Rimes Rehearses at Nashville Club

Yes, LeAnn Rimes has moved from Los Angeles to Nashville. But judging from a set list at a Nashville club on Sunday night (May 4), her glossy music remains equally divided between the two cities.

Rimes opened the doors to The Trap for a rehearsal of her upcoming tour, charging only $10 and barely publicizing the event. “Hey you guys, what’s up!” she chirped, bursting into “Suddenly” and her bouncy hit “One Way Ticket (Because I Can).”

“Come up and play!” she beckoned from the stage, provoking dozens of fans to crowd the dance floor. Looking healthy and vibrant in a white blouse and blue jeans, she shook hands from the stage and offered a catchy, country-tinged rendition of “Life Goes On.”

In a weird one-two punch, she offered a rock song about a seemingly perfect girl who “goes a little crazy sometimes,” followed by her own rendition of the Patsy Cline classic, “Crazy.” Though the set list was similarly off-kilter throughout the night, Rimes proved she still sounds good on just about everything — as long as there’s a high note involved.

The tropical inflection of “Can’t Fight the Moonlight” nearly made up for the nonsense lyrics. (How does one fight moonlight anyway?) And she didn’t seem too enthusiastic about singing “Blue” for the zillionth time, and the audience reacted with equal indifference.

Rimes built up some steam with a strong reading of “I Need You” and the barnburner “Me and Bobbie McGee.” However, “Twisted Angel” is a bit uncomfortable, both for the sheer volume and for including lyrics about how she’s not really the angel everyone makes her out to be.

Yet, she redeemed herself instantly with a passionate take on “How Do I Live,” which is far more convincing now that she’s older. (She’s 20.) Amid the applause, she kissed her fingers and waved to the fans before encoring with “Commitment,” a pretty good song that’s often forgotten in her repertoire, and yodeling through “Love Is an Army.”

Newcomer Jimmy Wayne pulled a fast one as the opening act. While some may have groaned at the first song — a cover of Hall & Oates’ “Sara Smile” — Wayne persevered with a string of pleasant country music. He’s not particularly distinctive, but not nearly as bland as what often passes for country music these days. His first hit “Stay Gone” brought him the most applause and the crowd remained quiet and attentive throughout his set — a rarity for opening acts, especially in a Nashville club.

LeAnn Rimes
“One Way Ticket (Because I Can)”
“Life Goes On”
“Wound Up”
“Can’t Fight the Moonlight”
“I Need You”
“Me and Bobbie McGee”
“Twisted Angel”
“How Do I Live”
“Love Is an Army”

Craig Shelburne has been writing for CMT.com since 2002. He is also a producer for CMT Edge, Concrete Country and Live @ CMT.