Livestream • Goddard Center Ardmore, OK
Players: Kyle Dillingham, fiddle, guitar; Peter Markes, guitar, fiddle; Brent Saulsbury, double bass; Steve Short, drums
Material: From Bob Wills to traditional jazz and Elvis Presley covers, Kyle Dillingham & Horseshoe Road delivered an interesting mix of music in addition to their own originals, “You’re My Reason,” “Homa,” “What is Success,” “Orange Blossom Special,” and “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.” With a combination of western swing and up-tempo bluegrass, the group delivers an upbeat country sound––and Dillingham’s flying fingers are incredible.
Musicianship: Beautiful falsetto vocal lines dotted the performance, and the three-part harmonies between Dillingham, Peter Markes and Brent Saulsbury were very good. “Autumn Leaves” opened with a beautiful fiddle and soprano saxophone (Saulsbury) duet, with Dillingham singing the French lyrics before adding a speedy country twist on the fiddle, then returning to the more traditional jazz sound, studded with double bass (Saulsbury) and light guitar strumming (Markes). Hymnal, “Will The Circle Be Unbroken,” and Patti Page cover, “Tennessee Waltz,” showcased the beautiful and original harmonies and vocal glissandos of Dillingham, Markes and Saulsbury, with their well-balanced, gentle vibrato, while “Jailhouse Rock” featured Saulsbury’s solid tenor vocals and “Amazing Grace / Blackbird” featured Markes with equally solid vocals, in addition to his fine guitar playing.
Performance: Of particular note was the group’s rendition of a Russian folk song, “Dark Eyes,” with incredible soprano notes on the fiddle and overall intense and dramatic artistic interpretation, and the lightning fast solo section of Charlie Daniels’ classic, “The Devil Went Down To Georgia,” with a fantastic unexpected mashup of infamous rock & roll solo snippets, including Derek & the Dominoes’ “Layla.” While the vocals were somewhat pitchy at times, and the sound quality and lighting were intermittent (in large part due to the technical difficulties of the venue), the overall stage delivery was laid back and unassuming, and the talent was undeniable.
Summary: While communication with the crowd came across as a little awkward at first, Kyle Dillingham and his crew seemed to be enjoying themselves and shared a heartfelt, solid performance––especially on the instrumental pieces. While navigating a somewhat eclectic setlist covering various genres and styles, the group delivered energetic country stylings, offering musical versatility over the backdrop of a classic Americana Folk sound: A lively, fun night out.