Hard-driving Stoney LaRue enthralls crowd at Neumeier’s

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 213 views 

FORT SMITH — On one end of Garrison Avenue, a stone plinth was quietly awaiting the arrival of the Bass Reeves Legacy Monument; on the other end, a raucous crowd was imbibing in the hard-driving music of Stoney LaRue.

While a few mothers may have been present, the Mother’s Day show at Neumeier’s Rib Room was dominated by young couples and singles. The gates opened at 6 p.m. and a steady stream filled the room to near capacity by the 8 p.m. show time.
The audience was warmed up with a strong hour of music by Willie Stradlin, then Michael Evans and Kris Vegas of KTCS Radio walked on to introduce LaRue.

The band played through a series of tunes familiar to the crowd: “Travelin’ Kind,” “Way Too Long,” “Down in Flames” “Oklahoma Breakdown” and “Idabel Blues.”  LaRue performed many songs off his latest record Velvet but reached back into his bag of older material throughout the night.

The crowd especially enjoyed “Down in Flames” and sang along to the words “If I’m going down/I’m going down in flames” and “one thing’s for certain/everybody’s gonna know my name.”

The fans were enthralled and so was LaRue.

“Thank you all for having fun with us. It makes it all worthwhile,” he told the crowd.

LaRue was supported by a very tight and talented band.  The bassist and fiddle player not only provided foundation and accent to LaRue’s music but also chimed in with strong back-up vocals and harmonies that really completed each song.The band transitioned easily from slow-paced songs to a hard-driving tunes without missing a beat.
While born in Texas, LaRue’s musical sensibilities were forged in the Red Dirt music scene of Stillwater, Okla. where he gave birth to his first two records Downtown (2002) and The Red Dirt Album (2005). He followed these with two live records Live at Billy Bob’s Texas (2007) and Live Acoustic (2009). Velvet, released in 2011, was his first studio record in six years but clearly reflects a matured sound weathered by a decade of traveling the road.

Ninety minutes into the show the crowd had thinned out a bit, but the hardcore fans were treated to a relentless finale. LaRue’s showmanship and engagement with the audience has earned him a loyal following. This is evident in the fact that two of his five records are live recordings.  LaRue was quite active throughout the show, clearly enjoying himself and encouraging the crowd to do the same — and they did.