While I know it may seem a bit late to be reporting on an event that took place on Saturday, February 4th, I am confident that this special event can stand the test of time, as can any House Concert of Terry and Wanda Seay’s. However, when powerhouse singers/songwriters, Pete Sallis, Greg Friia and Jessica Rae take front and center stage, there is never ever any doubt that they are always a force to be reckoned with. Not only did the evening consist of their intriguing performances, but it of course began with always impressive opening rounds.
It’s an indisputable fact that Nashville contains the best talent, but it seems certain to me that the best of the best always gather in Terry and Wanda’s living room. Without fail, both the featured and opening entertainers connect with the audience and engage them in their powerful lyrics and moving melodies. Whether the crowd is tapping and clapping, smiling, laughing or crying, it is clear that these writers are getting through, which is the ultimate accomplishment that any writer can ask for.
Round one which consisted of Augustine, Chelsea Rae, Rob Ariosto and Femke Weidema was a nice, diverse mixture of deep, inspirational, well written tunes, topped off with roots of where they come from. This group presented different sounds, different instruments, great harmonies, and was a collective representation of good music with a variety of influences.
Round two may have had a strong group to follow, but they definitely kept the momentum going. Jim Callahan, Allen Shervelle, Todd Pachey and Alicia Michilli brought songs that most definitely commanded attention to front and center stage. Alicia’s exceptional vocals brought me chill bumps, as did Shervelle’s song “Daddy’s Little Drinking Buddy.” Todd Pachey, a frequent house concert performer wowed the audience as always as he brought his originals with natural ease.
With two strong rounds having taken place, Terry announced that tonight we would be meeting Canadian duo Carli and Julie Kennedy. Having never been introduced to Carli and Julie, I of course didn’t know what to expect. I knew that they would be great, otherwise they wouldn’t be a special guest at this event, but “great” would be a word of disservice, as they turned out to be nothing short of absolutely exceptional!! It would be an understatement to say that I was completely blown away by their musical gifts. It was obvious that I wasn’t the only one in sheer amazement, as I could continually hear words of praise and admiration around me. These two girls are absolutely, 100% made for the stage and made to entertain. They are packed with a fiddle and guitar, tight harmonies, sweet and honest lyrics, and a magnetic energy that could easily make them the “next big thing” in country music.
Next up was our featured acts of the evening: Pete Sallis, Greg Friia and Jessica Rae. Anyone who knows these three knows that they have a strong fan base, and it was obvious that a lot of them were in attendance this night! One of numerous strengths I must note about this group is: After just one time of watching Greg, Jessica and Pete perform you will retain their material in your memory. Okay, so maybe the song that started off this round would be impossible for me to forget since it contains my name within in its title, but even so, I still stand by my word: Their songs stick….and rightfully so. Greg Friia kicked off with his always entertaining, fun, up tempo “Hollywood.” (Holly, Holly, Holly has gone Hollywood!)
Greg Friia, who has earned cuts with LoCash Cowboys, Brady Seals, David Bradley and others, announced that he had just earned another special cut, and would be playing that song tonight. As always, the song received a very positive audience response. It is obvious that Friia’s songs come straight from the heart, and that is precisely what makes him one of the most intriguing songwriters in Music City. As a well rounded writer and exceptional keyboardist, Greg never ceases to bring fans inspiration and smiles. It doesn’t matter if he’s playing something light hearted and quirky or heartfelt and deep, he always connects with his audience and earns new fans everywhere he goes. This night that was certainly the case once again.
Every time I listen to Pete Sallis sing, I simply think, “What a professional.” I know that may sound cliché coming from the Nashville pool of talent, but his songwriting skill can stand alone, and should not be taken lightly. As always, his jokes brought house concert goers smiles and laughs, while his broad songwriting catalog lured them in. Presently, he’s earned cuts with Ronnie Dunn, Bucky Covington, Rodney Atkins and others, but I’m sure there is more to be added to the roster soon!
Between her smooth vocals, creative melodies and uplifting personality, Jessica Rae has secured a spot in a positive league of her own as one of Nashville’s most noteworthy female songwriters. She makes playing the guitar look easy while she delivers unique, well-crafted songs to her listeners. The approach of Jessica Rae is one that distinguishes her from other artists, and will continue to pave her way, and make her stand out in this competitive city.
As always, Greg, Jessica and Pete interacted well with one another, providing harmonies and instrumental accompaniment. I’ve decided: This is a group that will take you to church, take you to the country, take you home, take you to the bar, and leave you wondering where you’ll end up next!
Following this unforgettable night, the Seays hosted another house concert on February 18th featuring Bernie Nelson, Irene Kelly and Kathy Louvin (daughter of Ira Louvin with the Louvin Brothers) and special guest Amanda Nagurney. While I was not able to attend, I have no doubt that this was yet another event to write home about. Excitedly, coming up on March 3, house guests can expect to be entertained by Dave Phanish, Sara Buxton, Sam Wallace and special guest Jeanne Richardson. Stay tuned!…