I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I headed towards Sharpsburg, Kentucky. The Barnyard Entertainment Venue is a new outdoor venue there, and on Saturday, they hosted their first official concert. The first show had two Kentuckians, an up-and-coming artist, and a legendary band. That would be George Molton, Tyler Booth, Drew Parker, and Sawyer Brown. I highly doubt there would ever be a more perfect weather scenario than what we had on Saturday. The high was around 80, there was a nice breeze, there were fireworks, there were cold beverages, sno-cones, tacos and bbq. The only thing missing was some hot apple pie. I mean, that’s America at it’s finest.
So you may be asking, just how new is The Barnyard? Well, the main facility is far from being finished. You can see the current progress below.
How do you have a concert with no facility? What was I met with? Your basic festival tractor-trailer bed stage. A perfectly fine substitute until the construction is complete. As for everything else, there were a couple of totally expected growing pains, but honestly though, those were simply generator voltage issues. Nothing major and that situation has already been addressed, as Barnyard reached out to me personally. More on that later in the article, but I’m all in for any show these folks will house in the future, and ya know what? You should be too. This is exactly what Central Kentucky needs, so you can expect coverage from quite a few shows there in the future. Check out a few concept drawings from their Facebook below to see how things will shape up.
Opening the show was an absolute Kentucky Legend in George Molton. George has always been as good as it gets when it comes to a traditional Country artist. His velvety tone flowed through the rolling hills like a mighty river on Saturday.
George and the band had a special young man sit in with them for their performance, George’s son Jacob Molton stood front and center, jamming out like nobody’s business. This young fella had zero butterflies and played every single chord, right alongside the band. Even bouncing around and doing a little Dwight Yoakam shuffle across the stage during George’s version of “Suspicious Minds.” I have a feeling this won’t be the last time I see this young fella perform. He has a leg up that few folks will ever experience. His future is a bright one.
Molton and his band brought their A-game, but his set was unfortunately cut short because of some technical difficulties that I alluded to earlier, but George delivered one of his bigger songs in “Over A Woman”, and one of my personal favorites in “After Loving You.” Knowing the clock was ticking, George and the band played a few covers from folks like Conway and Elvis. I’m a pretty big Elvis fan, so seeing and hearing George perform “How Great Thou Art” again was a definite highlight!
I’ll say this, if you look up class act in the ole Webster’s dictionary, it should have a photo of George Molton. WAIT!!! Can we start a petition for that? I’m in, if so!!
Next up was Drew Parker. This was my second time covering Parker. The first time was at Rupp Arena, as he was one of the supporting artists when Luke Combs rolled into town. You can read that article here.
Like many in Nashville, Parker became a successful songwriter before his career took off. He scored his first number one single as an songwriter in 2020 with “Homemade,” from Jake Owena. His story about the day that song became number one was wonderful and for this sappy fella, that was a highlight that made me appreciate that song and Parker even more.
Drew and his band do everything they can to get folks on their feet and those that danced along, did so like no one was watching, and ya know what? It was beautiful. If absence truly makes the heart grow fonder, then we were all falling deeply in love with music again.
Parker is a smart man as well, he knew his crowd and when he broke out the Keith Whitley, you could hear a pin drop. Alone with his guitar, Parker told the story of how hearing Keith Whitley inspired him to chase his dreams and that it was an honor to be on that stage, in this state, singing “Miami, My Amy.” I just got chills writing that. My goodness, that was amazing! Drew and his band do everything they can to get folks on their feet and many folks in Sharpsburg were happy to join in. Parker even put a little boogie in my boots with the John Michael Montgomery classic “Be My Baby, Tonight.” We’ll just keep that between us friends though. Lol
Parker’s stories really put a spotlight on just how successful he has been as a songwriter so far. He’s written many songs with Mr. Luke Combs and their song “Forever After All” is currently celebrating its fifth week at number one. Parker ended his set with single that is currently climbing the charts titled, “While You’re Gone.”
