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CHEYENNE FRONTIER DAYS
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Friday, July 17: 3 Doors Down ($28 - $48)
With founding members hailing from Escatawpa, Mississippi, 3 Doors Down has blazed a trail as the quintessential rock band, attaining mainstream success but somehow never losing their small town identity. Formed in 1995, the group began their steady chart ascension with the breakthrough anthem, "Kryptonite," in 2000.
They released their first self-titled album, their fourth studio album, in May 2008, and it debuted at the top of the Billboard 200.
When the achievements accrued during the decade-plus rise of 3 Doors Down are tallied, the result is a wall-full of accolades that are also firmly cemented into rock’s record books: 13 million albums sold, 3 multi-platinum albums (their first album, 2000’s The Better Life sold 6 million copies, with their 2002 follow-up, Away From The Sun selling 4 million) six #1 hits, multiple Billboard and other awards, and a relentless road itinerary that saw them hit 32 countries in a six year roll-up with hardly a break. Their latest effort, 3 Doors Down, debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 last year.
Saturday, July 18: George Strait with Julianne Hough ($48 – $73)
It’s the best word to describe the continuing development of George Strait, who’s written a personal history so unique he’s creating new, record-breaking plateaus that have simply never been reached before.
He already owns the all-time record for the most No. 1 singles in any genre. He has more career nominations than any other artist in both the Nashville-based Country Music Association awards and the California-bred Academy of Country Music honors. He has more gold and platinum albums than any other country artist.
Even after he was heralded as a flag-bearing figure for traditional country music, Strait eschewed traditional career paths: He refused to move to Nashville, and—instead of sacrificing big chunks of his personal life to pursue his job—he works his touring and recording schedule around his time at home with Norma, to whom he’s been married since 1971, and around his hobbies, including hunting and rodeos. In addition, Strait hosts his own team-roping competition every spring.
Every country artist once had a "day job" that commonly used music business term for an occupation that pays the bills and fills the void between hopeful aspiration and bonafide success. However, never in the history of country music has someone taken a more celebrated path on the road to their country music dream than Julianne Hough (pronounced "Huff").
A triple threat as a singer, actress and dancer, Julianne is already known to millions of fans as the two-time professional dance champion on ABC-TV’s top-rated Dancing with the Stars (DWTS). The show, which pairs professional dancers with music, sports, film and television celebrities, has become a cultural phenomenon and Julianne its top star.
Though Julianne has been winning world dance titles since her early teens, her ultimate goal has always been a career in country music. Her newly signed deal with Universal Music Group Nashville (UMGN) is providing her the vehicle to realize that dream. "I’ve always wanted to sing country music," says the 19 year-old blonde. "I’ve grown up with country music. I love how real everybody is, not just the artists, but the fans."
Sunday, July 19: Sawyer Brown ($23)
The world of Sawyer Brown is filled with dirt roads, small towns, little thrills, tiny moments and intimate connections... but mostly, it's about recognition of how major those things really can be: every day people seeing themselves in each other, the 5 men onstage and their songs. For the Apopka, Florida-bred band, these are songs of the common man delivered without mercy, only a relentless commitment to the freedom and fun that only a night out among good friends can allow.
"We came out of the notion we were there to entertain people, to make sure everybody had a good time," concedes creative catalyst Miller, known as much for his hyperkinetic performances as for writing "Some Girls Do," "The Dirt Road," "Hard To Say," "Step That Step," "This Time," "The Boys & Me," "Thank God For You" and "The Walk." "You're looking at a bunch of blue collar people here, who were raised to put the work in, to make sure the people are satisfied and who really love being on that stage and seeing the people letting it all go. Somebody once told me `If you can't have fun at a Sawyer Brown show, you can't have fun...' I don't know, but it would sure be nice if it was true."
Taking no prisoners and laying waste to the country fans who show up has given Sawyer Brown the reputation of being a band the other acts don't want to follow, but it's also built them a fan-base that shows up no matter what. "It's crazy," Miller says. "It's almost like Jimmy Buffett's fans who come not because of the new record or the new song, but because they know they're gonna have fun. We've got kids who grew up listening to their parents' records coming now - and they're totally into it. But that's what you wanna do: maintain what you've created. When it's showing people a good time, well, that's a pretty great thing to have to keep up."
