Saturday, Michael and I saw one of the new shows at Grand Rivers Variety: The Outlaws of Country Music. As the name suggests, this is Grand Rivers Variety’s tribute to Country Music’s “Outlaws” such as Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Travis Tritt, etc.
If you’ve read my other Grand Rivers Variety Reviews, you know I’m a huge, huge fan. The musicians, singers, costumes, comedic skits, dancing, writing… all the pieces almost always go together to create magic.
I couldn’t even begin to count the number of shows we’ve seen at Badgett Playhouse.
What’s more, we often see a show more than once. Some just beg to be enjoyed as many times as possible. Hank Williams: Lost Highway, Always, Patsy Cline, It’s a Wonderful Life (Live Radio Play), Greater Tuna shows (Red, White, and Tuna, A Tuna Christmas), and Cash: Ring of Fire are just a few that come to mind. Click HERE for the 2013 dates for these shows or click the titles for my reviews.
Just 10 minutes into The Outlaws of Country Music, I thought to myself, “When all’s said and done, this may end up being one of the best shows ever at Grand Rivers Variety.” The first of the show is completely dedicated to the lives and music of a few of the Outlaws we know on a first-name basis. The live performances perfectly coincide with video interviews and information about some of Country Music’s most beloved outlaws. The words of Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings meshed beautifully with the live music and singing. And when I say beautifully, I mean flawlessly beautiful.
When music moves you, there’s a certain element of magic and The Outlaws of Country Music achieved this Houdini-Style.
When Terry Mike Jeffrey, Barry Jobe, and Thomas Michael sang as Scot Durham played the piano, the magic was palpable. This was the first time my husband or I either had the pleasure of hearing Terry Mike Jeffrey and we’re both hoping it won’t be the last. How this man isn’t as big a household name as Tim McGraw, Toby Keith, and Trace Adkins is beyond me.
In previous reviews, I’ve raved about the other three wonderfully talented men, so bear with me as I go on a little bit, exclusively, about Terry Mike Jeffrey.
Have you ever had someone take the words out of your mouth? They SAY something along the lines of what you were just thinking – then you (with mock anger) agree with them. It’s like I WAS THINKING THAT! YOU CAN”T SAY IT!
At one point, as Terry Mike Jeffrey was singing, my husband whispered to me, “He can SING.” I snapped, “YES!”
Then he pushed it by whispering, “Anything.” I snapped, “YES! ANY-THING!!”
I paused for effect between ANY and THING to take complete ownership of the sentiment.
The man’s voice is phenomenal and I could have listened to him for hours. I did a little online stalking and found that Mr. Jeffrey has several cds available. I will find these cds. I will buy these cds. I will wear these cds out.
I don’t want to give any song information away (so you can be as delightfully surprised by the choices as we were), but I actually enjoyed a few of these guys’ performances better than the originals. There are around 50 songs in all that you’ll enjoy in this show and everyone does a remarkable job.
Even though I’ve raved about Barry Jobe and Thomas Michael before on Genuine Kentucky, I will say this: They were born to sing Country Outlaw music. They’re always fantastic, but they redefined the word with their performances in this show. I’ve also mentioned the amazing Eddie Holland on bass before, but I’ll simply say that he’s as “freaking talented” as always!
The musicians accompanying the songs were, as always at Grand Rivers Variety, were flawless throughout the show. Steve Walston was on drums and the Steel Guitar was played by Buddy Elkins.
The song distribution between the singers (including pianist Scot Durham) was done just about as perfectly as it possibly could have been.
As we were sitting there in the magic of the songs, the fascinating video clips, and beautiful story-telling (by Barry Jobe), we were all transfixed in the moment and by the moment. As I said earlier, I even believed this would ultimately be one of the best shows ever.
The proverbial gears of the show switched when things became more comedic. Adorable skits played out as amazing music played on. The actors and actresses were flawless in their delivery of hilarious lines and the audience roared with laughter on many, many, many occasions.
As comedy took center stage, if you’d looked closely, you might have seen a few question marks over my head. To be fair, The Outlaws of Country Music is a sequel to an earlier show by Grand Rivers Variety called “The Sweethearts of Country Music,” and if I hadn’t been under the spell of the songs I’d been listening to, I’d have caught on much faster.
I’m giving myself the benefit of the doubt, here.
Natasha Neely, Sara Minihan, and Brittney Jones play the Sweethearts. The ladies are as talented as they are beautiful. Kentucky’s own Natasha Neely is from here in Owensboro and she definitely makes us proud. I honestly believe her voice is more impressive and mesmerizing each time I hear her. Three words: Remember. The. Name.
Sara also has a knock out voice. Her voice is accompanied by a huge personality and adorable stage presence. She also makes the wonderful costumes you see on stage. So much talent in one body.. what’s fair about that?
Like Terry Mike Jeffrey, Brittney Jones was new to us and, as I did with him, I sat there wondering all night, “How is this girl not on the radio?!” She has a very lovely voice and (like the other girls) a fantastic stage presence. There’s a sweet softness to her voice that reminds me of one of my favorites, Alison Krauss.
When the comedy skits first began, out popped the question marks as I wondered, “How’d we get here?”
I have nothing but faith in the people on and behind the stage at Grand Rivers Variety, though, so I simply swatted the question marks out of the air and decided to hang tight. Right around then, one of the funniest people on earth (Steve Sherling) showed up and I thought, “We’re good here.”
This man is just incredibly, incredibly funny. Anyone who can work with him and keep a straight face deserves a cape -they’re super heroes. Along with Bill Minihan, Steve is what makes the Greater Tuna shows at Grand Rivers Variety so painfully funny.
My faith in the men and women on the stage (as well as those behind it) paid off because everything came together beautifully. The dramatic tone of the opening minutes gave way to light-hearted fun in the middle which, in turn, gave way to a finale that tied the entire show together in one epic package.
The closing song was a stroke of genius and couldn’t have been performed any better. The choice of song was PERFECT. PERFECT. PERFECT.
The entire show was wonderfully entertaining and each individual has a disturbing amount of talent.
Let’s see… how can I sum up The Outlaws of Country Music? Okay, imagine you’re in a red sport’s car convertible zipping down the highway – wind blowing through your hair. You don’t have a care in the world! Now imagine that you have the radio tuned in to music that’s so incredible every cell in your body responds.
Even your kneecaps want to dance.
That’s The Outlaws of Country Music: A righteously fun ride with badass music. If you want to hop in, go to Grand Rivers Variety’s website for ticket information. Do it now, this is a once in a lifetime kind of ride.
P.S. My early thoughts of this being one of the best shows at Grand Rivers Variety? On. The. Money.
More Grand Rivers Variety Reviews & News on Genuine Kentucky:
- The Sweethearts of Country Music at Grand Rivers Variety
- Red, White, and Tuna: You’ll Laugh Until You Cry!
- Always, Patsy Cline: Back By Popular Demand
- Ring of Fire: The Johnny Cash Musical at Grand Rivers Variety
- Variety! Music, Memories, and More Christmas Spectacular Review
- The Fabulous 50’s Show at Grand Rivers Variety
- The Big Band Show at Grand Rivers Variety
- Greater Tuna is Back in Grand Rivers and All Is Right in My World