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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Danny Gokey

Tonight Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard, Summerfest, 10 p.m.

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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.