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Monday, April 20, 2015

A Cowgirl, A Diva and A Shameless Hussy

The McPherson Opera House
McPherson, KS
By Lydia Lowe (photos by Bob Hunter)

      I wasn't sure what to expect from this show this past Saturday night at The McPherson Opera House. The advertising didn't really give me a lot to go on and I had never heard of Becky Hobbs, Benita Hill or Kacey Jones.  But after I saw the show, I realized that I did know all three of them by the songs that they had written and other performers had been singing for years.     If you were like me and this show was not high on your list of shows to attend, you missed an incredible show.  The advertising didn't do this show justice.

     Have you heard the song "I Want To Know You" sung by Conway Twitty? Becky Hobbs wrote that song and the well know song "Angels Among Us" sung by Alabama.  I sat there shocked, delighted and quite pleased to know that this little lady, The Cowgirl, was the one responsible for these songs.  Some of the other songs that I really enjoyed that Becky had written were "They Always Look Better When They're Leaving" and "A Bible and A Six-Pack". Becky has also written a musical about Nancy Ward, a Cherokee war woman, and also one of her ancestors, which I found to be quite impressive.

     How about "More Money" sung by Crystal Gayle, "Two Pina Coladas" (one of my all time favorite songs)  and "It's Your Song" both sung by Garth Brooks?  Well, Benita Hill, The Diva, wrote those songs.  What a surprise!  I was in the midst of unsung hero's who had written many of my favorite tunes.  "Old Love Letters" and "Tangerine Moon" written by Benita Hill, were two of the prettiest songs I've ever heard. Just beautiful and classy all wrapped up in one package.

     Kacey Jones, The Shameless Hussy, was the comedy portion of the group.  She lightened up the mood. She's written some of the funniest songs I think I've ever heard.  She had written a song about Donald Trump's hair and she sent him a copy but she never heard back from him, oddly enough.  There was the ever popular "Down At The Piggly Wiggly", (where she went to meet men), "I Can Always Get Skinny But You You'll Never Be Tall", "1-900-Bubba", and she ended the evening with "Waitin' For The Guy To Die".  This final song had everyone rolling in the aisles laughing.  She said her mother didn't particularly like this song but it did land her a recording contract so her mother decided that maybe the song was alright after all.

     The evening started out with the three singing their signature song, "A Cowgirl, A Diva, and A Shameless Hussy". Becky Hobbs sang the first song, then Benita Hill sang a song, and then Kacey Jones would round out the set with something hilarious which had everyone laughing. Throughout the evening the ladies gave background information about their lives and their music.  They talked of other songwriters they'd worked with and musical acts that had performed their songs.  The audience was in the midst of song writing royalty.The evening ended just as it had begun with the three singing their signature song.  There were two opportunities for meet and greets in the lobby at intermission and after the show. All in all, a fantastic evening of women and song.


Monday, April 13, 2015

The Classics IV

The Fox Theatre
Hutchinson, KS
By Lydia Lowe (photos by Bob Hunter)

       The late 60's and early 70's I feel, was the golden age of rock music. So many different combinations of instruments and styles were brought together. Everything was fresh and new, artists pushed the envelope to see what they could create. It wasn't like today where there is little variety and nothing original stands out. The music of today is so homogenized, so much of the same. So, seeing the Classics IV on Saturday night at The Historic Fox Theatre in Downtown Hutchinson was a real treat.

     While this is not the original group, the sound was much the same. And another treat for the evening, is that the group sang other songs from the era by a few other performers, this was a night to remember.

        The evening started out immediately as the band hit the stage with People Got To Be Free by The Rascals. There was some light bantering at the end of the song and then the hits just kept coming. Everyday With You Girl, Pollyanna, and then Unchain My Heart by Joe Cocker, What Am I Crying For, and then It's Not Unusual by Tom Jones. Then a treat, a new song done in Classics IV style, Teenage Lovers. This song is part of a Route 66 musical project. We heard Cherry Hill Park, Stormy, and then it was time for another new song in Classics IV style, A New Horizon. There was the Neil Diamond song, Sweet Caroline. All in Your Mind had just a beautiful flute solo. Least I forget, there was a tremendous amount of saxophone solos throughout the evening. I just love the sound of the saxophone, it's one of my favorite instruments.Then there was a montage of songs by The Buckinghams which included Don't You Care, Mercy Mercy Mercy, and Hey Baby (There Playing Our Song). There was a tribute to the founding member of the group who is no longer with us, Dennis Yost, and we got to see him on the screen while the band sang Traces of Love.

      And then the concert drew to a close. The band handled the encore in a unique way. The final song was Lee Greenwood's Proud To Be An American. It was done as the big send off to end the concert. Then the band stayed in place on stage and Tom Garret, the lead singer and front man of the group announced that instead of walking off stage, waiting for the audience to jump to their feet and hoot and holler for an encore they were going to stay where they were as they were old and didn't want to have to walk off stage. Also, what if the crowd didn't applaud, hoot and holler? The band had one more song to sing. So everyone jumped to their feet and clapping, and the band began singing Spooky.

     Truly a magical evening and a wonderful way to end the 2014-2015 season at The Historic Fox Theatre.