This show show was an unexpected pleasure. It was a quiet night in downtown Raleigh, and I just went out to support the Red Cross tornado benefit at the Pour House, being a multiple Cat 3 hurricane survivor myself. But after a few covers from the GnR tribute band Appetite for Destruction, which was fun (but I've never been a big GnR fan), my usual craving for original music just became too much to bear.
So I had read about this country/western style act playing at King's, and thought I'd head down the street to check it out. I missed the first couple of acts, but caught Nightingale News and the headliner, Miss Lana Rebel and the Broken Promises. Nightingale News is the name of Broken Promises member Coy Campbell King's solo act (just found out he's only sitting in for a bit on this tour). His material was pretty somber, but thoughtful. His sound filled out nicely when Lana and other "Promise" Kevin Mayfield sat in, the latter on singing saw (he and Mr. King pictured here).
It made for a fitting opener to Miss Lana Rebel's act, in which King switched to standup bass and Mayfield went to guitar. The set-up wasn't what I had expected, thinking there would be drums, more swing, etc (but really, I hadn't heard of these guys, and only had the Independent's write-up to go on). So the arrangement made for a quieter version of a down-home honky-tonk act, which knocked my socks off. Miss Rebel's voice quietly soared, telling sad tales of loneliness, loss, and perseverance. Again, maybe I expected something more jumpy, but since when has country not had a rather large element of melancholy?
Not that the band couldn't swing at times. The bass was great and the interplay of acoustic & electric got some tunes really moving. But overall, the feeling was of a listening to a great jukebox on a little highway joint somewhere on your way out west, sippin' whiskey and contemplatin' the universe.
Like I said, it was a quiet night in Raleigh. The show wasn't heavily attended. But that's never been the best indicator of a good show. They got a gig at Slim's the next night, so hopefully, more locals got a chance to check them out. There's a lot of rootsy, Americana/Appalachain-influenced indie music around these parts, but not much country & western. Miss Lana Rebel & the Broken Promises brought some of that to town Thursday (more the western, I'd say), and we're glad they did.