All Night Party with Casey Donahew,

Mike Ryan, and Stoney LaRue.

                                                                                          By Kathleen Bee


Photo courtesy of Kathleen Bee

Photo courtesy of Kathleen Bee

It was only the second week in January and the Kansas City weather forecasters were calling for a major winter storm, but dedicated country music fans didn’t let the threat of “crippling ice” stop them from rockin’ out with Mike Ryan, Stoney LaRue, and Casey Donahew. Instead, the crowd itself stormed into the warm concert venue and readied themselves to get a little rowdy and enjoy a fun night of red dirt country music.

Mike Ryan was the first act on stage and let me tell you, he knows how to open a show! His set list was off the hook! I hadn’t heard Ryan’s music before, but right after the show I downloaded his album Bad Reputation.  He commenced with his current radio song “New Hometown”. Then he switched gears and explained the story behind the next song, titled “New Song”. Ryan said he had written the song about someone he loved who eventually turned into someone he didn’t really like anymore. He decided to change a few words and write the love song as the truth instead of a lie. So, the song became a “New Song” in place of a love song. The resulting refrain was so relatable and you could hear the crowd hollering out in agreement! He performed “Dancing All Around It” and ended his set with “Bad Reputation”. Ryan has a great stage presence and you can tell he enjoyed the crowd.

While waiting for the next artist, red lights suddenly started flashing and a siren was going off. This was the lead in for Stoney LaRue and his band to open with the song “Sirens”. He had a good set planned, that included, “Down in Flames”, “One Chord Song”, and a song that he co-wrote with Cody Canada called “Oklahoma Breakdown”. LaRue did an awesome job of keeping the audience intrigued and the night going.

As the grand finale was about the start, the stage design came to life! There were Texas-style rugs, lots of lights and pallet stages for the bass, drummer and fiddler. As soon as Casey Donahew and his band walked on stage, they were ready to party. The show was in full swing and he kicked off with “Feels This Right”. The set list consisted of a few songs from each of his albums including “Stockyards”, “12 Gauge”, “Whiskey Baby”, “Double-Wide Dream”, “No Doubt”, “Country Song”, and his current hit “Kiss Me”. It was fascinating to hear how his songwriting has evolved over the last 15 years. He went on to perform Matchbox Twenty’s “3 AM” and did a nice cover of George Strait’s “I Can Still Make Cheyenne”. Before he performed the song, he shared with us that he and other artists from Texas were asked to sing their favorite George Strait song in honor of Strait’s recent album release which features 20 years of his hits. 


Casey Donahew is an incredible musician and a true cowboy. He is all about the music and wants his fans to have a great time. He was such an incomparable artist to watch because he has been making music for 15 years and you can tell he has a blast doing it. His lyrics tell honest stories that are relatable and bring entertainment to those who listen. Donahew stated, “Country radio stations don’t play many songs about cowboys and rodeos anymore, so I am going to keep making songs about cowboys and rodeos until they come back around.” With that in mind, I encourage you to go out and support these great artists by requesting their new songs so they can be heard!

The show, from beginning to end, exceeded all expectations and was one of the best shows that I have been to. Each band featured a talented fiddler and they did such an amazing job adding that extra country vibe and tying the music together. The bands are currently on tour and I highly recommend making it to one of the shows!