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“…Soon it will be Christmas day.”

The in-house audience sang along as singer/songwriter Kyle Bain led the final song of the night from the Tiny Stage in the 420 Loft. The chill in the air outside on Pearl Street and the skiff of snow ensuring a white Christmas.

The hometown, family atmosphere inside had a Fillmore feel to it with the light reactive media with holographic vinyl artwork of the late Donald O’Connor, set into motion by the cutglass lamps of Julie Prather.

Ellensburg was clearly ready to have a normal holiday season, coming off another pandemic-effected year, the masks in the audience clear evidence of the new normal. But it’s Christmas, and the local musician did not disappoint.

“I’m kind of nervous,” Bain said to the final Ellensburg Community Radio Tiny Stage Concert Series audience of the year. “I’ve never played most of these songs to an audience before.”

The audience chuckled, children bobbing in their parent's laps, ready for the night to begin. I mean, the guy’s going to play with CobraHawk at the Horseshoe Tavern on New Year’s Eve and Chuck Boom at the Gard Vinters after the first of year. How nervous can he be?

The audience was with him from the opening strum of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and the night took off with the familiar traditional song. Children jumped to their feet, dancing near the stage to a guy they might know as Mr. Kyle from his children’s release, as the set list shifted to “No Place Like Home for the Holidays.”

It was a combination of Perry Como and the Carpenters, Kyle Bain style. The night was not without the Bain humor with songs like “My In-laws are More Like Outlaws,” and “Walking Around Winterland in Women’s Underwear,” to go along with an Elvis-sounding “Blue Christmas.”

The night offered one more shining star when Bain invited fellow local singer/songwriter Birdie Fenn Cent up for a series of songs, “Little Boy, Little Girl,” “In Spite of Ourselves,” the John Prine favorite, and “Christmas in Prison,”

“I’ve known Megan (Gustafson, whose stage name is Birdie Fenn Cent), for a long time. We played in the Dainty Saints Band for a four-year run,” Bain said. “I haven’t played solo for three years, so I thought I’d invite her up.

“We’ve only played ‘In Spite of Ourselves’ live twice before. But we wanted to pay tribute to John Prine with that one.”

It was obvious the humor of the late, great John Prine and Bain were similar in nature on a night where Christmas songs were the order of the evening. Prine pokes a little fun at the ordinary lives of everyday couples and Bain and Birdie Fenn Cent were spot on in their rendition.

And the audience settled right in with words for better times, “…In spite of ourselves, we’ll be sitting on a rainbow. Against all odds, honey we’re the big door prize.”

“Birdie sounded just like Iris DeMent. That was the best Tiny Stage ever,” ECR board member Mollie Edson said as the crowd filed out.

“We haven’t played together for a long time,” said Birdie Fenn Cent, who played the Tiny Stage Concert Series earlier in the year. “We went over the songs during sound check and that was it. But it was fun.”

“…Soon it will be Christmas day.”

Rodney Harwood: award-winning journalist and columnist. Lover of golf and the written word. I can be reached at rharwood@kvnews.com

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