It's a pretty long drive for Toledoans, but the DTE Energy Music
Theatre in Clarkston, Mich., has a great country lineup planned for
the next several months.
Reba McEntire, Brad Paisley, and Terri Clark will be in concert on
Sunday, May 22. On Saturday, June 11, Rascal Flatts and Blake Shelton will be on stage. The Alan Jackson, Sara Evans, and The Wrights show will be Sunday, Aug. 7. And Brooks & Dunn and Big & Rich will be in concert on Friday, Sept. 2.
Tickets will be available soon at www.palacenet.com, the Palace box
office, or by phone at (248) 377-0100.
* * *
Over the last couple of years, I've gotten a chance to get to know
Phil Vassar, and I get more and more impressed with him each time I see him in concert and talk to him. Phil's one of those guys that
really paid his dues in Nashville, playing in clubs five nights a
week by dragging his piano in the back of his truck from club to
club. Before becoming a recording artist, Vassar was one of the most
respected songwriters in town, penning Colin Raye's "Little Red
Rodeo," Alan Jackson's "Right on the Money," Jo Dee Messina's "Bye
Bye," and Tim McGraw's "My Next 30 Years."
All that experience in the clubs turned Vassar into one of the best
entertainers in the business, something he really doesn't get
recognized for. And besides being a great entertainer, he's a really
classy guy, always taking extra time for his fans. Later this year,
his wife, Julie Wood, will be releasing her debut country album.
* * *
Don't forget to go to www.cmt.com and sign up so you can vote for the upcoming CMT Music Awards.
The show will be broadcast live at 8 p.m. on April 11. Kenny
Chesney, with four nominations is the leading nominee on the night,
but Big & Rich, Gretchen Wilson, Tim McGraw, and Toby Keith are up
for three awards.
* * *
Despite having to wear a therapeutic boot to protect damaged
ligaments in his ankle, Chesney is performing to the largest crowds
of his career. Kenny played to more than 70,000 fans at Houston's
Livestock Show & Rodeo. For the first time, Chesney is adding
stadiums to his tour schedule this year. He's going to be playing at
FedEx Field in Washington on June 4. On July 23, he will be in
Foxboro, Mass., to play at Gillette Stadium, and he will be at
Pittsburgh's Heinz Field on July 30.
* * *
To promote her debut album, "Honeysuckle Sweet," Jessi Alexander
made an appearance on Jay Leno's "Tonight Show" on March 10.
That appearance almost didn't happen because of an accident near her Burbank, Calif., hotel. Jessi and her band were in a van headed back to the hotel when the van went through a red light and slammed into a car. The only injury was a stiff neck for Alexander, but she was able to pull off a nice performance of "This World Is Crazy" later on the show.
* * *
And finally, congratulations to Ken Cooper, the president of Rust
Records. I met him recently in Florida, and he has a great vision for
his independent label. Cooper, a former stock broker, opened the
label, based in Cleveland, with a couple of rock acts, but he opened
an office this week for a country division in Nashville. He has
landed a major distribution deal with Universal Records, and the
company is preparing for an initial public offering on a secondary
stock market. On the country side, Rust is preparing to debut Shane
Owens, a promising artist from Alabama. They will also be releasing
projects from Blackhawk and David Allan Coe. Especially exciting is
his recent deal with Jenna Thomas, an 18-year-old who has several
relatives in the Toledo area. Jenna's first album should be coming
out in October or by the beginning of 2006.