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REVIEW: Nashville Tribute Band brings on the tears

Rhythm Reviews

Published: Monday, September 12, 2011

Updated: Monday, September 12, 2011 10:09

A year ago in June, I returned home from an LDS mission to Italy. It may not seem relevant to a music review column, but it is, because I was on my mission when I first got to know The Nashville Tribute Band.

The band started in 2003, when the dream of Nashville music producer Jason Deere started writing songs about Joseph Smith. He proposed his idea to his friend Dan Truman, of the country band Diamond Rio, and the two started working on the album "Joseph: A Nashville Tribute to the Prophet," which was released in 2005.

The band has since released two more albums, "Trek: A Nashville Tribute to the Mormon Pioneers," and "The Work: A Nashville Tribute to the Missionaries." Friday, The Nashville Tribute Band played a concert in Logan, at the Kent Concert Hall.

They had played an earlier show for a small crowd in the lobby of the LDS Institute Building, here on campus. I had the chance to go to that and see firsthand how touched the band was to hear the crowd singing their songs along with them.

After that show, I had the chance to talk to Deere about himself and the band. He said the main purpose of the band is to proclaim their belief to all the world through their music. Each member of the band makes their living in the secular music world, and take part in the Nashville Tribute Band as a side project. The inspiration for their newest album came from LDS missionaries all over the world, who sent letters thanking them for the inspirational music they made.

At the concert later that night, the band did not disappoint. Opening for them was the young country trio Dyer Highway. The group, consisting of three siblings from the Dyer family of Highland, Utah, range in ages from 14 to 18, and got their start by cornering Deere after a concert at the Kent Concert Hall, last year, to play a bit of their music for him. The most impressive thing about the group is the vocal harmonies of Tel and Tiann, who may be just 18 and 16, but have incredibly mature voices.

When The Nashville Tribute Band came on, beginning its set with a great a capella song titled "Children Go Where I Send Thee," a traditional African-American spiritual with lyrics added by Deere. The vocal harmonies were really impressive, and it wasn't just in that first song. The whole evening, one of the highlights of the show was the great lead vocals, as well as harmonies that came from just about every member of the band. Matt Lopez — who plays with country-western band Due West — was especially fun to watch, as he provided many of the high harmonies and was always grooving along with the music, and making great facial expressions.

My favorite part of the show was not the great vocal harmonies, it wasn't even the awesome guitar solos from Ron Saltmarsh, or the gorgeous voice of Katherine Nelson; it was the fact that all these people were up on stage playing music about things that inspired them. They weren't just playing music to make money, they were taking a break from their more profitable jobs to tour the world and share their beliefs about God and honor the great people who have inspired them to be better.

I would recommend seeing The Nashville Tribute Band to anyone because, in reality, it's not often that you see a band do what Deere had explained to me was his goal — to play music for the feeling it gives you and not just for the money or the fame. They played to inspire the crowd, not only reminding me of all the pain and anguish and incredible joy I felt on my mission, but also reminding me why I decided to be a music major.

 

— Rex Colin Mitchell is a music performance major from Vernon, Utah. If you want him to review your band's concert, email him at rex.colin.mitchell@aggiemail.usu.edu

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