Any entertainer will tell you that the real stars of a stage production, are often the unsung heroes, the people who serve behind them in the shadows. Week after week the Arlington Country Music Revue shows are backed by a stellar group of musicians who are all stars in their own rights, and this past Saturday night, they stood front and center and showed just why they’re aptly titled “The Superpickers”.
The first half of the evening the audience was entertained by the familiar production of performers singing a bevy of familiar tunes. Regulars Ginny Lynn, Stephanie Pruitt, Krista Bailey, John Sharp and emcee Michael Hix all took turns at the microphone. Stand out performances were made by Jon Rutherford and James Hinds who had the audience toe-tapping and smiling in unison. Rutherford gave the audience a great rendition of George Strait’s The Fireman, and followed up with his own Love Makes The World Go Round. Hinds followed next, and obviously a seasoned peformer, he didn’t miss a beat, as he built on the energy Rutherford had built. Although his performance was unscheduled, it proved to be one of the evening’s best, as Hinds performed the classic country standards Luckenbach, Texas (Waylon) and Little Sister (Dwight Yoakam).
It was in the second half of the show that the stars began to shine their brightest, as The Superpickers became the main act.
The Superpickers are a group of, give or take, ten musicians who have accumulated countless hours on the road backing some of the biggest names in country music.
Steel Guitar Hall of Famer, Maurice Anderson, kicked off the second half of the show on his pedal steel, with an instrumental rendition of the The Flintstones theme song, that showcased not only his, but the entire band’s top notch talents.
Bass player, Colin Yarbrough, sounding very much like Radney Foster himself as he sang Foster’s Just Call Me Lonesome. With his vocal abilities no longer a secret, I suspect we’ll be hearing more from him on the AMH’s Country Music Revue.
Jeff Williams was up next, on keyboard performing the classic instrumental hit, Last Date, which he followed up by combining his vocal ability with his instrumental one, for Haggard’s That’s The Way Love Goes.
Glen Fleming, has backed up such notable names as Gary Stewart and Ray Price, with his guitar, but on Saturday night he was under the spotlight himself, singing Johnny Cash’s hit Ring of Fire.
Dale Morris, Jr. comes from a long line of talented musicians, and was recently inducted into the Texas Fiddlers Hall of Fame. It was an honor that had previously been bestowed on his father and his uncle. When he isn’t on the road with Ray Price, Morris can be found at the Country Music Revue. On Saturday night, Morris celebrated his musical lineage, by performing Bob Wills’ Home in San Antone.
Guitarist Ron Jones (Charley Pride band), and Maurice Anderson on lap steel performed a memorable instrumental duet of My Little Ballerina. As Maurice headed back to his pedal steel, band member Kevin Bailey, and his harp, joined Jones as he played guitar and sang, for his second number, Workin’ Man Blues.
It was drummer Josh Rodgers’ turn to shine next. Staying behind his drum kit, he performed The Eagles’ Peaceful, Easy Feelin’.
Kevin Bailey’s musical resume is longer than both his arms, and his performance demonstrates that as clearly, if not more than, a paper version would. He was a member of the notable The Shoppe, and currently is a member of the Light Crust Doughboys. He plays guitar, harmonica and banjo, in addition to lead and harmony vocals. Saturday night he performed I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry, to a mesmerized and appreciative crowd.
The band’s second Ron Jones’ plays saxophone, and although country music isn’t what he was accustomed to playing before joining the CMR, he has fit in wonderfully. Jones’ previously played with Al Green and Smokey Robinson, and has added a new energy to the band’s performances. On Saturday he performed two numbers including Fats Dominos’ Blueberry Hill.
The show culminated in a standing ovation, the first I’d seen since covering the weekly stage show, and it was well deserved. They played their hearts out that night, much like the do every week, but this time the glory wasn’t shared with a headline performer, and the applause was theirs alone to savor.