May 2017

Additional Concerts Announced for State Fair of West Virginia

LEWISBURG, W.Va. – State Fair Officials have announced the addition of Clay Walker and John Michael Montgomery and Buckin’B Bull Ride with Steve Moakler to the 2017 State Fair of West Virginia Concert Lineup.

Clay Walker and John Michael Montgomery will take the stage on Sunday, August 13, while Buckin’B Bull Ride with Steve Moakler will end the 10-day event on Saturday, August 19. Tickets for these shows will go on sale Friday, May 19 at 10 AM.

Ticket prices and details on how to order can be found at www.statefairofwv.com. Tickets will only be available via ETIX at www.statefairofwv.com/fair or by calling 1-800-514-ETIX (3849) Monday through Friday 9 am – 6 pm or Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets will not be sold at the State Fair Box Office until June 1.

“We are very excited to announce the final additions of Clay Walker, John Michael Montgomery and Steve Moakler to our 2017 State Fair Lineup,” said State Fair CEO Kelly Collins. “With just a few months to go, we are working hard to make sure this is one of the best fairs yet, and we cannot wait to open the gates.”

Clay Walker
Multi-Platinum country music artist and East Texas native, Clay Walker, rocked the country scene in 1993 with his debut album that included the smash hit “What’s it to you.” He continued to make a splash, releasing a string of number one hits including “If I Could Make a Living,” “This Woman and This Man” and “Rumor Has It.” In 1996 he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis but Clay did not let that set him back. He has continued touring and recording steadily since the diagnosis and is well known for his high-energy concerts and performance style. He later founded the Band against MS Foundation after realizing the impact the disease has on others. Since its formation in 2003, Clay has helped Band against MS raise upwards of $5,000,000 through charity performances, golf tournaments, bike rides, auctions, etc. Clay has had 4 RIAA Platinum albums, 2 Certified Gold albums, and 11 #1 singles to date. After “She Won’t Be Lonely Long” reached top 5 on the radio, Clay began working on new music with a fresh sound. He recently released his single “Right Now” to The Highway on Sirius XM this past fall, teasing an impending album release. The full album is expected to debut later this year.

Join Clay Walker on Sunday, August 13 at 7:00 P.M.!

Join Clay Walker on Sunday, August 13 at 7:00 P.M.!

John Michael Montgomery
John Michael Montgomery has turned an uncanny ability to relate to fans into one of country music’s most storied careers. Behind the string of hit records, the roomful of awards and the critical and fan accolades that have defined his phenomenal success lies a connection that goes beyond his undeniable talent and his proven knack for picking hits. Since the days when “Life’s A Dance” turned him from an unknown artist into a national star, John Michael’s rich baritone has carried that most important of assets–believably. Few artists in any genre sing with more heart than this handsome Kentucky-born artist.

It is readily apparent in love songs that have helped set the standard for a generation. Songs like “I Swear,” “I Love the Way You Love Me” and “I Can Love You Like That” still resonate across the landscape–pop icon and country newcomer Jessica Simpson cited “I Love the Way You Love Me” as an influence in a recent interview. It is apparent in the 2004 hit “Letters from Home,” one of the most moving tributes to the connection between soldiers and their families ever recorded, and in “The Little Girl,” a tale of redemption that plumbs both the harrowing and the uplifting. It is apparent even in the pure fun that has always found its way into John Michael’s repertoire—songs like “Be My Baby Tonight” and “Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident),” where John Michael’s vocal earnestness takes musical whimsy to another level.

Now, with the release of Time Flies, which he co-produced with Byron Gallimore, John Michael takes another big step forward, strengthening his position as one of the most versatile and compelling vocalists on the country scene. With songs like “Forever” and “If You Ever Went Away,” he proves he is still the master of the power ballad, a man capable of bringing honest emotion to life in song. He brings his ever-present sense of humor to bear on “With My Shirt On” and “Mad Cowboy Disease,” songs with wickedly skewed sensibilities. With songs like “Drunkard’s Prayer” and “All in a Day” he explores two dramatic facets of human existence, and with “Brothers Till the End,” John Michael celebrates the family background that led both him and his brother Eddie, of Montgomery Gentry, from a small-time family band to the top of the charts. The emotional centerpiece for John Michael is “All in a Day,” the song that contains the lyric that gave the album its name.

