After a successful show on Friday night, the time had come for me to cover the second night of the Pikeville trifecta. On a personal level, this show was the show that I wanted to see the most. Why? Because Chris Knight is a Kentucky legend that I have never had the opportunity to see live, let alone photograph.
Then you add in the firecracker that is Sarah Shook and the Disarmers, and that is one helluva way to enjoy your Saturday night.
If you aren’t aware of Sarah, but enjoy REAL country music that could be considered of the outlaw variety, you’ll thank us for this introduction.
Shook performed a set that was full of life experiences, regret, intensity and vibrato. The North Carolina native delivers a mix of cowpunk, smothered in Southern twang, covered in outlaw country, chunked with reality and topped with attitude. In other words, everytime I visit a Waffle House, Sarah Shook and the Disarmers will forever be my favorite soundtrack.
Artists like Shook have become one of my favorite styles of music to cover. Their show is first and foremost about the stories held within their songs. Bringing zero frills, that allows the songs to provide the chills.
Check out “New Ways To Fail” and see for yourself:
Speaking of a no frills approach, next up was Kentucky Legend Chris Knight. I have long adored the songs that Knight has penned over the years. His ability to observe, process and then express his views through his music has kept me hanging on for a new album since 2012. Thankfully for me and the universe, Knight finally gave us a new album in 2019. Was it worth the wait? You’re damn right it was.
My journey of my discovery of Chris on a personal level, started with Patrick Swayze and Gary Allan. No seriously, I fell in love with “Highway Junkie” which was used in the Swayze flick ‘Black Dog.’ I don’t think I listened to any other song for at least three months.
Knight has never been an artist that sought out a producer to polish his sound. His grit and Southern drawl, in my humble opinion, are what makes his songs so enjoyable and especially relatable. When you hear that voice spinning those yarns, you’re held captive, whether you want to be or not and that’s exactly what happened in Pikeville…and after delivering the goods onstage, Chris delivered the goods offstage, as he met with fans in the lobby for quite some time.
All in all, it was a beautiful night and we hadn’t even heard the first note from Mr. Tyler Childers and the Foodstamps.
Check out the Chris Knight penned “Highway Junkie” by Gary Allan below:
As Tyler and the boys hit the stage, the cheers erupted and Saturday night in Pikeville got a helluva lot more rowdy. Kicking things off was “Born Again” and Tyler knew right away what kind of crowd he had. Pikeville became a choir and Brother Childers brought his congregation to their feet!
Tyler and the Foodstamps have been trying out different cover songs over the last couple of years and Saturday was no different. For now, I want to highlight “Tulsa Turnaround”. This is a song that was first performed by Kenny Rogers and The First Edition. Yes, THAT Kenny Rogers. Childers version is tad bit faster and by the end of their performance you are hearing a glimpse of the Foodstamps rock and roll background and it was absolutely brilliant!
One of my personal favorite songs was up next, “Peace Of Mind”. The lyrics finally got the musical sadness to match in the studio, as the song morphed into a classic tear in my beer country song that was kind of missing from Tyler’s arsenal.
In a live setting with Chase tickling the ivories is always unforgettable, but the Pikeville choir made it one of the most beautiful moments of the weekend.
“Creeker” is a song that I hope stays in the live set forever. There’s nothing I can write that will suffice the greatness of that performance, so here, just watch and sing-along.
At one point, my mind focused on the fact that several of the folks in attendance could potentially be the subject of a song being performed. As the performance of “Bus Route” began, I couldn’t help but wonder, is the prettiest little girl in the same class Tyler was in there? What about her Dad? Or how about Ray Dixon or some of his family? I’ll never know, but I sure did enjoy the performance imagining they all were there.
Tyler learned from Friday night and during his four song acoustic set, he moved both “Nose On The Grindstone” and “Follow You To Virgie” to the last two songs performed. Since both mention Pike County in one way or another, he knew Pikeville would try their best to bring the house down and he wasn’t wrong. My ears are still ringing, but my heart sure was full of love.
Tyler kicked off his acoustic set with “Lady May” and “Banded Clovis”. “Banded Clovis”, much like “Hounds” on Friday, was a rare treat that doesn’t get performed a lot, but when they do, you’re gonna know it, because the crowd goes insane for both…and rightfully so.
I mentioned before about the band trying new cover songs and the newest addition is a song called “Tennessee Blues” which was originally performed by Bobby Charles. You can put this one in the vein of “Peace Of Mind”.
Tyler brought the band back out for this one and I’m gonna just say it, I hate rooting for a cover to be recorded because it takes away a spot from a Childers original, but “Tennesse Blues” already sounds like a Tyler song. I found it to be perfect because it highlighted each member of the band and it seemed very easy for Tyler to perform. As far as cover songs go, this may be the best cover I’ve ever personally witnessed.
The last song of the night was “Universal Sound” and something beautiful took place. The Professor Jesse Wells tossed in some electric mandolin that cut through eveything else hitting me right square in the heart. For me, the sounds Jesse played became my own “Universal Sound” and that will be the memory I’ll keep forever.
Peace Of Mind
Dead Man’s Curve
Shake The Frost
Nose On The Grindstone
Follow You To Virgie
I Swear To God
Honky Tonk Flame