Archive for the ‘Fairs’ Category

James Otto, Kellie Pickler & Bucky Covington…another fair is over for this year.

September 14, 2008

  James Otto 2 James Otto opened the Washington County Fair in Abingdon, Va., Monday night, Sept. 8. With songs like “Just Got Started Loving You,” and “For You” already making him a huge favorite of country music fans, James is also in the list of nominees for a CMA award this year. The awards will be presented at the live show on Nov. 12 in Nashville.

I didn’t get out to see James on Monday, but Brittany Johnson did, and was kind enough to share these pictures with me – and with all of you!


James Otto 1 James has a full tour schedule ahead of him. He will be in Albuquerque on the 17th; Colorado Springs, on the 19th; Wichita, Kansas, Amarillo and then back to Memphis, the 19th, 20th and 22nd; and from Memphis back to Lubbock, Texas on the 26th.

I think we can expect to see James at the CMA award show, where he is hoping to pick up the award for New Artist of the Year. He has a four-day break in his schedule, from Nov. 8-12, but on the 13th he will be doing a show in Ontario, Canada.

Kellie Pickler 040 

This was one of the best surprises I have had in a long time. Kellie Pickler took the stage at the fair on Wednesday night. I liked her when she was on idol, she was cute, bubbly, sang ok, and she did country. I like her music on the radio – but I’ve never seen her in concert — until now.

Kellie is another example of how far people can go with the jump start they get form American Idol.

 Kellie Pickler 091 The kids who come from that show obviously want a career in music. They work hard at every part of “what makes a great entertainer.” And their hard work is paying off.

Kellie put on a fantastic show. I’m proud of her. She really, really did well. And I would go see this young lady in concert again.

And, she is another of of our CMA New Artist of the Year nominees.

I’m going to get a few more pictures of Kellie up here for all of you, before I move on to last night’s fair when Bucky Covington, another Idol graduate, was the headliner.

Kellie Pickler 166  Kellie Pickler 184 Kellie Pickler 086   Kellie Pickler 203 Kellie Pickler 081           Kellie Pickler 096

That brings us to Bucky Covington. I’ve seen Bucky before. He was good then, he’s even better now. He’s obviously very comfortable on the stage, and very comfortable around his fans. Bucky really likes who he is – and he’s not afraid to let you know that. When he’s ready for a huge round of applause, or a little screaming from all of his female fans, he does a little prompting to get the applause he’s looking for. But, he doesn’t have to. I think that audience was ready to give him all the applause and screams the kid could handle. It was a really good show.

Bucky 131 Bucky 264 Bucky 120 Bucky 246 Bucky 133 Bucky 335 Bucky 199Bucky 219  Bucky 364     Bucky 238

There you have it – a few photos from Meet & Greet, a few of Bucky, and one or two of twin brother/drummer Rocky tossed in there for you all to enjoy.

I have one more fair coming up, that will be Sept. 27, in Waynesville, N.C. (The Haywood County Fair). So between now and then, we’ll get back to country news, and get caught up on everything happening in the world of country music.

Thanks again for reading, and for writing. You know it takes me a while to get my mail answered, but eventually, I really do get back to all of you.


2008 Washintgon County Fair, Abingdon, Va.

September 7, 2008

Everyone ready for the Washington County Fair in Abingdon, Va.? It will start tomorrow, Sept. 8, and run through Saturday the 13th.

James Otto James Otto will start out the week with WXBQ’s New Country Night. His bio says he’s a “country singer and songwriter with a Southern rock heart”. I like that. He plays violin and saxophone, and learned both of those before getting his first guitar at age 13. “For You,” is his follow-up to “Just Got Started Lovin’ You,” which was his first No 1 single.

I won’t be at the fair on Monday night, but I do have a friend going, and she should be sending me some pictures to post here for you guys on Tuesday.


headhunters The Kentucky Headhunters will take the stage on Tuesday, Sept. 9. The band has been around for a long time, but you might remember them best for “Walk Softly on This Heart of Mine,” “Dumas Walker”, “Oh Lonesome Me,” “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” and “Take These Chains from my Heart.”

