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May 31, 2009 - Michael Palmer
Garth Brooks hit the stage in 1990 and kicked off perhaps the best decade of Country Music entertainment ever at Jamboree in the Hills. The span of the 90’s was arguably the hay day of what is this area’s best entertainment attraction.

This year is still going to be a great show, but it doesn’t measure up to the days when it was the Super Bowl of Country Music.

One questionable band signed to the ticket for 2009 is the Steve Miller Band. Really, it’s not a big deal, a rock band at Jambo is not new.

Unless you count America in ‘99 as a rock band, 2001 was the first year for a “Rock & Roll” band when Grand Funk Railroad was added to the lineup. (That was also the first year that Mayf Nutter greeted the hung-over hillbillies.) Then there was the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in 02, ZZ Top in 04, Lynyrd Skynyrd in 05, the triple booking of The Outlaws, .38 Special and The Marshall Tucker Band in 07.

All of these were classified as Rock groups but if you follow Country Music, let’s face it the Cowboy Hat is fading away and the new generation of singers who look like models and Emo crooners with hair gel and eye liner are replacing the standard look that country singers had in past generations.

Talent wise, there are no complaints. I remember listening to the WWVA Jamboree radio broadcasts in the 1960’s and hearing vocalists that were, let’s see - how did grandma put that - Oh yeah: “They couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket!”

Let’s take a look at this year‘s card: * Indicates a major star who is instantly recognizable by CMT watching fans and ** if women want to take off their underwear and throw ’em up on stage and ? Is a less known entertainer.

THURSDAY - JULY 16 Alan Jackson *, Jamey Johnson, Zac Brown Band *, Ashton Shepherd ?, The Stickers ?,

FRIDAY - JULY 17 Big & Rich *, Jason Michael Carroll *, Joe Zelek, Julia Burton ?,

SATURDAY - JULY 18 Toby Keith **, Steve Miller Band, Lee Ann Womack *, Neal McCoy *, The Chris Higbee Project, Stephen Cochran, Mayf Nutter ?, The Fabulous Bender Boys ?

SUNDAY - JULY 19 Merle Haggard * LEGEND, Craig Morgan *, Adam Gregory ?, Kate & Kacey Coppolla, Lee Greenwood *

Turn back the clock ten years.


11/70 Band - I miss these guys Alan Jackson *, America, Blackhawk, Brooks & Dunn*, Charlie Daniels Band * LEGEND, Classic Rock All Stars ?, Clay Walker ?, Confederate Railroad*, Dallas Turner ?, Don Williams* LEGEND, Jo Dee Messina*, Joe Diffee*, Lee Greenwood*, Lonestar*, Mark Wills, Marty Stuart**, Neal McCoy*, Rena McIntire*, Sammy Kershaw*, Steve Wariner, Terri Clark ?, Trailer Park Troubadours ?, Wade Hayes ?

So the overall number of acts has dropped, the number of well known artists has diminished and the less than mega-star entertainers have grown.

It has to be a tough job, with the money the acts demand currently, to put together a super line up and still keep the cost affordable to the blue collar country music fans. Booking as far ahead as the music business requires - it is improbable that there are as many Hot 25 acts on the music charts in this year’s lineup as there happen to be, so that is a plus.

I also miss the comedy acts that have been a part of past concerts. The true country music fan really enjoys the comedians.

However, as a journalist, what I really miss most are the interview trailers where the local press was granted access to the stars for a brief interview and some photos. That was really cool.

Change is inevitable, but my point is that we have something great here in the area and it really would be a shame if we stand idly by as Live Nation downsizes the event to the AFC Conference Semi-finals of country music.


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