Written By | Walter Lytz
Acoustic indie/folk duo The Milk Carton Kids open the show. Dressed in clean suits and singing even cleaner harmonies, they evoke the vibe of The Everly Brothers.
Member Kenneth Pattengale isn’t afraid to shred a little guitar à la Chet Atkins. They’re funny too. They share comedic repartee between songs and dryly dig into each other, delightfully pointing out each other’s foibles and physical flaws. Check out their latest Grammy nominated album All The Things That I Did & All The Things That I Didn’t Do.
Gregory Alan Isakov goes onstage with nary an empty seat in the venue. It’s either an elaborate game of chinese fire drill, or a large number of attendees are not sitting in their assigned seats and vacating when the rightful ticket holder arrives to claim her space. Isakov’s fans are devoted. Spellbound and transfixed when he sings, the catatonic daze is broken for the length of time it takes to applaud and cheer between songs, then returns as quickly as it left.
It’s evident in his energy that he’s excited to be performing at the venerable Ryman. He tells us as much as he shares the joy he experienced in the green room after “having pooped in the same toilet as Johnny Cash.” Add another checkmark to the bucket list for Mr. Isakov.
His songs have a relaxed and calming appeal. He remarks how few of his fans are turned on from his songs on the radio. “They usually tell me ‘I recognize your songs from the pre-school I work at’ or ‘the yoga studio I go to’.” The audience laughs. His comment is disarming and I feel at ease with my unwarranted desire to bust out into a cat cow then child’s pose.
He opens the show with She Always Takes It Black and makes his way to fan favorites such as Dark, Dark, Dark, Time Will Tell, Master & A Hound and Amsterdam. He crushes it with an encore performance of The Stable Song and All Shades of Blue.