It was all about girl power last night at The High Watt for the release of pop-flavored soulstress Whissell’s debut EP Old Souls, Young Bodies with FJØRA and Fleurie providing opening support.
The audience was crammed into the intimate space, with many familiar faces from Nashville’s burgeoning pop community there to support the success of one of their own. The star of the evening took the stage with a full band in tow; the power was physical, the force of the sound barreled through the High Watt speakers as it reverberated through our bodies. Whissell commanded attention from the moment she sang the first note, the tone of her husky voice a welcome ripple in the current female pop landscape. As she began performing “Pain Of Love,” a swamp-inspired electro-blues track from the EP, this Nashville crowd defied the norm and actually started moving, no arms crossed at this event.
Whissell, who spoke of being inspired by the simplicity of love and the vintage sound of music’s 1960s golden era, bared every inch of her soul for that High Watt crowd, every song from her too-short set was remarkable. In “Whiskey Please,” a response to a relationship in which she was not a priority, she delivers angry sentiments with sass and style, relating to every single attendee, because emotions such as these are universal. Her backing band, not to be overlooked, was exceptional—everyone was in sync, each musician obviously individually phenomenal, yet performed as a tight, solid unit, powerfully supporting the vocals and bringing each song to life.
At the end our our evening together, as rays of light shone around and through our heroine, she earnestly delivered the gospel stylings of uplifting anthem “Ready Or Not,” as the backup vocals provided choir-like support, and Whissell took us to church with each chorus. Bass-heavy album standout “Quicksand” closed the show; she had us all in the palm of her hand, and let us go way too soon. We can’t wait to see what’s next for her.