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The Blue & Gray Press | July 18, 2019

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Bistro Bethem cooks more than just good food with musical performance


Students may not realize that the University of Mary Washington’s home, Fredericksburg, Va., offers a diverse local scene. Some of the biggest highlights in downtown Fredericksburg are the local produce, art and music. One downtown hotspot that pulls together all these elements and draws in the locals is Bistro Bethem.

Bistro Bethem is a hip, fine-dining restaurant on William Street. The restaurant sets a very nice atmosphere with dim lighting, candlelit tables, unique art and a cozy setup. If you add local music from the band Goody, then you could not be closer to the heart of Fredericksburg.

As a local Fredericksburg band comprised of UMW students, Goody takes a lot of pride in their beginnings, and it is clear they are establishing their roots here. The band been very prevalent this last year, especially around the UMW campus and by the looks of things it seems that will continue to hold true.

The biggest exposure they have is on campus, which band member EJ Willis said he enjoys because “it’s kind of a home to [them].” Although, Willis added that he “enjoys playing off campus as well because a lot of people don’t know about Goody yet.”

The local band, which consists of Tanner and Mason Carlton and EJ Willis, arrived in the downtown scene to play at Bistro Bethem at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 15.

Goody seemed prepared for the show and happy to be there. Many bands have a few things they like to do before performing, and Goody is no exception.

“We like to listen to our favorite songs, sometimes our own just to remember them,” said Tanner Carlton.

It was the band’s first time playing at Bistro Bethem, though Tanner Carlton did not express concern about the new venue for them.

“That won’t be a huge problem,” said Carlton. “We’re pretty eclectic.”

“Eclectic” truly is the most appropriate word to describe the set Goody played, which began as an acoustic folk and blues sound paired with the steady flowing of rhythmic lyrics from both Willis and Tanner Carlton.

The group also played unique twists on some well-known songs such as “Jumper” by Third Eye Blind and “The Joker” by The Steve Miller Band. Goody even brought in the third member of the band for the second half of the show when they played the electric versions of some the songs featured on their most recent album, “Triangle.”

Though the turnout was humble, the audience was happy. Many people clearly enjoyed the show and clapped after every song. When the full band played, the energy inside Bistro Betham was livelier than it had been all night. The audience was consistently engaged for the greater portion of the show, even while enjoying their meal.

While the group is definitely still interested in publicity, Willis said, “It’s not about the money, it’s about the music. Making music everyone can relate to.”