A lineup that included singer-songwriters John Prine, Darrell Scott, Beth Nielsen Chapman and Tim O'Brien presented a three-hour Music for Peace concert Wednesday (March 12) to a sold-out house at Nashville's Belcourt Theater. Also on the bill were Irish singer Maura O'Connell, Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, Alan Rhody and Luke Reynolds of the new group Blue Merle.
sponsored by the Nashville Peace and Justice Center and organized by O'Brien, drew more than 300 opponents to an American
war with Iraq. Despite the nature of the gathering, the evening was long on music and short on speeches.
could have filled the evening with hits they wrote for others, but they generally stuck to lower-key and less-known fare.
Scott did delight the crowd with a slow, bluesy version of "Long Time Gone," one of his contributions to the Dixie Chicks. Rhody, whose hit compositions include "Train Wreck of Emotion" for Lorrie
Morgan and "I'll Be True to You" for the Oak Ridge Boys, sang "Rocket Fire,"
a song he wrote especially for the concert. Chapman, whose credits include "This Kiss" (Faith
Hill) and "Strong Enough to Bend" (Tanya Tucker), performed instead her contemplative
"Dancer to the Drum." Prine, a last-minute addition to the cast, resurrected his cult favorite from the Vietnam era, "Your
Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore."
O'Connell, who built her 10-song set on songs from other writers, was
the hit of the evening, even though all the acts earned encores. "I got my first e-mail today, saying I shouldn't support
the Peace and Justice Center," she told the crowd. "And I said, 'Should I be supporting the Bombing and Injustice Center?'
That wasn't in the Yellow Pages."
Fleck and his band did a mostly instrumental jazz program. But it was leavened at
one point by bassist Victor Wooten's impassioned rap for social justice. Near the conclusion of its set, the band wove into
one of its longer pieces a medley of Beatles melodies and ended with John Lennon's "Imagine" and "Give Peace a Chance," to
which the audience sang along. When Prine came back on stage for his encore, O'Connell joined him to sing "Angel From Montgomery."
Frequent co-writers O'Brien and Scott opened with their spirited "Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burnin'" and then ranged
through such folk and gospel numbers as "Farewell Angelina" and "House of Gold" before wrapping up the evening with O'Brien's
cross-generational "Another Day to Live and Die."
O'Brien announced a follow-up peace concert at the Belcourt for April
9 that will feature him and his band, Chapman and Wise Child.
"Down by the Salley Gardens"
"Trouble in the Fields"
"A Poor Man's House"
"An Irish Blessing"
"Dancer to the Drum"
Bela Fleck & the Flecktones
"Sex in a Pan"
in the Straw"
"Give Peace a Chance"
"The Great Compromise"
"Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into
John Prine and Maura O'Connell
"Angel From Montgomery"
Tim O'Brien and Darrell Scott
Your Lamp Trimmed and Burnin'"
"Mick Ryan's Lament"
"Long Time Gone"
"House of Gold"
"Another Day to Live and Die"