Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Garth Brooks Tribute Band to Play Tioga Downs on January 15

Fans of Garth Brooks can see the next-best thing to Garth himself on January 15th at Tioga Downs Casino when Greg Allan and his band re-create his greatness in two shows at the Nichols, NY facility.

The band will play two shows at 7pm and 9pm featuring all of Garth's hits including "Thunder Rolls", "Friends in Low Places" and "Standing Outside the Fire."

Tickets start at $10 and are available at the Players Club or online at Ticketmaster by pasting this link into your browser.

For more info on Greg Allan and his band, here's an article that recently appeared in the Pocono Record:
From Pink Floyd to Elvis, individual performers who are dead or bands who no longer perform have spawned a growth industry for so-called tribute bands, whose members go to considerable lengths to recreate the music of their idols.

That makes Greg Allan's tribute a little different: It is Garth Brooks he wishes to channel, and Brooks, of course, is still very much alive."There are people out there who do the music of people who have retired. (Garth) is only doing shows in Vegas, and all his shows are him solo, so he is not really touring, per se. But even when he was touring, his shows were so big folks couldn't get in to see him. The tickets were sold out so quick," said Allan, who is set to make his Pocono debut Saturday at Mount Airy Casino.

Once a staple venue for new talent, Mount Airy is again fulfilling the role of one end of the "Borsch Belt," an area anchored on the opposite end by the Catskills, another nightclub-rich environment in which new talent gets a shot at the gold ring.

"Well. It's kind of a long story. I've been playing since I was 14, and I used to own two nightclubs, then I kind of retired from music and started a horse farm. Then I was playing a job and I did a couple Garth songs, and (a friend) said, 'Wow, you do those songs just like Garth!' Finally he got me one day and said, 'Look, you're gonna do this thing'," Allan explained from his home in Norwich, N.Y., a few hours north of Binghamton, N.Y.

So what makes Brooks' music so much in demand? According to Allan, it was the crossover nature of his hits from country-western to pop that made the biggest impact. The standard country-western songs when Brooks came on the scene featured pedal steel and fiddle, and twangy vocals about home, heartbreak or true loves gained or lost, all crooned by men in cowboy hats or women in gingham dresses.

Brooks kept the hat, but was one of the first country artists to also incorporate rock-and-roll elements to his style of country, from hot guitar licks to slick and elaborate staging. All of this has made him the all-time leading artist for album sales, even out-doing another crossover pioneer of country music, Elvis.

"He crossed over hugely and brought the western underground style to the main stage. He was from Oklahoma and raised in the West, and his mark on country was to bring the modern text of what it's like to be a cowboy. People liked Garth's music and remembered what it was, and wanted to relive it," Allan said.

For Allan, the challenge was to find other musicians who could reprise both the music and the live performances of Brooks and his band.

"We're trying to do the best impersonation of what you see in the man. We're just going to have fun and try to depict what he did on stage. We're really studying the live music he put out, trying to re-create what he did live, and to have a lot of fun up there like he did," Allan said.

The more he studied Brooks, the closer Allan began to feel to him, even discovering that their birthdays are almost exactly one year apart, the same length of time it took for Allan to find like-minded musicians for the project. The six-piece band — with the requisite fiddle and pedal steel — is now ready to go, in Allan's estimation.

"It took a year to get the band together, and this is our first show out, a great show. I'm really excited about being able to perform with this hot smoking band, really excited and grateful to do it."