Concert Review: Edwin McCain

Sometimes you have to travel 95 miles to see a show.  Edwin McCain, with the acoustic trio, plus one, performed at the Kent Stage, in Kent, OH, Thursday night. The Kent Stage is one of the best "listening rooms" I've been to over the last couple of years to see some of my favorite singer-songwriters perform including Livingston Taylor and Marc Cohn.  I can now add Edwin McCain to that list. Mr. McCain was in Pittsburgh in March with his full band.  It was an energetic performance with the songs sounding like what you hear on the CD's with some great jams.  But where Mr. McCain is at his best is when he can tell stories and just let the songs speak for themselves.  The acoustic trio consists of Edwin McCain on vocals and guitar with long time sidemen Larry Chaney on guitar and Craig Shields on saxophone and wind instruments.  A couple of songs into the set a long time friend of Mr. McCain's, Kay Smith from Kent State made the trio a four-some when he came on stage to play percussion. In his early 40's. Mr. McCain is married with three young children at home.  His stories now are more about his family life and how he tries to still look cool driving a sedan to a local coffee shop drive-thru with car seats in the back. Mr. McCain casually walked on stage and began the show with Walk With You. The set included more of the songs that make you think and sound good in a small theater with just a few musicians on stage.  White Crosses, I Could Not Ask For More, Shooting Stars, Sober, and I'll Be were intertwined with stories of Mr. McCain's life with his family, including his mother-in-law. The three song encore started with Mr. McCain on stage alone singing The Lucky One, and ended with all the other musicians joining him on stage one by one on Holy City. Opening the show was 22 year-old Seth Glier. He began his 35-minute, 7-song set singing the title track of his latest CD The Next Right Thing acapella. He next performed Walk Katie Home and Gotta Get Away before Pittsburgh musician Brad Yoder joined him on stage to play sax on I Don't Need You and First.  Mr. Glier also tells stories:  living at home in a small town in MA with his parents and taking care of his 26-year old brother Jamie who is autistic.  The young singer-songwriter has been polishing his performance by spending 200 nights on the road each year.  Mr. Glier ended his set with the song he was thrilled to hear on the radio as he was driving into Ohio, Lauralee.  The audience rewarded Mr. Glier with a standing ovation. Barb S. - Sunday Mix Host


I was at the Kent that night and thought that had to be the most entertaining concerts I have attended. Edwin was in top form and I don't think I have heard him sound better even on his albums. He has one amazing voice and is a top-rate songwriter. Seth also blew me away with such raw talent. His music was beautiful and he still possessed the eagerness of a musician who is in it to share his art. He reminds me of what Edwin might have been at 22. I met Edwin and the band, even his sound man. I felt at ease around all of them, no vanity or 'star trip' attitude. It was like sitting on my front porch with old friends. Edwin was so patient with me and my cutting up with him. I still laugh about it. I was able to spend more time with Seth though. My husband and I talked with him off and on for awhile. I recognized him from Youtube and found him refreshing. He is going to go somewhere and it would not surprise me in the least if his dedication to his music is as profound as Edwin's McCain's. I teased him about future Grammy awards and how I would say, "Hey, I knew him when." His face lit up with a big smile and that made me happy. I have been to many shows and have met a few 'rockstars' and musicians. None were as friendly as these men I met at the Kent and I have to say that I loved the Kent Stage's intimate atmosphere.