Last Thursday, August 6, the Country group Emerald River performed at the weekly Santee Summer Concerts. This is a fun group of musicians who put the “rock” into Country and the “Country” into rock. With a play list that runs from Kenny Chesney, Sarah Evans, and Tim McGraw to Lynard Skynard, BTO, and the Rolling Stones, the group has something for just about everyone. Their music had fans up and dancing through the show.
Emerald River is led vocally by Mark Reno, Erin Marie Payne, and Craig Schmidt, with occasional leads by Greg Drilling and Ed Kunold. The combination of voices works well, particularly on the more rocking Country tunes. When not singing, Schmidt plays a mean lead guitar, easily covering all styles of music. Drilling’s work on bass and Kunold’s on steel guitar add to the sound of the group. Dan Albright on keyboards and Mike McGhee on percussion keep the beat going and add their own touch to the music. Over the years they have opened for such well-known acts as Pat Green, LeAnn Rimes, and the Mavericks, and listening to them you can see why.
The crowd had a good time, dancing and rocking along with the music. Several times impromptu line dances started up, as well as a couple songs specifically played for the line dancers. In between the line dances the style was mostly free-form, although there were several couples who obviously knew what they were doing. One of the highlights of the evening was their closing number – a rousing rendition of Lynard Skynard’s “Sweet Home Alabama” which morphed into a Countrified version of Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London,” before returning to Alabama for the big finish.
Overall, Emerald River is a fun band – good music, good personalities – and well worth catching at one of their upcoming appearances.
Mark Reno – Lead Vocals & Rhythm Guitar
Erin Marie Payne – Lead and Harmony Vocals
Craig Schmidt – Lead Guitar & Vocals
Greg Drilling – Bass & Vocals
Ed Kunold – Rhythm Guitar, Steel Guitar, & Vocals
Dan Albright – Keyboards
Mike McGhee – Percussion
This Thursday the Bayou Brothers bring the sounds of Zydeco to the Summer Concert Series.