PHOTOS: Stephen Babcock and Luca Di Fabio at The Local (Nashville, TN)

While we were in Nashville this past week, we got to #GoUnderground there for the first time — and our first glimpse of Music City’s original scene lived up to expectations.

The setting was The Local, located on N. 28th Ave. near Vanderbilt University. The evening of music was put on by The Nashville Masquerade, a local rock series presenting up-and-coming acts from Nashville and beyond.

As for the talent? We had the opportunity to check out two of the night’s performers — and would have stuck around longer, if not for a looooong drive back to Pennsylvania in the morning. The first of whom, Stephen Babcock, joined us from New York City and brought intricate guitar work and heartfelt songwriting to the stage for about a half-hour set that included new single, “The Guy That Says Goodbye to You is Out of His Mind.” Babcock’s music certainly skews toward country, while holding its own quite well in pop territory to remain accessible for the room’s diverse and attentive listening audience.

Then, it came time for Luca Di Fabio, and let’s just say this — this band is tight. In addition to that, the band’s collective energy and onstage chemistry brings additional life to Di Fabio’s songs, while the singer/guitarist himself is a unique and engaging presence at the front of the stage. Also notable is the songwriting; the band can deliver a tender, heart-wrenching ballad (“I’ll Call When I’m Fine”) just as readily as it can burn it down with the full rock and roll pageantry of set closer “International Boy.” They’re definitely one to watch as we make our way down to Nashville on a more permanent basis.

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