This night’s trip to Tin Pan South for another evening of writers in the round was a no brainer for yours truly. Long ago, I decided that it would take an awful lot to keep me from missing a Nashville Steve Poltz performance. The guy is just so darn musically entertaining, and he makes me laugh so hard that I usually am still smiling when I wake up the next morning. Thus, seeing three other artists I knew nothing about would be a piece of cake. For me that is. These three however would have to share a stage with Poltz who’d steal the show from the Ringling Brothers.
This would be my first trip to The Local which is about a block away from Centennial Park. It’s an area where I’ve learned to use my local ability to find free street parking. Being a non-pass holding patron, I took my place at the front of my line which meant that the badge holders would get in before me. Although there appeared there was no risk of me not getting in, there was a good size crowd building up. They looked too normal to be Poltz fans, and I soon came to realize that former American Idol contestant Kris Allen was the one drawing in these regular-looking folks.
When the door opened for this 6pm early slot, I saw that a few of my Tin Pan friends from earlier in the week had an empty spot at their front table and were signaling me over. I should have kept my eyes on the road however since I then proceeded to trip over a long black table cloth in the dark room and nearly crashed into the stage. It was a grand entrance indeed, and I somehow didn’t kill myself or anyone else for that matter.
Tonight’s round had two slight twists from the usual “guitar pull” from the two artists sharing the initials “EH.” The first was Eric Holljes who introed himself as being from the popular Nashville band Delta Rae and would be accompanying himself on a keyboard. Second was another local artist, Emma Hearn, who sang with a guitarist accompanying her.
While Poltz’s clever songs, witty banter and overall comic antics made it impossible for him not to be the center of attention, the other three all managed to hold their own while equally enjoying Poltz as much as the audience did. In turn, Steve was overall respectful and obviously enjoying the music the others were playing as well.
Poltz of course got in a good tall tale before each of his numbers, and as he usually does to new listeners, totally freaks them out when they learn that he co-wrote Jewel’s mega hit “You Were Meant for Me.” His other big moment this evening (I guess though they all were big) was when he premiered a new song he wrote for the purpose of opening an upcoming set at the Telluride Folk Festival, that was likely called “I’m Just Here to Sing for You.”
No on-stage rivalry intended, Eric Holljes also played a few songs he wrote that were big hits for others. His keyboard backing added a soulful tinge to his numbers, and he showed that his musical talents were no limited to writing songs alone. His sister and fellow bandmate Brittany was in the audience to cheer him on, and she would be playing in the later set tonight at The Local.
Kris Allen came across as the quiet sensitive one in the bunch and performed a selection of songs he has penned while spending his post-Idol days here in Music City. The night’s toughest duty though went to Emma Hern who had the misfortune of having to follow Poltz. A real pro, she took it in stride and cleverly use some humor herself to work the transition from the comically sublime Steve Poltz to her original songs. Her tunes had a modern tempo through which she grooved things up quite a bit despite the minimal accompaniment of just an electric guitar.
It was a fun Friday night that ended just in time for audience to turn over for the 9pm set. And, just to set the record straight on something he said, Poltz did not buy The Local with the money he made from the Jewel song. Or maybe he did?
- The Wrong Ocean (Eric H)
- Faster Shoes (KA)
- 98 Pounder (SP)
- Love is Killing Me (Emma H)
- I’ve Never Been to Memphis (Eric H)
- Venice (KA)
- I’m Just Here to Sing for You (SP)
- Fool (Emma H)
- Good in My Hood (Eric H)
- When All the Stars Have Died (KA)
- Holliston Street (SP)
- Thanking You (Emma H)
- I Got Exactly What I Asked For (Eric H)
- Monster (KA)
- Folksinger (SP)
- Why Won’t You Talk to Me (Emma H)
- Enjoy My Song (Eric H)
- Live Like We’re Dying (KA)
- You Were Meant for Me (SP)
- Ca You Feel It (Emma H)
Eric Holljes – Vocals and Keyboards
Kris Allen – Vocals and Acoustic Guitar
Steve Poltz – Vocals and Acoustic Guitar
Emma Hern – Vocals