I had the worse week due to work stress but what got me through it was that on Friday night I was going to see some live country music. The venue is a bar and grill called Bigs in Fullerton, California that has “California Country” Friday nights where different local So Cal bands play. I had gone to the showcase two weeks prior to see Ry Bradley and a few other bands. My goal this time was to see Brooke Ansley and Alice Wallace perform, two artists I have been following for a little while now. Both ladies are proud “California Country” artists and they did not disappoint.
Brooke started the night off with a set mixed with originals and covers. This was my first time seeing her live but I have been listening to her tunes online. She performed with such ease and pose; it was as if she was headlining an arena filled with thousands of fans. That’s a special talent. And then there’s her voice that shined through the loud drunks and people ordering their drinks. After the week I had, it made me feel good when I heard her voice.
There is one song in particular that she wrote that I know is very special to her (and for good reason) titled “Nothin’ Fancy”. It was inspired by her grandparents celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary with the theme of being with that one person, your best friend, for the rest of your life (it made my wife cry). Recently Brooke had mentioned on Twitter that she would love to have Miranda Lambert record the song on her next record and I don’t think that’s far-fetched. It’s a beautiful song and comes off very well when performed live, so let’s help her make this happen people!
Brooke also sang a very ballsy cover by a singer that is arguably no longer “country”, a little song called “Red”. My first thought as she introduced it was “no…”, BUT, she did an amazing job and it fits her voice perfectly. I’m not a fan of Taylor Swift’s music so that explains my initial reaction but Brooke and her band “country-fied” it for us very well.
While she had my attention for the entire set (I wish it was longer), another stand out original was “Game Face”. It’s an up-tempo in your face rocker that would fit perfectly on country radio. I want this song on my iPhone, stat. It’s super catchy and the great thing about it is in perfect contrast to “Nothin’ Fancy”, proving that Brooke can tackle both ends of the spectrum.
Bonus– she covered Pearl Jam’s “Better Man”, which I think is a perfectly random song off an album that I think I was the only one who bought.
Bonus Bonus– She was once Miss Maryland and I took a picture with her, ha! I need to ask Ry to send it to me though, but you can find it on Instagram.
Alice Wallace was amazing as well, a true class act. I didn’t get to see her whole set that night but I will definitely be checking out both of these ladies’ future shows. Alice’s stage presence completely filled the room and got people out of their chairs, so what does that tell you?
Thank you Bigs, Brooke, Alice and Ry for making it a fun night that I very much needed!