Kellie PIckler Get ready for Kellie Pickler to take put on Wednesday night’s show.  Reserved seating for her show has been sold out for months, but I’ll be there – in the third row, with camera in hand! So be sure to check back for photos from that show on Wednesday or Thursday. I’ll get them up just as quick as I can. We first heard her on the radio when she released “Red High Heels”, and she’s since released “I Wonder,” “Things That Never Cross a Man’s Mind,” and her current hit “Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful.”

022_22 Trent Tomlinson will be on stage Thursday, Sept. 11. This is Trent’s third year in this area, he did the Appalachian Fair the past two years. He puts on a great show, and I highly recommend it to anyone who missed him his last two times through our part of the country.  Trent is best known for his songs, “Drunker than Me,” and “One Wing in the Fire.” This is another night I won’t be at the fair, but as I said in an earlier post – as much as I would like to, I just can’t make it to all of them.

percy A little different for a county fair, we have Percy Sledge on stage Friday, Sept. 12. I’m probably not alone when I say that I remember him best for his 1997 hit, “When a Man Loves a Woman.” I really can’t say much more about this entertainer, I’ve never seen him in concert – but I’m sure he will put on a great show.

Copy of Bucky4 Closing out the Washington County Fair this year will be Bucky Covington. Bucky was here last year for the Appalachian Fair, and I know everyone is excited about seeing him again. He has a large following, not only in this area, but fans who come in from just about all parts of the country to see him perform. I’m looking forward to seeing him again, too.

That’s all for tonight. I’ll get a new post up as soon as I can. In the mean time, please visit the web pages of all of these entertainers, and check back through some of my older posts to see what you might have missed. Drop me a line when time permits! Talk to you guys soon.

Another Week… Another Fair, or two, or three…

September 4, 2008


LUKE 2 The Russell County Fair is being held this week in Castlewood, Va. I think I have that right. I rarely get to this fair, it’s a long drive, and comes in between the Gray fair and the Washington County Fair in Abingdon, Va. (And, we have The Tennessee Valley Fair in Knoxville in the mix, too). As much as I would like to, I just can’t get to all of them.

Washington County Fair starts on Monday, Sept. 8, so I’ll get something up here tomorrow night about that. Tonight, I want to pass on a little information I received today about Luke Bryan. So here’s a few pictures, and a bit about where you will be able to find Luke the end of this month.

Georgia native – Luke Bryan will be performing at the Haywood County Fair in Waynesville, NC on September 27, 2008 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are between $15 & $18 and may be purchased at  or at the gate.
Capital Even before Capitol Records Nashville released his debut single, “All My Friends Say,” to radio in early 2007, Bryan was already earning significant media attention, including being named one of Billboard magazine’s new faces to watch in 2007. He was the only country music performer selected for the honor. Bryan was also included in Country Weekly’s “Who’s Hot in 2007” feature and the single was chosen as an iTunes “Discovery Download” of the week. He made his debut on the world famous Grand Ole Opry early last year which Luke says was “truly a dream come true.”

Luke Bryan Described as a talented triple threat vocalist, songwriter and musician – Bryan, who moved to Nashville in 2001 quickly, landed a publishing deal with top independent publisher Murrah Music. There, Bryan found his voice as a writer by sticking close to the life experiences he knows best, as evidenced on such album cuts as “Country Man” and his signature song, “We Rode In Trucks,” a favorite among his Georgia fans. He not only wrote songs for himself but he also had songs cut by other artists like fellow Georgian Travis Tritt and he wrote the 3 week #1 song “Good Directions” for Billy Currington.

Luke Bryan1 “I’ll Stay Me” – Bryan’s debut album – released last summer – is a fresh and contemporary-sounding album that’s just country enough to represent Bryan’s rural Georgia upbringing, but rocking enough to reflect the years he spent honing his live chops at bars and fraternity houses in his home state, where he is already a bona fide star.

Luke has opened shows for country superstars Kenny Chesney, Brooks & Dunn, Sugarland and label-mate Dierks Bentley to name a few. “I don’t consider one thing I’ve done since I’ve been in Nashville work,” says Bryan.

“I still get shocked all the time when I meet random people and they say ‘You’re Luke Bryan.’ That’s still pretty neat,” the singer says of his home state fan base.

That’s all for now – Let me know if any of you are planning to go to Waynesville for Luke’s Sept. 27 show – It’s a Saturday night guys! We can carpool. Take care, keep writing! Talk to you soon.

