News from the Tennessee Valley Diversions

Jeff Whitlow and the Old Barn Band will perform a free concert at the VBC East Hall at 6 p.m. Friday.
Daily file photo by Jonathan Palmer
Jeff Whitlow and the Old Barn Band will perform a free concert at the VBC East Hall at 6 p.m. Friday.

Jeff Whitlow, Old Barn Band ready to wheel at VBC in free concert

By Ronnie Thomas · 340-2438

HUNTSVILLE — Even if you don’t have a ticket for Friday’s sold-out George Jones concert here at the Von Braun Center, all is not lost.

And if you managed to get a ticket to hear The Possum, you’re in for a double treat — two shows for the evening for the price of one.

George Jones and the Jones Boys Band take the stage in the VBC’s Concert Hall at 8 p.m. But at 6 p.m. in the East Hall, Neel’s own Jeff Whitlow and the Old Barn Band starts whipping everyone into a country state of mind. They will keep the beat going until 7:30 p.m. The admission to the Whitlow show is free.

Whitlow wrote and recorded his first song, “My Room,” in 1978 while still in college. The tune reflects his memories of his bedroom growing up and is featured on his 2003 CD “Then and Now.”

He has had some highlight musical moments during the past three years. For starters, he performed at two world-famous venues in downtown Nashville — Legend’s Corner and Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge.

Hit song about Bo Bice

He earned national media coverage in 2005 with his hit song “I’m A Big Ole Bo Bice Fan,” about the “American Idol” runner-up. Whitlow wrapped up his first Nashville recordings at The Sound Emporium in January 2006, cutting four original songs penned by Nashville songwriter Steve Oliver.

“That was quite a trip,” Whitlow said. “We were pleased when Vern Gosdin, known as ‘The Voice,’ dropped by and gave his approval.”

Just over a month ago, Whitlow and the band performed in Montgomery on the lawn of the Governor’s Mansion for Gov. Bob Riley’s Boots and Bar-B-Que Inaugural Kick-Off party.

Whitlow grew up listening to songs from stars such as Jones, Gosdin, Merle Haggard and the late Conway Twitty. Today, when he covers a Jones song — and he has many from The Possum in his repertoire — he does it with a little more conviction. He and his wife, Connie, recently met the 75-year-old country music icon.

“What a treat that was to be in the presence of such a legend,” Whitlow said. “It’s hard to imagine, but he had his first chart hit, ‘Why Baby Why,’ in 1955, a song he co-wrote. And he’s overcome all sorts of problems to remain right up there at the top of his game.”

One of the songs Whitlow will perform Friday is his all-time favorite Jones hit, “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” Country music fans kind of liked it, too. A recent poll named it No. 1 of the top 500 country songs.

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