To borrow a phrase from one of Patsy Cline’s hits, night winds were indeed whispering to us over the weekend. They were whispering that Mandy Barnett’s remarkable performance with the Nashville Symphony was one not to be missed.
During a three-night performance, Barnett wowed audiences with her voice in a tribute to Patsy Cline over this past weekend. As part of the Nashville Symphony’s Bank of America Pops Concert Series, Barnett was flanked by the Nashville Symphony as she paid homage to the great hits and lyrical power of the legendary Patsy Cline.
“We think Mandy has a remarkable voice, and I think Mandy has a remarkable voice…” gushed congenial Resident Conductor Albert-George Schram. He continued with the quip, “…but we bet that she’s never had a better warm-up band than the Nashville Symphony!”
Indeed, the powerful pairing of our symphony with the unbelievable Mandy Barnett was a potent combination.
The evening began with a rendition of Enesco’s “Rumanian Rhapsody in A Major,” and the symphony continued with a stellar performance of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” a classic that was brought to life by the inimitable Robert Marler on piano.
As Barnett came to the stage, the crowd erupted in applause in the Schermerhorn. As much awe as that building inspires, Barnett was an equal match to the impressive surroundings in Nashville’s own point of pride. “It’s just been a dream to be here,” Barnett confided. “My very first pops concert. I thought the nerves would be gone by now, but they’re not. I’m just trying to hold it together!”
After her first performance of Jimmie Crane and Al Jacob’s hit “Hurt,” Mandy welcomed the crowd by saying, “It’s Patsy time!” Always one to give credit to the legendary Patsy Cline, Mandy Barnett, however, has personally done more for the memory of Patsy Cline and her music than anyone else. Her routinely sold-out shows of Always…Patsy Cline at the Ryman and reprised in recent years have continued to generate interest and attract listeners, old and young alike, to the music of Patsy Cline. Infinitely more than an adequate cover singer, Barnett’s voice stands alone in the music business for its raw power yet elegant control. All throughout the audience, whispers of “She is unbelievable!” could be heard. Even spotted in the crowd were Nashville legends, including “God Bless the USA”’s Lee Greenwood and his lovely wife Kim. He was the first to rise to his feet in applause and the last to sit down after Barnett’s wildly enthusiastic standing ovation. It is always admirable to see Nashville supporting its own, one artistic peer to another.
Barnett added to her inspiring renditions by giving the audience tidbits of stories to accompany each song. “Here’s a song by Hank Cochran he wrote for Patsy. As the story goes, when she heard it, she cried.” That was Barnett’s lead-in to the hit “She’s Got You,” which was a January 1962 hit for Patsy Cline.
After wowing the audience with so many of Cline’s hits through the years, Barnett honored the late performer by describing William Penn’s quotation on Cline’s headstone. “Death cannot kill that which cannot die, and that’s certainly true of Patsy Cline.” It is certainly true today that Mandy Barnett’s voice is unparalled – a modern-day master class on grace, power and control.
We at Sports & Entertainment Nashville urge you to enjoy Mandy Barnett’s recent CD released with Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores, “I Can’t Stop Loving You: The Songs of Don Gibson,” available nationwide November 2013. Also not to be missed are the upcoming shows of the Nashville Symphony, including the November presentation of Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony and the December presentation of Handel’s Messiah and “Christmas with Amy Grant & Vince Gill.”