Day five has come to a close at the Appalachian Fair in Gray, Tenn. Last night it was Justin Moore taking the stage at 8 p.m. I hardly know where to begin with this write-up. So bear with me. I’ll try not to jump from one subject to the next, and I’ll try not to ramble…but I can’t promise anything.
I had never seen Justin before. I went in to this show knowing I liked his music, and able to sing most of the songs on his first two CDs, just because I’ve listened to them about a billion times. But that was all I knew about Justin. I really didn’t know what to expect when he came out on stage.
Justin played to a capacity crowd, with every reserved ticket sold, every bleacher seat filled, and probably not a blade of grass to stand on outside the fenced in stage area. And he sang country music. The kind of country music I like. He didn’t seem to think it was necessary to come out with a Bon Jovi song, or something that Tom Petty made famous, He sang country music. And while I think he sounds as good live as he does on his records (a lot of artists don’t) – there was a time or two during the show when the music was far too loud for the vocals, and it was really a little difficult hearing Justin.
The Appalachian Fair has a great catwalk at the main stage, and Justin certainly knows how to make a catwalk work to his advantage. He didn’t just walk out there a few times – his mike stand went with him, and he performed a lot of his show from 5’ out; 20’ out; and even all the way out at the end of the catwalk. The crowd loved that! Come to think of it, he made good use of a lot of things – like the speakers on the left side of the stage – He actually jumped up on those so everyone could see him a little better.
While I was watching him, I saw a few things that looked very familiar to me. His moves, and even the way he holds his guitar made me think of Dwight Yoakam. I’m not saying Justin sounds a think like Dwight, or sings anything like Dwight – but I am saying I often saw those Dwight movements and stances when I was watching Justin. And one thing, this is totally cool – Justin Moore doesn’t just let you take pictures during his show – he poses! If he sees a camera pointed at him he will stop – hold his pose, and say “did you get that?” Totally cool, Justin.
The only thing that really disappointed me about last night, was that Justin couldn’t make himself available after the show to sign autographs. I guess I wouldn’t have thought much about that, if we hadn’t had four previous nights where the artists stayed as long as they needed to in order to see that everyone who wanted an autograph got one. I think it is very important for the artists to share a little of their time with their fans. I know there will be times when an after-the-show autograph session just won’t fit into their schedule. But I like what Colt Ford said to me in an e-mail yesterday. I made a point to thank him for signing for his fans, and he wrote back and said: “It’s all about the Fans. I Love Music and I Love People and without the Fans I don’t exist.” Something every artists needs to remember, I think.
Justin did have to get out of the fairgrounds rather quickly, as he was about to make an 11-hour overnight trip to Oxford, Mississippi. But I hope that there are occasions, more of them than not, when Justin will make the effort to spend a little time with his fans. He acknowledged all of us from the stage, and did not hesitate to let us all know that he appreciated our being there, and he appreciated the fact that we spend our hard-earned money to buy tickets to his shows, and his CDs and merchandise.
Justin has a group of very talented musicians behind him. Band members are David Dubas, Pittsburgh, Pa., bass; Josh Cross, Branson, Mo., guitar; Roger Coleman, Kentucky, guitar; Sean Fuller, Evansville, Ind., drums; and Corey Caudill, Kentucky, keyboard.
Thanks to WXBQ Radio and tonight’s main stage sponsor, Chick-Fil-A. Now – how about a few pictures!
There’s one night left. Tonight will be the end of our 2011 Appalachian Fair. And so far all five of the concerts we’ve had there were first-rate! It has been a great fair week for all of us!
Talk to you all soon – have a happy Saturday!