Emerging country singer Lyndsey Highlander rode into Annapolis’ Rams Head On Stage on April 17 looking to showcase her brand of country music and maybe find a good cowboy to dance with.
The Providence Forge, VA native, now thriving in Nashville, has recently toured with country stalwarts Phil Vassar and Travis Tritt (she will soon be doing some shows with Chris Cagle) was joined by two guitarists for a 90-minute set filled with new and old originals and a few covers from country singers she admires.
Opening with the love-lorn “Stormy Strangers,” Highlander confidently commanded the stage, rarely standing still while showcasing her powerful vocals. In “Lookin’ for a Cowboy” she spins a tale of seeking out the right man, a modern cowboy.
From the onset of “Too Long to Live without You” Highlander emoted heartbreak and regret for a lost love. As she begins to accept her fate she pines, “I used to be a glass of wine, now I’m a shot of Jack D” as the song simmered and burned, much like her whiskey of choice.
Switching gears and changing the mood of the half-filled room, Highlander proudly hollered, “You boys ready to make some trouble in here,” as the band launched into the country rocker “Deep Trouble” which was equal parts Carrie Underwood and Reba. Next up was “Small Town Girls,” a sentimental song that she explained was Inspired by picking string beans while growing up on a farm.
Paying tribute to women who inspire her, Highlander performed a trio of covers to showcase her vocal talents. Sassy covers of Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “I Feel Lucky” and Martina McBride’s (via Delbert McClinton) “Two More Bottles of Wine,” seemed right at home with a sexy and soulful, and completely unexpected, version of Meghan Trainor’s “Like I’m Gonna Lose You.” (Note: I say unexpected as it seems the in vogue Trainor cover is “All About That Bass.”)
One of the night’s many highlights was the apologetic ballad “Slow Dance,” where the protagonist honestly and painstakingly explains that it was never her intention to lead a new man on after accepting a dance in a bar (which judging by the sorrow in her voice ended up being more than just a slow dance) as she croons, “I didn’t mean to start a romance, I didn’t mean to give your heart a chance. All I wanted was a slow dance.”
“This is my sexy song,” Highlander gushed as she introduced “We Hit It Off,” a sweet song about a blind date that actually went well and didn’t end up in flames. She later played her self-proclaimed “mean song” “Devil’s Work” and her first song to chart in the U.K. “You Can’t Stop Me.”
Highlander’s voice enthusiastically shined as she performed her new single, “Wearin’ My Cowboy Boots” (out on May 4th), which carries an almost “Red High Heels” aura of confidence and spunk.
Up next was “Flowers Ain’t Gonna Fix This,” her biggest single to date, which spent six weeks atop the CMT Pure 12-Pack Countdown last year. The ominous sounding song tells the tale of a woman who’s tired of forgiving a no good man who not only always finds a way to let her down, but also thinks a floral offering heals all of her wounds after every single indiscretion. Well, buckaroo, she ain’t buying it anymore.
To close the night, Highlander tapped into the true heart of country music by playing a wonderful version of “Your Cheating Heart” by her No. 1 inspiration, Patsy Cline, a fine choice from an emerging artist who embraces the past while forging a new path of her own.