Earl Thomas Conley - lead vocals, guitar; Shannon Fontaine - lead guitar, vocals; Kyle Fredrick - lead guitar; J.D. Williamson - bass; Fred Williamson - saxophone, percussion, vocals; Tommy McGovern - keyboards; Bill Watts - drums
Earl Thomas Conley saw the biggest year of his career when this show was recorded for broadcast on the Silver Eagle Cross Country Radio Series. He would have four #1 Country hits in 1984, the first time any artist had done so with a single album. His music was a well-crafted blend of traditional country and Southern rock - a fact that helped convert some rock fans to country, but also inevitably alienated some of the more hard core country listeners.
Although Conley's heart was mainly in country (Hank Williams Sr. was a huge influence), he must have felt as if embracing the driving rhythm of rock would lead to his best chance at chart-crossover hits. Conley even admitted in many interviews that he was chasing an elusive crossover hit sound. In the end, Conley built a big and loyal following, but they would be primarily country fans. He never saw a transition to pop charts as Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson did, but remained a solid draw on the country concert circuit nonetheless.
Conley's emotionally charged lyrics also contribute to his success. While he recorded standard country fluff, like "Heavenly Bodies," he was soon labeled "Country Music's Thinking Man." Born into a life of poverty, Conley was often stigmatized by his challenged and difficult life, which was reflected in many of his songs. He worked a number of blue collar jobs while honing his songwriting craft.
His big break came when Conway Twitty cut one of his songs and took it to the Top 20. He also had a hit with a song he wrote for his producer's brother, Billy Larkin. These accomplishments led to a deal with Warner's, but it would be in the early 1980s, with a switch to RCA Records, that he would see his biggest success. At the time this recording was made, Conley was on the verge of having four number one country hits off the same album - clearly an exciting time to have seen him perform.