Count me out.

October 27, 2007

Collectively we have a very eclectic taste in music. There’s not much we won’t listen to and enjoy, save for heavy metal vomit music and the stuff that makes our car vibrate as we pull up to stop lights. In addition, there are only two shows we have not seen to completion. The first would be the night we went to see Jeff Black. It was a great disappointment for me. In fact I haven’t really listened much to him since them, even though I really like his music. It was a quiet evening and we saw the show listed in the paper so we went, ready for some tunes. Unfortunately there were only a few people there and he wasn’t interested in playing for us. He mumbled his way through a few songs and shared private jokes with his sideman. We decided to put him out of his misery and left. To this day it still irritates me. I expect to see the same quality show if there is a packed house or an empty one. But that’s another post, I guess.

Initially we planned to see Jim Lauderdale our last night in Nashville. He is tried and true and we hadn’t heard any Bluegrass yet, so that was a safe bet for a good show. Then we saw a listing for Thad Cockrell at the Mercy Lounge. We liked his recording with Caitlin Cary (Begonias) and he had a new EP coming out, so we nixed Jim Lauderdale and went to see him instead.

It got off to a funky kind of start when the kid at the door carded us. “Really?” I could have been his mother for Pete’s sake. I can’t remember the last time I was carded, but I’m certain that it never happened there before. Nonetheless, we pulled out our licenses and obliged. He stamped our hands and we made our way upstairs.

The show was supposed to start at 9:00. We sat for quite awhile and watched the place fill up. Eventually a young man with a guitar came on stage, sang a song and thanked Thad for the opportunity to open. He was followed by another young man who came on stage with a guitar, sang a few more songs and thanked Thad for the opportunity to open. Then another, then a young lady, then two young ladies, and on and on. After the second opening act we recognized some similarity in the songs. Still we hung in there.

Sometime later Thad and his band came on stage. They opened strong and sounded good and the primarily younger crowd was verbally appreciative. The next two songs were received equally as well, however after the third song we were expecting an altar call. Obviously we didn’t do enough research on this one because we ended up smack dab in the middle of an evangelical movement of sorts. The possibility does exist that if we stuck it out we might have heard what we came for. Although I kind of doubt it. When we left he was singing something about being girded to the side of the Master, right there in the Mercy Lounge. Who knew?


We got in the car and hauled ourselves over to the Station Inn just in time to hear Jim Lauderdale‘s last set. He was outstanding as always. Before long his six piece group grew to eight and they burned the place down.


He sang some new songs and a few of the older ones we remembered him for. He visited with the audience in between and told some great stories. It was a good show, even though we only saw the second half. I’m glad we made it in time.


We have talked a lot about this evening since then, comparing these shows to the others we have seen, and the musicians we listen to. We can think of very few who do not have at least one, if not several, songs in their repertoire with religious undertones of one sort or another. And we like them. Interspersed with all of the other good songs they sing.

Is it because we are so saturated with the Christian Right that we just don’t want to hear it anymore? Saving souls at the Mercy Lounge? My soul feels a lot safer with Tim Krekel singing “I Love Everybody”.

I hope things go well for Thad Cockrell. He is a very talented musician. And I am sure there is an audience out there for him.

It’s just that now there will be two less.


11 Responses to “Count me out.”

  1. nessa Says:

    Not putting out for small crowds seems a sure way to get smaller crowds. Yuck.

    I don’t like to be preached at when I am expecting to be entertained. Some religious songs are entertaining and not preachy, some songs are just preachy.

  2. kevmoore Says:

    Just looking at the line-up on stage there brings to mind the line from the blues brothers movie
    “Hell, yeah, we got both kinds of music here; Country AND western!

  3. gawilli Says:

    Nessa – That was the second time we saw Jeff Black, so we had a pretty good idea of what to expect. The first time was great. We have been to some shows where the musician takes advantage of a smaller group to try out new things, or at the least, it becomes the same show only more personal. I guess I just figured my time was as important as his. As far as Thad Cockrell, it wasn’t the religious aspect as much as it was the steady diet of it.

    Kevmoore – You’re right, even though it would have been considered Americana, and Bluegrass – most would group it in with Country. Although we definitely see the difference. We don’t listen to much mainstream Country.

  4. coffeypot Says:

    I went into a dining/entertainment place with my date (back in the single days, of course) on a whim, and after the meal the music started. It was all gospel and everyone in the audience was yelling “Praise God,” or “Blessed Jesus.” I kind of got in the mood with I told my date, “Goddamn this” and we left. But the food was good. I guess it was blessed before we ate it.

  5. mjd Says:

    You have beautiful new header.

    That is an interesting experience. Those fundamentalists do seem to know how to reach folks.

  6. gawilli Says:

    Coffeypot – Well at least the food was good, even if the music was a surprise. I like gospel music. But that’s not what we had in mind!

    Mjd – Thanks – the header was a picture from our trip. As for the fundamentalists – they certainly know how to turn some of them off, too.

  7. daddy d Says:

    Religion for some people is a show. They make it known to others that they have it and you need what they have. Too much of a show thing. More people should have Thomas Jeffereson concept of religious freedom: it is a private thing and not something to be made all that out going all the time.

  8. gawilli Says:

    Daddy D – I think Thomas Jefferson had a lot of things right.

  9. Spirit Says:

    Did you feel any spirituality from Jim Lauderdale? Some of his best music is acappella gospel.

  10. Though I am a Christian, I am not overly fond of contemporary Christian music. In fact, I rarely, if ever, listen to it. I find it extremely bizarre that a religious music concert would be held in a bar. In my mind, that would be the same as Eminem doing a show in a church sanctuary which would totally freak me out!! I guess artists can perform what they want to in any venue, but you are right…the prospective audience should be clued in to what they will be hearing before they pay admission.

  11. gawilli Says:

    Spirit – As a matter of fact, the first song he did was an old Bluegrass song that was very spiritual. However the tone of the show was Bluegrass, not gospel and many other songs were performed that were not spiritual. I have nothing against gospel/spiritual music. Every song that we heard at the first show, until we left, including every one of the opening acts, had a religious tone or message. It was not what we chose to listen to that evening.

    Songbird – We enjoy the contemporary Christian service at our church, although some complain about the drums. I agree. If I had scrolled down a bit further on his MySpace page, I would have seen it and been forewarned. That was my mistake.

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