Live at the Alley
Erin Kennedy | Posted on December 21, 2019
Ridenour Rehearsal Studios
This specific studio is not only a venue, but also a practice rooms for lessons, along with recordings, photography, videography, and general uses for bands getting their footing in the music industry. It is located in Murfreesboro, TN along with the college Middle Tennessee State University, which is a school most prominently known for its recording industry and music management, and everything related. Many of those at MTSU receive a considerable amount of opportunities because they are so close to Nashville and a significant amount of students are in bands or have the ability to work with musicians.
shot by Erin Kennedy
Not new to the music scene, but definitely new to me, Sara Kays is a wonderful singer-songwriter. She has the perfect soft voice for those rainy days where you are kinda sad but also wanna listen to some good music. Her style is very similar to that of Beach Bunny in regards to the relatability of the content, but different because I think Beach Bunny has more synth. Sara, however, plays guitar and ukulele beautifully. At the Ridenour, she had a duo with Redd Byrdd, who she mentioned she had played the past couple shows with, but it’s still a pretty new partnership. One that I hope continues because they have a delightful on-stage presence together. It’s almost refreshing, especially considering Sara had such a different style of music than the other three groups of the night.
Most of her songs are on Spotify, but she did play a couple of unreleased songs that are in the process of being released soon! She is definitely worth a good listen. I think my personal favorite of the night was “Under Covers” because of how relatable it was as divorce is something that is becoming increasingly common among the youth of America. Her most popular song on Spotify is “Rich Boy” and it’s not hard to understand why. She has such a soothing voice and the pairing with the ukulele makes you feel like you’re in a sweet rom-com. Not only is her music beautiful, but she is also an incredibly kind soul and deserves all the support she can get.
If you would like to keep up with her, which I highly recommend, check her out on Instagram @sarakaysmusic
Setlist: 1. High School* 2. Is There Anything Else? 3. No Matter the Season* 4. Wake Me Up – Avicii cover 5. Under Covers 6. Rich Boy
* unreleased tracks
Five Ton Faces
shot by Erin Kennedy
Hailing from Nashville, TN is this five-piece southern rock group with frontman Nash Hamilton on vocals, Alex Brassfield on guitar, Nick Jude on bass, Jon Shields on keys, and Bailey McClendon on drums. Seeing these guys live is something that had me taken aback. I had never heard of them before tonight, but they’re certainly going in my liked songs playlist on Spotify. The very western sounding vocals of Nash are right up there in southern rock. Not to mention their performance getup was basically channeling every subculture from the 1970s. Bailey had the look of every Beatle combined in one but dressed as John Bonham from Led Zeppelin. Alongside this, guitarist Alex borrowed from the punk rocker subculture with leather Doc Martens, white shirt, and dark jeans; a classic icon to say the least. That could easily be what they’re going for, but just seeing it was incredible.
Another person in the crowd I spoke with said that when they had attended another show of Five Ton Faces, everyone in the audience looked like they came straight from the 1970s and it was almost like a time warp of sorts. With this show, you really could tell everyone in the audience came mostly for Five Ton Faces because they really did look like they had come out of a time capsule. That and they were right upfront.
The guitar and bass riffs are very reminiscent of most classic rock bands that are the embodiment of “Rock ‘n’ Roll.” But regardless, they had an almost mesmerizing performance due to the nostalgic feel of the group. I think what struck me the most is that the drummer, Bailey, really did have the performance energy of John Bonham in almost every aspect. You can tell that he becomes one with his drum set while performing, so much so that during one of the songs he had knocked over a microphone above his head from flailing. Those surrounding me in the crowd surely got a kick out of that, as did I. Additionally, the last song they played was a sort of tribute to Primus, called “Whole Lotta Nothing.” This group of guys has a lot ahead of them with their very unique sound you can’t really find anywhere else.
I think they sound most similar to a love child between Old Crow Medicine Show and Mumford and Sons with light dustings of the Doors and Led Zeppelin thrown in there in some of the bass and guitar riffs, and especially the outfits and general demeanor. However, to my knowledge, the majority of the songs they performed are unreleased, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still check them out and give them a big listen.
To keep up with Five Ton Faces, you can follow them on Instagram @fivetonfaces
Setlist: 1. Mile 13* 2. Idumea 3. 60 Miles to Birmingham 4. Something to Call My Own* 5. Drinking Away the Blues* 6. Whole Lotta Nothing*
Bailey McClendon, Nash Hamilton, and Nick Jude / shot by Erin Kennedy
Alex Brassfield, Jon Shields, and Bailey McClendon / shot by Erin Kennedy
Bailey McClendon and Nash Hamilton / shot by Erin Kennedy
Jon Worthy & the Bends
shot by Erin Kennedy
With the namesake of the frontman, Jon Worthy & the Bends are a modern take on rock with influences from all over, but for the most part, it sounds like lightly sprinkled folk and indie in a couple of songs. Jon’s vocals sound almost like the frontman of Walk The Moon with the bright kind of upbeat twinge to it. Alongside him, there’s Eric Intile on guitar, Alex Shipley on bass, and Brian Martin on drums. Jon Worthy has been making music since 2015 with the release of his first EP entitled Unconventional and although it wasn’t in the lineup he had at the show, it is still phenomenal. Since then, he has released three full-length albums and has played 115 shows just this year. Not only this, but he is also going on tour again in the coming year, so you could even possibly make it out to more of his shows because I will definitely try my best to make it out to as many as possible.
