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Hannah Bethel Delivers Knock Out Set At City Winery Nashville

Photo credit: Bill McClintic/90 East Photography

A super steamy Sunday night gave way to some cool tunes when Hannah Bethel took the stage at Nashville’s City Winery. Playing The Lounge upstairs at the Winery, Bethel brought some old favorites and a slew of new material for the packed room. Dressed all in an off-white wrap-type blouse, reminiscent of styles seen in the late 70’s, white jeans and beige and tan boots, Bethel definitely represented her brand. She’s a modern-day hippie gypsy with a voice made for the Americana market. Shades of great songwriting women such as Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt and Kacey Musgraves come to mind when Bethel plays her music.

Opening her set with the new ballad, “Watertown,” Bethel came out with her own Gretsch electric guitar, drummer James Bavendam and guitarist Miguel Cancino. Although Bethel only met these two musicians three days prior, it was obvious they clicked.

Next she tackled a cover of Fleetwood Mac‘s classic “Dreams.” If there’s any band on the planet that I’m familiar with, it’s Fleetwood Mac. I’ve been a devout fan for decades and anytime someone covers their songs, I’m all ears. Bethel made the wise decision to take that familiar hit and re-craft it in her own style. Rather than attempting to imitate the legendary Stevie Nicks‘ vocals, Bethel infused her sweet, ethereal vibe into the tune, shifting it from a classic rock favorite to a solid cover, Americana-style. As an added bonus for the Fleetwood Mac fans in the audience, Bethel incorporated two other Stevie Nicks numbers into her cover, “Silver Springs” and “Rhiannon.”

The midtempo “Godspeed, Los Angeles” gave us a new song with slick energy, followed by “Someone’s Woman,” one that Bethel wrote herself while on the road and “missing my sweet man.” Cancino also treated the crowd to an impressive guitar solo.

The previously released “Train,” came with a semi-lengthy introduction. Bethel held out on dropping the song as soon as she might have, thanks to a vision she had for the music video. She imagined chasing trains through a desert, but at the time, her budget wasn’t cooperating with such extravagance. Holding tight to that vision, knowing it had to be right, she waited. “Time is only a constrict of this dimension, so what’s the rush?” she told the crowd at City Winery. Fortunately for her, the time did eventually come around when she met a guy named Dawson Waters, who agreed to shoot the video. So, they hopped into a Saturn Vue and hightailed it to West Texas where they did the shoot in quick order. It must have been worth the trip because it was Bethel’s first video to make it to CMT.

“Train” is an upbeat ride, filled with wishful dreams of always being in complete control of one’s life, and it was performed with intensity on the Winery stage.

Video courtesy of Hannah Bethel and YouTube

Cancino and Bavendam left the stage for a break, allowing Bethel to perform “On the Way Down” alone with her electric guitar. Not yet recorded, this is one searing heartbreaker and easily may have been the highlight of Bethel’s set. Delivered with unrestrained emotion, Bethel shined as her lyrics dropped listeners into an abyss of heartache.

A first place winner in the Americana category of the 2019 International Songwriting Competition, “The House is on Fire” gave us another sad song, performed acoustically, also solo.

Video courtesy of Think Country and YouTube

With Cancino and Bavendam back out to join her, Bethel gave us a taste of her new song, “Magdalene.” Rocking out in a controlled kind of way, this one is sure to become a crowd favorite.

The midtempo ballad “Ready,” a not-too-heavy tune that has Bethel questioning whether or not to let a relationship go followed “Magdalene.”

Photo credit: Bill McClintic/90 East Photography

The power ballad theme kept up with “Body + Soul,” giving the band a chance to really cut loose. Jumping up and down and appearing more animated than at any other point in the evening, Bethel showed the audience a completely new side of herself.

The night wrapped up with “Rhinestone Rodeo,” a low-key tune with a message of perseverance that packs a punch. Bethel’s soft lilting vocals illuminated the thoughtful lyrics.

Hannah Bethel is one to watch in the country/Americana world. She writes from the heart and puts her emotions on display, never mincing words if the song calls for it. The perfect mix of a free musical spirit with her feet planted solidly on the ground, Nashville is fortunate to have her and I know we’ll be hearing a lot more from her.

The show at The Lounge at City Winery opened with Sean C. Kennedy, a native of Irvine, Scotland. Kennedy has been working with notable artists and producers such as Andy Taylor (Duran Duran) and Nik Kershaw. His music is a refreshing blend of pop, blues, rock and soul. He dressed up his set with good stories and a touch of comedy. Look for his music on all the usual digital platforms.

Keep up with Hannah Bethel on her website at hannahbethel.com where you’ll find links to her music and social media sites.

Follow Sean C. Kennedy on his website at seanckennedy.com.

Photo credit: Bill McClintic/90 East Photography

For more news, interviews, reviews and features that always bring country closer, please visit thinkcountrymusic.com.

*Featured photo credit: Bill McClintic/90 East Photography


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