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Published: Thursday, 8/30/2007

Hoedown featuring Steve Azar

Steve Azar Steve Azar

Country music artist Steve Azar will headline Monroe's Downtown Hoedown. He'll be taking the stage at 9:30 p.m. Saturday for the free concert.

Azar got his start in Nashville more than 10 years ago when he released his debut album, "Heartbreak Town," but his career took off with the release of "I Don't Have to Be Me ('Til Monday)," which was on his second album, "Waitin' on Joe."

That single climbed to No. 2 on the charts in 2001 and was followed up by the album's title track, which also became a hit for Azar. The video for "Waitin' on Joe," featuring actor Morgan Freeman, became Azar's most popular video.

Earlier this year, Azar realized a lifelong dream when he played alongside Bob Seger on several sold-out dates.

"I told Bob that that's the nicest thing that's ever happened to me. He mattered a lot to me growing up," Azar said last year.

Recently, Azar was scheduled to go on tour with Hootie & the Blowfish. However, those dates were postponed when Hootie & the Blowfish's lead singer, Darius Rucker, developed a staph infection in his left knee and had to undergo three surgeries to clear it out.

This summer, Azar continues a series of solo dates, promoting his current album, "Indianola," an album Azar released on his own label, Dang Records.

It's steeped in the imagery and the feel of the Mississippi Delta, Azar's home.

"Musically on this album, I played whatever I could, probably some instruments that were illegal," Azar said prior to the album's release. "It's got that Delta background, but really it's a fusion of my life in Nashville and the Delta."

Information about the Hoedown is available at www.ci.monroe.mi.us/.

Contact Brian Dugger at:bdugger@theblade.com.

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