“And nothing else matters / we’re together again.”
The lyrics from “Together Again” by Buck Owens were performed by country music singer and living legend Charley Pride during his sold-out show inside Pend Oreille Pavilion at Northern Quest on Thursday night, and they would come to encapsulate the feeling of the evening.
“The Pride of America” and “The Pride of Country Music,” who would perform about 30 songs in a nearly 90-minute set, flubbed the lyrics to three to four classics. It was a little heartbreaking to witness, but, being the 85-year-old consummate professional that he is, Pride laughed it off.
Besides, the man has recorded more than 500 songs in his career, so he deserves some slack. And the audience didn’t care. Nothing else mattered because they were together again with Pride, one of the most notable and successful black artists in country who is one of the bestselling singers in RCA Records history alongside another Mississippi native – Elvis Presley.
A band of six men backed up Pride, who blew subtle kisses to the crowd and held a handkerchief to wipe his brow Thursday evening in his “Music in My Heart” tour stop. His “Heart” album, his first in six years, was released on July 7, 2017.
After performing “Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone,” he said the first of many “thank you very much” responses during the evening and quipped, “You’re already wound up!” Then he thanked his appreciative audience in … “Seattle? Fargo? I just wanted to see if you were paying attention.”
There were quite a few audience sing-along’s – to “Crystal Chandeliers,” “A Mansion on a Hill” (“My first No. 1 song,” Pride told the audience), “Wings of a Dove,” “Kiss an Angel Good Morning” and more. “There is some pretty good singing out there,” Pride praised.
A youngster in the front held up a sign, “Can I shake your hand?” – and Pride happily obliged as the audience cheered. After performing “Your Cheatin’ Heart” and noting his Hank Williams tribute album, Pride told a funny story about rumors of him being Williams’ illegitimate child. His performance of “Lovesick Blues,” including the yodeling, was crowd pleasing and stellar.
Pride paid tribute to some of his influences and favorites, including Owens, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash, and performed “Together Again,” “Highway Is My Home,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “He Stopped Loving Her Today” and “Good Hearted Woman.”
He also paid tribute to Dolly Parton and sang a rousing rendition of “God’s Coloring Book,” then “I’ll Fly Away” and “I Saw the Light.” He said of Parton, “She wrote ‘God’s Coloring Book’ when she was 19. She started writing songs when she was 5 … smart aleck … and you know what else about her? She’s rich!”
At one point in the evening, Pride stated, simply, “I am in the business of selling lyrics and emotions,” and “I am a traditional country singer.” There needs to be more of you in the business, Mr. Pride.
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