The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Virgil Vaupel
For the Courier 

Evening Entertainment Shines with Emerson Drive


Amy Nelson

Amy Nelson / FOR THE COURIER Emerson Drive performs at the 2016 Northeast Montana Fair on July 29.

Emerson Drive started out back in 1995 going under the name of 12 Gauge, but a few years later, after the band moved to Nashville, they discovered that 12 Gauge was already used by a rap group. So they changed their name to Emerson Drive. Under that name they have won numerous country music awards both in Canada and in the US.

They are a fairly high-energy group and look like a bunch of athletes as they scamper back and forth across the stage drawing the mostly younger crowd deeper into their act.

Glasgow area Chamber of Commerce President and Director, Lisa Koski, and her army of about 60 volunteers, staff and security did a great job in coordinating everything from gate personnel, to assigning folks to help get the stage ready for Emerson Drive after the opening act of JT Hodges; a Fort Worth, Texas, musician and country singer, who was a huge hit with the ladies cheering, yelling and whistling from behind the fence. They were more fun to watch than the stage show.

Koski sends out a hearty and sincere thank you to the major sponsors of this event and says that without their help this concert would not have happened. Sponsors include Glasgow TBID (Tourism, Business, Improvement and Development), Glasgow Area Chamber of Commerce, Milk River Motorsports, the Glasgow Rodeo Committee and KLTZ/Mix 93 Radio.

Tis a huge undertaking indeed starting from the first phone call to the artist's agent to hiring someone to do the sound and lighting, to the vendors, hiring the first opening act (River North from Miles City) and writing the $50,000 or more in checks covering the expense of putting on this concert.

After a drought of live music, the Fair Board decided it was time to give it another try, and from my observations, the try was successful. The grandstand wasn't full to overflowing for sure, but the infield was packed as were the bleachers at both ends of the main grandstand. By my unofficial count, there were more than 250 screaming, yelling, two-fisted, drinking Emerson Drive fans in the infield alone. It was hectic and bedlamic to say the least, with people dancing, gyrating to the music, foot stomping or simply sitting back in their lawn chairs enjoying this really good Canadian country music band. After carefully counting heads, I figgered the total paid attendance was somewhere between 25 and 3,418 souls, give or take a few.

Emerson Drive's lead singer, Albertan Brad Mates, told me they are doing about 35 to 40 shows a year, slowing down a bit from the 270 they used to do back in their hayday. They were packed up and off very quickly after Friday's performance in Glasgow because they had another show to do on Saturday way up in Ontario, Canada. That's the typical life of these hairy-legged-guitar picking-country-song-singing road warriors.

For the next seven shows they will be in Ontario, Canada. Then it's on to Las Vegas on the 16th of September. Then Holbrook, Ariz., Chrystal Lake, Iowa, Red Bluff, Calif., and finally in Big Bear, Calif.

When you get a spare minute, call or write the sponsors, the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, the fair board or anyone else you can think of and tell them what you thought of the whole shebang. Good, bad or indifferent. Maybe suggest something they could do better. Glasgow needs something like this every year and I was heartened to see the great community support for this event.

Thank you everyone!


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