Covers, medleys and popular originals sounded off on Friday, Feb. 24 as the Rathskeller welcomed Leigh Nash from Sixpence None the Richer, a rock band with pop undertones, and opener Joanna Burns.
For Nash, the solo experience was a breakaway from her usual acts.
“Singing solo you’re very exposed acoustically, which is intimidating,” she said. “It’s a very different experience.”
Although the audience enjoyed her entire set, “Kiss Me” received the strongest reaction from the crowd.
“People from outside came in just to hear that song,” said Tom Leonhardt, freshman history and secondary education double major. “The place was packed.”
Nash revealed how long she has been performing. “I’ve been doing this since I was 15 — and I’m 35 now — but some part of me still feels like I’m 15,” Nash said.
Although Nash thoroughly enjoyed working solo, she admitted that she prefers to perform with the band.
Sixpence None the Richer formed in the early ’90s in New Braunfels, Texas and eventually settled in Nashville, Tenn. The band is best known for their songs “Kiss Me” and “Breathe Your Name,” as well as their covers “Don’t Dream It’s Over” and “There She Goes.”
In 2004 the band broke up, and Nash released her single record “Blue on Blue.”
However, in 2007 the band got back together, and is currently planning to release their first album since the break-up this coming May.
Like Nash, who loves the reaction of her audience, Burns is addicted to,“the connection with the crowd.”
Burns sang an assortment of songs that she wrote about herself and her friends.
“Being that we’re a little more personal, I’m going to sing songs that are more personal, that are close to my heart,” she said after singing her first couple of songs.
Burns, who has a degree in musical theater from Montclair State University, has been singing in coffee houses since she was 17.
However, this is only her second year of touring.
Burns described her performance at the Rat as different than what she is normally used to.
“When you’re on stage sometimes you can’t see anything except light and sometimes you’re right there really close and everybody’s friends,” she said. “This is kind of in between — it’s nice.”
Shortly into her set, she even had the audience interact with her performance.
“I liked when she has us sing along with her,” said Justin Shaffer, freshman biology major. “That made the night more interesting.”
Burns said that her favorite part of every performance is “the response of the crowd when I’ve completely let go and I know that they’ve completely connected with that.”
But when it comes down to it, a passion for performing is where it started for both musicians.
As Nash said, “I love music — I guess that’s my only excuse.” Burns would certainly agree.