David Halley / Lonesome Bob / Hayseed – Sutler (Nashville, TN)
This Saturday night triple bill was an evening of men with songs in their hearts, each one with their own style, yet each with a commanding stage presence.
Long associated with the Austin scene and one of its very best songwriters, David Halley has recently been missing in action. He took up residence in Music City about a year ago and took a break from performing. The hiatus and change of scenery seems to have served him well. He performed a relatively brief but spirited set of new and old songs. “Texas Man”, an inspired ode to Steve Ray Vaughan, was a standout, while a few of his more well-known tunes (“Rain Just Falls”, “When It Comes To You”) were given lively and sincere presentation. Toward the end of the set, singer Mia Adams joined Halley; their vocals blended in a colorful manner that added brightness to the generally somber moods he creates.
Lonesome Bob and his band delivered the most electric and twang-filled set of the evening. With guitarist Bill Dwyer laying down chunky riffs and slyly arranged solos and vocal assistance from Allison Moorer, the brawny songwriter ripped the place up with his uncommon mix of forcefulness and wry humor. He, too, exhibited some fine new material, but the highlight was the murder ballad, “The Plans We Made”, a hair-raising duet with Moorer that proved once again his ability to balance sweat, grit and well-told tales seamlessly.
Hayseed ended the night on a solemn if genial note. Starting with an a cappella gospel tune that hushed the crowd with its stark intensity, Hayseed performed a set mostly drawn from his noteworthy debut disc of last year, Melic. Songs such as “Wild Horses”, “Falls The Shadows” and “Cold Feet” were rendered smoothly and with deep feeling. Hayseed’s onstage demeanor, amiable and full of wit, betrays his large, imposing frame, while his voice and material give off a down-home glow that’s almost surreal. Accompanied simply by an acoustic guitar and standup bass, he proved to be entertaining, genuine and charming in his own distinctive way.