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The band with the longest-running No. 1 hit single in country music history, Florida Georgia Line, has sold out the Salem Civic Center. Tickets were all gone on Friday, seven minutes after they went on sale — a Salem Civic Center record, according to a news release.
Season 10 “American Idol” winner Scotty McCreery is bringing his country music sound to Salem Civic Center. McCreery will turn 20 just five days after his Oct. 4 concert here.
Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday at the Salem Civic Center box office (no extra fees there), ticketmaster.com or 800-745-3000. We have requested information on ticket prices and will release that information as soon as possible.
McCreery, whose central North Carolina twangy baritone sent him to victory over such performers as Lauren Alaina (who has performed at Sidewinders Steak House and Saloon, in Roanoke), was most recently in Virginia on July 27, when he performed at Danville’s Carrington Pavilion.
He was only 17 when he won, and the intervening years have not been without controversy, according to several news sources, a former manager has sued McCreery, alleging in civil court that the singer did not pay him for his services. McCreery disputes the claim.
From McCreery’s publicity bio:
> “Clear As Day” garnered the highest sales of any country solo album released [in 2011], held the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart for six weeks and earned Platinum status in just three months. The album’s first two singles, “I Love You This Big” and “The Trouble With Girls,” were also certified Gold.
> The hot streak continued as Scotty went on to win New Artist of the Year at both the 2011 American Country Awards and the 2012 Academy of Country Music Awards. He also picked up the USA Weekend Breakthrough Video of the Year for “The Trouble With Girls” at the 2012 CMT Music Awards. McCreery was ranked No. 1 on Billboard’s list of Top New Country Artists in 2011 and also ranked No. 4 on Billboard’s list of “21 Under 21: Music’s Hottest Minors 2012,” for his second consecutive year.
UPDATE 12:03 p.m. Aug. 5 2013
Fanclub presale runs 10 a.m. Wednesday to 10 p.m. Thursday.
Tickets: $51, $41, $31, $21.
This band has been all over both the pop and country charts with its hit single, “Cruise.” Soon Florida Georgia is cruising to Salem Civic Center, headlining a Nov. 22 show that also features Colt Ford, Tyler Farr and Dallas Smith.
Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Aug. 23. Prices are not yet available.
Florida Georgia Line has been among country’s hottest new acts over the past year. Debut album “Here’s To The Good Times” sold at least a half-million copies and peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard country albums chart. According to a news release, the single “Cruise” was the No. 1 country single for 19 consecutive weeks — the first time that has happened in more than 50 years. It has sold more than 4 million copies, according to billboard.biz. “Cruise” remains in the No. 1 spot.
The single has been a pop success as well, sitting at No. 5 in the Billboard hot 100 this week. It peaked at No. 4 and has been in that chart for 40 weeks (and 50 weeks in the country chart.
The big difference between the country and pop versions? Nelly. The “Hot In Herrre” rapper guests on the version in the pop chart, but is not heard on the country side.
Country radio doesn’t much care for Colt Ford, either, but he has a passel of fans who responded wildly to him during his June appearance at the Blue Ridge Music Festival, at the civic center’s neighboring Salem Football Stadium. Though country-rapping Ford hasn’t had any big hit singles, his latest album, “Declaration of Independence,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard chart. Ford co-wrote with Brantley Gilbert Jason Aldean’s “Dirt Road Anthem” and Gilbert’s “Country Must Be Country Wide.”
“The Possum” is retiring after his 2012-13 tour, and that’s probably a good thing, truth be told. That classic country voice — one of the best of all time — has not for some time been what it once was. But George Jones has been gracious in answering questions about it.
UPDATED 5:26 p.m. 11. 16.12: Tickets $42.75. They go on sale at 10 a.m. Nov. 23 at Salem Civic Center Box Office and Ticketmaster, or charge by phone via 800-745-3000.
Before I post the review, just a few words here about the newest member of Old Crow Medicine Show, Chance McCoy. For several of the songs, he only sang, while dancing some. It seemed odd until the band’s Ketch Secor told the crowd that McCoy had broken his arm just before the band set out on tour. He and McCoy joked about it being the result of him trying to jump a bike over his mother’s mobile home. Later, McCoy would play several instruments, including some blazing fiddle. He told the crowd: “The pain killers can work miracles.”
But what really happened to his arm? As fate would have it, I saw him standing outside Salem Civic Center’s front doors after I sent my review to the print side copy desk. McCoy, who lived in Floyd County until joining Old Crow, was just hanging with some friends from the area, chatting. I asked him about it, telling him I hadn’t heard a word, even during our interview. He said the band tried to keep it quiet, to keep folks from flipping out. But he had broken his right arm the day before the tour began — in a bicycle crash near his new home in Nashville, Tenn.
He said he’s still not well enough to play as much acoustic guitar as he eventually will.
As we spoke, folks leaving the arena congratulated him on his performance and reached out to shake hands. McCoy fist-bumped with them instead, as his arm is still too sore for handshakes. The cliche holds — the show must go on.
And now for the review.
