Written by Samuel Barker

ImageIt was cold and dreary outside on this winter night, but the Campfire Songs Tour featuring John Moreland, Caleb Caudle and Aaron Lee Tasjan rolled through town unimpeded.

The warm, comfortable confines of Natachee’s provided the needed protection from the elements and a stage for the show to take place. The patio has been scaled back considerably at Natachee’s, but the addition of the stage inside makes for a wonderful night out at a show.

The trio of singer-songwriters rolled into town about a week into the tour and still had that new shine that does not wear off until you get solidly into that second week. The audience was packed around the stage, ready to sing along and listen to the stories told via song.

The set was performed as a song swap and it made for an interesting contrast between the three performers.

First up was John Moreland, who is a year removed from his flawless album, In the Throes, and firmly on his way to releasing his latest album, High on Tulsa Heat. His songwriting fills the mind with memories of the past and illustrates the struggles of life, interpersonal relationships and living outside of the inner circle of society with brilliance.

Up next was this year’s belle of the ball in the Americana/Alt country circles, Caleb Caudle.

His latest album, Paint Another Layer on my Heart, has filled the air in many homes around the country, as Caudle has relentlessly toured the country, including a tour ending show in Houston last August followed by a non-stop drive back home to Winston-Salem, NC. This guy lives the touring musician life to the fullest.

Caudle shows the power country music can still hold with lyrics of meaning attached. All by his lonesome, Caudle can bring the folksy vibe as well as anyone, but just like on his albums, the country vibes bleed through to the point you can hear pedal steel in your head to accompany it.

The final man in the rotation was Aaron Lee Tasjan.

This guy was the only one I had no previous contact with nor knowledge of. I had never heard a song of his and did not know what to expect. Well, folks, I am happy to report that I was simply blown away by his set.

The songs were witty and went from insightful ballad to bluesy stomp all with lyrics that could make up a comedy special or a poet’s notebook. At times, you could not help but see a little Todd Snider in him, others, you saw a shot of John Prine. These are not just quips to give you a ballpark idea, he really is in that league.

The show was a blast and everyone there sang along, laughed and spent an hour or more after the show hanging out with the three troubadours. It was moments like this that illustrate the beauty of live music, so do yourself a favor and get out there. The experiences are real, enjoy them.