It’s safe to say that if you weren’t in Cumming on Saturday, you truly missed out on a show unlike any other. The Skillet Lickers, in their 91st year, dissected the history of radio through history, humor, acting, and live music from across nearly every genre in existence.
Like the Skillet Lickers’ previous show, ‘Country Music Down Yonder’, the show was heavy on “edu-tainment”, mixing great history and entertainment. The show, performed in front of two near sell-out crowds at the Cumming Playhouse on Saturday, was an educational experience for many. “I never realized how important radio really was in the formation of, really, all genres of music, and I also thoroughly enjoyed the incredible show by the Skillet Lickers. I believe they touched on every genre of music and they absolutely blew me away,” says John of Buford, who attended the 3pm show.
While the show was very well received, the band had very little time to put it together — less than eight weeks, in fact. “We came up with the idea for this show just in December, and we started practicing right away, but it really wasn’t until the night before at dress rehearsal that everything actually came together,” says Russ Tanner, who helped to produce the show.
In addition to telling the story of one of radio’s most popular forms of media, the play showcased great Country, Jazz, Blues, Gospel and Bluegrass favorites spanning well over half a century, from Gid Tanner to Charlie Daniels. Though you probably couldn’t tell by the energy on stage, much of the music was new to the Skillet Lickers, and with the addition of drums and a stratocaster, the music was something delightfully new and fresh to regular Skillet Licker fans. The production featured Ethan Strickland on drums, Josh Tanner, portraying a radio DJ, and Larsen Kennedy who had an acting and musical role in the show, as well. Kennedy was also instrumental in bringing the show to life, directing all visual aspects of the show, and helping turn an idea to a sell-out show in a matter of weeks. Russ Tanner helped to narrate the show and lended his entertainment and superb fiddling skills to the show, as always.
The Skillet Lickers have been around for 91 years, but after this show, they’re making a name for themselves once again. The band hopes to bring this show back in the near future at other theaters across the region.