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.

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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!
Country
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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!

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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,
Country
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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.

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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,
Country
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!
Country
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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.

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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!
Country
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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.

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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!
Country
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Raising money for kids… concert info… and more

August 15, 2008

395580-R1-11-13A_012 LeeAnn Rimes, Keith Urban, Dolly Parton, Josh Turner, Carrie Underwood, and other entertainers, have all donated personal items to an online auction. The proceeds form the auction will benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

In addition to one of Keith’s old T-shirts, bidders will get to make offers on autographed shirts, their favorite artists’ memorabilia, and even a pair of boots worn by Dwight Yoakam.

St. Jude is a charity that is very near and dear to my heart,” Keith said. “Our fans have always graciously offered their support in past fund raisers we have done for St. Jude, so I think this auction will be a great success”.

To find the online auction, go to www.keithurbanauction.com and while you’re there, just about any of those items would make a great Christmas present … for me, perhaps. *smiling*

LadyAConcert 021 Jason Aldean and Lady Antebellum did a few concerts together early this spring, including one in Bristol, TN, which I went to and it was great! They are now teaming up again to be part of “CMT On Tour.” The tour will begin at Western North Carolina University on Oct. 8, and finish up on Nov. 22 in Bangor, Maine.

And, Eric Durrance, who opened for Lady A in Bristol, will be opening for them again on the CMT Tour. The tour is scheduled to hit 20 different college towns (Hey! We’re a college town!)… For a complete tour schedule, go to cmttour.com.  If these guys get anywhere near you , You will definitely want to go see them!

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We’re still waiting for to hear Eric Durrance on the radio, but anyone who has seen him in concert knows it provably won’t be long until we do. He put was a great opening act for Lady Antebellum back in May, and it seems the Country Music Television people think so, too.

DBently Our country favorites all seem to be doing their part in rising money for their favorite charity. Dierks Bently is again hosting Miles & Music for Kids, a celebrity motorcycle ride and concert in Nashville this October.

The event has raised more than $250,000 in the past two years, with all the proceeds going to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. The hour-long ride through Nashville begins at 2 p.m. at the Harley Davidson of Cool Springs, and ends at Riverfront Park. Following the ride, a concert is held at the park featuring Dierks, Tim McGraw, John Rich, and many other performers.

Concert tickets are $20, and the donation to participate in the ride is $50 – which not only gets you into the ride, and the concert, but also gets you a commemorative T-shirt.

Tracy Lawrence 1 Everyone in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia ready for the Appalachian Fair? Monday is the night! Tracey Lawrence will be there, and so will I! I hope to see you there, too.

Thanks for reading! Remember to drop me a line whenever you have the chance. It’s nice to get mail from nice people like you.

Country
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Put a Redneck in the White House?

August 12, 2008

Chad Brock Chad Brock, who had a few country hits about 5 years ago, thinks it is the right time to put a redneck in the White House. I’m not sure how serious he is about the whole thing, but it’s pretty obvious he plans on having some fun with it.

Chad is currently working as the morning DJ for a radio station near Tampa, Fla.  He just released a single called “Put A Redneck in the White House,” and you can hear it by going to his MySpace page.

“People think rednecks are folks who drive big trucks, drink beer and hunt all day long,” Brock explained. “But that’s not rednecks. You have rednecks in every state in this wonderful country—they get up every morning, and they go to work in factories or on farms or at desks, and they struggle every day to make ends meet. They’re paying four dollars a gallon for gas, and trying to keep food on the table for their families. They’re having a hard time, and I think they’re ready for a redneck in the Oval Office.”

He was quick to admit that he knows his chances of winning are slim (I’d say VERY slim), but he hopes speaking out will bring some positive change. Good for you, Chad!

chad-brock-artist-photos During the “She Said Yes” and “Lightning Does the Work,” Brock days, I had the pleasure of meeting Chad at the Fair in Gray. And I will say one thing for him. He certainly didn’t let any of his success make him a stranger to the fans. In fact, one of WXBQ’s DJ’s at the time, Gunner Jackson, was setting up to broadcast from the fair, and Chad was throwing a football around. Gunner went over to toss a few with the entertainer, and asked him, “Are you with Chad Brock’s road crew,” to which Chad replied, “No, I’m Chad Brock – let’s pass this thing for a while.” A true story about a great country entertainer – who just might one day be the leader of the free world….. (I don’t think so, Brock).

