Originally created 09/25/98

Confederate Railroad to be on track this time



Danny Shirley, lead vocalist and guitarist for Confederate Railroad, wants to make up for the last time he played in Augusta, when he had a 104-degree fever and couldn't find a last-minute replacement act.

He and his bandmates went on anyway, but it wasn't one of his better performances.

"My voice sucked and my playing sucked," said Mr. Shirley, who will perform with Confederate Railroad today at Krystal River Water Park in Columbia County.Mr. Shirley, who called for a recent phone interview from his home in Chattanooga, Tenn., wants to make it up to folks who might have gotten the wrong impression about the good-time, humorous, country/rocking band.

"I'm going to be a lot better this time," he promised.

The band, which broke out of obscurity in 1992 with hits Jesus and Mama, Queen Memphis and the signature tune Trashy Women, recently finished its first album of new music in three years.

The album, Keep On Rockin', will be released on Atlantic Records Oct. 20, Mr. Shirley said.

Since the group has been out of the spotlight for a few years, Mr. Shirley, 42, isn't worried about airplay for the new material. He's just happy with the response new quirky songs, including Daddy Cut the Big One and I Hate Rap, are getting at live shows.

"I don't turn around my cap/I hate rap/ It don't go good with beer on tap" sang Mr. Shirley, reciting a few lines from I Hate Rap. "They're really enjoying that song."Somewhat of a realist, Mr. Shirley doesn't expect to top the success of Trashy Women.

"You don't expect a big hit. Sure I'd like one, but you gotta be realistic," he said.

The Railroad is too country for new rock radio, and too rock for sappy, love song-flavored country stations. "Right now country is so geared toward love songs, and we don't do love songs," he said. "This album isn't geared toward country radio."

The new album includes a re-mixed version of the Railroad's stab at Lynyrd Skynyrd's Simple Man, previously only available on a Skynyrd tribute disc.

The Railroad also has a connection to Augusta. From 1987 to 1988, the band, then known as Danny Shirley and the Crossroads Band, was the house band at what is now the Honky Tonk. The group played there five nights a week, 40 weeks a year, he said.

"They gave me a room (in the adjoining motel), let me bring in a couch, and I felt right at home," he said. "Augusta is still one of my favorite places."

Country concert

What: September Fest '98, with Confederate Railroad, Exile and Shilo, Rhes Reeves and Danny Rhea & the Augusta Allstars

When: 5 p.m. today

Where: Krystal River Water Park

How much: $15

Phone: 855-0061 or 560-0551