“Ever since I was four years old man, all I wanted to do is sing…” A grateful Darius Rucker in front of a massive crowd at the first show of Richter Entertainment Group’s summer concert series at Ironstone Amphitheatre in Murphys, California. As preface to the song, “It Won’t Be Like This For Long”, Rucker talked about touring with two of his children and said: “If God came to me and said you could be one thing, you know what I’d be? I’d be a parent.” The Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter brought an authentic earnestness to the stage and his performance, which goes hand in hand with his style of music. Country hit makers Dan + Shay and Michael Ray filled out the entertainment for the evening with their supporting sets, all set against the beautiful backdrop of Ironstone Vineyards, with it’s seasonal amphitheater drawing a massive crowd yet somehow maintaining an intimate atmosphere.
Who: Darius Rucker
What: Good For A Good Time Tour
Supporting: Dan + Shay
Supporting: Michael Ray
Venue: Ironstone Amphitheatre at Ironstone Vineyards
Where: Murphys, California
Promoter: Richter Entertainment Group
When: July 14, 2016
Seating: (house photographer)
Country music is not a genre that I really follow at all, so I’m not qualified to delve too deep into the details of this event with any credibility. But even not being a country music fan, I thoroughly enjoyed all three artists and found it all quite entertaining.
2016 marks the return of the new stage introduced last year, which is quite massive all around in order to play host to the big ticket acts being brought out to Ironstone Vineyards, which is a scenic place to visit regardless of any concert attraction.
The rigging is wide, deep and tall, with even a more impressive lighting set-up to showcase the artists throughout the transition from daylight and into the evening.
The venue offers both assigned seating up close to the stage as well as vast lawn areas further back to set up your own portable chairs and blankets.
Each show in their summer concert series also offers VIP packages with dinner and wine.
As is tradition, fans line-up early for the general admission areas and rush in to find the space that calls out to them.
Check out my preview article for the full line-up announced for this current season: LINK
My wife, Shelley DeBord, also provided photography duties with this show (including the main image up at the top!), so you can note her shots with the pink border watermark while mine have the white border watermark:
- Michael Ray (vocals, guitar)
- Andrew Beselica (drums)
- Lucas Chamberlain (lead guitar)
- Jonathan Sepulveda (bass)
- Kurt Ozan (guitar)
Michael Ray is a successful country singer-songwriter who released his self-titled album last year with the popular debut single, “Kiss You in the Morning”.
I was completely unfamiliar with Michael Ray, yet I really loved his performance and music, which felt rock and roll as much as it did country. If I didn’t know the show and came upon his performance out of context, I would think he was the headliner. He really got the audience going.
Below are some photos of Michael Ray performing on stage (click any image to open a virtual lightroom with higher resolution versions of each photo):
Dan + Shay
- Dan Smyers (vocals)
- Shay Mooney (vocals, guitar)
- Justin Richards (guitar)
- Dustin Hook (bass)
- Andrew Cook (drums)
- Izaac Burkhart (guitar, keyboards, backing vocals)
Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney are a country singer-songwriting duo with two studio albums, including their latest, Obsessed, which was released last month. They had a really high energy set that included a few non-country covers like Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love A Bad Name”, Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me”, and Cee Lo Green’s “Forget You”, all of which really underscored the strength of his vocals.
Below are some photos of Dan + Shay performing on stage (click any image to open a virtual lightroom with higher resolution versions of each photo):
Band (Carolina Grey Boys):
- Darius Rucker (vocals)
- Quinton Gibson (guitar)
- Lee Turner (keys)
- Jeff Marino (drums)
- John Mason (bass)
- Sasha Ostrovsky (steel/dobro)
- Garry Murray (fiddle/banjo/mando/acoustic)
Darius Rucker rose to fame as the vocalist for Hootie & the Blowfish, which formed in the mid-80s. The band have not broken up, and Rucker has stated that he believes that they will record again in the future.
Rucker released his first solo album in 2001, and has put out six to date, including his latest, Southern Style.
As mentioned earlier, I don’t personally follow country music, so I am out of my depth with this article, but I really enjoyed Darius Rucker’s performance and what he brings to the stage not only with his music but his viewpoint. He is very gifted with his vocals and songwriting, and it was great seeing so much diversity in the audience, drawing in fans of all ages and backgrounds.
Though the focus was on his solo work, he provided some fan service with a handful of Hootie & the Blowfish songs.
The crowd in attendance went wild for his show, songs, and performance – much love for the man and what he stands for was felt all around. Quite a special night.
Below are some photos of Darius Rucker performing on stage (click any image to open a virtual lightroom with higher resolution versions of each photo):