YLIAS American Road Trip Diary: August 15th

flag-1127885_960_720Our road trip has now taken us to 4 US states, North and South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee.

It’s 245 miles from Atlanta to Charlotte but this was the next stopover with the intention of catching Brandy Clark at the Neighborhood Theatre.

Sometimes you have to be lucky. Pieces have to fall in place and so they did with Brandy. The doors were open at 7pm. It was not reserved seating so we did what most people do in the UK, we got there early. The theatre was not actually downtown Charlotte. It’s in a suberb in the north east of the city and the theatre is not what you would call “up-market”.

Brandy’s tour bus was parked outside and there was no one else around apart from two other people who happened to be walking across the road. This is where we got lucky as one was the star of our show. Quick chat, and an interview arranged after she had finished her meet and greet.

She confirmed to us the details of her UK tour in September. She was very excited to be coming to the UK and we told her that there would be many at home who would share that excitement.

Great show. She met everyone who stayed, had loads of time for a chat and signed everything that she was presented with. Everyone had photographs and she was a genuinely lovely lady. We seriously recommend attending one of her forthcoming UK shows.

Our interview was much-delayed but we got there in the end and the results are on the site.

Next stop Myrtle Beach. Another 170 miles on the hire car’s clock. Josh Turner was appearing at the Alabama Theatre so we just had to be there.

The contrast between two concerts was marked. The Alabama Theatre is located in North Myrtle Beach and is situated on a retail area near to The House of Blues with many shops and restaurants.

It was a Friday night so it was very busy. The venue is a very classy old-style theatre holding about 2500, all seated.

Tickets suggested that the event began at 7pm. This actually meant that the show started at 7pm. No support; Josh Turner was on stage right away.

We were the last to take our seats and just managed to see him walk onto the stage where he opened with’Why Don’t We Just Dance’.

He’s not actually been particularly prominent recently. His last two singles ‘Lay Low’ and ‘Hometown Girl’ didn’t break the top 20 and he hasn’t had a studio album out since ‘Punching Bag’ in 2012. We were pleasantly surprised to see that the venue was completely sold out. There was a leaning towards the older generation but also a healthy mixture of younger guys and gals.

He had a 7-piece band backing him with all the traditional country instruments and they sounded superb.

You go to see Turner because of that phenomenal range in his voice. How does anyone sing so low? He sounded as good as ever.

He did admit to health problems however. He said that he had recently fallen and suffered concussion. This was the second time that this had happened so he was going to take it easy and sat on a stool for the whole of the concert.

Apart from a couple of previews of new songs that Turner stated would be on a new album that might be released soon, this was a greatest hits package. Highlights were obviously ‘Long Black Train’ and ‘Firecracker’ which roused the very polite audience into hoots and hollers.

He saved the best for a one song encore and it had to be ‘Your Man’, his biggest hit from 2005.

We were all done and dusted for 8.35pm. Show over. Goodnight folks. What do we do now?

It was polished, professional and slick. Lacking somewhat in atmosphere, not helped by the average age of the audience, the venue and the fact that the use of the stool, whilst perfectly understandable, didn’t help Turner reach out to his audience.

No photos or chats with him. He was straight onto the tour bus where he conducted his paid meet and greets (the money goes to his charity) and he was off into the night.

What did we do? It was Friday in Myrtle Beach in summer and the night time temps are in the mid 80’s. There was plenty to keep us busy!