2014-06-28 at 23-32-36Sunset on a long hot day, the PalaTexas is slowly filling up with country music lovers from all over Europe. At 22:30 Trent Willmon’s concert is scheduled to start, and does so, on time. Born in Amarillo TX, and very much influenced by singers such as George Strait and Chris Ledoux, the 41 year-old artist who grew up on a ranch near Afton, immediately hits the Europeans with “The Good Life”. The Texan sound enshrouded the audience which is crowded on the big wooden floor in front of the stage and on the side grandstands of the arena which became, in all effects, the reference point for all fans of our own country music. The Voghera Country Festival, this year, now in its seventh edition, has hosted some of the greatest international artists who in recent years have performed in Italy. Terri Clark ( the only female Canadian member of the Grand Ole Opry), Billy Dean, Aaron Tippin, Lorrie Morgan, Billy Dean and Michael of Texas Peterson.The authentic Texan sound is perceived more and more as the concert goes on; Trent leads the audience into his world, which, is typically “Red Dirt”, and has that inevitable Nashville sound to it. Already during the press conference before the concert, Trent in fact, dwelt for some time talking about the differences between the Texas Country music and that produced in Nashville. He defines them as totally different planets and admits that one must take this into account when one writes about one topic rather than another. For what concerns Texan music, Trent has, and always will, consider this music perfect for live performances, whilst the music produced by the “Nashville machine” aims to release records and hit the large radio networks. These two philosophies are conceptually distant from each other, but with his enormous talent, Trent still manages to adapt, collecting hit after hit on both “fronts”. He writes and plays music about the Lone Star State where he was born, producing songs that are very successful on the radio stations. As a songwriter, he has become very famous thanks to songs written for Brad Paisley, Kevin Fowler, Black Shelton, Eric Church, Little Big Town and Montgomery Gentry.2014-06-29 at 00-15-22This artistic ability of his, along with his activity in producing young talents, allows him to be independent from the large Majors, and therefore concentrate on what he loves doing. The concert continues with well-known repertoire pieces such as “Dixie Rose Deluxe’s Honky-Tonk, Feed Store, Gun Shop, Used Car, Beer, Bait, BBQ, Barber Shop, Laundromat”, ” Broken Inn”, “On Again Tonight”, “Cold Beer and a Fishin’’Pole”. The band is definitely up to the task. On stage, the drummer, Stuart Cordel, bass player, William James Mandell and the eclectic Vince Moreno on lead guitar, who played some amazing solos that only someone with a great technical and artistic gift can offer. A true talent, who this year has also performed at the CMA Festival on the Durango Music Spot Stage. During the two-hour concert, Trent did not only offer us his repertoire (including the addictive “That Girl” brought to success by Kevin Fowler), but he delighted the audience with timeless gems such as “Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys” by Ed Bruce in 1976, the legendary “Cowboy Cadillac” by Chris Ledoux to the grand finale ” Sweet Home Alabama” which he sang along with the audience.Trent also dedicated some time after the concert signing autographs and answering fans’ questions, which is something that not every star does. Even this year, the Italian fan (and not only) who was longing to hear live country music was definitely rewarded at the Voghera Country Festival. Once again, the Festival has given meaning and credibility to the term “Country” which here in Italy is increasingly OTT and underrated into contexts that have very little to do with the real meaning of “Country”. Paying attention to detail, together with a welcoming atmosphere, the Voghera Country Festival and the Cowboys Guest Ranch have enhanced that authentic Country style we love, and thanks to this attention, the crowds were numerous. The next appointment in Voghera has been set for the 26, 27,and 28 June 2015. Further surprises and important novelties in terms of live country music have been announced. (Fulvia Foresti and Stefano Castellari)