John Michael Montgomery CountryFest
Noon Sept. 28, 10 a.m. Sept. 29 at Lykins Park in Winchester. $30 for single-day ticket, $50 for weekend pass. (859) 771-9612. Jmmcountryfest.com.
Rupp Arena, in recent years, has been the main stage for touring country music artists coming through the area. But this fall, even that schedule has dried up, partly because of the renovation of the arena's dressing rooms and related space, Rupp says.
So where in the region are some of Nashville's big hitters heading this fall? Try Winchester. And one of Central Kentucky's most popular country celebs is — for this weekend, at least — leading the charge.
The event is the second annual John Michael Montgomery CountryFest. This weekend, the festival takes over Winchester's Lykins Park with a lineup that will have country shows on two stages.
Montgomery, a Nicholasville country fave who became a mainstay of the charts during the '90s with hits like Life's a Dance, Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident) and I Swear, will headline Friday night's schedule. Fellow singing star, actor and Celebrity Apprentice alumnus Trace Adkins tops the Saturday bill.
Here is the full rundown.
Friday: Silver Creek, noon; Scott Said and the Backroads Band, 1:30 p.m.; Jessie Rose Pennington, 3 p.m.; Brad Alford, 4:30 p.m.; The Lost Trailers, 6 p.m.; Thompson Square, 7:30 p.m.; and John Michael Montgomery, 9:30 p.m.
Saturday: Sterling Rose, 10 a.m.; Scott Said and the Backroads Band, 11:30 a.m.; Sundy Best, 1 p.m.; Swon Brothers, 3 p.m.; Thomas Brett, 4 p.m.; Exile, 5:30 p.m.; Gloriana, 7:15 p.m.; and Trace Adkins, 9 p.m.
8 p.m. Sept. 29 at Natasha's Bistro & Bar, 112 Esplanade. $38 in advance, $45 day of show. (859) 259-2754. Beetnik.com.
Few artists defy time and place more than Leon Redbone. An active and visible performer for nearly four decades, his repertoire of antique folk, blues, ragtime and more recalls an era when giants such as Fats Waller and Lonnie Johnson roamed the earth. Redbone's concerts also favor comparatively obscure minstrel and vaudeville tunes that go back nearly a century.
A parlor-style performer, Redbone sings with a bullfroglike mumble alongside brittle, jazzlike acoustic guitar colors. He was first embraced not by elders with a fondness for his ages-old serenades but by college-age audiences. Hence, his primary outlets of exposure at first were frequent guest appearances on Saturday Night Live during the show's infancy.
Over the years, Redbone — who returns to Lexington for a concert Saturday at Natasha's — has graced everything from gold-selling albums (1977's Double Time) to commercial jingles hawking beer, laundry detergent and other vital necessities. But his concert performances remain portraits of timeless simplicity. Redbone's face is buried behind dark glasses and a wide-brimmed hat during his shows, but the songs that emerge from that profile — from sleepy readings of Ain't Misbehavin' and Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone to spry versions of Champagne Charlie and Polly Wolly Doodle — remain a modern-day link to pop music's deepest back pages.
During the late '80s, it was a rarity to find a major hip-hop act using live music and upbeat themes that also had crossover potential and staying power when it came to audience appeal. A few, like Digable Planets and P.M. Dawn, flirted with chart success. But at the head of the class was Arrested Development, the Grammy-winning Atlanta troupe led by frontman Speech that asserted itself with positive, R&B-inflected hits like Mr. Wendal, Tennessee and People Everyday.
Arrested Development continues a tour honoring the 20th anniversary of its quadruple platinum-selling debut album, 3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the Life of ... as well as the release of the new Standing at the Crossroads, which the band has been distributing free on its Web site, Arresteddevelopmentmusic.com. The tour stops in Lexington on Monday at Cosmic Charlie's, 388 Woodland Avenue. (10 p.m. $15 in advance, $20 day of show. (859) 309-9499. Cosmic-charlies.com.)