Country music acts who want to survive need to show they are versatile.
Cory Hildreth, lead singer of the Bradenton-based One Night Rodeo, believes that and can prove it: He and his band can sing and play about 800 songs, from country to rock and more.
One Night Rodeo will perform Friday, March 1, at JetBlue Park, 11500 Daniels Parkway, Fort Myers, immediately after the spring training game between the Boston Red Sox and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Hildreth, 41, originally from Sarasota, said the band will play mostly from its 35 original songs tonight but will delve into the classic rock vault. He said he often receives more compliments for his versions of Prince’s “Kiss” and AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long.”
“We can do a lot of different styles,” said Hildreth, who also plays guitar, piano and mandolin.
“We’re not a come-and-go act. We’ve paid our dues working in the bars, working the fair circuit.”
If you go
One Night Rodeo
What: Florida-based country band will entertain fans after select Red Sox spring training games
When: Immediately after game, March 1, March 8 and March 15
Where: JetBlue Park, 11500 Fenway South Drive, Fort Myers
The Red Sox have added country concerts after each Friday night home game in March. The concerts are free to all ticket holders for each designated Friday night game. The other two Friday night games when One Night Rodeo will perform are March 8 and March 15, both against the other Fort Myers spring training team, the Minnesota Twins.
Joining Hildreth are Duane Allison (bass guitar, vocals) and three other band members.
One Night Rodeo has opened for major country music acts including Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban and Montgomery Gentry. And the band has won the Great American Country and Music Nation’s Next “GAC Star” competition.
But One Night Rodeo received its biggest break when its song “Real Good” became a Top 40 hit last year, Hildreth said.
The band’s musical influences include Alabama, Pure Prairie League and Restless Heart, Hildreth said.
“Great musicians, great vocalists, that’s who we have tried to emulate,” he said.
Hildreth, at age 5, taught himself keyboard chords with melody for “City of New Orleans.” His mother was the choir director at church, so Hildreth has been singing in front of audiences for years.
Hildreth said, like other country music stars of his generation, he grew up listening to pop and rock in the 1980s so he still enjoys performing songs by Elton John, Prince and others.
“If you listen to new country on the radio now, it’s basically ’80s rock ’n’ roll,” he said. “It’s a good thing. We’re reaching more and more fans. I honestly think that country music is starting to grow.”
One of One Night Rodeo’s goals, Hildreth said, is to “get hooked on to a tour and share our music with fans, not just regionally but hopefully all throughout the United States.”
Even so, he said he’s already learned some lessons on the road and will remain grounded.
“Keep it real,” he said. “Don’t let your ego get too big. It’s so cliché but it’s so true.”