All words: Kendelyn Ouellette — All photos: Emily Cohen
Setting the stage: Carsie Blanton slips on stage and opens the show accompanied solely by her up-right bass player, Joe Plowman, and beings right away with her song titled Money in the Bank. By her second song I began to wonder if she was going to add more band members later in her set. Four songs into the set and I came to realize that she was to do her whole set accompanied by Plowman’s bass and her own guitar.
The striped down, simplified nature of her set only enhanced her performance. It made it more intimate and without all the extra instruments and backing vocals it was easy to concentrate on the messages of love (both the unrequited and requited kinds) and life.
Her bubble gum speaking voice turns into honey as soon as she begins to sing and is complemented beautifully by the robust tones of the the bass. Carsie repeatedly wooed and seduced the crowd between songs with anecdotes about her life and how she came to be where she is and how her songs came to be. She had the crowd wrapped around her little finger and wasn’t going to release them anytime soon.
Her self prescribed smokey-bar-New-Orleans style of music courts the genre of folk while playing with jazz elements and isn’t afraid to dabble with a rock sound. All together it is hard to pin down exactly what genre she belongs in, but from her performance it is clear that whatever genre she is, she does it well and her love of music is evident.
The Morrison Brothers Band made a little bit more dramatic entrance to the stage. They began their set with just their drummer, Matt Nolan, on stage pounding out a beat that excites the crowd. As he continued his solo the rest of the band members filed on and joined him on their respective instruments. With a quick “how you doing?” Wille Morrison, the lead vocalist officially beings the set.
It didn’t take the crowd, clearly full of Morrison Brothers supporters, long to warm up to the band. Within a couple of songs people are up on their feet and dancing, and with each passing song more and more people joined the crowd.
The biggest surprise of the evening came from the Morrison Brothers’ youngest member Kevin Nolan. Not only could this fresh-out-of-high-school teen rock the bass guitar, electric guitar, piano, he also has some pretty intense harmonica skills. With each new instrument that he played throughout the set it seemed like there wasn’t a single thing that he couldn’t play.
Alyson Gilbert, the only female of group, proved her worth time and time again. Her harmonies left no one wanting and she knocked each solo out of the park.
While both Carsie and the Morrison Brothers Band have distinctly southern roots to their music, the Morrison Brothers Band sang of a very different style of south. I would describe their sound as country, but they broke that mold when they introduced the saxophone. And they were a little too rock with subtle pop undertones to be labeled just as country (but hey! i’m not complaining!). Regardless of where they fit on the musical spectrum, they gave the crowd their money’s worth.
The band finished their evening with a resounding Eric Clapton cover but the crowd craved more, so the band was called back for an encore and it was only after than that the crowd was finally satisfied.
- Carsie Blanton