Dazed & Amused: Turnpike Troubadours and Miranda Lambert at the Tacoma Dome

Country fans are in for a red-dirt reckoning in the City of Destiny on Feb. 1.

Photo courtesy Turnpike Troubadours

Its probably going to be pretty cold in Tacomaand temperature-controlled in the Tacoma Domeon the night of Thursday, Feb. 1. Thats too bad, because the Turnpike Troubadours should really only be witnessed at a venue where its excruciatingly humid and at least 90 degrees outside (or, hell, inside).

At such a gig, the mosquitoes must feel like theyre feasting at Canlis for free, as the entire audience is loaded up on lager and loin, with sweat pooling in that pocket where the back fat meets the bone. The Troubadours play the opening bars of The Bird Hunters, their lanky, handsome, unpredictable lead singer Evan Felker crooning smoothly like a flatland Fogelberg, set in stark contrast to the muscular lyrics and volcanic electro-twang of the crack band behind him. Furthermore, the Oklahoma road warriorswho work an audience into a lather like perhaps no other act in the Americana genreshould be allowed to play well past last call.

Thats not going to happen on Feb. 1, because the Troubadours will be opening for Miranda Lambert, where theyll likely be restricted to about 45 minutes of stage time, max. That a Nashville star like Lambert has booked the Troubadours to support her provides a clue as to where the native Texan is headed these days: back to the Lone Star State. She lives there now, and her phenomenal 2016 double album,The Weight of These Wings, substitutes red-dirt rawness for the sheen of Music Row.

It could be credibly argued thatWeight of These Wingswas the best country or Americana album of 2016. For 2017, that distinction might well belong to the TroubadoursA Long Way From Your Heart. Its a crying shame, then, that the T-Domes floor wont be cleared of seats to make way for tents and kegs, as this is the sort of show that should go on forever, as though its the last dang party at the moon tower.

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