His music is almost poetic and feels like the embodiment of autumn. It’s very soothing, even his faster and more upbeat hits (namely his most streamed song on Spotify “Takin’ My Time”) are still soothing. He recently released a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s song “Fortunate Son” in early November and that is honestly one of the best covers I have heard.
In addition to his actual artistry, his stage energy is incomparable. In the few shows I have been to, Jon will definitely stick in my mind as an insanely energetic performer. He was bouncing around the stage and hyping up his band, and I genuinely think the crowd was feeding off of his high energy performance. During his last song of the set, he set down his guitar and jumped off the stage to dance around in the audience. I will say that standing in the front row while this happened shocked me because I wasn’t expecting it. I was also looking at my camera so I didn’t really see what was going on, but regardless it was a considerably memorable experience.
Jon Worthy & the Bends are for sure an artist you’ll want to get into because I can feel the greatness coming from them. Keep up with the boys on Instagram @jonworthymusic
Setlist: 1. Don’t You Feel It* 2. Don’t Count On Me 3. Hot B*tch 4. Help Me 5. You Drive Me Insane 6. So Alive 7. Shake Shake* 8. Please Tell Me* 9. Takin’ My Time 10. One More Day 11. Have It Your Way 12. Never Lie to You*
* unreleased tracks
Jon Worthy / shot by Erin Kennedy
Jon Worthy / shot by Erin Kennedy
Jon Worthy and Brian Martin / shot by Erin Kennedy
The Low Blow
shot by Erin Kennedy
This five-piece based out of Murfreesboro, TN claims to have influences from various alternative emo pop sources. They also have world-renowned powerhouse vocals that have a touch of soul. The absolutely wicked vocals of Pat Long, however, can only be backed by his breathtaking band of boys behind him, including the likenesses of Josh Selbey on bass and Connor Stith on lead/ambient guitar. Alongside these three are the other two members, Matthew Williford on keys and Taylor Wood on drums. All five of these boys are such a wholesome band and truly treat each other like brothers and they’re one big family. In an exclusive post-show chat with 3/5 of The Low Blow (Connor, Matthew, and Josh), Connor noted that “the best part of having Josh Selbey on bass is that he marries the collective strengths of his bassist abilities along with the strengths of the band.” With Matthew’s prior experience on cello, he enjoys keys the most because “every note is always in tune.” Connor chimed in with his two cents to say that playing guitar for The Low Blow is “a b*tchin’ time because of the endless creative opportunities and being able to go back and forth between fun and ambient parts.”
At this specific show, these boys decided on recording a live version of their EP “Capsize” which had been released earlier this year in May. The first two songs they played are going to be on their upcoming album, which is yet to be named, but highly conceptual. It will have a coinciding comic book and short film to help with the visuals of the album. The entire band is incredibly excited for it and when asked what their favorite song to perform is, they unanimously agreed that “The City” is easily in their highest regard, but as it is unreleased, they all had different favorites off of the EP. From the EP, “Undertow” is Connor and Matthew’s favorite but for different reasons – Matthew because he has to be constantly focused and Connor because he said it was fun. Whereas Josh’s favorite to perform is “Capsize” because “we never perform it so I’m not sick of it like I am with the others.” Pat’s favorite is “2:15AM.”
A personal favorite of mine is a song from a past band, consisting of Connor and Pat, that they only do live called “Hold On.” The iconic line of “hold on to me and don’t ever let me go” is easily a crowd favorite and I am ecstatic to be able to listen to it in the future because of the live album recorded this night. It’s really easy to forget that musicians are also humans – they just do cool stuff and make pretty noises with instruments. I think that the boys of The Low Blow allow you to see that they are just like everyone else, just cooler in every aspect. Plus, Pat has a history in theater and improv so it allows him to talk with ease to those in the audience and get everyone goofing and having a grand time.
My favorite thing about seeing The Low Blow live is the energy resonated from them as they captivate the audience. This is not the first time I have seen them live, and it will definitely not be the last. This band has so much more depth than Pat’s soulful voice. It’s almost funny because when I was talking with the boys afterward, they all got sick of hearing every review about Pat’s vocals, albeit it is completely true that he has killer vocals. The thing about it though is that I think they are the only ones that are able to back up Pat. Powerful vocals need to be backed with a powerful band, and these guys pull it off perfectly. They all have such powerful on and off-stage chemistry which makes you feel like part of the gang and welcomed with every show.
Being pretty close friends with this band also has its positives, but I genuinely think that just getting to know everyone from my original friendship with frontman, Pat, has made my life so much more fun and artistic and they all encourage everyone to just be their true authentic selves.
Check out The Low Blow on Instagram and Twitter @thelowblowtn to keep up with various shenanigans, along with their upcoming tour in 2020.
Setlist: 1. The City* 2. Die Young* 3. Rainbow Connection cover* 4. Somewhere Off in the Distance 5. Rock and a Hard Place 6. Capsize 7. 2:15 AM 8. Undertow 9. Hold On (Live Exclusive)
Pat Long and Matthew Williford / shot by Erin Kennedy
Connor Stith / shot by Erin Kennedy
Taylor Wood and Josh Selbey / shot by Erin Kennedy
Matthew Williford, Connor Stith, and Pat Long / shot by Erin Kennedy
Connor Stith, Pat Long, and Josh Selbey / shot by Erin Kennedy