Last one to leave the Fair, please turn off the lights

August 23, 2008

 Fair Jypsi 202 It’s Saturday night, Aug. 23. The carnival rides are being dismantled and loaded onto tractor trailers; all the animals have left the fair and are home sleeping in their own barns; the concession stands are closed, and you will have to wait until next year for another funnel cake; and we’ve seen our last concert for the 2008 Appalachian Fair… will the last person to leave the fair grounds, please turn off the lights.

Fair Jypsi 102 Closing out the fair this year was the group Jypsi. An absolutely fantastic band, made up of siblings 17-26 – Scarlett, mandolin; Frank, guitar and vocals; Lillie Mae, lead vocals and fiddle; and Amber-Dawn, fiddle and vocals.

I’ve been telling all of my blog readers since June to go and check out Jypsi’s MySpace page. Listen to their music, and give this group a chance. Those of you who listened to that advice were at the fair tonight – enjoying a great show. Those of you who couldn’t make it missed something very special. But I have a feeling it won’t be long until you get a chance to see Jypsi again – in concert somewhere close to you.

Fair Jypsi 126 The kids were even nice enough to play a song I requested, which was not on their play list for tonight’s show. Thanks guys. I just love “Stray Dogs and Alley Cats”.

Their promotional material says the kids are “amazing musicians with head-turning style” – the promotion material is right.

These guys signed autographs and posed for pictures before and after the show, and were nice enough to fit two radio interviews in between their sound check and their supper. I think we’ll be seeing a lot of Jypsi! And I’m glad.

I’ve had six very long days at the Fair, and I think it’s time to post some pictures from tonight’s great concert and call it a night.

Fair Jypsi 156 Fair Jypsi 161 Fair Jypsi 173

Fair Jypsi 171     Fair Jypsi 189

Fair Jypsi 170 Fair Jypsi 041 Fair Jypsi 032   Fair Jypsi 070 Fair Jypsi 133  Fair Jypsi 116 Fair Jypsi 181

That will do it for tonight I hope you all have a fantastic Sunday. I might take a day or two to rest up here before getting up a new post, but stay with me. I’ll be back real soon with more country news.

Thanks so much for reading. And thank you for all your e-mails and comments. I’ll get back to everyone as soon as I can.
Love you guys,

Chris Young’s night at the Appalachian Fair

August 23, 2008

Fair Chris Young 100 Anyone out there hearing voices tonight? I just heard an awesome voice – and it belongs to Chris Young, tonight’s headliner at the Appalachian Fair in Gray. His new single, “Voices,” is working it’s way up the country charts.

Any of you who don’t know why Chris Young won Nashville Star a few seasons ago, and any of you who didn’t know he has his second top 40 single, should have been at the fair tonight. When Chris stepped out on stage, everyone knew immediately who he is. what he’s done, and where he’s headed.

You really have to give that boy a huge round of applause. Not only did he put on a great show, he gave us our fourth consecutive night of “this is how a country singer should treat their fans”.Fair Chris Young 103

Even though Chris is leaving in the morning on his second annual Chris Young Country Cruise, he made time to sign autographs and pose for pictures with his fans after the show.

Now, it would have been one thing if he were hopping on a waiting private jet and flying to the port for departure, but the man was riding in the bus… I’m not going to try to guess how long it takes to drive from Gray, Tenn. to New Orleans, La., but I sure do hope he got a lot of sleep during that ride.

And, I’m sure he knows how much that extra time with the fans meant to all of them. It’s one thing to stand on stage and sing up a storm, it’s another to reach out and touch the people who came to watch your show. Thank you, Chris!

Fair Chris Young 125 On stage with Chris tonight, we had  band members Shane Shelton, bass; Josh Carter, keyboard; Bo Hendrix, lead guitar; and Kevin Newberry, drums. They were all great, and they looked like the were having a great time, too!

One of the songs Chris sang tonight was done quite a few years ago by the late Keith Whitley, “Don’t Close Your Eyes”. I loved that song, and Chris certainly did a fantastic job with it.

Now, more photos from tonight’s show.

