One of the Inland Northwest’s favorite country artists, Chris LeDoux, returns to the area and plays the Kibbie Dome at the University of Idaho in Moscow tonight.
The Wyoming native last performed in the area in February, when he co-headlined a bill with fellow honky-tonker Mark Chesnutt at the Spokane Coliseum.
At that show, LeDoux’s blazing songs and contagious energy derailed Chesnutt’s rather tranquil offering. His renditions of “This Cowboy’s Hat,” “Hooked On An Eight Second Ride” and crowd favorite “Copenhagen” were absolutely stellar.
That’s what’s allowed him continued success. Indeed, his hit songs and a mention from Garth Brooks have vaulted his career, but his unstoppable live shows are what bring people back.
LeDoux, a retired rodeo cowboy who was crowned Bareback Bronc champion in 1976, didn’t make it overnight.
After abandoning his rodeo career because of nagging injuries, LeDoux, one of the only cowboy-dressing country singers who is actually a cowboy, embarked on a music career.
In the beginning, he literally sold his tapes out of the back of his truck. Then, his parents set up a mail order business for him, which proved a more effective means of distribution.
On his own, the singer recorded 22 independently released albums and his do-it-yourself ethic led him to sell more than 2 million units.
But the masses still hadn’t heard the Wyoming singer until, in 1989, Brooks, who was just beginning to crack stardom, sang “a worn-out tape of Chris LeDoux, lonely women and bad booze…” in his song about rodeo life, “Much Too Young (To Feel This Old).” The first time LeDoux heard it he was driving with his wife on a Wyoming highway.
“I thought the song was beautiful … even before I heard the line,” LeDoux told Country Song Roundup. “I thought it perfectly captured the rodeo life.” This, LeDoux would know.
Suddenly, LeDoux had a legion of new fans and piqued the interest of the major labels.
To this day, Brooks closes his concerts by wailing “God bless Chris LeDoux!”
It wasn’t surprising the same label that signed Brooks, Liberty Records (now Capitol-Nashville), also signed LeDoux. He has churned out five albums for Capitol, including his most recent, “Haywire.” Capitol has also reissued his entire independent catalogue.
In 1993, LeDoux, who’s also an award-winning sculptor, won a Grammy nomination for a duet with Brooks, “Whatcha Gonna Do With A Cowboy.”
xxxx CHRIS LeDOUX Location and time: Kibbie Dome, Moscow, tonight, 7:30 Tickets: $22