Musician songwriter Guthrie Brown opened the night showcasing his collection of songs in an intimate two-man set. Sharing the stage with his bassist, Will Honiker, they managed to fill the room with as much energy and soul as a full ensemble. Brown’s high-spirited character shone through between thoughtfully written lyrics and catchy melodic artistry, bringing light to the set with playful interludes. The Nashville-via-Montana artist directed Austin to keep doing their thing having fallen in love with his debut visit to the city, and with the show the feeling proved to be mutual. “Stay Gold” was a testament to Guthrie’s soul being golden to his music, later thanking the audience for letting him have the opportunity to share his love for the art with them. His ‘live in the moment’ attitude was apparent in the highway-feel of “Day to Day,” expressing the resilience of the human spirit. He let loose and brought a blues-ier feel midway through his set with “Drug Habit,” transporting listeners through his voice and soul to a much deeper level than the upbeat tunes he opened with. Guthrie Brown embodies the talent of an emotional medium, able to reach inside his soul to a variety of feelings and emotions and transmit them through his music. Honiker took the spotlight with a heavy bass solo continuing it into their spin on Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” Jonny Lang’s organist and fellow Nashvillian Michael Hicks, joined the duo for the last two songs of their set lending his funk and soul to the mix. That intensity built into “Hard Times” where they threw out the blues hard and heavy, giving Hicks a moment to shine with them before he joined Lang for his final show with the band on the tour. The notable performance by these three musicians undoubtedly proved the high level of talent coming out of the Nashville music scene and couldn’t have been a better introduction of Guthrie Brown to Austin.
GUTHRIE BROWN PHOTO GALLERY
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The experience of seeing Jonny Lang live is undoubtedly one to be had – absolute pure soul resonates out of this musical virtuoso on stage unlike anything able to be truly captured in the studio. It is indeed an experience as he taps into such pure emotion, transcending into another level, and transmitting that raw, awakened soulfulness to everyone around him. You feel his music. It is conducted straight from his soul into yours in a musical synergy that is just amazing.
The show was explosive from the start as he opened with “Blew Up” off of his 2013 album Fight for My Soul. His guitar becomes an extension of himself, a vehicle for the emotion so heavily present in his music. Lang plays with his entire body, vocals melting into the microphone when he’s not pouring across the stage performing purely in the moment. He proved this unity with his guitar in the title track of his new album Signs, mirroring the melody he played with the passion in his voice note for note. Even when it was just him playing the guitar, not singing, so much of his organic self showed through. Even the audience became one sharing the moments of raw, unapologetic emotion that erupted with his intrinsic talent. “Rack Em Up” brought a jazzy blues sound with an exceptional display of bass and Jonny’s scat-like vocals harmonized with his guitar. He showed off all of the musical talent he is known for from such a young age, but it was the cathartic performance of “Red Light” that completely stole the show. Jonny Lang’s smoky vocals filled the theater, sharing his soul in a purgative presentation of both guitar and voice, being the embodiment of feeling and soul. He took you through an entire range of emotion with merciful vocals and falsettos pulled from the depths of his being. The same feeling you get when an artist hits “that” note was the feeling you got through the entirety of Lang’s show. Every bit of musical composition fed into that feeling, transcending both artist and audience into another level in his performance. There is a pure believability in his lyrics. The intensity of soul transitioned into a more lighthearted funk with the Stevie Wonder cover of “Livin’ For the City,” and finished out the show with the visceral energy of “Angel of Mercy.” But the audience wasn’t done with Jonny and the band just yet and neither were they, entertaining three more songs for the encore.
The powerful light show that accompanied “Last Man Standing” mirrored the same power that Lang never wavered from through his entire set. That same command was displayed by his band throughout the whole show. They left the stage as Jonny played a powerful rendition of Muddy Waters’ “40 Days and 40 Nights, leaving you guilty to seek so much pleasure listening to his pain. Lang paired his beautiful vocals with equally amazing gentle acoustics for “Lie to Me,” lending a Spanish flair to the guitar part before switching into a funkier upbeat electric version as the band re-joined him back on stage. They collectively brought the audience to their feet as they finished out with an all-out jam of the raw emotional power they delivered all night.
Jonny Lang’s performance at ACL live was exceptional to say the least. Having reached fame at such a young age and possessing the talent to mirror the growth of self with that of an artist, he displayed a rare ability to open his heart to such a deep level. To channel this to the level he did, performing purely in the moment, plays to his talents as a musician. Both Guthrie Brown and Jonny Lang transmit emotions in a way that connected with the audience on a level of deep intensity and Austin felt that connection full force that night.
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Jonny Lang’s Setlist
- Blew Up
- Don’t Stop
- We Are the Same
- Rack Em Up
- Red Light
- Livin’ For The City (Stevie Wonder cover)
- Angel of Mercy
- Last Man Standing
- 40 Days, 40 Nights (Muddy Waters cover)
- Lie to Me