Show Reviews

Show Review: Nashville's Most Wanted ft. Jason Michael Carroll

 

NASHVILLE'S MOST WANTED

Ft. Jason Michael Carroll, War Hippies, and Cody Purvis

Tuesday June 7, 2022

@ Scoreboard Bar & Grill in Nashville, TN

(Review by: Jeffrey Kurtis)

We’ve personally been witness to the tremendous growth spurt that Nashville’s Most Wanted has experienced over the past year.

The live weekly series, which is led by host Cody Purvis and sets up shop at the popular Music Valley hotspot the Scoreboard Bar & Grill, welcomes a healthy array of some of the best emerging talent, as well as established acts which in the past year have included Trent Tomlinson, Love & Theft, James Otto, Keith Anderson, Marty Raybon, Trey Lewis, Jerrod Niemann, Dillon Carmichael, and more!

It makes sense then that this series would be part of the early kickoff parties for the 2022 CMA Fest.

With a flurry of activity within a mile radius on this overcast and rainy Tuesday night, the Music Valley area was pumping, and it was clearly the place to be if your country music loving heart was in town a few days before the official start of CMA Fest as Cody Purvis and Nashville’s Most Wanted welcomed Jason Michael Carroll as the headliner to their stage.

Early in the night, in what is a rare thing with the Nashville’s Most Wanted, host Cody Purvis took the stage in front of a packed house for a set of his own, balancing his strongest original material against covers from the 90’s era of country music, which acts as an entire decade worth of inspiration for Purvis.

With cover versions of songs such as Sammy Kershaw’s “Queen of  My Double Wide Trailer,” and a double dose of Keith Whitley on “When You Say Nothing at All” and “Miami, My Amy,” Purvis pulled the traditional country loving crowd into his set, keeping them invested through the popular covers as he then skillfully slapped home several original songs that spanned his entire career.

Digging back to his 2019 Boots on the Ground EP, Purvis paid tribute to the troops with the title track, while he leaned on the insanely catchy melody of “College Years” to keep the crowd’s momentum so that when he punched home the classic country vibe of “Whiskey” they were already enthralled and on the edge of their seats, listening intently as he pulled them into this softer paced song and its heartbreak lyric.

Sliding into his more recent releases, Purvis turned up the steamier side of his arsenal with “Overnight” and satisfied a request for the Luke Combs penned “Airplane Mode,” before getting the entire venue singing along with him as he closed out with “Drinkin’ Terms,” his defining, signature song that (so far) has earned him his highest-charting placement when it landed in the Top 40 on Billboard.

Veering off his setlist, something that he even alluded to when he stated, “I don’t even know why I make a setlist,” allowed Cody to take some audience requests and expertly allow the early arriving, enthusiastic members of the Tuesday night crowd to be part of the show in their own way, amping up the much needed connection factor that has to happen during a busy CMA Fest week in order for an artist to still stand out by the end of the week-long music marathon.   

FULL SET LIST (CODY PURVIS)

1) Queen of My Double Wide Trailer (Sammy Kershaw cover)

2) College Years

3) Boots on the Ground

4) Whiskey

5) Overnight

6) When You Say Nothing at All (Keith Whitley cover)

7) Miami, My Amy (Keith Whitley cover)

8) Airplane Mode

9) Like A Cowboy (Randy Houser cover)

10) He Stopped Loving Her Today (George Jones cover)

11) Drinking Terms

While the name may be new, War Hippies are a duo comprised of two musicians/songwriters who have absolutely been around the country music industry for quite some time, cut their teeth by pounding the pavement over the years, and have experienced all the ups and downs that naturally come with pursuing a career in music.

However, what makes them so different is that they know exactly who they are, what they want their songs (and cover selections) to focus on, and they elevate their game every time they hit the stage with a Southern rock titled energy that stops the crowd in their tracks and commands that they listen, just as they did over 40 minutes during their set on this night.

Made up of USMC & US Army Combat Veterans, Scooter Brown and Donnie Reis, the strong, American proud driven audience who gathered inside Scoreboard immediately took to them the moment they hit the stage with their rebel rousing opener “American Son,” which saw Reis sawing the fiddle right into the outro that led directly into a standing room, hats off, hands over hearts moment when the fiddle cried us through our National Anthem. 

While most of their set stayed bent on that noticeable Southern rock kissed edge with songs such as their next single “Hangman,” the softer pace of their current single “Killin’ It,” and a well-placed cover of Charlie Daniels’ “Long Haired Country Boy,” the defining moment of their set actually came when, as Brown said, “we’re gonna get serious for a moment.”

“I wrote this next song while I was in Iraq as a promise to God,” Brown confessed. “I promised him that if I made it out alive then I was going to be the best man that I could be…the best husband, the best father, and live the best life that I could live because a lot of my brothers and sisters don’t get to,” he said with a lump in the throat pause as the crowd reacted with a supportive ovation. “A lot of people thank us for our service, and while that means a lot to us and we appreciate it, those who we left behind are the ones that deserve all the thanks because they made the ultimate sacrifice.”

FULL SET LIST (WAR HIPPIES)

1) American Son/National Anthem

2) Long Haired Country Boy (Charlie Daniels cover)

3) If I Make It Out Alive

4) Making Sense

5) Killin’ It

6) Hangman

7) Wicked Game (Chris Isaak cover)

After being welcomed with a rousing cheer from an audience who had been anticipating his performance all night long, Jason Michael Carroll opened his set with “I Ain’t Givin’ Up” and “Mix Hurt with Time,” a catchy, “getting over you” song that Jason said he had just recently written a few weeks ago.

