Show Reviews


Friday May 17, 2024

@ Brown’s Diner in Nashville, TN

(Review Written By: Jeffrey Kurtis)

In the ever-changing landscape of Nashville’s “progress,” finding a space that truly embodies the spirit of yesteryear with a firm foothold on the past is becoming like a fervent search, high and low, to try and find an elusive unicorn amid a sea of flashy neon lights and party buses.

However, unassumingly nestled into the Hillsboro district sits the hidden gem that you’re looking for. A place where legendary burgers tickle your taste buds, strangers quickly become friends over a cold one, the wait staff knows you by name, and their rotation of musical acts perfectly accents their throwback vibe.

Brown’s Diner! The no frills atmospheric transport to another era, which since 1927 has welcomed with open arms a blend of the factory worker and the Platinum recording artist, the business suit and the oil-stained jeans.

Cozied into the iconic trailer that originally first housed the diner, Canadian import Callie McCullough - flanked by Julie Kennedy on fiddle and Charlie Pate on stand-up bass - enticed the early arrivers with her roots branded Americana essence through a fusion of her distinctive folk country style.

Floating the angelic tone of her voice across the whispered soft pace of “Five Dollar Pearls,” McCullough brought an immediate hush to the crowd as she opened her set, captivating as she trailed her vulnerability through the heart wrenching realization that try as she might to fit into his world and be everything that he needs, she’s just never going to be the right one for him.

“Alright! So hey, how we feeling out there?” she enthusiastically asked to a bevy of applause as she lifted the mood into the tempo driven “Something Good,” a positive induced new song that’s dripped in nostalgic vibes, vividly reminding us to slow down life and take the time to leave something substantial behind in the impacts that we make as we stamp our unique mark on the world.

Through a slap of irresistible three-part harmonies embedding its intro, her recent single “What If I Don’t” quickly had the crowd clapping and singing along in perfect rhythm as they tapped their toes along the barstool metal that lined the bottom of their seats while McCullough laced her smirk with a wink of sarcasm and a free-spirited, I am who I am shrug of her shoulders in correlation with the wittiness of the lyrics.

“I put out a record and few years ago and we got to do this really cool thing with it where half of Union Station, Alison Krauss’ band, played on it…and half of The Time Jumpers played on it,” told Callie as she then silenced the crowd with the album’s gripping title track, “After Midnight,” softening her voice into the ebbs and flows of the floaty melody with a gifted know-how that drew the audience deeper and deeper into its aura one passing line and a time.

“I’ve been working on a new record,” Callie shared with a big smile amongst the cheers of excitement for things to come as she then explored her Celtic roots on “Great Big Sky” and “Coming Home,” leading the crowd through a sing along moment on the former as each song toed a line that teetered the traditional brush of country music’s storytelling with an Irish folk tale lore, adding pieces of the puzzle to the overall picture of who Callie is.

“If you know me, then this up-tempo stuff might be a little confusing, but don’t you worry…” knowingly teased Callie with a pause, “it’s about to get sad in here,” she foretold as she cried the cracked edge of her voice into “Out Of The Blue,” twisting through the soul searching lyric that balanced the emotional tilts of trying to find your purpose and who you are while being swallowed in the loneliness of not yet knowing the answer.

Joined by longtime musical peer Molly Brown on harmony, McCullough closed her set with a dynamic performance of “Three Quarter Time,” which she declared to not only being the song that’s become her sort of anthem over the last few years but the one that says everything she needs to say about Nashville and the music industry, sparking an instant heart chord connection with the many in the crowd who were songwriters, musicians, and artists.

Designed as a show just for fun and a chance to play good music at one of her favorite burger joints, which she told halfway through her set, the consummate professional that she is still delivered a perfect snapshot of her incredible artistry.

Capturing the undivided attention of the audience over her half hour, whether designed by plan or not, Callie McCullough put on a spotlight shining showcase of her top-tiered talent as a vocalist, songwriter, and performer, moving the wavers of her voice along each rhythmic shift as she harmoniously blended the songs that have paved her road thus far with a few of the bricks that are providing the foot map to her next intriguing chapter.


1) Five Dollar Pearls

2) Something Good

3) What If I Don’t

4) After Midnight

5) Great Big Sky

6) Coming Home

7) Out Of The Blue

8) Three Quarter Time



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