After battling Pre-Thunder traffic, I arrived at the Brown at 8, just as the opener, Martin Sexton, was taking stage. The Theatre was full, and the mixed age and style crowd was composed mostly of couples. I was anxious to see Martin Sexton. I am fan of his Bluesy-American sound and have heard him pretty often on my Amos Lee channel on Pandora. The songs that I have heard did not do him justice. This guy, who looks like one of your football buddies, has an amazing vocal range and can scat. I am a fan of both. During one song, Sexton actually had a musical interlude where he produced drumming and guitar sounds using only his mouth. His performance was playful and he was engaging. At the end of his 30 min performance he disclosed he had started out in Boston and also had family there now. He dedicated his last song as a prayer for those in Boston and proceeded to play a beautiful rendition of “Amazing Grace” combined with “America the Beautiful”. The audience gave him a standing ovation as he left the stage.
After a brief break the headliner, Josh Ritter, took the stage. I had never seen Ritter in concert and was amazed at the love his fans showed for him. Screaming and cheers erupted and a huge Cheshire cat smile was on Ritter’s face. His unique and spunky personality shined through in his first song, a solo that ended with him on his knees howling. His energy seemed to change with every song and reflected upon the band and audience alike. Ritter is an amazing storyteller who is able to captivate the audience with his lyrics and the honesty of his writing. I love a song that has feeling and love poured into it; every song of this concert had that feeling. In between songs, Ritter told additional stories that had the audience eating out of his hand. The knowledge of Louisville he had impressed me in his “Hot Brown” story. I laughed at his house in his Idaho tale, and fully understood his feelings of anger and hurt in his relay of relationships. The show was an interactive experience from the stories, to the sing alongs to many of the songs, to the lights actually being turned out during “In the Dark”. It was just fun. The audience was friendly and bubbly; they shouted, danced, pranced, and howled along with Ritter. The connection that was between him and his audience was the mark of a truly gifted performer. This won’t be my last love affair with Ritter or Sexton.
Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia.