Record Store Day has easily become my second favorite day of the year falling just behind Christmas. This year was no exception, and I spent the day at Grimey’s just like I did for the previous six years. I started my day by getting on line at 6 a.m. where I was 40th for their 10 a.m. opening. Timing paid off since I managed to get every RSD exclusive vinyl gem on my list in addition to grabbing a sweet selection of 30 used CDs for $25. After finishing my shopping in an hour, I was ready for the afternoon of free music in the parking lot.
After a set by young locals, The Lower Caves, I made my way up front to see the always enjoyable Secret Sisters. These real life sisters are a delightful duo who reign the world of Americana today as the female equivalent to The Everly Brothers. The Sisters were in town opening for Nickel Creek’s two-night stand at the Ryman. The crowd was treated to a short but sweet 30-minute set focused on songs from Lydia and Laura’s latest T-Bone Burnett produced release, Put the Needle Down, a record aptly titled for RSD. There’s nothing like listening to sweet sibling harmonies, so see the Sisters if you ever get the chance.
Following the Sisters was the biggest draw of the day, Need to Breathe, who easily brought the parking lot to overflow status. Tipped off that they weren’t my style, I listened from afar whilst my friends and I visited the food trucks in the adjoining Grimeys Too parking lot. The tastes of Crankees Pizza and Jenni’s ice cream made my special day even better. As the sounds wound down, I made my way back up to the front of the stage for the day’s act that I desired to see most.
Ever since I first saw Hall & Oates open for Leo Sayer in 1975 at New York’s Bottom Line, I have been a major fan of rock’s all-time best selling duo. While I was excited to see Oates in this intimate setting, I was fully prepared to hear him in his recent solo Americana mode. Well, the part-time Nashvillian totally did a 180. He blew us all away with an amazing rock and soul set accompanied only by the sounds of his voice and acoustic guitar backed by a percussionist on a Cajon.
Oates’ upcoming record features a selection of co-writes with current pop acts. This afternoon we got to hear five of them. The first called “High Maintenance” was by far the best and sounded like it came right off of a Hall & Oates record. Surprisingly, after this first song ended, he stopped to ask, “What do you want to hear?” Waiting not even one second, I called out for “Las Vegas Turnaround,” an Oates number from my desert island disk, the duo’s 1974 LP, Abandoned Luncheonette. He nailed this one perfectly, and I then could have left a totally happy man.
He followed with “Sara Smile,” an odd choice in that it is such a signature song for Hall. It was nice but just not the same. Likewise for the set closing “She’s Gone,” a masterpiece for which by himself he just could not match up to the high standard set by the duo. The new songs in the balance of the set were all delightful, and hearing them made me put his new record on my want list.
Singing alongside someone like Daryl Hall is no easy task. Performing today on his own, Oates was able to remind us that he, too, has a beautifully soulful and exquisite voice. The newly-elected member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame today gave a fabulous performance worthy of this new honor.
THE SECRET SISTERS
- Black and Blue
- I Cannot Find a Way
- Who’s Gonna You If I Don’t
- Rattle My Bones
- Bad Habit
Lydia Rogers– acoustic guitar and vocals
Laura Rogers – vocals
Jesse Aycock– electric guitar
Patrick Ryan– drums
- High Maintenance
- Las Vegas Turnaround
- Sara Smile
- Out of Touch
- Lose It In Louisiana
- Bad Bad Love
- Stone Cold Love
- Counting Stars (One Republic cover)
- She’s Gone
Josh Oates – acoustic guitar and vocals
Johnny “The Clock” Richardson– Cajon
After catching the next set by locals Promised Land Sound, we left Grimeys to check out the Jack White mania over at Third Man Records. The line to buy his recorded and released in the same day single stretched a good three city blocks meaning it was time for my special day to end. In retrospect, I really didn’t want to spend $30 for a Jack White single anyway. I wonder what trick Jack will come up with for next year. Whatever it is doesn’t matter. I’ll be back at Grimey’s again instead any way.