Wednesday’s (July 13) Skyville Live salute to Music City featured dynamic performances by Chris Carmack, Mark Collie, Lennon & Maisy, J.D. Souther and Pam Tillis plus new music announcements from Clare Bowen and Charles Esten.
Backed by an all-star band that included Canadian bluesman Colin Linden, each act onstage entertained with two songs and shared special music memories that will forever tie them to Music City, U.S.A.
Esten and Collie kicked off the night with their duet “Spin the Wheel.” Then Esten delivered the live performance premiere of his new single “Through the Blue,” a song he wrote with Kendell Marvel and Tim James as a reminder that life’s dark times never hang around long. Starting Friday (July 15) with “Through the Blue,” Esten revealed he will release a new single every Friday via iTunes in a new initiative called #EverySingleFriday. The new songs are from a catalog of material he’s written since joining Nashville four seasons ago.
Next, Bowen revealed she’s been splitting time between the road and the studio and has a full length album in the works. Going barefoot and dressed like an angel in a white tea length dress, she performed her love song “I’m Still Here,” which was inspired by her fiancé Brandon Young. Bowen co-wrote the song with John Paul White, who co-wrote one of Nashville’s earlier hits “If I Didn’t Know Better.”
Souther dedicated his portion of the show to Linda Ronstadt with “Faithless Love” and the late Glenn Frey with the Eagles classic “Heartache Tonight.” Ronstadt originally recorded “Faithless Love” for her 1974 album Heart Like a Wheel (Glen Campbell also recorded a version for his 1984 album Letter to Home).
Souther’s story behind writing “Heartache Tonight,” made those watching at home wish they were at the show. At the time Souther and Frey started the classic rock anthem, they were walking around Souther’s pool while on a break from writing another song. Souther had the melody and Frey started clapping. Then Don Henley joined in and then Frey got Bob Seger on the phone to finish the song. And, voilà, a co-write between four rock legends was born.
Looking a little taller and even more beautiful, Lennon & Maisy entertained with a two-song set that included their airy Charli XCX cover, “Boom Clap” and their version of “Lean On” by Major Lazer and DJ Snake featuring MØ.
Then Carmack took the stage with the lead single from his Pieces of You EP, “Being Alone,” and proceeded to blow the roof off the place with a naughty blues number called “Sweet Little Angel.”
Tillis introduced the band and sang a powerful version of “Maybe It Was Memphis.”
Collie rocked the stage with Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” and shared details on an upcoming documentary about his time bringing live music to inmates as an essential part of their rehabilitation. Before leaving the stage, Collie shared a powerful message in light of the recent tragedies in Dallas and Orlando, Florida.
“Love your neighbor,” he told the crowd. “Hug your brothers and sisters. And thank a cop for keeping you safe.”
An inspirational performance of “On the Day I Die” closed his portion of the show. Then Souther returned to the stage to sing “I’ll Be Here at Closing Time,” a song he wrote about an attractive waitress with an alluring walk he noticed once while writing music at a restaurant.
The night wrapped with the entire lineup singing the Joe Cocker version of “With a Little Help from My Friends.”