Monday, July 20 & Tuesday, July 21: Professional Bull Riders ($29 – $39)
The PBR's U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company Challenger Tour is comparable to baseball's minor league. It offers up-and-coming bull riders the opportunity to compete in PBR sanctioned events while earning money to qualify them for the elite Built Ford Tough Series.
Once the season begins, the World's top 45 bull riders have five Built Ford Tough Series events at which they will compete to secure their positions. After the fifth event, the bottom five riders ranked based on points, are dropped from the Built Ford Tough Series. The top five U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company Challenger Tour riders, based on Challenger, Enterprise and Discovery Tour money earned, are then allowed to move into those five positions.
After this first cut, the elimination process then takes place after each fifth Built Ford Tough Series event. A rider that has been dropped from the BFTS must compete in the Challenger Tour, hopefully earning enough money to regain a BFTS roster position.
Worth an estimated $1.5 million in prize money, approximately 30 plus U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Challenger Tour events are anticipated for the 2008 season.
Wednesday, July 22: Rodney Atkins ($23)
If you’re looking for an artist with the bona fide credentials to sing a country song, look no further. Rodney Atkins’ latest album, If You’re Going Through Hell, captures every aspect of his life, from his humble, multiple-adoption beginning, to his rural east Tennessee upbringing, to his present-day, stick to your roots convictions.
And judging by his breakout success in 2006—If You’re Going Through Hell, recently certified gold, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard country albums chart; the title track spent four weeks atop the Billboard country singles chart, earning Billboard Most Played Song of 2006 and SESAC Song of the Year honors. The follow-up single, "Watching You," written by Rodney about his son, Elijah, spent 2 weeks at #1 on both the Billboard and Mediabase charts —life is pretty good
"Every song I sing is about the world as I know it," Rodney says. "Every word is real. I’m not going to sing it if it isn’t."
Thursday, July 23: Taylor Swift with Kellie Pickler ($38 – $58)
Stepping off Music Row and into the small but stylish lobby of Big Machine Records, a visitor quickly realizes it's not just the walls that reveal the story of Taylor Swift's meteoric rise to stardom. Even the floors have a tale to tell. With much of the vertical real estate already claimed by industry awards, framed national magazine covers, and gold and platinum records, the staff has adopted the tactic of neatly stacking the continuous stream of accolades and achievements along the baseboards. All that's needed is a break in a busy intern's schedule to grab a hammer, a few nails and search out any open wall space.
The photo most often found framed inside with all that precious metal is certainly a familiar one to millions of her fans: the cover of her first album, 2006's Taylor Swift. Knowing what we know now about Taylor, it's a striking image. Gazing back at us are the calm yet intense eyes of a sixteen-year-old girl who knows she has much to say, but isn't really sure if anyone will want to listen.
"I want my fans to know - I'm the same girl I was when the first album came out," says Swift. "I'm just not in high school and I have a different schedule. I feel the same things, I feel the same way. And my songs are where I'll never hold back."
"Don't You Know You're Beautiful," is more than a song, it's a statement from Kellie Pickler, who chose the upbeat tune to lead off her self-titled second album. Urging inner strength, independence and confidence, the first single from Kellie Pickler introduces Kellie as she is today, a resilient young woman who has wrestled with insecurity, endured tragedy, suffered heartbreak and celebrated triumph on a winding road to maturity, self-awareness and newfound happiness.
Kellie Pickler is positively exuberant these days. Through loneliness, uncertainty, vulnerability and heartbreak, the naïve 19 year old small town girl has blossomed into a strong, independent, fearlessly feminine young woman who is nobody's fool. "If I could have told the girl that I was anything, I would have told her not to be ashamed, to love herself. I would have given her self-confidence. The last two years have taught me that. When you're starting out everyone thinks they know what's best for you, that they know you better than you. And you're so new, you don't want to make anyone mad. I wasn't completely able to be myself. But this is me, this is who I am. I look forward to every day. I'm happier than I've ever been and I feel ready for anything."
Friday, July 24 & Saturday, July 25: Kenny Chesney with Jake Owen
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