Review: JD & the Straight Shot at Sands Bethlehem Event Center

On Friday night, Jewel’s Bethlehem stop on her “Picking Up the Pieces” tour was kicked off by JD & the Straight Shot, who are on the road with the Alaska native in support of their new album, “Ballyhoo.”

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JD & the Straight Shot’s Jim Dolan welcomed thousands to Sands Bethlehem Event Center on Friday night.

The six-piece Americana band came to Sands Bethlehem Event Center to perform a 45-minute, all-acoustic set of selections mostly off of the new album. Frontman Jim Dolan was particularly welcoming with a confident, calm charisma in front of a near-sellout crowd. As a whole, the band was in sync for the entirety of its set, marked by crisp vocal harmonies and well-balanced, skillful instrumentation.

Highlights included the new album’s title track, whose instrumental buildup – marked by Erin Slaver’s epic fiddle work – translated well live and left the audience in awe. Also, the jazz rhythms and duet-style harmonies of “Better Find a Church” carried well through the venue and showcased Dolan and Slaver’s onstage chemistry. Staying on vocals, the band’s soaring four-part harmony on “Nature’s Way” provided another magical moment, especially for the trained ears in the audience.

JD & the Straight Shot heads with Jewel to Atlantic City tonight, before heading back north to Boston to round out the weekend. We wish them well in their travels, and hope they’ll visit the Lehigh Valley again soon!

Setlist:
Empty
Violet’s Song
Glide
Perdition
Nature’s Way
Don’t Waste My Time
Better Find a Church
Ballyhoo
Let it Roll (Little Feat cover)

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