MARCH 6 – NORTHCOTE THEATRE
Charley Crockett and the Blue Drifters
Caitlin Harnett & The Pony Boys
CHARLEY RIDES FROM WACO TO BEER CAN HILL
“The man from Waco/ it was there that he shot her while the lovers were embraced/ with the bullet he intended for the man who took his place/ he cried through the night as he made his escape/ but the rain that was falling could not wash away his shame/ the man from Waco.” - The Man From Waco - Bruce Robison-Charley Crockett-Kullen Fuchs-Taylor Grace.
It was a triumphant trip through time and trauma to find safe parking on the top of Beer Can Hill in Northcote - the Melbourne music mecca.
The travails of travel were well worth it - this delicious double bill was a joyous journey to roots country music with a true twang.
Sydney Americana band Caitlin Harnett and her Pony Boys kicked the dew off the glass for a standing room only capacity crowd on this warm autumn evening.
The quartet hit top gear from their sizzling set entrée with a wide selection of songs off their debut album Late Night Essentials .
They injected Make You Feel Blue, Rosie, All My Friends Are Dancers, Bad Man, Saturday Night, Pissing On Everything, Don't Give Up On Me and other memorable tunes with provocative humour that included roasting bassist Nick Ryan.
Caitlin, a self-effacing femme fatale, revealed the source of 5AM - sleeping with an ex-lover and climbing back through his window at 5AM to retrieve her favourite shirt.
It was a fine entrée for Texan headliner Charley Crockett whom they name checked all through their set.
JUKEBOX CHARLEY REIGNS
“I've got Odessa on my mind, I stay worried all the time/ wish I didn't hurt so much but I don't have that kind of luck/ it's a low down dirty shame now I can't even hear her name/ so I'm selling off my pride with Odessa on my mind/ I've got Odessa in my head, I think I like to wake up dead/ then I'd finally take my rest and get this weight up off my chest.” Odessa - Charley Crockett.
It was no surprise that Texan troubadour Crockett's entrée was far from the Alamo - his Blue Drifters entered the stage to the theme of his 12 th album title track The Man From Waco.
“Hello Melbourne - thanks for coming out on this fine Monday evening,” was Charley's warm welcome.
There was no hint of the hernia and quadruple heart by-pass surgery that caused him to cancel his 2019 tour with Sierra Ferrell.
At 38 the singer-songwriter, who was raised with his siblings by their single mother in a Texas trailer park in Los Fresnos, was wired and inspired as he swapped his guitars for banjo in his energised marathon 34 song set.
He opened with Cowboy Candy and Time Of The Cottonwood Trees from The Man From Waco before reaching back for Just Like Honey and Black Sedan.
Charley and his dynamic band ignited The Man From Waco title track before a spirited version of the Don Rollins penned late fellow Texan George Jones 1964 hit The Race Is On.
Odessa, inspired by a songwriting night in that Texan town, and The Valley preceded his timely Johnny Paycheck cover Jukebox Charley.
“I've never been in Australia before, it's wonderful to be down here,” Charley told his audience as he thanked his touring partners and show openers Caitlin Harnett and her Pony Boys .
Crockett performed another favourite Music City USA and the ballad I Need Your Love before a trio of his late mentor James Hand tunes - Midnight Run, Lesson In Depression and Don't Tell Me That from his album 10 For Slim.
He name-checked another mentor Willie Nelson in his Hand tribute before his adaption of Bob Dylan song Tom Turkey and two steppers Welcome To A Hard Times and Name On A Billboard.
He followed his cover of 1967 Jerry Reed song I Feel For You with a rollicking version of T Bone Walker's Travelling Blues.
“They call me country, but underneath it's nothing but the blues,” Charley explained.”
“You make a $10 cowboy sound good,” the singer revealed as he thanked his Blue Drifters who include pianist Kullen Fuchs, who doubled on trumpet and accordion.
Crockett's eclectic music embraced Americana, rockabilly, western swing, rock and roots country.
Crockett returned to The Man From Waco title track before playing banjo driven waltz Lily My Dear, Round This World and Trinity River .
He also rocked up his equine epic Run Horse Run before Five More Miles and faux finale In The Night.
His acoustic encore included Going Back To Texas , Willie Nelson's Blackjack County Chain, July Jackson and late Texan Townes Van Zandt's Tecumseh Valley.
His Blues Drifters returned for his fitting finale I'm Just A Clown as the crowd chanted Charley, Charley. Charley.
“I started out singing on street corners,” Crockett confessed before departing the stage to rapturous applause from the two floors of fans.
“I couldn't do this without you buying tickets. I hope you're having a good time. Hallelujah Melbourne.”
Concert song list
The Man From Waco Theme
Time of the Cottonwood Trees
Just Like Honey
The Man From Waco
The Race Is On (George Jones cover)
Jukebox Charley (Johnny Paycheck cover)
Music City USA
I Need Your Love
Midnight Run (James Hand cover)
Lesson in Depression (James Hand cover)
Don't Tell Me That (James Hand cover)
Welcome to Hard Times
Name on a Billboard
I Feel for You (Jerry Reed cover)
Traveling Blues (T-Bone Walker cover)
The Man From Waco reprise
Lily My Dear
Round This World
Run Horse Run
5 More Miles
In the Night
Blackjack County Chain
Going Back to Texas
I'm Just a Clown
Review by DAVID DAWSON