Review by Karen Derry
Sunday night I had the pleasure of attending yet another great performance on the grounds of the Fieldcote Museum in Ancaster, a seven-acre property just outside of Hamilton. The quaint band shell, with its amazing backdrop of 100 foot pines, is named after Jim Green; a beloved local historian who also helped build it.
About six hundred people attended on this beautiful July night; many longtime fans of George Fox whose career has spanned decades and tours to many countries. including with artists like Randy Travis, Dolly Parton, George Strait and Willie Nelson, playing to sold out North American crowds.
In the mid- nineties, he toured Europe and played for Canadian troops stationed in Germany.
Amazing weather, a sprawling lawn and a gorgeous orange sunset added to this spectacular free concert of which is funded in part by the City of Hamilton, generous sponsors and donations at the door.
Although not a country fan, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. One of the great attributes of country music is you can understand the words being sung so it’s easy to follow the theme when you don’t know it. With catchy melodies, which are often predictable, the tunes keep your toes tapping along with diehard fans who know all the words. Fox has a charming country twang when he wants to, and his clearly experienced and talented four- piece band played for over two hours in an exceptional setting.
Fox opened with his “First Comes Loves” which clearly was a fan favourite – you could have heard a pine needle drop. His further choice of songs included a lot of Canadian content, with one selection being his original “I’m Canadian Eh” which had many of us roaring – you have to check out those lyrics! And only country music would have a song called “The Night the Barn Burned Down”, but hey, that’s all part of the endearing and clean lyrics of country music. A touching song of his called “Survivor” had several of us tearing up and as George said “sometimes music can be your best friend”.
George Fox is your quintessential Canadian farm boy who was raised on a cattle ranch in Cochrane, Alberta who now calls his winter wheat; soybean; and corn farm in Carluke home for the past twenty years. He is certainly an ambassador for Canadian Country and Western music with his cache of awards including five gold CD’s, three Juno’s and three Canadian Country Music Awards.
I must add that his rapport with the audience was made easier with such a unique setting as we sat in our well-used lawn chairs or on our music concert blankets. His funny and entertaining repartee between songs really engaged the audience and added to the charm of it all. His final song brought him off the stage, onto the lawn where we sat, singing to us while shaking hands and patting backs. How truly Canadian.