Tonk Tailgate Party Tour
Daryle Singletary, Wade Hayes and Rhett Akins
Concert review by: Helen Neal
Photo Journalists: Missy Fuller & Jo-Ann Poharcyk
A county fair and a country music concert -- a highlight of summer for the country music fan; the backbone of touring for country artists.
Putnam County Fair was the recent setting for the dynamic show of the Honky Tonk Tailgate Party Tour with Daryle Singletary, Wade Hayes and Rhett Akins.
Artists will tell you that each kind of venue - large arena, small club, huge festival, casino showroom - has it’s pluses and minuses. And one of the things they love about a county fair is the family atmosphere and the all ages crowd.
Back in the South -- after a western tour that kept them on the road for a month, experiencing American geography from Missouri to California to Montana and back again to Missouri with many points in between and a side excursion to Alberta, Canada -- the group delighted the middle Tennessee crowd.
This show packs plenty of talent and personality. And the diverse crowd showed their appreciation for the 3 artists that commanded the stage. Each, as an individual performer, and the all-three-on-stage conclusion was very well received.
Lead-off singer Singletary
(left) pleased with his signature low notes on “You Ain’t Heard Nothing Yet,” “I Let Her Lie,” and current single and title cut, “That's Why I Sing This Way,” from his new Audium label album. He followed with a winning remake of Conway Twitty’s “I'd Love To Lay You Down.” The last song was introduced by Singletary as “for you lovely, pretty women - not for you men.” The crowd roared it’s approval as he began the familiar lyrics.
(right) strode on stage with “On a Good Night,” followed intensely by “Dont’ Stop,” and “The Day that She Left Tulsa,” all warmly welcomed chart hits. Tipping his hat to the crowd, he dedicated the next song to all the “mean women.” He answered the audience’s positive reaction with a chuckled , “I didn’t expect there to be any mean women in Putnam County. I’m glad we’re leaving tonight.” Then launched into the hit “How Do You Sleep at Night?” with its accusing lyrics punctuated with his impressive guitar work. A soaring “Wichita Lineman,” a plaintive “She’s Acting Single,” a longing “I’m Still Dancing With You,” led into his signature number one, “Old Enough to Know Better.” You’d have thought it was a sing-a-long as the crowd pumped the words to his first hit anthem.
(left) entered with his catchy, “I Brake for Brunettes,” followed by “Don’t Get Me Started,” and “What They’re Talkin’ About.” Then for the “cowgirls in Putnam County,” he dedicated “Every Cowboy’s Dream,” followed by a ringing rendition of Strait’s “The Fireman,” and his own “She Said Yes.” Then again, as the other two artists before him, he addressed the women in the audience. This time, for the “girls with a bad attitude,” he sang “Trouble With a Woman,” from his new Audium label album, Friday Night in Dixie.
What do you get when you see the Honky Tonk Tailgate Party Tour? Plenty of great country music - new songs, old ones, chart toppers (each performer has a significant number), country classics, little-known as well as often-heard ones. You get the full range of country music’s best -- from the strong traditional bent of Singletary to the edgier country-rock of Akins and back with Hayes bridging the span. Add the superb musicianship of the band, the engaging banter from the stage, the comradely hi-jinks when all three close the show and you get a superb evening of country music entertainment.