Darius Rucker delights Pennysaver Amphitheater Farmingville, NY 7-26-14 with Eric Paslay & Joel Crouse

The Island Federal Credit Union summer concert series has already brought A-list country stars to Pennysaver Amphitheater in Farmingville, NY on multiple occasions, and did so once again on Saturday July 26th. Long Islanders were already treated to Brantley Gilbert, Thomas Rhett, Tyler Farr, Cole Swindell, The Band Perry, and so many more on previous occasions, which was met with great success. Hootie & the Blowfish vocalist Darius Rucker took Long Island by storm with the help of Eric Paslay and Joel Crouse to once again pack the house with country fans from across the island.

Taking the stage first was Nashville, Tennessee’s Joel Crouse. Despite having only been a part of country music for three years, at the age of 22 Crouse has already shared the stage with some of the biggest and most respected names in the industry including Toby Keith and The Band Perry. Opening with the popular single “Why God Made Love Songs”, off of his forthcoming album Even the River Runs, he continued on from there to play a good mix of songs, including his debut single “If you Want Some” released in 2013, which fans really seemed to enjoy.  It was clear how much Crouse enjoys what he is doing by the giant smile that was painted on his face all throughout the set. That smile became even bigger when he introduced each song and explained how proud he was to have worked with guitarist and close friend Kyle Rife.  Everyone really seemed to love the entire set, especially songs that have yet to be released.  There is no doubt fans are in for a real treat when Even the River Runs comes out later this year!

Singer/Songwriter Eric Paslay took the stage next with a unique blend of his own popular songs and pieces he wrote for other artists that are known and adored by fans as well. The theater went wild when Paslay played his single and current hit “Song About a Girl” off of his brand new self-titled record. Mixed throughout the setlist were two country favorites, “Angel Eyes”, which Paslay originally wrote for Love and Theft, and “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” which he wrote for Jake Owen. The latter song was particularly special for Paslay as it is the first number one hit that he wrote. All attendees were screaming along to the songs as it was a nice surprise for those who did not know that Paslay had written some of their favorite country songs for other artists.  Particularly captivating was when he closed with single “Friday Night”, yet another popular song off of his self titled record that had been receiving great airtime on local station My Country 96.1 FM in the past few weeks.  This made for the perfect conclusion, igniting everyone to singing along, and all warmed up for Rucker to take the stage.

Gaining fame in the 1990’s as part of the platinum selling rock band Hootie & the Blowfish, Rucker has continued to spread his creative wings over the years, tapping into R&B in the early 2000’s, launching a spectacular country career with the album Learn to Live (2008) and releasing his successful album True Believers in 2013.  With a roots voice to the core, Rucker immediately won over country rock fans right out of the gate.  Greeted by an excited crowd ready to rock and sing along, the fun was just about to begin at Pennysaver Amphitheater.

Coming out with a warm passionate delivery Rucker and his band had everyone on their feet from their first note.  Matching Rucker’s unmistakable vocal delivery was the genuine subject matter of his songs that comes across extremely personal, allowing for a deeper connection with the audience.  Engaging with the crowd, midway through the set Rucker made a beautiful and heartfelt gesture to a couple that chose to celebrate their fourteen year anniversary at the show that made their night even more special. Moving along, he offered a fantastic mix of songs including favorites off of True Believers such as “Radio” which had all singing along.   Other highlights included “This” off of the album Charleston, SC 1966 (2010) proving to be a huge hit with fans with its positive and optimistic vibe and lyrics.

Diving into the earlier part of his country career, the touching song “History in the Making” was still a show stopper even five years after its release, showing just how fast time passes. Rucker carried on, performing the classic song “Family Tradition”, with the help of supporting act Crouse who he referred to as his little brother.  Always great to see artists supporting one another, the collaboration was warm and heartfelt, arousing more cheers from the audience.  Concluding the evening, Rucker played ever-popular “Wagon Wheel” along with a cover of Prince’s song “Purple Rain” which had everyone in the crowd happily singing along and ending the performance on a high note.

In recent years, country rock continues to show itself to be a huge success on Long Island.  Judging by the expressions on the faces of everyone around, it really seemed there was a universal happiness from the front of the orchestra section to the very last row of blankets and lawn chairs on the grass.  Fans of all ages, from parents to children, enjoyed each moment of the show Darius Rucker, Eric Paslay, and Joel Crouse put on; ensuring this is a concert that will stick with them forever.

Pennysaver Amphitheater’s 2014 line-up has been exceptional with all of the stars that have already come and is bound to continue with shows still to come including Little Big Town 8/16, Kip Moore 8/29, and Dierks Bentley 9/13.



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