Story by Tayhlor Stephenson
It’s not every day that The Statler Brothers’ Jimmy Fortune and the Oak Ridge Boys make the same stop in Nashville, Tennessee, but that’s exactly what happened Tuesday night for the taping of “Larry’s Country Diner.” Housed inside the Ray Stevens CabaRay Showroom — the CabaRay will host 12 episodes of the Southern-infused variety show — punchlines, laughter and country classics filled the room.
The cast, comprised of Larry Black, Nadine, Keith Bilbrey, Sheriff Jimmy Capps and Waitress Renae Johnson, first shared the set’s stage with Fortune. A cover of “Make the World Go Away,” which also appears on Jimmy Fortune: Sings the Classics, was the first of five tracks sang by Fortune. Others included Ray Price’s “Crazy Arms,” George Jones’ “She Thinks I Still Care” and The Statler Brothers’ very own “Flowers On The Wall.”
Next up — a cover of Michael Martin Murphey’s “Wildflower.”
“I put this song on my classics album because this was my little girls favorite song when they were little … they would get me to sing it to them and put them to bed sometimes,” Fortune told his audience. “Every time I do it I think of my little girls.”
Of course it wouldn’t be “Larry’s Country Diner” without Nadine’s infamous jokes, which she supplied aplenty Tuesday night, including one poking fun at the younger generations for not knowing what “Hee Haw” is.
The second portion of the night belonged solely to the Oak Ridge Boys, and the quartet began with “Pray To Jesus.”
“When you find a song you really like and it moves you, you go in the studio and you work real hard on it because you want to get it right,” Joe Bonsall of the Oak Ridge Boys said before the band broke into “Brand New Star.” “Then later on the song comes out and you really see the fruits of the labor that the song is meaning something to the people that are listening, and we’ve been experiencing that with this song.”
The Oak Ridge Boys continued with tracks “There Will Be Light,” I’d Rather Have Jesus” and “You’re The One.” At this point, fans were eager to hear “Elvira” after Bilbrey teased the fan-favorite by joking that the special of the night was “oom poppa omm poppa mow mow chili.” But filming ended before the number could be sung. And, as always, “Larry’s Country Diner” concluded with “where the cameras are always rolling and we don’t care.”
Following the taping of the show, the audience was in for a true treat when the Oak Ridge Boys welcomed Fortune back to the stage for a collaboration of songs, which proved to be more sing-alongs for fans than anything else. The “encore” performance included a cover of the Eagles’ “Take It Easy” and the two tracks fans were hopelessly awaiting: “Elizabeth” and “Elvira.”
All in all, thanks to Fortune, the Oak Ridge Boys and the “Larry’s Country Diner” cast, it was a fun-filled night. “Larry’s Country Diner” airs on Thursdays at 7 pm CDT and Saturdays at 10 pm CDT on RFD-TV. Enter your zip code here to find RFD-TV in your area.