Three musicians sitting on wooden stools, playing acoustic guitars and singing tunes that have directly affected their long journey into the musical abyss is always an intriguing concept, especially if the collective narrative is pointed toward one of the most popular bands in rock 'n' roll history.
It's a rare to get this up-close and personal with the core of the Little River Band.
A trio of LRB members, including lead singer Wayne Nelson, will appear at 7 p.m. Friday at The Varsity Center in Carbondale.
Tickets are $15 and can be purchased in advance at www.thevarsitycenter.org. For more information, call 618-457-5353.
An LRB member for 34 years, Nelson will be joined by guitarist Greg Hind and keyboardist Chris Marion to perform classic tunes “Reminiscing,” “Cool Change,” “Lonesome Loser,” “The Night Owls” and “Help is on its Way.” They will also blend in a few Christmas songs.
This show is vastly different than any other “songwriters in the round” type of event because there will be a fourth stool on stage occupied by a person sharing a unique perspective of the rock star life.
Rhonda Nelson, Wayne's wife, will be telling stories, some planned and others spontaneous, about celebrity life on the road.
“America is fascinated with reality television. What could be better than getting a behind-the-scenes look at a famous rock 'n' roll band? We pull the curtain back and give them a peak,” she says. “It's not always glamorous. We are like everyone else. There are good times and bad times. Sometimes things get a little crazy.”
The Nelsons are on the final leg of a year-long book tour to promote “A Different Life,” a 240-page book Rhonda Nelson wrote and released last year. It showcases her 16 years on the road with the Little River Band.
Born and raised in Nashville, which was the LRB home turf during the 1990s, Rhonda met her future husband in 1999, when the band was playing a gig at the Wildhorse Saloon in the downtown area.
They got married a year later.
“The book journey began in 2015 as an extension of a blog I started about life on the road and things in between, like fashion and beverage. The common thread we found is food, which is covered in great detail,” she said during a telephone interview from her hometown of Delray Beach, Florida.
The Little River Band will perform a Carols by Candlelight concert at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Nashville's Marathon Music Works, a fundraiser for Monroe Harding Foster Care. The unique event combines traditional Christmas songs with original material by the band. Also appearing will be John Ford Coley and Sixwire.
Just like LRB, the Carols by Candlelight tradition started in Australia.
The Little River Band was formed in Melbourne in 1975. Through the years, the band dominated the radio airwaves in both the United States and Australia, selling over 30 million albums. Released in 1978, BMI says “Reminiscing” is one of the most played songs in American radio history with more than 5 million spins.
The enormous popularity of LRB virtually guaranteed its admission to the Australian Recording Industry Association Hall of Fame, which happened in 2004.
There have been over 30 members of the group during its 42-year history. No original members are part of the current LRB roster.
However, Nelson joined in 1980, took a hiatus from 1996 to '99, and has been providing lead vocals for the past 18 years. He has shared the stage will all original members and is the original lead vocalist on “The Night Owls,” which reach No. 6 on the Billboard charts.
Nelson doesn't try to sway the opinion of hardcore followers of the original band. He does maintain that the current cast is loaded with outstanding instrumentalists and top-notch vocalists.
“Don't stop the band from continuing its career,” he says, “when all along, we picked up new members and continued to make good music and new people are being turned on to this band and its outstanding collection of music.”
A native of Rome, Illinois, Nelson worked with popular rock duo Loggins & Messina prior to joining LRB.
Before the fateful night at the Wildhorse, the music-loving Rhonda was a genuine entrepreneur. She had managed rental properties, was the owner/operator of a wedding dress shop and an innkeeper at a 150-year-old building in the Smoky Mountains. She co-owns a Florida-based company that writes and produces jingles for local and national broadcast advertisers.
A confessed shoe addict and wine connoisseur, she is a board member of The Florida Fishing Academy. She is very active in animal rescue and has a Maltese at home to prove it.