The Ole Time Festival, Hattiesburg, MS on May 13, 2005

The concert was in the Saenger Theatre in "downtown historic Hattiesburg" which, to me and my family, meant it was a little hard to find. The theatre was nice but I was somewhat worried when the opening act was hard to understand. At that point, we were in our "assigned seats" back on Row M. I think rows up through K had been sold to "VIPs" who were willing to pay more and get seats for both nights. Diamond Rio was the Saturday night performer, but we were unable to attend both nights.

Anyway, we had spotted empty rows closer to the front to our left and moved up to those before Marty took the stage. We had also seen three empty chairs front and center and took those when they were still empty as the first song started, so we wound up with great seats and the sound from that position was also fine. We would have moved back if the owners had come along, but no one ever even walked our way like they were going to sit there, so we had great seats. I don't know if the problem with the opening act was our location or their sound system, but either way it was not a problem for us when Marty and the guys got onstage.

We got set lists, so here's the rundown in its entirety.

Back to the Country
Country Boy R N R (a song I had never before heard)
The Whiskey Ain't Working Anymore
Homesick (the harmonies sounded great as usual)
Rock Island Line
Trip to Big Horn (another new song)
Give My Love to Rose
Luther (Kenny) Played the Boogie Woogie
Farmer's Blues (he did a spoken intro I had never heard before)
Brian sang a song about Everybody Wants to be My Baby (I think) that I'm pretty sure I've heard someone else sign before but couldn't exactly place
Harry sang Slow Train (it's been a favorite of mine since the first time I heard him do it)
The Sullivans were special surprise guests and they did Blind Bartimus and a new song with which I wasn't familiar that Marty co-wrote. They had a young Mr. Maharrey singing, too, with them, and he was introduced as their banjo player and I had never seen him before, but he was just singing that second song and none of them were playing instruments.
Now That's Country
The Weight is listed on the set list but it was skipped
Hillbilly Rock
Mandolin solo (Dixie and some other stuff I don't exactly remember)
Hobo's Prayer

Before "Give My Love to Rose" Marty said he'd take requests, and several people made some, but he never did anything not on the set list. "High on the Mountain" was requested, I remember, and he did not do it. My sister asked for "Cry, Cry, Cry" when he said he was going to sing a Johnny Cash song, so then I did, too, but he didn't do it, either. There's a long history of me asking for that song to no avail, so I wasn't going to ask until she did. I pointed that out to him in the autograph line and he agreed that to ask and not perform was really cruel, as I think I've seen him live about 35 times now and I remember him singing it once in all that time. I told him I'd be down front at the Late Night Jam and he said he would sing it then, but I'm not holding my breath. I'm not complaining, though. Everything they did was excellent, and everyone seemed to be in good spirits. It was nice to be surprised by the Sullivans as I like them a lot and probably haven't seen them in about two years. Marty's dad was standing backstage, too, and was introduced. He'd been pointed out to me in the audience at a show at the Silver Star in Philadelphia, MS once by another audience member, but I'd never seen him walk out on stage and be introduced.

I had a long drive home and a big family reunion on Saturday so I had thought about skipping the autograph line, but it wasn't that long so we all got in it (my sister and mother met me in Hattiesburg for the show). There were some t-shirts I hadn't seen before, but it's been a year since Marty's played near enough for me to go (last year at the Hank Williams Festival in Georgiana, AL, in June). I bought Brian's CD but have not yet had a chance to listen to it with attending the reunion yesterday. I got on Harry yet again for not ever having made a CD of his own, as I love his voice. He knows that, as I always tell him I have a "thing" for tall skinny tenors. I even spoke a little to Kenny. He usually seems to be missing in action when I'm in the autograph line, and we did have to stick the set list in front of him for him to sign when he was talking to someone else to the side, but he finished up with them and made his way back to the rest of the group for at least a few minutes.

Looking forward to June!

Review by Bess Wilson

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