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Entertainment Review: The Frontmen of Country at Cerritos

By Glen Creason

It shows the power of a brand name that the powerhouse trio of lead men from three of the most popular modern country acts in the last couple of decades appeared at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts and did not sell out the hall.

If the names “Diamond Rio”, “Little Texas” and “Restless Heart” were on the marquee I am sure there would not be space to squeeze in another pair of jeans at the big hall. Since the ticket price was right and CCPA publicity is always written with the ultimate of skill I can only assume there was a lack of local media exposure (there is a first-rate local paper called Los Cerritos Community News with very reasonable ad rates).  At any rate, the songs and guitars were there in the form of Tim Rushlow (“Little Texas,”) Larry Stewart (“Restless Heart,”) and Marty Roe (“Diamond Rio”) and there was enough sweet and sentimental music to fill two halls.

This is not the C&W of cheatin’, drinking, wayward women, trains in the night and down and out barrooms. It’s much lighter and brighter with most of the lyrics dealing with love and family and love of country and family. This show aint George Jones singing “From a Window Up Above” but slick songs much closer to pop than honky-tonk. Each man showed considerable influence of Nashville in their approach to this modern country music.

The three accomplished gents appeared on stage with just their guitars and microphones where they told stories about each selection and then played them the way the fans like them, with plenty of juicy emotion.

Each man has a good, strong voice intact which they have used to pile up many hit records since the nineties. Most of the songs are recognizable from top-forty country stations like KLAC and several of the two dozen played are certainly at anthem status.

They alternated, not really trying to outdo one another but helping with harmonies in an unobtrusive way. Congress should take a lesson from this trio. There were plenty of number ones to choose from and the opening salvo of “Rock That Won’t Roll,” “Back in Austen,” “Mirror, Mirror,” and “Why Does It Have to Be” gave notice that there were to be no song weaklings in this session. There was some light-hearted regrets

Love a Little Stronger

Love a Little Stronger (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

like when Tim Rushlow sang the song he waited too long to record “the First Cut is the Deepest” and the one he picked up from 90’s pop “Missing You” that sounded pretty good countrified.

Outstanding in the many good songs were Rushlow’s “She Misses Him,” Larry Stewart’s “When She Cries” and the mega-romantic-hit “One More Day” by Marty Roe. Overall, the theme of love and family was done nicely as in “”I’ll Stop Loving You,” “Mama Don’t Forget to Pray for Me,” and “Love a Little Stronger” which literally elicited purring from fans. Other themes popped up including Texas, luck in love and in a nod to old-timey C&W, a train.

Finally, as is almost obligatory in any modern Country concert, there was the waving of the flag in “God Bless the USA” as the crowd of election season Americans sang along without the help of a teleprompter.

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