For many music lovers in Central Kentucky, the Burl is a home away from home, so to get to step foot back inside and lay eyes on the glowing stain glass behind the stage is nothing short of magical.
Rain showers may have moved Friday’s show with Katie Pruitt and S.G. Goodman inside of the Burl in Lexington, KY, but not even the crying skies could dampen the spirits of those who gathered for this event. For many, it was their first indoor concert in over a year, resulting in palpable excitement and a level of intimacy unmatched by the venue’s pivot to socially distanced, outdoor shows during the pandemic.
First to the stage was Kentucky’s own S.G. Goodman, whose haunting vocals immediately dug in on ‘Old Time Feeling’. The title track from her debut record, which came out last spring, describes the hypocrisy and out-of-date perspectives that run rampant throughout the southern U.S. Backed only by guitarist Matt Rowan throughout, the stripped-back arrangements allow more space for Goodman’s quivering croon to navigate such notions on ‘Big Girl Now’, ‘Kitchen Floor’ and ‘Red Bird Morning’. Mixed into Goodman’s Old Time Feeling-heavy set was also a handful of new songs the artist was trying on for size. She also found time to sneak in cheeky stories about her experience with bidets (“Let me tell y’all a story about assholes”), what she says to those who question her mask-wearing and more.
With great joy, Katie Pruitt took to the stage with a full band in tow, as she jumped straight into ‘Grace Has A Gun’ from her breakout 2020 album Expectations. Pruitt’s struggles with depression and finding herself become even more vivid live through songs like ‘My Mind’s A Ship (That’s Going Down)’, an introspective ballad where she channels all the frustration from her battles into chilling, passionate screams.
It’s not to say the show doesn’t take an upbeat turn - Pruitt has a knack for delivering profound, considered ideas into both sorrowful and vibrant takes. As she jumps into the rock n roll of ‘Expectations’ and ‘Look The Other Way,’ a protest song that she penned last year following the death of George Floyd, it’s particularly obvious, in a live setting, just how Pruitt can move and inspire through any form of emotion.
It’s become even more telling this past year just how important it is for us to be able to acknowledge that everyone deserves to feel happy and comfortable in their own skin - no matter what they look like or who they love. It makes Pruitt’s set-closing rendition of ‘Loving Her’ all the more pertinent and moving, as she tells of her journey as a lesbian and the push-back she’s received from family and others who have a hard time coping with it.
Despite the heaviness of the lyrical themes, Pruitt was sporting a grin from ear-to-ear, no doubt thrilled to be back playing music inside and to smiling faces after such a whirlwind year. While outdoor shows are fun and certainly better than having no live music at all, the authentic club experience and the intimacy that comes with it is something that just can’t be replicated elsewhere, particularly when it comes to a venue like the Burl. For many music lovers in Central Kentucky, the Burl is a home away from home, so to get to step foot back inside and lay eyes on the glowing stain glass behind the stage is nothing short of magical.
Photography by Sarah Cahill.