Show Reviews

Show Review: The Women of Country presents: Carolyn Miller & Friends

 

THE WOMEN OF COUNTRY PRESENTS: CAROLYN MILLER & FRIENDS

Ft. Carolyn Miller, Sarah Jones, Tezza, and Grace Tyler

Tuesday July 26, 2022

@ Live Oak in Nashville, TN

(Review by: Jeffrey Kurtis)

Tremendously debuting during CMA Fest in June, The Women of Country showcase featuring Carolyn Miller & Friends at Live Oak went over so well that it’s now becoming a monthly writer’s round that will highlight an all-female stage in efforts to provide opportunities through an event that empowers female songwriters and artists.

A crowd packed into Live Oak on Demonbreun Hill on a busy mid-town Tuesday night as Miller was joined on stage by Sarah Jones, Tezza, and Grace Tyler for the second edition of the showcase, hosted by ACM and CMA Award-winning radio personality Kelly Ford, who is currently a driving force behind the incredible pickle Jar app.

The opening 45-minutes of the show was dedicated to a standard Nashville writer’s round that highlighted just enough of each of the 4 songwriters on stage to give the audience a sampling of the unique qualities that each is bringing to today’s country music scene.

Described as a country girl with heart, Long Island, NY native Carolyn Miller kicked things off with a brand-new song that she had just recently written, “T-Shirts,” which she told of its inspiration before playing, “My parents just sold my childhood home, and I remember when I went up there to clean out my bedroom; my mom saved everything! But when I opened this one drawer, it was full of all my old t-shirts and I realized that they told my story,” which Miller was then perfectly able to take the pieces of those memories and incorporate them into the nostalgic lyric as she was reminded of a trip to Myrtle Beach, her first time visiting Nashville, and a phase that included several shirts from Hot Topic.

Continuing to share aspects of her personal story with the crowd, Miller told, “the reason that my parents sold my childhood home was to relocate from New York to Florida during the pandemic. But as my mom was getting ready to go, she said through tears in her eyes, “wherever we go, as long as we have each other we will always be home,” she finished as she played “Always Be Home,” during which she stretched her vocals to hit higher notes in a spotlight shining showcase of her incredible range as she wrapped her vocal, and heartfelt lyrics around a memorable, built for radio melody.

“Do we have any newlyweds or engaged couples in the crowd tonight?” asked Miller. “I’m at 4 years married now, but I wanted to surprise my husband with a song I wrote as a present the day we got married. I didn’t know if it would be a good song, or a bad song…but I wanted to give him something. So, I took all the different country songs we liked and incorporated them into the song,” she said with a smile on her face.

“I put a clip of it, just a minute long thing, up on TikTok not thinking anything of it one night and went out to do Yoga with a friend….three hours later, there were a million views on it, people telling me they wanted to use it at their weddings, and a bunch were messaging me and asking me when I was putting it out, so we rushed out a release of the song! It went to #3 on the iTunes country chart, and it’s so crazy to know that brides are walking down the aisle to it,” she said as she closed her part of the round with the touching “When I Say I Do Today,” grinning as she hit on her and her husband’s modern country favorites along the way that included “Bless the Broken Road,” “God Gave Me You,” and more!

FULL SET LIST (CAROLYN MILLER)

1) T-Shirts

2) Always Be Home

3) When I Say I Do Today

“I’m only a songwriter and not an artist, so I don’t usually do the whole live performance thing, but how cool to be on stage tonight with such talented females,” began Sarah Jones who many will recognize as a member of Priscilla Block’s backing band, as well as the co-writer on several of Block’s songs including her breakout hit, “Just About Over You. She kicked off her part of the round with a song about falling in love, “Champagne.”

“I moved to Nashville 7 years ago from North Carolina, but I did live in Wyoming for a little bit in between,” said Jones as she invited the crowd into a glimpse of where she comes from. “I grew up with Priscilla and we came here to Nashville together, but we wrote this song one day when we couldn’t think of anything else to write about. It’s about a cowboy who rides away,” she finished as she delivered “Wyoming,” a dusty styled country song co-written by Jones, Block, and Royale Lynn that perfectly encapsulates the out west tinged lyric.

