Music Review: A Country Night In Nashville, Empire Theatre, Liverpool

Image Source: ATG

Written By: Mark Armstrong

Format: Music Show
Genre: Country
Date: January 10 2019
Location: Empire Theatre, Liverpool

I knew I was at a proper country-western show as I entered the theatre and I saw people dressed up in full gear, including a hat with a raccoon tale attached! The show was set at Crazy Joe’s Live Lounge, and the introductory music was very lively. The backdrop was authentic with pictures of some very famous club singers such as Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash.

The show began with some short snippets of such songs as Jolene, Ghost Riders In The Sky and Ring Of Fire. There were also some unfamiliar tunes such as Don’t Rock The Jukebox, which highlighted some serious guitar work. It was a little tricky to catch the names of the artists during the intro to each “chapter”, but that didn’t hinder one’s enjoyment. And one couldn’t help but notice the performances by Dominic Halpen and The Hurricanes; in addition, Shelley Quarmby’s solo renditions, in particular She’s In Love With The Boy, were very good. The guitar player and drummer were both excellent, and other musicians were also very talented and versatile.

We were treated to Dominic/Shelley duets for It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere, I Fall To Pieces and the Willie Nelson classic Always On My Mind, as well as more solo renditions of such hits as Crazy, which is always a popular choice. The other female performer, Donna Marie, also delivered some great one-woman hits. Both girls sung together for an acoustic version of Still The One, which was excellent. It’s A Quarter After One was done very well too, and the first half ended with the lively Summertime Blues.

To open the second half, we had the background music of The Magnificent Seven, and the main cast then reappeared without a big introduction and their rendition of One Night In Nashville. There were further choices of lesser-known hits like The Bottle Let Me Down, before the reliving of a Johnny Cash/June Carter duet, Help Me Make It Through The Night. After Dominic and Shelley handled Jackson, Donna Marie came back with a very energetic performance of Redneck. We were then treated to an original song, Fire and Smoke, which had been recorded in Nashville. Sea Of Heartbreak and an emotional version of Girl Crush by Shelley on piano, and the audience were encouraged to join in with 9-5 and Country Roads, which was unusually mixed with I Will Always Love You.

We then came to the always-popular songs, such as On The Road Again; These Boots Were Made For Walking; Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town (a few lines, anyway); Rawhide; Jolene; and I Walk The Line, all of which went down great with the audience. The show finished with Dance The Night Away by the whole cast, who seemed to be enjoying it as much as the crowd!

It was a really good night of entertainment. My only criticism was that I couldn’t make out some of the song titles, but otherwise this was a real treat, and a show that will be appreciated by fans of country music everywhere.

Overall Rating: 9/10 – Outstanding