A small town somewhere in the Friuli region, a big heart that beats in rhythm to country music. The big heart is that of the Mondelli Stables, and to all of those who participated on Saturday March 14th to the “Good Ride Cowboy”, the only event in Europe, organised to remember Chris LeDoux, ten years from his passing away. A small town in the Friuli region as I said, Sant’Andrat Del Cormor, which on Saturday became the European capital of country music, where hundreds of people joined to listen to some of the best Italian country singers, plus a couple of American ones, to interpret acoustic versions (two songs each) taken from the repertoire of the “King of Wyoming.”
Live music as a protagonist in a country event in Italy? Many people who travelled hundreds of kilometres just to listen, sing and not dance the line-dance? Something unthinkable ’til a few months ago, but now, thanks to “Good Ride Cowboy”, has proved not only possible but also necessary, as displayed by the many enthusiastic comments posted on the social network.
The path has been laid down, and it will be difficult to go back now. An event which was created without real great expectations, but went well above that thanks to the participation of a large audience. Thanks also to an extremely simple, but effective formula: toggle live music with three or four songs (almost exclusively two step) proposed by the Dj’s, just to give enough time to the artists on stage to prepare themselves for the live sets. I’m sure the Dj’s present, (Nike, Fufo, Elettriko and Eros) will forgive me if I do not mention them in this article, but the absolute protagonist was live music, a music made of beautiful songs.
In fact, to give the public the opportunity to delve themselves into the atmosphere and enjoy even more the songs, each artist was introduced following a short account of the life of Chris LeDoux, or an explanation to the meanings of the songs that were about to be played. It’s now Dan Shelor and Giorgio Bettocchi’s turn now, (the voices of “The Dusty Saddle Boys”) accompanied by Alessandro Nosiglia on guitar, the responsibility and the honour of opening the event. Firstly, “Even Cowboys Like A Little Rock ‘n’ Roll”, then “Bang a Drum” and finally, an unreleased song from the couple Bettocchi-Shelor, written especially for the occasion.The song is called, “You Too…. Can Live Like Chris LeDoux”, and is honestly a great and pleasant surprise. Pause, Dj set, whilst Emilio Pizzioli and Orianna Giust record and comment on the concert for Wideline Radio, then it’s Michela Carpenedo and Aaron Stone’s turn. “Whatcha Gonna Do With a Cowboy”, “Cowboy Up” and “Night Rider’s Lament”, sung by Michela, which I myself retain as being one of the most touching moments of the entire event. Pause, Djs, and then again live music with Paul Spolaore and Loris Dellavetta from the group “Beer Drinkers”.
“Riding For A Fall”, “Scatter The Ashes” and “One Road Man” were songs performed at a fast and overwhelming pace. DJ’s once again, two step, and then Stefano Dal Compare, voice of “Sweet River”. Stefano is one of the organizers and his desire to do well is so obvious. “You Just Can’t See Him From The Road” and “Buffalo Grass” (with Paul Spolaore on keyboards), songs chosen by Stefano, performed perfectly. More than two hours have passed, but there is still so much to do and so much music to listen to. Bass, snare drum and hi-hat and a guitar. That is all with which Flavio Delladio, Andrea Filidei and Alberto came on stage with. Firstly, a swingy version of “I’m Country” and then “Western Skies”, where Flavio’s voice touched the souls of all those present. Two step and then it was the turn of Roberto Bonfatti and Dario Benazzi, the voices of the Emilian band “Spaghetti Jensen”. The “Spaghetti” already have a pretty country rock sound, and therefore it’s pretty obvious they sing “Cadillac Ranch” and “Smack Dab In The Middle”, maintaining that power, even in the acoustic version. After about three hours, the concert is virtually finished, but now the surprises begin. Firstly, Gianni Gobbo performed “This Cowboy’s Hat” fantastically, then all the musicians together for an improvised jam session. “Friends In Low Places”, “Much Too Young”, “The Dance” and “Sweet Home Alabama” and other songs performed in front of an enthusiastic audience, all singing in unison. This is how “Good Ride Cowboy” closes; an event that has gained success beyond all expectations and has shown that when things are done with passion, you really can do wonderful things. Nobody is really certain to have seen him, nor can they remember him very well, but many had the distinct feeling, that in some hidden corner of the Mondelli Stables, there was a cowboy, who, listening in silence, occasionally smiled. (Gianluca Sitta)
PS. a huge thank you goes to Stefano Danelon, without whom none of this would have been possible.