Pure Prairie League continues to entertain and charm audiences
Band will play three nights in Park City
Park City is a special place for the Pure Prairie League.
“We have a lot of friends in Park City and looking forward to getting there in ski season,” bassit Mike Reilly said during a Park Record interview. “We’re thrilled we have the shows booked. And we’re looking forward to seeing friends.”
Pure Prairie League — featuring Reilly, pedal steel guitarist John David Call, drummer Scott Thompson and guitarist/vocalist Donnie Lee Clark — will return to the Egyptian Theatre and play at 8 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, March 2-4.
After the band played its two contracted shows at the Egyptian Theatre in 2014, it was asked to play another night because of the demand.
“So here we go again,” Reilly said with a laugh.
The band is known for its hits “Amie,” “Two Lane Highway” and “Let Me Love You Tonight.” And while those songs were released more than 40 years ago, Reilly and his bandmates still enjoy playing the songs, which, he said, have become an integral part of fans’ lives.
“Growing up when we did and starting our music careers when we did, we weren’t consciously trying to become anyone’s soundtrack, but after a long time in the saddle, that’s what you realize what’s happened,” he said. “Nowadays, people who come to our shows were people who saw us when they were in high school and college. If you ask them what they were doing the first time they heard ‘Amie,’ they can tell you.”
The goal now is to play the songs and make them sound new.
“Since people have seen us several times before and heard the songs over the years, we want to make sure they get a fresh perspective,” Reilly said. “It’s important that we pay respect to the tunes, but also want to throw down and have fun as musicians.
“That’s what’s great about this band in its current incarnation is that we get up there and get right to it.”
Playing music was something Reilly wanted to do since he was 14.
“I grew up in northern Kentucky and southern Ohio and we had a lot of music going on at the time,” he said. “James Brown was recording right there in Cincinnati. Lonnie Mack was playing the blues in the clubs all around town.”
Radio was also a huge influence.
“We had a bluegrass station and country station that I listened to, so the tableau of musical influences was huge,” he said. “After seeing The Beatles on the ‘Ed Sullivan Show,’ I went to Sears and bought a Silvertone bass guitar and taught myself how to play and put a band together.”
Reilly said creating a music group was on every musician’s mind when he was yuounger.
“The idea of putting the band together was just something we all did back in the early 1960s,” he said.
Pure Prairie League recorded its self-titled album in New York City in 1971 and took off from there.
Reilly replaced original bassist and band co-founder Craig Fuller in 1973.
“We never have thought about playing all of these years later,” Reilly said. “At that age and time of our lives, we never thought we’d make it past 30. So, to be in our 48th year as a band is pretty amazing for all of us.”
Many artists have collaborated with Pure Prairie League throughout its career. Those artists include Chet Atkins, Johnny Gimble, Don Felder, Emmylou Harris and one-time members Vince Gill, Boone Creek and Byron Berline.
“We have had several of our heroes play on our records because the Pure Prairie League juggernaut allowed us to do that,” Reilly said. “They, in turn, all have brought their own contacts and friends as well. We’ve been very fortunate.”
These days the band takes things year by year.
“We always think thisis going to be the last one, but so far, the way things are going, it will continue,” he said. “We’re hitting on all cylinders. We’re writing new material and ready to do some new recording.”
The band is also looking forward to touring Europe later this year.
“There is plenty on the plate to keep our interest,” Reilly said. “We’re thrilled. We’re holding on to the saddle horn for the ride.”
Pure Prairie League will play at 8 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, March 2-4, at the Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St. Thursday tickets range from $23 to $35 and Friday and Saturday tickets range from $29 to $45. Tickets can be purchased by visiting http://www.parkcityshows.com.
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