News Column

Down the Line concert features local bands paying tribute to current and traditional country artists

May 15, 2014

By Cindy Larson, The News-Sentinel (Fort Wayne, Ind.)



May 15--Country singer Luke Bryan usually wears a baseball cap when he performs. But Doug Holt of local band Gunslinger, who will cover Bryan's songs Saturday at the Down the Country Line concert at the Embassy Theatre, says, "Of course I'll wear my cowboy hat. I've always worn one. I'm from Missouri."

That's not the only difference. Holt, Gunslinger's lead singer, is 46. Bryan is 37. But Holt says he moves around on stage like Bryan does. And the band will work hard to stay as true to Bryan's sound as it can.

"The guys in the band do a really good job," he said. "We're able to pull it off" despite not having the same instrumentation as Bryan and his band.

Gunslinger was asked to cover the Luke Bryan portion of Down the Country Line at the last minute. Local band John Curran and Renegade was originally booked to cover Bryan, but had to back out.

Jumping in wasn't much of a problem for Gunslinger, though. The band already plays six of the seven songs on the set list, so it only had to learn one. On Saturday, the band will play "Someone Else Calling You Baby," "All My Friends Say," "That's My Kind of Night," "Country Girl (Shake it for Me)," "Drink a Beer," "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye" and "I Don't Want This Night to End."

Holt says other local musicians in Down the Country Line recommended Gunslinger to fill in for Renegade. He said it's "humbling other musicians liked us enough to put in the word for us."

He described Gunslinger's performances at its usual gigs as "like a country band with a heavy metal feel." He cited similarities to Jason Aldean and Brantley Gilbert. Gunslinger's five band members -- two guitarists, a bass player, a drummer and Holt -- have been together since 2011.

They've opened for national acts including Charlie Daniels and Colt Ford at last year's Freedom Fest.

Most of the time, they play the local club circuit on weekends, places like the Rusty Spur, Beamers and The Post in Pierceton. So playing at the Embassy will be different.

"To me, it's really exciting getting to play at a theater for a change," Holt said. "It's gonna be a blast. It's gonna be a good time."

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Source: News-Sentinel (Fort Wayne, IN)