On Tuesday I heard The Hewitt Sisters perform at The Empire. Ashlee Hewitt, a Hallock, MN native, was in the top five on Nashville Star, the country music version of American Idol. It's clear that she has quite the local following and the Empire looked to be a packed house. The tickets were reasonably priced and that fact plus the promise of good music brought me out.
I'm not really a fan of country music, but I AM a fan of good music and so I was eager to hear what Ashlee and her sister sounded like. I was pleased and actually thought that together they were better.... but I guess Nashville Star only wanted Ashlee as a solo artist? Not sure. Her older sister Katrice sang harmonies and did some solo work too and I thought she was great and her husband, unobtrusively backing them on a second guitar, was fantastic. His bass lines and solid playing made me want to dig out my guitar and give 'er a try. Of course I say that after EVERY concert. One of these days I AM going to do it.
I have to say it was funny to hear Ashlee refer to "old songs" and mean ones from the 90s!!! That cracked me up. When she sang "Strawberry Wine" by Deanna Carter I realized who she sounded like--there is definite evidence of Ashlee's influences creeping in to her style and into her songwriting, but there was no denying she was good. I really enjoyed her rendition of Brandi Carlile's "The Story," a song that was new to me. One of my favorite songs of the evening was when Katrice sang an old Patsy Cline hit "Leavin' On Your Mind" and I loved Ashlee's version of "Help Me Make it Through the Night." Now THOSE are old country songs and good ones too.