Written by Dave Clements
This is a music review on Stoney LaRue who opened 2021 at the Dosey Doe Big Barn on the first day of this New Year. However you will need to read on for several (maybe several dozen) lines before it will become obvious. I have a lot to say about live music as it related to this past year before I can focus on Stoney’s performance. Thank you for your indulgence!
I don’t know about you but for me I’m certainly very happy to see 2020 in the rearview mirror of my life – even though I’m now a year older and I had a lot of things to be thankful for that occurred in the last 365 days.
My wife and I were able to travel some during the course of the year, I had the chance to play lots of golf courses, some pretty decently, a dear friend’s cancer went into remission, no family health issues and we were able to welcome a beautiful granddaughter into the family. She came almost two months early but is now home with mom and dad and doing very well.
Let me now shift to the live music business that I am fairly familiar with. Like many other parts of our economy live music is in major trouble.
Because of COVID-19, touring acts have stopped touring due to the simple fact that all of the places they would perform need to use all their capacity to make the economics work when hiring these acts.
Because of the social distancing requirements there are a fairly large number of normally available seats that must be kept empty.
With bands not performing live, live music venues are dark way too often and most all of the people that are in supporting roles around and in between are not able to stay working – or at a minimum they are not working nearly as much (including photographers like myself).
If something doesn’t happen fairly quickly, assuming it isn’t already too late, the industry is going to collapse – or for sure experience a substantial downward turn that could last a very long time.
If you already knew all this, then you’ve probably also realized that we, the consumer, must help this industry to survive if we’d like to continue to enjoy listening to live music live. Whatever entertainment dollars you would typically spend in a year please figure out a way to spend a similar number of dollars a different way! Buy more records, watch and donate to ‘live streams’ from artists, go to the live venues that are open every chance you have – yes, maybe even if the performer isn’t on your list of favorites.
They need our money and they need it now before it’s too late. Consider it an investment into the future for you, your kids, and your grandkids. We cannot let this music industry fail or suffer to the point that the talent we enjoy night after night is forced to go to a different industry because they have no other choice! Help them pay their rent and feed their kids. Yes, some are fairly well off, but they are definitely the exception and not the norm. Please help save our Main Street Crossings, our Woodlands Pavilions, our Dosey Does, our Mucky Ducks, our Heights Theaters, our Smart Financial Centres, The Toyota Centers and all of their employees. We also need to support the companies like Live Nation that fill many venues and sell us our tickets, the PR people that promote the shows and the artists, and the roadies that haul in the equipment and are the last to leave. The ripple effect continues on to the folks who run the sound and lights, the tour managers and the merch sellers. They ALL need our help before they are all gone.
Now on to the show!
Stoney LaRue opened the year at the Big Barn and was so terrific to hear him live, with full COVID beard and perhaps a few extra pounds. LaRue’s voice is one of the most distinctive in the Red Dirt genre and he came prepared to do way more than just his ‘One Note Song’ that fans always enjoy hearing him perform. He did pretty much his entire set based on requests from the audience. And even though he asked the crowd to please write their song choices on 100 dollar bills and pass them up to the stage (!), I’m fairly sure that most got their New Year’s music wishes fulfilled. I know I did! And I, for one, am so thankful for venue owners like Steve & Joan Said trying to ‘keep live music alive’ which has become no easy task and not likely to get any easier any time soon.
Hope you enjoy the photo gallery photos I took of not only Stoney but also a few of Cory Morrow who closed out the past year in terrific fashion – also at the Dosey Doe Big Barn.
Until next time, assuming (while praying) there will be one!
PS I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention that the music industry and its fans, you and I, lost last year: Joe Diffie. Jerry Jeff Walker, Hal Ketchum, Charley Pride Doug Supernaw ,Jason Slater (Queensryche), Jim Tucker (Turtles),Tony Lewis (The Outfield), Spenser Davis, Eddie Van Halen, Helen Reddy, Mac Davis, Roy Head, Charlie Daniels, Tommy DiVito ( The Four Seasons), Bruce Williamson (The Temptations), Trini Lopez, Steve Holland (Molly Hatchet), Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac), Little Richards, EricTaylor, John Prine, Bill Withers, Kenny Rogers, Paul English and many others that would not fit in this space. May they all rest in peace as we send out our gratitude for the excellent entertainment they provided for decades.