Thanks to Stephen Lamb for writing up this report for Looking Closer on Sixpence live!

I just got home from seeing Sixpence None the Richer play a benefit show for Blood:Water Mission, a completely packed house at 3rd and Lyndsley here in Nashville. I arrived almost two hours before the show started, and the place was already over half full. I don’t think there were any seats left an hour before it started. A friend of mine, Matthew Perryman Jones, was opening, and he played three songs from his last CD, Throwing Punches in the Dark, four songs from his upcoming CD, Swallow the Sea, and a Tom Waits cover, Take It With Me. After a short break, Sixpence took the stage and played for exactly one hour (because the show was being broadcast live on the radio). Here’s the set list:

Tension (Is a Passing Note)
Between the Lines
I’ve Been Waiting
Sooner Than Later
Kiss Me
A Million Parachutes
Melody of You
Down and Out of Time
Ocean Size Love
There She Goes
Just a Little
Amazing Grace (Give It Back)

There were a couple of additions to their lineup from last time. At the last show they played here in Nashville, back in April, Matt Slocum was joined on guitars by Sam Ashworth – Sam played acoustic guitar the whole show, and Matt stayed on electric except for one song. This time, Paul Moak was added into the mix, playing electric, which gave Matt more freedom to switch back and forth between acoustic and electric. Justin Carry was back on bass, Will Sayles on drums, and Cason Cooley on keys. And then Steve Hindalong (The Choir, Lost Dogs, City on a Hill) sat in on percussion – Steve produced their new Christmas project, The Dawn of Grace, due out October 14th.

There She Goes and Just a Little were performed without the band, just Matt on acoustic guitar and Sam on acoustic guitar and background vocals, singing great harmonies against Leigh’s lead vocal, for a nice break in the set. And Leigh introduced Kiss Me by saying they had re-worked their cover of that tune to make it more fun for them to perform, and that they were planning on recording the new version sometime in the future, presumably for the album due out next year.

When the news of the Sixpence reunion first broke, they announced there would be an EP coming this summer, the Christmas album in the Fall, and then a full-length album sometime next year. According to this article in The Tennessean, on the advice of their management, they’ve decided to hold off on releasing the EP, which was going to be available only on iTunes, so they can reintroduce the band with the Christmas album. What that article doesn’t say is that they have actually already released the EP, My Dear Machine, on, where you can download it for free. The four songs on the EP are My Dear Machine, Amazing Grace (Give It Back), Sooner Than Later, and Around.

As I mentioned, it was a benefit show for Blood:Water Mission, raising money for their 1000 Wells Project. The fourteen riders in the Ride:Well bike tour were passing through Nashville this weekend, so they were also at the show – author Don Miller among them. All in all, it was a successful evening, with great music and good publicity for Blood:Water. Be sure to check out My Dear Machine, the new Sixpence None the Richer EP, if you need something to tide you over until the full-length album comes out. It’s worth it just for Amazing Grace (Give It Back), a song which grapples with the same questions about faith present in some of their other lyrics: I knew a song that played in me / it seems I’ve lost the melody / so please, Lord, give it back to me / so please, Lord, give it back to me // …You’re everywhere in every time / and yet You’re so damn hard to find / so please, Lord, I want a sign / oh please, Lord, I want a sign // I need Your breath on the embers / I need the light on my face / I need the streams in the desert / that sing Amazing Grace.

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