A disclaimer: I don't get out much. The last performer I saw in concert was Paul "Everytime You Go Away" Young in 1987 in Providence, Rhode Island. (On the way home from that concert, I got stopped by a New Hampshire State Police cruiser ten feet over the NH state line for "harassing" a limo that we had been following all the way across the state of Massachusetts in hopes it might be Paul Young. It was not. It was Michael Dukakis--governor of Massachusetts & future presidential candidate on his way to Manchester, NH to announce his (doomed) candidacy. The state policeman said to me, "Have you been following that limo?" And I said, "Not on purpose, sir." He didn't give me a ticket, just held us up long enough for the limo to lose us--a car load of teenage girls hyped up on that most dangerous of drugs: adolescent hormones.)
The disclaimer about my inexperience in the world of live performances is necessary because I'm about to gush about seeing Trent Willmon Friday night. Trent is a country singer and not all that well known--but if there's any justice in the world, he will soon be better known. His self-titled debut came out in October 2004 and included the singles "Beer Man" and "Dixie Rose Deluxe's Honky-Tonk, Feed Store, Gun Shop, Used Car, Beer, Bait, Barbecue, Barber Shop, Laundromat." Those songs were cute, bouncy, yee-haw, twangy country songs. I liked them well enough to download them from iTunes, but not enough to seek out the album.
What an idiot I was--or, as I prefer to think, there must've been an idiot in charge of deciding what songs were released as singles from that album. My first clue that Trent Willmon had more range than the first two singles showed was his newest single "On Again Tonight," which is from his forthcoming album (6-13-06). This song was released sometime in March (or at least I downloaded it from iTunes March 22) and I love it, love it, love it. Musically, it's the perfect showcase for Willmon's voice, which is much richer and much less twangy than his first two singles would've had you believe. And lyrically--it's about that kind of relationship that we've probably all had at least once in our lives: the person we just can't leave alone even though we know it's going absolutely nowhere.
Based on this song, when I heard Trent Willmon was coming to town (to our rinky-dink, teeny-tiny, little town), I was definitely interested and when I heard the tickets were only ten dollars and that the proceeds benefited the elementary school playground fund, I plunked down my twenty bucks so Daughter-Only and I could go.
When we got to the high school parking lot, Willmon's bus was parked unassumingly in the corner of the lot. We parked ten or fifteen spaces up from it and sat watching a small group of men practicing roping skills in the corner of the lot. I would've never been able to pick Willmon out from the group if Daughter-Only hadn't pointed him out. (He'd been at the elementary school earlier in the day and performed an impromptu concert of three or four songs for the students.)
He definitely didn't radiate that aloof I'm-a-star (or even a wannabe star) attitude. Which is weird, because onstage? He was definitely star material. Even in our itty-bitty town in front of maybe 200 people in our scaled-down high school auditorium, Willmon and his band really gave it their all. I've always had a theory that the best performers--singers, actors, writers, artists of every stripe--are those who really enjoy what they're doing, who feel compelled to perform whatever the rewards. I would definitely put Willmon in that category--both live and on the album (which Cranky Boss Lady bought and I have repeatedly appropriated and listened to over and over again), Willmon sings every song like he really means it. He's either a really good fake or a sincere man with an amazing voice. (And we all know how I feel about great voices!)
So, the new album's out next month--June 13. I'm marking my calendar.
Masked Mom's One-Word Review: A keeper.*
*So, technically, that's two words, but I'm pretty sure Willmon is worth it.
PS--To MommaCW a.k.a. Blonde Best Friend From High School: remember that game we played on the beach in Maine? R-A-B? Willmon? Was definitely at least a 9. C'mon, isn't it a relief to know that some people (me) never grow all the way up? You're only young once, but you can be immature forever.
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