LIVE: Thompson Square @ Alive at Five, Riverfront Park, 6/30/11

I love country music, don’t you?

You know, that good ole country, down-in-the-holler sound of folks like Tom Petty and U2. The back-porch twang of Kings of Leon, the Violent Femmes and Joan Jett. You know, good ole honest country music…


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If you think that Thompson Square is country music, well, you’re right. It’s the country music of the 21st century, and you can’t hold back the evolution (de-evolvution?), try though you might. So if Shawna and Keifer Thompson wanna think that what they’re doing is “country music,” well, that fine with me. I mean, it’s not like I expected to hear them cover Uncle Dave Macon or Ernest Tubb.

When they finally did delve into just a pinch of country music toward the end of their show, what did they pull out of the songbag? A few bars of the hokey-jokey “Okie From Muskogee” by the Hag. Ouch.

And it’s too bad, really, ’cause I really like “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not?” Sadly, nothing else they played – except for Keifer’s pretty fine take on the Black Crowes’ “She Talks to Angels” – even approached that benchmark. They were simply a fair, professional rock and roll cover band. And, yes, the huge crowd seemed to really love ’em.

The eight-piece homegrown HillBilly Horns served up a very competent set of contemporary country covers from Hank Williams Jr. to Kenny Chesney to Big & Rich to Steve Holy. And guitarslinger Jim Mahoney can rock the house. At least they weren’t covering Aerosmith, Kiss and Led Zeppelin, like the headliners did. And nowadays, that’s high praise.

Welcome to the State of Country Music, 21st century style…

Let’s Fight
Getaway Car
Won’t Back Down (Tom Petty)
My Kind of Crazy
I Got You
Use Somebody (Kings of Leon)
I Hate Myself for Loving You (Joan Jett)
I Don’t Wanna Miss You
All the Way
Desire (U2)
As Bad as It Gets
You Give Love a Bad Name (Bon Jovi)
One of Those Days> Sweet Emotion (Aerosmith)> Blister in the Sun (Violent Femmes)> Come Together (Beatles) > Under Pressure (Queen/David Bowie/Vanilla Ice)> Dixieland Delight (Alabama)> Okie From Muskogee (Merle Haggard)
Rock & Roll All Nite (Kiss)> Rock and Roll (Led Zeppelin)
She Talks to Angels (Black Crowes)
Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not?

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