Virtually all the new records that have crossed my speakers in the last year were studio albums. They were material that was semi-finished and just needed some polish, or were new songs inspired by elements of the pandemic. Leave it up to Stoney LaRue to find a third path. LaRue is a road warrior, typically logging a couple of hundred shows a year. With another tour no longer an option, he sat down with his engineer, Roy Shelton, and power-listened through a couple of years of recorded sets. With a birthday approaching, and presumably a much-toned-down celebration in store, LaRue decided to put together a live album to mark the occasion.
Double Live 25, as you might surmise from the title, is a collection of 25 of LaRue and guitarist Jesse Duke’s favorite live songs from those concerts. It includes it-could-only-be-live versions of show favorites like One Chord Song and Oklahoma Breakdown. LaRue keeps the spirit of Bad Blake alive with Fallin’ And Flyin’ from the movie Crazy Heart. Another Gary Nicholson (and Shawn Camp) penned song, You Oughta Know Me By Now, was written specifically for LaRue. Hill Country Bugaloo adds a Delbert McClinton beat to an ode to central Texas cultural icons. Also one of my favorites is Message In A Bottle, a classic tale of having nothing left to lose when “her message in a bottle was to lay the bottle down.
With restrictions on crowds easing up and most of the musicians I know starting to dip their toes in the live show water, I am excited to go see music again this summer. When I listened to this album, it was like the smell of BBQ to a starving man. If you’re ready to whet your appetite for some live music, check out Double Live 25.
About the author: I've actually driven from Tehatchapee to Tonopah. And I've seen Dallas from a DC-9 at night.