PHOTOS: Cris Jacobs at The Basement (w/ Sam Johnston)
Wednesday night was a special kind of evening at The Basement Nashville. It was one full of expert storytelling and world-class musicianship.
Of course, that had a lot to do with the fact that Cris Jacobs came through in support of his album, Color Where You Are. Jacobs and his bandmates — Todd Herrington (bass), Dusty Ray Simmons (drums), and Jonathan Sloane (guitar) — arrived to their stop in Music City ready to put on a show, despite encountering van trouble on the road earlier in the day.
They were supported by Nashville-based soul man Sam Johnston, whose emotive guitar work and strong voice proved him a worthy opener. Johnston’s expressive six-song performance was strong overall, and perhaps reached its height on “Postcards,” a heartfelt tune about a long-distance relationship that left the audience with chills.
Then, it was Jacobs’ turn. The band’s set consisted entirely of songs from Color Where You Are, and served as a prime example of the personal and musical chemistry Jacobs speaks of between he and his collaborators.
The 45-minute set — which included upbeat album opener “Painted Roads” and the world-aware ballad “Afterglow,” among other selections — was delivered craftily and with precision. However, it was set closer “Rooster Coop” that stole the show, employing an extended jam that featured Jacobs and fellow axe man Sloane communicating brilliantly with each other through their dueling, intricate guitars. Meanwhile, Herrington and Simmons provided a backbone that was equal parts steadiness and funk, holding it all together to send the crowd home happy.