Live Review of Flamy Grant in Nashville

The Basement East  Nashville, TN

Web: flamygrant.com

Contact: [email protected]

Players: Flamy Grant, vocals, acoustic guitar

Material: For many, religion is a source of trauma as much as comfort. That’s especially the case with the gay community, for obvious reasons. Enter Flamy Grant, the world’s first contemporary Christian drag queen pop star. After decades as a music minister, she tapped into her queer side and began performing flamboyant Amy Grant covers. Eventually, this gave way to her true artistic self. Today, her show features original tunes, one of the cleverest being a tribute to recently departed actor Leslie Jordan.

Musicianship: Grant remains a solo performer, so the show’s success rests on her singing, guitar playing and songwriting. While comfortable with her instrument, her vocals soar. Interestingly, Grant’s tone is more country than gospel. Call it a mix of Wynonna Judd smokiness and Dolly Parton realness. Her lyrics, meanwhile, sparkle as brightly as her rhinestone jumpsuit. If only there were more and better hooks. She encouraged the audience to sing along with her catchiest, from a track off her forthcoming sophomore album.

Performance: Drag queens are known for their outrageous appearances, ribald senses of humor and over-the-top personalities. Flamy Grant embodies these qualities, yet they take a back seat to a sincere exploration of the peace she’s forged with her faith, the world and herself. Flipping this audience expectation works to great effect. Unfortunately, the show had numerous goofs, including forgetting the words to one tune and launching headlong into the wrong verse with another. To her credit, she knows how to recover and keep the show rolling.

Summary: With a debut record under her belt, numerous awards and heaps of media buzz, Grant is now making a full-on attempt at planting her flag as a solo artist. While she possesses musical verve, it’s her story that draws interest. She clearly understands this, as she sprinkles her gigs liberally with between-song anecdotes and humorous banter. The problem is that only a limited peek into her inner soul can happen within a rock concert context. It would make sense if her 90-minute, one-woman show achieves this better.