Show Reviews

Show Review: Hudson Valley at The Wildhorse Saloon

 

HUDSON VALLEY

Friday July 8, 2022

@ The Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville, TN

(Review by: Jeffrey Kurtis)

If you’ve ever visited Nashville, then you already know that as you walk amongst the flashing neon lights and sea of people flooding lower Broadway, you’ll be getting slapped by the music of hundreds of bands playing in the various bars at any given time on any given day.

The music never seems to stop playing! 

With so much incredible talent to choose from then, you might be asking yourself what makes one band stand out from all the others?

While you can always expect to hear cover songs anchoring the marathon 3-to-4-hour sets that the band endures, it’s always a good thing when they choose to play some fresh covers that other acts downtown aren’t playing on repeat, and it’s even better when they can take a cover song and add enough of their own signature flare to it so that they reinvent it into one that then feels like it’s an original.

Speaking of originals, those are the obvious difference makers that separates each band from one another. The scattered original songs that a band will often slide into their sets are the ones that truly define their overall sound and give the audience a glimpse into the band’s current musical direction as they’re working to navigate both sides of Nashville – the performance district that you’re seeing them play in, and the business district across town on Music Row.

About the business side of town…when a band that calls Broadway home has worked their way onto nationwide mainstream radio, it’s a clear-cut sign that Broadway is merely a temporary stop along the way to their bigger, renowned success; and when that original song makes its way into the Top 40, you are literally left with only one band playing the Broadway district to choose from – Hudson Valley!

Tucked just half a block off Broadway up 2nd Avenue, Hudson Valley took the stage at the famous Wildhorse Saloon in front of a raucous Friday crowd who were ready to get their weekend started right by singing along with the songs they knew and line dancing along with the ones that had popular dances attached to them; something Hudson Valley’s front women Sarah Owens took notice of as she stated, “we’re gonna play some songs that we think you wanna hear, and we know we’re gonna be playing some that y’all will wanna dance to!”

The early arrivers were quickly drawn into the first set of the three, singing along with Lady A’s “Downtown” and clapping along with Sarah as line dancers hit the hardwood dancefloor during Little Big Town’s “Little White Church”; something that would happen several more times, especially during the second set, when the band played songs such as The Chicks “Goodbye Earl,” John Michael Montgomery’s “Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident),” and Shania Twain’s “Any Man of Mine,” the latter which during she belted out an incredible note that she held for an obscene length of time in a bold showcase of her range and control that earned a roar from the crowd.

Owens took moments throughout the show to connect more directly with the crowd, whether it was dedicating “Before He Cheats” to all the ladies in the house and enticing them to sing along, by getting everyone to walk on their rowdy side as she hit her wheelhouse on songs such as “Gunpowder & Lead,” or by getting the 9-to-5ers who were on weekend getaway to sing along with her on “Something More.”

Her stellar stage presence is always such a dynamic part of any Hudson Valley performance as she commands the stage, exuding confidence as she shimmy’s and shakes her way through up-tempo numbers such as Jo Dee Messina’s “Heads Carolina, Tails California,” Gretchen Wilson’s “Redneck Woman,” and “Man, I Feel Like a Woman,” the uber popular Shania song which came via audience request in the third set.

Audience requests are such a big part of keeping a lively crowd invested in your performance, and Hudson Valley accomplished that when they took on songs such as “Friends in Low Places” and “Jackson,” satisfying an audience request for Johnny Cash, but avoiding the all too often played “Folsom Prison Blues” while allowing Owens and guitarist Matt Farinelli to provide the male/female back and forth like that of the original; something that they’d also give the crowd later in the set when they each took on verses of Toby Keith’s “Should’ve Been a Cowboy.”

Farinelli, along with bassist Andrew Kosek, were also able to offer an entirely different element to the performance by taking over lead vocals at very specific moments throughout the show, effectively giving Sarah a break to re-energize her voice while uncovering another depth to Hudson Valley.

Whereas Farinelli stepped in to deliver the goods on the 90’s country tilt of their set with songs such as Vince Gill’s “One More Last Chance,” Alan Jackson’s “Chattahoochie,”and Brooks & Dunn’s “Neon Moon,” “My Next Broken Heart,” and “Boot Scootin’ Boogie,” Kosek helped inject the set with the modern fare including Kip Moore’s “Beer Money” and Morgan Wallen’s “The Way I Talk.” 

