postheadericon Fair offers variety for concert-goers

LOVINGTON, N.M. – From old southern rock to the very best in contemporary country, the Lea County Fair and Rodeo has an incredible concert lineup for this year’s exposition.

“It’s harder and harder every year to get better,” said Corey Helton, the fair board chairman. “We have MercyMe and the Eli Young Band back, and they were here just a few years ago. We work very hard to have a great lineup, and we put a lot of trust in Linda Brown, our promoter. I think it’s going to be a big show. The last time they were here, the numbers were outstanding.

A Christian rock group, MercyMe was part of the 2012 Lea County Fair and Rodeo, while the Eli Young Band performed in Lovington the summer before.

“The word I’m getting back about our concert lineup from the community is incredible, especially with Eli Young Band and MercyMe,” Helton said. “That’s great.”

Lea County Fair LogoThough those two groups are great, they are just a small taste of the big platter of true artists that will be featured at this year’s expo.

Saturday, Aug. 2: Night Ranger and 38 Special
Tuesday, Aug. 5: Casey Donahew Band
Wednesday, Aug. 6: MercyMe
Thursday, Aug. 7: Joe Nichols
Friday, Aug. 8: Dwight Yoakam
Saturday, Aug. 9: Eli Young Band

The opening concert is a true reflection of the 1980s. Night Ranger had several hits, including “(You Can Still) Rock in America,” “Sister Christian” and “When You Close Your Eyes.” The band just released its new studio album, “High Road.”

“We’re so proud of this new record and excited to get back on the road and bring the new music to our fans,” drummer/singer Kelly Keagy said in the band’s biography.

With hits like “Hold On Loosley,” “Fantasy Girl,” “Caught Up in You” and many others, 38 Special has been “Rockin’ Into the Night” for nearly 40 years.

“While it’s open to the public, that first night is specifically for the sponsors of the Lea County Fair and Rodeo to give them a special night of recognition for all the support they give us,” Helton said. “That’s music from my era, and I’m hoping to draw that demographic to come in and enjoy the night.

“I think it’s a great way to kick off a great variety of concerts.”

There are several genres of music covered during this year’s fair and rodeo, and the admission price is well worth it: $8 for adults, $6 for children ages 6-12; kids 5 and younger can enter the fairgrounds for free. The style of music includes Texas music with the Casey Donahew Band, which will perform after the Lea County Xtreme Bulls event on Tuesday night.

The band has been atop the Texas music charts and has released albums that have received critical acclaim. Joe Nichols brings more of a modern country feel to the stage Thursday night; he is the owner of four No. 1 country songs, “Brokenheartsville,” “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off,” “Gimmie That Girl” and “Sunny and 75.”

For those who like a little more of an old-school country, Dwight Yoakam will perform Friday night. Yoakam presents a unique and rugged shade to music, but it’s been quite successful. He owns 12 gold albums and nine platinum or multi-platinum albums. He has had successful singles, including “Honky Tonk Man,” “I Sang Dixie,” “Fast as You” and several others.

The fair will close with the Eli Young Band, which has had three No. 1 hits: “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” “Drunk Last Night” and “Crazy Girl,” which Billboard Year-End recognized as the top country song of 2011.

“There’s a general theme between small-town American, where every down is different but in some ways, they are all the same,” guitarist James Young said in the band’s biography.

Said lead vocalist Mike Eli, “We’ve traveled all over the country and to other countries, but at the end of the day, we all party the same way no matter what the culture or the town.”

Now all seven acts will bring their party to Lovington for this year’s Lea County Fair and Rodeo.

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