On Monday, June 6th, five Women of Music and a few supporting men took the stage at Molly & Tom Bedell’s Two Old Hippies venue in the Gulch, to jump start CMA Fest. This eclectic performance of Nashville-based singer/songwriters brought a colorful palate of music to the hip boutique’s listening room.
The 15-minute spotlight sets started with wife and husband team Dana Radford & Judd Fuller playing unplugged songs from their band, The Tummies. The retro English pop sounds, with influences from the Beatles, were performed with expert modern harmonies and delivery. A perfect opening for the setting’s vibe. The duo had the audience singing and swaying along, as they sang about love and life through songs including: Little Blue Heart, Do My Eyes Deceive Me, a playful upbeat number That’s How I Feel When I’m With You, and ultimately breaking hearts with the bittersweet ballad The Word Is Goodbye.
Next, to captivate the audience with her soothing stage presence, Ashlee K. Thomas took the crowd on a journey with her co-write Riding Trains, an upbeat “…old country song in the modern age,” as the lyrics profess. Her Pull The Trigger with sultry and raspy vocals was hauntingly beautiful – reminiscent of Janis Joplin who was the subject of her final song – Ugly Girl, an historic tribute to the iconic singer.
Hilary Romaine started her set with the lyrical Safety Net, strumming along with the beautiful accompaniment of Sean Patrick McGraw on mandolin. Her tune Twisted, a broken-hearted Country ballad, with melodic harmonies transitioned seamlessly into the dark but uptempo The Bottle Song. She closed with the ever stunning Until There Was You.
The last act of the hour brought writer Kate Poole to the stage, accompanied by singer Sondra Castignetti of Canton, MA and Dale Hunter on keyboards. The expert harmonies of Ms. Castignetti and Mr. Hunter gave depth to Ms. Poole’s original songs: You and Tequila, Weakness Falls and The Boy From Wichita. The trio payed tribute to Prince in an impromptu brief medley of Warren Haynes’s Beautifully Broken into When Doves Cry as the final number.
by Katharine W. Poole