In spite of his string of '80s hits — 30 songs on the Billboard charts, 18 No. 1s — Earl Thomas Conley never truly fit the Nashville mold. Much like Gary Stewart, Conley always had a Deep-South twang in his voice. Also like Stewart, Conley always seemed to come up with magic hooks, like the one in his first hit, "Holding Her and Lovin' You." Conley wrote with more than the average amount of honesty one finds in Music Row's songwriting boiler rooms, which is one reason legendary song picker Conway Twitty was one of Conley's earliest supporters in Nashville, as was honky-tonk hitmaker Mel Street. With cut-to-the-chase barroom lyrics like "I can be had but I can't be bought / I can be bad if I don't get caught," Conley eventually moved beyond writing to become a bona fide country mega-star. Conley's songs were always smothered in Southern soul, so much so that he remains the only country act ever invited to appear on Soul Train. His full band will be with him for this dinner show.
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