In the southern part of downtown Renton, WA, Luther’s Table resides across the street from the Renton IKEA Performance Arts Center and Renton High School. This little non-profit cafe, which is run by a Lutheran church, offers local beers and wine along with basic bar food. The atmosphere is open and spacious with good lighting, but otherwise nothing particularly special with the exception that they love hosting musicians. And fortunately enough, the coordinator, Kevin, was able to book a well known singer/songwriter from Wakeman, OH, and veteran contestant of The Voice, Emily Keener.
If you are unfamiliar with the 18-yr old songstress, you probably should get familiar. The incredibly talented Ohioan stepped on stage, after a slightly awkward introduction with a bit of trivia to introduce Keener to an older crowd, for a 2-hour set with just her voice and her father’s guitar. After a short quip with the crowd about her first time in the Pacific Northwest, Keener jumped right in with her first song of the evening, “Lorelei”. From the moment she started tuning her guitar, there was this quiet confidence that she possessed, but after strumming the first note, her confidence exploded.
Keener treated us to songs off her most current release, Breakfast, as well as, older favorites like “East of the Sun” and a few covers that included Simon & Garfunkel‘s “The Boxer”, which was a personal favorite of her father, and Stevie Wonder‘s “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing” and that was during the first set. All the while, between song she would chat to the audience talking about forgetting nail clippers as a guitarist, dropping her phone on her guitar, and about her parents hiding their nervousness about her first solo tour.
After a quick intermission, where she mingled with the crowd chatting away. Keener was re-introduced to the crowd and as a tradition at Luther’s Table, they passed around a bucket to collect tips for the visiting artist, as well as gave her a couple of thank you gifts that included a Boeing t-shirt, a new journal and pen, which she graciously accepted.
To kick off the second set, Keener chatted about her time on NBC’s The Voice for a minute before jumping into her cover of “Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell. It was energetic and entertaining. With so much time on stage, she had the ability to perform a bunch of new songs, not released and also stuff she rarely gets to play like her latest single, “Light & Sound”. Nearing the end of her set she performed a fantastic rendition of “Georgia On My Mind” which actually drew a standing ovation and ended with “What We’re About” which she dedicated to the music coordinator as he had stated that it was his favorite song.
I have followed Emily Keener‘s career with interest since her time on The Voice and having reviewed her latest album, Breakfast, and her music video for “Light & Sound”, I knew we were in for a great performance. She did not disappoint. If you are in the area and you love acoustic folk music, then absolutely see Emily Keener.
Here are a list of her upcoming shows. I suggest taking advantage:
05/10 – Guilt & Company – Vancouver, BC
05/13 – Sandusky State Theatre – Sandusky, OH
06/08 – Heights Music Shop – Cleveland, OH
06/10 – Put-in-Bay Music Festival – Put-in-Bay, OH
06/30 – Tappan Square – Oberlin, OH
07/19 – Wakeman Library – Wakeman, OH
08/06 – Mill Hollow Park – Vermillion, OH
08/12 – Bocktober Fest – Amherst, OH
09/22-24 – Island Hopper Fest – Captiva Island, FL
If you are unable to make any of those shows, you can pick up her latest album, Breakfast, on iTunes now.