Brian Thornton’s Review of our January Country Music Reunion

Hi ‘ We arrived at The Delmont Hotel in Scarborough on Friday for the start of the Country Music Weekend put on here for several years now by Steve Chase and Keith Middleton who are the country duo “Best Of Friends” The event is a true Country Music Listening weekend with all the artists chosen for their ability to put on a show of real true Country Music and over the Weekend we were treated to a fantastic feast of proper Country music to a very high standard as always Friday night’s show opened after a lovely evening meal with a brilliant performance by Middy (Keith Middleton) to kick things off in fine style with his superb voice and clever guitar playing and a great choice of material from his opening song “The Farmer’s Daughter” through a brilliant mix of covers of Lefty Frizzle , Merle Haggard, Gene Watson and many others and finished his first one hour set with a very appropriate song for me “A Sight For Sore Eyes” as I was recovering from Laser Eye surgery a few days earlier.

Middy was followed on stage for the second hour by Dave Paisley again in top form with his great mix of classic Country Music and his lovely southern humour which adds superbly to get the audience in a party mood. His first hours set passed very quickly with his great ability learned through his many years performing up and down the country.

The next up was a truly superb set mainly acoustic by Steve Chase and though I have had the pleasure of seeing Steve many times over the years this performance was outstanding. His choice of songs included some very soulful country ballads, many of which I had never heard before . Steve opened his set with the lovely Froggy song “ Some Day Soon” and continued with “ Everything I Love Is Killing Me”. As I said Steve turned off the backing tracks for most of this set and this shows true artistic ability and I am afraid a lot of today’s artists are unable to do this. Steve finished this superb set with” Some Memories Never Die” and it will be a long time before I for one will forget this brilliant set.

Last up for this brilliant first night were the brilliant duo “ Kalibre” who are Bobby Reed on guitar and vocals and Bob Dixon on Pedal Steel and Dobro and there could not have been a better way to end this first superb night than with a superb singer in Bobby and the truly magnificent steel guitar playing by Bob Dixon. In more than 30 years involved with the Country Music field I have heard some very good Steel players but in my opinion no one gets within miles of Bob Dixon on this very difficult instrument to play but Bob has a real “feel” for this instrument and his ability to drop back during the vocals and then to come in so smoothly and strongly on the instrumental breaks is just beyond description I myself have played guitar and keyboards for over 60 years and have never heard anyone with his amazing skill. This fantastic duo with superb vocals and fine mix of material from Bobby Reed brought our first evening to a close on stage but was followed by 3 Jam Session in the bar until early morning with some lively antics from the artists and guests.

Saturday evening came around and afler another lovely evening meal we had more of the high class Country Music with all of the previous night’s artists plus the amazingly talented” Mr. Country “Travis Logan adding to the already highly talented line up. The night’s entertainment began with Steve and Middy on stage together as “ Best of Friends Duo“ and these two guys are great individually but even better as the duo who have worked together for so many years now they blend so well they are like one. Again a fabulous mix of material with both Steve and middy alternating on lead and harmony vocals and some great guitar work from them both. Middy loves Gene Watson and Vern Gosden and a lot of their songs were performed in brilliant style. Each of the guys was superb on either lead or harmony vocals and their hour long set just flew by.

Next up was a fabulous set in his unique style of real traditional country Music and his exceptional guitar playing and deep powerful vocals gave us a brilliant set

containing work from Red Foley, Vern Gosden and many others. Travis then did a clever trick of doing several songs made famous by female country artists like “Coat Of Many Colours” by Dolly Parton but luckily for Travis that is where the similarity ended as he is certainly not built like Dolly.

Dave Paisley was next with another great performance in his own unique style with a lot of his clever banter between his great renditions of the best of traditional Country with a great mix of songs by Vern Gosdcn , Letty Frizzel and Jim Ed Brown ending with a great version of “Sweet

The final act on Saturday night was another great set by Bobby Reed and Bob Dixon with again fabulous vocals and amazing instrumental skills and Bobby Reed if he wasn’t such a brilliant singer / guitarist could have made it great career as a comedian with his brilliant humour adding to the superb music. ‘l’heir nights show ended with a truly amazing instrumental by Bob Dixon on Pedal Steel of

the haunting “Misty” which absolutely blew me away.

At the end of the night‘s music on stage once again it was followed by another session in the bar with Travis adding 1: Keyboard and Bnnjo to the other artists guitars to make a fabulous impromptu night which went on into the very early hours. How those guys manage to perform on the next night with so little sleep amazes me.

The final night Sunday came along all too quickly and Kalibre opened the night‘s show as they had to knock down their equipment, prick their vehicle to travel back to the South of England that night as they had a gig the next day. It is a

facet of being a professional musician that most audiences do not see or Appreciate the hard slog these guys put in for us to enjoy and only see them on stage. Once again Kalibre were brilliant as they were throughout the weekend and l for one wish they got up to our end of the country more often

Next up was Dave paisley for his last spot of the weekend and again provided the

audience with an excellent performance to round off ‘his excellent contribution to the weekend

Travis Logan come next with his final set of the weekend rind what more can I say than each of his sets throughout the weekend were just amazing and each one seemed to outdo the previous ones. What a fabulous mix of‘works by Merle Haggard, Moe Bandy, Porter Wagner, Ed Bruce ,Dan Seals and‘Charlie Pride came out from his extensive repertoire to bring his contribution to an all too early conclusion

The job of closing this absolutely top class real country weekend fell to our our hosts and promoters , Steve and Middy which they did in superb style and It was very

sad to think that the lovely weekend of brilliant musical skills and superb artistry

was ended for another year It is testament however to the top quality of this annual event lo that many had signed up tor next year’s event on Sunday morning and l for one am looking forward to that too.

finally I would like To thank the Delmont managerment and staff for their part in giving us a splendid weekend and to Steve and Middy for giving us such a brilliant time

Brian Thornton

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CMBUK is a Country Music themed holiday company operated by Steve Chase and Middy also known as the Best of Friends Duo We operate within the Uk giving great Weekends and weekday holidays and Breaks with top quality artists and tours

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