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Turnpike Troubadours are winners

House of Blues Boston, Boston, October 18, 2018

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

Other recent concert reviews
The Turnpike Troubadours had a lot of competition when playing Beantown - the Red Sox playoff game first and foremost. No matter though because the country band put on their own winning show.

That was no surprise given the individual abilities of the band, not to mention a plethora of worthy songs to choose from.

It all starts with lead singer Evan Felker. At this stage, chances are that Felker still will not win any charisma awards, but he sure can sing and takes over the songs, singing with clarity and vocal chops.

But he was only one cog in the TT concert wheel. Each member came to the fore time and again to flesh out the songs. Lead guitarist Ryan Engelman may hide a bit behind his baseball hat, but when he's playing his axe, that's a different story with lots of stinging and meaty lines. Fiddle player Kyle Nix was a force as well, giving the songs their distinctive country feel in a way that lots of bands dispense with that country mainstay. To underscore the country element, Hank Early manned pedal steel, while also throwing in occasional licks on banjo.

Anchoring bass, burly RC Nix, who helped found the band, stepped out to assume lead vocals on "Drunk, High, Loud," showing that Felker need not be the only one doing the singing.

The good fun of the regular set concluded, of course, with the bouncy sing along "Long Hot Summer Days" with opening act Charley Crockett helping out as well. Not to mention an enthusiastic crowd that was often helping out on backing vocals.

The closing "Something to Hold Onto" starts with the lines "won't you give me something/something to hold onto/this old world has taken me for a ride." Maybe that doesn't sound so positive, but Turnpike Troubadours ably showed yet again why hopping along for their ride is worth it.

Turnpike Troubadours have been slogging it out on their own for 11 years. Playing by their own rules, they are winners.

The retro-sounding Crockett, who opened for the Troubadours last time through Boston 1 years ago, offered a musical potpourri of country, jazz and blues with an emphasis on the country. Decked out in a white cowboy hat, Crockett tackled the intertwined styles without coming off like a dilettante.

Playing a bunch of quality songs such as the title track of his latest, "Lonesome as a Shadow," the Texan was a worthy table setter.