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Ann M. J. Joles Ann M. J. Joles
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A 'Throwdown' review

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A 'Throwdown' review edge photos by Chris Joles

BANGOR Country music fans were plentiful Sunday as the Country Throwdown Tour made a stop at The Bangor Waterfront Pavilion. The lineup of acts ranged from sweet traditional acoustic to heavy Southern rock and a lot of twang in between. 

Fans were welcomed by Maggie Rose, a cute little blonde with a big old voice who sang from a young woman's perspective of fighting back and standing up. Her band jumpstarted the afternoon and was followed by Florida Georgia Line, a seemingly drinking game-inspired group. Eric Paslay, who has several published songs to his credit, delivered a deep talent for lyrics harkening back to Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings. He is a young man to watch if he can find some traction in a music market saturated with backwoods worship. Sunny Sweeney, always a fan favorite with her rhinestone bedazzled guitar, performed her own brand of trailer park songs. This is her second time in Bangor, last appearing with Lady Antebellum in September 2011.

Corey Smith opened the main stage. Perhaps the most understated and overlooked artist of the tour, his entertaining and intelligent songwriting ranged from country blues to jazz. He concluded with a jaw-dropping acoustic rendition of 'Stand Our Ground' in honor of fallen soldiers.

Josh Thompson and Justin Moore, clearly favorites with the crowd and particularly the young ladies in cutoffs and pink cowboy hats, delivered solid redneck-and-guns country anthems readymade for country fair truck pulls and gravel pit parties. These showmen had the house on their feet and singing along. What's not to like about these two?

Still as passionate as ever, Gary Allan closed the evening with Jack Daniels, expansive, heavy lead guitar, and heartache. Filling the Waterfront with his own brand of jagged-edge country, Allan reminded the crowd life is more than a pit party. It is love, loss, heartache and old-fashioned rocking country music full of steel guitar and stirring rhythm.

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