Friday night I got an invitation to see a local band from East Nashville at The Basement East. I had a friend visiting from out of town and I thought what better way to show her Nashville than to go to a local gig instead of the Honky Tonks. I had no idea who the band was or who the musicians were playing before and after them. I just took my friend’s word for it that they were good. I’m so glad that I went. Discovering new music is part of the reason why I moved to Nashville in the first place. Just being able to go to a show of a band you’ve never heard of on any given night is awesome. And then becoming a fan of them is an added bonus. I believe I even tweeted to them during the show “I didn’t know who you were before tonight but I’m sure glad I know now!” The band is called Friends of Lola.
The first performer to go on was a woman named Erin Rae. I had not seen her before or heard her music but it is clear that she has been doing this for a while. Her mellow melodies are reminiscent of Joni Mitchell with a splash of Aimee Mann. These beautifully written songs put you in a relaxing mood and was a good way to start the night. She played mostly songs off her new album Soon Enough in a 30-45 minute set. These songs are simple yet intricate at the same time. They are easy to listen to but you can tell the musicianship and songwriting prowess that was poured into each one. Erin is a native Tennessean with folk music roots. Her blend of folk music and modern Americana forges a new path for today’s folk artists. Here is a video of Erin Rae and the Meanwhiles singing “Monticello.” You can listen to and purchase their music here. You can also find Erin on facebook and twitter @ErinRae_Music.
The second act to go on was the band I was invited to see. They are called Friends of Lola. I had no idea what to expect from them. All I knew is that they are a country band that lives in East Nashville. Leading the band are siblings Houston and Cyrena Wages. Their parents must have done something right because this duo meshes so well together. The set was about an hour long and they rocked the house. They played songs that got people dancing and then they broke it down when singing ballads. Their songs are catchy but not shallow. The 6 piece ensemble play very well together. They are all individually talented which makes the band stronger as a whole. Cyrena’s powerhouse vocals on top of Houston’s Chris Robinson-esque style make for a good time. Not only does Houston sing as the front man of the band but he also plays harmonica. You can tell that they have a good time when they are on stage. Most of their songs are fun to listen to and they are certainly fun to watch. Some of their songs are moving. The drummer, Gabe Rabben, plays guitar as well. He jumped up from behind the drum kit to pick up the guitar and play with Cyrena and Houston on one of their slower songs. It was awesome. One of the lyrics from that song stuck with me (sorry I don’t remember the actual title. I was too in the moment and too busy listening to take adequate notes!) was “You can dance with the devil ’til you find what you’re looking for. You can drink wine with Jesus ’til you pass out on the floor.” I’m not a religious person but the imagery in that lyric got to me. After the ballad they cranked things up again and melted everyone’s faces with a cover of “Don’t Let Me Down” by the Beatles. Everyone was on their feet after that one. Such a great jam and Cyrena’s vocals crushed it. After their set Cyrena was nice enough to introduce herself to our table and invite us out for drinks after. Unfortunately I didn’t get to take her up on the offer but next time that is a definite! You can find Friends of Lola on facebook and twitter @FriendsOfLola.
The last act to go on was Josh Farrow. I was delighted to find out that he is a bit more of a bluesy singer. Starting off the night with a mellow Erin Rae, then going into a rocking country band, and then ending with the grittiness of Josh Farrow was the perfect lineup. At first Josh came out with just his guitar player, bassist, and drummer. After the first song the backup singers joined in. Those ladies really added a punch to Josh’s soulful songs. His voice is airy and gritty and has the right mixture of blues, folk, and Americana thrown in. During his hour long set he switched between his acoustic guitar and the keyboard. Not only that, his guitarist would jump between electric guitar and the dobro. The musicians in this band are very versatile. Each song sounded different. Josh’s two singles are even different from each other. The first one is called “Devil Don’t You Fool Me.” You can listen to it here. His second single is called “The Worrying Kind” and you can listen to it here. Josh’s new record is set to release in 2016. You can find Josh Farrow on facebook and twitter @JoshFarrow Music.
These three acts made my Friday night worthwhile. This is the first show I’ve seen at The Basement East (although I’ve seen several at The Basement on 8th as you can tell from my previous two blog posts) and I was not disappointed. The sound was great, the lights were awesome, and the drinks were strong. The Basement and The Basement East know how to put on a good show. If you want something a bit more intimate, The Basement on 8th is a great place to go. The Basement East is bigger, newer, and louder. Both venues give great experiences. You can find more information about The Basement/The Basement East on their website as well as on facebook.
As always, you can find out more about blog posts on my twitter @CS_MusicBlog. Thanks for reading!