From the first moment Roman Candle took the stage playing "Eden is a Garden" and lead singer Skip Matheny demonstrated his average white American leaping ability, I felt it would be a special show. I was not disappointed. The performance was high energy but laid back. That may sound oxymoronic but if you were in attendance you would know what I mean. There was nothing pretentious about Roman Candle. Aside from the aforementioned leaps by the vocalist, there was no showing off. There was however plenty of good music. There is a spiritual side to Roman Candle that they deliver without the maudlin shoe gazing of your typical "high school emo band." (See link to "Why Modern Radio is A Ok") They manage to do it while having fun, which seems to be the exception in modern music. They played a good balance between their current release Oh Tall Tree in the Ear and their previous one, Wee Hours revue..
The highlight of the evening was when they played what I think is the best song of the year, "Why Modern Radio is A Ok." Another high moment was "Another Summer" from Wee Hours Revue. Their professionalism was much appreciated since the audience size was reduced dramatically because everyone in Birmingham went to the beach for Memorial Day. (So much for the bad economy.) The band's label success may have been recent but they are actually grizzled veterans. They began in Chapel Hill, North Carolina over 10 years ago and developed a loyal following there. They also worked with some of the area's top talent like Thad Cockerell and Caitlin Cary. Also, they regularly toured and recorded with Chris Stamey. According to Skip Matheny, who I spoke with after the show, they decided a different scene might be helpful and now live in Nashville. They have had hard luck with labels over the years but let's hope now is their time.
Listen to the year's best song below: