“Ultimate Oldies” offers unique country show

Staff Writer John Coffelt   Jamie Harden’s “Ultimate Oldies” show will mix it up a bit with an all new “Classic Country” show June 22-25 at the Manchester Arts Center. “We want to do something that relates to the common man,” Harden said. “That’s what country music originally spoke to the common man,” Harden said. “We’ve incorporated country in a few of our shows. We’ve done one ‘Classic Country’ show about two years ago with Jason. But this is the second time we’ve done a country only show.” The show will feature hits chronicling some of the history of country music. “We start off from the Bristol Recordings and go through the 80s,” Harden said. “It catches the beginning of country music. The Carter Family, Roy Acuff and goes through Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard. Then we extend it out farther than we normally do to Kenny Rogers, Barbra Mandrell, Loretta Lynn and even some Garth Brooks and Vince Gill. “It pretty much covers all the main artists,” Harden said. The show will also feature Broadway performer, and Manchester local Jason Petty, known for his portrayals of Hank William Sr. To be sure, Petty will do some Hank Williams numbers, but this will be an opportunity to see perform other hits. “He will be doing quite a bit of different genres. People who have seen Jason before, will get see him do some different things.” Petty got his start at Opryland Music Park, before being hand-picked to star in “Hank Williams: Lost Highway,” a role that has outlasted the theme park. “He does his Hank shows all over the world. He doesn’t get back to Manchester to do very many shows,” Harden said. This will be Petty’s third appearance since he’s moved back from New York. “We’re happy to have him in the show,” Harden said. “Everybody enjoys him.” The “Classic Country” show will include all the favorite voices of the “Ultimate Oldies,” and some new talent for the show. “We have a couple of newcomers that haven’t been with us in the past. We have an all-new band, and a fantastic fiddle player.” It’s a show that will bring new fans, and appeal largely to the longstanding ones. “This give us a chance to reach out to a totally different audience. Most people relate us to classic rock ’n’ roll, but we like to do classic country from the same era. We found that a lot people will come to a classic country show that would not come to a classic rock ’n’ roll show,” Harden said. “Anytime you can draw new people into the arts center and see all the things that are going on here, it’s a good thing.” He notes that there will only be four shows rather than the usual six. “Tickets are moving fast, so we are encouraging people to go online and get tickets.” Harden explained that rather than do one show this year “Ultimate Oldies” will do a series of three, the classic country, an oldies and a Christmas show in December. Tickets are available at millenniumrep.org. Shows are June 22-24 at 7 p.m. and at 2 p.m. on June 25 at the Manchester Arts Center, 128 E. Main St.