Review: Dawes, Shovels & Rope - Ryman Auditorium Nashville, TN - June 9, 2013

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Dawes brought their tour to Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium and Taylor Goldsmith & Co. gave a pleasing performance drawing heavily from their latest album Stories Don't End and mixing in favorites from their prior two records.

The audience was receptive to the new songs dominating the early going but remained reserved, Goldsmith remarking it took a quiet crowd to be able to play a song like the infrequently performed "Moon In The Water" from Nothing Is Wrong.

I'm not sure if he was praising or chiding the assembled but the evening turned immediately following "Moon" when he told the crowd, "I'm going to need you guys for this one!" and began playing the opening notes of "When My Time Comes." The audience responded, coming immediately to its feet, and the energy level in the building raised noticeably for the remainder of the show. It's a shame Dawes didn't go to it earlier as the songs that preceded it deserved the same level of enthusiasm as those that followed, but it made for a special moment.

TaylorGoldsmith_Dawes_Ryman02.jpgDawes isn't the type of band that sends crowds into a frenzy but their growing body of songs connect and Goldsmith is an amiable frontman. The setlist could hardly have been better with Goldsmith playing the highlights from each of their three records. Hardcore fans may have wished for a few more songs but couldn't quibble with what made the cut.

"Time Spent In Los Angeles" and "A Little Bit Of Everything" helped bring the main set to a close, the former with its crunch and chorus, the latter with its emotional punch and wit. Goldsmith steeped "Everything" in drama that, while unnecessary for a perfect song such as this, highlighted its poignance and humor. He could have ended the show on that high note and everyone would have left happy but bonus songs were provided in the form of a special two-song encore. They played "Just Beneath The Surface," the first song on Stories, and the first song from their first album "That Western Skyline." It was a fitting cap to their terrific set.

Show openers Shovels & Rope made up for the sins of so many of the truly awful, forgettable support acts I've ShovelsAndRope_Ryman02.jpgendured through my many travels in search of musical nirvana. The duo of Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent captivated the crowd with their special brand of Americana/roots-oriented music. I walked in unaware of them and left with both of their albums and haven't stopped listening to them. They're exactly the kind of band God had in mind when He built His favorite room and as will always be the case, the venue itself was the star of the evening.

The glory of Ryman Auditorium and its rich history never fails to affect me and it is rarely lost on those who perform on its stage. Both bands on the bill took at least one moment to share with the crowd how special the evening was for them. In the case of Hearst, she reflected on time spent living in Nashville as a child, touring the building, dreaming one day of playing its stage. Goldsmith remembered seeing the legendary Kris Kristofferson play that stage and not being able to fathom ever doing the same. They lived that dream last night and the ghosts and spirits of the venerable venue worked their magic in the music created within its walls. Dawes and Shovels & Rope did this portal to Heaven proud and I look forward to seeing them each in those hallowed halls again soon.

Dawes Setlist:

  1. From A Window Seat
  2. Move Easy
  3. Most People
  4. Fire Away
  5. Something In Common
  6. Bear Witness
  7. From The Right Angle
  8. Moon In The Water
  9. When My Time Comes
  10. Coming Back To A Man
  11. Peace In The Valley
  12. Someone Will
  13. Have You Ever Wanted? (feat. Johnny "Corndawg" Fritz)
  14. Nothing Is Wrong
  15. Time Spent In Los Angeles
  16. Side Effects
  17. A Little Bit Of Everything
  18. Just Beneath The Surface
  19. That Western Skyline