Corey Crowder, Lee DeWyze, The Hotel Café, September 23, 2011
The recent pairing of American Idol ninth season winner Lee DeWyze and independent singer / songwriter Corey Crowder has proven to be a winning combination. And so it was a nice surprise to see both artists performing sets at the extremely intimate Hotel Café in the wilds of Hollywood on a Friday night. DeWyze is certainly a household name due to his American Idol stature and deservedly so, judging by the energetic live performance he and his band delivered. Corey Crowder has also experienced a career full of ups and down – and he remains a vastly underrated performer whose fan base regard with a good deal of admiration. The two artists make for a perfect team, and it was a treat seeing both in this star-making town.
First up was Corey Crowder, who presented a short yet thoroughly impressive opening set. Although the crowd was clearly there to see Mr. DeWyze, they definitely cheered and clapped to Corey’s outstanding songs. There is little doubt he’s made a whole set of new fans since touring with the famed American Idol winner. Kicking off the acoustic performance with a rousing original entitled Burnin’ Love, Corey quickly demonstrated what a tremendous talent he is. Joining in on mandolin was Kirk Sauers, who contributed a magic touch, weaving intricately though the material. Look How Far We’ve Come and the amazing Southern Way from Crowder’s underrated Gold & The Sand CD were played, their acoustic renditions absolutely breathtaking! People Worth Talking About was another highlight, an inspiring tune Corey wrote about his fire fighter brother. There were also two covers included that had the audience singing along, which were CCR’s Who Will Stop The Rain and Lean On Me by Bill Withers. Now with a writing contract from Universal Records, Corey Crowder may finally be crashing into the big time at last! A great combination of fun and heartfelt tunes!
The room was jammed packed when Lee DeWyze took to the stage. And if you thought that only teen girls screamed at the artists they love and adore, you’ll definitely be in for a second take when seeing the reaction from DeWyze’s 20-something plus fans. The response was not without merit, as Lee DeWyze really placed his heart and soul into such impassioned tunes as Pretty Eyes and Live It Up. An impressive cover of the Iron and Wine classic Naked As We Come was also unleashed, with DeWyze rendering the song all his own. A Song About Love was another moving number that really grabbed the emotions of the audience. DeWyze and his guitar were accompanied by a pianist and a super resourceful percussionist – the trio making for a tremendously enjoyable musical experience. The Hotel Café is always booking the best of shows and they may now add the bill of DeWyze and Crowder into one of their many memorable events. After the meet and greets, it was off into the rowdy mayhem and chaos of a weekend night in Hollywood!
(Review and Photos by Kenneth Morton)