Jamey Johnson & Margo Price at Showbox SoDo, Seattle
It’s typically fruitless to search for signs of the Apocalypse, but I believe I spotted one last night in Seattle: A near-capacity crowd of more than a thousand people in the sanctuary city where I live singing along, at full throat, to David Allen Coe’s “You Never Even Called Me By My Name.”
This was at a Jamey Johnson show at Showbox SoDo, and Jamey did his thing, taking his sweet time lending deep, macho vocals to a set that drew heavily off one of the best double-albums of all time, The Guitar Song. He looked like a hairy hermit up there, emerging from his cave to sing while surrounded by a 16-piece band that included horns. (I may be slightly exaggerating the size of his band, but not by much, and maybe not at all.) Thank Sturgill Simpson for that trend, I suppose. It’s a good one.
But while Jamey was Jamey, he was damn near upstaged by his opener, the irrepressible Margo Price. She’s the second coming of Loretta Lynn at a time where we might just need a second coming of Loretta Lynn. Her band’s jammy as hell; they were alotted 45 minutes, but they could have easily played for four-and-a-half hours, quitting only after the last keg of Space Dust blew.
Price has plenty of great songs of her own, but her version of the Jennings-Crowell classic “Ain’t Living Long Like This” was infectious. She broke out in a big smile during the first verse, and the joie de vivre spread from her pedal steel man to her bassist to the back of the bar.