IBMA Showcase: Lou Reid & Carolina

lil_mike_reedThis post is a contribution from Mike Reed, one of our 2010 IBMA correspondents. Photos for this post come from Roy Swann.

Sounds Like Heaven To MeAs part of the Wednesday night IBMA Showcase, Lou Reid & Carolina (Lou Reid – Mandolin & vocals, Christy Reid – bass, Shannon Slaughter – guitar and Trevor Watson – banjo) featured songs from throughout Lou’s career. From the beginning what stood out was the focus on the songs.

The set kicked off with the defining theme for the rest of the program, with the lyrics stating “It takes all kind of music to make the world go ’round” but I’m a bluegrass lover. This song was quickly followed by a bluesy version of “Im Blue & I’m Lonesome” and then his recent #1 “Amanda Lynn.”

Shannon really displayed his picking and vocal abilities during these first few songs, providing excellent high harmony vocals that were a perfect compliment to Lou and Christy as well as impressive guitar licks to boot. Shannon is also currently a high school teacher and football coach, making the excuses a lot of us use about being too busy to get good at this Bluegrass thing kinda mute.

The next song featured a cut from their new CD “Sounds Like Heaven to Me” released just yesterday on Rural Rhythm Christian. The song “Oh Lord Have Mercy on my Soul” was performed as a gospel quartet and the vocal performance of Lou, Christy, Trevor and Shannon was outstanding. It was hard to believe that this is a new song for the group.

The following songs “Time” and “Blue Heartache” were from the Lou Reid vault and the band executed them with precision and passion. The set ended with another song off the new CD “God’s Front Porch,” a rousing gospel number that ended the evening’s performance on a high note.

On thing that really struck me about the performance of Lou Reid & Carolina was that it was all about the song. Many bands use the song as merely a jumping off point for a demonstration of their instrumental abilities, leaving the meaning and message of the song as merely an afterthought. While this band has as good instrumental chops as any other, for this band it is all about the song.