A Little Thanks Will Carey You Far
Eileen Carey has figured it out. Perhaps it’s her years of experience in the hospitality industry or perhaps it’s just that she’s a first-rate human being. In any case, this artist understands how it works. As humble as she is, she may not even be aware of the fact that she teaches a lesson by example and grace.
Eileen and her husband Joe travel to Nashville from LA twice a year, with her lead guitar player and band director of 10 years, John McDuffie. They come here with a purpose – and though that includes attending respectively Country Radio Seminar and the CMA Music Festival – there is so much more to that story.
Like many, she travels to perform, connect with fans and industry colleagues, but most of all she is here to thank people. Thank them with music.
In the midst of all the Country Music Seminar (CRS) interviews and promotion, Carey has made it a time to acknowledge the people who surround and support her from afar. By hosting a luncheon and performing a preview for them she recognizes each of these individuals. Eileen celebrates those who have her back and have helped to launch and maintain her career.
CRS is a yearly industry event that provides a platform for radio professionals and artists to connect, learn and support each other. It is not unusual for acts to host an “invite only” showcase/reception, hoping that heavy-hitting radio programmers will attend. The intimacy of Eileen’s gathering speaks to her savvy business sense. Held upstairs at Merchants on Lower Broad, guests were greeted by both the exceptional restaurant staff and Carey’s band who mingled as lunch orders were taken.
The band comprised of two Nashville based musicians, Dan Hagen and Brenda Lewis, along with John McDuffie, could not have more words of praise for their experiences with, and love of, this artist. John shares: ”Eileen is really great to work for. She takes really good care of us…I’ve worked with people [for whom] every day is a bad day…But she [Eileen] is not EVER temperamental.”
The band is equally down-to-earth, positive and exceptionally adept. The conversation that fills the small space is simmering with intelligent, conscientious commentary. The band had only one rehearsal, new material included. They, like so many musicians in this age of the virtual rehearsal, have mastered the long distance relationship. It seemed as if they play together every day.
After a brief introduction from publicist Susan Collier, they kicked off the party with a cover of The Pretenders Don’t Get Me Wrong with a twist. It is an upbeat almost Bluegrass/Country version. Dan’s banjo adds flare and finesse to the tune. A self-professed Eighties fan, Eileen emulates Chrissie Hynde. John McDuffie guitar solos add country sound while keeping it rock and roll based.
Next it is an original: In the Air, complete with three part Harmonies in the chorus which are breezy and full to match the lyrics.
“Oh La la love is in the air tonight, dancing under the Paris sky.
Just like you and me in a movie, where dreams come true.” The song creates a nostalgic video in the imagination.**
This leads into “Good Bad Girl” an up-tempo, tongue in cheek song complete with four part harmony. This is when Carey comes alive on stage. Subtly theatrical she sings” “I’m salty and I’m sweet…a little bit Tennessee honey with a little bit of gasoline…I’m a girl you can’t just like…I’m a good bad girl.”
Eileen’s band closes with: Faith a song for girls of all ages. The gist, take your attention off the boys focus on you and be strong. This song has a more an eighties pop sound, much in the style of another of Eileen’s influences, Katrina Leskanich (of Katrina and the Waves.)
Day two for these musicians lands them at Rippy’s, where they perform a full set. McDuffie opened with a cover of Elvis Presley’s A Mess Of Blues. Eileen’s husband Joe introduced his wife as “The new face of Rippy’s” as she took the stage. He also invited the prior act to join them for a beer. “See we are already family.” This theme of hosting and thanks is just a part of their wonderful spirit.
The performance at Rippy’s draws an eclectic audience with the unique Eighties Pop meets Country vibe. It includes all songs from the private party along with crowd pleaser: Bottle Your Crazy Up. The song gives a little advice we could all take to heart and points to Carey’s intuitive understanding of good business practice: “Don’t order the tequila, ‘cause you know how you get, Don’t talk about your ex, you ain’t over him yet…Just for tonight bottle your crazy up.”
Look for Eileen’s return to Nashville in June for CMA Music Festival. Until then, check out her website http://www.eileencarey.com
by K.W. Poole ©2017 for WMMW in cooperation with Country Music News International