Show Reviews

Show Review: Kimberly Kelly & Brit Taylor

 

KIMBERLY KELLY & BRIT TAYLOR

Tuesday June 28, 2022

@ The Basement in Nashville, TN

(Review by: Jeffrey Kurtis)

I get asked from a lot of different people, what do you love most about living in Nashville? This is a very loaded question in many ways because there’s so much to love, but one of my favorite things is when we get to experience acts who are on the verge playing in smaller venues right before they break out to become country music’s next big thing.

That’s exactly why I loved being on hand at The Basement to see the third installment of the three shows that Brit Taylor and Kimberly Kelly put together throughout June.

The south Nashville music mecca, The Basement, first opened its doors in 1972 and has been the home stage for too many top tier talents to name, but one look at the walls surrounding you when you first walk in will give you a great look at the venue’s history as spoken through the many band stickers and Hatch Show Print posters adorning every inch of them.

With its minimal lighting, highlighted by Christmas light strung over the back bar, the venue quite literally lives up to its name as you feel like you’re in someone’s cozy basement, which makes sense seeing as though it occupies the bottom level of what most likely used to be an admired 8th Avenue home. Not to mention the everybody knows everyone feel of the crowd conversations happening in every corner pocket of the tightly packed venue.

But as the fiddle kicked into the mid-tempo groove on “Cabin in the Woods,” the crowd chatter came to a quiet hush as Brit Taylor pushed into her set, knocking back the crowd with her stellar vocals as the banjo subtly plucked along the instrumental breaks and the rich harmonies that saw Taylor smash her vocals against those of her keyboard player and bassist radiated throughout the chorus.

Without taking a breather between them, Taylor followed the slide of the banjo right into “Anything But You,” an up-tempo number with a classic country tilt that quickly had everyone in the crowd tapping their toes against the cement floor in pace with the rhythm.

“I released a record back in 2020,” acknowledged Taylor referencing Real Me, “and I have a new one that will be coming out next year. All these songs I’m playing tonight are going to be on that new one,” she plugged as she slowed down the pace with “Kentucky Blue,” a song which put her bluegrass background well on display as she perfectly placed her vocal in the heart of the prominently acoustic instrumentation to entice the audience as she carried the emotional tilt of the broken-hearted lyrics.

“I wrote that last song with Kimberly Kelly,” Taylor excitedly shared as the crowd cheered. “I’m a big fan of Adam Wright and I wanted to write with him, too, but I didn’t know him. Well, Kimberly did, and she said, “Hell, I’ll just send him an email!” she retold in her best heavily Texas accented impression of Kimberly.

“Well, I cut this next record with Sturgill Simpson, and I think this is his favorite cut on the album because It’s a little catty,” Taylor mused with a smile. “I was on the way to a writing session with Adam one day and there was the pedal tavern full of all these girls, bachelorettes who were all already drunk at noon, and I said to Adam, “I hope they didn’t come to this town looking for cowboys because there ain’t any left.” Adam turned to me and said, “Well, that’s what we’re writing today!” she stated as she transported us to a dusty honky-tonk on the back of the 1970’s vibed waltz infused “No Cowboys.”

Talking transparently about being an independent artist in Nashville, Brit shared:

“When I first moved to town everyone kept telling me that I had to pay my dues. I was always like, cool! Sweet! I can do that. I’m a hard worker. I thought that paying dues meant showing up at all the gigs you could get, writing all the songs… But no, they meant like actually paying for things. Like sometimes having to pay to play at venues…and God help you, if you’re an independent artist that has to record your own music,” she said as she shook her head and took a brief moment of silence.

“So, a lot of us independents have side hustles that we do. I had to vacuum a church this morning and take out the trash. And y’all…we do that because we literally will do anything to get to do music because we love doing this so much. But there is sometimes where I wonder what it’s like to be a rich little girl,” she mused as she hit into the hip shaking tempo of “Rich Little Girl” and kept the crowd’s boot heels clicking along to close her set.

FULL SET LIST

1) Cabin in the Woods

2) Anything But You

3) Kentucky Blue

4) No Cowboys

5) Rich Little Girl

As the band was still fine tuning their instruments, Kimberly Kelly and the house soundman shared with one another how sad it was that this would be the last of three nights, which would lead to Kelly having a holler and swaller with the crowd in celebration of the last night of shows before immediately driving us back in time with her opener “Somethings Have a Name,” a song lifted from her 2018 album Don’t Blame It On Me which dripped with steel guitar and fiddle and quickly allowed her to introduce the powerful harmony dynamic that she and her husband Brett Tyler (acoustic guitar) would share throughout the half hour performance. 

“So, I have a record coming out on July 8th,” Kelly began as the crowd applauded. “It kind of snuck up on me to be honest! If you haven’t already pre-saved it, I would love you a whole lot if you did,” she plugged as she continued to showcase her addictively country personality. “You just go to I-tunes and hit the fancy button or on Spotify….well, I don’t know what you do on Spotify, but if you know how to do it then do that!” she finished with a shrug as she delivered “Summers Like That,” the first song of the set that she offered from her forthcoming album, and the one that could quite possibly act as the official lead single when that time comes.

“This next song is called “Blue Jean Country Queen,” and I just so happened to wear denim tonight,” Kelly said with an infectious giggle. “But I wrote this one with Brett and Steve Wariner, who is one of my favorites. It’s about being a country queen just like a lot of my heroes; Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, Dottie West…” she stated as she ripped into the honky-tonkin’ barn burner and instantly brought back the familiar sound of boot heels clicking against the cement in rhythm just as we heard when Brit Taylor played before her.

“I just gotta stop and say that one of my favorite people is here tonight. Mr. Kent Blazy is here, and if you don’t know him, then you need to look him up,” she encouraged. “We’re not playing this song tonight, but everyone has been asking me what my favorite song on the album is and I’m not lying when I say, “I Remember That Woman.” Kent pitched me that song back when I was doing an EP and while it didn’t fit that record, I’m so thankful that I held onto the song because I love it and it is on this record.”

Kelly then dove into the incredible “Person That You Marry,” a slower paced song that she introduced as being the obligatory sad one in the set, which focused on the emotional impact that going through a divorce has on the two people going through it, perfectly hitting on all the ups and downs and extreme mood shifts and changes experienced between how you knew each other when you got married versus how you’re seeing each other now.

“Y’all….when we made this record, we honestly threw the best songs in a hat and said may the best songs win, but the title of the record is I’ll Tell You What’s Gonna Happen and I’m gonna tell you why we named it that,” Kelly explained. “I knew Billy Joe Shaver very well; he was a big part of the outlaw country movement and wrote a lot of songs for Waylon. Well, he met him in Luckenbach and Waylon asked him if he had more songs, and so Billy showed him a whole sack of ‘em. As he tells it, he came up to Nashville with that sack of songs and found Waylon in one of the recording studios. They tried to run him off with $100 or something like that and Billy told him, “I’ll tell ya what’s gonna happen…you’re gonna listen to these songs or I’m gonna whoop your ass!” Kelly said as she laughed along with the crowd.

“Now that quote was recently in the Country Music Hall of Fame and I took a picture of it and sent it to Dave Macias, and he said, “I dare you to name your record that.” I laughed and said, “ha…you don’t know me,” she finished as she delivered her version of Shaver’s “Black Rose,” leaning straight into a groove that had the crowd bopping along with it to close the show.

FULL SET LIST

1) Some Thing’s Have a Name

2) Summers Like That

3) Blue Jean Country Queen

4) Person That You Marry

5) Black Rose

6)  Where My Home Is

 

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