Brock’s single “Put a Redneck in the White House” should hit radio air waves this week. It’s his first single in more than four years. By the way, his campaign slogan is “A Common Man for the Common Man.” Ok, Brock – It’s catchy.

I’ll talk to you guys soon. Thanks for the e-mails! Keep writing, and keep letting me know what you want to see in Country’s Chatter!

Country
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Back in the Saddle

August 11, 2008

GeorgeStrait George Strait’s 27th Annual Team Roping Classic has been set March 13 and 14, 2009, in San Antonio, Texas. The event will feature ropers from 500 teams who competed earlier this year for $660,000 in cash and prizes. 

Anyone interested in buying tickets, or registering to compete, can get all the details at gstrc.com (George Strait Team Roping Competition). Even if you can’t rope, ride, or even attend the March event, I know you will enjoy visiting the web site. It’s filled with event into; photos from previous events; news; results; and general information. And of course, it lets you know how you can get your tickets for March.

Johnny Cash A few days ago, I told you about the Christmas album coming out, which will team today’s top female country singers with the late, great Elvis Presley. Now, we have another new release coming out in October. This album is Johnny Cash Remixed. The album, which has the approval of the Cash family, even has rapper Snoop Dogg on the remix of “I Walk The Line.”

Country Music definitely keeps getting more interesting.

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Keith Anderson, who appeared at the Appalachian Fair a few years back, took a little time away from touring to take Country Weekly Magazine with him on a bike tour of the Rockies.

Keith sports a “No Fear” tattoo, and he obviously takes it seriously.

I had told you all a while back that Keith’s first career choice was baseball, and he was in fact signed by the Kansas City Royals until that career got put aside due to an injury.  But, he’s still very much a sportsman. Be sure to check out the great article in Country Weekly (week of Aug. 25, 2008). It’s the one with Alan and Denise Jackson on the cover.

Jake copied All of Jake Owen’s fans are gearing up for his Wednesday, Aug. 20, appearance at the Appalachian Fair. And, they probably already know this – but, I’m going to share it with the rest of you. Jake will celebrate his birthday on Aug. 28, just a week after he is in Gray. So, I think the Gray show would be a great time for all of us to get our cards and little gifts ready and deliver them to Jake at the Fair. Or at least we could all join in together for a loud (probably off-key) East Tennessee version of “Happy Birthday.”

That’s all for tonight. I hope I get to meet a lot of you at the fairs! Talk to you soon!
Country
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Happenings in country music…

August 8, 2008

 Carrie1
Anyone who ever wondered what Carrie Underwood, Sara Evans or LeeAnn Rimes would sound like singing a duet with Elvis Presely won’t have to wait much longer to find out.

A new album, called Elvis Presley Christmas Duets will include many of his greatest hits turned into collaborations with several of today’s stars. “Ill Be Home for Christmas,” is a duet with Carrie, and LeeAnn will add her voice to “Here Comes Santa Claus.”

352391R1032A_32A_111 Martina McBride, Gretchen Wilson, Amy Grant, and Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapaman will also have recordings on the new CD.

According to a news report form 1290 CJBK, Priscilla Presley praised the project, saying “We are so pleased that these accomplished artists are collaborating with Elvis in this unique way to make exciting new versions of his Christmas Songs. I am sure Elvis would be proud to have worked with them.

MerleH Merle Haggard, a legend in country music, has found a way to promote living a green lifestyle, backing it up with a little star power in the spring of 2009. The Green Train, a team coined by Merle and musician Bob Wolfe, will be traveling to 28 states this year displaying different ways to help the environment.

They plan on touring the country in six weeks, starting in Portland, Oregon and ending in Washington, D.C.  During the trip they will put on nine concerts in large venues, and put on 21 smaller acoustic performances in smaller cities. The tour will also include organizations with booths that show sustainable products.

I’m going out of town for the weekend, but I’ll be back with something new early next week. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Drop me a line and let me know how you spent your time away from work!

Country
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