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Marlowe may be a star in the making

El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles, October 26, 2023

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

Kameron Marlowe brought his "I Can Lie" tour to Los Angeles (his first time playing this big city) and proved in concert how he's one of the best new mainstream singers in country music. With a full-bodied vocal tone similar to Cody Johnson, Marlowe came off like a star in the making.

Marlowe was backed by basically a rock band, without anything distinctly country (no fiddle or steel guitar), and at times, this band rocked a little too hard. It's why the concert's best moments came toward the end, when Marlowe sang a few songs with just his acoustic guitar as accompaniment. This 'unplugged' set included a heartfelt cover of Jamey Johnson's "In Color," which was a song he said greatly impacted him when he was in high school.

Cover songs were also mixed in with Marlowe's originals while he was backed by full band, too, including Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Simple Man" and Brooks & Dunn's "Red Dirt Road." Marlowe especially shined with his band when singing the blues-leaning "Ain't Enough Whiskey." Marlowe appeared sincerely touched whenever this sold-out audience sang along with his songs. He may be new to playing Los Angeles, but this crowd response suggested he'll be back again, and often.

Elvie Shane preceded Marlowe with a criminally short set. Flanked by a drummer and a lead guitarist, Shane told memorable stories about his songs, which included the beautiful family portrait of "My Boy." Shane is also a soulful singer and was just getting warmed up when his half-hour set came to its end. Let's hope he visits these parts as a headliner soon. Laci Kaye Booth opened the evening with a short set of personalized songs.

If Marlowe turns that star quality into true stardom, he'll deserve it. And if he uses that high profile to afford a more country-instrumented backing band to take on the road with him, all the better. For now, though, it's just heartening to see someone so truly talented getting full major label support.

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