Concert Review: The Kentucky Headhunters

There’s something about the bright allure of a county or state fair. There’s the bright lights of the midway, the carnival hucksters daring you to take three darts for a dollar, and the smell of a wide variety of delectable cuisine, such as Corn Dogs, Funnel Cakes, and Gyros.

And, then….there is the music.

Pulaski, Tennessee is located just a few miles north of the Alabama state line. In just a few short days, the battle lines will be drawn between Volunteer Orange and Crimson Tide Red and White. But on August 27, the area became one with the presentation of the 66th Annual Giles County Fair. Each year, the Giles County Lions’ Club (with a great helping hand from WKSR’s “Big” Ed Carter) welcomes one of Country Music’s most respected acts to the stage. This year, it was none other than The Kentucky Headhunters.

The foursome of Richard Young, Greg Martin, Doug Phelps, and Fred Young hit the ground running with a set that was high on energy and pure rock and roll swagger. Mixing in tracks from their excellent new collaborative effort with the late Johnnie Johnson (Meet Me in Bluesland) along with their classic fare, it was a night to remember for all involved. Phelps and Young were in stunning vocal form, and Martin dazzled throughout the night with amazing proficiency on the guitar, as usual. However, it’s very hard to keep one’s eyes off of drummer Fred Young, who remains one of the most charismatic personalities in the format.

The Headhunters came to southern Tennessee prepared to give the fans a show, and they did just that. The newer material – “Stumblin,” and “Shufflin’ Back To Memphis” fit in very nicely alongside such classic fare as “Walk Softly On This Heart of Mine,” “Oh Lonesome Me,” and “Big Boss Man.” The two tracks that seemed to unite the crowd the most were “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” (the Folk hero was a one-time resident of Lawrence County – just a few miles down the road), and “Dumas Walker,” which turned into a huge audience sing-a-long. The only thing missing was bottles of Ski at the concession stand. From a musical standpoint, the apex of the night proved to be their scorching take on “Have You Ever Loved A Woman,” which left no doubt that when the Headhunters come to town, be prepared to have fun…and sing loud!

Kicking off the night was newcomer Denny Strickland, who fired up the crowd with a high-octane set that included his Music Row Top-40 debut “Swerve On,” as well as his current single “How Far Do You Wanna Go.” His performance served notice on the packed crowd that his is definitely a star on the rise!

A special thank you from to WSKR’s Ed Carter (and his wife Tammy) for the hospitality, as well as the all-star promotion team of Jan Woods, Regina Raleigh, and Christina Bear for the amazing evening, as well!

Author: Chuck Dauphin

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