While attending Tin Pan South this past week, most of the shows were exactly what I expected: singer/songwriters performing some of the biggest hits in country music. This style of music might not be my first choice, but after a couple shows it was beginning to grow onto me. While standing at The Rutledge, waiting on The World Famous Headliners to come out and deliver more country singer/songwriter hits, I was confused as to why a drum kit and bass guitar were on stage as well. None of the other songwriters I had seen involved backing bands, which caused my interest to peak and curiosity to grow. The performance that followed was not only a breath of fresh air for Tin Pan’s catalogue, but also my favorite performance of the week.
The show began with the same Regions woman from Puckett’s Grocery introducing the group. “Big Al” Anderson, Shawn Camp, and Pat McLaughlin were the three guitarists for the group, each having their own extensive list of accolades and hit songs. Once the bassist, drummer, and three guitarists were all on stage, a multi-genre and energy-filled concert ensued.
Before continuing, I feel that the band as a whole should be addressed. First off, I would have never imagined that three guitarists all playing lead guitar at once wouldn’t make me want to throw myself out of a window, but when these guys did so, I was amazed at the cooperation and intricacy of all three soloing simultaneously. Also, three lead guitars = bassist’s worst nightmare. The bass player, however, did an incredible job of working around the constant soloing, inserting original and catchy riffs of his own in response to the big three. Another point of interest was the positioning of the band members. Anderson, Camp, and McLaughlin were all seated throughout the show, but at times could barely stay in their seats. With constant movement and excitement, I have never seen such energy from people sitting down (or at least trying to sit down).
Throughout the night, each song had its own originality when it came to style. With three songwriters all working together, it was interesting to hear the different influences, but almost every song had one thing in common: subject matter. Whether it was humorous or reflective, almost every song performed was about love (or the lack thereof). The song “Mamarita” was a light-hearted and funk-influenced track about a woman, another song I didn’t catch the name of was a very slow blues song which dealt more seriously with a broken relationship, and “Nobody to Love” was a comedic outlook on breakup with an island music twist to it (Camp also played electric ukulele for it).
From rock n’ roll to country to blues to Caribbean music, these guys were all over the map, but were entertaining throughout. Whether it was the quality and drive of the music or the copious amounts of alcohol administered to the crowd that caused them to go wild over the group, it is undeniable that The World Famous Headliners are extremely talented and definitely worth a watch.
Matthew Fox lives in Nashville, TN. He drives a Jeep, frequently looks up cute pictures of animals online, and once won $15 off a lottery ticket. An archive of his blog posts can be found at foxtalks.wordpress.com.
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