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Boyz II Men Show Musical Growth in Nashville
by Rich and Laura Lynch
From the stage of the Schermerhron Symphony Center frontman Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men said exceptional and magical things always happen to them whenever they visit Nashville. Their show to a sold-out Laura Turner Concert Hall on Sunday, October 6, 2019 was no exception to that rule.
Boyz II Men are all grown up in Music City.
Consider the fact that halfway though the night the Philadelphia based soul, hip-hop and R&B chart-topping record breakers and multiple Grammy Award winners were joined onstage by Asheville, North Carolina's best-known bluegrass band - and sometimes backing unit for comedian Steve Martin - the Steep Canyon Rangers.
The two groups teamed up to re-record the Steep Canyon Rangers' "Be Still Moses" and the result is perhaps their most singular musical partnership to date. Along with their hometown Asheville Symphony they enlisted producer Michael Selverne to completely overhaul the original song that was first recorded on their 2007 breakout album Lovin' Pretty Women. The plan was to contrast Woody Platt's bluegrass-flavored, sonorous baritone with the timeless vocal arrangements that defined Boyz II Men's stratospheric rise in the 90's. According to the team the final product was nothing short of awe-striking to everyone involved.
In Nashville, the combined band ran through the track twice during its live debut to get it just right for the cameras that were recording on this night. As far as the bluegrass and R&B mash-up was concerned Boyz II Men said from the stage that you might have to be from Nashville to understand what just happened. But, the much-lauded Ken Burns documentary on Country Music did just recently trace the roots of the "Hillbilly" genre back to African-American slavery anthems and Appalachia music. So, the impressive roll out of "Be Still Moses" was both timely, entertaining and educational.
Boyz II Men welcomed the Steep Canyon Rangers to the stage.
The Boyz were not done when it came to expanding their musical repertoire. At one point fans were treated to a real first as Shawn Stockman threw a "Flying V" over his shoulder as Nathan Morris strapped on a bass. Singer Wanya Morris then fronted a guitar heavy medley that included tributes to Bob Marley's "Jamming", Lenny Kravitz's "Are You Gonna Go My Way", "American Woman" by the Guess Who and a snippet of The Beatles' "Come Together." This segment proved the Boyz are still growing musically and are finally comfortable with showing off their newfound skills in front of a live audience.
Throughout the evening the Boyz put the attentive audience through their paces on several occasions. But, there was no moment better than when the chorus of voices repeatedly raised the roof on the venerable venue during the finale of "End of the Road" that sent everyone home happy and satisfied. The Boyz themselves are far from the end of the road as they are in the midst of a trek that will find them landing in the Far East in December for shows in Malaysia, Singapore and the Phillipines before returning state-side to close out their year in Las Vegas and California.
The spectacularly ornate and sophisticated Schermerhorn Symphony Center located in the heart of Music City remains one of the finest sounding venues in Nashville. Their focus is classical music but the Nashville Symphony hosts a wide range of artists such as BOYZ II MEN. Upcoming events include India.Arie, Foreigner, Jonny Lang and Kool & The Gang.
Another triumphant night for Boyz II Men.
For more information on BOYS II MEN and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links --
Boyz II Men |
Steep Canyon Rangers |