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Legends of Country Music

Review by Andrew Sprague

Performed by
Nudie (vocals, guitar and storytelling), Bobby MacIsaac (guitar), and Chris Martell (upright bass).

The music
Legends of Country Music explores the music and careers of country’s most popular singers and songwriters from the golden era of the genre in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Hank Snow, Conway Twitty, George Jones, Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and many other artists are featured through their songs, and through anecdotes and stories told by Nudie (Matt Putnam) who’s own career has brought him up close and personal with many of the musicians he profiles.

The performance
The band is tight and the song selection is accessible to anyone whose grandparents had a radio on in the house, or to people who were indeed those grandparents. Nudie’s storytelling is charming and funny and he engages the crowd with ease. Often when he introduces a song there is a hubbub from the audience, no doubt talking about how much they love a song, or how long it’s been since they last heard it. Guitar solos are applauded, and there are plenty of singers-along.

Best thing
A toss up between Bobby MacIsaac’s sweet guitar licks and Nudie’s engaging storytelling.

Shortcoming
Too many classic country songs are about no-good, cheating, low-life men who’ve had too many second chances already.

Final thoughts
If you like classic country you’ll have a hard time not singing along and reminiscing about early morning drives to the hockey rink with your buddy’s Dad who played nothing but an 8-track of Conway Twitty’s greatest hits. It’s a trip down memory lane full of polyester suits and Brylcreem.

—Saturdays to August 26 at Harmony House Theatre, Hunter River. Tickets/info at www.harmonyhousetheatre.com.

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