If you think Nashville is only about country music and honky tonks, then you are sorely mistaken. Nashville is home to many different genres of music including Barbershop! On Wednesday night I got to see Sweet Lucy sing live at Yazoo Brewery and they were the tits…literally! Sweet Lucy is an all female Barbershop Quartet, which, to me, is pretty fucking rad. Barbershop music is most notably sung by men, but women have been singing barbershop music since the 1930s. Barbershop music is generally performed by a quartet with one on each vocal part: lead, tenor, baritone, and bass.
Amy Rose, the tenor of the group, does a great job mid-set introducing each member and explaining the magic of barbershop. First, the group will learn the melody with the lead singer, Kyla Hallums, then the bass, Heather McCue, will provide the foundation underneath. After that they add the tenor to sing over the melody and create a three part harmony. But the magic comes from the baritone, Melissa Bomben. The baritone sings primarily in the same vocal range as the lead but gets to sing the notes between the three part harmony and weave in and out of the melody. You can see Amy explaining it here about 5:15 in the video.
Earlier in that same video you’ll hear my favorite part of the show: their original song! That’s right folks, this barbershop quartet also sings original songs! The song is called “I Might Love You…Soon” and it’s hella cute! It was written by their very talented friend Donya Metzger.
Above is a video of a previous performance. Kyla is the perfect woman to sing this song. Her face is super expressive and the melody is right in her wheelhouse, and you can’t get the lyrics out of your head!
Of course, as a barbershop quartet does, they have a lot of traditional acapella songs in their repertoire but they also have a few modern ones too. In addition to songs like “The Way You Look Tonight” they also have “Songbird” by Fleetwood Mac and “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten. As a women and not-so-shy feminist, I love that they ended their set with such a girl-power song. Strong women need to be represented more and these ladies sure know how to do that.
After their set they went around the room and thanked everyone for coming and then taught whoever was willing to learn how to sing a tag; my friend was a more than willing participant. A tag is the phrase at the end of a barbershop song where all four parts sing together in a four chord harmony.
Being in the company of such fabulous ladies was truly wonderful. Not only are they fantastic singers, but they have a full understanding of chord construction and progression. That is a quality that is hard to find. These ladies perform all over the city at various spots including the trolley tours, the airport, and of course the Yazoo Taproom. For more information on Sweet Lucy you can check out their facebook page.