GIG REVIEW: Charlie Worsham’s ‘Every Damn Monday’ – Lynyrd Skynyrd Night

$5 doesn’t stretch too far in Nashville these days. Half a glass of beer at FGL House perhaps, or a souvenir pen at Ernest Tubb’s record shop. It does however enable entry to The Basement East in East Nashville on Monday evenings. Let’s be more specific – Monday evenings in July when Charlie Worsham gathers his pals for a jamming session.

The venue is currently listed at #56 of 131 in the Trip Advisor ‘Nightlife in Nashville’ lists. It’s below the Music City Pub Crawl, Ray Stevens’ CabaRay Showroom and The Big Bang Dueling Pianos, but when Charlie shows up with his mates it’s the hot ticket.

Charlie lives local. It’s his hometown gig. He also knows lots of fellow Nashville musicians who are happy to pop along for the chance to play live. What else can you do on a Monday night? He’s been hosting these events for 3 years, has managed to obtain sponsorship from George Dickel Tennessee Whiskey, and all proceeds go to benefit the Follow Your Heart Foundation supporting under-privileged musicians.

We were in Nashville mid-July. Charlie’s line up on July 9th was very tasty. Special guests Brothers Osborne, Will Hoge, Randy Houser, Ashley Ray, Sadler Vaden, Kendell Marvel, Michael Hobby, Chris Hennessee and Ward Davis. His band included Matt Utterback, who is Hunter Hayes’ bass player, Tucker Wilson on drums and Billy Justineau on keyboard. Probably worth five dollars we thought!

The only downside (for us) was the night’s musical theme. It was the Lynyrd Skynyrd night. Feel free to hang me from the nearest lamp-post but apart from ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ and ‘Free Bird’, my musical knowledge of the band’s output was precisely nil. Southern Rock isn’t entirely my bag.

However, this was a feast of guitar solos and energy. Whatever your musical preferences, the awesome instrumentation from these guys on stage carried you through a faultless 80-minute set of Skynyrd interpretations. At times, the 3 lead guitarists Charlie, John Osborne (a fellow member of Charlie’s old band KingBilly) and Sadler Vaden (of Jason Isbell’s 400 Unit) combined to recreate the triple guitar onslaught made famous by the iconic 70s rockers.

Guest vocalists were introduced by Charlie to add their interpretations to the Skynyrd back catalogue. Will Hoge performed ‘Workin’ for MCA’. Kendell Marvel who recently supported Brothers Osborne in the UK performed ‘The Ballad of Curtis Loew’. Randy Houser was introduced and sang ‘Simple Man’ and TJ Osborne joined John and the band for ‘Tuesday’s Gone’.

Charlie absolutely loved it. There was hardly a moment in the whole set that he wasn’t beaming. You just have to love this guy’s infectious enthusiasm. What a great way to spend a Monday night.

The celebrity spotting wasn’t restricted to the stage. Some of the original Skynyrd members were in attendance. Peter Keys, who is still touring as the band’s keyboard player, popped on stage to perform ‘Call Me The Breeze’ and backing singer Carol Chase helped out on the group encore. Kip Moore was apparently watching from the bar, although we only actually saw Manny Medina, his bass player. Brandon Lancaster, lead vocalist with LANCO, was there with his wife. Just a normal Monday night in Nashville I guess.

Tonight’s episode (31st July) features the music of John Mayer. Charlie’s special guests are Devin Dawson, Jillian Jacqueline, Lindsay Ell and Steve Moakler. All for 5 bucks, folks…….

Graham Wharton