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Small Town Heroes @ Purdue Memorial Union

July 22, 2010

Believe it or not, there’s actually a music scene in Lafayette. You just have to keep your eyes (and ears) open. Case in point, I didn’t hear about last night’s Small Town Heroes show until an hour before. Luckily, @purdueunion tweeted about it. The name, “Small Town Heroes” sounded familiar, but I quickly realized that:

Small Town Hero


Small Town Heroes

Christian-inspired alt-country/bluegrass is not exactly my speed (no surprise there). But I thought, hey why not? So I decided to check ’em out.

Pictured: One section of the crowd

As I made my way over to the Purdue Memorial Union, I was impressed to see a crowd of well over 100 people waiting in lawn chairs. Turns out the show was the 3rd installment of the Purdue/PEFCU-sponsored summer concert series. (See the link to the schedule below.)

Small Town Heroes is a local quintet featuring violin, as well as briefer appearances by mandolin and harmonica. Their bluesy alt-country sound entertained a more mature/diverse audience than I’m used to. Moms, dads, kids, and grandparents listened along and snatched up CDs and t-shirts at the end of the set.

They began with “Cowboy’s Last Good-Bye.” You wouldn’t think a song with “yodel-ey, yodel-oh” would be good, but it was! There’s a nice contrast between Bethany’s silky voice and Brian’s, which has a touch of alt rock grit.

As the set progressed, I heard more spiritual influence on the songs. Like many musicians, Small Town Heroes  does the “don’t-call-us-a-Christian-band-wink-wink” routine. It’s a smart move, no explanation needed. Spiritual or not, their songs conveyed sincerity and thoughtfulness. My personal favorite was the upbeat “God Loves Them All” (I think that’s what it’s called?) Other notables included “Living Martyrs” and “11th Prayer.” Bethany (violin) explained that “Living Martyrs” was inspired by the story of oppressed Turkish monks.  Right before “11th Prayer,” Brian revealed that he had stolen a prayer book to write the song.

Interestingly, Small Town Heroes described themselves not as a band, but as a group of friends who like to play music together. And that’s easy to see. The show felt less like a performance than it did a friendly jam session. This laid-back group was comfortable on stage, exchanging witty comments and stories between songs. Brian, pictured in the green PCS above, especially hammed it up.

Small Town Heroes will soon go on tour. That is, if they have transportation. To echo Brian’s appeal–if you have an 11-passenger van (with air conditioning) give ’em a shout. Check out the links below.


Girl At The Show


Small Town Heroes on MySpace:

Small Town Heroes official site:

Purdue/PEFCU summer concert series schedule:

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