With its live events, Orlando promoter Modern Music Movement
makes perhaps the most consistent noise in quiet music. Besides the regular Acoustic Soundcheck
series at the Imperial,
MMM does one-off events all around town. But landing an Americana artist of international profile
for a special free show at an intimate neighborhood bistro was a nice little coup.
Mississippi-bred Kelley McRae
– whose new EP is currently sitting at #8 on the Euro Americana charts,
only three spots down from Justin Townes Earle,
who’ll soon be playing here (Feb. 17, Dr. Phillips Center) – headlined a bustling Saturday night with guitarist-husband Matt Castelein
(Feb. 7, Maxine’s). Despite the busy weekend dinner action, establishment co-owner Kirt Earhart
stepped up to deliver a warm, attention-seizing introduction that, in addition to pointing out the various local artists who were in the house that night, presented the featured musicians in a way that set the tone that they were not to be background entertainment.
Once McRae and Castelein started, it practically transformed this boho Colonialtown eatery into a Nashville music cafe.
With covers of artists like Townes Van Zandt
and Steve Earle
peppered among lovely originals, McRae’s well-pitched, educated Americana
is neither snoozy folk nor country cheese. It’s got no pose or pretense, just purity between her graceful singing and his beautiful guitar work. Together, they’re the triumph of grace and soul
over volume and glitter. And it was a beautiful little engagement.
This Little Underground is Orlando Weekly's music column providing perspective, live reviews and news on the city's music scene. Read the latest column here.
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