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With Turnpike Troubadours, there's lots of good reason

Paradise, Boston, July 15, 2014

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

Other recent concert reviews
The appearance of Turnpike Troubadours was a bit curious. The Oklahoma Red Dirt music troupe has not released an album since 2012's "Goodbye Normal Street." So, it's not as if they're pushing new product.

They also had never even played Boston before. In fact, lead singer Evan Felker said he had never set foot in Beantown period.

So having a crowd of 350 people in the middle of the work week should have been a welcome sign - particularly when you consider that there were a number of songs on which the crowd gustily sang along. A trio of young males from Boise, Idaho saw them just a few short months ago in San Francisco. A local pair of friends caught TT previously in Texas.

Apparently, they all liked what they saw elsewhere.

And with good reason because Turnpike Troubadours turned in a well put-together set with enough tweaks and turns.

Red Dirt music isn't the most definable genre to these ears. It's clearly in sync with alt.-country and probably veers even more towards country with Turnpike Troubadours ("Morgan Street" with its call to "close down the bars" particularly fit the bill).

Felker cuts a good presence as the lead singer with good looks not hurting him either. Felker eventually had the stage to himself for the first two songs of the encore with acoustic guitar in hand, including the sad song, "The Funeral."

From the musical standpoint, though small in stature, fiddle player Kyle Nix was a huge presence throughout. He spiked a lot of the material with his runs.

RC Edwards went more traditional with upright bass for the majority of the 93-minute set, before switching to electric. He also took a turn on lead vocals to good effect during the encore.

Opening band American Aquarium, an alt.-country type band from Raleigh, N.C., proved to be a good compliment to the headliners. Like TT, they have not released any music since 2012, when they put out 2.

They play and sing just fine without cutting a very wide musical swath, although BJ Barham seems to have some serious relationship issues going on there. At least, it all made for a bunch of heartfelt, intense songs.

The two bans joined forces for most of TT's lengthy, five -song, 27 minute encore, including a long version of "This Land Is Your Land" with Edwards singing lead.

That was just before they turned in a rousing close to the night of "Long Hot Summer Days" with lots of fiddle from Nix and lead vocals from both Barham and Felker. Not to mention a whole lot of people singing right along with them - with good reason.