Tony Lucca

The renaissance man residing in Nashville brings his stories to Charlotte.

Tony Lucca is indeed a man of many disciplines. From his start in acting, to finding success in songwriting, with songs being placed in major tv shows including Friday Night Lights, he has had a unique career as an entertainer so far.

Living in Los Angeles for a brief time(1995-1997) he acted full time until deciding to pursue music in 1997.

This was my first time seeing Tony live, so I was unaware of the energy he brings to his live shows, and it truly was infectious. The intimate setting of The Evening Muse brought Tony’s energy that much closer to the audience, providing a truly entertaining show. Tony has a way of inviting you into his songs, making you feel like you’ve heard them a thousand times. People can tell that the songs he writes mean something. They weigh on you and make you really believe true music. Different songs tell different times in his life such as “Empty Handed Blues”, born out of a long trip from Charlotte to Jacksonville. Tony’s songs are place marks in his life, a trait that many legendary songwriters have.

Tony with his TFDI Fest shirt. A music festival started by Tony and friends. https://www.tfdifest.com/

Apart from writing songs, Tony has ventured into organizing a music festival from scratch starting TFDI Fest(Totally Fuckin’ Doing It) with Jay Nash. “Hand selecting” different artists to perform, this festival will run in the fall(September 6th & 7th)

Other big news coming out of the workings of Tony include a new album called “Ain’t No Storm” releasing on March 29th. Super exciting news for sure!

Writing hit songs, releasing a new album, and starting a music festival sounds like a pipe dream for most musicians, but for Tony Lucca, he’s Totally Fuckin’ Doing It.

Future Thieves

It’s time to focus on one of Nashville’s celebrated rock n’ roll bands.

Future Thieves rolled into Charlotte, fresh off of releasing a new single entitled “Focus”. Weeks after selling out the Basement East in Nashville, these guys carried that same energy to Charlotte.

If there’s one thing to be said about these guys, is that they get the concept of straight forward, no frills rock and roll. I can remember about half way through the set, seeing bass player Nick Goss’ bass amp visibly rocking from side to side. That’s the energy of this band. That’s what they give you any night of the week.

Old favorites such as “Rosie” and “Horizon Line” were main staples in the set, but newer songs such as “Machines” and the newest of the bunch “Focus” really showed the creativity and versatility of the Future Thieves sound. These guys have found a really great sound that can appeal to not only rock n’ roll purists, but to fans of other pop centered genres.

Their last time in Charlotte was on October 5th, when they did a set for Sofar Sounds(a really cool music concept that you should check out). When talking about Sofar Sounds during the set, lead singer Elliot Collet was quick to praise the stripped down nature of the performance and the connection that it brings to the listener. That’s really the root of the success these guys have had so far. They love the connection between band and listener. They want to give you the best show possible, all the time, every time…and they always overdeliver.

Future Thieves has a couple remaining dates on their current tour schedule. Go support a band that thrives on real, pure music. I promise you’ll be a future fan.

Rayland Baxter

Seeing is Believing at The Visulite

Rayland Baxter isn’t black & white. Rayland Baxter isn’t one dimensional. Rayland Baxter certainly isn’t ordinary. Rayland is his own kind, a one-off, a truly magical artist that you need to see to believe.

The Nashville native(which makes him even more special) made his triumphant return to the Queen City, since his last appearance in Charlotte at The Evening Muse.

Most of the world including myself, were introduced to Rayland’s unique characteristics though one of his more popular songs “Yellow Eyes”. I still remember watching through the screen as a man in a Goodyear hat played all the right notes and hit all the right emotions.

After playing a couple of tried and true originals, Rayland’s tribute to another unique artist was one of the highlights of the night. His cover of “Come Back to Earth” by the late Mac Miller drew the crowd close. I took it as not only as as a tribute, but a gesture of respect. Later in the night, a cover by Neil Young was wildly accepted.

I believe very root of Baxters rise to prominence has to do with his carefree nature. He isn’t flashy or egotistic. He doesn’t try too hard to be “different”. He’s there for the music and the people. While other artists erect grandiose stage plots, Rayland comes out on stage amidst a tie dye backdrop, plugs in his Gibson semi hollow-body guitar, and lets the music shine.

We all came out on a Thursday night, not only to see a performance, but to believe in the magic of Baxter.

Baxter, known for his heavy touring, will be on the road through September.

Diamonds and Whiskey.

One of Charlotte’s country gems puts on one hell of a show.

A chilly night in January. Running from car to venue in order not to freeze was a requirement. Once inside, a warm welcome was made to Diamonds and Whiskey as they started their set.

With a kick of the leg on every downbeat, Von Bury(the guitar player for D&W) first caught my eye with his energetic stage presence and ferocious lead tones.

The band started out strong and loud, pairing original songs with some well known cover songs by Kings of Leon and other classic rock icons. When it was time for the energy of the set to come down, it was for good reason.

Jenny Webb(lead singer and guitar player for D&W) announced that they would play a song they had never done before live. The song entitled “hero” was about Jenny’s fight with Lyme disease.

It was honestly my favorite part of the night, showing how such a terrible ordeal can lead to such a moving song. If I didn’t know it was the first time this band had played this song live, I would have thought it had been a staple in their set for years.

After such an emotional & moving song, the band launched back into more original songs with the occasional cover song thrown in. Notably “Buy Me A Boat” by Chris Janson was a welcome surprise.

After the final song had been played, and the lights had come up, I was left with a really great feeling about this band. Their fans are loyal hard-working folks that just want to have a good time, they play no-frills in your face country-rock, and as a band they really gel well together.

I’m glad to see a band that knows how they want to sound & knows where they want to go.

Diamonds & Whiskey was on fire on a cold January night.