Chattanooga’s Live Music Scene – Overland Reunion Brings Tears And Joy

Monday, June 30, 2014 - by Bob Payne, with photos by Mark Herndon

The Overland Express reunion to benefit the late Keith Sherman’s charity and a tribute in his honor resulted in a sell-out capacity crowd at Rhythm & Brews on Sunday. The packed house witnessed some of Chattanooga’s greatest all-time musicians on stage, all singing and playing the many songs Keith Sherman wrote during his lifetime.

Near the end of the well-timed show, the crowd was treated to a recorded version of Overland’s “Prisoner of the Streets”, which featured Keith Sherman’s beautiful voice. The crowd cheered as the song came over the loudspeakers, but then settled down to listen to the haunting lyrics and great harmonies. Before the song was complete, there was hardly a dry eye in the place. Even Pat Payne, who wasn’t around during Overland’s runs at the Brass Register and Yesterday’s, cried during the song. It has been her favorite Overland song ever since I introduced her to their music 10 years ago.

That song was followed by a live version, with Lou Wamp , Kim Forrester, Dennis Haskins, Jimmy Tawater, Overland Express, James Rogers, Bob Johnson, and Kris Phillips. Needless to say, the harmonies were spectacular, as was the music. On that very stage, on that very night, there were so many members of the Chattanooga Music Hall of Fame that one had to be impressed. Overland Express members (inducted 2009), Jimmy Tawater (inducted 2009), members of the Beaters (inducted 2011), and Roger Alan Wade (inducted 2010) were all there, as was 2012 inductee Mike Dougher. Dixie Fuller (inducted 2011) had been by earlier, but waterfront management duties called him away for the Triathlon.

This was the best-produced program of its type I have ever seen. It ran smoothly and on time. Usually these events have huge spans of time between set changes as new acts come on. Not Sunday. Every changeover went quickly and smoothly. Dennis Haskins, Overland’s former manager and best known as Mr. Belding from Saved By The Bell, was a wonderful host & emcee.

The truth is that the crowd there was a bit older than many of the nightclub crowds on a typical night. They came to see their favorite band from back in the day. A few more gray hairs and few more pounds packed on many of the men guests that night didn’t stop the enthusiasm. The women from the old Yesterday’s time period still looked great, however. The band still sounded great, as always. Kris Phillips did Keith Sherman proud with his journeyman guitar work.

Naturally, what I heard the most was the real desire that these talented musicians keep playing and keep Keith Sherman’s beautiful songs alive for years to come. One can only hope. As for me, I had a cold that night, so my tears were the result of a medical condition. Pass the Kleenex, please.

Bob Payne grew up in Chattanooga and graduated from Baylor School. He is the Entertainment Editor for the and assistant talent buyer for Friends Of The Festival.

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