Classic country music took center stage in Peterborough, Ontario this past Saturday with an afternoon performance by a living legend on the final stop of his spring Canadian tour.
Country Music Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry member Charley Pride took the stage for an afternoon performance that thrilled the mostly senior crowd. Having grown up listening to Mr. Pride's music and watching him on his many television appearances, it was a treat to watch this veteran of nearly 50 years in the music business show the music world that he still belongs in the landscape. At 75 years old and still in strong voice, Mr. Pride performed an hour and a half show that was filled with humour, gracious moments with the crowd and so many hit songs that it would make any of the new crop of "country" artists dizzy with envy.
Opening up the show with a great cover of the Dave Dudley classic "Six Days on the Road", Mr. Pride moved on to such early hits as "Just Between You and Me", "Is Anybody Goin' To San Antone", and "I Wonder Could I Live There Anymore." And the hits kept coming, as he and his stellar band The Pridesmen rolled through a great medley of songs which included on Pride's earliest singles "The Snakes Crawl at Night" and one of his later hits, "Burgers and Fries."
It was one of Mr. Pride's newer songs that really captured the audiences' attention. Appearing on his most recent gospel album, Pride and Joy, "God's Coloring Book" written by Dolly Parton, was a real highlight of the night (the album version features Ms. Parton on vocals). Interestingly enough, Ms. Parton wrote this song when she was only 19 years old. When you hear the lyrics, you recognize that the 19 year old Dolly Parton was ahead of her time and destined for great success.
A Charley Pride show would not be complete without two of his staples to close out the show. Completing the show with his biggest, and Grammy-winning hit, "Kiss An Angel Good Morning", followed by his cover of Hank Williams, Sr.'s "Kaw-Liga", Mr. Pride showed he can still run with the young crowd that dominates the country music scene today. With a final encore of "Cotton Fields" sending the delighted crowd into the early evening, the young crowd would do well to attend a Charley Pride show and take many, many notes from this music legend.