DODGE CITY, Kan. – This southwest Kansas community is known for its place in Western history.
From Boot Hill to legendary lawmen, Dodge City has held a significant place in the hearts of Americans. For those from southwest Kansas, it is home to one of the great annual community celebrations, Dodge City Days.
The history continues this summer with Nashville mainstay Restless Heart and a special appearance from Red Dirt Music artists Jason Boland and the Stragglers. They are the official Dodge City Days Kick-Off Concert, set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 26, at Roundup Arena.
“We’ve had a long history of great acts for the Dodge City Days Kick-Off Concert, and are very excited for this year’s show,” said Dr. R.C. Trotter, chairman of the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo committee. “Restless Heart and Jason Boland have a great following, and we’ve listened to our fans by bringing them to town.”
Restless Heart has been in country music for more than 30 years, and the band remains a hot-ticket item for fans nationwide.
“I think it’s been an amazing legacy,” Dave Innis, the band’s keyboardist and background vocalist, said in the band’s biography. “It’s been such an honor to have been part of an organization that is still together doing it after 30 years with the same five original guys, and it’s more fun than ever.”
The fun is a big part of what they bring to the table when they perform at Roundup Arena. Audiences have a love affair with the string of hits from Restless Heart, “I’ll Still Be Loving You,” “When She Cries,” and “Fast Movin’ Train.”
“I’m proud of the fact that we get to hear stories from young artists and musicians that we might have made an impression on or inspiring them to come to town – having No. 1 records and hearing the stories of what they meant to people,” said Larry Stewart, Restless Heart’s lead singer. “To know that you have been a part of something that made a difference, the power of music, the power of a song. To be a part of something that made a mark; however big or small of a mark Restless Heart made, it’s still a mark.”
Boland is making his mark. Raised in Harrah, Okla., he got into the Red Dirt scene in Stillwater, Okla.; now he’s been working at the craft ever since. He’s released several albums in the last 14 years, and his raspy voice and identifiable lyrics have been a hit with fans. For Boland, his style of music is a correlation of genres, with one significant direction.
“It may fit in with some other types of music, like Americana maybe, but I’m not ready to give up on the idea that country music can be relative,” Boland said on a release from the band’s website. “And country music is what I play.
“My fans are George Straight fans. They go to the dancehalls to see the shows. I know these people. They are more capable of complex thought than the country music industry thinks they are.”
Boland’s style of music is the perfect lead-in to the true Restless Heart sound. Combined, it will be the perfect way to kick off the 54th year of a community tradition, Dodge City Days.