Old-School Country Boys Still Living the Dream in Minnesota at The Zoo Amphitheater
Last Sunday night at the beautiful Weesner Family Amphitheater in Apple Valley, MN I had the distinct pleasure of being reunited with a hometown hero, a friend, and an entertaining old-school country vibe to cap off a very busy week. [PHOTOS]
His name is Eddie Rivers. He grew up in the same southeastern
Wisconsin city of Beaver Dam (of #BeaverDamPeppers fame) as I did. His younger brother Russell (RIP) and I were lifelong friends, all the way back to our high school days. It was not unusual to sit down in their family room to watch a Packers game on TV, and hear Eddie sitting on the bench in front of a grand piano working on a melody in the room next door.
Russ & I would borrow record albums from his collection to play on Russ’s record player in the attic, or steal his cigarettes, or start his old black 50’s-something Mercury out in the driveway and play 8-track tapes. Ah, life in the ole-stomping-grounds! Eddie fronted many local hometown bands back in his heyday in Beaver Dam, and everybody knew that one day he would be on a bigger stage. He could sing, front a band, and had the ‘chops’ as a multi-instrumentalist.
For almost 20 years now Eddie has been the pedal-steel guitarist for 9-time Grammy winner Ray Benson and Asleep At The Wheel. In that time Eddie has toured the world with AATW, worked alongside such country legends as Willie Nelson, George Strait, and many others, and has even produced and recorded music of his own. Eddie played here in Rochester back in Jan of 2010 with AATW. Yes, I attended that performance as well at the Mayo Civic Center.
On this current tour with AATW Benson has invited another old-school country troubadour to join them on the road and open some shows. His name is Dale Watson. If you know of his music you know what kind of a performer & storyteller he is. If you’re not familiar with Dale’s music, make note of the company he has kept in the past; namely Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and others. Enough said!
Enjoy the photos below, and don’t be afraid to try a little ‘old-school’ now and then. You just might enjoy the music & influences you hear! Here is a formal show review penned by a Twin Cities music critic.
Steve Richards ~ Quick Country Weekends