April 28, 2009
Candy Coburn hit the stage at the legendary Exit/In tonight and took no prisoners. This girl reminds me of Pat Benatar in a way. That is, she’s tiny as can be, but when she sings, it is with the strength of ten men.
The four man band backing her were all top flight pickers, and the show never slowed down once it started. Opening with a seriously rocking “So Called Life,” an amazing song, by the way, Candy led the band through an astounding set that included one of my favorite tunes of hers, “Big Dream in a Small Town.” The lyrics are down home and some thoughts I can really relate to, as can many of us who came out of the country back roads with a heart full of ambition and a head full of dreams.
I am pretty sure that several of tonight’s songs were new ones, and I enjoyed them all, including “Wrecking Ball,” “Wild and Free,” and “Country Strong,” all good/ Then she introduced a song by one of her favorite writers (and mine), Kris Kristofferson, and said something cool about Janis Joplin before blowing the roof off the joint with a cranked up, reimagined version of “Me and Bobby McGee.” Now, I know this was a showcase for important music folks, but sheesh, this young lady was pulling no punches. I felt like Joe Frazier after the Thrilla in Manila.
For her sole ballad of the evening, Candy took a set downstage and sang her very heart out on the beautiful “Don’t Walk Away,” another of my favorites of hers.
Before you could say “Led Zeppelin,” Coburn was again on her feet, jumping all around the stage with the energy of a 14-year old and delivering a rip-roaring country southern rock show. Her rocked up version of Loretta Lynn’s classic “You Ain’t Woman Enough to Take My Man” was just great, and she moved right into the classic rock staple “Black Betty,” even singing through a megaphone. Pulling out all the stops. Then it was on to a brief flirtation with Kansas’ “Carry On Wayward Son,” and straight into - you thought I was kidding, right? - Zep’s “Rock and Roll.” And she just rocked it down like Page and Plant were right there beside her on stage.
Candy Coburn can deliver. Whether it is a country ballad, a Southern Rock song, or an old Janis Joplin cover. Thing is, this girl is ready to be a major star. Trust me, she will be, soon.
-Michael Buffalo Smith
All Photos by Michael Buffalo Smith