Randy Travis, LeAnn Rimes and Craig Morgan
7 p.m. Sept. 24 at Applebee's Park, 207 Legends Lane. $37. (859) 422-7867.
The Lexington Legends' season might be over, but the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games are just starting. To help kick it off, Applebee's Park is steering away from baseball for one evening and toward country music.
So Friday night's starting lineup looks like this: veteran country traditionalist Randy Travis, veteran country pop queen LeAnn Rimes and Army veteran Craig Morgan.
Travis maintains a somewhat low commercial profile these days. Well, it's low when compared to where the singer's career stood in 1986. That was the year a new legion of country stylists, led by Travis, Steve Earle and Dwight Yoakam, fell in favor with country audiences.
Travis introduced himself with a no-frills traditional sound steeped in a smoky, baritone voice from North Carolina. A year later, with hits including Diggin' Up Bones having resonated strongly with country radio, Travis made his Rupp Arena debut by opening a concert for George Jones. The performance remains something of a milestone moment in country music, a metaphorical passing of the torch from one traditionalist generation to another. A few years later, Travis returned to Rupp, his stardom solidified, with Jones as the opening act.
Now a seasoned actor as well as a vocalist with strong country and country gospel followings, Travis won his third Grammy Award — his first in 21 years — last winter for a duet recording of I Told You So with Carrie Underwood.
Rimes became a country star in the late '90s while in her teens, with hits including Blue and One Way Ticket. Subsequent singles won Rimes considerable pop crossover success.
She has seldom strayed from the spotlight since, even though her career began to gain as much notoriety off the charts as on them.
There have been inter-family lawsuits and public romantic upheavals. But her career has held tough. Most prominently, she toured throughout 2008 with country megastar Kenny Chesney and is scheduled to release an album of country music covers, titled Lady & Gentlemen, on Oct. 5.
Morgan, a Tennessee native and a veteran of 10 years' active duty in the Army, played Lexington as recently as June on a Rupp Arena bill headlined by Underwood. His hits include That's What I Love About Sunday and Redneck Yacht Club.
Don't forget The Breedings
OK, let's review. We have Ralph Stanley Friday night and Peter Rowan Saturday at the Christ the King Oktoberfest. The great Southern song scribe Randall Bramblett returns to Natasha's on Saturday. Then there's the country music triple bill headlined by Travis, Rimes and Morgan Friday night at Applebee's Park.
Let's not forget two nights with Motown legends The Temptations starting Saturday at The Grand Theatre in Frankfort. Also, country star Blake Shelton opens the Spotlight Lexington series Friday night. Then New Orleans' Trombone Shorty kicks up a Crescent City fuss as the series continues Sunday.
Well then. Have we missed anything this weekend? Indeed we have.
Kentucky songsmith Willie Breeding, who piloted his songs at the now demolished West Main locale of The Dame in an opening set for Marah several years ago, is back. He will be teaming again with sister Erin Breeding for an evening of acoustic songs in a duo billed as The Breedings. The two perform Friday night at Natasha's, 112 Esplanade, with Andrew Combs opening (9 p.m., $5). Call (859) 259-2754.