Fair Chris Young 014       Fair Chris Young 018Fair Chris Young 036 Fair Chris Young 045
Fair Chris Young 034 Fair Chris Young 021

That’ll wrap things up for this post to Country’s Chatter. I have a few e-mails to send out to fans of their photos with Chris, then I’m going to get some sleep and get ready for Jypsi at tomorrow night’s fair. Hard to believe the Appalachian Fair is coming to a close tomorrow night. But we do have Washington County Fair, Tennessee Valley Fair, Fletcher, N.C., and a few others not too far from here before “fair season” comes to an end for 2008.

I’ve enjoyed meeting a lot of my readers at these concerts, and hope to see you guys again real soon. Please keep in touch. I love your e-mail. Hope you’ll tell your friends about my little “chatter” blog. And Chris, thanks – for a great show… Enjoy your cruise!

Big things do come in little packages

August 22, 2008

Fair Heidi 133 Tonight at the Appalachian Fair in Gray, Tenn., we got a little country, a little bluegrass, a little blues … and it all came out of one little lady. Heidi Newfield was tonight’s entertainment on the Main Stage at the fair. She’s a little bundle of pure energy.

She played guitar, she sang, and she played harmonica. She’s fun to watch, and a very friendly young lady.

Anyone who missed tonight’s show definitely missed a lot.

Fair Heidi 109 Like Jake Owen on Wednesday night, Heidi was kind enough to announce during her show that she would be signing autographs after the show – for everyone who wanted one. I often wonder if our entertainers have any idea how long that line will be when they make that announcement. But true to her word, she signed them all.

I was enjoying the show so much I didn’t even get all of the band members names, when Heidi was introducing them.

Fair Heidi 120 So I owe a huge THANK YOU to acoustic guitarist and vocalist Hollie Poole, who was kind enough to spend a little time with me after the show. She told me who everyone was, what they played, and then she listened while I rambled on and on about anything that jumped in my head. I feel like I should apologize for taking up so much of her time – but she’s neat. And, I really appreciated her doing all that. Here’s a shot of Hollie and Dave LaGrande on keyboard.

The other members of this great band are Gant Kees, drums; Porter McClister, lead guitar and vocals; Johnny Stanton, bass; and Trevor Riley, steel guitar. Fair Heidi 073

As I do every night, it’s time to close this post out with a bunch of photos from tonight’s fantastic show.

This was the first time I’ve seen Heidi perform, since her Trick Pony days. She was fun to watch then, and she’s fun to watch now. If any of you haven’t had the chance to see her show, I hope you will keep an eye on her web site to find out when she is going to be in your neck of the woods. Now … here’s some pictures!

Fair Heidi 047


Fair Heidi 068

Fair Heidi 080 Fair Heidi 132

Fair Heidi 111 Fair Heidi 089 Fair Heidi 099

I think it’s time for me to get some sleep, and get ready for Chris Young at the fair tomorrow night. Thanks again, Heidi, for the great show in Gray tonight. And to the rest of my regular blog readers, I’ll talk to you tomorrow! Write when you can.
Love ya,

Jake Owen – Singer, Entertainer, "People Person"

August 20, 2008

fair Jake Owen 015 We all know that country music has singers, and country music has entertainers. Tonight at the Appalachian Fair in Gray, Tenn., I saw one performer wear both of those hats. Jake Owen does more than sing, he entertains. And he loves what he does.

I got to the fair grounds around 3 p.m. I heard music. Not unusual, I just assumed that they had started the sound check for Jake’s 8 p.m. show. I’ve been around fairs and concerts long enough to know what a sound check is. Sometimes you get one guy running around from one microphone to the next going “testing, testing” …. and sometimes you get a guy on a guitar hitting a note here or there. And sometimes you get the headliner out on stage for 5 or 10 minutes to actually sing a note or two. But let me tell you what I saw when I walked past the Main Stage this afternoon.

fair Jake Owen 057 Jake was on the stage, and so was his band. They weren’t just doing a sound check, they were rehearsing some new material, and actually doing a concert for the 5 or 6 people who were there early enough to see them. Some were sitting inside the stage area; some were standing outside the fence; all of us had cameras – and all of were enjoying what we were seeing. He really loves what he does. You would have thought he was playing to thousands, but he poured everything he had into playing for the 5 or 6 of us, and turned that sound check into a real show.

