There are many things I love about listening to good music, but one the greatest joys is discovering something new. Whether it’s hearing a new single on the radio or learning of new band via word-of-mouth from a friend, I never turn down the chance to listen to something I’ve never heard before. Also at the top of my “joys of listening” list is live music. I have very broad taste in music (though I admit that it generally excludes country, with the exception of Johnny Cash, and scream-o, death metal), but I’m pretty much able to listen just about anything in a live setting. The spontaneity, the intimacy, the bond between performer and audience, the felling of awe as art is created in fount of you are all qualities of live performance that cannot be duplicated on a CD or and MP3.
Yesterday, via the wonders of social media, I discovered the band Carolina Story (I refrain from saying that I “stumbled upon” them because it would be more accurate to say they stumbled upon me on Twitter). Whilst listening their latest album, Home (which I had heretofore not known existed), and perusing their Twitter timeline, I realized they were playing a show in Columbus just few short hours from that moment. It’s entirely possible that the reason they “stumbled upon” me is precisely because they were playing a show in Columbus and it was an effort to get fans to their show. If this is, indeed, the case…well palyed, Carolina Story.
Nevertheless, not more than eight hours after listening to the first track I had ever heard from a band I knew next to nothing about, I was sitting in half-full bar, sipping a beer 12 feet from the stage, watching them perform. And that’s part of the beauty of music to me; it didn’t matter how big or well known the band was. It only mattered that they had something to share and people came out and listened. I’ve never had an experience where the music I head live wasn’t better than the recorded product (or at the very least, more fun to listen to), and that streak will continue. Besides a couple hiccups (knocking over an adjacent mic stand and miss-timing the beginning of a song), the performance was awesome. Ben and Emily have great stage presence and a sound that reminds a bit of The Civil Wars and Delta Rae. I love the simplicity of their music, and I especially dig Ben’s use of a old suitcase as a kick-drum.
Star & Micey followed with an an equally enjoyable performance. Prior to the show I had never heard of, nor listened to, any of their music. To be frank, I didn’t even know another band was playing until I got to the bar. Two bands for the price of one (which happened to be free) is a pretty sweet deal! If asked what type of music Star & Micey play, I’d be hard pressed to do so. I can hear so many different influences in their songs, from big country-pop tunes, to blues and bluegrass. They have quite a unique sound and a confident stage presence that make them a joy to watch.
They are currently touring together, so if they’re in your city, go spend an evening with Carolina Story and Star & Micey (and buy them beer for me). Cheers!