I always love the start of a new year. Everyone seems so energized and full of promise.
Projects that were on hold in December suddenly get completed. The local venues get their calendars updated and our choices for live music starts multiplying like guinea pigs in a third-grade classroom.
One show I’m excited about is Noah Vonne’s set at the Phoenix Saloon on Friday night.
Noah is a New Braunfels native who moved to Nashville after high school to attend Belmont University. Back when she was in high school I saw her perform at Harmony Sweets, a teen club off FM 306.
I was there to help judge a battle of the bands contest and her band, Cannet Chaos, won first place.
After college, she stayed in Nashville to pursue her career, performing solo gigs and with her band, the Reckless Charms.
In 2017 she released her first EP, Poor in Peace, that had critics comparing her to Amy Winehouse. I’ve always thought her voice sounded like a young Bonnie Raitt because I’m old enough to remember how Bonnie sounded on her first few albums.
In 2018 she landed a job fronting a band for Celebrity Cruise Lines on board their newest ship, The Edge.
“After doing three shows a day, seven days a week for six months, I learned what my voice could and couldn’t do,” explained Noah, calling from a tour stop on the road. “When I got back to Nashville I started writing songs and getting a team of people together. I have a manager now, plus a business manager and an attorney to help with my career. I’m trying to surround myself with people I trust and can help me with my career.”
Her show at the Phoenix Saloon will be her first gig in her hometown since moving to Nashville.
Opening the show will be Electric Gold and Ryan Quiet plus the admission is free, so check out the show and welcome Noah back home.
Whisperin’ Bill Anderson comes to town
Country artist Bill Anderson has a simple motto, if you want to get someone’s attention, just whisper. It’s worked out well for Bill, earning him the nickname Whisperin’ Bill.
Not only is he a consummate performer, his backing group, the Po Folks Band, are considered one of the best in the business.
Born in South Carolina, he graduated from the University of Georgia with a journalism degree. While working part time as a disc jockey he started writing songs.
He wrote the country hit “City Lights” when he was just 19. After that success he moved to Nashville and started writing songs and performing around town.
He wrote such hits as “Po’ Folks,” “Tips of My Fingers” and “Still.”
Many singers recorded his songs including Ray Price, James Brown, Kitty Wells, Faron Young, Dean Martin and Aretha Franklin, just to name a few. The CMA named him Songwriter of the Year six times, Male Vocalist of the Year plus he’s a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Georgia Country Music Hall of Fame and in 2001 he was inducted into the prestigious Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. He’s appeared on hundreds of TV shows including six years hosting the game show Fandango and was on the ABC daytime soap opera One Life to Live for three years. In 1989 he wrote his first autobiography ‘Whisperin’ Bill’ and in 1993 he wrote another book, I Hope You’re Living As High On the Hog as the Pig You Turned Out to Be, which took a humorous look at life in the music business. In the mid-90’s, he concentrated on his first love, songwriting and wrote Whiskey Lullaby for Brad Paisley, Give it Away for George Strait and A Lot of Things Different for Kenny Chesney, just to name a few. Today at 82 years old, Bill is still very in songwriting, performing at the Opry where he’s been a member since 1961 and touring America with his band.
He makes his first appearance tonight at the Brauntex Theatre. Tickets for the show are available at Brauntex.org or by phone at 830-627-0808.
Hal Ketchum Benefit Concert Scheduled
Hal Ketchum got his start playing the front room at Gruene Hall in the mid-80’s, usually holding down the 4-8pm slot on Sunday afternoons. By the early 90’s he was on a tour bus fronting a fantastic band and selling out venues all over America. He became the 72nd member of the Grand Ol’ Opry in 1994. His string of albums kept him busy until 1999, when health issues forced him off the road. His final studio album, I’m A Troubadour, was released in 2014 and was produced by the late Jimmy LaFave. About a year ago it was announced that Hal was suffering from Alzheimer’s and would retire from touring. In honor of his incredible talent, Gruene Hall will host a special tribute concert on Sunday February 23 starting at 4pm, just like Hall did in the early days. Many musicians are scheduled to appear to pay tribute to Hal, including Bruce Robison, Kelly Willis, Lee Roy Parnell, Rob Roy Parnell, Walt Wilkins, Jesse Dayton, Kenny Grimes, Slaid Cleaves and Waylon Payne. More guests are expected to make an appearance and will be announced at a later date. Tickets are just $37.50 and will go on-sale January 14 at 1pm at GrueneHall.com. All proceeds from this show will go to the Hal Ketchum Medical Fund so please support this great tribute show. Unfortunately, Hal will not be able to attend this show but you can bet he will be there in spirit.
Soul Sessions Play Kause’s Cafe
Last but not least, be sure to check out Soul Sessions Friday night at Krause’s Café. It’s a free show starting at 6pm under the pavilion. Soul Sessions are one of the best local bands in our city. They cover rock, pop, R&B, soul and just about everything in between. If you’ve never witnessed their live show, do yourself a favor and check them out. If you’ve seen them before, then you already know how good they are. See KrausesCafe.com for their complete schedule.