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A Day At “Larry’s Country Diner”

A
Day At “Larry’s Country Diner”
The tables are set with blue and white
checkered cloths and blue plastic cups.  There
are waitresses carrying out baskets with food, there is live music, a jukebox against
a wall and a restaurant manager with his assistant manager mingling and entertaining
the dinner guests.  It could be Anywhere,
USA, but huge lights are on and the cameras are rolling:  we are in a TV studio experiencing a taping
of the popular RFD-TV show “Larry’s Country Diner”.

But, before anything commences, as around
so many other tables around America and beyond, Larry Black, the show’s host,
leads the assembled in a prayer.  He
thanks the Lord above for our blessings, and the dinner service, I mean the show,
can begin. 
After the countdown from the floor manager,
Larry’s sidekick and award winning media personality Keith Bilbrey welcomes
everyone to the program in his familiar cheerful and humoristic manner.  Larry carries his entertainment duties with pleasurable
ease and it feels like being in someone’s living room or being part of a cozy
gathering where everyone knows everybody – and everyone feels welcome.  In addition to the jovial and homey atmosphere,
the dining customers and perfectly staged prop, they have music incorporated
into the program on both the invisible jukebox – where random numbers are
called out and the corresponding songs are played – and by live music guests.  On the day we were there, the four music
guests – part of four different shows – were John Berry, 45 RPM, Wilson
Fairchild and Bill Anderson.   At this
diner the music performances are cued spontaneously by the host between relaxed
chit chat and often epigrammatic jokes delivered from both Black and Bilbrey.  Even though the artists are headliners in
their own right, the dining room’s unpretentious living room feel is well kept
by the entertainers’ natural professionalism often accompanied by the well
renowned and respected guitarist Jimmy Capps, who in this show carries the
nickname “The Sheriff”.   Everyone working on the production team is at
the right place at the right time too, and it feels as if the cameras aren’t
even there.  After all, the show’s motto
is “Where the cameras are rolling and we don’t care”.  That includes the beautiful, silver-haired and
sweet smiling waitress Renae as well, who is comfortably and effortlessly
carrying her country kitchen delicacies to the patrons and injecting humoristic
comments as appropriate.  Speaking of
humor, when one least expects it, Nadine, the church lady with a presence that
can fill any room, enters and delivers one spontaneous joke after another.   You can tell she is as appreciated as any of
the other cast members by the welcoming applause and lit up faces among the
present.  “Larry’s Country Diner” is a unique
concept that really has found its appreciative audience.  After all, they have 1.4 million viewers each
month.
Shelley Ridge
for Country Music News International
Country Music
News International Magazine
Foot note:  The next episode of “Larry’s Country Diner”
will air on RFD-TV Saturday September 17 at 11 pm CT.

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