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The Great Frederick Fair
September 19, 2021
By Jeff Taulton
The Outlaws made a fall appearance in Frederick, Maryland this year. These Southern Rock legends, have been a consistent fixture in America’s austral genre since the mid-70s. Fortunately , Henry Paul remains the stellar leader that keeps this powerful sextet rolling. (Yes, the same Henry Paul of the ‘90s country band, BlackHawk!) Paul announced from the outset, “Tonight, we’re opening for our longtime friends Marshall Tucker Band, so we’re just gonna get right down to business and set things up for them.”
And just like that, the Guitar Army kicked into “There Goes Another Love Song”, followed by “Hurry Sundown” then, ”Freeborn man”. A fantastic trifecta to initiate the evening to say the least! The newest Outlaw, guitarist Jeff Aulich, made his inaugural Maryland appearance, making it very clear that Paul chose the right guy to replace fan favorite Steve Grisham, who recently retired. “When Jeff auditioned, recalls Paul, he was unbelievably prepared. He knew every lick, every kickoff and every distinctive riff.” Paul joked, “He said his dad is a big Outlaws fan.”
Another personnel twist for this show was guitarist Jimmy Dormire, filling in for the ailing Dale Oliver, who was back in Nashville recuperating. The last time Dormire was at The Great Frederick Fair was with Confederate Railroad in ‘95. Dormire was flawless while pinch hitting on this night. For those unfamiliar with the intimate nuances of the band, or even Outlaws regulars, nothing was missing.
The Outlaws presented some newer material from their 2020 album, Dixie Highway. Paul mentioned, “We really haven't been able to do many of our new songs live because of this COVID thing. That’s been disappointing but, our fans love the album.” Paul's vocals shine brightly on the title track’s studio version and were just as salient on this night. “Southern Rock Will Never Die” and “Rattlesnake Road” both from Dixie Highway, were enthusiastically received as well.
The Outlaws firmly sealed their energetic hour with “Ghost Riders In The Sky” from 1980, then “Green Grass And High Tides”, a standard Southern Rock anthem.
Henry Paul secured his place in Southern Rock lore many years ago. His vocal ability continues to be strong and his charismatic stage presence endures. The Outlaws are tight with high energy electric guitars and precise group harmonies. Just like back in the 1860s, the South invaded Maryland with a Rebel Yell that will be remembered for years to come! AMR
The Georgia Thunderbolts
The Groove Music Hall
March 18, 2022
TJ Lyle (lead vocalist for The Georgia Thunderbolts) clearly states, “We’re a rock and roll band out of Georgia.” However , this young quintet have already been labeled “the next big thing” in the 50 year history of the southern rock genre. The Georgia Thunderbolts (NOT Satellites) are currently touring with other bands hailing from below the Mason Dixon Line including, The Outlaws, Blackstone Cherry and The Kentucky HeadHunters. Such exposure and a fabulous studio album (Can We Get A Witness) should certainly provide some name recognition. While national exposure is one thing, performance and an entertaining live show are another. This band has it all! A quick 40-minute set near Richmond, Virginia in March provided a quality sample of what potential these guys have to offer for years to come.
Opening with “Be Good To Yourself” elicited a solid, tight introduction with a poppin’, head bobbin’ feel. Next came “Midnight Rider”, an admireable Allman Brothers cover with just enough of a metal edge to please those newbies unfamiliar with the original, legendary classic.
”Can I Get A Witness” displayed the piercing vocals of the the aforementioned Lyle with bone chilling clarity and salience. “Spirit Of A Working Man” offered tasteful, simultaneous guitar and bass riffs that pleased the musicians in the crowd. “It’s Alright” offered a traditional southern rock jam at the end, touting the remarkable lead guitar skills of Riley Couzzourt.
“Looking For An Old Friend”, their current single, is currently taking off on the airwaves! This beautiful, flowing rock & roll ballad is currently getting significant radio play and the live version is extra appealing.
Holding down the bottom for The Georgia Thunderbolts is Zachery Everett while Logan Tolbert is as solid rhythm guitarist as you will ever hear. Finally, Bristol Perry is an exceptionally talented drummer that “keeps the bolts tight”.
The Georgia Thunderbolts are too diverse to be labeled and shoved into a corner. While being regarded a fantastic southern rock band is a wonderful complement, the unfortunate stereotype in the music industry might prevent mainstream rock from enjoying this flourishing, successful band.
If you like solid, electric rock and roll with a taste of the south, The Georgia Thunderbolts are a live band to see this summer. AMR
The Georgia Thunderbolts (PhotosBySuez)
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