“That song talks about how time flies,” he says, “and I got to think that it seems like yesterday that ‘Life’s A Dance’ was out and people were asking me, ‘Where would you like to be in 10 or 15 years?’ ‘Still here!’ was my answer and, thankfully, I am still here. Longevity was more important to me than anything else, and to still be able to do something I love so much is wonderful. Still, it’s gone by so quickly that I thought, ‘I’m going to build an album around that.’ That’s where the shape of this album comes from.”

Each song, he says, reminds him of an era in his life and an artist or style of music. “What Did I Do” is reminiscent of “the gritty Hank Jr. stuff we played in our honkytonk days,” while “Loving and Letting Go” “reminds me a bit of Lionel Ritchie and the Eagles, artists that helped mold me into the artist I am today.” Beyond that, he maintains, he selected material the way he always has.

Steve Moakler
Steve Moakler has been making a name for himself in Nashville for 10 years now- and on his new album, he’s returning to his roots in Western Pennsylvania. Steel Town is a country record, but the stories it tells and the characters it elevates are very much rooted in Pittsburgh—the Steel City—and its surrounding areas. For Moakler, this homecoming is paired with liberation, one where his songwriting and his performing are a full reconciliation of who he is. “I’ve had the title Steel Town in my head for a long time. But I’ve been very intimidated; where I’m from means so much to me, and there’s a lot of pride in Pittsburgh and in the Rust Belt. I wanted to honor that.

“This is my fourth album, but it feels like in a lot of ways, it’s the first time I’m ever going back and talking about the earlier chapters of my life and where I’m from.”
With songs like the easygoing country-radio hit “Suitcase,” which revels in love’s ability to open up one’s appreciation of life’s simpler pleasures, and the crackling barroom singalong “Love Drunk,” Steel Town represents a performer and songwriter who are coming into his own.
Moakler moved to Nashville in the mid-2000s and has released three albums on his own. But it was penning songs for other artists—Dierks Bentley’s “Riser,” as well as tracks for Ashley Monroe and Kellie Pickler—that got him energized to create the songs that would make up Steel Town.

“There was a period of time when I was making my own independent records where I wasn’t sure if I wanted to really pursue what we call in Nashville ‘the artist route,'” he recalled. “So I said, ‘I think I just want to write songs. I need to just take that pressure off and just fall back in love with writing music, because that’s what’s got me into this whole thing in the first place.’ When I did that, I feel like all of a sudden, I started to love the songs I was writing more than ever before. I started to recognize my voice and realize what was unique about my style and my story.”

The 2017 State Fair themed “Start a Tradition,” is a 10-day Fair scheduled August 10-19, 2017. The State Fair of West Virginia, with a $13.8 million dollar economic impact on the state of West Virginia, is a 501 © 3 non-profit corporation committed to the traditions of agriculture, family entertainment, and education. For more information, please visit www.statefairofwv.com, or follow fair events on Facebook and Twitter.

Casting Crowns to Play at State Fair of West Virgina

LEWISBURG W.Va. – State Fair Officials have announced the contemporary Christian group Casting Crowns will play at the 2017 State Fair of West Virginia on Saturday, August 12 at 8 pm! Tickets for this show will go on sale Friday, May 5 at 10 AM.

Join the Casting Crowns group on Saturday, August 10 at the State Fair of West Virginia.

Join the group Casting Crowns on Saturday, August 10 at the State Fair of West Virginia.

Ticket prices and details on how to order can be found at www.statefairofwv.com. Tickets will only be available via ETIX at www.statefairofwv.com/fair or by calling 1-800-514-ETIX (3849) Monday through Friday 9 am – 6 pm or Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets will not be sold at the State Fair Box Office until June 1.

“Casting Crowns is a strong addition to our 2017 lineup and we are very excited to see them play at the 93rd Annual State Fair of West Virginia,” State Fair CEO Kelly Collins stated. “We are now just 100 days away from the fair and we cannot wait to open the gates!”

Prolific CCM band Casting Crowns has achieved sales milestones with 10 million album sells including one RIAA 2x multi-Platinum album, four RIAA Platinum albums, two RIAA Platinum DVDs, seven RIAA Gold albums, four Gold DVDs, one RIAA Platinum certified single and five RIAA Gold certified digital singles. The band currently holds the position as Billboard’s top-selling act in Christian music since 2007.

Casting Crowns has also been honored with four American Music Awards (out of seven total nominations), a GRAMMY Award for its 2005 album Lifesong, and six GRAMMY nominations. In addition, the group has garnered 17 GMA Dove Awards and two Billboard Music Awards from 11 total Billboard Music Award nominations.

