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Country artists, tribute acts share spotlight

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Colt Ford

Singer-songwriter Colt Ford will perform his signature blend of country, hip-hop and rock at the Benton County Fair on July 31.

The hits just keep on coming at the Benton County Fair & Rodeo.

This year’s musical lineup features two nights of up-and-coming country artists sandwiched between two nights of rock ’n’ roll tribute shows.

Held at the Benton County Fairgrounds, the fair will run Wednesday-Saturday, July 29-Aug. 1, with the theme “Kids, Critters & Cotton Candy,” fairgrounds manager Lynne McKee announced this week.

The musical entertainment kicks off on Wednesday night with Fat Bottomed Girls, a female-fronted outfit that takes its name from a well-known song by Queen. In addition to performing some of that band's greatest hits, Fat Bottomed Girls will also belt out tunes by Heart, Pat Benatar, Joan Jett and other female rock royalty.

Headlining the show will be The Springsteen Experience: A Tribute to the Boss. Billed as a chronological journey through Bruce Springsteen’s illustrious career, this theatrical production aims to re-create the experience of a Springsteen concert with vintage equipment and stage sets, costume changes and faithful renditions of the legendary artist’s most popular tunes.

The fair turns country on Thursday, when Jessica Lynne opens for Canaan Smith.

A native of Denmark, Lynne has carved out a career for herself as a Nashville recording artist since moving to the States in 2010. She currently resides in Tacoma, Washington.

Smith cracked the Top 10 on the country charts in 2009 as co-writer of “Runaway,” the debut single from country band Love and Theft. Since then he has co-written hits for Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, Cole Swindell and Mason Ramsey. Smith charted a No. 1 hit as a performer with “Love You Like That,” another song he co-wrote, and he was the first artist signed to Round Here Records, the label formed by Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line.

Catherine Loyer & Strawberry Roan get things started on Friday night with a mix of original tunes and country favorites, from the classic to the contemporary.

Maverick entertainer Colt Ford caps the evening with his iconoclastic mix of country, hip-hop and rock. Known as a singer, songwriter, rapper, musician and performer, Ford scored five straight Top 10 debuts on the Billboard Top Country Albums Chart, with “Declaration of Independence” coming in at No. 1 in 2012. In 2014, “Thanks for Listening” climbed to No. 1 on Billboard’s Rap and Independent charts.

The fair closes on Saturday with a pair of British tribute acts.

Yesterday: The Beatles Tribute takes audiences on a magical mystery tour of the Fab Four’s songbook. Yesterday has claimed the endorsement of no less than Sir Paul McCartney and is the longest-running show at the Tropicana Hotel in Atlantic City.

Remember When Rock Was Young wraps things up with Elton John’s greatest hits, from “Bennie and the Jets” to “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” The show features Craig A. Meyer, known as a charismatic performer with strong vocal and keyboard skills, as well as an uncanny resemblance to Sir Elton.

Reporter Bennett Hall can be contacted at or 541-812-6111. Follow him on Twitter at @bennetthallgt.


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