ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, April 01, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 44

It was country all the way

By Esther Williams

Music connects people near and far and Country Roads, the annual country music gig has over the years done just that.

The 15th concert in the series held at the Mount Lavinia Hotel last Sunday, March 25, saw the audience entertained with heart warming music from local groups Cosmic Rays, Wildfire, Anno Domini (AD) and the Country Revival Band and high quality guest artists – the ever popular German group Mavericks and Friends and UK based folk singer Astrid Brook.

All for the cause: Feizal Samath

It was a warm welcome at the Mount as a busker strumming his guitar greeted guests at the entrance, setting the tone for what was to come. The stairways were framed with branches that formed an arch to look like the tree-lined country boulevards. Lanterns secured by thick ropes and steps carpeted with burlap, not to mention staff in cowboy / western attire set the scene.

The Cosmic Rays who have performed at every Country Roads concert got the evening off to a rollicking start with their rendition of Midnight Special. London- based folk singer Astrid Brook crooned her way into the hearts of the audience with a wonderful selection –‘You got a friend’, ‘Morning has broken’ and ‘Annie’s song’, showing her concern for the vulnerable by dedicating ‘Streets of London’ to London’s homeless. The singer/songwriter, who is in the process of releasing her first album, comprising original material, also sold CDs of her music to support the Country Music Foundation’s efforts.

The Country Revival Band who call themselves amateurs even after 19 years led by the show’s driving force Feizal Samath made a welcome appearance, drawing much applause with old favourites like ‘You are my sunshine’ dedicated to the children of Sri Lanka. Wildfire, making their first appearance at Country Roads, were a treat indeed, forging an instant rapport with the audience, as were the band up next, the youthful Anno Domini who had everyone singing lustily to ‘Have you ever seen the rain’.

Straight from the heart: Astrid Brook. Pix by J. Weerasekera

Country Roads would hardly be complete without The Mavericks, here for the 12th time to perform especially at the show. From ‘Ayubowan Good Morning Sri Lanka’ Dirk and Steve with their light-hearted banter combined beautifully. Their vivacious guest star Sue was an interesting new addition.

All too soon it was time to say goodbye and for the performers to take the stage for the finale singing the well-known Country Roads concert theme, ‘Country Roads, Take me home…”. Until next year, that is.

Twenty years since the first show, this charity concert series spearheaded by veteran journalist Feizal Samath continues to raise funds for worthy causes, this year’s effort targeting vulnerable children near Anuradhapura.

For the audience who eagerly anticipate the show year after year, it is a good way to enjoy music and also help a child.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.