Kip Moore Dunkin’ Donuts Music Lounge Country 92.5, Harford, CT June 13, 2014
One of country music’s newest hit makers, Kip Moore, stopped by the Dunkin’ Donuts Music Lounge this morning, located at the Country 92.5 Studios in Hartford, Connecticut. He treated a few lucky fans to an acoustic preview of a few of his songs off of his upcoming album as well as songs from his first release, Up All Night. Kip was extremely funny as he interacted and joked with the crowd while giving background to each of the songs he played.
He began with Crazy One More Time from his first album, which he explained was his favorite song he has recorded. He followed it up with his new single Dirt Road, which told everyone was not about an actual road or even beer, but more about a rebellion. He wrote the song with his friend Weston Davis, who was also at the studio with him. He performed a stirring, stripped down version of the thoughtful song which paints a portrait of small town living in the listener’s mind as he sings the lyrics.
He asked the crowd what they wanted to hear next and I shouted “Backseat”. He heard my request and explained that Backseat was an underground song they had been singing and that he had just recorded. He said that they song is “very racey” and lots of people had mixed views on whether it could be played on the radio. Cory Myers from the Electric Barnyard on 92.5 urged Kip to play a snippet of the song and Kip finally agreed. From the short version he performed, I can say it sounds absolutely awesome and I can’t wait to hear the full version and whole story in the song.
Kip also performed two other new songs in full. Lipstick and Just One Beer, both of which cover love song topics, but are from different views. Lipstick is a catchy tune about a man craving to kiss his woman, while Just One Beer is a mid-tempo song about a man hitting on a girl in a seductive way. Both songs sound tremendous and make the wait for his new album that much more difficult. He finished off with a slow, but beautiful rendition of his mega-hit, Hey Pretty Girl. All in all, if you were present in the Dunkin Donuts Music Lounge today and could not recognize just how talented Kip Moore, you need your hearing checked. His voice combined with the attention to his lyrics are what sets him apart. I fully expect him to be one of country music’s mega-stars in the near future.
SETLIST: 1. Crazy One More Time 2. Dirt Road 3. Backseat 4. Beer Money 5. Lipstick 6. Just One Beer 7. Hey Pretty Girl
Zac Brown Band w/ Kacey Musgraves & Keb’ Mo’ West Palm Beach, FL May 31, 2014
The Zac Brown Band brought their American Road Trip Tour to South Florida this past week as they played to four enormous crowds, two in Tampa and two in West Palm Beach. I was lucky enough to be in the Palm Beach area and caught Saturday’s show at the Cruzan Amphitheater. My wife and I were fortunate to not only run into and speak to Zac at our hotel’s pool earlier that day, but were able to attend the “Eat & Greet” that ZBB and Chef Rusty put on for a handful of fans before each of their shows.
We were served up some amazing pork, beef, coleslaw, corn and more as fans got to interact with all the bandmates. This was my third eat and greet experience and each one has been a bit different, but always overly satisfying. I got to spend some extended time speaking to Chris Fryar, the drummer for ZBB. I have met a lot of people in the music business over the years, but Chris may have been the most down to earth and honest guy I have ever spoken with. He really produced a sense of thankfulness for the fans, what he does for a living and the experiences he has been able to have due to the Band’s success.
After the eat and greet, we arrived in the Pit just in time for Kacey Musgraves to hit the stage. Kacey put forth a relaxed, yet quality set full of songs from her first album that has been critically acclaimed all year. She is one of my favorite female artists and it was great to finally see her in front of a huge crowd (which, by the way, was one of the biggest I’ve ever seen for an Amphitheater setting).
Kacey stuck to mostly her songs, but also broke out some fun covers, including a Latin-infused version of “Dance With You” by George Strait, in which she brought out Daniel De Los Reyes, from the Zac Brown Band to play the bongos. She also covered Miranda Lambert’s “Mama’s Broken Heart” (which she had written) and Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” at the end of her own song, “Step Off”.
When it came time for the main event, it was apparent that Zac and the boys really changed things up for this tour. Everything from the setlist, the stage, big screens, and special effects were diligently conceived and masterfully executed. And ZBB came flying out of the gate with “Devil Went Down to Georgia” and they never looked back.
Zac, himself, seemed to be a bit different this time around. As always, his vocals and instrumental focus was as good as anyone in the business, but he seemed a lot happier and interacted with the crowd a lot more. He jumped into the crowd during the entire “Keep Me In Mind”, running around slapping everyone five. Further, he was down on his knees thanking the crowd during “Colder Weather”. It was great to see him so happy and interactive.
As any ZBB concert-goer knows, you will never hear the same setlist twice, a real salute to the musicianship that they are dedicated to. On this night hits such as “Toes”, “Goodbye In Her Eyes” and “As She’s Walking Away” were performed, but non-album cuts and numerous covers as well. At one point, during an acoustic portion, Zac told the crowd he got an e-mail from Billy Joel saying he wanted to do a song with him at their run of Fenway Park shows, and then they performed a stirring version of “Piano Man”. Clay Cook took the vocals for Foo Fighters’ “Times Like These” and John Hopkins for Metallica’s “Enter the Sandman” during the encore. When seeing the Zac Brown Band live, you must expect the unexpected”. In fact, the famed blues artist, Keb’ Mo’ sat in the band at two separate times during the night for some nasty funk that had the crowd dancing to a different, yet welcomed beat.
To some, ZBB is best known for “Chicken Fried” and it was unusual for me to hear this song smack in the middle of their set, instead of the usually placement at the end of the night (again, the unexpected). And during the patriotic verse of the song, a member of the military came out to salute the crowd in unison with the lyrics. It was chilling to see the response of the soldier’s face letting out a sigh of emotion as he walked off the stage, which was captured on the giant screens.
The real highlight, for me, was after a ten minute intermission, the Band came back to a lighting and rain storm created by special effects as they performed a bombastic version of “Let It Rain” from the Grohl Sessions, Vol. I Ep. The effects seen during this song rival anything I’ve ever seen at any other concert and I cannot wait to see it in a Stadium show later this summer.
The encore of the night did not disappoint in the least either. Dressed in glow-in-the-dark outfits and intricate masks, ZBB blasted into “Day of the Dead”, “Enter the Sandman” and Tom Petty’s “Running Down A Dream”. The band members almost morphed into these creatures on stage and the whole feeling was one of intrique. Amazing dedication down to last detail.
I will say it once, if not a thousand times, there is no band, country or otherwise, that is quite like the Zac Brown Band. Whether it comes to the instrumentals, song selection, or overall quality of what you see and hear, no one quite compares, for my money. The Great American Road Trip Tour will seemingly be everywhere this summer, from Amphitheaters to Stadiums alike. This is one, that no music fan should miss.
SETLIST: Zac Brown Band
Devil Went Down to GA (Charlie Daniels Band Cover)
As She’s Walking Away
Goodbye In Her Eyes
Times Like These (Foo Fighters Cover)
Different Kind of Fine
Grandma’s Hands with Keb’ Mo’
Keep Me In Mind
You Never Even Call Me By My Name (David Allen Coe Cover)
Am I Wrong with Keb’ Mo’
Piano Man (Billy Joel Cover)
Seven Bridges Road (The Eagles Cover)
Let It Rain
Highway 20 Ride
Sic’ Em’ On A Chicken
Isn’t She Lovely/Neon
Day For the Dead
Enter the Sandman (Metallica Cover)
Running Down a Dream (Tom Petty Cover)
The Trailer Song
Dance With You with Daniel De Los Reyes (George Strait Cover)