The Tennessee Valley Fair's headline entertainment is heavy on the country and offers a few flashbacks. All shows will be held at the Homer Hamilton Theater. There are a limited number of free general-admission seats available to those who pay for fair admission; reserved seating is available for an additional charge. Here's a rundown of the entertainers:
MC Hammer (8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7, $15)
In the annals of rap history MC Hammer might stand out as the artist who did more than any other person to popularize the genre. His hits "U Can't Touch This" and "2 Legit 2 Quit" helped his 1989 album "Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em" hold the No. 1 position on the Billboard 200 album chart for 21 weeks. That may make up for Hammer turning parachute pants into a fashion trend.
Southern Drawl Band (6 p.m.), Brad Blackwell (7 p.m.), Stephen Hunley (8 p.m.), Sunday, Sept. 9, free
Three local acts on the rise will highlight the fair on Sept. 9. Singer-songwriters Brad Blackwell and Stephen Hunley are making inroads with a style of music that incorporates pop and country, and the Southern Drawl Band deliver a high-powered combination of country and Southern rock.
Mike Nash of the Southern Drawl Band knows his band is walking on dangerous ground.
"You know how we Vol fans can be about change," says Nash with a laugh.
Southern Drawl premiered a new revved-up version of "Rocky Top" on WMYL (Merle, 96.7 FM) Thursday and will premiere the song with a video on the Neyland Stadium Jumbotron during the University of Tennessee vs. the University of Florida game on Sept. 15.
Nash does not know exactly when the video will be shown at the game ("Hopefully when they're kicking Florida's butt," says Nash), but plans are to show the video at all the games after the premiere.
He says the idea for the new "Rocky Top" came up after music producer Travis Wyrick talked with Link Hudson, UT associate video producer, about a revved-up version of "Rocky Top." Travis had produced the Southern Drawl Band and thought they would be just the group to record the song.
"It's a rocking country version," says Nash. "It's something to get the crowd riled up!"
Kip Moorestrong> (8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 10, $8)
Georgia-born country artist Kip Moore shot to No. 1 on the Billboard Country Singles chart in 2011 with the song "Somethin' 'Bout a Truck" and followed through with the hit song "Beer Money." Both songs come from Moore's debut "Up All Night."
Josh Thompson (8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 11, $5)
Country artist Josh Thompson landed three country hits in 2011 with "Beer on the Table," "Won't Be Lonely Long," and the title cut from his album "Way Out Here" and has toured with Eric Church and Brad Paisley. Homer Hart will open the show.
Easton Corbin (8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12, $10)
Easton Corbin went to No. 1 on the Billboard Country Singles chart right out of the gate with the song "A Little More Country Than That" in 2009 and followed with another No. 1, "Roll With It," immediately after. His new album "All Over the Road," will be released on Sept. 18. Daisi Rain will open the show.
David Nail (8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, $8)
Country performer David Nail released his first single in 2002, but it wasn't until the 2009 song "Red Light" that he had his first Top 10 hit. In 2011, he went all the way to No. 1 with the song "Let It Rain."
Greylan James will open.
Night Ranger (8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14, $10)
Night Ranger's 1984 hit "Sister Christian" is one of the most iconic songs of the 1980s and is one of the most memorable videos from the time when MTV was known for music. The original three members of the group have continued to carry on and released a new album, "Somewhere In California," in 2011.
Con Hunley (8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, $5)
Con Hunley has spent time at the top of the country charts, but he's never left Knoxville. Hunley's hits include "Oh Girl," "What's New With You" and "Week-End Friend." After a hiatus in the 1990s, Hunley began the millennium by releasing albums independently and found his audience had been waiting. His latest release is "Wayfarin' Stranger."
Sawyer Brown (8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16, $15)
Sawyer Brown hit the charts in the midst of the "young country" movement of the mid-1980s with the light-hearted numbers "Step That Step" and "Betty's Bein' Bad." However, a decade later, the group gained even greater success with a string of hits, including "The Walk," "The Dirt Road," "Some Girls Do" and "Thank God for You." Madison McKenzie will open the show.
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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