Show Reviews



UPstar. Music Showcase

Monday September 18, 2023

@ The Rusty Nail in Hermitage, TN

(Review By: Jeffrey Kurtis)

With an overload of live music pouring out every corner of Nashville night in and night out, UPstar. Music has quickly moved into town and boldly stamped their footing with a top-notch songwriter round that has continually delivered the talent you need to know, right here right now!

Solidifying a Monday night stronghold outside of downtown in nearby Hermitage, TN at The Rusty Nail, UPstar has packed the house with stellar showcase performances over the past few months from the likes of Lewis Brice, Kelsey Hart, Alee, Belles, Maddie Lenhart, Samee Cannon, and on this night, a 1-2 punch with Laine Lonero and TCM Class of 2023 artist Stephen Carey.

Opening her part of the first round with recent single "Broke," Laine Lonero instantly introduced the room to the incredible control she carries within her voice as she ran it through its range, pouring proper emotions into what is essentially a warning letter to the guys who have left her broken hearted, poignantly punching the cold hard fact that they need to experience the hurts and pains of a breakup to truly understand it's lasting effects.

Her current single "Trouble," then allowed her to continue to display her impressive range as her insatiable pop country aura swarmed the crowd while she gripped the idea of falling for the bad boy who she knows is nothing more than trouble, slyly confessing through the chorus that she doesn't want to fight the heart fluttering feelings she’s experiencing because she really kind of likes it.

"No Makeup," a new song which she told was still in the works, saw her moving her vocals to their lower register as she namechecked several popular cosmetic brands through each of the verses before punching the chorus to capture the confidence of the lyric, slapping an amazingly clever, play on words in the hook, "if you wanna breakup there ain't gonna be no makeup."

1) Broke
2) Trouble
3) No Makeup

"I'm gonna play a bunch of unreleased stuff tonight that I'm really excited about," enthusiastically shared Stephen Carey as he introduced himself to the crowd with the edgy drive of "Us Tonight," pumping through lyrics that spoke directly to his yearning for he and his better half to swerve the normal rush of hanging out with friends, to instead, slow it all down and celebrate each other with a night of only the two of them together.

"You can't be the best right away. It takes time. It takes work. All you can do is try to be better today than yesterday," Carey encouragingly said, amping a sing along as he autobiographically took us through the thought-provoking "I Was Yesterday," enticing everyone in the crowd to ponder their own steps toward becoming a better person as he unashamedly admitted in the chorus that he knows he can't be perfect, but he's working on getting there one step at a time.

Closing the entire opening round with the extremely powerful "Died Young," Stephen allowed pieces of his punk rock background to hold the melody surrounding the transparently driven truths wrapped into the lyric, looking back on all the used to be that arrives in the aftermath of losing those you were closest to growing up while he expertly gripped the bevy of emotions as he walked through the natural frustrations, confusion, sadness, and regrets.

1) Us Tonight
2) I Was Yesterday
3) Died Young

What’s always so amazing about being at a songwriter round in Nashville is how you as the audience get to be part of the camaraderie on stage between each of the writers; something that shined brightly when Stephen jumped in with a guitar accompaniment or Laine sang along with other songs.

As the family of four on stage continually showed tremendous support for one another with each passing round, they invited the crowd to come into their circle, earning loud ovations as they turned the neighborhood bar into a full-fledge family reunion to kick off the night!



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