The Echo’s weekly country rock series called the Grand Ole Echo is a breath of fresh air (despite a lot of patio smokers) on Sunday afternoons. The all-ages shows last from 4 to 8pm, and are free before 6pm or $5 afterwards. I discovered the GOE last summer when I went to see Bonnie Montgomery (reviewed here), and I highly recommend it – even if you’re not normally a country music fan – for catching talented musicians, either local or on the road.
Last Sunday’s lineup consisted of Idaho native/L.A. residents Andrew Sheppard and Jackson Tanner, Arizona band Tommy Ash (pictured above), and Grammy-nominated local act Rose’s Pawn Shop. Sheppard opened up the evening on the patio, where BBQ was cooking and smelled amazing, and he played in between each indoor act as well. Sheppard has a strong voice and plays Americana/rootsy alt-country, with pretty steel lap guitar floating over memorable songs. The music reminded me of Deer Tick (“Waiting on the Rain”) and occasionally Gram Parsons (“When Our Hearts Go Out of Tune”), and even a little of Bright Eyes’ I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning album. I picked up a copy of Sheppard’s album Far From Here.
(More photos after the jump)
The crowd moved indoors afterwards to catch Tommy Ash, who had a polished, modern country image, but whose music was a fun mix of danceable country rock, rockabilly and honkytonk. Frontwoman Ash has an immaculate look in shorts, fishnets and boots, and a belting, tough-girl voice. I thought it was funny when she mentioned the heat in the club and said, “We’re not used to humidity” – being from Phoenix – because I unfairly tend to imagine country bands are from the south! Up next was Jackson Tanner, who have a more mainstream, pop-country sound, so it wasn’t my kind of thing, but they played well and the crowd was enthusiastic. There was a friendly, positive vibe over all that added to the enjoyment of the evening.
Rose’s Pawn Shop were the headliners, and they played a nice combination of fiddle and banjo-led Americana and melodic pop/rock. Excellent musicians all around, both frontman Paul Givant and guitarist John Kraus alternated between banjo and guitar, while Tim Weed seriously tore it up on the fiddle. They sang strong harmonies as well and encored with a quirky cover of Phil Collins’s “In The Air Tonight”. Givant joked that their 2014 album Gravity Well, which was nominated in three categories at the Grammys, is “blowing up” on Spotify and has therefore earned them about $40 from the service.
All photos taken by Simone Snaith for the LA Beat