A Word from Cheryl:

Thank you for visiting my Concert Review Blog. I have enjoyed attending, photographing and writing about a variety of concerts over the past several years. I hope that my reviews and photos have made you feel like you were right there with me.

At this time in my life I've taken a step back, looked at what’s truly important and have begun to prioritize my time, energy and resources.

I retired from nursing in 2012 and was then able to be with my aging father, who later passed away in June, 2013.

My family is growing dramatically! We now have eight grandchildren and I take every opportunity to be available to help when needed. I also make sure I carve out plenty of time for my husband so that he knows how important he is to me.

Because of this I don't attend many concerts anymore. I try to be selective in choosing a show and do my best to relax and enjoy the experience. I no longer stress about getting the perfect photo or remembering some occurrence so I can write about it.

If you want to view a collection of some of my favorite photos from the past several years you may find them here:
Cheryl's Pearls Photos - Concerts

Thanks again for visiting my site.

May God Bless,

Friday, October 16, 2009

All For The Hall - October 13, 2009


I’m so glad I had the opportunity to attend Keith Urban’s “All for the Hall” benefit concert for the Country Music Hall of Fame October 13th. What an amazing showcase of talent!

Keith Urban opened the show with an abbreviated version of his Defying Gravity tour set list with a couple of variations. The first of which was a wonderful acoustic version of Dolly Parton’s “Coat of Many Colors” that Keith declared was what country music and the Hall of Fame are all about.

Midway through his set he was joined by Brad Paisley for “Start a Band” – something I have been longing to see ever since I first heard the song. It was all I had hoped for. Both artists had fun singing and performing together. They divided and conquered the audience as Keith exited stage right and Brad stage left going up into the stands to play dueling guitars, thrilling concert goers along the way.

There was a lengthy intermission once Keith wrapped up his portion of the program allowing a special house band to set up on stage. For the rest of the evening Vince and Keith became part of the “house band” for the remaining performers.

Vince emerged wearing a Nashville Predators jersey and opened with “Liza Jane.” Keith joined him on some blistering guitar riffs. Vince then dedicated the next song, “Whenever You Come Around,” to his wife, Amy Grant, who was seated in the audience.

Following Vince was Little Big Town singing “Fine Line” and their popular song “Boondocks” which got folks up on their feet.

Dierks Bentley kept the energy high with “Sideways” and it was fun to watch the expressions on Keith Urban and Vince Gill’s faces as Dierks ran around and worked the crowd. Everybody was enjoying being together. Dierks concluded with “Free and Easy” encouraging the audience to sing along.

Lady Antebellum came out looking thrilled to be included in the evening’s activities. They sang their hit “I Run to You” followed by their current single “Need You Now.”

Keith welcomed Jason Aldean to the stage to thunderous applause as he sang “Big Green Tractor” and shook hands with nearby concert goers. Keith clearly enjoyed playing back up with Jason’s guitarists on “She’s Country” exchanging high-fives when the song was over.

Faith Hill, looking elegant in a black pant suit, joined Keith and Vince on stage to sing “Let Me Let Go” with Vince. There were smiles all around as that song brought back memories. Then Faith broke into Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart” rocking the house.

Taylor Swift walked out in a glittery strapless dress and heels with guitar in hand. She strolled out on the short catwalk and did a lovely acoustic version of her new single “Fifteen” then donated her guitar with her lucky number “13” on it. She followed up with “Love Story” getting quite flirty with Keith as he played and sang along.

All the performers returned to the stage joining Keith Urban, Vince Gill, songwriter Monty Powell, guitarist Dan Huff and the rest of the house band for “Lay Down Sally” to close the show.

Keith promised there will be more “All for the Hall” benefits in the future – October 5, 2010 to be exact. So mark those calendars and save the date my friends – you don’t want to miss this one.

Photos from All For The Hall 2009 by C Walker Here 

Published: Star Exponent 

Monday, October 5, 2009

Pajama Jam - October 2, 2009


Imagine 900 women gathered together for dinner and a concert dressed in pajamas and slippers. That’s what happened October 2nd at the Hotel Roanoke in Roanoke, VA for the 6th annual Pajama Jam for Breast Cancer awareness benefiting the American Cancer Society.

Money was raised though ticket sales, raffles and a silent auction for various items ranging from autographed posters and guitars to a pair of pants worn by Kenny Chesney.

