When I got the news that I would be covering Bright Eyes at the Ryman, the college me got excited. I can recall most of the songs I had on my iPod at the time and their songs were amongst it.
Bright Eyes returned in 2020 after a 9-year hiatus. They are on tour this spring to support their latest album Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was as well as selections from across their catalog. The album, considered a ‘reunion’ of sorts following a nine year hiatus for the trio, was released on Dead Oceans in August 2020 to international acclaim. Bright Eyes’ most recent releases were three Companion series recordings, part of a larger project to reissue and re-record their entire catalog, “Falling Out of Love At This Volume,” “Contrast And Compare” (feat. Waxahatchee) and “Haligh, Haligh, A Lie, Haligh” (feat. Phoebe Bridgers).
As usual, it was a busy Friday night in Nashville. I walked towards the Ryman and could already see the crowd of fans in line to enter the auditorium. I picked up my ticket and entered the auditorium. I’ve only been to the Ryman once before as a tourist joined by a friend. I remember standing on the stage to take one of those souvenir photos and I looked at the beautiful stained glass windows and the rows of seats. I told my friend that I will be photographing a band here someday. So there I was. Exhilarated, I walked up to the balcony and located my seat. I was joined by a kind man who was also covering the show for another publication. I gathered my equipment and started walking around the venue.
Christian Lee Hutson opened the night. He is an indie folk artist from Los Angeles, CA. He is known to have collaborated with the renowned Phoebe Bridgers. Christian delivered an incredible set. He announced the release of his new album “Quitters” which I highly recommend listening to. His music was the perfect way to start the night.
After a brief intermission, Bright Eyes took the stage. Conner was all over the stage throughout the entire set with Mike on the pedal steel and guitar and Nate on keys. It was exciting to see that they included horn and string players. It so happened to be Lynn Liammari’s birthday that day. She played the woodwind and joined Conner with vocals. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 9 years. With the amount of energy they had on stage, it was as if no time had passed. They played many favorites, including “First Day of My Life” with a new version of their song “Falling Out Of Love At This Volume”. They ended the night with “One for You, One for Me”.
For more information on Bright Eyes, visit www.thisisbrighteyes.com.