Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Tonight Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard, Summerfest, 10 p.m.
Danny Gokey, Milwaukee's first major “American Idol” contestant,” having finished third on the show's 2009 season, surprised his followers when he announced that he would record a country album. His hard-sung performances of staples by Marvin Gaye, Earth, Wind & Fire and The Temptations on “Idol” had given him a reputation as a soul singer, but country has proved a logical match for him, too. Gokey cut his teeth singing in church, so he clearly shares the faith and understands the down-home values of contemporary country's core audience. In just a single line from “It's Only,” a ballad from his 2010 RCA Nashville debut My Best Days, Gokey manages to make the case for God and take a swipe at the stimulus package, singing of an unemployed worker questioning his faith, “He needs a hand up and not a handout.” The rest of My Best Days is similarly rich with inspirational red meat for the country crowd.