By Tad Dickens | 777-6474
Change can be tough on audiences. And Old Crow Medicine Show has been through some lately — splitting with guitarist/singer Willie Watson, rejoining with multi-instrumentalist/singer Critter Fuqua and adding a new player, Chance McCoy.
But on Friday night at Salem Civic Center, the longtime stringband favorite ripped through a set of favorites and new songs that kept most in the crowd of more than 2,342 up and hollering throughout.
And more importantly, the band sounded deeper and even more versatile than before, with McCoy – a former Floyd County resident – adding tight, high harmonies and strong work on a variety of instruments.
The first sign of the band’s growing intensity came five songs into the set, during a blazing fast new tune called “Bootlegger’s Son.” Old Crow frontman Ketch Secor had been fiddling it up and dancing around before McCoy picked up a fiddle and joined him as the song approached a crescendo. The pair stood back to back, each dropping to his knees before rising together – all the while, playing a blazing fast twin fiddle break.
It wasn’t McCoy’s only chance to shine. The former member of now-defunct Floyd band Old Sledge would play banjo, guitar, even a little harmonica. His harmonies meshed well with Secor and Fuqua, sounding to these ears better than what the band had with Watson. And his playing was outstanding, despite the fact he broke his right arm less than a month ago.
Songs from the new record, “Carry Me Back,” sounded of a piece with the band’s past output. There might not be a “Wagon Wheel,” “I Hear Them All” or “Caroline” in the bunch, but the uptempo “Mississippi Saturday Night” and “Carry Me Back To Virginia” are strong and energetic, and “Sewannee Mountain Catfight” adds to the band’s repertoire of gonzo backwoods shenanigans songs.
What might be more interesting is that the band, despite personnel changes, seems to have returned fully to its acoustic roots. No electric instruments, amps or drums were onstage, though Secor got some wild effects during his fiddle break on “Methamphetamine.”
During a rousing version of “Take ’Em Away,” Secor called up members of the opening act, The Lumineers, who stuck around through Old Crow’s mashup of “I Hear Them All” and Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land.”
Lumineers frontman Wesley Schultz and cellist Neyla Pekarek sounded tight and tasteful with the band, and their harmonies could be heard well into Old Crow’s lengthy encore, which included The Band’s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” and “I Shall Be Released.”
The Lumineers are the hotter act right now, if sales are an indication. The group’s self-titled album is No. 14 on the Billboard pop albums chart this week, after 19 weeks out. “Carry Me Back,” by contrast, is No. 115 and dropping, a month after entering the chart.
And The Lumineers did a crowd-pleasing job on such songs as the time-shifting “Submarines” and the earnest “Dead Sea.” The crowd yelled in response to “Ho Hey,” which is No. 6 on the Billboard alternative/modern rock singles chart.
But with long and energetic shows like these, the reconfigured headliner has a chance to see its sales pick up strongly again, too.
Later thoughts [1:37 a.m. 8.18.12:] Secor, the frontman, seems to have toned down his between-songs presence a bit. There wasn’t as much hollering, but still plenty of banter between and even during songs — the crowd ate up completely his rundown of seemingly every town in Southwest Virginia, even down into North Carolina and over to West Virginia. As he called out towns, including Fort Chiswel[!]l, there were cheers from the people who had come to Salem for the show. The Shenandoah Valley boy knows where his people are and told the audience that he considered it a hometown show.
It’s possible that Fuqua’s presence has regrounded him. They grew up together, after all. Part of it might be that he is focusing his stage energy more on the extensive dancing he is doing while fiddling and playing harmonica, both of which he does in good style.
McCoy, the new guy, has become a new focal and musical foil for Secor. These two had a huge time doing the twin fiddle thing, summoning up harmonic wildness at high tempos. I know there are people who will miss the harmonies of the Watson days, but I was really digging the way McCoy, Fuqua and Secor sang together. That’s just going to get better, and as McCoy’s arm heals, this six-piece act will sound even thicker. He is adding deep old-time music experience and understanding to this stringband.
“Carry Me Back” is the best album these guys have done, though it doesn’t have an obvious hit. It hangs together well, and it seems to go by very quickly, even after about four spins. The Lumineers disc, which as I mentioned before, has done better on the charts — though to be fair, Old Crow’s latest has been No. 1 on the bluegrass chart ever since its release. Previous release “Tennessee Pusher,” released four years back, was also a Billboard bluegrass chart-topper.
I thought The Lumineers was a smart choice for an opening act, with its broad-based appeal. Face it, Avett Brothers and Mumford & Sons have cleared a path for a band such as The Lumineers — musically talented, rough but refined, lyrically interesting and pop-influenced. And they pulled off a really nice job with their cover of Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues.”
Frontman Wesley Schultz told the audience that he appreciates Old Crow fans, who are “more open to different music” than he was used to. And it was a pretty diverse if nearly entirely white audience — hippies, goths, rednecks, older folks, younger folks, people who like hanging out at the hot show. Old Crow has always drawn that way. But quite a few people I talked with before the show said they were more curious to hear the Lumineers.
