Joel Fry – James Gee
Legends Corner, June 7, 2003:
Kathy and I stop at Legends Corner in the early afternoon of Saturday, June 7. The band on stage sounds great. The performer is Joel Fry. We stand for a few minutes then a very friendly lady says there’s room at their table, why don’t we join them. Now this is amazing. Legends Corner is packed and this complete stranger welcomes us to their table directly in front of the bandstand. Our luck and good fortune continues on our first trip here to Nashville.
This very friendly lady is Debra Stevens from Blairsville, Georgia. With her is another great gal Regina Garrett from Ducktown, Tennessee and Chester a fine country gentleman from right here in Nashville, who’s been in these parts for years and looks very dapper, warm and friendly. These three fine individuals make Kathy and I feel welcome and right at home, here at Legends. These two great gals, Debra and Regina, sure can dance up a storm and are quite an extra-added attraction to the stage show.
Joel Fry is a rockin’ country band that is in full swing as we arrive. The song we hear first is, “The House Is Rockin’ Don’t Bother Knockin’.” The lead guitarist, Darrel Blevens from Missouri, is excellent. He’s playing a black Telecaster guitar. The next song is a Steve Miller tune, “The Joker.” The vocal harmonies are right on the money and the lead guitar is impressive. The keyboardist, Andy Flores, is playing an M1 Korg synthesizer and the sound is fantastic. The next song is from Merle Haggard. It is an upbeat shuffle, spirited and happy. The next song is, “Mustang Sally.” The band’s ensemble playing is strong and tight. The band has an excellent cohesive sound and they meld together seamlessly. The next tune is, “She Gotta’ Dance.” The vocal refrain, “loosen up those chains and dance,” is catchy, happy and joyful. The next swing tune is, “Hey Bartender,” which has excellent sound and energy. The bassist is Mason Waters from Crescent, Georgia. The drummer, Andy Hall, is from Chattanooga, Tennessee. Joel Fry is from Ohio.
Joel Fry puts on a great set of music. The band is hot and the mood is upbeat and happening. Joel and the band members are friendly to the crowd and that enhances the already great mood everyone is in from the fine musicianship. Joel takes a moment to pose for a picture with Kathy and I.
James Gee and Rural Route 3 are next. James has an effervescent personality and an infectious smile and demeanor. Debra Stevens came here especially to see James Gee. The first song is, “A Lot About Living And A Little ‘Bout Love.” The tempo is a bright swing, with a little country humor to bring the audience into James Gee’s world.
The next tune is, “I’m From The Country And I Like It That Way.” The lyrics are humorous and refreshing and the vocal delivery is snappy and fun. The Telecaster lead guitar is nicely articulated and the fiddle player Suzanne, is excellent. The third song is, “The Love Bug,” which is upbeat and happy. The next song is from Dwight Yoakum, “Guitars, Cadillacs, Hillbilly Music.” There is super tasty Telecaster playing and creative fiddle accompaniment. Next is a George Strait tune, “Excuse Me But I Think You Got My Chair.” This is a slow serenade with excellent vocals and band dynamics. Song five is a Johnny Cash standard, “Folsom Prison.” This is a lively 2/4 swing with the drummer playing primarily his snare drum. There is an excellent solo on the Telecaster. Suzanne takes two excellent solos on her fiddle. The next song is, “I Believe.” This is a catchy 4/4 tune comparing love to beliefs from childhood about various superheroes. The next song, “The Race Is On,” is a snappy swing that is tight and happy. The band ensemble presentation is excellent. Next is a Keith Whitley tune, “Don’t Close Your Eyes.” The next musical entry is from Brooks & Dunne, “Workin’ On My Next Broken Heart.” This is an upbeat swing tune with excellent vocal harmonies.
The next song, “She’s A Pain She’s A Queen,” is off the latest CD. This has extremely funny lyrical content and delivery, accompanied by excellent lead guitar. The Telecaster is super twangy and showcases some excellent flat-pickin’. Next is a George Strait number, “ Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind.” The drummer uses the reverse stick on the snare to create succinct and quiet dynamics. James is amazing to watch as he sings and signs the CDs. He does not miss a single beat or vocal syllable.
James jokes: “The next song, “Killing Time,” is killing me. The next arrangement, “Jumbalaya,” features Phil Valdez on lead guitar. The tempo is powered by a groovin’ snare shuffle. The fiddle solo, by Suzanne Rohrer, is excellent. Next is a Gene Watson slow ballad, “I Know You’ll Be Glad When I’m Gone.” Suzanne Rohrer takes a fiddle solo, which is tremendous. The next song is a special feature for the fiddle, “The South’s Gonna’ Do It Again.” This has an upbeat tempo driven by the fast boogie playing of the drummer, Brian Elmore. The fiddle solo is superior. The fiddle and the guitar perform a fantastic unison solo that showcases nice harmonic voicings.
The next composition James wrote for his wife, “I Don’t Think She’ll Ever Have Me Trained.” There are clever lyrics and the delivery is comical and amusingly cynical. Next is, “I’m Always Here At Home Till Closin’ Time.” The next tune is from Merle Haggard, “Proud To Be An Okie From Muskogee.” This is a slow swing with a snare drum single back beat. The last song of the set is, “Louisiana Saturday Night.” James takes a moment to get a picture with Kathy!
James Gee puts on a tremendous set here at Legends. His clever songwriting, personable delivery and cheerful personality puts a smile on everyone’s face. The band members are all great individual players and contribute so much to the musical presentation that is James Gee. Debra Stevens comes all the way from Blairsville, Georgia to see James Gee and I can clearly see why.
I want to send out a sincere expression of thanks to Debra, Regina and Chester for being so gracious and generous to us, with your Southern hospitality, warm hearts and genuine affection. Thank you from Kathy and I!!
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