Default 4Video of Billy Dean singing "We Just Disagree" live at J.F. Gregory Park.
Around 1,500 fans flocked to J.F. Gregory Park on July 19 to see a free country music concert, headlined by national recording artist Billy Dean.
"The show turned out beautifully," promoter J.R. Gill said. "Even though we allowed alcohol, it remained a family affair and nobody got out of hand. The biggest issue we had was a guy who got drunk and ended up leaving Sunday after sleeping in the park. We just let him be – at least he was smart enough to not drive home."
The show was produced by Gill’s Harmony Productions Group. Gill said this was the first of many Harmony-produced shows that are coming to Richmond Hill. He is currently trying to arrange another country-based concert to feature a joint billing with Lee Greenwood and Lori Morgan.
"That’s what I’m trying to pull together right now," Gill said. "I don’t know yet if both artists will be available, but we will definitely be bringing some big name acts to Richmond Hill."
Saturday’s show also included local country singer Hannah Dasher and Savannah-based group The Rogues. Gill discovered Dasher, who is a Springfield native and current UGA senior. He added her to the bill so Dean could get a look at her. Dean recently started the Billy Dean Music Group, which develops new artists.
Gill set up Dean with a front row seat to check out Dasher’s set of original country tunes. Gill said Dean was very impressed with the young performer and plans to work with her in the near future.
Gill said Saturday’s stage was graced by another talented young singer – Richmond Hill resident Anna Hall. Hall won the right to open the show after recently winning the Richmond Hill Recreation Association’s Richmond Hill Idol competition.
"That girl has a great voice," said Gill, who was also a judge for RH Idol. "The audience really took her too. She’ll go a long way if she follows that avenue."
Hall performed the same song that she won Richmond Hill Idol with – Natalie Grant’s "Alabaster Box." Hall had to rush to the show from Paulsen Stadium in Savannah. Minutes before taking the stage, her travel softball team, East Georgia Thunder, took second place in the WFC (World Fastpitch Connection) World Series.
"It was a really exciting day for me and I was thrilled to be a part of the show," Hall said. "I barely had time to change and hit the stage, so I didn’t even have time to be nervous. As soon as I finished the championship game, I had time to change and be late for soundcheck."
Dean rolled out the hits for his set while taking time between each song for funny stories that ranged from meeting Mayor Richard Davis to miscued romance scenes while filming a Lifetime Movie with Dolly Parton.
The energetic crowd sang and clapped along as Dean belted out many of his familiar country hits.
Dean continued his storytelling and had the crowd laughing it up after tales of love gone wrong before songs like "We Just Disagree" and "She Left a Dear John Letter on My Old John Deere."
Gill brought several Richmond Hill youngsters to join Dean on stage as he delivered a stirring rendition of the top ten hit "Let Them Be Little."
"Billy asked me to do that," Gill said. "That song means a lot to him. He had to raise his two kids his self after his wife left him, and that song is about combining fatherhood with fame."
Dean invited Dasher on stage to join him on a couple songs. Their duet included an old Hank Williams song and a Merle Haggard cover, which Dean said he played specifically for Mayor Davis.
Davis joined Dean, Dasher and the Rogues for a raucous finale of Alisson Krauss’s "I’ll Fly Away," which concluded the show.
Gill said the RHRA staff was a huge help in pulling off the event, and "besides the heat, everything went incredibly smooth. The stage under the pavilion was a perfect setting. If we do shows there again in the summer, I have some ventilation ideas on how to keep everyone cool."
To see a live performance of Billy Dean singing "We Just Disagree" at J.F. Gregory Park, go to www.bryancountynews.net.