20 JANUARY 2015

[LIVE REVIEW] Kennett Crossroads - Songwriters Night - 18 Jan

An intimate setting for Songwriters Night

Review by Steve Patton
Daily Dunklin Democrat
Kennett, Missouri

Kennett Crossroads could not have gotten off to a better start Sunday night. The four headliners did not disappoint the sold-out crowd during Songwriters Night at the Kennett Opera House, playing some of their hits, some new songs, and sharing from the heart about what coming back to their hometown for the event means to them.

It was an intimate setting. Primarily acoustic guitars were used, along with a few band members augmenting what went on at the front of the stage. The performers came on, one by one, when the show began at 8 p.m. The first was Noll Billings and his bandmates -- Blackjack Billy. Following them were Trent Tomlinson, David Nail, and then Sheryl Crow. The previous performer introduced the next one. They not only played their songs, but played off one another and the crowd during the two hours of music.

"I didn't know when this would happen," said David Nail of the event bringing the four together. "I get an e-mail in September, then its three days to the show. I'm a little nervous."

The intimacy of the setting allowed each performer to talk quite a bit to one another and the audience. Some background of the songs was shared, and all four performers spoke of how important their hometown was to them. Jokes abounded of how a place like Kennett lends itself to some interesting connections -- usually through the performer's parents. They kidded one another about the fathers of Billings, Tomlinson, and Nail, as well as Crow's piano teaching mother. The crowd got the jokes, of course. It was pointed out several times from the stage how everyone there knew everyone else.

Each performer had opportunities to shine. Just a few of the many highlights were "Booze Cruise" by Blackjack Billy; Tomlinson's "One Wing in the Fire," Nail's "Red Light," and Crow's "Favorite Mistake."

The artists did not rely just on their hits. Some new songs were introduced, too. Perhaps the most poignant were done by Tomlinson, "If I Don't Make It Back," and Nail's "Home." Before that song, Nail mentioned that when his songwriting is stuck, and he needs some inspiration, it seems he always reverts back to themes from his growing up in Kennett.

More than once, Crow spoke of how important Kennett was, and is, in her life. She thanked her hometown fans for their continued support. She also thanked Viretta Sexton, Kennett High School choral department director, for her influence on all the performers, as well as her role in making Kennett Crossroads a reality.

What should not be lost is the fact that Kennett Crossroads benefits the high school's fine arts and athletic departments. During the intermission between sets, an auction was held on three items. Dunklin County Sheriff Bob Holder served as auctioneer, aided by KHS Senior Joe Mobley. A framed collection of autographed pictures went for $2,300. Two guitars, also autographed by the artists, were auctioned off, as well. A Gibson J-15 went for $3,275, and a Fender Telecaster for $2,700.

After the intermission, Kennett Mayor Jake Crafton presented resolutions from the City Council to the artists, commemorating the event. One more song then came from each. The night ended with a sing-a-long version of the Eagles classic, "Take It Easy," that had the crowd on its feet.

The finale of Kennett Crossroads was a concert held Monday night at the KHS Auditorium.

SOURCE: The Daily Dunklin Democrat


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