Kalie Shorr kicked off her first headlining tour on Friday evening (Jan. 31) at Nashville’s Exit/In to an attentive audience. The first stop on Shorr’s Too Much to Say Tour showcased the Nashville-based singer-songwriter’s commanding stage presence alongside deeply confessional tracks from her 2019 debut album Open Book and some surprise covers.
Shorr’s high energy 90-minute set proved why she’s one of Nashville’s most buzzed-about acts. Her honest storytelling combined with her unique country rock flair engaged the packed room while her onstage banter shared her humor and vulnerabilities with the audience.
From her memorable cover of My Chemical Romance’s 2007 single “Teenagers” to the deeply personal “Big Houses,” here are the five best moments of Shorr’s Nashville tour kickoff.
Nirvana, My Chemical Romance, bluegrass — her set spans her versatile influences
Shorr grew up on a wide array of music. Ahead of performing Nirvana’s “Lithium,” she told the crowd at the age of 13 she was in a Nirvana cover band and by the time she was 14 she joined a bluegrass band. This diverse musical range was evident throughout her set as one moment she’d perform the rock-infused “Damn Sky” and the next she’d quiet the venue with the poignant “Big Houses.” Transitioning effortlessly from a rock number to a memorable country story song, Shorr captivated throughout the entirety of her 20-song set.
Following her explanation of the grunge and bluegrass evolution, Shorr’s unique blend of rock and country didn’t seem so far-fetched. A self-professed emo fan, Shorr later hinted that the recent My Chemical Romance reunion might be her doing after showing off her thigh-high combat boots onstage.
“I tweeted about these boots,” she told the audience. “I was like, ‘I just bought a pair of thigh-high combat boots. Is it a cry for a help or a cry for My Chemical Romance to get back together?’ I think I willed that into existence so we’re going to celebrate that.”
Fittingly, she then segued into a standout cover of My Chemical Romance’s 2007 single “Teenagers.” Later, she’d praise Alanis Morissette as “a queen” before belting the singer’s “Right Through You,” which she initially wrote about the music industry. “It’s a song I feel very deeply,” Shorr said.
Shorr’s vulnerabilities were showcased in each song
Shorr never shies away from speaking her truth onstage and in her music. She told the packed crowd at Exit/In that her deeply confessional song “Vices” was one of the tracks that helped put the record together. (Its chorus: “The angel fell right off my shoulder and the devil’s payin’ rent / Maker’s is my therapist, my best friend’s a cigarette / I’ve been taking advice from my vices.”) “I don’t think the record would be as honest … this is a really vulnerable song. It’s admitting a lot of things,” she said.
She’d follow the personal ballad with the heartbreaking “The World Keeps Spinning,” a song she penned with producer Skip Black and Robyn Collins after her sister’s death last year. “This was the first song I sat down at my piano and worked on after I got home from my sister’s funeral. It was a weird time. It was in the tabloids and I never thought that was something that I was going to have to deal with,” she said of her sister’s overdose.
“We wrote this song because we all lost somebody,” she said, adding that she dedicated her album Open Book to her late sister and Black’s niece, who also overdosed, in an effort to “be open about what happened because glossing it over doesn’t help me, it hurts me.”
Country storytelling shines through
While Shorr’s rock edge was showcased throughout the night — she was constantly running around the stage, and jumped into the crowd for what almost felt like a mosh pit during her tongue-in-cheek “He’s Just Not That Into You” — her country storytelling was also apparent. The heartfelt “Lullaby” struck a chord before she segued into a cover of Collective Soul’s “Shine.” The descriptive “Big Houses” detailed Shorr’s simple childhood with her mother while the pair often wished for a better life and dreamt about “living in big houses.”
A staunch advocate for females in country music, Shorr proved to be an inspiring headliner. Her breakthrough single “Fight Like a Girl,” a song that she said changed her life, had Shorr singing “when you push me, I’ll just push back harder.” A woman that won’t be silenced, she also let her audience in on a secret about her song “Messy,” inspired by an ex who cheated on her. Not one to dwell on her past she admitted, “We don’t give him a whole album; we give him a quarter of it. I wrote this song about… it was a really rough time, and this song is really important to me.”
Later she’d perform the anthemic “F U Forever,” emboldening the women in the room. “If you have a garbage ex, sing it loud,” she said. Not afraid to share her truth, Shorr’s headlining tour just may embrace fans to do the same.
Shorr’s tour runs through May with more cities to be added in the coming weeks. Complete dates below.
Feb. 20 – Los Angeles, Calif. @ Hotel Cafe
Feb. 21 – Las Vegas, Nev. @ Stoney’s Rockin Country
March 14 – Stamford, Conn. @ Palace Theatre
March 15 – Uncasville, Conn. @ Mohegan Sun – Wolf Den
March 16 – New York, N.Y. @ The Mercury Lounge
May 15 – Sault Ste Marie, Mich. @ Kewadin Casino
May 16 – Sault Ste Marie, Mich. @ Kewadin Casino