NSN Serena Ryder, Josh Hoge 2-15-09

Just back from the Sunset Sessions music conference in San Diego, where I saw 30 live acts in 3 days, I was a little travel-weary, but still excited for this night’s NSN show. I had just seen Serena Ryder for the first time out there on Friday night. She’s a Canadian artist who won the Juno Award last year for Best New Artist and is newly nominated for the 2009 Juno for Artist Of The Year. I spoke with Serena out there and she was familiar with 3rd & Lindsley, having visited here in the past, and was looking forward to doing our show. The set I saw at Sunset Sessions was Serena with her full band and it rocked, but for this NSN, she was going to give us a much more intimate performance, totally solo, just her and her guitar. That was a twist that kept it interesting for me, and Serena was very entertaining in this setting, with some good stories between songs from her new album “Is It OK.” The setlist:

Dark As The Black
All For One
Sweeping The Ashes
Little Bit Of Red *
Brand New Love
Weak In The Knees
What I Wanna Know
Sing Sing

I told Serena that now that you guys have seen her like this, she needs to come back later this year with the full band, so hopefully that can be worked out. Next up, we had a return visit from our hometown boy Josh Hoge. He grew up in a great musical family here in Franklin, TN. His grandfather was a jazz musician and his father and brother are both rock singers. Our audience is quite familiar with Josh’s older brother, Will Hoge, who I spotted in the audience before the show. Will has spent the last several months recovering from a terrible motor scooter accident. I asked him if he was going to jump up on stage tonight and he joked that he didn’t know how good he was at jumping yet. But as Josh told us near the end of his set, Will is just about all the way back and will be doing some shows starting in the spring. Will is quite a rocker, but Josh’s musical sensibilities lie more in the rhythm and blues precincts. He did start out rocking pretty good with the two opening songs, especially “Take It Or Leave It,” before settling into his familiar R&B groove. Josh is another artist who’s hugely entertaining between songs, great storyteller and a jokester, and he managed to pull off the whole live broadcast without engaging in his passion for cussing! With a bunch of songs from his new album “Everything She Was” behind him, the last song on the setlist was “Ain’t No Sunshine,” the Bill Withers classic that Will has recorded. So, I thought this might be the spot were brother joined brother on stage, but not tonight. It was just a huge shout-out from Josh to Will, thanking him for turning him onto the song, which is now one of his favorites. If you weren’t there, you missed it, because that one happened after the broadcast. Here’s the whole setlist:

Take It Or Leave It *
Beautiful Distraction
Sarah Smile (Hall & Oates cover)
Stay Away
Butch Cassidy
Keeps Getting Better

Ain’t No Sunshine (after the broadcast)


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