Every now and then I like to get out and see a band that has caught my attention over the years if they come to town. Luckily, I had seen a post on Facebook this morning that the Americana/Country band 2/3 Goat was playing at Tootsies (yes that Tootsies) in down town Nashville this morning. Since I was already down here for business, I stopped in to listen and see if they stood up to their music video for “Stream of Conscience” that originally caught my attention a year or so ago containing a serious message well crafted into a song with a great hook and harmonies.
The best time to catch a band really is when they are playing to a very small crowd. It’s let’s you see if they can really pull it off. It’s easy to play to a large crowd full of energy, but it’s a whole different story when playing at 11 am to 15 people in a venue you have never played before. So now I am going to go over the good, the bad and my final thoughts.
The lead vocalists Annalyse McCoy (descent of the Kentucky McCoy’s, yes those McCoy’s,) and Ryan Dunn have a theater background and moved to New York to make it on Broadway. Why is this relevant? Because it means they can actually sing, I mean really sing. Not like many of todays vocalists who are constantly straining their voice and coughing up hairballs live because they aren’t as good as on their CD.
Annalyse McCoy is a tiny power house of a vocalist. After listening to about an hours worth of singing, not one bad note came out of her mouth. She has great tone and no matter what register or what volume, she sounds full, clear and better than most anyone else I have listened to in Nashville. When behind her mandolin or guitar she is a bit timid and stoic in her body movement but her face is very expressive which really helps her performance. Once she steps out from behind her instruments, she is almost a different singer live. She is more sultry and expressive and adds a new energy to the stage. Annalyse is also very good with her eye contact which is crucial when performing. Annalyse sang a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Silver Springs” that honestly, I liked better than the original. While I love Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks’ tight vibrato sometimes really gets on my nerves and with Annalyse’s version, it was much more personal and listenable to me.
Ryan Dunn is a solid singer who also stayed in key the whole time and blends very well with Annalyse for harmonies. While a solid singer (again, more consistent than many I have seen here in Nashville,) Dunn needs to add a bit more character to his voice to really stand out from the pack and make his mark. This is not a knock, just an observation. Dunn can sing and sing well. Dunn is a bit more animated while singing with his instrument but not much.
The songs are well written but not all super hooky radio hits. 2/3 Goat write with much deeper messages and stories than most of todays artists. A lost art in my honest opinion. The band while sometimes consisting of fill in players for the sake of touring is solid and very tight. The violinist at todays show was really fun to watch as he looked the most excited to be there and it came through more in his performance, plus he is a good fiddle player. One thing Nashville has is great fiddle players on Broadway and this guy (sorry, not sure of his name) could hold his own with most of them.
The Bad (well not really)
The things I will list here are very nit picky, but things that possibly could make the difference. They are suggestions as honestly, I have only seen 2/3 Goat live this one time and a few videos so take this with a grain of salt.
First thing is energy on the stage. Being that both Dunn and McCoy have a background in theater, I’d like to see them apply that back ground to their live performance some how and much apply more energy into their act. While their performance is solid musically, it lacks the energy needed to get a crowd excited. This is where Annalyse could kick it up a notch or two with her performance especially without her instruments. Sometimes bands get into the rut of what they are used to seeing live and honestly, Americana music isn’t full of energetic performers, but there is no reason for that at all. When you are trying to sell tickets, trying to get a crowd to stay and sell alcohol for the bar, you need to use every thing at your disposal. Supplying a great live energy to the crowd is the way to do it.
The second thing is image. If you look at the 2/3 Goat website, they have a specific image and maybe that was just for the video of “Stream of Conscience,” but it is what I am expecting when seeing them live. Not necessarily that same outfits, but at least the togetherness of the group. It was one thing I really liked about them when I first noticed them. In today’s performance and in other videos I have seen, it was basically the same old shopping at Wal-Mart clothes (except the fiddle player) that many alternative rock bands do. It is not something Country music does in general, but then again, all the guys dress like Kenney Chesney and the girls all look the same as well.
Finally I’d like to see them work on their transitions and stories in between the songs. While certainly not the worst I have seen, based on many their songs content, they could be very strong here and really draw in the audience to the music. Billy Joel is a master at this and this band could really benefit here.
2/3 Goat is a band with a very bright future. They are tour work horses. Most of the musicians I come across make every excuse in the book to not tour. They don’t have enough money, don’t want to play on a Monday night or what ever lame ass excuse they can come across. This is not 2/3 Goat’s motto. They have the DRIVE to get after it everyday. They understand what it takes to make it happen to some degree and will do everything possible to get their music to the public. They still deliver musically even when not with consistent members of their band in tow. They don’t complain on social media. They understand this is a business and they act like it. They are very professional and trust me, that is much appreciate by everyone in the business. Most of all, they have big vocals, talent and have worked in the side of entertainment where everyone actually has talent and drive, Broadway. This maybe the most important thing of all.
I have no doubt if 2/3 Goat doesn’t give up, they will make a big impact on the Americana scene. They love what they do, they walk the walk and they actually have the talent most people are looking for. If you ever get a chance to listen to 2/3 Goat or see them live, don’t deny yourself the opportunity. You will miss real musicians who actually work hard for the art and bring something to the table creatively that most don’t.
2/3 Goat Website: http: //twothirdsgoat.wix.com/twothirdsgoat
Facebook: https: //www.facebook.com/twothirdsgoat