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Munsick brings the joy and bright hope for country's future

El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles, July 24, 2023

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

Joy is not a word usually associated with country music concerts. Instead, a lot of times songs address drinking problems, relationship issues and economic difficulties. Ian Munsick, however, exuded plenty of joy during his first ever Los Angeles concert. No, not all of his songs were what you might term 'joyful,' but nothing seemed to steal this man's happy demeanor while performing his set.

Some songs were just plain fun, though, including "Cowboy Killer" and "Cowshit in the Morning," which is a smell most California city folk know nothing about. Munsick was backed by a muscular three-piece band, which did well by keeping up nicely with Munsick's robust energy. He has long hair and wears a ball cap, but he's nonetheless all the way country. He came on stage playing a banjo, and one of his band members added fiddle to a lot of the songs played. He even said that he'd sure like to hear more fiddle in country music.

Toward show's end, Munsick played tidbits of a few covers, including "No Scrubs" by TLC and "Toxic" by Britney Spears, but then reached his most serious point of the evening by doing "White Buffalo," which he dedicated to the Native American community.

The crowd was completely into it from the very start, mirroring the positive response he received from the tent crowd at the most recent Stagecoach. He is certainly on the rise and someone to keep an eye on. He's yet one more bright hope for the future of country music.

Tanner Usrey opened the night with a brief acoustic set, where he sang mostly sad songs – including one called "Josephine," about a heroin-addicted woman. With his big black hat and dark clothing, Usrey fit the part of a guy relaying bad news (through music).

Usrey's down disposition was quickly forgotten, however, once Munsick took the stage and started spreading his joy, which was impossible to resist.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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