Musical duo Radnor and Lee performed for a receptive crowd of all ages at A&R Music Bar on Sunday.
The pair, which consists of Josh Radnor, well known for his playing the role of Ted Mosby in “How I Met Your Mother,” and Ben Lee, a successful career musician from Australia, are long-time friends. The Columbus show is one of three on this le of their tour.
The first song the pair performed was “You Can’t Fire Me, I Quit,” which immediately had me smiling and bobbing my head.
Their playful onstage banter right after showed how much these two get along as both friends and musicians. Their clear and defined harmonies also showed how much work they have put into their music and songwriting.
A notable moment was when Radnor –– a Columbus native –– directed Lee to show the crowd something he had just taught him. Lee didn’t catch on, so Radnor ended up showing the crowd himself. “O-H” Radnor cried, and of course, the response came right back to him: “I-O!”
Everyone knows Radnor as an actor, but he blew me away with his musical talents. His voice was strong, and he even sported an acoustic guitar for a few songs. He mentioned how he started learning only three years ago, and now he plays guitar on stage. He was confident in a way that made me believe he has been doing this most of his life.
Lee, who is a career musician, also showed off his talents with his upper harmonies, incredible falsetto and intricate vocal runs. At one point, Radnor stood in support as Lee performed his early 2000s hit “Catch My Disease,” which the crowd loved and sang right back to him.
A song I really connected with was “Wider Spaces,” which Radnor described as being about “trying something new.” He said the lyrics are inspired by a poem by Hermann Hesse; one lyric reads: “The great unknown seeks not to restrain us, but leads us to wider spaces” –– something that definitely hit hard for me as I prepare to graduate next weekend.
Radnor and Lee’s music and lyrics are unlike anything I have ever heard. They are optimistic, honest and beautifully written in a way that proves that two is better than one.
Before Radnor and Lee graced the stage, opening act Daniel Dye and the Miller Road Band performed. A family band from the Columbus area, it was armed with two banjos, a harmonica, a bass and a fiddle.
Each song the four-piece act played told a story. One was about what Dye overheard while working at a prison and another was about how Dye’s hometown of Springfield, Ohio, is the “Saddest City in the USA.” They were good, and definitely added to the overall good mood of the show.