Vocalist Nnenna Freelon (center) harmonizes with members of the gospel sextet Take 6 during ‘Georgia on My Mind: Celebrating the Music of Ray Charles.’

LOGAN – If you’re in the mood for a nostalgic trip down memory lane, there’s nobody better to take that stroll with than music legend Ray Charles.

That’s why a good sized crowd turned out Monday evening for “Georgia on My Mind: Celebrating the Music of Ray Charles” at the Ellen Eccles Theatre in downtown Logan. That audience came looking to have a good time and they got what they came for in spades. The show absolutely sizzled.

The musical tribute starred a diverse array of gifted musicians and vocalists who all had personal relationships with the late rhythm and blues piano artist. They were singer Clint Holmes, the gospel sextet Take 6, vocalist Nnenna Freelon and saxophonist Tom Scott.

While “Georgia on My Mind” was everything that you’d expect a tribute to a legend to be, it was also an evening full of surprises.

For starters, while the CacheARTS touring season regularly hosts county/cowboy shows like the Sons of the Pioneers and the Bar J Wranglers, “Georgia On My Mind” was big and brassy, like a show from the Las Vegas strip. Which happens to be true.

The vocalists naturally performed sophisticated arrangements of Charles’ well-known hits like “Hit the Road, Jack,” “I Can’t Stop Loving You”, “What’d I Say?” and – of course—“Georgia on My Mind.” But they also revived some great music from the flip-sides of those old 45 rpm records.

While Take 6 is renowned as an a cappella group, they proved to be equally entertaining while accompanied by a hot five-piece ensemble of talented musicians. The only song performed in Take 6’s own inimitable a cappella style was a jazzy arrangement of “Rainy Night in Georgia.”

Equally surprising was the fact that the host of the show, Clint Holmes, is pushing 75 years of age and still croons like a teenager.

Holmes demonstrated that vocal ability in solo numbers and a couple of duets with thrush Nnenna Freelon, including an amusing rendition of “Baby, It’s the Cold Outside,” a holiday classic now considered controversial by the woke folks.

The final pleasant surprise of the evening was that the professional performers were backed-up by the Chamber Singers from Utah State University, who obviously enjoyed rocking out on a couple of Charles’ hits under the direction of Cory Evans.

Upcoming features in the CacheARTS’ national touring season are a sold-out appearance by the Bar J Wranglers on Dec. 18 and the “Choir of Man” show on Jan. 8.

The Cache Valley Center for the Arts is an independent non-profit organization that promotes the use of Cache Valley’s publicly owned cultural arts facilities.

Those facilities include the Ellen Eccles Theatre, the Thatcher-Young Mansion and the Bullen Center.



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