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Show Review: Talia Stewart CD Release Show at Mercy Lounge

On Thursday, October 3, 2019, I attended Nashville R&B artist Talia Stewart's album release show, celebrating the release of her newest album, Confessional. The show was located at the Mercy Lounge in Nashville right on Cannery Row. After an excruciatingly hot day for October, it was nice to walk in to a beautiful ballroom that was being flooded with cool air, so much so that I was nearly freezing. After hitting up the bar and indulging in multiple refills of Diet Coke, the first of the four acts that night went on at about 8:05 pm, Deisha McBride.

Daisha McBride, a Memphis-based rapper with some R&B influences, kicked off the night with a furious version of her song "Intro"from her most recent release Wild. From there, she had grabbed the crowd of maybe 15 people that had shown up so far by the throat. Daisha spent her entire set jumping and dancing around, while really engaging the audience. She had a DJ running tracks behind her while she focused on her vocals. I was very impressed with her stage presence, and I gave her a high-five as she walked back into the crowd after her set was done.

Lanie McAuley was the next act on the bill, going on at about 8:50 pm. Backed by one live drummer and a whole bunch of backing tracks, with an R&B sound. Lanie had much different performance style than that of Daisha, opting to seduce the audience with her performance. Donning a zebra jacket and skirt with small platform boots, she did it well, and I could hear a group of five or so of her friends in the audience playfully cheering her on. Lanie is a great singer, and I was shocked to hear that this show was her first in front of an audience. By the time her set was done, I was very impressed. Her drummer was great, able to play to her backing tracks super well.

At about 9:15, Sam Johnston, the third act, who was backed by two guitar players, a drummer, an auxiliary percussionist, a bassist, and a keyboardist, while playing guitar himself. Sam blew me away, and his sound like those of the southern rock bands I hold deep in my heart like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Blackfoot, The Allman Brothers Band, with a little hint of John Mayer really hit me home. Sam admitted he had a few too many drinks on stage, but that didn't stop him from getting in the audience's face with his Charlie Hargett and Duane Allman-influenced playing. His set was full of jamming and soloing. Sam was cool enough to make sure every one of his musicians was featured throughout the set and by the time he was done, he had proven that Talia would really have to bring her A-game if she wanted to top that set.

At about 10:00 pm, the stage became illuminated in an eerie red glow, augmented by the sound of Talia's drummer doing rolls on her ride cymbal and floor tom. As the sound of cheers filled the air, a silhouette of a young woman in a bride's wedding gown, covered a veil, slowly walked to the front of the stage. The maid of honor had arrived, and she was ready to blow the Mercy Lounge away. Talia proceed to do just that. To me, her set was a very eclectic mix of influences, and my best summary of her presentation was a mix of Billie Eilish and Alice Cooper, with a hint of Stevie Nicks. Her soaring voice was that of majesty, and she left the audience screaming for more. Talia Stewart was simply astounding, and you had to be there. She has so much potential, and I hope she makes it huge someday.

Overall, I was very impressed with the show, and walked out very happy. Every act that performed last night deserves to be congratulated. I want to say thank you to Chelsea Cressman for inviting me to come to this show. It was simply awesome.

To learn more about Talia Stewart and to purchase her EP Click


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