Donating their time for the “Jam” this year were artists Josh Thompson, James Otto, and Jake Owen. Josh Thompson arrived appropriately attired in pajamas although he kept his boots on. He entertained the lively audience with a variety of cover songs plus the song he wrote for Jason Michael Carroll, “Growing Up Is Getting Old” and Josh’s latest single, “Beer on the Table.”

James Otto took command of the stage after Josh and his booming voice matched his towering size. I was blown away by his rendition of “In Color” – a song he co-wrote with Jamey Johnson and Lee Miller. And of course he had the ladies eating out of his hand with “Just Got Started Lovin’ You.”

James signed a guitar to auction after his set and the bidding wars began. When the dust settled the winning bid totaled $1,000. The winner revealed her motivation for such a high bid: her co-worker had just been diagnosed with cancer. Not only did she receive the guitar but she won a kiss from James.

Jake Owen kept the excitement going with his performance. Singing many crowd favorites like “Cherry On Top,” “Anything For You,” “8 Second Ride,” he was hard pressed to keep his seat on the stool provided for the acoustic set. He did stand up briefly for “Don’t Think I Can’t Love You” unwinding the microphone cord from its stand so he could move around at least a little.

He told a very entertaining story about his experience at the CMA Awards this year and his view from the front row near the edge of the stage looking up. Some of those girls should take that into consideration when choosing their wardrobes and the length of their skirts.

Being the prolific songwriter that he is, Jake sang a song inspired by that situation that had us all in stitches. Even he got tickled when singing it. I’m not sure it will ever make it onto one of his albums but it certainly was funny.

However there was one unfinished song he shared that I certainly hope he completes someday because all the ladies loved it:
“Hey baby, I’m taking off early this afternoon,
I’m gonna be home soon and I’m sure gonna love on you.
Don’t worry, I’ve already made the plans, honey.
‘Cause I’m your man and that’s what I’m supposed to do.
I’m gonna hold you close and take my time,
Feel your body move with mine,
Run my fingers through your hair,

I’m gonna kiss you honey from head to toe...
Right now, that’s all you need to know.

Don’t worry ‘bout puttin’ on a thing to wear
‘Cause we got nowhere to go… and all night to get there."

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fortune Williams Festival - September 26, 2009

- Jimmy Fortune and Marty Stuart

It was a dark and stormy night…
but that didn’t stop the sellout crowd from squeezing into the Cochran Pavilion at the Frontier Culture Museum to hear some good, old-fashioned country music that Saturday evening, September 26th.

And to think, I almost didn’t go to the Fortune Williams Music Festival but my friend persisted and I’m so glad she did because I certainly would have missed a classic event.

We arrived in time to hear several songs by Jimmy Fortune, formerly of the Statler Brothers. His voice is amazing – a smooth, soaring tenor that makes you sit up and take notice. The sounds of the rain pounding on the roof combined with the warmth of the crowd and the delightful, classic tunes gave me a sense of stepping back in time to a simpler day and age. As Jimmy sang songs like “On the Other Side,” “More Than a Name On the Wall,” “How Great Thou Art,” “When One Door Closes,” I found myself smiling with contentment.

During the break we braved the elements and ventured down to the refreshment tent to get something warm to drink. While there Jimmy showed up to sign autographs and pose for photos. As I thanked him for his wonderful performance he replied, “I have some of the greatest fans in the world!” Indeed he does.

We returned to the Pavilion to dry off and warm up, ready for Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives. When Marty came out we forgot all about the weather. His sunny personality radiated from the stage and he kept us thoroughly entertained with his wit and musicality. Marty got the crowd singing with “Whiskey Ain’t Workin’ Anymore,” and “Tempted,” and I was enthralled as he wove the story of “Little Big Horn” using both words and instruments to pull us in.

Ever the encourager, Marty frequently shared the spotlight with his fellow band members, giving them each a chance to shine. One of the more memorable moments occurred when Jimmy, Kenny Vaughan, his guitarist, took the lead on “Walk Like That,” showcasing his quick fingers and delightful facial expressions.

Marty even called Jay Unger, a popular fiddler, to the stage and complimented him on his composition entitled, “Ashokan Farewell.” Marty suggested they play it together. The crowd cheered its approval at the idea. Marty picked up his mandolin and softly played in the background allowing Jay to shine, taking the lead only when Jay nodded. They watched and read each other’s cues smiling with delight at the opportunity to make music. The end result was breathtaking! When the last note faded away the audience came to their feet for a standing ovation. I felt as though I’d witnessed something truly special.