There are no official statistics on how many men owe their marriage, offspring and life to Edwin McCain’s 1998 hit song “I’ll Be,” but it is easy to believe that a few of them were in attendance at Vinyl Music Hall as a Valentine’s Day gift to express their devotion to the special lady in their life.

Born in Greenville, South Carolina, Edwin McCain ascended to music popularity in the early 90’s on the strength of his songwriting skills and dynamic vocal presence. With a guy’s-eye view of love, life and all matters of the heart, McCain pens lyrics and crafts songs about emotions that most find difficult to express, let alone record and share with packed concert venues.

Opening act for McCain were local group Charred Melon Cherries. Comprised of Charlene Kingry (affectionately known as “The Mom” on to their facebook page), Melissa Smith, Cher Lynn, and Ashley Smith (also known as “The Sistahs”), the group hit a homerun with the crowd as they delivered sharp musicianship and down-home appreciation from the stage. Playing musical hits from various genres, as well as original songs during their set, the group thanked everyone in attendance and gave a personal thank you to Chris Wilkes of Vinyl for giving them the call to open the show.

Making his first appearance at Vinyl, Edwin McCain came prepared to entertain the Pensacola crowd as he took the stage decked in a blazer, dark blue jeans, boots and looking lean, sharp and ready to go 12 musical rounds on this night of the tour. Complimented by his bandmates Larry Chaney (guitar), Pete Riley (guitar), Craig Shields (keyboards, saxophone), Jason Pomar (bass) and Tez Sherrard (drums), McCain and crew played songs spanning a career of nearly 20 years.

Along with his powerfully striking vocal chops, McCain showed a cordial Southern charm and surprisingly deft comedic wit worthy of having his own television sitcom. Complementing the life textures of his music, McCain gave an inside look into being a proud father and husband by sharing heart-melting stories of his sons, chainsaw wielding mother-in-law and his commitment to family life.

Showcasing a voice that is blessed by angels, the show held many moments, but judging by audience response, the highlight was McCain’s pledge to love and devotion, “I’ll Be.”

Happy Valentine’s Day!

-Michael L. Smith