Reviewer: Roger Sharman

Jason Eady Aces & Eights

From the moment I first heard about this show a couple of months back, I felt real excitement. The Aces & Eights saloon was a new venue for me, and with Jason Eady being one of the biggest names on the Texas music scene, this was surely going to be a night not to be missed. I wondered if this was scheduled to coincide with the Texas Music Takeover event. I wondered if Courtney Patton would be with her hubby, whether it would be a full band show or acoustic. All added to the buzz that I had over this show. I had no idea what to expect from the venue. One thing I was certain about was that it was going to be one helluva show! Aces & Eights is an interesting venue, it used to be a Bank in the past and what used to be the vault now contains the stage & cosy seating area. It’s normally used to showcase upcoming British acts, usually rock orientated. This was quite appropriate for the opening act of the evening, Mike Parker. A special mention should go out to Mike West, who put on a storming show to warm the crowd up immediately before the main event. Mike gives everything on stage & has some very good songs, sharp wit & great stage presence. Check out his brand of Blues & Folk, you won’t be disappointed! From the moment Jason walked on to the stage in this tiny little venue, my thoughts were confirmed! He went straight into ‘Calaveras County’, from the latest release, ‘I Travel On’. I should mention at this point it wasn’t a full band gig, Jason was only joined by an upright Bass. ‘Calaveras County’ is one of those songs that takes you to the place, it makes you want to go there. I had to Google it to see if it even exists, and it does! It’s in Northern California & its scenery looks spectacular. ‘Why I left Atlanta’ flows straight in after ‘Promises to Pieces’ both tracks slowing the tempo down, but really highlighting the vocal prowess that Mr Eady possesses, as does “Wishful Drinking’ from the ‘Am Country Heaven’ album. At this time it was apparent that Jason owned this small, but entranced, crowd with his mastery of the morose, down-tempo, folk\country ballad. The mood was instantly lightened by the upbeat, distinctly Bluegrass sound of “I lost My Mind in Carolina’, which had the entire crowd’s feet tapping. Slowing it down once more, Jason played the title track from his last album ‘I Travel on’ & the beautiful ‘Black Jesus” (which Courtney usually joins Jason on), which name drops two of Jason’s biggest influences, Hank Williams & Willie Nelson. Digging deeper into his back catalogue, the southern rock sounding ‘Back to Jackson’ was stripped right back to basics, but sounded as awesome as always. By this stage we were all spellbound, silent, & marvelling at a master craftsman at work. Quite clearly Jason was enjoying his evenings work also, laughing & joking with the audience through “Not Too Loud’ & ‘Rain’. Next up was a glorious version of the old Lee Thomas Miller song ‘Whiskey & You’, made famous by Tim McGraw, more recently covered by both Chris Stapleton & Aaron Lewis. Jason’s version is softer but equally as captivating as the others. Another old favourite had the crowd purring, ‘Lonesome, Down & Out’, first recorded for the 2014 release ‘Daylight & Dark, then re-recorded for the ‘Something Together’ album with Courtney Patton in 2016. This a personal favourite  of mine and a piece of outstanding writing. Rattling off great song after great song, the audience was treated to tracks ‘Below the Waterline’ and ‘Pretty When I Die’, a real beauty of a track, born from the traditional Bluegrass music that Jason adores, and ‘That’s Alright’ – all from ‘I Travel On’. From ‘AM Country Heaven’ we got the title track and also ‘Old Guitar & Me’. ‘Go Down Moses’ was an absolute stonker. Add to that ‘Where I’ve Been’ & ‘Barabbas’ from his eponymously titled album, another huge favourite & stormer ‘Judgement Day’, which contained some outstanding Double Bass. A member of the audience had her wish for the gorgeous ‘Wild-Eyed Serenade’. To round off the evening, Jason decide to unplug from the amp and switch off the microphone to deliver perhaps the performance of the night ‘Cry Pretty’, which brought a tear to my eye I can tell you. The set was a perfect blend of old & new, and just like a best of set. Mr Eady was on fire that night for sure!

Jason Eady

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