Lady Antebellum and Brandy Clark Headline a Night of Country Concerts
Better Than: This divided by two.
Let it go into record that for once, on the night of May 7 in the year 2013, Manhattan had too many good countrycountry referring to popular country, as imported from Nashvilleshows to attend, overlapping bookings that could have both been the highlight of their month. Here in the Village, about a radio edit's walk from Voice headquarters, the evening started at Joe's Pub, where the recently remodeled venue was hosting the ninth anniversary of their Songwriter's Series, a semi-regular event featuring seven dollar drafts and performances by some of the genre's best behind the scenes talent.
Tonight, host Bob DiPiero (whose top tens begin with the Oak Ridge Boys' 1983 "American Made" and extend through Easton Corbin's recent "Lovin' You is Fun") recruited Phil Vassar (Tim McGraw's "My Next Thirty Years," for starters) and Shane McAnally and Brandy Clark (two-thirds of the team behind Miranda Lambert's current number one) to celebrate the occasion. Though least recognizable to this New York City crowd, it was surely Clark who will be best remembered: Between opening with that Lambert hit and closing with "Better Dig Two," a Band Perry chart-topper that she and McAnally helped pen, the Washington native played only originals, all of which remain free to download over at her Soundcloud. Where "Stripes," a revenge song that changes course when its narrator realizes she wouldn't look good in prison clothes, had the small venue laughing throughout, "Hold My Hand" rendered it completely still.
Though she spoke less than the boys, she was more confident. Relating a backstage discussion in which McAnally suggested she say the title of the Lambert song rather than jumping right in, she told us her reply ("It doesn't matter if I say it or not, they're gonna scream when I start singing it") and gave us room to prove her right.
Surely no one onstage would take offense to my claim that Clark had the best voice of the bunch, the kind that should be singing on more than just demos. One stool away, her frequent songwriting partner had a fine voice himselfhis take on Kenny Chesney's "Somewhere with You" was ideal, catching the desperation that the world's most inescapable beach bum seems incapable ofbut even he had to laugh while attempting to hit Hillary Scott's half of Lady Antebellum's "Downtown."