We had our company holiday event at the Blue Ridge Community Theater last Tuesday, and the entertainment was the Kurt Thomas Band, with Barry Waldrep on guitar, banjo, and mandolin. I believe the percussionist was Taylor Conley.
Kurt’s a singer/songwriter in the country music mode who hails from Dahlonega, Georgia. He apparently has some strong connections in Nashville, and is busy making a name for himself in the Atlanta area as well. The band has opened for national acts including Brooks & Dunn and Zac Brown. My friend Glen, who writes a few songs himself, was impressed with his writing.
For me, the thrill was Barry Waldrep’s acoustic guitar playing (with pickups). I’m not a huge fan of new country, but it took me all of about thirty seconds to realize that I was in the presence of a master. That’s a rare enough experience these days, even given the depth of musical talent we have in the area. His grasp of dynamics is really outstanding, and given how fast he can play, his solos are impressively clean and well executed. Judging from the information available online, he’s had a pretty impressive career, so I’m obviously not the first person who has noticed him. But I’d go back in a minute to hear him again.
The theater’s “Live Music Is Better” series has the Kurt Thomas Band scheduled for September 10, 2016.