It’s been about 3 or 4 years since John Paul White hit the stage and 3 or 4 years ago it was alongside Joy Williams when he was part of The Civil Wars. Last night was his first solo concert in Los Angeles since the unfortunate demise of The Civil Wars. He showed us that the magic of duo was somehow captured and released at The Troubadour last night. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know what to expect; I bought tickets because his voice alone is something worth listening to live but was a bit hesitant since he only has two songs out. Turns out I had nothing to worry about because he took me on an emotional ride that I so desperately needed.
I was never lucky enough to witness The Civil Wars live and I still consider it one of the biggest regrets of my life. John Paul, himself, admitted that he was unsure if he would ever make music again. He never directly referenced The Civil Wars or Joy Williams but he alluded to the fact that he is in a better and happier place now. He seemed uneasy on stage the moment he walked up, he looked surprised to be performing in front of a full crowd and thanked the audience throughout the entire show. He promised a night of sadness and a night of sadness is exactly what he delivered.
The setlist consisted of tracks from his new album which is out August 19th, one cover and “Simple Song” from the Southern Family album. The songs have a running theme of sadness and nostalgia plus his voice constantly took my breath away. The fact that he ever considered not making music is baffling, this man belongs on a stage; he started off nervous and unsure but quickly got comfortable with a guitar in his hands and a room full of anxious listeners.
Some technical issues arose throughout the night but that did not stop him from performing to his absolute fullest. At one point the microphones stopped working and he stepped up to the edge of the stage and performed a song without a microphone. I have never in my life heard an audience be more quiet. It almost felt like we were all holding our collective breaths; as soon as the song was over we let out our breath and cheered as loud as we could. Listening to this man sing without a microphone and a guitar in his hand, should definitely be on your bucketlist.
Though the night was truly exemplary, I will admit to being a tad bit disappointed that he didn’t perform any of The Civil Wars songs. I know, the duo is now in the past and any possibility of a reconciliation is down the drain but the past is still a part of him. When I went to Joy’s first solo concert she performed three songs from The Civil Wars. It would have been nice to hear a couple of the songs live. However, this tiny bit of disappointment doesn’t take away from the fact that I had a heart full of happiness when I left The Troubadour last night.
This is a man you have to witness live, his energy is bound to touch your heart and his music will definitely make an impact. He is still currently on tour and a list of dates are on his Facebook Page.
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