A Dinosaur on the Mississippi River
by Chayse Dorn/WRJW
The Natchez Bluff in Natchez, MS., was the host of Hank Williams Jr.'s 4th of July Celebration and "Rockin Randall" did not disappoint the fans in attendance, nor did the other acts that preceded the Dinosaur.
The festivities were kicked off by the River Dan and His Band. River Dan played a mix of songs from his repertoire including, The Whiskey and I Stay Stoned, as well as paying tribute to his Honky Tonk Heroes, Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard.
The next group to take the stage was Rev. Peyton and the Big Damn Band. Their style was a mix of Country, the Blues, and Bluegrass. Rev. Peyton, the lead and bass guitarist, and lead vocalist, demonstrated his many talents while on stage. Rev. Peyton accomplishes playing both a bass line and the lead guitar by using what he calls,"A dying art because of how hard it is to do...".
The Big Damn Band has toured the U.S. And parts of Europe.
This 4th of July, in particular, was special for the group because it was the first in a long time they were able to perform in the States rather than in Europe on tour. Just recently, the Big Damn Band's newest album Dance Songs For Hard Times reached #1 on the Billboard Blues Album Charts.
The third act to take the stage was Steve Earle and the Dukes. The 66-year-old outlaw, made famous from his breakthrough 1986 album Guitar Town, with his band performed his hits such as Galway Girl, Guitar town, Hillbilly Highway, and the song that cemented his legacy, Copperhead Road. When the band struck the first chord of Copperhead Road, the crowd burst into applause.
As the sun began to set on the Mississippi River, and the temperature began to drop, the audience numbers grew to 8,000 all anticipating the moment that Hank Jr. would step foot on stage. Thirty minutes after the billed start time, the Dinosaur made his appearance on the Mississippi. Greeted by the applause, chants, and cheers, the iconic Bocephus dawned his white and gold guitar. Starting off the set list was Are You Ready For The Country and the crowd was more than ready.
As the night went on Hank told stories of being a little boy and remembering the stars that would come over his parents' house. Hank recalled, "... of all the musicians that would come over Fats Domino spent the most time with me...".
Hank Jr., now seated at the piano played, Your Cheatin' Heart in the style of Fats. Hank also played songs from Johnny Cash, Aerosmith, Jerry Lee Lewis, and of course, his daddy, Hank Sr. The last song of the night was Family Tradition, a crowd favorite due to the crowd added lyrics in the chorus. After that favorite, Hank, Jr. made his exit with his fans chanting and applauding. The night was concluded with fireworks of the river and a long drive back to the hotel.