If you go
What: Winter Show Country Concert
When: 6 p.m. Friday, March 8
Where: Main Arena, North Dakota Winter Show, 700 7th St. SE, Valley City
Details: Confederate Railroad, Chancey Williams and the Younger Brothers Band, Redline
Admission: $30 in advance, $35 at the door
Contact: 701-845-1401, northdakotawintershow.com
A rising star, a country legend and a North Dakota favorite offer a variety of music for the North Dakota Winter Show Concert Day, Friday, March 8, in Valley City.
Confederate Railroad, a Georgia-based southern rock and country band with 18 hits and the best new group award from the Academy of Country Music in 1993, is the headliner for the three-band show.
“We’ve played North Dakota many times over the years, it’s a big market for us,” said Danny Shirley, who founded the band in 1987 as vocalist and guitar player. “We have fun and enjoy doing what we’re doing and that is always contagious.”
The people who grew up with Confederate Railroad love to hear the old ballads, he said. Newer fans enjoy the up-tempo music and the songs with humor, he said.
Shirley and drummer MarkDuFresne are the two remaining of the original six members. Two have passed away, Gates Nichols in 2009 and Wayne Secrest in 2018.
Rusty Hendrix joined in 2008. Mo Thaxton joined in 2014, and Joey Recker, a retired U.S. Army command sergeant major, would follow in 2017.
Performing today is about having fun more than about the business, Shirley said. The band stays after each show to meet with fans, he said.
“I still just enjoy it,” Shirley said. “When I was a teenager I learned to play guitar because it was fun and then I got together with my buddies to play because it was fun, and then one day I woke up with a hit record.”
If not careful the music can become about labels, sales and media, he said. The fun disappears when it becomes a business, he said.
The band has accomplished a lot and now it’s about getting together to play weekend events around the country, he said. That also creates a fun energy for the audience, he said.
George Jones helped the band get started in Nashville and he became a close friend, while performing with David Allen Coe and Johnny Paycheck was also a big influence for their outlaw country style, Shirley said. The band also played with members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Marshall Tucker Band and 38 Special and still performs an annual banquet with Charlie Daniels, he said.
“We are a little bit of all of it,” Shirley said. “It was all an influence and we put our own spin on it.”
The music is a little all over the place as is the fan base, he said. The ballads are about families, such as “Daddy Never Was The Cadillac Kind” and “Jesus and Mama.”
It’s still not easy to hold them to one style, he said. The band did take a risk with “Trashy Women” but it sold 3 million copies, he said.
“We got a Grammy nomination for “Trashy Women” and two Christian music awards for “Jesus and Mama,” Shirley said, pointing out the spectrum of music they play.
Kelcey Hoffmann, North Dakota Winter Show manager, said it is exciting to have a featured band that was so big in the country music scene as Confederate Railroad.
“A lot of their songs were huge hits,” Hoffmann said. “All three bands performing have a different sound and style.”
Chancey Williams and the Younger Brothers Band come from Wyoming and the first album, “Rodeo Cold Beer,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Mountain Heatseekers Chart in 2018.
“They have a huge rodeo following,” Hoffmann said, noting that Chancey Williams was a rodeo star at the same time he performed at the competitions.
Redline is comprised of five musicians who have played the Fargo scene with various bands for years. The band is considered one of Fargo’s hottest new country bands, she said.