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Perfect Stranger - At the Sundance Saloon, Mundelein, IL

It’s been a long time since Perfect Stranger performed in the Chicago area, so we made tracks out to Mundelein to see them at the Sundance Saloon! The concert got off to a slow start, but they gradually picked up speed and were on a roll for over two hours! In addition to their hit ballad "You Have A Right to Remain Silent", they sang lots of old familiar songs: "Cut Me Off", "Ridin’ the Rodeo", and "Even The Jukebox Can’t Forget". Mix in some swing, a little rock, a few waltzes, and best of all – more ballads highlighting their trademark harmony, including another favorite – "Remember the Ride". We had a perfectly enjoyable evening of entertainment and dancing.

A couple years ago we discovered Perfect Stranger in Nashville charged with excitement as they introduced themselves with their then hit single "You Have a Right to Remain Silent". That distinctive harmony and sweet melody caught our attention and we’ve been hooked ever since. Unfortunately they’ve had a short dry spell. But watch the stores fans, because a long overdue CD will be out soon titled "Absolute Crazy". At Sundance Perfect Stranger sang a variety of cuts off their new CD. The first single will be a toe-tapper called "Comin’ Up Short" – written by Vince Gill – and great for dancing. "Fire When Ready" is another upbeat song that will keep you movin’, and naturally, their harmony shines with the ballad "The Truth is Lying Next To You" – a great title too!

After the concert they signed autographs and hung out with the fans. Perfect Stranger won’t be a stranger much longer.

Reviewed by: Michael Rosenwasser

Bellamy Brothers - At The Hemmens in Elgin, IL.
Where the heck were all you fans? The Bellamy Brothers appeared at The Hemmens in Elgin, IL and only a sparse crowd was there to see them. What a shame! To borrow part of the title of one of their songs "She's Awesome" - the concert was - awesome. What a refreshing evening to hear Country Music with a Reggae/Calypso flair and some Clarinet and Saxophone mixed in. So many country acts sound the same; however, if you get the chance to see the Bellamy Brothers, which I highly recommend, you won't be disappointed in their unique sound. The Bellamy Brothers played a medley of their old hits as well as several of their standards. In fact during a song David missed a verse; however, he came clean and told everyone they owed us a verse. So he said instead lets add another song that we didn't plan on doing tonight - and the fans got a bonus song "Do You Love".

The Bellamy Bothers will be celebrating their 25th anniversary next year. To commemorate this historic event they will be coming out with a new album in September called Lonely Planet. For those of you who can't wait till then they have a great box set out titled "Let Your Love Flow", or their current CD "Reggae Cowboy". Don't miss picking up a copy of either one at your favorite record store. 

So if the Bellamy Brothers come to a city near you don't miss the chance to see them.

For more information on the Bellamy Brothers, visit their website:

Reviewed by: Michael Rosenwasser

Ricochet - At Julie's Texas Style Bar & Grill, Lincolnshire, IL.
There are some brand new country music fans in Illinois - thanks to Ricochet's
irresistible music and personality.  They donated their talents to the Make A Wish Foundation for a benefit concert at Julie's Texas Style Bar & Grill, in Lincolnshire, IL.  Most people probably never heard of Ricochet - they were there primarily to raise money.   

Heath, Eddie, Greg, Jr., Jeff, and Teddy walked onstage full of their usual energy and began playing to a "polite" audience (except for some screaming Ricochet fans sprinkled around the room.)  After two or three songs the little kids reacted first - jumping up and down and waving to the band members.

Heath did most of the talking.   Teddy waved to the little kids standing near the edge of the stage as they watched him play steel guitar.  Who could resist Greg and Jr. criss-crossing the stage, steppin' and kickin' as they played guitar and violin?  That was too much fun to ignore! Gradually, the adults got in the mood, clappin' and tappin' in time to the music.  

Ricochet sang their hits "Love Is Stronger Than Pride", "Ease My Troubled Mind", "Blink of an Eye", "What Do I Know?", "He Left a Lot To Be Desired". Then they sang a few songs the band members had written - for instance, George Strait's recent #1 hit "One Night At a Time" - written by Eddie Kilgallon!  Later, the guys put down their instruments, stepped forward to the edge of the stage and sang a cappella.  Beautiful harmony showed off everyone's wide vocal range.  Eddie's bass notes gave me the chills!  

Ricochet had lots of fun singing "It's Alright", a oldie familiar to most people. When they sang it over again who could resist singing along . . .  "It's alright, have a good time, 'cause it's alright, whooa, it's alright". That did it!   Everyone was on their feet clapping and cheering.  The guys tossed guitar picks, towels, and drumsticks as they went back to their instruments, and boomed out "Daddy's Money".  No one sat down.  With the reaction they received when they bowed and walked off stage, Ricochet had no choice but to come back.  As part of their encore, they sang a surprising medley of  Billy Joel hits, and Jeff punctuated the concert's end with a whopping drum solo. 

It was not originally planned, but Ricochet stayed and signed autographs for everyone.   Comparing this audience to the one at the beginning of the concert, I would not have expected so many to stick around and say Hello!  The audience was hooked!   Ricochet has a bunch of new fans! 

Brad Hawkins - At Cadillac Ranch
Lightning strikes Cadillac Ranch in the form of Brad Hawkins, a hunk with blonde hair, goatee, and a big smile, dressed in black jeans, a tight-knit black T-shirt, and ever-present neckpiece.  His high voltage energy and music kept the audience charged from beginning to end.  He began with "Starlight" - great for dancing.

His latest single, "I'm The One (Your Daddy Warned You About)" brought screams from the gals and whistles from the guys.   Everyone cheered for his hit "We Lose".  A few songs later Brad had no problem slowing down to a sweet, but intense "Somehow She Knows", which gave him enough time to recharge for a little rock  and roll.  Brad picked "Jailhouse Rock" and danced that great Elvis-the-Pelvis routine.  Later he worked up audience response with his mock-preacher's wailing that led into a gospel song.   Hallelujah!  Then back to country with a rock flavor.  Brad's voice and energy endured throughout the show.  He and his band, Del Rio, are a young bunch from Texas - havin' a good time on the road - and the audience had a good time with 'em.   Check out Brad Hawkins' new single and video "I'm The One".

I was curious about that beaded neckpiece I see in all his pictures and videos.  When I asked about it he told me he picked out the stones and made it himself.  I asked about the significance of "4" etched on the square stone and he said it stands for 'salt of the earth' which he felt describes himself.

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