Ohio-born, Nashville-based singer-songwriter Cheley Tackett might not be a household name in Country music she damn well should be. For her latest project, Tackett has released a solo live show recorded in 2019 at Douglas Corner Café, a venue that sadly ended up closing due to the impact of the pandemic. Tackett’s performance was the last captured before the venue was forced to close its door so it’s as much a celebration of that beloved venue as it is Tackett’s prowess as a singer and songwriter.
‘The Last Live’ is a 74-minute performance that features both live performances and amusing anecdotes from Tackett between the songs. Whether you’ve heard Tackett’s music before or not, there’s plenty here to enjoy and most likely convert you into a big fan. The album opens with Tackett addressing the audience and telling them how much she hates writing set lists, so much so she didn’t bother preparing one for the show. Instead she. Put the song names in a bag for the audience to pick out. If you didn’t already know it about Tackett, she’s most definitely got a very good sense of humour.
The first song is ‘Up Here’, a gentle acoustic ballad that captivates thanks to Tackett’s emotive vocal. It’s the sign of a true artist when someone can get up on a stage and take your breath away accompanied only by a guitar, and Tackett does that with ease. Across the collection, she shares her personal, relatable and inviting stories and there isn’t a dull moment to be found. ‘Play the One I Like’ tells the story of a woman who wants to find comfort in a song’s happy ending, even though her own relationship has definitively ended. Tackett’s voice hits you in all the right places, and it’s a highlight.
Other highlights across the album include the punchy ‘Big Hair’, co-written with Ashley McBryde, which ups the tempo and finds Tackett spitting out some razor sharp lyrics, and the booze-induced flirty ‘I Like You a Little Drunk’, which captures the rush of getting tipsy with the object of your affection. Before she performs ‘Fried Chicken’, Tackett tells the story of how her mother distracted her seconds before she was about to tape the song for her TV debut and it’s a very funny moment. Even better is when Tackett finishes the song and reveals that her mother has never even made fried chicken!
Elsewhere on the album the gorgeous ‘Save Yourself’ is one of those moments you wish you’d been in the audience to witness live, ‘My Best Dress’ has a real Southern twang to its melody, and closer ‘Penny Wishes’ features intricate guitar riffs and Tackett’s emotive vocal as she sings about a woman who never found her big break but felt happy with her life regardless.
‘The Last Live’ is a very strong release from Tackett and showcases just how incredible an artist she is. How she’s not a bigger star remains a mystery but I suspect she’ll continue to gain fans here in the UK. This album is moving, funny, emotional and everything in between. If you’re yet to check out Cheley Tackett’s music, then I highly recommend you spend some time with this album and fall in love with her, like I have.
Track listing: 1. The Universe Has an Incredible Sense of Humor 2. Up Here 3. Sad Songs Make Me Happy 4. Play The One I Like 5. Prolific People 6. $2 Bill 7. Big Hair 8. Feeling Pretty Amorous 9. I Like You a Little Drunk 10. Aunt Helen & the Dancing Couple 11. Jerusalem Ridge 12. The Room Got Silent 13. When We Knew It All 14. Homegrown 15. The Healer 16. National Television Debut 17. Fried Chicken 18. Kill Somebody in a Song 19. Save Yourself 20. Stay Clever 21. Feelin’ a Little Lonely 22. My Best Dress 23. Good for Me 24. Penny Wishes Record label: Cheley Tackett Release date: 21st May 2021 Buy ‘The Last Live’ now