Written By | Michael Jenkins
Around 100 hip Nashvillians gathered at the vibey rock club The High Watt this past Wednesday to listen to a night of eclectic, original music. They would not be disappointed.
Kicking off the night in powerful fashion was Mel Bryant and The Mercymakers. The Bass wielding frontwoman Bryant’s emotion tinged vocal stylings can best be described as Alanis Morrisette rage mixed with Sarah McLachlin sensitivity with a shot of Fiona Apple psychosis for good measure.
Flanked by Bryant were two guitar slinging Mercymakers who traded off lead parts flawlessly all night. Holding it all together were fat Bonham-esque drum grooves that would make any classic rock enthusiast beam with pride. Heavily influenced by 70’s and 90’s rock, Mel Bryant and The Mercymakers prove that rock n roll is far from dead.
Up next and providing a beautifully stark contrast to the previous mercymaker heaviness was the silky smooth Morgan Bosman. R&B soul meets Jazz cool is the best way to describe the flute playing Bosman. Earthy and moody, her seductively shy stage presence pulls you in to her intimate vocal stylings that seem to come from the Sade, Lauren Hill, Dionne Warwick world of inspirations. Bosman is proof that not all Tennessee soul comes out of Memphis.
Closing out the night was the eclectic Laurel and the Love In. If Amy Winehouse had grown up obsessed with rock instead of jazz, she may have sounded a lot like this band. Front woman Laurel’s energetic and theatrical stage presence combined with her emotionally charged vocal stylings bring to mind powerful female singers of the past such as Tina Turner, Bette Midler and Janis Joplin. Musically, the guitar driven group is flavored with classic Clapton and Creem inspired 60’s blues rock layered with classical Evanescence style vocal harmonies. With themes of female empowerment and politics, this band is throwback to a time when music really mattered.
In a city that is becoming more and more known for bachelorette parties and honky tonk cover bands rather than consistently producing quality, original, thought provoking music, it is nice to know that there are young artists such as these in Nashville who are still willing to fight the good fight and starve for their art. That’s what this city was built.
Photo Credit: Michael Jenkins