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For AdVantage News
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For AdVantage News
Susan Rolens (left) of Rolens Productions with country star Gretchen Wilson.
EDWARDSVILLE – On May 2, The Wildey Theatre will play host to an evening with The American Honky-Tonk Bar Association.
“Shameless: The Garth Brooks Experience,” featuring country artist Nathan Orr performing the iconic superstar’s music, kicks off at 8 p.m. with an acoustic set from well-known local artist Tim Campbell.
Orr has been performing tributes to Garth Brooks since discovering the singer’s music in 1992.
“Nathan is an incredible talent,” said Bobby Rolens, whose company, Rolens Productions is sponsoring the event. “He has really got it.”
With Brook’s voice and mannerisms that Rolens describes as “uncanny,” Orr will perform some of the star’s biggest hits, including “The Dance,” “Friends in Low Places,” and “Ain’t Goin’ Down (Til the Sun Comes Up).”
Along with his brother Larry, Rolens owned and operated the Granny’s Rocker night clubs in Edwardsville (from 1985 until 1995) and Alton (from 1987 until 1994). While touring with his band Baywolfe, he met Gretchen Wilson and destiny stepped in.
“We hired Gretchen, who was from Pocahontas (Illinois) and lived in Collinsville, to sing for Baywolfe, which she did for about two years,” Rolens said. “Even after moving to Nashville, she still traveled back and forth to play with us here. Then, she got signed in 2003 and called to ask me to be in her touring band.”
By 2004, the “Redneck Woman” singer’s career was in the stratosphere, and Rolens was along for the ride (including a Super Bowl XXXIX halftime appearance in 2005), providing his talents until 2009, when Wilson stopped touring to spend time with her daughter. Rolens moved back to the area from Nashville and together with his wife, Susan, started Rolens Productions.
Last fall, Wilson returned to the area, performing a show at The Pageant in St. Louis (the same venue she played as a kickoff to her career as a contracted artist in 2004), and Rolens Productions is handling the release of a concert DVD of the event, to be released in 2015.
“Shameless” will be Rolens Productions third tribute performance (following Alan Jackson and Rascal Flatts events). Orr will be backed by a seven-piece band, including Rolens himself, who plays fiddle and guitar.
Rolens also says upcoming dates for the tribute performance this summer will ensure the show will be “more than a memory.”
For information and to purchase tickets, visit www.wildeytheatre.com.