So you may ask, what’s Parker’s secret to success? His good ole boy persona ain’t a persona folks. It’s who he is. That was very prominent and evident in both performances I have witnessed. He’s humble, he’s honest and he’s here for a good time. And on Saturday, Sharpsburg was happy to join the party.
Kentucky’s own Tyler Booth was up next. If you’ve ever visited this site, you’ve likely seen our coverage of a Tyler Booth show. If not, definitely poke around a bit, as we’ve been a big supporter since Tyler began his career. We’re lucky to claim Tyler and his family as our friends, so it’s always an honor to cover a show.
Saturday’s show kicked off with a bang as Tyler and his Asphalt Outlaws hit the stage running with “87 Octane,” and they never let off the gas. Tossing out a few familiar covers along the way like “The Ride” by David Allen Coe, “Ain’t Living Long Like This” by Waylon, and “My Kinda Party” by Jason Aldean. But it was the cover of Jamey Johnson’s “In Color” that won the covers battle. After dedicating the song to all the military personnel, Tyler delivered “In Color” as only he can.
Tyler and the Outlaws brought us a nice sampler platter of songs. Pulling a few from his debut EP, Tyler shined on “Greyhound Or A Slow Train,” and “If We Make It To Mexico.” His voice gets stronger with every performance and his stage presence continues to blossom. I feel it’s easiest to see the growth in the performance of his older songs. There’s a comfort level there that lets him let loose and just be. He’s not overthinking and just having fun, and that’s when the true Tyler Booth shows up. You know, the one that everyone always falls in love with.
Country Radio is finally giving Tyler the love he deserves and he took a moment to acknowledge that before he delivered “Beautiful Outlaw” for those in Sharpsburg. This song is gaining airplay organically and radio keeps adding it because they recognize that Tyler is on his way to being a star. Fear of missing out in it’s most perfect scenario. I’ll take it and runaway smiling like the Cheshire Cat!
We also saw a terrific version of “Already Got One.” That one is currently at the top of his Spotify streams and will be a set staple for tye foreseeable future. If you’re a fan of Tyler on Tik-Tok or Instagram, you’ve likely seen the viral video for this one. If ya haven’t seen it, go on and watch it. This young fella cracks me up.
View this post on Instagram
After treating us to one of my favorites in “Half A Mind To Go Crazy,” Tyler gave us the best performance of his set in “Palomino Princess.” This song is the song that solidified Tyler as a songwriter for me. I still remember when Tyler’s Dad sent me an early version of “Palomino Princess,” and all I could do was just stare in disbelief. I swear to you that it took 10 listens before I had any words to begin to let Jason know what I thought. I saw a lot of faces resembling mine on Saturday night. If the label gets behind this song, the sky is the limit for Tyler Booth. If you haven’t heard this one yet, definitely give it a listen.
Booth and the Outlaws also treated to a brand new song in “My Favorite Drink Is A Lot.” This was my second time catching this one, as he played it in Louisville recently. Whenever this one gets released, Tyler will need to strap himself in, because his career is gonna launch like a rocket.
The song that really got folks attention and opened many doors for Tyler was “Hank Crankin’ People” and judging by the amount of the crowd joining in, it’s still opening doors. Tyler is by far and away the most comfortable when he’s performing this one, and on Saturday, Tyler and the fellas blew away everyone in attendance. A definite proud moment as a friend, and a fan.
Sawyer Brown were the headliners on Saturday night and they brought a barrage of hits with them. I was honestly surprised how many songs that I remembered. They were a big part of my youth, but apparently, I’m an even bigger fan of Sawyer Brown than even I realized.
They hit the stage with the classic “The Boys And Me” and I was hit with a wave of nostalgia that immediately washed away all the cares of the world. It was like seeing an old friend after a few years. That rarely ever happens to me. I’m usually so hyperfocused on photographing, that I’ll bring along someone to take notes for me. I seriously had to take a step back for a second and just enjoy the moment.
