An old school City of Louisville bus parked just outside Headliners, complete with cushy interior and red lights. Talk about a bus ready for a party. The party inside Headliners began as seemingly unfamiliar group of guys gathered with the idea of playing a few classic truck drivin’ songs. What came to be was more than expected. From all walks of life, genres of musical interest, and cultures; each musician brought their “A” game.
Ed Vardiman (guitar), an all-around good rocker and fun loving guy traveled from Cincinnati, brought the denim colored snap shirt out for the occasion. Gary Stillwell (acoustic guitar), recently retired from playing in bands, yet willingly brought his Martin to the gig. Violinist Jeff Guernsey added just the right accompaniment to the group, with solos that rivaled The Darlins’ from the Andy Griffith Show. Bassist and guitarist Chris Douglas wore his name loud and proud while playing, keeping a nice even deep beat for the challenging tunes.
The lady of the hour was lead harmony singer, Cricket. Her voice is smooth and simple, ample, yet not overpowering. Her hat, boots, and hair completed her look for the evening, not to mention – super sweet girl. Guitar and Banjo picker and ‘all things blues’ player, Steve Cooley took time from his busy musical life in Louisville to pick a few with the boys. The night was filled with special guest singers and story tellers including Jay Glenn, who could take Larry the Cable Guy in 2 rounds; Scott Mertz, a super nice guy with a voice suited for Lynard Skynard; and Sarah Swain of The Ladybirds, who gave the crowd a taste of the magic of a woman’s voice.
Johnny Berry is the last of the cast, and perhaps the jumpiest of the lot. Every time you turned around, he was playing a different guitar, instrument, or singing; guitar, bass, steel guitar, and of course his deep, gripping voice. When he sang the first tune, his voice instantly took hold, reminiscent of Harold Reid, of the Statler Brothers. He wore aviator sunglasses to keep the stage lights out of his eyes and a straw hat, for good measure.
The next time The Truck Stop Tribute Band books a date in or around Louisville, it will be in your best interest to take in a night with these fine musicians. Plans for another date are not yet set, however the coolness of hearing songs guaranteed to play in the truck stop on I-70 somewhere near Tecumseh, Kansas is worth the trip. Over and out, good buddy.