Friend of WIM and cowboy music fan Robbo files this report from Brunswick:
In a world of Justins, Mileys and guys who wear helmets who win Grammy awards it’s nice to know the songs of the cowboy and the Old West are still alive and kicking. Even if you’re not into this kind of music then you’ve at least heard of Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. A novice of the genre can probably tell you about the Sons of the Pioneers, Marty Robbins and Riders in the Sky. And if you know who Michael Martin Murphey is, then you probably know who Chris LeDoux and Johnny Western are too. But if you’re really into this music you might have heard of Jason Petty. I recently had the great pleasure of seeing Petty perform live on stage.
This particular show was The Swingin’ Cowboys. It’s just one of the shows Petty currently performs. Two others are Hank and My Honky Tonk Heroes and Country Royalty. In both he resurrects Hank Williams. Playing to sold out crowds and receiving critical praise, Petty won an Obie award for his role as Williams in Hank Williams: Lost Highway. For more info on Petty, go to www.jasonpetty.com.
I’ve seen a lot of shows in my day – all kinds of music, but never one like this. The Swingin’ Cowboys is quite unique in that it’s not only a great concert of cowboy and western swing music, but it’s also a history lesson. Between well known classics such as “Cool Water” and “Tumbling Tumbleweeds”, Petty reveals some interesting history of the songs and the times from which they were first recorded, along with a bit of humor at times. This made for a very enjoyable and enlightening two hour show. Joining Petty on guitar was Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame inductee Carolyn Martin,
(www.carolynmartinmusic.com). In the mentioned Country Royalty show she portrays Patsy Cline along with Petty’s Hank Williams. This evening Martin, who also tours with her own band, took lead vocals on “New San Antonio Rose”, “South of the Border” and others. The vocal harmonies were full and rich, and complete with steel guitar, accordion, fiddle, drums and stand-up bass, the band is as good as it gets.
The show also included such classics as “Don’t Fence Me In”, “Take Me Back To Tulsa”, “Streets of Laredo”, “Red River Valley”, “Cherokee Maiden”, “The Cattle Call”, “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky”, “Back in the Saddle Again” and “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys”. And, of course, it wouldn’t have been the perfect show it was without ending with “Happy Trails”. Even if you only know of Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, Petty’s The Swingin’ Cowboys show is not to be missed. With its perfect musical delivery and historical insight one can at the very least walk away with an appreciation and new knowledge of a time when the cowboy was king.