My local radio station is WTMD, near Baltimore, Maryland. It’s a station that plays up-and-coming music by acts from near and far. They put on a lot of free shows to give their listeners exposure to the artists they play and during the spring and summer, they host a free concert on the first Thursday of the month.
They also host Live Lunch, where an artist is invited to play at the station’s studio at noon on Fridays. Listeners can come to see the show for free. Attending a live lunch seemed like a cool idea, but once I found out indie musician Hozier would be playing an upcoming lunch, I knew I absolutely had to go.
Hozier, the stage name of Andrew Hozier-Byrne, is an Irish blues-rock singer who has recently been getting a lot of buzz in his homeland, as well as in the United States.
He appeared on Letterman on May 13, and his shows have been selling out like hotcakes, except I’d rather buy a ticket to one of his shows than buy a hotcake, whatever that is. Luckily, I didn’t have to buy anything, since he was appearing at the Live Lunch. All I had to do was show up, and try and get there before the place was jam-packed.
I was lucky enough to get a seat at the show, since the studio filled up with listeners who were just as eager as I was to see Hozier play, and for most of them, it was standing room only. The whole show was broadcast live on the radio station, so even those who weren’t able to make it at noon on a Friday could still get the experience.
When he addressed the audience, he was soft-spoken and gracious, much like Ray LaMontagne was when I saw him, and he had an Irish accent to boot. When he sang, though, it was from the very bottom of his soul. This guy was born to make blues music. He was also a crazy-talented guitar player, and his band (including a cellist) wasn’t too shabby either .
He played his most well-known songs like “From Eden“, “Angel of Small Death” and “Work Song“, as well as a few others that weren’t as widely played. He also played his biggest hit, “Take Me To Church“, and talked a little bit in the interview portion about the music video, which is meant to raise awareness of LGBT issues in Russia. The video has more than 3.2 million Youtube views, so the message is getting across (but click that link anyway, it’s powerful stuff).
So what’s the takeaway from all this? One, Hozier is a fantastic live performer, and I can’t wait to see how far his star can rise. And two, when you support local radio stations like WTMD, they get to do fun free things like this for the community–so send a couple spare bucks their way. And if you are a local Baltimorean, don’t forget to keep checking WTMD’s schedule to see what free performances they’ll be bringing to town next.