 “Getting to play in front of one of the greatest voices in country music is a little intimidating,” Jason said, referring to the legendary Randy Travis being in the house. “He’s right over there, so can y’all do this with me,” he asked, fanboying out in a sense as we all were, as he then began singing an a cappella version of “Forever and Ever, Amen,” and as the crowd joined in with just their voices this moment became a true “Only in Nashville” moment and an amazing tribute that brought a huge smile to Travis’ face.

Shaking off that moment as best he could, Jason Michael Carroll returned to his set with “My Favorite,” a song lifted from his 2011 Numbers album that came to him via request from Cody Purvis, which he expertly fused with Neal McCoy’s “No Doubt About It” toward the end of the song before sliding back in to finish with the final chorus of “My Favorite.”

Continuing with requests, he then had the entire crowd singing along with him as he delivered “I Can Sleep When I’m Dead,” the first of four of his early hits that he would perform on this night.

“I have a bunch of new songs that we’re working on right now,” Carroll said to hoots and hollers from the crowd as he then revealed that he was working on three new projects – a Gospel album, a full band album, and an acoustic album.

“No one ever posts sad pictures on their social media walls. They’re always happy pictures, but what’s behind those smiles is always so much deeper,” he began. “I lost my dad 6 years ago and there was a lot of stuff left on the table with that. I told James, my co-writer on this next song, that I used to get drunk sometimes and come home and yell at the photos of my dad and the folded flag in the shadow box that hanged on our wall; and he said let’s write about that and throw in a relationship twist….and this is what we came up with. I hope y’all like it,” he finished as he played the incredible “Argue with the Walls.”

“I grew up in a Marine household – my dad was a marine,” began JMC as he kept up with the running theme of the night. “From the age of 13 to 21 all we did was fight, but I thought that if I could stand toe to toe with the man that I feared most then I wasn’t afraid of anything, so I joined the Marine Corp,” he said as he paused for the ovation he received. “My plan was to eventually become a state trooper or work with forensics. My mom wanted me to pick a safer profession and so after my first semester of college, I called her up and told her that she didn’t need to worry anymore because I wanted to be a country music singer,” he said with a laugh before playing Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless The USA,” a song which he said he plays during every show as a tribute to the troops.

“We have a real pandemic on our hands right now and I’m not talking about that one that shut everything down,” he said. I’m talking about how these veterans are coming home and can’t get adjusted…we lose 22 veterans per day to suicide, and that’s what this next song that found its way to me is all about,” he finished as he quieted the crowd to the point that you could hear a pin drop as he sang the heart punch of a song, “22,” followed expertly by a happier vibed song “You Get What You Put In,” which he co-wrote with military veteran, now motivational speaker Sam Gonzales.

Without an introduction, as if the song even needs one, Jason Michael Carroll sang out just one line, “My little girl met a new friend just the other day,” and the entire crowd immediately latched on and sang each and every word of  his breakout hit “Alyssa Lies” with him.

Inviting us straight into his personal home life before playing “The Story We’d Be,” Jason told the story of what inspired him to write it:

“My wife and I were on the couch one night watching TV, and she said to me, “Baby, what kind of movie do you think we’d be?” And then she put her head back in my lap and kept watching whatever we had on the TV. But I was lost now! I was like can we pause this thing we’re watching,” he said with a smile. ““Would we be a comedy or drama?” she asked me then. And now whatever we were watching was completely lost on me, and so whenever what it was had ended, I went right up to my office and wrote this song.”

Alluding again to Randy Travis being in the house, JMC hilariously, though truthfully, compared, “This is like you’re in a painting class and in walks DiVinci and you’re standing there holding a paint brush.”

“Livin’ Our Love Song,” “Where I’m From,” a quick a cappella verse and chorus of “Meet Me in The Barn” via request, and an incredible cover of “Purple Rain,” all drove Jason into the last part of his set and kept everyone singing along with the familiar hits.

“Thank y’all so much for listening to my songs all these years and supporting me,” he gratefully said. I left Arista Records in 2010 and your support is what keeps this going.”

“I can’t get out of here tonight without playing my first single in 10 years,” he mused. “My mother-in-law was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and we’ve been struggling with it; how you know someone for your whole life and then they don’t know you anymore,” he transparently shared as he got choked up while playing “Tell Me Your Name (Diane’s Song)” before closing the entire night with one last crowd sing-a-long when he (joined by Scooter Brown) performed “Take Me Home Country Roads.”

FULL SET LIST (JASON MICHAEL CARROLL)

1) I Ain’t Givin’ Up

2) Mix Hurt with Time -> Forever and Ever, Amen

3) My Favorite

4) I Can Sleep When I’m Dead

5) Argue with the Walls

6) God Bless The USA (Lee Greenwood cover)

7) 22

8) You Get What You Put In

9) Alyssa Lies

10) The Story We’d Be

11) Livin’ Our Love Song

12) Where I’m From -> Meet Me in the Barn

13) Purple Rain (Prince cover)

14) Tell Me Your Name (Diane’s Song)

15) Take Me Home Country Roads (John Denver cover)

The beautiful thing about CMA Fest is how all the country music fans come together as one in every different corner of Nashville to support the music we all love.

With such a packed house, though, the noise levels with table conversations had the chance to be at an all-time high, but with the very crisp sound radiating throughout the venue, there was an amazingly perfect balance that allowed each unique voice to hit on all the qualities that make each performer so endearing, catapulting their voices into the spotlight which easily played a defining role - alongside great songs from each act – when it came to turning the Scoreboard into a true listening room, quieting down the crowd noise to instead pull them completely into each note played!

On what was a rainy night in Nashville that would cancel some of the outdoor shows scheduled to happen, Scoreboard Bar & Grill became the best place to be for an enticing kick off show that set the bar high for the rest of the week to now have to follow!

 

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