If you didn’t catch Josh Abbott Band on Conan last night (Jan. 18), here’s your chance to see what you missed. The Texas country outfit stopped by the famed late night show to perform “Amnesia” off their album Front Row Seat.
The band is making a big push for the single after re-releasing it to radio and issuing a new music video in October. The song originally hit the radio waves in 2015 as the first single off the concept album.
The band’s late night TV performance should certainly boost the song’s buzz. They performed another single, “Wasn’t That Drunk,” on Jimmy Kimmel Live in May 2016 and saw that song’s chart performance increase.
Unfortunately, parts of the band’s appearance on Conan performance felt lacking.
While Abbott does his best to emote, parts of the performance come across as forced. Once a reliably steady vocalist, Abbott’s singing during these types of appearances have notably taken a dive in recent years. Of course, that could be nerves.
But the recorded version of “Amnesia” features a much more interesting chorus melody than the one the band performs live. Usually, Abbott jumps to a higher note before a slight fall during the first half of the chorus. Live, he simply keeps the whole line low and hovering around the same note.
It’s a simple difference, but one that drastically alters the emotional delivery of the song. And sure, vocalists changes live parts to tunes every now and then. But if you can’t sing it confidently live, you should reconsider writing those notes in the first place. Or at the very least reconsider releasing it as a single.
But that’s not the only time Abbott alters the melody. In fact, he rarely strays far from the root note at all, even in the verses. He attempts the higher line (“The movie got a little hazy”) in the second verse but immediately backs off, abandoning the pitch in favor of what can only be justified as an artistic decision.
In the end, an otherwise nice melody line Abbott wrote alongside hitmaker Shane McAnally feels like a shell of what it really is. “Amnesia” is a cool tune and one that stretches the band’s comfort zones, but it only works when Abbott stretches himself to meet those requirements.
But at least the band totally rocks it.