A Very Delta Christmas @ The Mercy Lounge 12/8/09

It ’twas a Very Delta Christmas at The Mercy Lounge on Tuesday night, as The Delta Saints (pictured above) brought together some of Nashville’s best up-and-coming acts to bring in the holiday season with a bang. Even though the whether was cold and rainy, that didn’t stop hundreds of fans from coming out to support their favorite locals and making the night one of my favorites of this chillier season.
The first of four acts were The Westbound Rangers. Joined initially by the incredibly talented Greg Hommert of the Delta Saints on harmonica, the Rangers and Hommert did a rendition of “Rocking Around The Christmas Tree” that got everyone in the Christmas spirit. While they were the one of only two bands to play a Christmas song it was fun and sufficient in fulfilling the need for at least one Christmas song at this Very Delta Christmas. For those of you not familiar with The Westbound Rangers, they are a four piece americana/folk band that features guitar, mandolin, banjo, and upright bass. While the guys are hesitant to be called a “bluegrass” band, which they aren’t, there are some definite roots in bluegrass in their music. What makes them different from bluegrass bands is that they pull from many different influences outside of that genre in order to make it much more of the americana variety. In addition to their great stage banter, the Rangers have many songs that the crowd was familiar with, including a theme song that has everyone screaming “WESTBOUND RANGERS” at the top of their lungs during the call and response part of the chorus. After the ruckus Westbound Rangers finished up their set, it was time for The Hollywood Ten to take the stage.
The Hollywood Ten are one of the most unique and powerfully emotive rock bands in Nashville. Period. With the incredible principal lyricist and songwriter Ben Ford (right) at the helm, the band has gained acclaim from many local fans and American Songwriter Magazine. When this powerhouse of a songwriter is teamed up with his equally talented brother, Michael Ford, Jr. (left) on bass and background vocals, the combination is magic. The brothers share an energy with the crowd that I have yet to see be matched by any other band in Nashville. That being said, if you have been following The Hollywood Ten at all in the past year you know that ever since Michael Ford began focusing more on his band Michael Ford, Jr. and The Apache Relay, his presence at a Hollywood Ten show as a band member is never certain. With a cast of incredible musicians rotating through The Hollywood Ten right now, Ben Ford is beginning to re-nail down a band that I think will continue to be one of the best in this town. The band performed song after song that had the entire crowd singing and dancing; and the singing and dancing would only continue as the Delta Saints took the stage next.
Being the only band that I know of in Nashville that, with unparalleled creativity, takes the delta blues and redefines it by mixing southern rock, heavy rock, delta blues, and a little hip-hop feel, this band is seriously one of the most talented groups out there right now. Every single member of this band is extremely talented and they don’t hold back. The ground moving vocals of Ben Ringle(center), complimented by the dueling slide guitar and harmonica of John Shaw (far left) and Greg Hommert (left), and backed by one of the funkiest, hardest hitting, rhythm sections consisting of Ben Azzi (right) and David Supica (left in band picture above), this band is practically unstoppable. From crowd favorites “Steppin” to their closer “Momma” fans were dancing, drinking, and having a blast, so much so that the Saints got an encore as the third band of four, which allowed them to do their incredible rendition of “I Want You” by the Beatles that transitioned flawlessly into “I Feel Good” by James Brown. Leaving the crowd screaming and cheering “Delta, Delta, Delta”, the band headed back into the greenroom.
Following this act is something that I would never want to do, but bravery is one of the many great virtues of the well-rounded and exceptionally talented Steve Moakler, who is destined to be one of the next big pop acts out of Nashville. Moakler, originally from Pittsburgh, PA., has a knack for writing pop songs that are exquisitely catchy and guaranteed to get stuck in your head, which in all honesty works well for me because I don’t mind hearing them on repeat along side my other thoughts. As Moakler powered through his set playing one great song after another his Nashville fan base showed their support and enjoyed every moment of the rare full band performance.


Links:

www.myspace.com/thewestboundrangers
www.myspace.com/thehollywoodten
www.myspace.com/thedeltasaints
www.myspace.com/stevemoakler

Other pictures from the night:

(Westbound Rangers)

(The Hollywood Ten)

(The Delta Saints)

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