fair Jake Owen 042 But I learned a lot more about Jake tonight, too. Between that hour (and then some) sound check, and his 8 p.m. concert, Jake came out with us. With the people who worked at the fair, with the people who had exhibits at the fair, with the radio people from WXBQ, and with the fans. He was just there. And so easy to talk to. He is definitely a “people-person.” And, we sure could use a few more of those in country music. Jake even took a few minutes to enjoy a ride around the fair grounds on an ATV. Looking good, Jake!

fair Jake Owen 074 Jake was traveling with his dog Amos, who got out for an unplanned run – fortunately, Chris Crumley, who is on staff at the fair, outran the dog and carried him back to the fenced in back stage area. What a cute little dog… I’m glad he got back safely. When I saw that dog take off, I was really worried that he was gone.

fair Jake Owen 120 Most of Jake’s fans know that he will be celebrating his 27th birthday next week, but since he was here tonight, we decided to give him a little birthday card, and sing Happy Birthday to him on stage. I owe a really huge thank you to Myron Howell, Jake’s drummer, for making that little surprise a reality. You’re a sweetheart, Myron.

And thanks to the other band members, who helped make that absolutely fantastic concert so much fun… David Wallace, guitar; Billy Welch, keyboards; Bryan Dixson, Steel guitar; and Robbie Emerson, bass.

fair Jake Owen 161 Last night, after I wrote about Josh Gracin and his “fan-friendly” show, I didn’t think I’d be doing it again in the same fair week. But Northeast Tennessee has really been blessed to have Josh and Jake at the same fair, two nights in a row. Their music is different, and their shows are different, but they are both entertainers, they both love what they do, and they both appreciate the fans coming out to see them.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words … so, I think we’ll just get a few more of those up here for you all to enjoy.

fair Jake Owen 128 fair Jake Owen 149 fair Jake Owen 104 fair Jake Owen 107 fair Jake Owen 027 fair Jake Owen 140 fair Jake Owen 157
Thanks again, Jake, for coming out to the fair in Gray, and for putting on such a great show for all of you fans. I think this was a performance people will be talking about for a long time. And, you need to hurry back to our area again real soon. We loved having you.

That’ll take care of tonight’s blog. Be sure to check back tomorrow night for some pictures from Heidi Newfield’s Appalachian Fair concert. And keep writing everyone. I love hearing from you, and I really enjoy your mail!
Take care,

Josh Gracin in Gray, TN

August 20, 2008

Fair Josh Gracin 195 Tonight I saw Josh Gracin at the Appalachian Fair in Gray, Tenn. Those of you who know me are aware of how many concerts I attend every year. However, this was my first opportunity to see Josh perform.

People who have seen him previously told me “Josh puts on a good show.” To those people, I have this to say — You are wrong. Josh does not put on a good show…. Fact is, Josh puts on a GREAT show! One of the best I have seen in quite a while.

Fair Josh Gracin 181
Josh remembers what it’s all about. His show is totally “fan friendly.” From the minute he walked out on that stage, we all knew that we were the reason he was in Gray. He even told us that – this was his hour and a half to sing to us, to help us smile, laugh, and forget about any problems that we might have going on in our world right now. He just made you want to run up there and invite him and his whole family to your house for Sunday dinner.

These two young ladies were with Green Spring Marine, who sponsored tonight’s concert.

 Fair Josh Gracin 025
Josh tossed tee-shirts out to the crowd, joined his drummer, Kevin Murphy, in a drum duet, and then tossed the drumsticks out to the waiting hands of two fans. And, he stayed to sign autographs after the concert. I know he was tired, I know he has a hectic schedule, but he still stayed there – for his fans.  His fan-friendly concert included an encore, where he quietly slipped off stage, changed his shirt, put on a ball cap, and emerged in the middle of the bleachers where he started singing to several very surprised young ladies. No one even noticed him climbing up into the bleachers, as his band members continued playing on stage.

Fair Josh Gracin 068 In addition to Kevin Murphy on drums, band members are Mike Meadows, Guitar; Shawn Balin, fiddle; Tony Lopacinski, guitar; and Tripper Lyger, who I believe was guitar and mandolin. Hope someone will correct me if I got any of that wrong. It’s kind of hard to write when all you want to do is sit back and enjoy the show.

