’m sure that everyone in attendance came away with a completely different set of highlights, but these were a few of my own personal favorites from the killer show.

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