The Blue Door is Oklahoma’s best listening room by far. It’s also one of the most intimate. While the stage is fairly spacious all things considered, Amy Ray and her band managed to cover just about every inch. Both physically and musically. Ray is touring in support of her newest studio album Holler on her own home grown Daemon Records label and she has put together one of the best live bands I’m ever heard. The band includes Matt Smith on pedal steel, banjo and Adrian Carter on fiddle and guitar; Kerry Brooks took on bass and mandolin, Jim Brock held steady on drums with Dan Walker on piano and Jeff Fielder on guitar and damn near everything else. On this chilly March Oklahoma night, Amy Ray and band created a warm, friendly and comforting musical experience for the sold out audience.
The band opened with “More Pills” making it clear early that those packed into the Blue Door’s friendly confines were in for something special. Perhaps to just clarify this message, the version of Indigo Girls song “Bitter Root” that came next, did exactly that. Highlights, when this numerous, are hard to pin down. Appropriately much of the focus on was on Holler, with “Sure Feels Good” and “Tonight I’m Paying the Rent” really being memorable. “My Dog” and “Oyster and Pearl” from 2014’s “Goodnight Tender” were remarkably presented as well. Again, I can’t speak high enough praise on the band collectively. They proved capable of creating a bluegrass jam feel, supported by a jazzy interlude, all while rocking out with stunning harmonies. All while seeming to have the time of their lives playing together. The first leg of the tour ended the following night in Austin, but will hit the road again in May. I highly recommend catching this show should it come near you. In fact, I can’t recommend it enough. The word ‘magic’ often gets thrown about loosely when describing music. This time, I think it fits perfectly, and may not even be enough to describe what the Amy Ray Band conjured up.
You can check out Amy Ray’s upcoming tour dates, her album “Holler”, and more at: https://www.amy-ray.com/
Chastity Brown started things off, and yet another memorable new musical discovery was made. A Tennessee native, now calling Minneapolis home, Brown played a striking set of songs revealing her influences of country, soul, gospel and even a sliver of acoustic funk. Supporting her album “Silhouette of Sirens” Brown laid bare her soul though powerful solo versions of her songs. Accompanied only by her electric guitar and a few effects, she quickly won over the audience. She seemed somewhat taken aback by the attention the crowd silently and raptly granted her, but never wavered in the purposeful delivery of her songs. Highlights included “Carried Away” and “Whisper.”‘I really hope to catch an extended set from Ms. Brown in the near future, though we purchased a copy of her CD to tide us over.
Learn more about Chastity Brown here: http://chastitybrownmusic.com/