Having been around music and musicians, I know the nervousness and anxiety-inducing thoughts an artist goes through as they release new music. No matter how confident you are or how great you may feel the music is, you still worry about being too open and how others will receive and perceive your music. On Saturday night at The Burl, Coby Langham went through those very emotions and fears as he unleashed his debut EP, ‘Years On The Road’. If you’d like to know our thoughts on the EP, you can find that here. When I asked Coby before the show, how he overcame his fears, he gave a very simple answer…”Whiskey.” Ahhhhhh, the ole liquid courage!
We will get to Coby in a few, but I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t mention the other acts that filled the bill. Kicking things off was Jason Sinkhorn. Jason released a singer/songwriters dream of an album in 2018 titled, ‘Junction City, Kentucky.’ Jason dropped this album with almost no heads up and caught many folks off guard, myself included, but that didn’t stop the release from showing up on several Best of 2018 lists. Jason would be pulling double duty on the night, as he is also the bassist and sings backing vocals with Coby Langham.
Sinkhorn brought a stripped down, acoustic set accompanied by a second guitar and a fiddle that felt incredibly intimate, even though the room was filling up quickly as he played. Jason performed most of his debut album and left the crowd delighted. I was very happy when he included “Flat Rate Heartbreak Blues.” He ended his set on a reworked, reimagined version of the Neil Young classic, “Rockin In The Free World.” He even got complimented on his jacket. That there is a win/win I reckon. Seriously though, if you enjoy good storytelling, give Mr. Sinkhorn a listen. I’ll betcha dig it!
Next up was The Laid Back Country Picker. Aka Chico. Aka David Prince. Ole Laid Back is quite the character, both literally and figuratively. His persona may tilt a bit comedic, but don’t kid yourself, there is some really great music flowing out from under that hat.
Mr. Prince has been a staple in our scene for years, but his Laid Back Country Picker persona has made him about as close to a “cult status” as one would want to comfortably be considered a “cult status.” Part Gene Tracy, part Waylon Jennings, part Unknown Hinson, yet still all Chico is about the best way I can describe him. His music is fun, but it’s David himself that makes it all work. David and his wife Teresa have their other band, Luna And The Mountain Jets, but Teresa also happens to be “Honey”, the main squeeze of Ole Laid Back.
If you’ve never seen Laid Back Or Luna, you really should change that. On this night, I enjoyed “Party Line”, “David Bowie”, “TV Preacher”, and his version of “Godzilla”, but the song that wins em over every single time is the “Magoffin County Cadillac.”
For me though, the story he tells about Peter Frampton using a gimmick to entertain his fans, while telling the crowd he would never stoop so low, while speaking through his infamous telephone microphone gets me everytime. That, is the Laid Back Country Picker. And by the way, where the hell is Jeff Cox?
Coby Langham stepped up next with a full band and a full heart, he gave it his all and I’ll be honest, I am so incredibly proud of his performance. We chatted a bit before and he was blown away by the response so far, but when he saw the crowd eager and ready, that smile transformed him into the Cheshire Cat.
I am almost as invested in these artists as they are. I spend a ton of time and mostly my own money to help these folks grow, so in a weird sort of Dad like sense, I truly enjoy seeing folks succeed. Seeing Coby perform songs like “All American”, “Skate And Bowl”, “5×7” and “Years On The Road” and having several folks sing the lyrics back to him was the thrill of the night. So I thought, then Coby busted out my favorite Alabama song in, “Song Of The South.” All I can say is, the party was on and ending with “As The Crow Flies” was a big ole cherry on top!
Following Laid Back and Coby Langham isn’t an easy task, so Sean Whiting has figured out a solution to one of those problems. Just put Laid Back in your band and you’ll never face that difficult task. Genius!! This night was originally scheduled as a dual album release party for Sean and Coby, but Sean landed a situation that requires him to push his release back a bit. He signed on with the Louisville based label, Eastwood Records.
Sean has one of the most powerful and well controlled that the bluegrass has to offer. I often compare his vocals to those of Chris Stapleton during his Jompson Brothers era. Deep, gravely, charged yet always under control. Whiting has that rare ability to push his voice to the edge of losing it, but never allowing it to break. One look no further than his newest single, “Just The Same”, to see… errrr hear just what I mean.
Sean has written several of my favorite songs, but when the man cuts loose on “I’m Gonna Love You”, well, it just doesn’t get any better in my opinion. Add in the fact that they dropped the blues classic, “Red House” on us and I honestly can not remember a night packed with so many wonderful songs.
Also, after hearing some of Sean’s new songs that will be on his new album, holy shit! The world ain’t ready. Guess what though, Kentucky is coming and the world WILL take notice. The level of talent and support here are something I haven’t witnessed in all the years I’ve been involved with music.
I’ll say this with complete confidence, the new Sean Whiting record will match up with any Free album ever made. Paul Rodgers was killing it with Free before Bad Company and Sean has the voice, the control and now, the songs to be become a next level talent.
I’ll end this with one simple statement. There is a musical movement happening in Kentucky as you read this. If you love music, come to a show. Any show. You’ll enjoy yourself. Introduce yourself and watch the instant friendship blossom. We’re having the time of our lives, come join us!!