By Tim Leeds
Highway 101 regaled an appreciative crowd with their energetic pop/rock stylings of country music which the band help pioneer in the late 1980s at the Spring Police Protective Association Concert Thursday night.
The band's selection ranged from number one hits off of their debut album like "Cry, Cry, Cry" to later chart-toppers like "Bing, Bang, Boom" to songs from their "Big Sky" album, to be released May 9.
The band played to the audience, with drummer/vocalist Cactus Moses walking through the audience beating his drum sticks together to get them clapping to "Who's Lonely Now," a number one video in 1989, and at one point telling how bass player/vocalist Curtis Stone lost his fiance to "a tractor salesman from Big Sandy."
The band told the audience they love playing in Montana, because Montana's always been good to them. Moses said Montana's nickname, "The Big Sky Country," had a lot to do with the choice of the new album's name. Advance copies of the album, in CD and tape format, were available at the concert.
Moses said they've been doing this for about 12 years and there aren't many places they haven't been. He said they like playing in Montana best.
The band has been through different incarnations since it started. The current form of the band started in 1997. After original singer Paulette Carlson couldn't finish the last four shows of a reunion tour started in 1996, their agent brought Moses and Stone together with Chrislynn Lee, who had been singing with George Jones. They also found guitarist Charlie White, (Pam Tillis, Vern Gosdin, Michelle Wright) to add to their lineup.
Stone said they had wanted to pick up White before.
"We saw him play with Michael Henderson," he said. "I thought He plays like crap, but he looks great.'"
He said things just worked out for adding him to the band in 1997.
"It just happened this was a little window of opportunity when he wasn't with anyone big," he said.
White said they originally talked about 30 more shows after they finished out the 1997 tour. Three years of touring later and a new CD about to hit the shelves, it seems a little more long-term.
Lee said she's happy their first album together is finally coming out. She said they've been working on finishing it for a long time, starting in her husband's recording studio in Nashville, Tenn., and suddenly it's there.
"I'm real excited, real proud of it,' she said.
Moses said they have tried to play what they want on the "Big Sky" album.
"This record we're playing things real honestly," he said. "We didn't worry about what they're playing on the radio. Radio's in a quandary."