“So, I’m gonna end on the song that changed my life,” Jones humbly said. “A couple years ago during the pandemic, I found myself unemployed like the rest of us. Priscilla and I were on the phone one night talking about how we just needed that one life changing song, and that’s when we wrote “Just About Over You,”” she shared with a pause while the crowd responded with an ovation. “This song got me my publishing deal, got her a record deal, the big tours, and I still cry every time we play this, and I see people singing along with it,” she finished as the crowd aptly sang along with the breakout hit!

FULL SET LIST (SARAH JONES)

1) Champagne

2) Wyoming

3) Just About Over You

Described as pop-country with a Northeast flare by host Kelly Ford, Tezza launched into her portion of the round with “89 Airstream,” a song which carried on the nostalgic vibe first set by Carolyn when she performed “T-Shirts,” as Tezza focused her songs attention on road trips and growing up.

Not one for too many words, the Syracuse native leaned mostly on the songs themselves and her vocals to hold the crowd in the palm of her hands as she showed during a strong audience participation moment that saw a call and repeat fade out during “Faded,” before she closed with her current single, “Mercury Rising.”

FULL SET LIST (TEZZA)

1) 89 Airstream

2) Faded

3) Mercury Rising

“This first song is kind of about how I tricked a guy into dating me and loving me,” began Texas native Grace Tyler as she then tilted her built in twang into a full display of her pure vocal power on “Warning Label,” bringing the crowd noise to a sudden halt as they leaned into the stage for a closer listen.

“I hate writing love songs,” confessed Tyler. “But I am in love and my poor boyfriend…every time I come back from a writing session it’s always a breakup song,” she laughed as she delivered “Justice,” the only love song she has that she said to have really liked before playing it.

“This last song I’m gonna play for you tonight is my current single, and I got to work with Lee Brice on it; he liked the song and ended up producing it. To have him say it’s a good song….I was like really Mr. Lee Brice. I didn’t know what to do or how to even respond to that,” she said with a chuckle, enticing the  crowd to do the same. “It’s about the two things that have got me in the most trouble in my life,” she finished as she closed out the songwriter round with “Cowboys & Tequila.”

FULL SET LIST (GRACE TYLER)

1) Warning Label

2) Justice

3) Cowboys & Tequila

However, just because the songwriter round had come to its close, that in no way meant the music was finished for the night. After a brief intermission to get the stage reset for Carolyn Miller’s full band, power acoustic performance, she took the stage for her half hour headlining slot with the ultra-catchy “Something Right (About A Wrong Turn)” and quickly had everyone in the crowd bopping along.

Continuing to stay in the pocket of catchy driven songs to keep the crowd invested through the first part of her set, she unraveled “Ain’t About That” and the groove laden “What You Can’t Have,” before taking her first pause to address the crowd.

“One of the benefits to not performing shows during the pandemic, was that we got to be at home, and we wrote a lot of songs,” explained Miller. “Those songs are finally starting to come out now and see the light of day! I released this one just a few weeks ago and put out a piano version of last week,” she finished as she delivered her current single “New Wore Off.”

Returning to the more up-tempo driven side, Miller stomped her boot in rhythm against the floor of the stage as she led the crowd into the clap along melody of “Every Second of Us,” during which she danced along with the pure bop, getting the crowd’s shoulders bouncing while their feet tapped along as well.

“Where I’m from in Long Island, I didn’t grow up listening to country music,” Miller shared. “It took us a long time to even get a country radio station, so I truly first discovered country music from Carrie Underwood on American Idol. I remember during the finale of the show when she teamed up with Rascal Flatts and it all trickled from there, discovering more and more artists…and so tonight, I want to pay tribute to one of my favorites,” Miller gratefully stated as she put on a display of amazing vocals during a cover of Underwood’s “Smoke Break” that rivaled the original, before closing the entire evening with one of her most popular hits that saw several in the crowd singing along, “Summertime.”

This installment of the “Women of Country presents…” shined the spotlight brightly on some of the top emerging female talent in Nashville and by the final note, they left everybody in the crowd buzzing and wanting one more song…a perfect way to leave the crowd hyped up and on the edge of their seats while already get them talking about coming out and being a part of next month’s “Women of Country presents…!”

FULL SET LIST (CAROLYN MILLER)

1) Something Right (About A Wrong Turn)

2) Ain’t About That

3) What You Can’t Have

4) New Wore Off

5) Every Second of Us

6) Smoke Break (Carrie Underwood cover)

7) Summertime

 

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