When a singer songwriter as talented as Sean McConnell makes a rare trip to NYC to play not one, but two shows, one would be making a serious mistake not to catch both.
The first night was Thursday at the Balcony Lounge at Webster Hall. Upon scanning the crowd, which tallied about twenty people, McConnell jokingly said it was a "secret show" and thanked everyone for showing up.
(and while everyone was there was a fan, the respect level by a select few in the room diminished as they drank).
Having been a fan of his music for awhile, but never having seen him live, the pure power of his unique voice, guitar and songs were quite simply, perfect. His songs, which admittedly are largely depressing, strike an emotional chord...and I found myself tearing up quite a few times throughout the hour long sets. He noted that he has only has written about three happy songs, including the one he wrote for his wife on their tenth wedding anniversary [Best We've Ever Been]; a song which he performed for her for the first time when he opened for the Allman Brothers on New Years Eve [insert collective sigh here]. In addition to "Bottom of The Sea" and "Praise the Lord", McConnell played a few songs that will be on his upcoming album including "Ghost Town" and "Queen of St. Mary's Choir." It is an album, he says, that would be his most personal yet,
The second night (May 2) was in Brooklyn at the Living Room. A true listening room, the crowd was a little larger, respectful and attentive. That night, singer songwriter and McConnell's friend, Ben Danaher opened the show. Danaher's short set of story songs from "Little While" to "Jesus Can See You" and the gospel closer "Never Grow Old" moved everyone in the room.
If possible, McConnell was even better Saturday than he was Thursday. He played many of the same songs, but nothing felt like it was scripted--his banter and stories seemed as sincere as his songs.
While the numbers in attendance were surely quite different for an artist who packs venues elsewhere, McConnell still gave over a hundred percent. Both evenings ended on a "happy song" note with McConnell performing a song he wrote with Audra Mae, "Shotgun," which was recently performed by Buddy Miller and Christina Aguilera on the television show Nashville. A beautifully emotional love song that left one feeling optimistic about love and hoping McConnell doesn't wait another five years to return to the big apple.