In a previous blog, I gushed accolades for the musical talents of James Maddock. In that piece, I discussed how he mostly gigs in and around New York City. Imagine my surprise when I found out–while I was in New York of all places–that Maddock would be playing the next night at my favorite hometown venue. Thank you, Facebook, and lesson learned about keeping better tabs on The Basement website.
This was my third Maddock show although it was the first to see him performing solo. Not surprising, I found him to be as equally entertaining and engaging without a band as he is with one. His adept and skillful guitar playing laid down a bright and beautiful ringing guitar sound that resonated throughout the room–a perfect backdrop to his well-crafted songs. Kudos go out to the brilliant sound system at The Basement for helping make this possible.
Maddock started the day with an early morning appearance on the legendary WSM country radio station. (Listen here.) Unfortunately, this promotion apparently did little to help promote his first Nashville appearance—possibly due to a conflict with The Lumineers playing the Ryman the same night. However, The Basement show started at 7pm, and after seeing the quick opening act and Maddock’s 70-minute set, I still had time to catch The Lumineers at the Ryman. How this band sold-out three nights at the Mother Church while only 25 folk came to see Maddock reflects sadly on the current state of affairs. (More on this in my next blog entry.) But those who came to see Maddock were there because they were serious fans of his—such as the guy I met who flew in from Chicago just for the show.
Since kicking off his solo recording career with 2010’s Sunrise on Avenue C, Maddock has been quite prolific, releasing two more full-lengths, two live CD’s, and an iTunes single (“In My Neighborhood”). All were pretty evenly represented tonight including “Living a Lie,” which only appears on his live disk Jimmy and Immy at Rockwood Music Hall with renown guitarist David Immerügluck.
Artists can sink or swim up there alone, but Maddock had the small but supportive audience eating out of his hand. He baited us by asking that we do that thing and applaud at the start of a number as if we recognized it. Playfully, we followed his instructions. Later on when it came to songs like “Beautiful Now” and “Chance,” we responded without any coaxing.
It was an honor to have such a great performer like James Maddock come to Nashville. Hopefully, he’ll give us another chance in hopes of attracting a bigger crowd next time. He deserves it.
- Better on My Own
- Living a Lie
- What Have I Done?
- Keep Your Dream
- Beautiful Now
- Another Life
- Wake Up and Dream
- Mister Universe
- Straight Lines
- Step Into the Water
- Sunrise on Avenue C
- Never Ending (Wood song)
- My Old Neighborhood
James Maddock—Vocals and Acoustic Guitar