After performing “I’ll Go Anywhere,” the generator issue reared it’s head during “This Time.” The sound completely cut out twice as the voltage needed to be cranked up a bit more to handle the extra lighting and such. While the band being forced to stop mid-song, isn’t the ideal situation, Sawyer Brown took it as an opportunity to interact with the fans. These guys are the definition of pros and they turned it into a short comedy sketch poking fun that vocalist Mark Miller couldn’t be heard. That my friends, is how you turn a negative into a positive.
I gotta say, I had completely forgotten how much I love “Cafe Down On The Corner.” I’m a huge fan of Don Williams and this song has always conjured up memories of his hit “Maggie’s Dream.” I knew every lyric and Sawyer Brown sounded absolutely perfect!
The highlight of the entire night, for me at least, was the Sawyer Brown performance of “The Walk.” That song has always hit me hard, but Saturday it was a gut punch, but in a beautiful way. I lost my Dad several years ago and his birthday was July 4th, 1957, so celebrations on the 4th are always difficult, but I remember Dad singing along to this song every single time. For a few brief moments, I closed my eyes and heard Dad sing it again. I’m telling y’all, music is the closest thing we have to actual time travel and I don’t know how would survive without it. I doubt the Sawyer Brown folks see this, but if by chance that happens, please give them my thanks.
Sawyer Brown – “The Walk”:
I am sorry for that heaviness, but I do my best to be honest with folks.
Let’s get back to the party, and let me tell ya, that there ain’t no party like a Sawyer Brown party. Vocalist Mark Miller is a dancing machine and he is one of the most unique frontmen in country music history. His antics, and the bands shenanigans are just a blast. You absolutely can’t help but join the party. Mark is like a magnet, and the band provides a soundtrack like no other.
There were a couple stories, that Mark Miller told, that really stuck with me as well. He talked about his son being in his final year of Medical School at the University of Kentucky. Which is awesome! Then he told about the band being the winners on Star Search in 1983. Miller said he tells his kids that Sawyer Brown were the first of American Idol, before American Idol even existed. Ya know what?. He ain’t wrong. Star Search was a huge deal back in the day and Sawyer Brown won the recording contract and the $100,000 prize. You’d be quite surprised at how many folks got their big break on Star Search. You can check out a pretty sweet list here.
Sawyer Brown – “Betty’s Bein’ Bad” on Star Search:
After performances of “Smokin’ Hot Wife,” and a personal favorite in “The Dirt Road” came the funniest section of the night. Keyboardist Hobie Hubbard took the mic from Mark Miller and performed his version of the Joe Walsh classic “Life’s Been Good”, but the shenanigans weren’t quite finished as guitarist Shayne Hill then snagged the mic and gave us another classic track on the Steve Miller Band’s massive hit, “Rock’n Me.”
That led to one of the bigger moment that the crowd was holding out for. The performance of their hit, “Thank God For You.” The beers were mostly empty and the dancing commenced while the crowd exploded with a beautiful chorus sing-a-long. Maaaaaaann, that felt so good!!
The night appeared to be over with “Six Days On The Road,” but the band came back for an encore performing a couple more party tunes in “Don’t Stop” by Fleetwood Mac and a damn good cover version of Rick Springfield’s hit “Jessie’s Girl.” I DID NOT EXPECT THAT!! That was amazing!!
While George Jones may have made “The Race Is On” famous first, Sawyer Brown has had a heckuva lot of say in reigniting its popularity, and Saturday night was an absolutely beautiful testimony to that. Fans young and old were joining the dance party as their volume was almost to the point of overtaking the band’s volume. Especially the fella just a few yards away from me that kept yelling “We Love You!” I mean, we all loved ’em, dude. We All did!
To end the encore, I think I’ll just have y’all sing it with me:
I ain’t first class
But I ain’t white trash
I’m wild and A little crazy too
Some girls don’t like boys like me
Aahhh but some girls do!
I truly didn’t realize how much that I needed Sawyer Brown in my life again. I am so happy they are back at it. I’ll leave you with this, you can now bet your bottom dollar that Sawyer Brown is back, and they’ll be back to heavy rotation of my life’s soundtrack. You should join me.