Last Monday, February 25th us winter-weary Boston folks got a much needed southern heatwave in the form of a rocking whirlwind of a trio known as Liz Cooper & The Stampede. The jet stream pulled the psych-folk-soul currents directly from Nashville, Tennessee right through the doors of Great Scott, and created a raucous tornado of guitar-fueled energy that swept up folks eager for a good night of tunes. Cooper expertly controlled the stage with her guitar prowess, while Grant Prettyman, (bass), and Ryan Usher(drums) kept the rock n’ roll storm swirling around the jam-packed venue.
Liz and the boys kicked the evening introducing the packed house to the great song, “Sleepyhead,” off their debut full length record, Window Flowers, and the crowd immediately forgot that it was a wintery Monday and swayed to the warm sounds emanating from the stage. The setlist was a celebration of songs from the band’s highly acclaimed debut, which was released August 2018, and has steadily found new audiences with each stop of their extensive headline tour. The trio hit the perfect stride a few songs later with the enchanting “Motions” and filled the venue with swirling guitar chords that wrapped you like a fuzzy sweater of sound.
One of my favorite moments of the night was their cover of Estelle’s 2008 hit, “American Boy,” a song that fit so perfectly into the Stampede’s repertoire that you would be forgiven if you thought it was just another beautifully crafted, soulful song off of Window Flowers. There were many favorite moments this evening. From the hefty rendition of, “Dali Lama,” with Usher and Prettyman laying down perfect rhythm for Cooper to weave her guitar around, to the night’s rousing closing number, “Hey Man,” we were all treated to a finely tuned band who will only get better as the tour van rolls on.
They’ve been on the road together for quite some time now. With their tour extended through the spring, a run of festival dates in the summer (including the one and only Newport Folk Festival) and a number of shows in September with Shakey Graves and Dr. Dog, 2019 is shaping up to be the year of the Stampede. See them when they storm their way to your town!
Liz Cooper & The Stampede 2019 tour dates
Along for the ride was fellow Nashville musician singer-songwriter Scott Schmadeke and his project Harpooner, who opened up the show with a beautiful set featuring songs from his 2016 album, Rose Park, as well as a few numbers off the upcoming second album. Harpooner was part of the first leg of the tour with Liz Cooper & The Stampeded and he and the incredible band made a ton of new fans along the way. This was the musician’s first time playing in Boston and he made the most of it. With each member clad in white the band moved from beautiful violin led ballads to rocking piano jams like seasoned pros. Schmadeke is charming, talented, and funny… the perfect frontman trifecta! I cannot recommend seeing them live enough so be on the lookout when the time comes to tour behind the upcoming sophomore album.
Check out the terrific photos taken by our very own Steve Benoit of Boston Concert Photo of a Monday evening well spent!