She & Him at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN

She & Him @ Ryman Auditorium, Nashville | Photo by Zach Birdsong

She & Him got Nashville into the holiday spirit, playing a nearly sold-out show at the Ryman Auditorium this week.

Comedian Pete Lee started the evening with an extremely funny 45-minute set covering various topics. Early into his standup routine, Lee had the crowd in stitches as he pulled no punches, accurately and hilariously detailing some of the sights and smells that can be found on a night out on Broadway in Nashville. 

Like most comedians, Lee delved a bit into relationships during his set, but the comedian also left the audience pondering some questions as he answered his rhetorical questions. Even still, the Music City crowd was left wondering how midwestern states came up with their names, why female body wash is so expensive, and lastly, why motion-sensor sinks only work four percent of the time? While there was no definitive answer to all of those questions, Lee’s set was a great time to get the audience ready for the Christmas party that was about to take place. 

Eight years removed since their last Nashville performance, She & Him graced the stage at The Ryman. 2013 was the last time the two-member band, consisting of actress Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward, played the Music City. Even with the hiatus, it was easily visible that the pair felt comfortable as ever as Deschanel stated, “This is our home away from home.” 

While the duo has released three albums full of original work, She & Him devoted the majority of Wednesday’s show to put their own twist on some Christmas and winter classics. As the house lights went down, lights flickered from the Ryman stage as five Christmas trees lit up to set the mood for the performance. 

The pair took the stage for an acoustic rendition of “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire).” Deschanel’s raspy yet sultry voice swooned the audience from the opening notes. That was no surprise for those who have seen the Christmas classic, Elf, as the actress had the opportunity to showcase her vocals in the movie. 

Mixed into the Christmas classics included a fun version of Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters’ “Mele Kalikimaka.” Deschanel and her backup singers made sure to wear leis for the performance in the spirit of the Hawaiin-themed track. One crowd member also got a treat, as Deschanel dedicated the band’s “Blue Christmas” performance to 8-year-old Hazel, who was attending her first concert. Hazel was clearly star-stricken, which made for a sweet and wholesome interaction. 

Another fan-favorite of the night included an updated rendition of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” which saw the roles reversed from the original tune. It was clear that the women in attendance on Wednesday greatly appreciated the switch. After a slew of holiday classics, the duo took a break and then delved into their discography, performing some original hits. Included in that mix were “Black Hole,” “In The Sun,” and “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?” 

The night concluded with a slew of medleys with winter tracks mixed in there. Those songs included “Carol of the Bells,” “Silent Night,” and “Joy to the World.” It made for a great way to wrap up the evening and get Nashville in the holiday spirit. 

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About Zach Birdsong 40 Articles
A current communications specialist with a background in journalism, where he served as a multiple award-winning newspaper editor, photographer and designer. In eight years, he received 18 awards from the Tennessee Press Association, the majority of which stems from his photography. He's also been fortunate enough to have had photos used by publications around the world including Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Today Show, Vanity Fair, Vogue Magazine, The Wall Street Journal and more.