Classic Nashville Roadshow this weekend takes participants back in time
When Katie Deal and Jason Petty take the stage with a backup band of Nashville players well versed in country’s classic hits, they’re not just playing the hits.
The duo are bringing to life the people and stories that are the backdrop to songs people still cherish throughout the history of the genre, dating all the way back to the roots and stretching through the decades until the 1980s.
Saturday night, the Cedartown Performing Arts Center is hosting Deal and Petty for their Classic Nashville Roadshow, which harkens back to a day and time when performers took their shows to towns large and small to grow their audience, and also to when the only available entertainment for many listeners was through the scratchy reception of an AM radio catching live shows in faraway cities.
The show, written together by Deal and Petty, covers a lot of territory. Petty said it was his intention for many years after performing as Hank Williams in a stage play to produce such a show, and finally found the perfect talent to go alongside him on the road in Deal.
“I had to find a great actress first, a good singer second, but then I had to find someone who could give you a nuance of every female performer,” Petty said. “She and I met – I was cast as Johnny Cash, and she as June Carter Cash in a production of Ring of Fire years ago, and that was the first time we met.”
He said the idea was in the back of his head, and when he asked Deal to help him put together the show she agreed, and “the rest is history.”
Now alongside with her roving performances providing a history of Patsy Cline – seen in Cedartown in 2017 – she also takes on other roles of past and present country legends, like June Carter Cash and Dolly Parton.
“I have a whole country pageant,” she said. “I’m having a blast off stage too sitting on all these great costumes.”
The duo have taken the show all across the country, and have since written a “sequined sequel” as Deal and Petty called it, Classic Nashville Roadshow 2 which focuses on more modern aspects of country music.
“Katie (Deal) loves to play dress up, always has. So the great thing was, is that country music had this period when everything was rhinestone and sequins,” Petty said.
He also gets to dress up in recreations of some of the more lavish costumes made for male singers like Porter Wagner at the time as well.
The two have been all across the country with their first show, but have an third being added to the tour schedule later this year. Petty and Deal also wrote a Classic Nashville Christmas, which brings to life the story of holiday hits from country music’s past as well.
Those won’t be center stage this weekend however.
For Cedartown’s show, they focus entirely on the early days of country music, giving Petty and Deal take on the stories of singers and songwriters like Williams and their impact on country music through the decades.
“I heard someone say about Elvis Pressley a long time ago, that we can disagree on everything else but Elvis,” Petty said. “Let’s all agree about Hank Williams, and we can all disagree on everyone else.”
They go through duets too, covering the stories of legends like Johnny and June Carter Cash, Parton and Wagner, and Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty.
“It’s basically got all of the classic hits that everybody always asks for, or as many as we can cram into a two hour show,” Deal said.
Tickets for this weekend’s show are still on sale and start at $15, and are available at cedartownshows.com or at the CPAC box office by calling 770-748-4168.