Someone told me once that one true yardstick for measuring a successful show is this – Did you leave them wanting more? Josh, I believe we all wanted more. And, I know that if you were playing in Gray again tomorrow night, I would be right there, Section B, Row 7, Seat 1.

Fair Josh Gracin 110 Josh Gracin really gets it. He is one of those entertainers who truly knows that at every performance, there is at least one person in the audience who had to save their money to come and watch him sing. And sing, he did. Thanks Josh, for one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time. I hope I get to do it again real soon. I’ll close this out with just a few more photos from tonight’s concert.

Fair Josh Gracin 014  Fair Josh Gracin 152

Fair Josh Gracin 076      Fair Josh Gracin 087

Fair Josh Gracin 082       Fair Josh Gracin 112

I wish I had room to put up all of the 200 photos from tonight’s show, but we all know that isn’t possible. Rest assured, you will be seeing more of them in future posts here on Country’s Chatter. Check back tomorrow to see photos from Jake Owen’s night at the Appalachian Fair.

Keep in touch everyone. I love hearing from you all! And Josh, you just keep doing what you’re doing. It was awesome!

One down… Five to go

August 18, 2008

Fair Tracy 056 Tracy Lawrence opened this year’s Appalachian Fair in Gray, TN, with a performance to a sold out crowd.

He sang some of his old songs, some of his newer ones, and every one of them was a real crowd pleaser.

Two of my favorites, “Paint Me a Birmingham,” and “Texas Tornado,” were in his list for tonight’s show.

Fair Tracy 078 - Copy Tracy’s band is made up of band leader Joe Caverlee on fiddle; Dennis Parker, acoustic guitar; Steve Poole, piano; Loren Nelson, steel guitar; Pat Lassiter, bass guirar; Darin Favorite, Lead Guitar; and Greg Stocki, drums.

There’s probably not a lot about Tracy Lawrence that I could tell you, that you don’t already know. So I think I’ll just put a few more photos up here for you all to enjoy.

Fair Tracy 011 - Copy Wiseman’s Clothing and Johnny’s Shoes sponsored tonght’s concert. Here’s a photo of Denise, representing Wiseman’s, with Tracy.

Some of the photos below are of the band members, the audience at tonight’s show, and of course – More Tracy.

Fair Tracy 077 - Copy




Fair Tracy 072

Fair Tracy 026  Fair Tracy 047

Fair Tracy 016  Fair Tracy 029

Tracy will be in Nashville tomorrow for a Fair in that area; and in a few days he’s off to Alaska, where he said he will be taking time out from appearances to do a little 4-wheeling on a glacier. Sounds exciting.

That’s it for tonight, check back tomorrow for fair photos of Josh Gracin. Write when you can, everyone, it’s always great hearing from you!

Getting ready for the Appalachian Fair

August 16, 2008

Fair preview 001 The Appalachian Fair begins on Monday, Aug. 18, but earlier tonight I had the opportunity to visit the fair gounds in Gray, Tenn. The fair staff, along with invited guests and representatives from area newspapers, spent the evening eating, talking, and finding out what was in store for us at this year’s fair.

Fair preview 004 - Copy Sherry Shadden and two of her grandchildren were on hand for the festivities. Sherry works in the fair office, and is married to Richard Shadden, executive director for the Appalachian Fair.

The museum at the fairgrounds was open for us to tour this evening. It’s full of old carriages, furniture, store fronts, farm equipment, and other antiques. It will be open during the fair for everyone to enjoy.

There is so much to do at the Appalachian Fair! Going through the exhibits, seeing all the animals, riding the rides, and enjoying the entertainment keeps everyone busy when they visit Gray.

Fair preview 006 Fair preview 011

Fair preview 007 Fair preview 010
Here are a few pictures of the midway, with the amusement rides by Drew Exposition ready to go on Monday night! And those two on the right are the main stage … this is the last time this week you will see all those seats empty and the stage unlit.

And – here’s your entertainment schedule, one more time. Monday, Tracy Lawrence; Tuesday, Josh Gracin; Wednesday, Jake Owen; Thursday, Heidi Newfield; Friday, Chris Young; and Saturday, Jypsi.

Thanks, Richard and Sherry Shadden, and all of the staff at the Appalachian Fair, for bringing us such a fantastic event every year.

Check back next week for photos from the Fair. And when you get a chance, drop me a line. Thanks for reading!