Strictly Nashville/Huntingdon Hall, Worcester

WELL for a start, band leader Bob Drury is an excellent mimic.

Whether it’s a Willie Nelson standard, Johnny Cash tune or Glen Campbell number, he gets the voice just right.

But most of all, he understands country guitar, from the hillbilly chug-a-chug of Cash to the ultra modern speed licks of present day artists such as Brad Paisley.

Yes, a Fender Stratocaster takes Drury some of the way. But ultimately, it’s down to the finger-lickin’ skills of the man himself. He knows that fretboard like his own backyard.

And come to think about it, there’s a third ingredient in the mix… commitment.

For Bob Drury loves this music and it shows. Stir all this into the pudding, add a shot of collaboration on vocals with daughter Harriet, and you have a winner of a show guaranteed to blow your Stetsons off.

The father-daughter empathy is a joy to behold. Country music is nothing without the right feel, and when Bob sings of trying to drink someone off his mind, you can almost smell the Tennessee whisky on his breath.

It can be a Cash staple such as Ring of Fire, or perhaps the more recent Remind Me, Paisley’s ode to relationship breakdown. But the result is just the same, for Drury consistently rides these trails of heartbreak standing tall in the saddle.

The ‘Nashville’ tag covers a multitude of styles and also sins these days. Much of the present output is more akin to rock and roll, music that once would never have seen the light of day in the hallowed halls of the Grand Old Opry.

But thanks to crossover artists such as Shania Twain and Carrie Underwood much has changed… and definitely for the better.

Nashville may indeed be a long way from Worcester. But thanks to the artistry of Bob Drury and his wonderful band, the great music city of Tennessee has arguably moved just that little bit closer.

John Phillpott