Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

It's Ky. State Fair Time!!!!!

The calendar says it is now August, which means one thing — it's time for the Kentucky State Fair. This year's fair will run August 20 30 at the Kentucky Exposition Center and, once again, it will be chock full of live country music to please country fans on any kind of budget.

The first paid country concert of this year's fair will be none other than the "Wonder from Down Under," Keith Urban, who will roll into the Derby City on Saturday, August 22 for a must-see show in Freedom Hall. Urban will be bringing Pat Green along as his opening act. Tickets for this show cost $67 and $52, which includes gate admission to the fair.

Closing out this year's fair will be the hottest teenager in country music right now, 19-year-old Taylor Swift. Swift will bring her first-ever headlining tour, titled the "Fearless Tour 2009," on Sunday, August 30. Joining Swift will be her pal Kellie Pickler and new group Gloriana. If you don't already have tickets for this show, then unfortunately you're out of luck, as this show is sold out!

If the economy is giving you a swift kick in the wallet like it is so many folks these days, then you'll still be able to afford to attend a heaping helping of country concerts at this year's fair, assuming your wallet can afford FREE! The Oak Ridge Boys will make their annual appearance in the old Cardinal Stadium on Sunday, August 23. On Tuesday, August 25, Gary Allan will hit the free stage along with local gal Candy Coburn. It'll be a family affair when the legendary Mel Tillis and daughter Pam Tillis share the stage on Thursday, August 27. And rounding out this year's free concerts will be Billy Currington and Heidi Newfield on Saturday, August 29. Although all of these shows are free, fair admission and parking are required.

If you have any questions regarding the state fair, call the state fair hotline at 502-367-5002 or check out its website at www.kystatefair.org.

FREE Country "Salute to Troops" Shows at Fort Campbell

Some real country heavy-hitters are heading to Kentucky this month to help welcome home our troops from the Middle East. Fort Campbell will play host to two "Salute to the Troops" concerts for soldiers and family members of the 101st Airborne Division as the Screaming Eagles return home later this month. On August 14, Carrie Underwood, Jake Owen, and John Rich will perform a free show, followed by Rodney Atkins, Jypsi and Darius Rucker on August 15.

These homecoming shows are free and open to the public, but all concertgoers will be required to show a valid photo ID and current registration and proof of insurance for any vehicle admitted onto the base.

Kudos to Carrie, Darius, Jake, John, Jypsi, and Rodney for welcoming home our military guys and gals in style, and a special thanks to these military personnel for the great sacrifices they willingly give for our daily freedom!

Farm Aid Headed to Missouri

The "Readheaded Stranger," Farm Aid President Willie Nelson, has been organizing benefit concert extravaganzas to help America's family farmers since 1985 — the year the premiere Farm Aid concert was held in Illinois. Since that first show, Farm Aid has raised nearly $35 million to "support programs that help farmers thrive, expand the reach of the Good Food Movement, take action to change the dominant system of industrial agriculture, and promote food from family farms." This year's Farm Aid concert will be held at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Maryland Heights, Missouri, just outside of St. Louis, on October 4. Nelson will be joined by fellow Farm Aid board members Neil Young, John Mellencamp, and Dave Matthews. Currently the only additional artist announced to perform is Jamey Johnson, but many more artists will be added in the upcoming weeks.

If you're up for a road trip to see an unforgettable concert and help out America's farmers, tickets for "Farm Aid 2009 Presented by Horizon Organic" can be purchased at www.livenation.com, at participating Blockbuster stores, or by calling 877-598-8703. Tickets cost $169 for a limited number of premium seats; $79, $54, and $44 for reserved seating; and $39 for general admission lawn seating.

For more information about Farm Aid, go to www.farmaid.org. My hat's off to Willie for all his efforts in aiding our country's farmers. After all, "If you complain about farmers, don't talk with your mouth full."

Reminder: Sugarland's Lexington Performance Hits Primetime

Sugarland fans who had the great fortune of enjoying Jennifer Nettles' and Kristian Bush's performance last year at Lexington's Rupp Arena will have the opportunity to relive the magic on August 3. Set the DVR now because ABC-Television will air a one-hour, primetime special, Sugarland: Live on the Inside, which was filmed during the Lexington show last fall. The special will feature hits "All I Want to Do," "Something More," "Settlin'," and "Stay," among other hits.

The following day, on August 4, Wal-Mart will offer an exclusive live CD/DVD package recorded at the Lexington concert, also titled Live on the Inside. The 10-song CD will include live performances of "Stay," "All I Want to Do," and "Love," as well as cover songs by the B-52's, Beyonce, Edie Brickell, Kings of Leon, Pearl Jam, and R.E.M. The 16-cut DVD will also include live performances of "It Happens," "Settlin'," "Want To," and many more hits.

Live on the Inside's price tag of $12 will be sure to please Sugarland fans young and old alike!

Upcoming New Music

Store shelves and iTunes alike will be heating up with hot new music from some of country music's biggest names in the very near future. "The Cowboy" George Strait will release Twang on August 11. This highly-anticipated CD's first single is titled "Living for the Night," a tune Strait co-wrote with his son, Bubba, as well as famed songwriter Dean Dillon.

Readheaded fireball Reba McEntire is back with a vengeance these days with the fastest-climbing single of her illustrious career, her Top 10 hit "Strange." The tune is the first release off her debut record on The Valory Music Co., titled Keep On Loving You. The disc will be available to fans on August 18.

Although an exact release date has not been determined, Toby Keith's American Ride is expected to be available sometime this fall. The title track anthem was just released to radio and is sure to stir up quite a bit of anticipation for the project. Tim McGraw will also return with his first studio album in over two-and-a-half years this fall when Southern Voice becomes available. The disc's first single will be "It's a Business Doing Pleasure with You," a tune written by Nickelback's Chad Kroeger and songwriter Brett James.

Two-thousand-five American Idol winner Carrie Underwood is currently putting the finishing touches on her third album and plans to release it on November 3. The CD is currently untitled and its first release is expected to hit radio airwaves sometime later this summer.

Country Family Album

"Long Black Train" singer Josh Turner has a couple new productions in his life these days. Turner's record producer Frank Rogers kept trying to persuade Turner's wife Jennifer to wait for her husband's next record to be completely recorded before giving birth to their second child. Turner finished recording the songs for his upcoming new disc at 6 p.m. on June 25 and when he got home that evening, the happy couple went to the hospital due to labor pains at 10:30 p.m. Their second son, Colby Lynch Turner, made his debut the following day, on Friday, June 26, joining big brother Hampton. Following the blessed event, Rogers stated, "Now that's what I call perfect timing."

Lady Antebellum is riding high these days with all of their newfound success. The trio just landed at the top of the country charts with their smash "I Run to You." And if that weren't enough to celebrate, Lady A singer Charles Kelley tied the knot last month with Nashville publicist Cassie McConnell. The happy couple was married on July 6.

Congratulations Josh & Jennifer and Charles & Cassie!

Well, that's it for yet another month. Hopefully our paths will cross at one of the many country concerts at the state fair. Always remember: "Keep your boots shined up and your hat on straight, ‘cause country music is comin' your way."