It always seems like it’s been way too long since the last show by The Silver Seas. In this instance, it has been about two years. In the meantime, the Seas lead singer and songwriter, Daniel Tashian, has scored a big smash with his production, playing and writing on the recent record by Kacey Musgraves. But, thankfully the time was ripe for him to get the band back together.
First billed at “the Beast” was a show for Tashian’s Skyline Motel side project with the Seas as the opener. When that somehow couldn’t happen, the Seas took to the headline spot adding Jessie Baylin and Sad Penny as short-set openers.
Content these days as a mom, this was a rare gig for Baylin, and her spot on the bill brought many of her fans out to East Nashville on this fall Monday evening. Tashian however, did wind up still doing double duty, playing acoustic guitar and adding backing vocals to Baylin’s set.
Tashian leaked on Facebook that the band would be trying out three new songs. He also added that things would start early and be so prompt that he’d be home in bed with a brandy by 11pm. Unsurprisingly, that did not quite happen with a little bit of a late start and a seemingly-unending time to get the Seas properly miked and in-tune. Nonetheless, the crowd was patient, and all in the room had no idea what to expect from a band who have yet to play anything live from their latest record, 2018’s Moonlight Road.
When the band was finally ready to go, the set kicked off with four songs straight from their 2004 debut record, Starry Gazzy Pie; one that they released when they were still known as The Bees. And, outside of the promised three new songs mid-set, they never got past their sophomore record, High Society. Judging by the enthusiasm of the near full-house, these songs have been long missed and no one minded a bit.
Tashian played an acoustic 12-string throughout leaving aside some of the band’s electric guitar-based tunes such as the always requested “What’s the Drawback.” For a band that plays as infrequent as these guys have done as of late, as great as they sounded, you would have though they played every Monday night.
As often happens when the Seas play, guests seem to make their way to the stage. Dobro-master, Scotty Murray from Baylin’s band made “Sea of Stars” sizzle, and honorary Sea Madi Diaz was on and off the stage for backing vocals.
But, the biggest and best surprise of the night was unplanned. Tashian introed “Catch Yer Own Train” as being without harmonica tonight. However, just as the song ended, the sound of one was heard in the crowd causing the lead singer to pose the question, “That was in the right key, wasn’t it.”
Before you knew it, the dude from the crowd was invited on stage for a short reprise of the song in which he just nailed the mouth-harp parts. Unlikely a band plant, whether he had planned this effort or not, when Tashian tried to guide him along, he sternly stopped the discourse with a curt “I know what I’m doing.”
In addition to this “only in Nashville moment,” the show closed with another that most of us will never forget. After a zealous call to the band to return for an encore (lead vigorously by venue co-owner Mike Grimes) Tashian finally came out alone, unable to coax the band back to either play something unrehearsed or repeated from the set. Instead, out of the blue, with just he and his 12-string, Daniel played a sweetly beautiful version of “Arthur’s Song.” While it may have taken us all a few minutes to recall this Christopher Cross song from the 1981 film, it was a joy to hear and even more fun to sing along when he coaxed us in on the chorus.
This was one of those delightfully unexpected musical evenings that makes you wake up still smiling in the morning. Let’s just hope that The Silver Seas can make it a more regular thing. And, if there is any justice left in the world, hopefully he music gods will give them the hit record that they deserve.
Skyline Motel has been rescheduled for Monday night October 29th. No word yet if the Seas will open.
- Destiny on the Lawn
- Love is a Holiday
- Message from the Birds
- Sea of Stars
- Hard Luck Tom
- We’ll Go Walking
- Letters from the Dead
- Northern Islands (NEW SONG)
- King John (NEW SONG)
- Windy Day (NEW SONG)
- Catch Yer Own Train
- The Country Life
- Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do) (Daniel Tashian solo)
Daniel Tashian—Vocals and Acoustic 12-string Guitar
David Gehrke—Drums and Backing Vocals
Lex Price— Standup Bass
Johnathan Trebing—Acoustic Guitar and Ukulele
Scotty Murray—Dobro on “Sea of Stars”
Madi Diaz—Backing Vocals on several songs
Unknown Audience Member—Harmonica on “Catch Yer Own Train”