By Jim Nickerson
(Apple Valley)– American Idol Season 8 finalist Stevie Wright brought family, friends and a mix of Rock and Roll to her performance that had the audience dancing and clapping through her entire show. Her powerful voice did not seem like it could come from her petite body, but Stevie belted out songs by The Who, Journey, the Beatles and ZZ Top. She really shined when she sang Heart’s “What About Love” and “Barracuda”. She delivered with energy and spirit that was greatly appreciated by the audience of more than 200 at the Courtyard of the Apple Valley Commons.
Sponsored by the Lewis Retail Centers and the Town of Apple Valley, the third of the Fall Concert in the Courtyard Series was a huge hit with the merchants as well. Food from Round Table Pizza, Quiznos, Fresh Wok and Rainbow Frozen Yogurt was enjoyed by the concert goers throughout the evening.
Stevie’s backup band is comprised of local musicians, most with more stage experience than Stevie has years. But the mix and obvious respect they had for each other made for a great balance and solid sound throughout the night. Lead Guitarist Pete Wright has the most years as a musician and as guitarist playing with Stevie; he played guitar for a performance of a Shania Twain song at her school when Stevie was 5 years old. But then, he is also her father. The rest of the band has only been together for about two years, but they do not lack in experience. Drummer Russ Chacon has been holding down the beat for almost three decades. Bassist Tom Barnett has been adding bottom for longer, and keyboard player Brett Dahl has over two decades on keys. Together, they provided a huge sound that balanced the power of Stevie’s vocals. One of the big surprises of the night was the backup vocalist Tamara Cox. If the name sounds familiar, it is because she was the choir director at Serrano High School, and was Stevie’s Choir Teacher. Their vocal blend and harmonies on the Heart songs were incredible, and Tamara more than held her own in the rarified atmosphere of the band and Stevie’s vocals.
Stevie also revealed that she has just signed with West Coast Music, a booking agency that provides entertainers for high profile “After” events like the Emmy awards.
Next week, the Concerts in the Courtyard continues with the rock and roll music of Tango Kilo. Bring a folding chair as provided seating goes early and remember to get a ticket from Julie at the Town of Apple Valley table for the drawings held throughout the evening.