Home Live Review Live Review: Gabe Lee w/ Eastern Green @ Pearl Street Warehouse — 12/14/23

Live Review: Gabe Lee w/ Eastern Green @ Pearl Street Warehouse — 12/14/23

Live Review: Gabe Lee w/ Eastern Green @ Pearl Street Warehouse — 12/14/23
Gabe Lee (Photo by Brooke Stevens)

Introducing a cover of “Speed of the Sound of Loneliness” recently at Pearl Street Warehouse, Nashville singer-songwriter Gabe Lee acknowledged the late John Prine’s influence over musicians in his hometown. I wasn’t surprised: Listening to Gabe’s catalog, the similarities in his vocal style to Prine’s and the debt he owes him are clear.

Like Prine, Lee straddles the space between country, folk, and even a bit of rock ‘n’ roll. He described his album, Drink The River, released earlier this year, as a folk album, because “it’s about the people.” In that sense, he is very much a descendant of Prine, writing about the lives, loves, struggles, and successes of every day people.

But Prine is hardly the only influence on this talented musician. At Pearl Street Warehouse on Dec. 14, Gabe also covered Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “All I Can Do Is Write About It.” Having lived his entire life in Nashville, he’s seen the city change in major ways; he mentioned the drunken bachelorette parties that have become a mainstay of the city’s tourism industry. Gabe explained that Skynyrd managed to capture the essence of these changes in southern towns, which is why he covered this “old song from the 70s.”

Gabe began his set with “Susannah.” “Alright OK,” he explained, is one of the first songs he ever recorded, back in 2018. He further explained that, while Nashville may be best known for the big, label-aligned studios, there are many other places to record music there, some of them small studios in people’s homes. It was at one of these places where he made his first recordings. Gabe also shared that, like many artists, he worked in the hospitality industry, namely at a Mexican restaurant in the Nashville suburb of Franklin. “I’m not a well-traveled man,” he said, “but they might have had the worst Mexican food in America.” He added, “Great margaritas, terrible food.”

Next up was a song “about leaving home and coming back again” called  “Rusted.” “Eveline” is about “something that didn’t work out.”

Watch the official music video for “Eveline” by Gabe Lee on YouTube:

Gabe followed those songs with “30 Seconds.” “There are many kinds of heartbreak,” Lee said, introducing a song inspired by the loss of his beloved Tennessee Titans to the Cincinnati (it only took me two tries to spell this correctly) Bengals in the AFC playoffs. As a native of northeast Ohio whose hometown team is the cursed Browns, I know Gabe’s pain all too well. Gabe followed the song inspired by the Titans with a song inspired by his girlfriend, who I’m sure would be happy to know he put football first.

As a lifelong resident of Nashville, Lee knows all the secret corners and hidden gems of the city. One of his favorite is a place called Bobby’s Idle Hour, where he likes to see some of his favorite songwriters. He shared a cover, “Beverly,” by one of them. Later in his set, he played “Buffalo Road,” which is about a place he used to go to with his buddies in high school and college.

“Drink The River,” he told the audience, is about “surrendering yourself to the powers that be in this big world.” “Merigold” is about “a couple I used to know in Merigold, Mississippi.” 

It wouldn’t be a proper December show without at least one Christmas song, and Gabe chose a great one: Robert Earl Keen’s “Merry Christmas from the Fam-O-Lee.” He ended his set with “Honky Tonk Hell.”

Before Gabe took the stage, local duo Eastern Green played an opening set. They did one cover, Jason Isbell’s “Cover Me Up,” and the rest of their set was original songs. “Rescue” is about the loss of one of their fathers in 2017; another song was written with the other’s dad. “Outbound” is about traveling and Wanderlust, and “Where I Was Grown” is about northern Virginia and how it’s changed over their lifetimes. Other songs included “Gentrified,” “Circles,” “Southbound,” and “Drunk Song.”

The female member of the duo is named Georgia Rae. After their set, I told her she should say she was named for the John Hiatt song. “I was,” she said. “Even better,” I said, “it’s true!”


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