This week I was grateful to be invited to see local artist Brad Henshaw perform an intimate hometown show at a lovely little venue in Sutton Coldfield, just on the outskirts of Birmingham. Brad is a professional artist who splits his time between Birmingham and North Carolina, and has a wealth of original material to share.
The first thing that struck me was the sound: it was perhaps a little loud for the size of the room but enjoyable nonetheless. The music was very southern rock with a 70s soft rock twist – think The Eagles, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Creedence Clearwater Revival and a little Fleetwood Mac.
Raising Hell – featuring a guest trumpet player – was a surprise standout. Henshaw shared some personal stories in the lead-up to this one, and his emotional connection to the lyrics was evident throughout. Another standout was Glen Campbell, Henshaw’s own tribute to the late, great legend. The homage replaced a cover or two of the star’s original tunes in the lineup, but the song – soon to be a single – is an easy, upbeat roadtrip staple dripping with nostalgic reflections and what-ifs.
Although the evening delivered mostly original music, there was a cover or two in the lineup – most notably a cover of one of my favourite Eagles songs, Take It Easy. Faithful to the original but maintaining Brad’s own style, this was one of my favourite moments of the night.
The band restarted a few songs during the evening, and Brad explained they hadn’t been able to play together for a year or more. It was hardly surprising they weren’t perfect, but all things considered, they delivered an exceptionally tight performance with astonishing cohesion. My husband – a rock/metal fan – especially enjoyed the intricacies of the drumming!
I entered the evening knowing only very little of Brad’s music. Although I didn’t know most of the songs, it turned out to be a well-curated setlist with great energy.