Oct 072013

News about Renfro Valley doesn’t often percolate up the state to Louisville, so it was rather a surprise to find Jonathan Newsome at Unsung Melody writing a review about a Don Williams show at the venerable venue. He has some excellent photos as well; read it here.

Sep 042013
Toby Keith

The “Big Dog Daddy” himself, Toby Keith, landed the coveted opening Saturday night concert slot at this year’s Kentucky State Fair and country fans couldn’t have been happier. Wherever Keith performs, he strikes up a party as he cranks out raucous hits like “Red Solo Cup,” “American Ride,” “A Little Less Talk and a Lot More Action,” “I Love This Bar,” and “How Do You Like Me Now?” His current single, “Drinks After Work,” appropriately settles right into the party setlist. Although Keith is rightfully categorized as one of country music’s “party acts,” even your sweet little ole 90-year-old grandmother can’t help but admire his dedication to our American service men and women, as he has performed over 200 shows for our troops abroad. Despite pyrotechnics and bursts of fire onstage, Keith truly saved the best for last when he brought a Lexington, Kentucky veteran who lost both legs and his eyesight fighting for our freedom onstage as he proudly honored our great nation and our beloved veterans with “American Soldier” (rightfully altered to “American Warrior”) and “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue.” Keith truly is an all-American country singer who appeals to the red-blooded, flag-waving masses.

Kip Moore

Singer-songwriter Kip Moore took country music by storm when his second single, “Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck” was released just two years ago this month. The smash topped the country charts and he quickly became an in-demand live act. Moore truly kicked off Toby Keith’s party in style last month in Freedom Hall with an impressive 45-minute set, including crowd favorites “Beer Money,” “What I Do,” “Say Goodbye,” and his sentimental “Hey Pretty Girl.” Moore writes and performs like he cut his teeth on country music in his home state of Georgia and he’s an artist that proves that he’s serious about honing his craft and sticking around for the party for many years to come.

Sep 032013
Alan Jackson

Long-legged country crooner Alan Jackson first hit the radio airwaves 24 years ago, but from his warm reception as he opened the Kentucky State Fair on Thursday, August 15, fans love his more traditional brand of country music as much today as they did back in 1989. The Georgia native hit the stage with “Gone Country” and kept the crowd’s keen attention throughout a bevy of chart-topping hits which veered from the rockin’ side (“Gone Country,” “Good Time,” “Chattahoochee,” and “Don’t Rock the Jukebox”) to the sentimental side (“Remember When,” “Here in the Real World,” “Drive (For Daddy Gene),” and “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)”). With the exception of a couple tunes released in recent years, “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere,” his smash duet with Jimmy Buffett,” and “As She’s Walking Away,” a big hit with the Zac Brown Band,” the brunt of Jackson’s solid show looked and sounded like the fans had been transported back in time by a decade or more. No one complained though, because Jackson’s music is timeless and feels as comfortable as a well-worn pair of cowboy boots.

Gary Allan

California country crooner Gary Allan’s raspy voice and songwriting skills have helped him become one of the most dynamic entertainers in country music over the last two decades. Whether he’s performing “Man to Man,” “Smoke Rings in the Dark,” “Watching Airplanes,” or “Bones,” his honest delivery makes you believe he’s lived every word that rolls off the tip of his tongue. His State Fair performance rivaled that of headliner Jackson, especially with crowd favorites “Nothing On But the Radio” and his recent chart-topper “Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain).” Allan is a solid entertainer still rooted in the honky tonks while enjoying the success of playing at the country’s largest venues.