John Oates, the other half of the famous pop music duo, has been on the road with his solo band.
Don’t expect to hear a show of Hall & Oates tunes sans Hall. Mr. Oates has been doing his own solo music for years. A combination of Americana, folk and blues, the roots of popular music. His latest album “Arkansas”, is Delta Blues and bluegrass. John has lived in Nashville for the last decade and has continued his musical journey into the roots of American music. John and band opened the show with the inspiring traditional song “Lord Send Me”. He paid homage to country blues guitarist pioneer Mississippi John Hurt with a cover of “Stack-O’ Lee”. He also honored blues singer Blind Blake’s “That Will Happen No More”. Oates has a great sense of humor and cracks jokes to the audience, “When is this guy going to do Maneater?” He knows his fame comes from his brand and there are people who are waiting to hear H&O tunes and are not familiar with his solo work. The atmosphere is relaxed, fun and a bit of a musical history lesson.
“This Field is Mine” is about the American farmer and inspired by John’s father-in-law and his mid-western land. The title track of the album “Arkansas” is a tribute to the “Natural State”. Recently in Nashville there was a tribute concert for Johnny Cash and Oates was one of the artists asked to perform, which also included Little Big Town, Elle King and members of the Cash & Carter family. John performed Cash’s “Big River” and played it in Clearwater. He initially was having trouble remembering the lyrics only having played the song twice and joked about the musician’s worst fear is forgetting the words. No fear, he remembered and gave us a fine rendition of the song. “Lose It in Louisiana” has a great hook and tells the tale of drinking in New Orleans. The blues rocker of another Mississippi John Hurt ditty was great with “Pallet Soft & Low”
The Good Road Band is clearly a knowledgeable bunch playing a range of music. Josh Day on drums has worked with Jennifer Nettles, Steve Mackey on the bass has played for Dolly Parton & Garth. Guitarist Guthie Trapp has worked with a laundry list of artists in Nashville including Vince Gill and Randy Travis. Russ Pahl’s steel guitar brings a sweet sound to the band. Mr. Pahl has played as a session musician on many recordings including for Kacey Musgraves and Darius Rucker. A hilarious moment in the show is when a miniature Stonehenge is lowered down from the ceiling in reference to the movie “This is Spinal Tap” which Oates quips “Believe me, my life has been like Spinal Tap!”
The audience finally gets what they have been waiting for, a small dose of Hall & Oates. John does “Maneater” the way it was originally written, as a reggae song! He and Hall changed the arrangement and made it the R&B tune you know today. He acknowledges the girls in the front who kept yelling for “Sara Smile” with his version. He closed out the night with “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)”. Daryl Hall & John Oates are the most successful duo of all-time. They have been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. They are a duo, two musicians who came together with their own musical talents. John Oates is a great songwriter and singer, no less than his counterpart. On his own, John Oates travels on a really great road!
Photos by Vicky Sullivan / The Sarasota Post