I am far from a journalist or an art critic. I am a man talking about his Art Walks, encouraging your friends and you to art walk too. So I have it from two sources, one a maker of pour over coffee and one a player of the oboe, that the Music City Hitmakers are going to breeze into Unruly Brewing for a spell sitting in with tonight's entertainment. I remember reading that when Carrie Nation came to speak in ones town about temperance, she would make a tour of area pubs with her axe, not seriously threatening to use it. If my rumor is true, it means that Hillary Lindsey & Brett James are going to turn Muskegon's Western Avenue into Second Avenue in Nashville for the evening. If you've ever been to Nashville, you'll know that Second Avenue is home of all the musical clubs, from B.B. King's to Cotton Eyed Jacks to even a Hard Rock Cafe. No need to go inside as the music floats out through the wide open doors. Playing a few encores is one thing. Painting the town, Sitting In and Carousing around Town might become a calling card for the traveling show called Music City Hitmakers.
You'll want to go to the concert tonight at 7:30 PM. First, the song writers for Carrie Underwood and Kenny Chesney are going to enchant you with story and song. You'll feel closer to Underwood and Chesney by the end of the evening. Second, it's a finale for an ambitious season of the West Michigan Symphony, full of the experimentation that flourished since May 2013 at the Block. Gabe Slimko and his technical team have served up fantastic images for The Block's tall wall, and last night, I'm pretty sure it was his team that filled the Frauenthal ceiling with stars and stripes, honoring the anniversary of D-Day. It's a great chance to wear blue jeans to the Frauenthal a second time, after Blue Jeans and Beethoven.
One senses that this is a new show, and thanks to the Seven Steps Up influence upon the symphony, Scott Speck and team were willing to take a chance on a cool offering. There's a few fit and polish issues with the presentation, especially in the first half when the symphony seemed eclipsed by the guests. The symphony ran away with a few melodies in the second half, genuine orchestral sweetness, and the show must focus more on the home team. Surely we have a few string musicians who could perform a duet or play second fiddle up front and center.
Tip of the hat to Speck, who with all his mastery of the Western musical tradition, stood at his podium soaking up the song writing stories of Lindsey and James, looking dashing in his cowboy shirt with intricate piping. His attention was rapt, listening for the gold, the Grammy gold. He looked like that guy from band camp one always liked. It's been a long time since we've seen Speck offer a Namaste from the podium, but he was totally lit up by the musical light sparked by his guests.
Like I said, this is the closest one will draw to Nashville stars like Chesney and Underwood without the two putting in an evening at the Frauenthal. Delightful that the two described "winging it" without rehearsal at the famous Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. We all benefit from the Bluebird. For example, when December Songs arrives at Seven Steps Up in December, as I hope, remember that Amy Speace and her friends put that show together at the Bluebird.
Imagine that Kenny Chesney has a man cave and it's on the beach in Jamaica or some secret Caribbean island. Brett James has drank the Red Stripe with Chesney in the Caribbean and Brett James is singing at the Frauenthal tonight at 7:30 PM. All that time together has led to five solid gold hits for Chesney, all penned by Brett James. Tonight at the Frauenthal, hear the stories behind great songs like "Cowboy Casanova" and "Out Last Night" and "It's America". Then hear Brett James sing them with Scott Soeck and the West Michigan Symphony sitting in. Show starts at. 730 PM and some tickets are less than twenty. — at Frauenthal Center for the Performing Arts.
Hillary Lindsey knows Carrie Underwood's last name and pretty much everything about Underwood. And Hillary Lindsey is singing at the Frauenthal tonight. Imagine that your girlfriend listened to you all night long and then wrote songs for you to sing in the morning? Carrie Underwood has been talking to her girlfriend Hillary Lindsey for years, and Lindsey has written five number one singles for Carrie Underwood. We're talking, "Jesus Take the Wheel" and "So Small" and "Wasted" and "Just a Dream". Show starts at 7:30 PM tonight and tickets start at less than twenty. Looks like every country star needs a good hair stylist and a good lyricist.
By the way, I can't wait for this show to spin off "An Evening with Hillary Lindsey". Like Brett James, I'm happy to brag on the song writing girl from Georgia who gleefully kicked off the shoes from her fooooot. Who doesn't love a southern girl who can make the one syllable word last five syllables?
Tell you what I love about the song "Last Night" sung by Carrie Underwood and written by Lindsey. Jose Cuervo is the only one with a last name!
So put on your boots, and many local cowgirls wore them Friday night, and get on down to Western Boulevard and watch the Western Michigan Symphony go True West.
Cowboy Captain Art.