Nervous? Not Dorrian Cross! As I sit here and have a drink waiting for the show to start at Old Town, I think of all the musical acts I've seen perform at this legendary venue. I watch as Dorrian is tuning up, chatting up the patrons, and getting ready to take the crowd on a ride through several genres of music including rock, country, and some red dirt. Just like those old pros, Dorrian can talk to the crowd, do a sound check, and drink a PBR all at the same time without missing a beat. Did I mention "without missing a beat?"
Starting out as a drummer for various bands in the area, Dorrian has evolved from playing the Casino and Holiday Inn circuits to a solo musician that sings, plays guitar and the harp. Every so often, the drummer comes out in him and he plays a few drum beats on his Ovation acoustic while singing. I ask Dorrian if he misses playing in a full blown band and he says, "Yeah sometimes, but with it being only myself there is no drama and I can control what and when I play. It's hard finding musicians that want to play full time and put in the time and commitment."
Dorrian plays a lot in the River Valley area, but also ventures out to places like Eureka Springs and other venues in the Arkansas/Oklahoma area. He laughs and says, "Fort Smith is tough. There are so many talented musicians in this area that you sometimes have to go to other cities to play." And Dorrian is right, but he can certainly hold his own and then some when blazing through a set list that ranges from "Driving My Life Away" by Eddie Rabbit to "Last Dance with Mary Jane" by Tom Petty. He does a very soulful version of "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way," and a rocking rendition of "Fire on the Mountain." Dorrian will also throw in some original songs that will get the crowd into the music. "Weed & Wine" is a great song that will have you laughing while grooving to the beat. "Don't Mess With Tater Tucker" is another original number that will bring you to your knees. The story behind the song is that it is about a Chihuahua…and I will leave it at that. You can ask Dorrian for the rest of the story.
In between sets I got to sit down and talk with Dorrian briefly. We talked about his musical influences which include his Dad, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hank Jr., Waylon Jennings and Led Zeppelin. After hearing his first set you can certainly see all of that coming out in Dorrian as he performs.
His influences early on as a drummer include John Bonham, Stewart Copeland and Lars Ulrich. All of the talking about influences and musical taste was a great time, but the real treat I got out of the whole talk was how genuine of a person Dorrian really is. Dorrian is a real down to earth person and it shows with his interaction with the guests and fans that were in Old Town. If you get the chance check out his CD, "Son of a Rebel". Six tracks of songs you won't soon forget, and check him out on Facebook and go catch a show. You won't regret it!