All I can say is that this show was “Off the Hillbilly Hook”!
I’ve seen Trailer Choir before, but not in a venue as small as the Rodeo Club in San Jose, California. It hasn’t even been an hour since the show ended, but the vision of the crowd singing along to a trio of talented musicians is still running through my head.
I was happy that I got the chance to meet with Randy Jones and Indiana Al of KRTY both before and after the show. Great guys who work for a great, local country music station. 95.3 in the South Bay Area!
Here’s a little background on the band:
The group’s building momentum reached new heights when, after yet another packed show, Toby Keith introduced himself. “And then it was off to the races,” Big Vinny says. Trailer Choir were soon on a tour bus headed out on Toby’s Big Dog Daddy tour, where they played side stages, beer stands, parking lots – anywhere they could find fans to listen. “Toby said get your stuff, get the band, just get out there and introduce yourselves and play,” Butter says.
Keith’s fans enthusiastically embraced the band and their good-time sound. Songs “Off The Hillbilly Hook,” “My Next Five Beers,” “Rollin’ Through The Sunshine” and “Rockin’ The Beer Gut,” as well as their “did you see that?” stage show, led to a multitude of accomplishments.
These included 49 shows opening for Keith, performances at the CMA Music Festival and National Finals Rodeo, “Off The Hillbilly Hook” featured in the movie and soundtrack of the feature film Beer For My Horses, and the original song “Last Man Standing” used by ESPN & ABC in a national NASCAR promotion. And all this activity culminated in the November 2008 release of the four-song EP Trailer Choir, produced by Keith himself.
And all this activity culminates in the June 9th album release “Off the Hillbilly Hook.” The CD features the singles “What Would You Say” the title track, “Off the Hillbilly Hook” along with the crowd pleasing highly requested summer anthem, “Rockin’ the Beer Gut” just to name a few.
The show was opened by the California Cowboys, a local band that had some really great tunes! I’ve seen them before at the Sonoma-Marin County Fair and they’re playing the San Jose Flea Market this weekend.
Before Trailer Choir began, the band was seen wandering through the audience. The nice thing about still being a relatively unknown band (what am I saying, these guys are about to be huge) is that you can still walk around, unnoticed. Except by me I guess :)
I had a few minutes to sit and talk with Big Vinny as he made his way through the crowd. The guy is not a small man but he is one of the nicest, down to Earth artists I’ve ever met in person. He wrote their new hit “What Would You Say” and has dance moves that a man his size shouldn’t be making! I asked him if the band is starting to get noticed when out and about and he said that they’re just starting to get used to it. Just wait guys, you’re time is coming!
As the final preparations were taking place, I had a few seconds to talk to lead singer Butter. Very nice guy who, like Big Vinny, is very down to Earth and a class act. When I told him that we’re ready for a great show he said that “It’s about time for the fun to begin. We’ve got a lot planned so hold on to your hat!” Yeah, I had my trademark North Carolina hat on. Thanks for noticing! I knew the show would be good, but boy did I underestimate!
Trailer Choir hit the stage just after 10 p.m. tonight and it was a party atmosphere from the moment they hit the stage. An eclectic mix of their own songs, and cover songs from bands of every genre of music.
The crowd really got going with the second song of the evening, “The Joker” by the Steve Miller Band. A great sing along tune and you know everyone in the audience knew every word!
Have I mentioned yet that Big Vinnie is 380 pounds and he was a dancing machine…complete with a reverse worm!
My personal favorite “Rockin’ the Beer Gut” was next and lived up to the expectations I had hoped. The crowd was into it and Butter mentioned once again that this will be the bands next single…sweet!
More covers including “I Will Survive” by the stunning Crystal herself…Referred to by the band as Fergie May Clampet :)
“Jack and Diane”, “Baby Got Back ” and more followed!
Gotta love the happy go lucky “Rollin’ Through the Sunshine” followed by more covers including a stirring rendition of “Sweet Home Alabama”. The crowd had a choice between that and “Ice Ice Baby”. Either would have been a winner!
The show concluded with a great live version of “Off the Hillbilly Hook”. The crowd was going wild by this time and Indiana Al, who coined this phrase years ago, could be seen dancing in the crowd with the spotlight (a small flashlight) over him.
A show wouldn’t be a show without an encore, which was gladly brought to us by the band. How many times can you say that you went to a country concert and left with Sublime’s “What I Got”. A perfect finish to a great show!
What really surprised me was that Trailer Choir did not play their current hit “What Would You Say”, a tribute to the 13 miners killed in West Virginia. I guess that the song didn’t fit into the party of the set list that was being used but it would have been great to have fit the song in.
Overall, what can I say. I had high expectations, and they were easily met. This is a band that is on the cusp of stardom and I’m proud to say that I got to meet them before they took that final leap to the big time. In my mind though, they’re already there!
Come back to San Jose soon y’all! Best show I’ve seen in quite some time. Top 5 for sure all time!