Landon Pigg – Tin Angel, Philadelphia

As I walked into the Tin Angel on South 2nd Street in Philadelphia this past Friday night, Nashville native Landon Pigg was already on stage with his acoustic guitar and friend Peter sitting at a keyboard. Pigg has an excellence stage presence and held the audience rapt throughout his beautiful set. He was charming and funny and dreamy in addition to being a top-notch performer. Most musicians could only hope to be so lucky.

Pigg introduced his first song as one about a girl he can’t live with or without, then went on a mild tangent, saying, “Some of you in the audience are probably like that. [pause] But I love you anyway. We can work it out. It’s probably just some Daddy issue.” The female-dominated audience laughed as Pigg launched into the song, slightly self-conscious of their own potential Daddy issues. The set list followed with two cover songs, songs that Pigg joked he “wrote a long time ago and made a lot of money off…if you believe that.”

Before playing the Frank Sinatra popularized “Young At Heart,” Pigg told the audience he was going to play another song he wrote “via time machine.” He sang Sinatra’s lyrics in a smooth and sexy voice that would’ve made old Blue Eyes proud. Breaking his raspy and smoky vocals, Pigg managed to reach the high notes beautifully, controls his vocals extraordinarily well and not slipping into a falsetto at any point. It was after the beautiful rendition of “Young At Heart” that Pigg mentioned that he was on his last night of tour for quite a while. He informed the audience that his label, RCA, wants him to have a new record out in June or July, “which is almost impossible.” The tour would end in Philadelphia so that Pigg could focus his musical efforts on writing and recording.

The mention of a new record was the perfect segue for Pigg and Peter to play a new tune, a song full of melancholy in which Pigg sang, “I’m looking for ways not to miss you.” He’s got quite a dynamic playing style, in which he showcases his obvious passion for and outstanding talent in music. Pigg sings with wonderful inflection, reminding me of a vocally smoother and less political Kevin Devine.

The set takes a bluesy detour with “Dressed To Kill,” a depressing song of unrequited love turning a man shallow as a woman dresses, perhaps undresses may be more appropriate, to grab his attention. Pigg plays one chord throughout the song as Peter plays a chaotically jazzy piano section. He follow with a very soft and beautiful song, yet again about love, singing, “I never let my heart speak through my lips. / I never said I love you, / But the heart never lies.”

Pigg then mused whether or not he should ask the crowd for requests. People immediately began calling out song names, but the most audible was an intoxicated woman asking the man she was with, “what was that song we were playing in our apartment earlier?” Following the man’s answer, the woman shouted, “Eggshells!” multiple times. It seemed to do the trick, because both Pigg and Peter played the song, which starts out slow and sad but picks up into a fairly jaunty tune.

The dynamics on “Just Like I Am” constantly changed, as Pigg, in a well-executed falsetto, began soft and slow, steadily grew louder and faster, then reverted back to soft and slow. He got the audience to participate on the “oohs” and was impressed with what he heard. He told the crowd, “there’s some harmonies in the audience! Let’s here that. I didn’t know Philly knew harmony. That’s great! Congratulations!” A statement like that could have come across as arrogant or facetious, yet Pigg was nothing else if truly sincere in his musical praise for the City of Brotherly Love that night.

To no one’s surprise, Pigg ended his set with the commercially popular (apparent due to its being featured in a DeBeers commercial) “Falling In Love at a Coffee Shop.” As the title would suggest, this song is very romantic and is sweet and soft in its melodic style. Pigg gave a heart wrenching performance of his gorgeous single, singing “if I couldn’t have you / I’d rather be alone” hitting the high notes perfectly and singing with the utmost conviction.

While Pigg may have fallen in love a at coffee shop, Friday night, I fell in love at a concert venue.

A few summer tour dates have been scheduled (see below), and more may follow, but if RCA is pushing for a new record, you’ll have that to look forward to this summer.

Tour Dates:
Jun 05 – 12th and Porter/Nashville, Tn.
Jun 11 – Club Passim/Boston, Ma.
Jun 12 – New Haven Club Space/New Haven, Ct.

Landon Pigg: website | myspace | Coffee Shop EP review | CD GIVEAWAY!

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