Brett Eldredge opens Youngstown amp to country

YOUNGSTOWN — Fans of singer Brett Eldredge know he doesn’t always look like your typical country music star, and when he covers songs like the soulful 1960s hit “My Guy,” he doesn’t always sound like one, either.

Despite that, when Eldredge took the stage with his five-piece band neatly dressed and sans any sign of cowboy hats Friday night in Youngstown, he still performed like a country music star.

It was Eldredge’s fourth concert in Youngstown, a fan shouted to remind him Friday after he incorrectly said from the stage he was performing here for about the fifth time.

“Well, we are going to make it 20, then, OK?” he responded.

He followed the brief exchange by introducing an early song that he played in Youngstown during his first visit to the city. The song, “Raymond,” was written about his grandma who, he said, had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.

“She would make me Pop Tarts and put butter on them,” he said. “I hated to see her going through that, but she always took care of me.”

Eldredge also pleased the crowd by performing his latest of seven No. 1 singles, “Love Someone,” although some might have been disappointed by the absence of his dog, Edgar, who has been known to go on tour and take the stage with Eldredge. Edgar co-stars in the “Love Someone” video. Earlier this week, Eldredge said he takes Edgar on “easy” road trips, but when he travels far from his Nashville home, he leaves the dog with his parents.

Other songs performed during the 90-minute show included, “Wanna Be That Song,” “Don’t Ya,” “The Reason,” “Long Way,” “Heartbreaker,” “One Mississippi” and “Somethin’ I’m Good At.”

Eldredge, an energetic and jovial performer, delivered a good mix of ballads and up-tempo hits, switching from acoustic to electric guitar frequently throughout the evening. He also performed solo on a few songs without the rest of his band. He opened the show with his 2015 hit “Lose My Mind” and closed with one of his earliest big hits, “Beat of the Music,” from 2013.

Eldredge was the first country music act to christen the new Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre, a fact that was not lost on him.

“This is a brand new spot, a brand new stage, and we are breaking it in tonight!” he bellowed to the delight of thousands of fans who packed the lawn on folding chairs and blankets, as well as several rows of reserved seating and standing in a stage pit area out front on the pleasant, star-filled night outdoors.

Friday’s concert is near the end of his summer tour, and Eldredge said that upon its completion, he intends to return to work on his next album, which, according to his comments from the stage, just might mean a return trip to Youngstown next year.