It was a fun-filled evening of entertainment, and a few surprises, at "A Country Jamboree" show at the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry hall on Saturday, March 31st, 2018. Although this was not an ETA show, Doug McKenzie, who was billed as "The Country Gentleman" is an Elvis Tribute Artist, and two ETAs, Ed Butski and Gordie McNeil were at the show. Ed and Gordie were not booked as performers; however, they were invited on stage, along with Doug and Ron Provo (Kenny Rogers) to sing Toby Keith's song, "Red Solo Cups", later in the evening.
Doug started the evening in fine form, looking every bit "The Country Gentleman" with his country hat and beige-toned outfit. Patty McKenzie, who, along with Jimmy Gibbon, looked after the music, did a fantastic job of putting together Doug's classy outfit. Doug told the audience that Patty added gold trim to his white shirt and pleats to his dress pants (reminiscent of Elvis's pant suits and jumpsuits). Doug entertained the audience with his foot tapping Alan Jackson songs; and during a ballad, Doug was joined by Patty, whom Doug reminded us was not only his wife but his high school sweetheart, in a moving duet.
Prior to Saturday's show, I knew nothing of Toby Keith's music. I think my taste in country music is considered old school, seeing my favourite country singers are Johnny Cash, Hank Snow, Hank Williams, and Patsy Cline. After Saturday's show, I looked up photos of Toby Keith, and Brian McKenzie, who is Doug and Patty McKenzie's son, looks very much like Toby Keith, which makes his tribute very convincing. The songs Brian sang were, like most country songs, filled with meaningful, and sometimes humorous, lyrics. Brian provided two great sets of well sung songs.
I mentioned that there were a few surprises, and two of them were the impromptu performances by Ron Provo as Kenny Rogers and Jimmy Gibbons as John Denver. It was my first time hearing these two tributes artists sing, and they were a great addition to the evening's lineup. Ron sang some favourite Kenny Rogers' tunes, and Jimmy mixed his performance with both traditional John Denver songs and a couple of songs that were less know. Both artists, who bear striking resemblances to their respective artists, gave crowd-pleasing performances.
After a second set of entertaining Toby Keith songs with Brian McKenzie, Amberley Beatty, as Patsy Cline, took the stage wearing a stunning silver evening gown. I remember Amberley's tribute to Patsy Cline a few years ago when she performed at Mohawk Raceway. It was the early stages of her career, but she did a great tribute to Patsy Cline wearing a fringed cowgirl outfit. Saturday night was all about the glam. Amberley, whose voice is as fabulous as I remember, was the ultimate professional in her Saturday performance engaging the audience with her quick wit and encouragement to join her on the dance floor. More than one gentleman enjoyed her up- close approach during her show, and one lucky guy was brought on stage for more personal attention.
I watched Amberley's performance with ETA Pete Paquette on YouTube while researching Elvis Tribute Artists, and it was nice to see the same exuberance that she brought to the big stage was there on Saturday night in her more intimate show. Amberley jammed a lot of entertainment into her one and only set performing Patsy Cline's best loved songs. She did make a quick second appearance as herself, taking time for one more dance before exiting.
Another surprise on Saturday was the chocolate Easter bunny I received from ETA fan, and friend, Dot Farr...so thoughtful of her. It was a pleasure sitting at a table with Dot, entertainer Bobby Allan and his wife, Evelyn, ETA Gordie McNeil, and his wife Lynn, ETA Ed Butski (whose wife Linda was unable to attend due to illness), and couple Ken and Lenore. Joanmarie Provo did a great job of organizing the show and made the evening fun by having lots of prizes, and giving each guest some Easter treats. Dot won a door prize and chose some lovely hand-decorated hangers.
The lighting is never great at shows, but I managed to capture some good photos on Saturday night. I was especially pleased to take a photo of Bobby and Evelyn, since I missed taking one last weekend at Fort Erie. Bobby told me that he appeared on "Tiny Talent" when he was nine years old. I always enjoy stories such as Bobby's, and hope more ETAs and other tribute artists will share with me their interesting stories that I am happy to share on SIDEBURNS. All ETAs, and those who work in some capacity in the ETA world, or who are dedicated ETA fans, are more than welcome to send stories, bios, and photos to be posted on SIDEBURNS.*
I want to thank Doug McKenzie for his kind words on Saturday night. I blushed at the recognition, but am most grateful. And yes, Doug, I am looking forward to receiving your interview answers ;) I hope Linda Butski is feeling much better. Cheers to all. Until next time, best regards, Carolyn.
*I wish I could be two places at once, but I can only attend one concert or show per day. If you attend an ETA show, concert, or competition that I am unable to attend, please send along your own recap of a recent show, and if suitable, I will edit and add your recap with your photos, including credits to the author and photographer, on SIDEBURNS. C.M.