Many times when we attend any event, it brings back memories of things we experienced long ago. Other times, the purpose of the event seems to be to make new memories. It isn’t often you find one entertainer who can give you both of those results in one unforgettable evening. Collin Raye did just that when he stepped out onto the stage at the Kentucky-Virginia District Fair in Wise, Va., on Friday (June 8) night.
Collin opened his show with his 1999 hit “Anyone Else”. With that one song, the memories started rushing back to the front of our minds. Throughout his show, he sang songs, told stories, and reminded all of us of every reason we love country music. His album, “Collin Raye – 25 Years 25 Hits,” released on May 15, 2018. We got to hear many songs from that new album. Those hits aren’t just a part of Collin’s past, they are a part of our past, too. Along with all the memories that were coming back, new memories were being made. A new night, a new show, a new crowd, and new songs.
This was the third time that I have seen a Collin Raye show. The other two times, he had his full band with him. This time, there was Collin, a keyboard, and a mandolin/fiddle player. The fact that he was short a few musicians definitely was not a problem for anyone in the audience. His musicians were awesome, and Collin’s vocals are as good as ever. Those very talented folks, who shared the stage with him were his music director, Shauna Larkin, on fiddle and mandolin, as well as backup vocals. And keyboardist, Clinton McDonnell, who also helped with vocals.
In addition to so many of our favorite Collin Raye songs, we got to hear some great covers of music recorded by the late Glen Campbell. I think the two he picked, “Rhinestone Cowboy”, and “Gentle On My Mind”, were not just two of my favorites, but favorites of most of the audience. There were a lot of people singing along with Collin when he sang those songs.
His show was the perfect mix of fast and slow, old and new, happy and sad, sing along songs and the ones made you just want to sit back and listen. A very long time ago, I heard a performer say, “You always need to remember, that at every show, there is at least one person in that audience who had to save their money to come and see you.” I believe Collin remembered that. He gave us a fun experience, and a more than memorable show
Collin seems to have a special knack for not only singing for his audience, but singing to them. He smiles, points, waves … and, carries on a conversation with the folks watching as he sings. You can see that when he works with his band, too. It was as if Collin had them working with him, not just working for him.
With so many awesome hits to choose from, I was a little surprised to hear him encore with the Eagles, “Take It Easy”. However, I was not surprised by how well he sang it. He’s a talented, versatile artist. He had his audience in the palm of his hand from start to finish. He certainly did my favorite Collin Raye songs – with ‘Love, Me” being my absolute favorite. And, I was really happy that he included one from his album, “I Think About You”. It’s a great song called “The Time Machine”. I’ve always loved this song. (If you aren’t familiar with it, jump on over to YouTube, and listen).
Before the show started, a group of us went back for the pre-show meet and greet. I need to thank fair organizers for including the Country’s Chatter representatives in that group. I know that before an artist takes the stage they need a little alone time. They have to get ready to go out there and sing. And, they don’t usually want to do a lot of talking before they start a show. That was not the case with Collin. He signed our photos, albums, books, or guitars – he took the time not only to ask how we were, but to thank us for coming out to the show. You left the meet and greet with the feeling that you had just made a new friend. And, even though we know he won’t remember each of us individually, it is a nice feeling to to leave with. He made me smile. I’m sure he put a smile on a lot of faces on Friday night.
I’m going to end this with a few more photos from Friday night’s show. And, a recommendation. If it has been a long time since you have been to a Collin Raye show, find one – and put the date on your calendar. You will not be disappointed. To keep up with all the latest Collin Raye news, and to find out where he is going to be next, visit his website. Check out his Facebook page, and remember to “Like” it while you are there. You can follow him on Twitter @CollinRaye. If you aren’t already following Country’s Chatter on Twitter, we’d love to have you. You will find us @countryschatter.
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