Twin Kegs II, Nashville, TN
The Players: Allen Atkinson, Bass, Jon Baughman; Guitar; Samuel Kallaos, Drums; Wil Van Winkle, vocals, guitar, mandolin.
Material: Frontman Wil Van Winkle’s travel and residency in Germany while playing in a country band, paired with daily monotony and inconsistencies of relationships propelled many of the band’s original songs, like “Won’t Be Coming Home,” “Back in the Day” and “Any Other Way.” Though many of the original songs were given context by a brief introduction by the frontman, the meanings were evident in the superb songwriting. The imagery laid out in songs like “Back in the Day” is on par with any singer-songwriter radio hit due to resonating lyrics that offer a setting for listeners like ‘Backyard baseball with a stain on my shirt, swung as hard as I could for all it was worth,” from “Back in the Day.”
Musicianship: Wil Van Winkle proved adaptability when it came to his performance and the use of several instruments, including guitar, mandolin and vocals. Guitarist Jon Baughman showed great skill as well, building on an abundance of solos unorthodox approaches to the performance that included contorting his body to aid in the manipulation and neck bends that he used to achieve vibrato.
Performance: The local dive that hosted the performance was the perfect setting for Wil Van Winkle & the Sixpins, who in ways, reflected a time of better days, pre-covid, where bands of this caliber were welcomed any night of the week. Though increased engagement and stage presence could be improved as the band did very little in way of this. There were some moderate inconsistencies with time as well. However, Van Winkle and Baughman did seem to enjoy the experience and were emotive, which Van Winkle projected well through his vocals. When the set slowed down, the band pushed forward, bringing the mood back up with covers of Chris Stapleton’s “Fire Away” and Alice in Chains’ “Man in the Box”, which gave Van Winkle opportunity to show more range.
Summary: Wil Van Winkle & the Sixpins are an exceptional band that leans on prolific and illustrative songwriting. Though their spin on the covers was fantastic, inserting some fun into the show and earned them their first tip of the night with Stapleton’s “Fire Away” the originals were the highlight of the night. Given a better platform and venue, the band would have succeeded more so with an expanded show and higher quality audio.