The mercury reached 93 degrees in Nashville Monday afternoon (June 12), and some of that high temperature had to be due to the heat generated by the Warner Bros./Reprise/Asylum label show at Fan Fair.
Chad Brock stoked the fires of enthusiasm with a sizzling rendition of “Evangeline,” a spicy, Cajun-flavored ode to a beautiful, summerfied girl. In spite of the heat, fans couldn’t help dancing in the aisles, especially after he wholeheartedly dedicated it to “all the cowgirls in the house.”
The audience responded with loud whistles and cheers when Brock announced that the title track of his recently released album, Yes!, was holding the No. 1 spot in country radio for the second consecutive week.
Fans now can look forward to the release of his next single, “The Visit.” “Now ladies, don’t get mad at me when you hear the first two verses of this song because this is one of the coolest songs about love and devotion you’ll ever hear,” Brock cautioned. Trustingly, the audience hung onto the melancholy lyrics about a man apologetically telling his love that he’s met someone else and is moving on. At the conclusion of the song, the audience realized the song was about a man visiting his wife’s gravesite. A hush settled over the crowd as Brock delivered the tender refrain, “If only I could write the pages/Our story wouldn’t end this way.”
Asylum artist Chalee Tennison took the stage next, belting out favorites such as “Just Because She Lives There” and “There’s a War in Me,” in that voice that could almost be described as smooth if it weren’t for the smoky undertones. Her jagged vocal lilt doesn’t go unappreciated by her fans, especially Dan, a Nashville resident, who was moved to say, “Give me a woman singer [instead of a younger female artist] anytime. With Chalee, you not only feel like there’s some substance there, but look at her, she looks like a real woman.”
Kasey Chambers may be a new name to country music fans but judging from their response to her performance, it’s a name they will remember. Chambers performed songs from her album, The Captain, for which she wrote 10 of the 12 tracks herself, co-writing two with her father and her road manager.
Although the album was released in Australia over a year ago, Chambers looks forward to its U.S. release in September. “It’s so exciting,” she said after her performance, “I never dreamed that my album would be released in America.”
This 24-year-old Australian-born artist, who has been performing with her mother and father’s band since age 9, recently has put together her own band, which includes her father and brother. “I was brought up on American country music,” she said, and cited Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams and Gram Parsons as some of her musical influences.
Brad Schmitt, a writer on the staff of The Tennessean introduced Anita Cochran as “a woman who does everything. She writes her own songs and produces her own records, and she’s the only one at Fan Fair who’s kissed Tom Wopat!” He referred to her guest appearance on the television series The Dukes of Hazzard.
Cochran looked cool and crisp in a powder-blue, button-down shirt, but her scorching licks on the guitar as she unreservedly blasted out the gutsy “Let the Guitar do the Talking” proved the old axiom true, that looks can be deceiving. True, Cochran peeked out from under a black cowboy hat in a manner that almost made her appear shy, but after listening to her hardcore rendering of “Good Times,” it was clear that perhaps “flirty” would be a more accurate description. Whatever it was, the audience loved it.
What’s a Fan Fair label show without a heartthrob? Don’t ask the Warner Bros./Asylum show audience because, thanks to Bryan White, they haven’t the foggiest idea.
Dressed for comfort in blue jeans and a white T-shirt, White didn’t hold back in giving the audience a performance to remember, interacting with his band to howls and applause from the stands. Still, the rollicking numbers gave way to goose bumps among the starry-eyed when White softly crooned the romantic “You’re Still Beautiful to Me.”