Country music legend Ronnie Milsap was welcomed by a clear summer evening and a street full of fans during his second trip to Boaz on Saturday
Country music legend Ronnie Milsap was welcomed by a clear summer evening and a street full of fans during his second trip to Boaz on Saturday.
With near perfect weather, the seventh annual free concert and fireworks show in Boaz went off without a hitch, a far cry from last year's event, which was canceled at the last minute due to inclement whether.
After the disappointing cessation of the 2010 concert, Boaz Mayor Tim Walker said Milsap graciously agreed to forego his fee and return for another performance in 2011.
"The good Lord's blessed us, and we're going to have a great show," Walker said before the concert. "The temperature's not too hot. We've got a great crowd. Ronnie Milsap is pumped. He's ready to go. Brother Trouble is ready to go. We've been very blessed."
Visitors from all over north Alabama and even out of state joined local residents to see the celebrated artist.
"He's just awesome," said Tina Kimbril from her front-row seat. "He has some great music, and he's old-school."
Harold Cagle said he has been a fan since the beginning of Milsap's career, and he came at 1:30 p.m. set up his chair in front of the stage.
"I like his earlier music because I'm older, and that was what I was grooving to," he said.
Kenny Dugan's favorite Milsap song is "Stranger in My House," but his mother, Dale, said she couldn't pick a favorite.
"I like all of his songs," she said.
Boaz councilman Tim McRae was enthusiastic about the performance.
"There are lots of tunes I didn't realize were Ronnie Milsap tunes," he said. "I've listened to him all my life."
Country duo Brother Trouble, a band that is just breaking into the music charts, kicked off the party with an energetic and eclectic performance.
"We love Boaz," said Jason Sutton, the shorter-haired half of Brother Trouble. "Boaz is part of our history. We're from Greenville, S.C., but our grandparents live on Sand Mountain. So this is a trip back home for us in a way. I used to get my clothes at the Boaz Outlet every year for the next school year. It's great to be back. I think half this crowd is our family, so we should be alright."
With a touch of southern rock, the band played a variety of music from Merle Haggard to The Steve Miller Band, and even a bit of country-style rap. An interactive rendition of "Fishin' in the Dark" by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band followed, while Jason illustrated the lyrics with what he called an "interpretive dance."
The band also included their first single that is currently being played on the radio, called "Summer's Little Angel."
After a short intermission, the legend himself took the stage amid cheers and applause from the estimated 20,000-25,000 fans that filled the streets of Billy B. Dyar Boulevard.
Milsap opened with "Don't You Know How Much I Love You?" followed by hit song "Any Day Now" and medley of other popular tunes, including "It Was Almost Like a Song," "Stand By My Woman Man" and "There Ain't No Gettin' Over Me."
Milsap and his band sang several other hits, as well as a gospel favorite called "Up to Zion," Patsy Cline's "Walkin' After Midnight" and even a few a cappella doo-wop tunes.
He wrapped up the show with what may be his most popular hit, "Smokey Mountain Rain," and thanked the U.S. Military soldiers for their work before a moving rendition of "America the Beautiful."
Workers then lit up the sky with an exciting fireworks display before attendees headed home.
"I think it's a wonderful day and night in Boaz," McRae said.
by Malarie Haven
The Sand Mountain Reporter