Whether they are working as an opening act or doing a five- or six-hour set at a local bar or club, the members of the Blue River Band approach the shows the same way to have a good time and make sure the audience does too.
According to Chuck Crull the band's founder/lead vocalist/acoustic guitarist, "We're doing things the same way whether we're opening for someone or playing a local club. We do our shows with the same amount of energy very high - no matter where or how long we play.
"We've opened for guys like Tracy Lawrence and Brad Paisley, and in situations like that our goal is to win over the crowd by going out and setting the stage on fire. The biggest compliment we can get is when we're told that we blew the headliner away, which has happened a few times."
Crull started the Blue River Band in 1994 and as it is with many groups, there have been numerous changes to the band's roster through the years. The band's current lineup Chuck's wife Renee (vocals), Glenn Rush (keyboards), Rick Waswick (lead guitar), Bobby Reagan (drums/vocals) and Matt Patterson (bass/vocals) is one that Chuck is very proud of.
"With this lineup we have definitely stepped it up a notch," Crull says. "The new members of the band (Regan and Patterson) are definitely high energy players; nothing against our former drummer Jimmy (Milliner) or Scotty (Standeford) who was our bassist. We're still good friends with both of them. But these new guys, hell, the whole band is making me play better these days!"
Earlier this year the Blue River Band competed in both the local finals of the Colgate Country Showdown and the annual "Battle of the Bands" at 8 Seconds Saloon. While the band didn't win either competition Crull believes that his group was definitely in top form for both contests.
"We were flawless that night at the 'Battle of the Bands'," says Crull, "we won the competition last year and finished second out of twenty-six bands this year. We saw several other bands in that competition that were really good."
While the music business has seen its share of artists whose dreams of becoming "big time" never come true, Crull says that for him, such ideas are a thing of the past.
"At one time I thought that making it to Nashville was what I wanted to do," Crull admits, "and for a while I tried to carry the entire load of the band by myself, just to make that happen. But that's not what I want to do these days."
Crull added that "if I had the band back then that I have right now I know we'd be getting heard all over the radio."
It may be a worn out cliché, but Crull says that for the Blue River Band, playing music for people is what matters most to them.
"If you 100 percent honestly enjoy playing music and don't spend time worrying about getting to Nashville, then going out there and entertaining people is worth it's weight in gold!"
There's a saying that Crull believes sums up his attitude towards being an entertainer these days:
"You will pay me for setting up and tearing down the equipment, but I'll sing and play for free!"
WHO: Luke Bryan w/the Blue River Band
WHERE: 8 Seconds Saloon
WHEN: Friday, November 13h, 8 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.)
TICKETS: $10.00 at door