Live Review: Casey Donahew in Charlotte

An electric Coyote Joe’s welcomed Texas native Casey Donahew back to North Carolina…

Fans of Casey Donahew appreciate both his upbeat storytelling and ability to slow things down with love songs that are in stark contrast to the rowdy tales of Carl Wayne. Critics however, attempt to put his musical stylings in the same file folder as today’s pop country musicians hailing from Nashville – on the opposite end of the spectrum from traditional Red Dirt and Texas Country music.

Regardless of where you feel Donahew’s sound falls in the genre, there is no denying his commitment to legends like George Strait, Chris LeDoux and Garth Brooks. His music is inspired by classic country and his live show a combination of each, capable of running around the stage, firing up the crowd and slowing the tempo when needed. All of these characteristics were evident on Saturday night at Coyote Joe’s in Charlotte.

Nashville based Jacob Powell started the night before giving way to Donahew and his band. Kicking things off, Donahew opened with ‘Feels This Right’ to set an upbeat tone for a majority of the night. He quickly followed with ‘Double Wide Dream’ warming the crowd up for other hits like ‘Stockyards’ – an anthem about his hometown where he began this “wild ride” he’s been on for 15-plus years.

After mention of the Cantina Cadillac, Donahew dialed up LeDoux’s ‘Cadillac Cowboy’ to the excitement of all on hand. Later in the evening, new music was on tap as ‘He Ain’t A Cowboy’ is sure to be another hit in a long line of Donahew favorites with a powerful line, He can’t saddle up no horse / so he ain’t never gonna ride away. Earlier in the evening, Donahew shared his commitment to writing songs about cowboys and belief that people still exist who appreciate just that – many were in attendance and expressed their gratitude for the sentiment.

The Matchbox 20 cover of ‘3 AM’ was included and every bit as entertaining as the original before Donahew broke into his third cover with a brief rendition of, ‘In Da Club’ by 50 Cent after noticing a fan celebrating a birthday in the audience. He also took a request and played, ‘White Trash Bay’ prior to launching into a partying finale.

Announcing prior that he didn’t see the point in walking off stage and returning, the crowd received instead a two-minute warning of sorts before ‘White Trash Story’ sandwiched ‘High’ as the crowd sang along at full throat to end the evening.

An entertaining performance worthy of ranking alongside artists like Pat Green, Cody Johnson and countless others hailing from Texas who have graced the stage at Coyote Joe’s.

FULL SETLIST 4/14/2018

Feels This Right
Double Wide Dream
No Doubt
Kiss Me
Country Song
Cadillac Cowboy
Whiskey Baby
Back Home in Texas
What Cowboys Do
One Star Flag
Breaks My Heart
Go to Hell
He Ain’t A Cowboy
3 AM
12 Gauge
White Trash Bay
Going Down Tonight
White Trash Story

Red Dirt NC: Weekend Watch, April 12-14

Another weekend begins on Thursday as three shows are peppered across the south, central portion of North Carolina…

Spring has arrived and as the weather warms, so too is the concert calendar. This week requires a bit of decision making but the opportunity to catch multiple shows across North Carolina remains. The good news is that you can’t go wrong, no matter which show(s) you decide to attend.

This weekend also features a good mix of North Carolina based acts in addition to visitors from across the Americana, Texas country and Red Dirt genres to our state. Further, while a majority of the shows will be taking place in Charlotte, there are still opportunities for fans located in other parts of the state.

There is no shortage of shows this weekend, so get out and support live music in North Carolina!


*Pistol Hill – Newgrass Brewing, Shelby

Independent and traditional country music. Emerging local artists within the genre featuring both original songs and covers from some of your favorite individuals and bands.

Blackberry Smoke – The Fillmore, Charlotte

Blackberry Smoke has never been a band that stands still. Whether pursuing the dream by logging hundreds of thousands of miles on America’s highways and abroad or relentlessly exploring the many facets of its most unique art form, the Atlanta quintet is always on the move. The songs on Blackberry Smoke’s sixth album, Like an Arrow show just how far this authentic American rock band has come as the accomplished group of musicians tackles a diverse set of new ideas, sounds and territories, long after most bands with half the success might have settled into a well-worn groove.

Jaimee Harris – The Rooster’s Wife, Aberdeen

Jaimee Harris is poised to become the next queen of Americana-Folk, a slightly edgier Emmylou Harris for the younger generation. Her new album draws comparisons to Patty Griffin, Ryan Adams, and Kathleen Edwards – all writers who know how to craft a heartbreakingly beautiful song with just enough grit to keep you enthralled. Harris writes about the basic human experience, in a way that is simple, poetic, and often painfully relatable.

FRIDAY – APRIL 13, 2018

*Mipso – Visulite Theatre, Charlotte

Chapel Hill’s indie Americana quartet Mipso – Jacob Sharp (mandolin, vocals), Wood Robinson (bass, vocals), Joseph Terrell (guitar, vocals), and Libby Rodenbough (fiddle, vocals) – release their fifth album, Edges Run, on April 6th, 2018 via a newly inked record deal with AntiFragile Music. Influenced by the contradiction of its progressive home and the surrounding rural southern landscapes, Mipso has been hailed as “hewing surprisingly close to gospel and folk while still sounding modern and secular” (Acoustic Guitar) and was recently recognized by Rolling Stone as an “ Artist You Need to Know.”

The Lone Bellow – Music in the Mill, Hickory

The Lone Bellow burst onto the scene with their self-titled debut in 2013. The Brooklyn-based band quickly became known for their transcendent harmonies, serious musicianship and raucous live performance — a reputation that earned them their rabid fan base.

*Caleb Caudle – The Ramkat, Winston-Salem

One of Caudle’s strongest attributes, which journalists and listeners alike continue to find endearing, is his unique and genuine method of songwriting, which Paste Magazine compared to Jason Isbell. “The lyrics are very biographical. I write about what I know, so my albums are a snapshot into a six month window of my life.” From announcing his romantic vulnerability with Paint Another Layer On My Heart to actually finding love on Carolina Ghost, Caudle’s strong lyrical driving force makes him consistently relatable. And his newest project, Crushed Coins, is no exception to that rule.

Brent Cobb – Neighborhood Theatre, Charlotte

Brent Cobb didn’t set out to write an album that feels and sounds like the place he grew up. But now that the grooves have been cut in his debut LP, Shine on Rainy Day, there’s no denying the people, the places and the vibe of his south central Georgia home infuse almost every song.


Casey Donahew – Coyote Joe’s, Charlotte

The Burleson, Texas native, (with the help of his wife Melinda,) has painstakingly carved out an impressive niche for himself on the country music scene over the past decade, attracting a solid base of loyal fans who flock to his legendary live shows. Building his career from the ground up one show at a time, he’s managed to perform on countless stages night after night in front of thousands, topped the Texas music charts several times, released four albums independently to critical acclaim, and forged a path all his own through the music scene without the aid or muscle of a major record label or power-suit management company.

Look for us out on the road this weekend and enjoy the shows! Keep spreading the love, one song at a time…

*denotes NC artists