Monday, April 11, 2016

'Nashville' Stars Close Out Tin Pan South with a Musical Show Dedicated to Saving Dogs

Saturday, First show at 3rd and Lindsley

The Musical World of ABC's "Nashville; Benefit for Bonaparte's Retreat

Starring the cast of 'Nashville'

Report from MCAU Contributing Writer Wil Comstock

         Leaving my part-time Saturday job early, I raced downtown to get in line for this much-anticipated show. Turning onto Lindsley, I immediately found a place to park. “Ahhh, the gods must be with me!” On foot rounding the corner onto 3rd Ave. my heart sinks. The line extends at least three quarters of the way down the long office complex. MCAU Editor Chuck Whiting is saving a place for me somewhere in that long line, and now it is beginning to move into the now open venue! “Don’t panic, stay calm, you’ll get in”, I keep saying to myself as I scan the crowd for Chuck’s familiar face. Found him... whew!   Soon inside, I run upstairs while Chuck looks for seats on the ground floor. I quickly found a table in the corner, not a great view. I texted my buddy and waited, and waited. With my jacket over the chair to secure the table, I stepped to the balcony railing and began to search the crowd... where is Chuck? Finally a text, “ I have a table.” But where? Eventually looking down, I spot him just below me. He has a better view than I do, so I grab my jacket and fly down the stairs.   
         Emcee Emmylou Harris, the founder of Bonaparte’s Retreat, took the stage. (Bonaparte’s mission is to provide nurturing care for dogs when their allotted time at a shelter has elapsed... with the goal of placing the canines in the right home.) She welcomed everyone and introduced the first act, singer-songwriter Janet Dryer, who placed nine songs to date on the show "Nashville". Dryer opened with the haunting “This Town”, fueled by the ghostly chords of guitarist Colin Linden. I am really liking this girl! Twisting a familiar phrase, she said, “This is a song about love.” She then launched into “Love Don’t Conquer All”.  Janet said, “I and Loretta Lynn have the same hair stylist. The stylist told me every time Loretta comes in, she sits down and says, 'Honey, Jack it to Jesus and spray it to hell.'" I let those words roll around for a while in my head and finally came up with a song for Loretta.” The crowd cracked up listening to “Jack it to Jesus and Spray it to Hell”!   
Janet Dryer (Photo by Chuck Whiting)

         An explosion of shouts and applause erupted as Emmylou introduced heartthrob Chis Carmack ("Nashville’s" Will Lexington). Wearing a big smile and showing much appreciation, Chris rocked the house with “What If I Was Willing”. As the cheers died down, he asked if there were any bachelorette parties, and a few girls screamed. Carmack said, “My best friend Adam is here with his bachelor party. This next song, which will be in the 'Nashville' season finale, I wrote for his wedding.” Choking up, he continued, “It’s called 'Brothers'." The women responded with “awww” as Chris tenderly sang to his friend Adam, who was standing with friends at the bar. The "Nashville" star asked if anyone liked the blues. There were some whoops and hollers when he said he wanted to play his favorite B.B. King song. He slowly ground into “Sweet Little Angel”, trading off guitar solos with band leader Colin Linden. Who knew this guy was this talented?

Chris Carmack (Photo by Chuck Whiting)
         Chris introduced his ex TV wife Aubry Peebles (Layla Grant), who put a smile on all the guys' faces as she sweetly sang “She Don’t Have to Know”.
         Emmylou returned, introducing "Nashville’s" music director, Colin Linden, who in turn introduced the house band: Kevin McKendree on keys, Greg Kaplan on guitar and stringed instruments, Johnny Hammond on bass, and Gary Craig on drums. Colin picked up the ukulele and played “Knob and Tube”, the kick-off song on his 12th album "Rich in Love". His voice sounded familiar. Where have I heard bluesy, old-timey rock like this before... hmmm? The crowd was swaying, I was swaying. I looked over at Chuck, and he was swaying too, oh yeah! Linden, feeding off the audience, fired into the title cut off his new album, “Rich in Love”. Closing my eyes, I felt like I am sitting on the stoop outside an old country store on a hot Mississippi Delta afternoon. Colin told us, “My favorite band in history recorded this next song of mine... I was thrilled to meet Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, and Levon Helm when they cut 'Remedy'." Mystery solved. Colin is hugely influenced by one of my favorites groups, The Band.
Colin Linden (Photo by Chuck Whiting)
         Emmylou entered with a guitar to much applause. After her dog Bonaparte died in 2004, she went to the animal shelter and asked, “What dog is next?” (to be euthanized). They brought her Bella, who she adopted. Bella traveled with her all over the world and was the inspiration for the song she treated us to, “Bella”. We met three of the dogs now staying at Bonaparte’s, who are available for adoption.

Emmylou Harris introduces dogs rescued by Bonaparte's Retreat. (Photo by Chuck Whiting)

         A short-haired Clare Bowen (Scarlett O’Conner) and fiancé Brandon Young appeared on stage to much clapping and cheering. Their first song, “Long Runner”, brought the house down. Clare said the next song was one she wrote for her mother. I wasn't sure about the title, but it sure sounded great. It might be called “I’m Rolling, I’m Moving, I’m Shaking”... then again, it may not! I leaned over to Chuck and asked what the title was, but he shruged back at me.
Clare Bowen (Photo by Chuck Whiting)
         Clare introduced Jonathan Jackson (Avery Barkley), and once again the women start shouting. Jackson flashed a big smile, and strumed the opening chords to the rocker, “Don’t Ask Me Why”.
         Clare returned, dedicating her last song to all of the dogs at Bonaparte’s Retreat. With Colin Linden on acoustic guitar, she closed the evening with “When the Right One Comes Along”. Midway through, I ran out the door to get in line for the 9:30 show saying,"Burrr it’s cold out here!" But I didn't have any complaints about the show I'd just seen.

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