It was the perfect night for those who prefer their country music the old-fashioned way, with fiddle, slide guitar and the occasional yodel.
The Alberta Country Music Legends brought their show to the Stettler Community Hall on Friday, Oct. 24, delighting a crowd of more than 200 with a set list of cowboy and cowgirl classics, peppered with stories and jokes.
The show featured a rotating, star-studded lineup that included Joyce Smith, Bev Munro, Randy Hollar, Alfie Myhre, Pete Hicks and the Rodeo Wind band, led by George Myren.
The concert was organized by the Stettler Agricultural Society, which organizes a variety of events throughout the year, said office administrator Jodi Chapman.
The performers were a definite hit with the audience. When queried, many in the crowd indicated by a show of hands that they’d seen the Legends before; several even kept their hands raised when asked if they’d seen the group five times or more.
Hollar, a singer and yodeler originally from Viking, kicked off the evening, performing several Wilf Carter tunes, including “There’s a Love Knot in My Lariat” and “Cattle Call.”
Myren, in introducing Hollar, lauded his similarity to the late Carter, observing, “If you shut your eyes, you’d swear to God you were at a Wilf Carter concert.”
Hollar was in fine form despite having undergone a knee replacement the previous week and seemed happy to be performing in Stettler, “one of the only towns you can spend a whole week in a single night.”
Myhre was up next, impressing the audience with his skills on the fiddle. A prodigy who has enjoyed a career of more than half a century, Myhre was raised on a farm near Kingman, north of Camrose.
Hicks, a radio veteran with Camrose’s CFCW, sang and played several songs, including “Take Me Back to Tulsa,” “Della and the Dealer,” and “Walk On By.” The audience joined in a somewhat tepid call and response on the latter song, provoking some good-natured ribbing from Hicks.
Singer Joyce Smith, whose decades-long career has taken her from Alberta to Nashville and overseas, took the stage to perform “Shanty Girl,” “Strong Enough to Bend” and “Leavin’ On Your Mind.” (Patsy Cline was inspired to record her 1963 hit version of the latter song after hearing Smith’s recording.)
Bev Munro, a native of Bossevain, Man., with a lengthy career as a performer, recording artist and DJ, treated the audience to tunes like “If I Ever Need a Lady, I’ll Call You” and “Babysittin’ with the Blues.”
After an intermission, Hollar returned to perform a solo set that included a tribute to the late Stompin’ Tom Connors with “The Hockey Song.”
Myhre, Hicks, Smith, Munro and the band also returned to the stage in the second half. Hicks dedicated one song, “Home is You,” to Gertie Savage of Stettler, who turned 103 this past summer.
The Legends are scheduled to perform their next show in Consort on Nov. 15. For more information, visit www.accml.com.