I love acoustic shows even more than big arenas or stadiums sometimes. The flash and glamour of big screens and big production is gone and what you’re left with is a small room, a small stage, and an artist with a guitar. The Listening Room in Port Clinton, OH has become one of my favorite venues for such events and I was happy to make another trip there recently to see Chris Cavanaugh, a Missouri native making a name for himself in Nashville.
Chris Cavanaugh started the show by stating that he hadn’t prepared a set list for the night and a couple people chuckled nervously hoping he wouldn’t notice their reaction…he did though. I think that’s one of the things I’ve come to really enjoy in smaller venues and in artists like Chris Cavanaugh. Throughout the night he made a point to connect with different fans in the audience whether they were in the front row or standing at the back of the room. It may be awkward in the moment but you leave knowing you made an impression and the artist made an impression on you as well.
Although the set list wasn’t planned, Cavanaugh provided a solid two hour performance while the wonderful staff of The Listening Room expertly maneuvered the audience to provide drinks in between songs. Beginning the evening with some of his more well-known hits, “Underneath the Southern Stars” (written by Rodney Clawson and Chris Tompkins) and “Didn’t Say I Didn’t” (co-written by Cavanaugh and hit songwriter Brett James) had the audience singing along early on in the night and no matter what song came up next, the crowd eagerly became more involved as the night progressed.
Cavanaugh even took to asking the audience for requests and apparently the crowd was feeling sentimental as the most requested songs were the heartfelt, “I Wanna Be That To You” and “She Used To Be Mine.” The mood was immediately lifted though as Cavanaugh got the crowd laughing by telling stories about his life as a songwriter while awkwardly figuring out guitar chords to songs they were not used to playing live.
After the traditional interview segment where host Ron Miller sat down with Cavanaugh on stage to ask about life in Nashville and the possibility of new music, the night began to wind down. The energy level could not have been higher though as the crowd sang along to a medley of “Jesse’s Girl” and “Drink In My Hand” and “Friends In Low Places” which brought down the house.
After seeing Chris Cavanaugh open for Kip Moore last fall, I’ve seen him multiple times and each show gets a little better than the last. Cavanaugh will continue to tour across the Midwest and Southern states throughout the summer and into the fall this year while promoting his newest single “Just Keep Drinkin.” Make sure you check out www.chriscavanaughmusic.com to see if any dates are near you!
Chris Cavanaugh’s latest single “Just Keep Drinkin” is available now on iTunes.