Convention goers at the 33rd Country Radio Seminar got previews of forthcoming works by label star Lee
Ann Womack and label hopeful Shannon Lawson at the MCA Nashville lunch on Thursday (Feb. 28) at the Nashville Convention center.
making his CRS debut and coming off a radio tour to preview his forthcoming debut album Chase the Sun (due for release
June 25), was extremely well received by the radio crowd in a six-song, 25-minute set. Sporting a tailored black and brown
western shirt adorned with a winged guitar and a red rose, and strumming an acoustic guitar with a hand-tooled leather guitar
strap emblazoned "Shannon," he drew ecstatic applause for the title song from his album. Switching to a gold Les Paul Stratocaster
(with an imitation leopard-skin guitar strap), Lawson switched gears into thumping R&B with a striking cover version of Marvin
Gaye's "Let's Get It On."
In his formative years, Lawson explained, he worked in both blues and bluegrass bands in
his native Kentucky, and the influences showed. His tight five-piece band featured leads on banjo, mandolin, fiddle, electric
guitar and Hammond B-3 organ, as well as Lawson's own expressive lead guitar work on both acoustic and electric guitars.
a brief set-changing appearance by comedian T. Bubba Bechtol ("I hear Enron and Motown merged. They're gonna call it Moron
Records."), Womack took the stage before an expansive stage set resembling an Eastern temple scene, with dozens of candles
burning in front of ferns and temple arches and columns. She performed an eight-song, 40-minute set.
Clad in an off-the-shoulder
sheer, embroidered, appliqued and sequined brown blouse and low-slung blue jeans, Womack drew warm applause for her hits and
sometimes puzzled responses to the new songs she delivered, in part thanks to the murky acoustics of the cavernous performance
hall. Opening with "Ashes By Now," Womack switched to new songs from her forthcoming album, reading the words from lyric sheets
taped to the floor. The material displayed R&B influences, as well as occasional rock leanings. She threw "A Little Past Little
Rock" into the mix ("All right. Here's one you know.") and finished to an ovation with "I Hope You Dance."
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