Fairs + Festivals

Country stars join entertainment line-up at Dixon May Fair

By From page A8 | March 23, 2012

Kellie Pickler finished sixth on her season of "American Idol," but has parlayed that exposure into a top-of-the-charts country music career. Courtesy photo

Kellie Pickler finished sixth on her season of "American Idol," but has parlayed that exposure into a top-of-the-charts country music career. Courtesy photo

Country music’s piano man and a former “American Idol” contestant-turned-country star will entertain thousands at the 137th annual Dixon May Fair.

Fair officials announced this week that Kellie Pickler and Phil Vassar will co-headline a concert in the fair’s arena on Friday, May 11.

Pickler’s life has played out like a classic country song. From her hardscrabble, small-town roots to center stage on “American Idol” to the top of the country charts, Pickler has proved that talent, beauty, hard work and determination are a potent combination.

Pickler finished sixth on the fifth season of the popular televised singing competition and signed with 19 Recordings/BNA Records. Her debut set, “Small Town Girl,” launched with the hit “Red High Heels,” and she continued to earn fans with hits like “I Wonder” and “Things That Never Cross a Man’s Mind.”

Her self-titled sophomore album included the songs “Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful,” “Best Days of Your Life” and “Didn’t You Know How Much I Loved You.” Her new album is titled “100 Proof.”

Vassar’s unbounded energy and limitless talent have proven him as one of Nashville’s most prolific and versatile stars. The songwriter and musician is not only known for his gift for songwriting, but also for his skills on the piano.

His résumé boasts numerous hits for artists who include Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw, Jo Dee Messina and Collin Raye. In his self-titled debut album, Vassar took his seat as country’s leading piano man with the success of songs like “Carlene,” “Just Another Day in Paradise” and “Six-Pack Summer.”

Altogether, he has released six albums that have included the hits “American Child,” “That’s When I Love You,” “In a Real Love,” “I’ll Take That as a Yes (The Hot Tub Song),” “Last Day of My Life” and “Love is a Beautiful Thing.”

Some of his accolades have included two-time ASCAP Songwriter of the Year, Billboard Magazine Top New Country Artist, ACM Top New Male Vocalist and ACM Song of the Year.

Tickets for the Pickler-Vassar concert are $65/$45 for reserved seats and $29 for general admission and will go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday online at www.ticketmaster.com; at the Dixon May Fair box office, 655 S. First St. in Dixon; or at (800) 745-3000. All ticket prices include admission to the fair.

Also on the May Fair entertainment line-up are hip-hop star Snoop Dogg and special guest One Block Radius, who will perform Wednesday, May 9; The English Beat and The Romantics on Thursday, May 10; and Larry the Cable Guy, a nationally known comedian and actor, on Saturday, May 12. Comedian Reno Collier will open the show.

Tickets for both Snoop Dogg and Larry the Cable Guy are on sale for $75/$45 reserved and $35 general admission. Tickets for The English Beat and The Romantics are $25 reserved and $20 general. All children 12 and under can enter The English Beat concert for free, with paid fair admission.

Hailing from working-class Birmingham, England, Dave Wakeling and The English Beat entered the music scene in 1979. The band became one of the most popular and influential bands of the British ska movement.

The Romantics, a 1980s band from Detroit, are best known for hits that include “Talking In Your Sleep” and “What I Like About You.”

The 137th annual Dixon May Fair will run May 10-13. Hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. all four days, with a soft opening planned Wednesday evening alongside Snoop Dogg’s concert. For more information, visit www.dixonmayfair.com.

Enterprise staff

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