Even stripped down, The Babbas fill a room

Staff reports

Any show Annie Sellick appears in becomes an event. The energetic, dreadlocked singer instantly connects to audiences with her engaging stage presence and her organic sincerity in delivering a song.

The Nashville-based vocalist performs as a soloist and with several groups including the popular Hot Club of Nashville. But she gets to shine in a minimalist setting with the The Babbas, a duo she formed with her acoustic guitar/harmonica-playing husband Pat Bergeson. The two will perform as part of the White Horse Black Mountain’s continuing Cabaret Jazz Series on Friday, April 22.

Sellick is a Nashville native, but it took her many years to appreciate the city’s country music legacy. Indeed, she became a performer by accident after sitting in with a band to sing the only two jazz standards she knew, “Fever” and “Over the Rainbow.”

Audience response was so overwhelming that she was asked to join the band on the spot. She woodshedded songs and gigged at night while sharpening her craft through the Nashville Jazz Workshop. Now she’s one of the most in-demand jazz vocalists in Nashville and has collaborated with many of Music City’s finest players in multiple genres.

In addition to her distinctively personal interpretations of cabaret classics and standards, her Babbas repertoire includes soulful originals and some creative body percussion.

Bergeson, an Illinois native, moved to Nashville when the great Chet Atkins asked him to join his band. He’s since performed and recorded with respected artist like Lyle Lovett and Suzy Boggus.

Babbas and beats

Who: The Babbas

When: 8 p.m. April 22

Where: White Horse Black Mountain

Cost: $15