By Mike Keenan
Yes, indeed. St. Catharines loves country music!
I know this because, along with a full house, I attended Lisa Brokop’s performance of Legendary Ladies of Country with guests, Patricia Conroy and Amanda Wilkinson, an all-female show at Partridge Hall. Well yes, there were two back-up male instrumentalists, but the show was geared to the ladies, celebrating female pioneers in country music who inspired and influenced Brokop’s own career.
Brokop, Conroy and Wilkinson performed well-received hits from Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, Barbara Mandrell, Emmylou Harris and more. As an audience member remarked to me, “It’s one of the few times when you know all of the music!”
Country music is a popular genre of southern U.S. origin, its roots traced to the folksongs and ballads brought to North America by Anglo-Celtic immigrants. And there is something about country music that always brings a smile to my face, particularly now in this muddled political age that often gets depressing. Despite country’s tendency to get melodramatic about heartfelt items such as losing one’s man, I could listen to Patsy Cline all night long. And Lisa Brokop’s guest singers were top notch, wee Amanda Wilkinson sporting a powerful voice for such a tiny lady, so powerful that she had to hold the microphone at a distance for fear of blowing us all away. She reminded me of Brenda Lee.
The size and beauty of Partridge Hall was not lost on Brokop and her guests, who, like many other performers,
here in St. Catharines for the first time, were notably impressed.
Besides tunes from the actual “Legendary Ladies of Country,” the show also featured Brokop favourites from her award-winning albums, such as ‘Better Off Broken,’ ‘Wildflower,’ and ‘Take That.’ She merrily engaged with the audience between songs, describing at one point, her awe when meeting Anne Murray just before she sang her rendition of Snowbird.
It was a fun evening. The audience loved these talented women of country music, and given their fascination with Partridge Hall, we might see them soon again.
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