It was a full house at the Ryman on Saturday night, August 24. It was a usual crowd. But it was no ordinary singer who took the stage and kept the Ryman rocking and singing. She returned the Ryman back to when it was something revered, when talent stood onstage.
Sara Bareilles played for over an hour, singing with and without a band. The girl is gifted; she plays several musical instruments, has a voice that makes your hair stand up in places, writes intelligent, worthy lyrics, and sincerely loves her fans right back. All this without voice augmentation, overdubs, and lip synch. Plastic so-called talent, watch out!
Far more talented than Katy Perry and much more cerebral than Taylor You-know, the self-taught artist has sold over 1 million records and over 4 million singles in the U.S. Bareilles has been nominated for a Grammy three times. She has done international tour dates and admitted to being “very scared” during a recent solo tour, with just herself and a myriad of musical instruments onstage.
For the over 30 crowd, Bareilles took it back to a time when a singer could hold their own without electronic devices or computers, when a real talent took the stage and actually performed. For the little ones to teens, she was someone to emulate, as she is sincere, fresh, and talented. For the gay and lesbian crowd, she was accepting and loving, having dedicated one of her songs “about a good friend who was afraid to come out, to be herself, who wanted her family’s acceptance. There is love out there for all of you. All of you,” she explained from the Ryman stage; gay, straight, and everyone in between roared with appreciation.
Every age, color, gender, and size was singing along with every song Bareilles performed, some with hands raised and eyes closed as if in a religious trance. Bareilles would have them in tears, then she would crack a sly joke and the smiles wrapped around faces were contagious. Lithe, assured, and fun, Bareilles danced around the stage, playing and singing, taking in the adoration and giving it all back with style.
She has left California for New York, a city which seems to fit her with its diversity, various flavors and sights, always changing but keeping its core of loyalty and stamina. The city will fit her well. Let’s hope she returns to Nashville in between L.A. and the Big Apple as often as possible.