Even though Kristian Bush has hosted his post-Thanksgiving concerts at Eddie’s Attic for 16 years , it’s still possible to find a first-timer.
This year, it turned out to be at least two – Bush’s guests for his pair of Sunday night shows.
Neither Wyatt Durrette - well-known among Atlanta music fans for his longtime songwriting relationship with the Zac Brown Band - nor Chicago native singer-songwriter Chris Gelbuda had ever performed at the classic venue. And, until they met Bush at a songwriter’s night in Mexico earlier this year (“I asked them [if they would play the show] at the bar…where we had breakfast,” Bush joked), they had never performed together, either.
But, as usual, Bush proved a genial host, ably steering the round-robin format as the trio – along with Bush’s ace guitarist Benji Shanks – uncorked nearly two hours of songs at the early show.
(Bush will perform another set of concerts , at 7 and 9:30 p.m., Monday night with guest Ellis Paul.)
Gelbuda showcased a rich, soulful voice on songs he’s written for Dustin Lynch (“Love Me or Leave Me Alone”) and Lee Brice (“The Best Part of Me”), as well as a Chicago-styled blues swinger, “Easy on This Heart.”
Pop fans immediately recognized another song touched by Gelbuda, the Meghan Trainor hit, “Like I’m Gonna Lose You,” which he produced for her 2015 studio debut, “Title.” He even treated the Eddie’s crowd to the original cringing reggae take on the swaying ballad.
Chris Gelbuda performs "Like I'm Gonna Lose You," which he produced for Meghan Trainor
While Durrette’s contributions were familiar because of their ubiquity with Zac Brown Band, it was undoubtedly cool to hear his vocals – slightly twangier than Brown’s – present “Knee Deep,” with Bush knocking out the beat on the body of his acoustic guitar, and the melancholy “Colder Weather.”
Durrette also unveiled “A Glimpse,” a thoughtful song he said was, “about the little things…about moments like this.”
Wyatt Durrette sings "Knee Deep," a song he co-wrote with the Zac Brown Band
Bush, meanwhile, supplied his usual heartfelt mixture of Sugarland favorites (“Baby Girl,” which he and Jennifer Nettles performed earlier in the month at their surprise reunion at a CMA Awards after-party ), solo tunes (“Giving it Up”) and the Billy Pilgrim rocker, “Insomniac.”
Kristian Bush performs the Billy Pilgrim song, "Insomniac"
He also debuted a new song written for country rocker Frankie Ballard, a meaty stomper that is destined for hitsville upon its release.
Bush started this Eddie’s Attic tradition following the death of his mother as a way to cheer and distract himself from the holiday. But his fans should be thankful for his continued dedication to such intimacy.