Material: There’s a glorious dichotomy to Kasey Lansdale. On one hand, she’s every inch the squeaky clean, blonde bombshell country star that one could easily see signed to a major label, partnered with an industry-trusted songwriter from Nashville, and then having mega-hits for years to come. She’s got some big tunes, not least the recent “Sorry Ain’t Enough” single that you imagine could get a ton of radio-play, but didn’t. Still, it’s not difficult to envisage a pop-country career for Lansdale.
Then, however, you dig a little deeper. Behind the polished and professional sheen, there’s real soul going on. It’s betrayed, not only by her wonderful rendition of Patsy Cline’s “Walkin’ After Midnight,” but also by the song “Blame You For Trying” from the debut Restless album, where she admits she’s trying to emulate heroes like Patsy and Reba McEntire. Behind the huge smile, Lansdale knows how to wrench pain and humility from her heart, and that’s what makes her such a special talent.
Musicianship: Lansdale was joined onstage for this show by acoustic guitarist Vince White, who stood in jeans and a Kasey Lansdale tee on stage-right, trying not to be noticed but failing due to his natural and very authentic dusty country style. He didn’t over-play, and White’s style fits Lansdale’s voice perfectly. Her voice is superb, displaying a raw, throaty husk when necessary to convey emotion, but also hitting the top notes smoothly.
Performance: There were maybe 12 people in Molly Malone’s for this set, which can be partly explained by the fact that she was the opener on a four-band bill, and hit the stage at 7 p.m. Still, Lansdale performed as if she were at the Grand Ole Opry. She paced the stage like a panther, and made eye contact with everyone in attendance (not difficult, admittedly). A natural performer, she deserves to play in front of more people, though she likely knows that only hard work will help her achieve this.
Summary: With a new Leave Her Wild EP out there, Kasey Lansdale is working hard to get her music heard. She admits to being a little bitter after her “Sorry Ain’t Enough” single and the accompanying video were largely ignored by the media, but that’s par for the course early on. If she keeps plugging away, Kasey Lansdale has a better chance at success than many other country musicians.
The Players: Kasey Lansdale, vocals; Vince White, guitar.
Photo by Brett Callwood
Venue: Molly Malone’s
City: Los Angeles, CA
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