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Confederate Railroad Performs at Rock’n Ribs BBQ Festival

We spoke with the founder of Confederate Railroad about their upcoming show at Rock’n Ribs BBQ Festival in Springfield, MO this weekend.

By Caiti Sloman

Apr 24 2019 at 1:27 p.m.

Confederate Railroad performs in Springfield, MO
Photo courtesy Confederate RailroadConfederate Railroad brings its mixture of rowdy and sentimental country music to the Rock’n Ribs BBQ Festival on April 26.

Confederate Railroad hits the stage at Rock’n Ribs BBQ Festival on Friday, April 26. Since the band debuted in the country music scene in the early ‘90s, they’ve released six studio albums and entered the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart with 20 songs. You might recognize hits like “Jesus and Mama,” “Trashy Women” and “Daddy Never Was the Cadillac Kind.” Get your tickets to see them live this weekend where you’ll hear a mixture of classics and newer songs. We spoke with the founder and frontman, Danny Shirley, about the upcoming show. 

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417 Magazine: Tell us a little bit about the band.
Danny Shirley: The drummer and I have been together since 1981 and worked with David Allan Coe and Johnny Paycheck for a while. 1992 was the first [Confederate Railroad] album. Since then we’ve had 20 chart records. We signed a record deal with Sony and put out the album Lucky to Be Alive. We’ve spent about 43 years on the road.

417: Describe Confederate Railroad’s musical style.
D.S.: Our first number one record was called “Jesus and Mama,” and that won a few Christian awards. Then there’s “Trashy Women,” which got us a Grammy nomination and sold over 3 million copies. It can be scattered and we like to have a lot of fun with a little humor. The ballads tend to stay away from love songs and relate more to family situations, which has worked well for us.

417: Do you have a specific career highlight that stands out?
D.S.: In my hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee, we have a big annual festival called Riverbend and it goes for 10 days with all types and genres of music. We got to headline that one night back in 1995. It had 138,000 people which was the record at the time. The stage is actually a barge on the river and when you play your hometown it’s more nerve wracking. The local DJ asked me on the way to the barge what the biggest crowd we had played was and it was about 80,000. The announcer comes on and says they have the all time record of 138,000... that really shook me up… I got a standing ovation in my hometown. Headline in the paper was ‘Hometown Heroes Conquer Riverbend.’

“Once we get on stage, I tell the band what the first song is and then we wing it. No two shows are the same.”
— DANNY SHIRLEY, CONFEDERATE RAILROAD FRONTMAN

417: Why did you want to perform at Rock'n Ribs?
D.S.: I spent some time in Springfield in the mid-to-late ‘80s. We played Springfield a few times as Confederate Railroad.

417: What are some of your favorite memories in Springfield?
D.S.: The first time in Springfield there was an old nightclub called Wild Bills—spent a lot of time in the ‘80s there, made friends and then came back a couple times to the theater and a couple other venues.

417: Do you have a favorite song to perform?
D.S.: A hit from ‘90s, “When You Leave That Way You Can Never Go Back,” but there isn’t a set list for any show. 

417: No set list?
D.S.: Once we get on stage, I tell the band what the first song is and then we wing it. No two shows are the same. It makes each show unique.

417: Switching gears, what’s your favorite type of barbecue?
D.S.: I like barbeque pork sandwiches with Carolina sweet sauce. My barbecue has to be mild.

417: What’s the best barbecue you've ever eaten?
D.S.: Gridley’s in Memphis, Tennessee. I had that years ago and still remember it as some of the best barbecue I ever had.

417: Rate your barbecue skills on a scale of 1 to 10.
D.S.: One—I’m not much of a cook. I will say our drummer makes some great barbecue, though.

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Confederate Railroad Concert
When: Friday, April 26 at 7:30 PM
Where: Ozark Empire Fairgrounds Corwin Arena