Earth Day Celebration, Collinsville, AL on April 22, 2007

It was an Earth Day celebration out in what basically looked like a big hayfield that had been cut for the event with a permanent “stage” of sorts made from the wood owned by the people sponsoring the event, as best as I could tell. It was rather uniquely positioned at the top of a hill, so seating was basically going downhill from it, which was somewhat different. I’m more used to seating going higher in back, not lower.

I think Marty and crew were to sing at about 6 p.m., and I arrived about 3:00. My co-worker and her husband had opted to attend, too, and arrived shortly before me and “saved” me a spot, which really wasn’t necessary as the crowd was small. This was the first time this event had ever been held. I’ve already received information that next year’s event will be on a Saturday, and I would guess the crowd might be bigger on that day of the week, plus there will be the added “live and learn” lessons that will probably go into the second year from the experiences of having had the first one. The sponsors did an excellent job given that they had never “put on a show” before, though. They had some excellent advisors. It was very well organized. I do not remember the names of the opening acts, but they tended to be kind of “bluesy” performers. They were mostly regional artists with some having performed with people (if I remember correctly) like the Allman Bros., etc. The music was interspersed with speakers extolling recycling, saving wildlife, poetry, etc.

I had seen Marty through the door behind the stage well before his time to sing, and the various band members at different times, his father and Connie, plus a man who had to be his cousin if I had to guess. This man looked exactly like an almost totally gray-haired Marty with a beard would look. If not a close relative I’d be very surprised. I also recognized a couple of Marty fans from past shows but don’t know names. Sorry. Also, I ran into my first cousin’s uncle and his wife on the other side of my cousin’s family and was very surprised as I had no idea they had moved to that area. That was something I definitely was not expecting. It goes to show that you never know who you’ll see where!

My co-worker and her husband are not huge country music fans but I’d expounded so many times on how great Marty and crew are that they decided to make the journey since there would be other acts there, too, and they were just ready for an outing. It turned out to be a very nice day, and they enjoyed themselves, too, so that was a plus. Excellent, sunny, but not too hot. Even given that I think Marty was about half an hour late starting, it was still a good day. Soundcheck lasted forever. Andrea, my co-worker, had asked me (she knows Marty and Daryle Singletary are my absolute favorites) which of the two (Marty and Daryle) I liked best, and I told her it wasn’t a fair “apples to apples” comparison as they were totally different performer-wise. I told her (this was the week before the show) that Marty’s show tended to be technically perfect and Daryle had a twangier voice and sometimes seemed more willing to “wing it,” so I liked different things about both of them. Well, when soundcheck was going on and on and I realized none of Marty’s instruments had even been brought out for tuning, etc., yet, I reminded her I’d said it would be technically perfect, probably. She agreed that it did seem that way given the delay. If I recall correctly, I think it was.

Before the show started I’d asked the security by the stage if we couldn’t move up (there was a big patch of new sod that no one was sitting on), and he said Marty’s security had said it would be up to Marty. I told him I had this idea Marty would walk out and tell us to come on up, and I was ready, and he did. So I ended up sitting under Marty’s left knee between him and Brian, pretty much. Andrea and her husband remained where they were back a way, and the next day Andrea asked me if I took pictures, and I said “nose hairs and all, I’m sure” due to my ultra close location and zoom lens. A fairly good crowd moved up, too, and the show was under way.

This part is pretty straight from the set list, so here goes:

GREAT BIG WOMAN AND A LITTLE BITTY BOTTLE OF WINE (Andrea’s husband later told her (I like his sense of humor—hers, too) that could be their anniversary song (she’s big and tall. She jokingly asked me if I thought she should be offended, and I told her only if he said the anniversary song should be A LITTLE BITTY WOMAN AND A GREAT BIG BOTTLE OF WINE—(Yep, we’ve got a strange sense of humor.)
BURN ME DOWN (by request and “toned down a little” due to the Sunday/Earth Day “solemnity” of the event, per Marty, although I don’t remember the exact words he used)
Instrumental by Kenny
I think a Johnny Cash song here, but I don’t remember which one. Sorry.
WOUNDED KNEE (by request from some of the Indian attendees)
Mandolin on DIXIE which merged into SOUTHERN ACCENT
WORKING ON A BUILDING (Harry doing a most excellent job again)
Connie came out at this point and did an old Carter Family song, the title of which I don’t recall. Very good, though. I called and let my mom listen. She enjoyed it and said she’d heard Connie do it on the Opry sometime back.
Brian’s STAYIN' ALIVE (even though I’d warned Andrea and her husband, she still pronounced it “a most interesting version")
THE SHAPE I’M IN by request from Donnie James, sponsor

Two things on the set list that got replaced were ROCK ISLAND LINE (I’d have loved for them to have done it. I love their version.) and HILLBILLY ROCK at the very end.

By this point it was pretty much dark, and I got this idea that were supposed to have been over and out by dark since the lighting was pretty scarce, and no mention was made of an autograph line, so we loaded up and left, totally musically satisfied. A most excellent day!

Review by Bess Wilson

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