While some country fans were out in Birmingham on Friday night to see Chase Rice, the sequinned Stetsons were out in force at the Alexandra Theatre to see Dominic Halpin and the Hurricanes perform in the stage show tribute to Nashville and its music. Looking every inch the archetypal country star, Dominic takes centre stage, alongside his glamorous leading lady Shelley Quarmby. Shelley proves though that she is more than just a pretty face, taking lead vocals on songs from the queens of country as well as playing keyboards for some numbers.
Lights down, music up loud as we open with a recording of The Devil Went Down to Georgia and already the audience are clapping and fiddling along. Lit by a single spotlight the show opens with a haunting stripped back chorus of Dolly Parton’s Jolene from Shelley before Dominic enters kicking it up a gear with a very authentic rendition of Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire. Behind the pair of them is Donna Marie on keys and backing “oohs” clearly already having fun. In his introduction Dominic promised to bring a bit of Nashville to Birmingham before launching into the fast paced The Auctioneer.
The “girls” introduced some newer country with a simply stunning acoustic rendition of Shania Twain’s Still The One with Donna Marie on guitar and vocals alongside Shelley. The Dixie Chicks’ Travelin’ Soldier really showed how powerful their vocals are, and also showed that this is not a covers show, or a jukebox musical – this is a performance by very talented musicians of Country Greats.
With act 1 closed by a very spirited Eddie Cochrane’s Summertime Blues, you were left wondering how they could possibly follow that, whilst queuing for ice cream…
Curtain up for Act 2. The excitement was built with the theme to the Magnificent 7 as the band took the stage to wow us all once again. One Night In Nashville reminded us that the show is designed to transport us to a Nashville Honky Tonk (as if we needed to be reminded!), followed by more of Dominic’s humour and stagecraft telling stories about Johnny Cash before a medley of the Man In Black’s songs.
Donna Marie singing Gretchen Franklin’s Redneck Woman, Shelley accompanying herself on the keyboard for a solo of Little Big Town’s Girl Crush and Dominic singing Don Gibson’s Sea of Heartbreak alone on stage before singing one of his own compositions - Fire and Smoke - really underlined that individually all three performers are very talented in their own rights, expertly supported by bass, guitar/lap steel and drums.
Highlights then included Kacey Musgrave’s Follow Your Arrow for a modern twist, Kenny Rogers’ The Gambler for a sing along, Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 for a dance, Jon Denver’s Country Roads for the traditional torches in the air and a medley to finish. Even the drummer was encouraging an encore, duly delivered by the whole band lined up at the front of the stage and the audience on their feet and dancing
Nobody wanted the show to end – least of all those on stage, but the party continued with a mass meet and greet in the foyer, allowing everyone a chance to tell all concerned what a great time they had!
Whether a die-hard country fan, or just someone who loves the well-known songs, A Country Night In Nashville has something in it for everyone, evidenced by the huge variety of ages and headwear in the crowd.
In the future changes may be made to the set list, I loved the show as it is but am excited to see what classic and contemporary songs they add in future
The tour continues, and if there is a date near you, you shouldn’t miss your chance to catch Dominic, Shelley, Donna Marie and the rest of the Hurricanes on stage!