“I like how you can listen to a song and it hits you the way you want to feel.”
Local musician Justin Merritt certainly delivered on the feelings of excitement, fun, and enthusiasm at his show in Many Saturday night. With Martone’s, a Sabine Parish date night staple, being nearly packed, Justin set the stage once again for the perfect night out with friends or dinner with family. Before the first chord was even played, the atmosphere in one of our favorite local joints was full of energy and ready for a great performance. And with an artist as talented as Justin, the audience was definitely in for a treat.
Justin Merritt, joined by Blake Clickscales on bass, kicked off the night with his rendition of the well-known country classic “Tulsa Time,” setting the bar pretty high for the show to follow. With each song being more soulful than the last, Justin far exceeded the feel of a local artist playing for friends and family by curating a musical experience that left the audience wanting more with each tune played.
As the music kicked up, the boots hit the floor with the enthusiastic crowd eager to dance and have fun as Merritt skillfully and smoothly transitioned between artistic covers and impressive originals. And with songs as well-crafted as the incredible food being served up by the Martone’s staff, its easy to see why Merritt’s shows are always a hit.
Justin Merritt has been playing music and writing his own songs for quite a while. With two albums already under his belt and another set of original singles ready to be recorded, this Sabine Parish favorite is no stranger to incredible music. His original songs Saturday included: “Might Get Drunk”, “Road to Hell”, “Used to Be”, “Grass in Dixie”, “Honky Tonk Angel”, “Won’t Back Down”, and his newest single, “Don’t Wanna Dance”. Justin’s music, described as a blend of Red-Dirt country and Americana, flowed perfectly between crowd favorite covers including “Lady May”, and his ending cover, “Good Lord Lorrie” by the Turnpike Troubadours leaving the audience wanting more. Not one to turn down another musical round, Merritt gave the fun-filled crowd what they wanted and pulled the perfect out-of-left-field encore cover of Alice in Chains’ “Nutshell.” While this song choice may seem a far stretch from the folksy feel of show, it’s just another musical favorite for Justin, who “loves other styles of music and [has] always enjoyed how deep and powerful [Nutshell] is.” The song choice, according to Merritt, also has the added bonus of being something seemingly out of the wheelhouse of a country artist adding to the “shock-factor” that makes for the perfect encore to remember an incredible show by.
If you’re looking for the chance to see this local favorite and amazing homegrown Sabine Parish talent play another show, make plans to hit the road (but not too far) and travel to his Natchitoches show at the Mariners on Saturday, December 4th. In the meantime, The Justin Merritt Band can be found on iTunes and other streaming apps!
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