Casting Crowns’ seven band members all remain active in student ministry in the Atlanta area and tour according to their local church commitments. Serving his 25 plus years in youth ministry, lead singer/songwriter Mark Hall maintains his role as the student pastor at Eagle’s Landing First Baptist Church in Atlanta.

The 2017 State Fair themed “Start a Tradition”, is a 10-day Fair scheduled August 10-19, 2017. The State Fair of West Virginia, with a $13.8 million dollar economic impact on the state of West Virginia, is a 501 © 3 non-profit corporation committed to the traditions of agriculture, family entertainment, and education. For more information, please visit www.statefairofwv.com, or follow fair events on Facebook and Twitter.

Aaron Lewis Added to State Fair of West Virginia Concert Series

LEWISBURG W.VA. – The State Fair of West Virginia is happy to announce the addition of Aaron Lewis to the 2017 Concert Series. Lewis with special guest Ray Scott will open the Fair on Thursday, August 10 with an 8 pm show.

Tickets for this show will go on sale Friday, April 21, 2017 at 10 am. Tickets can be purchased by calling 1-800-514-ETIX(3849) or by visiting www.statefairofwv.com.

The State Fair is also excited to announce the list of free grandstand shows for 2017, including country music newcomer Luke Combs (8/14), Jimmy Fortune (8/15) and Home Free (8/16). Each of these shows will be free with paid gate admission and will take place after Twilight Harness Racing at 5:30 pm!

“We are excited to be bringing Aaron Lewis to the 2017 State Fair of West Virginia, as well as a few great free shows,” CEO Kelly Collins stated. “We still have just a few announcements left, but we are expecting to have a great year as we celebrate the 93rd Annual State Fair of West Virginia.”

Aaron Lewis

If it sounds like Aaron Lewis is long past defending his Country music pedigree that would be a correct assessment. Lewis would prefer the music speak for itself and, with the release of SINNER, Lewis’ stunning Dot Records follow-up to his groundbreaking full-length solo debut The Road in 2012, any would-be detractors will be pretty much out of ammo.

Lewis, however, is not. SINNER blasts through today’s Country music doldrums like a shot of 100-proof whiskey, with the singer making zero compromises with either himself or the restrictions of a format that seems to have abandoned its rougher tendencies in favor of pop and ‘70s rock inclinations largely lacking in grit.

“I’d like to think that SINNER is a newer take on classic, traditional Outlaw Country, Waylon and Merle and Willie, and Hank Jr. and Johnny Cash and all that stuff,” says Lewis. “That was the music I heard as a kid, and that’s the Country music that permeated my soul and stuck with me my whole life.”

Lewis admits he “didn’t really pay attention to any of the Country music in between” that early Outlaw exposure and his emergence as a new voice for the genre with the release of “Country Boy” on the Town Line EP in 2011. “I was too busy going down the road of one day ending up being in a rock band, and revolting against the music I was basically force-fed as a kid,” he says. “I finally came around full circle, and this music crept back into my life. My plumber at the time bet me that I wouldn’t write a Country song, so I sat down and wrote ‘Country Boy,’ and the rest is history.”

As the front man for one of modern rock’s most successful bands in Staind, Lewis admits his entree into the Country world has been met with mixed reactions. “I have definitely dealt with some of the old guard questioning my commitment to the genre, questioning how much of this might be a toe-dipping in the water to see what the temperature is,” he says. “I had, and still have, a very established career in the rock world, and as much as that has been a blessing in some ways, it has been a curse in others in trying to be looked at as somebody who is taking this seriously and isn’t just trying to go where the money is. There has been a pretty big misconception I’ve had to battle, but there has also been lots of support. There have been times I’ve been told by a program director that my record was his favorite that came out that year but he couldn’t play it because it’s ‘too Country.’ The landscape of Country radio today doesn’t really leave any room for an artist like myself that has no desire to mix pop music with Country music. Why would I do that?”

See Aaron Lewis at the State Fair of West Virginia on August 10, 2017.

See Aaron Lewis at the State Fair of West Virginia on August 10, 2017.

Few pop-tinged songs would dare feature lyrics as candid, biting and personal as those on SINNER. If “Country Boy,” with its swaggering bravado, was the opening salvo, the 11 songs on SINNER herald a man who admits—and often deeply regrets—his personal shortcomings, yet offers no excuses. “This is an album of acknowledgement, admittance, moments of self-awareness,” he says. “It has been a pretty trying time in my life over the past few years, and these songs are what have come of it. At the risk of sounding cliché, my music has always been therapeutic for me.”

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