“I’m a world-famous songwriter, which means you don’t know who the h--- I am,” DiPiero announced to kick off the evening at the Coolidge Auditorium in the Library of Congress.
Billed as a way to bring a little Nashville to Washington and get the behind-the-scenes of Music City, both DiPiero and Nichols traded lightning-fast banter during the nearly two-hour concert and gave an illuminating, self-deprecating look into what it’s like to pen songs for a living.
Nichols, known for Tim McGraw’s smash “Live Like You Were Dying,” along with Chris Young’s “The Man I Want To Be” and Lee Ann Womack’s “I’ll Think of a Reason Later,” told jokes:
What’s the difference between a songwriter and a large pizza? A pizza can feed a family of four. What do you call a songwriter in a three-piece suit? A defendant. Etc.
Sitting in a row, each singer told a story of a song, and then played the tune on stage. With just the sounds of voices and acoustic guitar, the whole evening took on an intimate feel, with the tone of a giant group hug. The four performers helped each other out, providing harmonies and extra strings, as each person took their turn. When Black sang “When I Say I Do,” normally a duet with his wife Lisa Hartman Black, Loveless flawlessly filled in.
Loveless and Black, who may have known they were the evening’s main draws, good-naturedly played along with all the riffing. “I don’t have any wise cracks - I’m a little on the serious side,” Loveless admitted, before belting out the aching scorned lover ballad “Here I Am.”
“As they say, never follow circus acts, little kids, or Patty Loveless,” DiPiero added after the several hundred in the crowd burst out of riveted silence into thunderous applause.