- Darren Johnson wheels through an array of larger-than-life oddballs. In one song, he’s a mop-top swamp guy losing an arm and a sheriff. In another, he’s a white-whiskered Kenny Rogers. In another, he’s a songwriter who meets a hangman (no future in that, you know). And then there’s his totally over the top Skip Church, bursting with barnyard animal sounds as he wok wok, squawk squawk tells a buk buk buk joke about a donkey hee haw in a well. Amazing.
- Shelly Emmer dresses up often for songs – a long zebra-stripped hip-hugging dress, a strapless party gown, cowgirl hat and jeans, etc. Looks nice. And then here she comes – gray wig, frumpy housecoat and slippers – to spoof “Stand By Your Man.” Stand by your man? Ha! “Hog Tie Your Man” she sings.
- Doug Dachelet comes out as Grandpa Jones, offering pearls of wisdom about knowing when you’re retired. And he’s a cowpoke on the streets of
- Manditori – the singing duo of
- With its male lineup, Daddy D can do a compelling rendition of “Highwayman” – Jeff Hinnendael, Bob Balsley, Doug Dachelet and Darren Johnson as different, striking characters through history.
- Among songwriters of the show’s country classics, even Stephen Foster gets a turn. No, not “Sewanee” or “Camptown Races,” but “Hard Times Come Again No More,” with Bob Balsley embracing the deep-digging lyrics.
The show is certainly packed with variety. (4 ½ stars out of 5)
The troupe’s traditional salute to the military is near the end. (Watch for my on-air Critic at Large segment on the unique ongoing Daddy D feature in the 6-8 a.m. WFRV Sunday news of May 18). This time, Darren Johnson sings a song of separation, “You Were Always on My Mind.” It’s one of those Darren Johnson performances that people come to see Daddy D shows for – the big voice rising to all-out power. Jerry Pansier’s steel guitar playing adds a soulfulness in the middle. And then Darren Johnson powers some more.
Performers: Singers: Darren Johnson, Shelly Emmer, Doug Dachelet, Mandi Sagal, Tori Occhino, Jeff Hinnendael. Band: Bob Balsley, guitar; Jerry Pansier, steel guitar; Ryan Sette, bass; Jeff Hinnendael, drums.
“Rawhide,” Darren Johnson, Doug Dachelet
“Delta Dawn,” Shelly Emmer
“Make the World Go Away,” Mandi Sagal, Tori Occhino
“Driving My Life Away,” Darren Johnson
“Just You and I,” Shelly Emmer, Darren Johnson
“I Wuv a Wabbit Night,” Doug Dachelet
“Jolene,” Mandi Sagal, Tori Occhino
“The Streets of
“I Saw the Light,” Doug Dachelet
“Desperado,” Shelly Emmer
“Amos Moses,” Darren Johnson
“Never Love Him Less,” Mandi Sagal, Tori Occhino
“Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” All
“Love is a Rose,” Jeff Hinnendael
“Highwayman,” Jeff Hinnendael, Bob Balsley, Doug Dachelet, Darren Johnson
“Good Hearted Woman,” Darren Johnson, Bob Balsley
“Stand By Your Man” takeoff, Shelly Emmer
“You Ain’t Woman Enough to Take My Man,” Mandi Sagal, Tori Occhino
“Hard Times Come Again No More,” Bob Balsley
“Sold to the Lady in the Second Row,” Doug Dachelet
“Talking in Your Sleep,” Shelly Emmer
“Mule Skinner Blues” takeoff, Darren Johnson
“Hello Walls,” Doug Dachelet
“The Gambler,” Darren Johnson
“Independence Day,” Shelly Emmer
“You Were Always on My Mind,” Darren Johnson
“How Great Thou Art,” All
REST OF SEASON: Knights on the Fox series performance, July 29; “Broadway,” Aug. 8; “Radio Days (’40s, ’50s, ’60s),” Sept. 5,11-13; “Shake Rattle & Riverside (’50s),” Oct. 23-24;30-31 and Nov. 1; “A Christmas Carol,” Nov. 19-22; “Daddy D Christmas, Dec. 10-13 and (Stadium View), Dec. 17-20.
THE VENUE: The spacious Riverside Ballroom Crystal Ballroom is the heart of the 1936 Art Moderne building on
You may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Watch for my on-air features on WFRV between 6 and 8 a.m. Sundays.