Steel Magnolia, Love and Theft Review

Steel Magnolia, Love and Theft put Music in the City.

Tin Roof—Nashville, TN January 19, 2010

New artists Love and Theft, Steel Magnolia, Jessie James, and Josh Thompson were among those who brought their musical talents to the Tin Roof in Nashville as part of Nashville Lifestyles’ Music in the City benefit concert (proceeds from the concert went to the W.O. Smith School in Nashville) this week.

Duo Steel Magnolia lived up to their name, marrying Meghan Linsey’s powerful and flowing voice with Joshua Scott Jones’ gruff and soulful growls. After giving Meghan room to showcase her strong pipes on the torch song “Got Something To Say,” the on- and off-stage couple then offered the suggestive “Last Night Again,” infusing the soulful song with moments of jazzy scat singing. Turning reflective and moody on the first tune the pair wrote together, “Edge of Goodbye,” Meghan sounded like a less twangy Jennifer Nettles. Josh gave a shout-out to the event before launching into their single, “Keep On Loving You.” “If it wasn’t for Nashville Lifestyles, we wouldn’t be here. We all love Nashville, and we all have style," he said.

While Steel Magnolia brought the drama to their performance, Josh Thompson’s laid back country-rock style clearly appealed to all the rowdy beer drinkers who were just glad it was after 5:00pm. After he slowly warmed up the crowd with his kiss-off song, “Won’t Be Lonely Long,” he took the opportunity to show the audience exactly who he is with “I’ve Always Been Me,” and “Way Out Here,” which got some rowdy applause with it’s line “we’re about John Wayne, Johnny Cash and John Deere way out here.”  He finished with his work hard, play hard anthem “Beer On The Table.”

Newcomer Jessie James seems to clearly be pushing herself as the next coming of Shania Twain—including an obvious cover of “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” during her set. She has the brunette, doe-eyed look that clearly emulates Shania, but her voice sounds more derivative of Christina Aguilera and Nelly Furtado than any country singer. Her songs “Blue Jeans,” “Psycho Girlfriend” and “I Look So Good Without You,” all gave her room to show off her diva pipes. Too bad the songs’ dull lyrics didn’t quite live up to her vocals or image.

The headliners for the night, Love and Theft, brought more flawless harmony to the evening, with a slew of songs from their debut album, including their hit, “Runaway,” their new song, “Dancing In Circles,” and other tracks like “Drowning,” and “Freedom.” They brought an acoustic soul to their cover of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s “Fishing In the Dark,” and their own spin to Martina McBride’s “Wrong Baby Wrong” (which the trio wrote).

From pop and soul to more traditional sounds, the evening spotlighted some of country music’s top up-and-comers.

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