Located 333 feet beneath the Earth, the Volcano Room in McMinnville, Tennessee’s Cumberland Caverns was transformed into a fiery honky-tonk on Friday (Sept. 29) night with live music by artists from Jack White’s Third Man Records.
Stage lights backlit the natural formations in the hall’s St. Louis limestone as Nashville’s Margo Price, Lillie Mae, Joshua Hedley and Detroit’s Craig Brown Band entertained for three hours with music from their Third Man releases.
An antique chandelier that once hung for nearly 80 years in Loew’s Metropolitan Theatre in Brooklyn, New York glowed overhead as each act took the stage.
White emceed the night and the concert was presented in partnership with Tennessee Tourism as part of the bureau’s “The Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee” campaign. Admission to the show was free by following Tennessee Tourism’s Snapchat account.
Before the music started, White kicked off the night with a joke.
“It’s safe to say this is the lowest point of my career,” White joked. “I’ve hit rock bottom.” He then showed the audience his present from Tennessee Tourism — three taxidermic bats in a shadow box.
“They will for sure not land on your head tonight while you’re watching the bands,” he added. “Third Man calls Tennessee its home, but the incredible musical history that’s ingrained in these rocks and this soil around us, it’s incredible to be part of that legacy, and a lot of the musicians you’ll see tonight really embody that.”
Craig Brown Band was first and delivered selections from 2017’s The Lucky Ones Forget. White discovered the group while attending one of their concerts at Detroit’s UFO Factory.
Then Hedley hit the stage decked out in a flamboyant Nudie suit that had bedazzled embellishments of the most formidable beasts in the animal kingdom – panthers, alligators and snakes. The two-piece The Teardrops backed his set, which appropriately included Johnny Paycheck’s “The Cave.”
Mae fiddled her heart out and danced like she had jumping beans in her boots as she led her band through music from her album Forever and Then Some.
Price closed the night with a performance of her upcoming album All American Made in its entirety.
The concert was one of the final performances in the Volcano Room, which is the home of the Bluegrass Underground. The concert series is being moved to the Caverns at Monteagle Mountain near Pelham, Tennessee, after its 2017 season.