Apr 112007
Authors: Mike Donovan

CSU returned to its country roots Wednesday night, as students clad in cowboy hats danced, laughed and sang along with country music band Emerson Drive during a sold out show in the Lory Student Center Theatre.

The band, which was named Billboard top country artist in 2002, opened their set with a lively country rock song, “Sweet Natural Girl,” which immediately sent the audience into a frenzy. Lead singer Brad Mates, repeatedly asked the same question to the audience at the beginning of the show.

“Are you guys ready for a good time tonight?”

The performance was filled with ballads and country rock songs and even a fiddle solo by fiddler David Pinchette. The former Billboard New Artists of the year had constant audience including giving the microphone to a fan to sing the chorus of the song, “Fall Into Me.”

“Looks like we got a singer in the house,” Mates said.

The Canadian band played all of their top-50 billboard country singles during the show, including current hit, “Moments.” The song, which is about a homeless man and his attempt to stop a man from suicide, was by far the slowest of the night and opened with a piano intro by band member Dale Wallace.

Jeff Allen, an up-and-coming country singer out of Nashville, opened for the Canadian country band. Allen’s traditional country voice sparked screeches from female fans throughout his 45-minute set.

“This is kinda like a therapy session,” said Allen, who was accompanied by guitarist Charlie Huddle, to the soldout crowd.

Allen, who at one time during the show blamed the altitude for his guitar being off tune, elicited the most applause after asking if there were any rednecks in the house.

The show was a collaborative effort between the farmhouse, a fraternity through the College of Agricultural Sciences, and ASAP. Craig Schenk, president of the farmhouse, was a leader in getting Emerson Drive to play.

“We had been looking to get somebody to campus,” said Schenk, who introduced both Allen and Emerson Drive. “We didn’t think we would get a big name like them.”

The farmhouse took no profit from the show and the concert was completely to cover cost. Chad Kramer, treasurer of farmhouse, was delighted to find out that the tickets could be sold for just $5.

“The tour helped us out a lot with the cheap tickets.”

The show was part of a 20-part tour that takes Emerson Drive to college campuses throughout the country. The tour’s sponsor, the Great American Country cable network, was filming clips from the show to be part of a future TV program focusing on the band and its college tour.

Verve staff writer Mike Donovan can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

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