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Honky Tonk Tailgate Party 08
Concert Review By: Penny Rondinella - CSO Staff Journalist

The first thing I'm going to say is: if you have the chance to catch this tour, do it! You are not going to want to miss it.  These four cowboys put on a heck of a good time. They not only do a set each of their own songs, but all four come out at the end and give a finale you won't forget.  The combination of their voices on tunes from the Eagles, Allman Brothers and the Oakridge Boys are sure to be a hit with any crowd.

We arrived a little early to pick up our tickets at will call, and since it was general seating I wanted to be there extra early to get a good seat. I am one of those that like to be right up front and center. I would have sat in the very front row, but they were reserved for employees.

First to hit the stage sporting a black shirt with the legendary Johnny Cash on it and wearing a bandana instead of a cowboy hat is Ray Scott. He just released his new CD in June called Crazy Like Me, which is incredible.  You can check out my review of it here.  His amazing deep baritone voice and sparkling smile will have you becoming Scott fan for life.  He exudes personality on stage and can sing the heck out of a country song too. If you like traditional country like Merle Haggard and Waylon, then you'll love Ray Scott.  He's on an Independent label called Jethropolitan Records and you can get his CD's either on line at RayScott.com or at a show. His set included: "Hell Got Raised Tonight," "Sometimes The Bottle Hits You Back, "Everybody's girlfriend," and "You Ain't Takin' This Hard Enough".

Trent Wilmon was up next and he lit up the stage with his presence, but this time without a cowboy hat. He mentioned his buddy Wade Hayes who had cut the song 'It Doesn't Mean I Don't Love You," before he sang it. Being a bif fan of Hayes, I still want to hear the two of them sing it together one day. He also went out into the crowd while singing "Cold Beer and A Fishin' Pole." I thought that was a cool way to get people to relate to this awesome new single off his most recent CD.  A line in the song says: "Does anyone want to tag along"... I was ready. You can also read my review of his new CD Broken Inn here. Wilmon has a unique sound, he not only sings a great ballad, but he can also tear it up a bit. He sang tunes from all three of his releases. I wasn't ready for him to leave the stage, he has so many great songs and wasn't able to do all the ones I would have liked to hear. Wilmon's set included: "Beer Man," "Broken Inn," "Doesn't Mean I Don't Love You," "Cold Beer And A Fishin' Pole," "A Little Set of Horns," "On Again Tonight," and "Dixie Rose Deluxes..."

Buddy Jewel was up next sporting his cowboy hat. He waited a bit after they announced him and then he peeked around the corner of the stage and everyone cheered.  He did a great job and was well received. He sang a couple
of his songs from his previous CD's and then a couple from the new one coming out soon.  He explained that there was a song on his upcoming CD that was a bit controversial called 'This Ain't Mexico' and then preceded to sing it.  The crowd roared and gave him a standing ovation.
Set included:
"The Wheels Turn Slow," "If She Were Any Other Woman," "Sweet Southern Comfort," "Help Pour Out The Rain" and "This Ain't Mexico."

Mark Wills was next and he really worked the audience. He intrigued us with some stories, one about him leaving one shoe at the last stop, but he didn't know where it was, so he asked his band, but my friend and I yelled out 'Hanford' and he said "That's my travel agent."  You could tell he was real comfortable with the crowd as he told stories and talked to the crowd as they hollered at him.  He sang tunes from his past and current CD's. Including a real rocker titled "Crazy White Boy."  I wasn't too sure that I was going to like him, but he now has a new fan. I like this cowboys humor.
Set included: "Jacobs Ladder," "I Do - Cherish You," "19 Something" and "Crazy White Boy."

I really like when the artist involves the audience, tell stories about being on the road and all, it makes it more enjoyable for me. I know some people just come to shows to here the music, but I think for the most part, people like to hear about their lives and the goings on.

The show ended by the rest of the boys joining Mark on the stage.  They sang songs with each of them taking the lead at one point or the other.
Set included: "Bobby Sue" - By the OakRidge Boys ( I'm sure you can guess who sang the low parts~Ray Scott), "Take it Easy" - By the Eagles (Trent Wilmon took the lead on this one) and "Ramblin Man" - By the Allman Bros.

The merchandise table was set up in the entryway to the Grand Ballroom.  The boys sat while the fans all stood in line to buy items to have signed by them; pictures, cd's and t-shirts. While we were in line, Trent took out his Guitar and sang 'The Ropin' Pen,' it was awesome. I was really surprised that this event wasn't advertised more. The local radio stations weren't there, as far as I could tell. I'm sure if it would have been promoted more, it would have been a sold out crowd.  After the signing line diminished, the guys mingled a bit with the crowd that was left, taking pictures with people and all.  There was a lot of laughter, these guys are a kick to joke with.  I hope I am able to get to another one of these concerts before they end.

Related Links:   
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