I knew that Tommy Stinson’s recent touring involved off-beat rooms like coffee shops and small record stores. However, I didn’t realize how low key it was until I got an e-mail offering a free ticket to the show if I could bring a PA system. Well, I already had my ticket and don’t own a PA, so I just headed down the street to my local record shop in Franklin’s Factory complex not really knowing what to expect.
For a quick primer, Tommy’s legacy starts with being the bass player in The Replacements when he was a teenager. He somehow later held the same spot in Guns & Roses. Along the way, he fronted and made some great rock records with his own band Bash & Pop and as a solo artist. The current casual tour has Tommy and his pal Chip Roberts playing intimate sets of some Stinson songs plus a few new ones they have written together. (Tommy said a Cowboys in the Campfire release is forthcoming.)
My Eventbrite digital ticket said doors at 7pm and show at 8pm. I arrived early at 630pm finding only two Minneapolis musicians who found themselves in town waiting for the door to open. After relaxing in the Factory common area, I made it back to the small but neatly-stocked Luna Record Shop. It was now 730pm and with the Cowboys nowhere in sight, we started to joke about when or whether they’d show up. After all, we are taking about someone who was notoriously in both The Replacements and Guns & Roses!
While the shop owner didn’t look nervous, she did have a concerned look on her face that changed to a smile when at about 745pm she got a text that they were in the parking lot. After a brief respite “backstage,” the duo came out at about 830pm. No one brought a PA, so there was just a pair of amps which required Tommy to sing deep and hard over the two amplified guitars. It took him only the first song to get the vocals over guitars mix just right.
Then, for the next 50 minutes, the 20 folks huddled comfortably in the small record store were treated to some fun songs and great “green” guitar playing with some stories told in-between. Although a bassist by trade, Stinson is a good acoustic guitar player and Roberts worked his electric guitar and lap steel rather well. Not really knowing what to expect, there really wasn’t any “cowboy” in the set list, just their songs and nothing by Gene Autrey.
When the set was over, after another brief backstage visit, Tommy and Chip came out to chat. Stinson was overjoyed about a recent Dolly Parton cover of Brandi Carlisle’s “The Story” which he made us all listen to. He also was sporting records by Dolly and Gene Watson that he scored in the shop. After some more small talk, a few of us helped carry the gear out to their car as they left for Cincinnati.
This sure was a fun evening and my thanks go out to Franklin’s Jon Phillip and Luna’s Brenna for putting this show together. I say: “Let’s do it again!”
- Not This Time (Bash & Pop song)
- On the Rocks (Bash & Pop song)
- Bad News (Bash & Pop song)
- Breathing Room
- Fall Apart Together
- Zero to Stupid
- Match Made in Hell
- Anything Can Happen (Bash & Pop song)
Tommy Stinson – acoustic guitar and vocals
Chip Roberts –electric guitar, lap steel guitar