Reba McEntire performed on what is likely the smallest stage she's played in some time last night at the Basement East club in East Nashville. The surprise appearance came during a show by the Shadowboxers, a Nashville-by-way-of-Atlanta vocal group that has been making a name for itself with a series of hot-ticket residencies at the Basement East.
Each showcase by the pop-funk band — whose core is made up of Adam Hoffman, Matt Lipkins and Scott Schwartz — features a specific theme and rotating roster of guests. August's engagement was all soul and funk covers, with Chris Stapleton making a cameo to sing James Brown's "It's a Man's Man's Man's World," while last evening's show highlighted songs with dynamic harmonies, including the Eagles' "One of These Nights," Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain" and the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations." There was even a faithful set-closing rendition of the Beatles' "Abbey Road Suite."
But it was when the Shadowboxers launched into Dolly Parton's "Jolene" and McEntire emerged from the wings that the crowd lost its collective mind. As a sea of smartphones began blinking "record," McEntire made eye contact with shocked audience members, tightly packed in the sweaty club, while begging the titular Jolene not to take her man. Shortly after, Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman also appeared, harmonizing on their own verse and ratcheting up the palpable frenzy.
Nashville's Clare Bowen and promising new songwriter Maren Morris made guest appearances as well during the two-hour set, which also included songs by Crosby, Stills and Nash, Queen and Hall & Oates. The Shadowboxers' next residency — in which they'll perform Michael Jackson's Thriller in its entirety — is set for October 29th.