Jason Aldean, Colt Ford, Joe Diffie, and Tyler Farr - Country Thunder - 4/13/14
Joe Diffie, Tyler Farr, Colt Ford, Jason Aldean
Country Thunder 2014
As Country Thunder closes out, the tried and true aficionados remain: They're the groups who've done this before, who have more alcoholic stamina than all your friends combined, who will wake up at 5 a.m. on Monday morning to decamp and head home.
Everyone is slightly more subdued, a little windburned and exhausted, leaving only the diehards to stick it out to the very end.
You'd be right in assuming a lot of the remaining attendees are college kids, as there was a steady stream of families with their trailers and RVs leaving the campground all day long. With just the younger audiences around, earlier acts like Gordon Bamford and Joe Diffie seemed to get a bit of the shaft, but both, especially the latter, still know how to put on one hell of a show.
Diffie, an active country musician for the past 23 years, is often credited as a novelty act but he has the chops to prove otherwise. With a healthy dose of stage banter and full-blown country swing tunes, the enthusiastic yet thin afternoon crowd ate up Diffie's antics. Something also has to be said for a musician who keeps his Gibson acoustic strapped to him for a whole set and gets that same guitar high in the live mix -- Diffie is a songwriter first and foremost and never lets the crowd forget it, naming off his many recent collaborations a few times throughout his set.
The most endearing moment of Diffie's slot came with his version of "Girl Ridin' Shotgun," a song he penned with the unfortunately-named "hick hop" act Jawga Boyz. Where a Jawga Boyz member would have rapped, Diffie went at it alone, rapping out of the verses before quickly switching back into troubadour mode. A self-deprecating intro to the song, in which Diffie joked that "this could go wrong pretty quick," added even greater appeal to a moment that would have seemed kitschy in any other context.
Tyler Farr, while a popular act in his own right with singles like "Redneck Crazy" and "Whiskey In My Water" under his belt, maintains that cookie-cutter country act feel, no matter how strong his stage presence is. That in mind, he is an solid performer and seemed to bring out a lot more of the crowd than earlier sets, but this could also be attributed to the wonderful weather and falling air temperatures or his featuring of Diffie, Colt Ford and Jason Aldean throughout his set. Either way, Farr can play to a younger crowd well, but he's just not as strong as some of his more established counterparts.