If anyone knows me they know I’m not much of a “country” music fan, but if you play a fiddle and can rock out with the best rock bands out there, I’m probably going to like you. Natalie Stovall is a fiddle playing genius, she ranks right up there with the great Charlie Daniels, and even does a mean remake of “Devil went down to Georgia” on the fiddle.
Natalie has toured tons of college campuses, and in 2012 was named the 2012 Entertainer of the Year by the voters of Campus Activities Magazine.
Natalie Stovall and the Drive just got signed to a record deal here last month with HitShop Records, and they are currently in the studio recording songs for their next EP. That doesn’t mean Natalie doesn’t have CD’s already out, she has made a few in her day, and toured all over the country, as well as overseas to the soldiers of the armed forces, which she performed a song that she wrote for the soldiers entitled “Missed you the Most”. Natalie got her band together back in 2007 and hasn’t looked back ever since, with Miguel Cancino – Guitar, Joel Dormer – Guitar/Banjo/Mandolin, Zach Morse – Bass and James Bavendam – Drums, (who also happens to be Natalies husband) they make up one fiddle shredding good time. This review spans over a few days, we traveled to see Natalie, in Indianapolis, Springfield, Ill, and Chicago.
Natalie and the Drive took the stage at the Rathskeller around 9pm and opened up with a song from her current EP “Standing my Ground” which contains the title track along with “Even Alaska” which she did perform, as well as “Sound of Goodbye”, “Whatever it Takes” and “Step by Step”. She finished off the first half of her set with a “Fiddle Palozza” sort of speak, where she plays random rock songs with a fiddle twist, she did sing a couple covers, a beautiful acoustic version of Adele’s, “Someone like You”, and Reba McEntire’s “Fancy”, she also fiddled out Charlie Daniels “Devil went down to Georgia” . A few new songs were also played that are coming out on her upcoming EP, “Bones” is one that is especially awesome, according to her the first single will drop January of 2014, so hopefully there will be physical copies of it before then, but not sure how that will work. She closed out her two hour set with “Without You” which was the perfect ending to a great night of live music.
The opening band for Natalie at the Rathskeller was another country rock band from Nashville called Mockingbirdsun, they were really good, got to met the guitarist afterward, overall they put on a great show as well, and we will be seeing them again in November at Bub City.
Show number two for Natalie Stovall and the Drive was at the Illinois State Fair, they were playing in the Happy Hollow area of the Illinois State Fair, they took the stage at 5:30pm after a Magic Show performance, they were the last band on that stage, and the only band that I went to see. It was a hot day Sunday August 11th, for that one, again there wasn’t many folks that showed up, but Natalie and the band put on one rocking performance. There was some technical issues that involved losing power for a good twenty minutes, I guess you can’t have a ton of stuff hooked up on a hot day. After the first power outage, Natalie didn’t miss a beat and decided to treat everyone to an acoustic set.
Also got an acoustic video of a new song off of the upcoming EP. The song is called “Bones”
There was another short power outage, but it didn’t last long, they just started back up where they left off. Overall there wasn’t more than thirty people at the state fair for there show, but it didn’t matter it was an intimate performance that won’t be forgotten, overall they do an amazing job every time they step on stage. The set list remained the same for the State Fair, as it did for the Rathskeller, it was switched up in Chicago, which was the next show on our list of the Natalie Stovall and the Drive tour.
Next up, was Chicago and Bub City. I’ve never been to Bub City, but did ask Natalie what it was like at the State Fair, she said the food was fabulous and it was, the BBQ Bacon to die for. Bub City is located on Clark Street in downtown Chicago, it’s easy to get to, just take your Ohio Street exit to Clark Street and turn right, two blocks down is Bub City, and a convenient parking garage is a block away. They are knows for BBQ in Chicago, and country music as well. Natalie and the band took the stage around 9:30pm. The stage set up was extremely small for her and the band, but they managed to make the best of it and put on another amazing performance.
Was also able to get a live version of Bones although it doesn’t sound the greatest, it’s worth viewing. Overall it was a great evening of good food and great music, the band is always so friendly and hugs were given all around. They did have folks there from there record label since they did recently get signed, they mentioned to us that they seen us singing over there, of course we were singing. The Set list did get switched up, as there was two sets, in the second set Joel, and Zach did some singing on a few songs, “Copperhead Road”, “Friends in Low Places”, and “No Huggy, No Kissy” which of course made folks get up and dance, there was a small dance floor which got used, but everyone was singing and having a good time.
Overall a great concert trek by Natalie Stovall and the Drive, they are a great little band and will go far in the future. I can’t wait for the new EP to be released, and for them to be played all over the world, and of course more shows to be announced, and more journey’s to be taken.