Contributor's Review by C.A. p ’ Tain
What a delightful surprise as three very talented performers invited the audience of hundreds into the “intimate setting of their living room” for two and half hours of laughter, warmth and an occasional tear or two. The incredible talents of the pianist, Charles Judge, and the excellent ability of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra to blend the music together made for an enjoyable listening experience. However, the music that drew attendees to the River Center on Valentine’s Day became a backdrop to the story telling provided by the song writers as they shared how the lyrics developed. Some songs sparked to life by personal life experiences while others were the product of some very basic things like a new pizza shop and an unopened bottle of whiskey.
After setting the environment with some down home conversation, Hillary Lindsey, reached every heart in the room when she asked the audience to sing Happy Birthday to her sixty nine year old father and then she delivered an outstanding rendition of his favorite song she’s every written called “Coming Home.” It was a very warm moment for all the dads who embraced the lyrics being performed by a daughter who now has a daughter of her own.
It was Rivers Rutherford who sprinkled humor throughout the entire evening amongst some famous songs he has written over the last few decades. After taking us down one of his pathways of humor and sharing some of his life’s silly moments, he dwarfed everyone’s emotions with two songs. In the first song he dedicated the performance to his daughter who just became engaged. It was then that Rivers slowly unwound the words of “Stealing Cinderella” where a young man hesitantly approaches a father for his daughter’s hand. A few minutes later and after he dazzled the audience with an amazing display of good ole guitar playing, he explains is was the day he lost his grandfather that he wrote the words to “When I Get to Where I am Going.” A slow and steady journey through a grandson’s eyes that left not a single dry eye in the place.
The newcomer to the group, Cary Barlowe, struggled to stay on his bar stool during most of his songs. The man enjoys what he does and he likes to show it using every muscle in his body. But the biggest surprise of the night came when this larger than life persona slowed the tempo, quieted his guitar and allowed his heart to come alive as he started the lyrics from a song he wrote about his daughter, “She Won’t Remember but I Will.” With his daughter in the audience for her first performance, Cary needed help finishing the chorus but everybody there felt the power in the room.
Each of these performers portrayed their lives as simple folks who happen to get lucky with a few songs they wrote which were later released by some of the biggest music legends in the business. The intimate setting they develop in their performance forces you to really listen to all the words of the songs and to experience small glimpses into their lives. It doesn’t take long to realize these are not simple minded people at all but instead are geniuses who have mastered their craft and love sharing their lives through music. The constant emotional roller coaster between belly laughing and gut wrenching sorrow wound its way down life’s journey for each member of the audience which was a delightful surprise for all.