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Wednesday September 20, 2023

@ The Local in Nashville, TN

(Review Written By: Jeffrey Kurtis)

West Nashville hotspot, The Local, is a gathering hub for emerging artists, songwriters, and the many aspiring newcomers to town who are looking to find their footing within the vast music community. So it makes sense that somewhere emblazoned by their motto "Come A Stranger, Leave A Local," is the place of choice to discover great music and find stellar connection opportunities night in and night out.

The songwriter haven, which plays host to renowned weekly rounds from the Porchlight Pickers and the Music Row Freakshow, was turned on it's side a bit when Jenny Tolman transformed the venue into a souped up honky tonk this past Wednesday night with a showcase that ran the spectrum of her catalog to offer a Rand McNally led roadtrip straight to Jennyville. 

As the full band kicked in and Tolman made her way to the stage with a big smile on her face, the table conversations amongst the crowd came to an instant hush as she dripped her insatiable drawl into the toe tapping, hip swaying "Borrowing Sugar," immediately putting her amazing songwriting craftsmanship on display with the clever play on words warning directed at the girl next door to stop leering at her man, injecting the proper sass and irritated "bless your heart" tonality to the enough is enough lyric.

"Everything we're playing tonight comes from a place that I like to call Jennyville that has all these different characters running around," Tolman explained as she honky tonked her way through the sawing of fiddle into "There Goes The Neighborhood," keeping everyone's toes tapping as she painted the perfect pictures of small town drama and the juiciest gossip, complete with a stunning twist at the end of the story that shuts it all down with a wink wink, nudge nudge.

Slowing her set with a song she sent out to all the lovebirds, "Till My Tank Is Empty," brought the couples in closer to one another, before she reignited the honky tonk flare with the two stepping rhythm of "I Know Some Cowboys," her ode to good hearted Texas cowboys who know how to treat a woman right.

"Has anyone in here ever won the lottery or wanted to win the lottery?" Tolman asked with a pause as the crowd cheered. "Well, this song might change your mind," she nodded knowingly as she poured into the intriguing groove of "What I Really Wanted," recalling an addictive rhythm of 1960s era blasts like "Mustang Sally" while adding her own signature flares into the first of three looks that she’d give us of her newest music.

"We're gonna sing you a song about a chicken now," Tolman exclaimed with a laugh as she and the band stayed in that 1960's laden groove with some good ol chicken picking surrounding it as she dragged us through the memorable, cheated on lyric of "Home to Roost," cockadoodledooing (literally) her way through the small town gossip that got the cheater caught, making a lasting impression on the crowd as evident by what was the loudest ovation on the night up to that point in her set

"Right Back," which she gushed before playing as being the first new music she's put out since having her baby boy, returned her outstanding honky tonk kissed style into the set as she ignited stellar harmonies through the chorus while reinserting an unbridled sass into the kiss off/see ya later lyric.

"This is one that you're getting to hear for very first time here tonight. It's kind of different than what I've put out. It's inspired by the Western culture and not a story with a bunch of characters in it," she said during her introduction of her final new song on the night, “Rodeo Must Be A Woman,” softening the pace as the cry of fiddle carried the intro to allow Tolman's angelic tones to hold the lyrics and pull in the crowd before the impeccable harmonies carried the float of chorus, tugging it's overall vibe into a country western throwback as she painted the landscape with picturesque settings wihtin her drive to the incredible hook, "Rodeo must be a woman. What else can make a man hold on so tight?"

"Last year was a really crazy year for me. I got married, put out an album, and had a baby,” she said, metaphorically opening her family photo album to a great applause. "But this next song... Well, you decide what's true and what's not!" she instigated as "Married in a Honky Tonk" embraced a sawdust covered dancefloor style as shoulders danced and heads wiggled alongside the boogie woogie kissed aura while she vividly painted the scene of a honky tonk wedding, from wearing a toilet paper veil to the bouncer giving her away.

"I'm gonna leave you with this one last thought," she mused as the spoken word intro of "Still Gonna Die" gave way to the knee slapping backbeat as she sang us through the repetitively catchy lyric to leave everyone in the venue singing along, ending her set to an incredible ovation that hit in perfect timing alongside the closing note.

Pulling a perfect balance into her 35-minute/10-song set, with 3 songs from her debut album There Goes The Neighborhood, 4 songs from her sophomore effort Married in a Honky Tonk, and 3 brand-new songs, Jenny Tolman satisfied her longtime solid supporters while hooking the newcomers one note at a time, but she expertly left both with a heightened anticipation of her next chapter to hype the buzz on what's still to come!

1) Borrowing Sugar
2) There Goes The Neighborhood
3) Till My Tank Is Empty
4)  I Know Some Cowboys
5) What I Really Wanted
6) Home to Roost
7) Right Back
8) Rodeo Must Be A Woman
9) Married in a Honky Tonk
10) Still Gonna Die


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