April 8, 2008
Country Music Hall of Fame inductee, George Strait, has fans everywhere including on-line chat forums and visitors to Branson, MO. James Garrett proved he is on top of what Branson visitors are looking for when he put the new Strait Country show together. This show is a must for George Strait fans as it features many of his #1 hits over the last 20 years. It also highlights other country hits as well as gospel and bluegrass.
Following an award-winning first season with the John Denver Tribute Show, which he still performs this year; James appears to have another hit show on his hands judging by the audience reaction and my own personal enjoyment. The sizeable crowd attending the show’s debut on 4 April 2008 could all be seen mouthing the words to all the George Straight songs. Like everything he does, James insists on quality and he is precise in the performance of every song he sings. The intimacy of the Little Opry Theater makes audience members feel like they are getting a private performance from their favorite stars. Even from the last row you feel like you could just reach out and touch the strings on the instruments.
Branson legend, Randy Plummer, plays bass on this show and had he not lost his voice before the opening show he would have sung some gospel favorites. Filling in for Randy in the show’s opener, Karina Glaspy sang gospel with her strong and crystal clear voice. Her husband, Jim Glaspy, is a world-class bluegrass singer and instrumentalist (flat top guitar, banjo, and dobro). He sang bluegrass and other classic country songs. It is a real pleasure to hear Jim sing and then listen to James Garrett join in singing harmony. Normally, Randy Plummer would also provide harmony for many numbers throughout the show. Rick Quincy also provides backup vocals and plays pedal steel, guitar, and mandolin. Rick and Randy Plummer are also members of the John Denver Tribute Show. Their experience working together with James is evident in the quality of their music and how their sounds complement each other.
Lori Locke, another long time Branson favorite from the Baldknobbers and Presleys, is also featured as a regular in the Strait Country show. The purity of her smooth voice enhances her rendition of You’ve Got a Friend, and Don’t it Make My Brown Eyes Blue. She mesmerized the audience with her performance of I Will Always Love You. People began standing as she left the stage. James had to call her back out so she could see and acknowledge the standing ovation she received from the entire audience.
As the show ended everyone in the audience was on their feet again in appreciation of the classy performance they had just observed. As people filed out after the show they could be heard talking among themselves about how much they enjoyed it; some were even on their cell phones raving about the show. James and other cast members were out in the lobby shaking hands with fans after the show. You could feel the excitement in the air. This is one of those shows my wife and I will attend several times throughout this year.
Bob Cort, Editor
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Bob Cort, Editor