Secor seems to be a fan, too, and good for The Lumineers. After all, he and Old Crow bassist Morgan Jahnig were great with Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch at Jefferson Center in 2010 [check out this video, seriously]. He sat in with The Lumineers on “Ain’t Nobody’s Problem,” walking onstage sawing a fiddle, pulling a harmonica out of his pocket for a 16-bar break and smashing it with both instruments. If he didn’t care for center stage, he could be a great sideman/soloist for a ton of acts. But he’s a showman — he walked offstage doing some sort of minstrel dance, doffing his hat.
There was no way to do a survey of people as they left, though during the show I heard one couple with what looked to be a 2-year-old daughter — the little one is a big Old Crow fan — complain that there was something missing from the vocal combination. For sure, some people were turned off when Willie Watson left the group. There were message board complaints, but that’s so unscientific.
Attendance was down from the 2,817 the show drew in November 2009. But the band’s core wasn’t destroyed, and I’d be interested to know how Lumineers fans felt about the headliner.
I think it’s still a band worth hearing.
Old Crow Medicine Show‘s newest member — multi-instrumentalist and singer Chance McCoy — didn’t know the members of Old Crow, but he knew the band’s music well by the time he received an invitation to audition for the act in Nashville, Tenn. McCoy’s own band, the Floyd-based Old Sledge, had split up in a spate of drama during a festival in Maine, and McCoy was not looking to go back on the road immediately. But it was the kind of opportunity that a good player does not pass up.
He made the audition, got the gig and is now touring with the band, which comes to Salem Civic Center on Aug. 17. On this podcast, we talk about the end of Old Sledge, joining Old Crow and about the solo projects that he is trying to balance when not working with his new band, which includes Harrisonburg-area natives Ketch Secor and Critter Fuqua.
Read more about McCoy and his new band in Tuesday’s Extra section or at roanoke.com/extra.
Streaming music from Old Crow Medicine Show’s new album, “Carry Me Back” — “Mississippi Saturday Night” and “Ain’t It Enough.” McCoy joined the band after the recording was done, but he said his vocal work is featured live on those numbers.
The Lumineers will open the for Old Crow.
After Old Crow’s performance at last year’s FloydFest, the band announced it was taking a break. During that time, singer/guitarist Willie Watson left the band. Critter Fuqua, who with Ketch Secor founded the act, returned after a battle with alcoholism. Hear Fuqua talk about it on this podcast, recorded before he and Secor played Floyd Country Store and before the band announced those lineup changes.
The band last played Salem Civic Center in November 2009. Read our review.
Details: 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 17. $35 limited floor, open seating and reserved on sale beginning June 1 at the Salem Civic Center Box Office, www.ticketmaster.com and 800-745-3000.
By Tad Dickens | 777-6474
Before rapper Big Sean hit Salem Civic Center on Tuesday night, he tweeted that he would soon be here to “shut the [expletive] down,” in other words, make the crowd go crazy.
In front of an audience announced at 1,062, the Kanye West protégé born Sean Anderson did not exactly shut it down. His show, just shy of an hour long, ended without an encore, as people began leaving the floor shortly after he wrapped up “Dance (A$$),” the biggest hit of his young career.
That’s not to say that the Roanoke College-sponsored event was a bad show. The 8,000-capacity venue looked a little cavernous, but most among the young crowd were up front, bouncing, waving hands and screaming. Folks knew his music, even if they were ready to move on before 10 p.m.
He started with “I Do It,” among the first tracks on his recent debut CD, “Finally Famous.” He compared himself to Quagmire, a perpetually lewd character on “Family Guy.” Sean dropped in a reference to Quagmire catch phrase “giggity, giggity,” and that was about as family friendly newspaper as that song got.
And that’s no reason to be mad. Rappers are part of a tradition that goes back to the ancient insult game, the dozens. And lord knows, you wouldn’t want to get in a game of the dozens with this quick-spitting freestyler.
“I Do It” seems to be more than a song title to Sean, who would repeat the three words throughout the show. And sure enough, he pointed out in songs such as “High” and “My Last” that he does everything with abandon.
The album versions of those songs, and the more sentimental “Memories (Part II),” feature high profile guests such as John Legend, Wiz Khalifa and Chris Brown. Obviously, those guys weren’t going to be onstage. But DJ Mo Beatz gave him rock-solid turntable work on a variety of beats and meshed with the M.C. when he needed a second voice for a few lines, both rapped and sang.
Just before closing the set with “Dance (A$$),” Sean called for a new song. The number, “Lamborghini, Murci,” is an upcoming collaboration with Sean’s mentor, West, and Pusha T, allhiphop.com reports.
The number hits the currently trending hip-hop topics of smoking, drinking and stealing your girl (by the way, Sean told the crowd that Salem has the best marijuana in Virginia. Who knew?). But Sean’s flow, from laid-back to uptempo staccato, made it feel less than cliché. And the beat was monstrous.
Opening act Artel Carter, from Virginia Beach, put on about 30 minutes of rapid fire rap with dervish-like intensity, though the work of Carter and his two hype men ran no risk of upstaging the headliner. .