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Brown: good for the future of country

Desert 5 Spot, West Hollywood, Cal., September 12, 2022

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

After being announced as a Stagecoach 2023 headliner, Kane Brown celebrated the release of his "Different Man" album with a brief, 45-minute set atop a West Hollywood hotel. Dressed casually in a t-shirt, jeans and tennis shoes, Brown fronted an acoustic band and played songs from his latest album as well as a few favorites.

Brown kicked off his performance in front of a small, but loyal crowd with "Like I Love Country Music," which may be his country-ist single to date. This song, which references both Brooks & Dunn and Alan Jackson lyrically, allows Brown to sing with a low and enjoyable vocal tone. In addition to two acoustic guitarists (Kane doesn't play an instrument while performing), Brown also had a drummer and a keyboardist. He even had a fiddler, who shined on "Like I Love Country Music," as well many other selections. This song's recording includes steel guitar and would have made his singing of it even better. Then again, this extra small stage found Brown accidently bumping into his guitarist now and again, and there just wasn't room for one more musician.

Brown didn't mount the stage with a planned setlist, and audibly called out songs with his musicians, like a quarterback in the huddle. With that said, a song like "Be Like That," while not especially country, is nevertheless fairly acoustic in its original state. This one worked just fine when done unplugged tonight. Brown is calling his current tour "Drunk or Dreamin'," which is also a track from the album. This one shuffles with a slightly Latin beat and is an inclusion Brown called one of his favorites off the new album.

For Brown fans, it was a special night because – as a future Stagecoach headliner – his days performing in clubs – particularly venues this small – are numbered. Brown danced briefly with one woman who was right up front, while another woman was able to clink her drink glass with Brown's for a toast. These may be some of the last such intimate moments.

Based upon some of Brown's more decidedly R&B releases, some still have their doubts about this artist's country music legitimacy. Songs like "Like I Love Country Music," though, prove Brown can make great country when he wants to. He still seems a little thunderstruck on stage, as all this commercial success is just happening so fast. It's safer now then ever, though, to see Kane Brown as someone that's good for the future of country music.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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