(Artwork care of Karen Ramsay (www.karenramsay.com), profile photo care of brianlackeyphotography.com)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Concert review - Hickman-Dalton Gang, Roger Clyne

6 February 2010 (Road 34, Ft. Collins CO)

It's always a great party when Roger Clyne comes to town, whether with the Peacemakers or in a more stripped down show like last night. Many people had followed them from Denver to Ft. Collins to catch all three nights of shows with Roger Clyne and the Hickman-Dalton Gang. The tequila and bourbon flowed and the good times rolled.

The Hickman-Dalton Gang

Cracker lead guitarist, Johnny Hickman, and Peacemakers/Railbenders guitarist, Jim Dalton, pair up for the Hickman-Dalton Gang. They take it back to solid country roots, from back when country, folk, and blues weren't so separated as they became. It was a perfect lead in for Roger.

The crowd was primed for a good time, enjoying great songs like Hold My Drink While I Kiss Your Girlfriend. The boys played hard, but always in simple harmony. The setlist was loose: at one point, Jim Dalton led a Railbenders song that Hickman didn't really know. No one would have known if he hadn't spoken up about it.

Roger Clyne

If there was true musical justice and karma, Roger Clyne would be a great star, with wealth and fame, while a lot of our pop idols would be bussing tables. Clyne had a shot at fame with the Refreshments, but a lack of label support and personnel problems combined to hamstring their success. Reforming as Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, Roger focused on the music with a deep, heartfelt sincerity. Since those days, he's built a loyal cadre of supporters and come to a more sustainable level of personal success.

This tour didn't include the Peacemakers, although, for the latter half of the show Jim Dalton and Johnny Hickman sat in. Roger played through a lot of his standard songlist, which didn't suffer by being solo acoustic. He just stripped the songs down to their essentials: the joy of I Do, the longing in Wanted, the bittersweet acceptance of Green and Dumb.

After playing through a short set, Clyne opened it up for requests, playing several more crowd favorites. The show took an interesting turn with cover songs late in the set. Jim sang the Johnny Cash classic, I've Been Everywhere, which shifted into the riff for Folsom Prison Blues. Before launching into that, though, we got the lyrics for Pinball Wizard. It was a goofy fun. Next up was a cover of Tom Petty's, Free Fallin'. Later, during the encore, Tom Petty would rise again. And again...

The encore was a parade of mostly humorous covers, from Johnny Hickman leading a low pitch version of the Bee Gee's Stayin' Alive, then the whole group attempting Blue Oyster Cult's Don't Fear the Reaper, followed by Neil Diamond's Cracklin' Rosie and Sweet Caroline.

After Tom Petty's American Girl), Roger kept trying to move on, while the guys kept throwing out Petty riffs. Finally, Roger said, "Tom Petty will come and punch me in the nose!" We would have defended him, though.

Raise a toast of tequila and then, wait for the next time Roger Clyne comes through.

More pictures at my Flickr.


  1. pretty good summary, but nothing can capture the thrill of being there! traveled from buffalo, ny to attend all three shows, and i will be back next year - it was amazing!!
    the pics are awesome!! thanks for sharing!!

  2. You're right, of course, live is better. I remember talking to you before the show. You're truly a dedicated fan!