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AppleShed hosts rock legend John Oates

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Photo by Hank Lohmeyer David Starr and John Oates on stage at the AppleShed last week.

The promise of an evening of great music and memories drew an appreciative audience of local music lovers to the AppleShed on Jan. 6 to hear Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member John Oates in concert.

People began arriving early to enjoy a dinner at the AppleShed deli before the performance, and others enjoyed the AppleShed's made-on-site beverages as they browsed the stylish art and gift gallery.

No one left disappointed following a two-hour-long performance of top entertainment that included plenty of blues and classic 80s rock by Oates, who was accompanied by David Starr.

Starr organized and produced the concert event. His efforts forged another link in the Nashville-to-Cedaredge musical axis being created by his entertainment enterprise.

Oates is one half of the famous 1980s duo team of Hall and Oates. Oates and his partner in the pair are both natives of Philadelphia, and Oates' claim to the hall of fame membership is in partnership with Daryl Hall.

Oates appeared in Cedaredge one time before, in 2011. It's not a long drive to the AppleShed venue from his home at Woody Creek. Before the musical evening had ended, the appreciative audience made Oates promise that last Wednesday's performance would not be his last one in Cedaredge and he said he would come back again.

David opened the evening with some of the songs on his newly-released CD "Love and Sabotage," a musical production to which Oates also has contributed. Watch for details of David's upcoming official release event in Cedaredge being scheduled for next month.

Oates then joined Starr for some reminiscences on stage. Before beginning his own program, Oates told the eager audience that while he is "most known for the pop stuff," he wanted nevertheless to play some blues songs that evening.

The music began with a haunting ballad of lost love titled "Carolina."

"This is the Life," a rhythm in bluesy song, followed. It is a number that was written in partnership with Jim Lauderdale, known as one of the Nashville "A list" songwriters.

Oates seasoned his performance with personal reflections of a philosophical kind. The song "Pushin' a Rock Uphill" was the result of his philosophical discussions with friend and fellow songwriter Nathan Chapman. Chapman is known for his musical collaborations with Taylor Swift. The song was inspired by thoughts about the futility of trying to get revenge in this life, Oates told his audience.

The song "Promises Aren't Enough" had a story all of its own, and Oates told it. He recalled being a hopeful singer/songwriter looking to the glory of Nashville and of writing a number-one song for the charts. "Promises Aren't Enough," though it never earned a number-one rating on the Nashville charts, was chosen as "wedding song of the year 1996" by a magazine.

"Fantasy Row" was a song that got its world debut performance at the AppleShed. It was about watching the political debates, Oates said.

David rejoined his friend on stage for the final few numbers of the concert. Their duo guitar chords and picking blended in harmony and timing as if they had been playing together for years.

There were songs by Ken Mullen in the Delta blues style, and by Ray Charles. A favorite by Jimmy Rogers was about a lonely boy tired of the big city lights and longing to be back near "the Mississippi River and you."

"Lose it in Louisiana" was a ballad about Bourbon Street revelry and "being so drunk you can't find your hotel," Oates said.

The duo played "Edge of the World" written by Oates with Mike Henderson, and then a Doc Watson classic, "Sitting on Top of the World."

Oates' strong and versatile voice filled the AppleShed to the open rafters with his own style of blues-flavored melodies.

But his baby boomer audience showed its most roaring appreciation for versions of the classic Hall and Oates blockbusters. "You Make My Dreams (Come True)" is another of their songs that has become a nuptials favorite and is currently ranked #14 on the Brides Magazine list of top recessional songs, according to the magazine's website.

Another great memory for the local boomer crowd, "She's Gone," nearly brought the audience to its feet in applause. Oates noted that the song "really launched Daryl [Hall's] and my career and put us on the map."

Another 1980s classic from the Hall and Oates catalog of 80s classics, "Maneater," is not about a woman, Oates revealed. "It's about a city," he explained; more specifically adding, "it's about New York City." That revelation no doubt gave relief to any feminists who might have been in the crowd of 60- and 70-somethings that night.

At the end of an evening singing the praises to friendship, creativity, relationships, philosophical thoughts, and revelry in New Orleans, Oates decided to close his performance on a decidedly spiritual, even Biblical, chord by praising the LORD. His audience joined in with sing-along enthusiasm to lyrics taken from Isaiah 6:8 "Here am I [Lord]; send me." (KJV).

Oates explained that he learned from a Nashville mentor that ending a performance on a spirit-lifting note is a good thing to do -- and he did.

In addition to his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honor shared with Hall, Oates was also inducted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame in 2004.

According to a music website, in collaboration with Daryl Hall, John Oates has sold 80 million records internationally, and has had ten number-one hits. He has released his own solo albums in 2002 and 2008.

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