Chase Bryant played The Bowery Electric, the best rock ‘n’ roll venue in New York City’s Lower East Side, last night. He turned the intimate club into an experience that most country music fans long for but rarely get these days; he gave a stadium-sized performance for a crowd that was merely feet away. (Can you blame me for gettin’ my iPhone out and capturing a few moments?) By the second song (“Wayfarer Weather”), the room was a steamy party reminding everyone that the connection between an artist and an audience is what it’s really all about.
No one creates that bond quite as naturally or as instantly as Chase Bryant does. He held the crowd’s attention in ways that both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders would admire. Of course, it helped the the guy (who’s a cross between a just-bursting-on-the-scene Elvis and a leading-man-Leonardo DiCaprio) was singing the lyric “No, it won’t be long now, We’ll be rollin’ these windows down, You’ll be pullin’ that sweater off, Puttin’ on a summer song…” to the excited ladies crowding the lip of the stage. The set may have started at 8pm on an overcast Tuesday in May, but by the time Chase ripped into a surprise chorus of Ricochet’s “Daddy’s Money,” it was clear that summer had unofficially begun in Manhattan. (FYI: Chase is the nephew of Jeff and Junior Bryant, co-founders of Ricochet).
Even though he performs with an eagle-eyed intensity at times, there’s a comfy, relaxed quality to Chase these days. He is at home on the stage with an earned confidence that wasn’t always there a year ago. He’s played the big venues (sharing the stage with Tim McGraw and Billy Currington, among others) now, and when he plays a space like The Electric Bowery, he brings all that authority with him. On Tuesday night, in a plain white T-shirt and black jeans, he was home again, making big sounds in a smaller space, and we were lucky to be in the room.
No show of Chase Bryant’s—even an impromptu show like this one—would have been complete without his heartbreakingly earnest delivery of “Change Your Name,” and he did not disappoint…
From the sound of some of the new songs he previewed, it’s clear that Chase wants to sing much more than just yearning love songs. He’s been on the road for awhile now and he knows that having fun on stage night after night will make life on tour a whole lot more enjoyable, so he’s come up with several uptempo tunes that allow him to show off his talent on the guitar.
So what made this pop-up concert such a treat? Well, it was pretty much everything that Chase Bryant brings to any stage—incredible musicianship, charm, an eagerness to please, a wit matched only by his fashion sense, the always longed for accessibility with an audience, and a passion for music that is infectious. Seeing and hearing it all up close only made it all that much clearer. To see and hear it all yourself, catch Chase on tour this summer. From the way he’s making music these days, it promises to be a good, loud, fun, energizing, sometimes even sacred, experience. The future of country music looks bright.
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To follow Chase around the world, click here (a link to his upcoming tour dates). And, as he sings in “Wayfarer Weather,” just “put your shades on, lay it back, enjoy the ride.”