Terri Clark/Jessica Mitchell
Melissa Forsythe from KX 94.7 hosted the evening, and introduced the opening act Jessica Mitchell, who walked on stage without a band to perform an amazing solo act with just an acoustic guitar and piano. She engaged the crowd with some witty conversation, announced she was from London Ontario, and played her hit song “Grown Up Things”. Personally I was not prepared for the incredible talent that flowed from this girl – what a voice! After tremendous applause she sipped her water and said she wished it was wine, eliciting more chuckles from her enthralled audience. Despite this being the last show of the tour which made her feel sad, she happily announced she was headed to Nashville, and performed her next song “Girlfriend”. Jessica then said she has horrendous taste in men and that’s why her songs are so sad, and she sang an empowering song called “Tear It Down” about kicking the things you don’t need to the curb – yet another song that showcased her very powerful and emotional voice. Next she invited the audience to “Come with me on a terrifying journey to the piano”, as she sat down at the keyboard and warned us that she usually makes one mistake per night; Jessica was a natural with the crowd and kept everyone engaged and entertained. She sang “One of These Things Ain’t like the others” and “Somebody Like Me” which really featured her amazing songwriting skills. Switching back to acoustic guitar, she discovered her guitar was seriously out of tune, called herself an “amateur” and claimed this was her first show, turning an embarrassing moment into something funny, light-hearted and entertaining. She finished her set with her big hit “Working On Whiskey” which brought the house down.
After a brief intermission, Melissa Forsythe introduced Terri Clark, citing some impressive stats including how Terri won CCMA Entertainer of Year a whopping EIGHT times, has about five million albums sold, and is the only female Canadian Country Artist to be made a member of the Grand Old Opry.
Terri and her band kicked off the show diving immediately into her songs “I Wanna do It All”, “Gasoline”, and “Three Mississippi”, then greeted the crowd with a boisterous “How ya doin’ Brantford? It’s Wed, but let’s pretend it’s a Saturday!” setting the party mood. With a shout out to Jessica Mitchell, Terri then performed her smash hit “Emotional Girl”. She thanked Brantford, and shared how much she loves the Sanderson Center theater. She spoke of how she moved to Nashville in 1987 because she wanted to “be” Reba Macintyre. Next the band flawlessly played “No Fear”, a song Terri co-wrote with Mary Chapin-Carpenter about chasing your dreams. During a big harmonizing vocal moment in the next song “Northern Girl” the band all simultaneously backed off the microphones and faded back in, repeating this a couple of times… the crowd loved it! Terri’s next tune was her cover of the Trooper monster hit “Here For A Good Time”, a fan favorite, and Terri and her band cleverly worked in a couple lines from “Here Comes The Sun”. While doing a guitar change, Terri told us her Tour Manager is from Waterford, Ontario, and that she wrote Northern Girl in Long Point Ontario, where she bought a cottage. She mused that on the cottage application she wrote occupation as “Entertainer” as said they probably thought she was a stripper! She explained how she just did a solo tour in 2016 of 41 shows in 55 days from Oct to Nov, stopping in PEI; she muttered how Newfoundland people hate that she stopped in PEI, again making the audience laugh.
Despite how nice it is to “work with humans again” playing in a full band, she said she still does one solo song per show, and this one she wrote when she was 21 (she mused how “yes, 5 years flies by” invoking more laughter); she was also married and knew nothing about marriage. Her husband “Ted” was from Oklahoma, and he was introverted, shy, and kept to himself. Terri was complaining about Ted to her married friends who always supported her rants, but one single friend gave her a different perspective on how the grass isn’t always greener. She started soul searching about Ted and thought “this would make a good Country song” and an hour later the song was written. This was before Terri had a record deal, and she performed it for an audition for Mercury Records – and after 8 years of trying they called and offered Terri a record deal..! It has now been played over 1 million times in the US (Terri joked stating that’s approximately 123 times in Canada), which helped pay for a divorce from Ted! “If I Were You” was the song, which became the 3rd single off her first album.
Referring to the band members as her “Road Family”, each member was introduced, after which they all gathered center stage in what Terri called “Opry Style” and performed “Every Time I Cry” with an acoustic unplugged feel. She explained while choosing songs for 3rd album, there were so many female-empowerment-song options, but she wanted something more emotional and has since had many women thank her for this song that changed their lives, stating the song was their wedding song, etc… then she revealed the song by singing “Now That I’ve Found You”.
A class act with deep family roots, Terri gave a shout out to her 92 yr old grandmother who was in attendance, along with Terri’s Dad and his wife. Constantly engaging her audience, Terri explained for her 2012 album “Classic” she called the “biggest name ever” Reba to do a duet, and to her complete surprise Reba said she’d be “Happy to do it”. With that beginning, she also successfully recruited other big names for her duets, including Dierks Bentley, Jan Arden, Dean Brody, and Tanya Tucker for a duet of “Delta Dawn” which she sang next for us with her band member Emily.
Performing hit after hit, Terri drove the show home with “Just Wanna Be Mad For A While”, “When Boy Meets Girl”, “Hard On The Heart”, and “Girls Lie Too”. During her smash hit “Better Things To Do” she even changed a line to “You don’t know how many times I’ve done this song”, followed by “Poor Poor Pitiful Me” to close the show. Terri’s encore w/ Jessica Mitchell was a definite highlight as they sang Merle Haggard’s “Stay Here And Drink”, and Terri finished the night with a crowd pleaser, Johnny Cash’s classic “Folsom Prison Blues”. The audience left completely satisfied and feeling a little more connected to their fellow Canadian, who continues to establish dominance on stage and validate her Grand Old Opry membership and her place in the hearts of her fans.