Photos and Story by Enrique Geronimo / Contributing Writer
Ridenour Rehearsal Studios has hosted a Bluelight Session once a month since Feb. 21 of this year, with the last event of the semester occurring on Thursday. The event is put on by MTSU’s Omega Delta Psi recording industry fraternity and is always free.
The sessions are an opportunity to showcase MTSU students and other local musician’s talents while providing a spot to hang out and listen to music. Last night’s acts were India Cooper, JP Burr and CSZTR. They each brought forth a unique, soulful and emotion-filled performance in their own ways.
The night started off with Cooper, who is a singer/songwriter with a sweet, but powerful, voice paired with personal, introspective lyrics that covered a few different topics. “
Music is terrifying, but isn’t that why we all do it? For the rush of playing and making a statement that could make a difference in someone’s life,” Cooper said before the show. “If my music helps just one person then it’s worth it.”
Cooper started her set off with an emotional a cappella intro followed by a perfectly gritty guitar to support her smooth vocals.
“Most of the things I write about are what I’m going through, whether that be anxiety or other things. This is my way of letting it out, so thank you for listening,” Cooper said before singing another song.
With thought-provoking lyrics like, “I’m out here trying, living but I’m dying,” she had the crowd affixed.
Shortly afterward, Burr got on stage.
“What’s up, guys? I’m J.P. Burr, and these are my friends. We’re gonna have a good time,” said Burr before jumping right into the first song.
The energy was through the roof as the group of talented musicians all rocked out.
Burr added before a song, “It’s great to be here in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Ridenour is a great place. I love it. I’m a big fan.”
The band had such a large, impactful sound that almost everyone was dancing and moving around, especially with backing vocals done by special guest Miranda Renzi. The band followed with an excellent cover of John Mayer’s “I Don’t Trust Myself (With Loving You).” Both Burr and David Medlin, who was also playing guitar, utilized fully equipped pedal boards to fine-tune their tone during the performance, stomping the pedals on and off throughout the set. Towards the end of their set, J.P. called up a special guest that he saw in the crowd: Hayden Coffman.
“I wasn’t prepared for this, but I guess they want me to sing one of my songs, so here we go,” Coffman said.
This impromptu performance was definitely a crowd-pleaser. Hoffman’s voice sounded perfect paired with Burr and the rest of the band. They closed with “Pink Houses” by John Mellencamp, which was also a crowd favorite that got everyone dancing and singing along.
Last, but most certainly not least, was CSZTR, who is cool, calm and collected offstage, but an absolute powerhouse and ball of energy onstage.
“It’s a mix of a bunch of different stuff. It’ll all be originals tonight. We might throw in a cover depending on how we feel. We’re also all in a group called The Broomestix with four other guys as well,” CSZTR said before the show.
The show immediately started with a bang as he screamed out, “Can you feel it?” while jumping around with a four-piece band backing him, featuring a keyboardist, drummer, bassist and saxophonist. The band came together to form an extremely smooth, jazzy R&B feel that had everyone on their feet. While the lyrics were fairly simplistic at times, there were also some deep, pensive questions brought up.
“This next song is called ‘Walking,’” CSZTR said. “I work at Asian Express in the KUC, and I walk there every morning. I have to be there at 6 a.m. When you’re walking I feel like you can think about a lot of stuff like …'”Dang, should I make my bed? What am I going to do when I graduate? What happens when I die?’ These are some of the things I think about.”
With the stage presence and vocal strength of soul/R&B legends Marvin Gaye and James Brown, CSZTR was hitting low notes and falsettos with ease and a carefree demeanor. CSZTR was all over the stage, interpretively dancing and expressing his emotions through his movements along to the music, almost as if he was using his body as an instrument. Before the next song, CSZTR added, “I gotta catch my breath after all that, y’all feel me?”
They ended the show with “How Are You Doing,” a song that he said will be his next “online release.” Although he said he’s not sure when that will be. The crowd was extremely involved, and there was even a small mosh pit for a moment. Before the song was over he chimed in, “Now the song is over, but you can find me on Spotify, Instagram, Tinder and all that other stuff. I’m about to sing the hook again, and then it’s over.” The crowd cheered enthusiastically as the show ended.
“This is the final Bluelight session for the semester, but we will be back next semester. Good luck with all of your finals and drive safe,” Miranda, an ODP member and Bluelight representative, said.
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