One of the more unique aspects that I personally always love when I see a female fronted act playing cover song sets, is when the band includes popular songs that are originally performed by a male artist and adds an entirely different feel to them simply by having a female vocal carry them. Sarah did this several times throughout the set when she satisfied requests for Luke Bryan with “Country Girl (Shake It For Me),” took us straight to Louisiana with a rousing rendition of Garth’s “Callin’ Baton Rouge,” and delivered a very intriguing touch to Big & Rich’s “Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy),” especially when she took the line “having ourselves a Big & Rich time” and personalized it to instead say, “having ourselves a Hudson Valley time!”

However, it’s always the few original songs that make me move to the edge of my seat and lean in for a much closer listen. Hudson Valley delivered their 90’s country inspired toe tapper “Let Me Drink On It” during their first set and immediately had boot heels clickin’ on the hardwood dance floor, and they later gave us “Baby Goodbye,” the catchy mid-tempo song from their back catalog that landed them inside the iTunes Top 20.

With an energetic 1-2 punch of their rock influences bleeding through at the end of their set with Lit’s “My Own Worst Enemy” smashing into Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock-n-Roll,” they uncovered another layer into who they are and where they come from as a band before closing with Maren Morris’ “Rich,” which they’d push into “The Joker,” a nod to the iconic band adorning the front of Sarah’s t-shirt.

Whenever a band plays one these lengthy sets in downtown Nashville, the crowd is naturally going to be always changing throughout the performance making it nearly impossible to fully read them. However, by continuously driving their set through many different eras of country music, Hudson Valley kept the ever-changing crowd constantly hyped as new groups of people filtered in by the dozen every 15 minutes, allowing the band to then feed off the heightened energy as the dance floor packed in more and more with people and sing-alongs happened during nearly every song.

It's inevitable that when you visit town, you’re going to find yourself partying on Broadway and 2nd Ave. However, you really don’t have as tough a decision to make for where to go for the best music as you might think you do. Just find out where Hudson Valley is playing, add that stop to your schedule, and slide into your boots and get ready to dance the night away as you sing along with some of your favorite country songs! 

Hudson Valley is Sarah Owens (lead vocals), Richie Owens (drums), Andrew Kosek (bass), and Matt Farinelli (guitar). Find out more about the group and where they’re playing next at: https://www.hudsonvalleyband.com/

FULL SET LIST

1) Downtown (Lady A cover)

2) Little White Church (Little Big Town cover)

3) Fast As You (Dwight Yoakam cover)

4) One More Last Chance (Vince Gill cover)

5) Heads Carolina, Tails California (Jo Dee Messina cover)

6) Beer Money (Kip Moore cover)

7) Baggage Claim (Miranda Lambert cover)

8) Neon Moon (Brooks & Dunn cover)

9) Let Me Drink About It

10) Country Girl (Shake It For Me) (Luke Bryan cover)

11) Something More (Sugarland cover)

12) Callin’ Baton Rouge (Garth Brooks cover)

13) Mama’s Broken Heart (Miranda Lambert cover)

14) Baby Goodbye

15) Jackson (Johnny and June cover)

16) The Way I Talk (Morgan Wallen cover)

17) My Next Broken Heart (Brooks & Dunn cover)

18) Hey Bartender (Lady A cover)

19) Goodbye Earl (The Chicks cover)

20) Any Man of Mine (Shania Twain cover)

21) Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident) (John Michael Montgomery cover)

22) Whiskey Glasses (Morgan Wallen cover)

23) Chattahoochie (Alan Jackson cover)

24) Redneck Woman (Gretchen Wilson cover)

25) Boot Scootin’ Boogie (Brooks & Dunn cover)

26) Should’ve Been A Cowboy (Toby Keith cover)

27) Before He Cheats (Carrie Underwood cover)

28) Beer Never Broke My Heart (Luke Combs cover)

29) Man, I Feel Like A Woman (Shania Twain cover)

30) Save A Horse, Ride a Cowboy (Big & Rich cover)

31) Here For the Party (Gretchen Wilson cover)

32) Killing in the Name – Copperhead Road (Rage Against the Machine – Steve Earle cover)

33) Something Like That (Tim McGraw cover)

34) American Honey (Lady A cover)

35) Gunpowder and Lead (Miranda Lambert cover)

36) Friends in Low Places (Garth Brooks cover)

37) My Own Worst Enemy – I Love Rock & Roll (Lit – Joan Jett cover)

38) Rich – The Joker (Maren Morris – Steve Miller Band cover)

 

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