Every year when the Missouri State Fair releases the lineup for the Pepsi Grandstand, I like to write a column in which I familiarize myself with the musical or comedic stylings of the performers who are going to grace the fair’s biggest venue. So I take to the Internet and listen to some of their biggest hits.
And it seems to me that the lineup has gotten more negative feedback than it has in years — there’s always some and there’s always at least one person who can’t see a single concert worth going to no matter what. We could have a representative from every genre known to man and some we haven’t even thought up yet and someone would still say, “Look at all this crap.” But this year, the people really don’t seem to like the news.
Opening night features The Randy Rogers Band and The Dirt Drifters. And even though they don’t specifically mention anything about it on the website or in the press releases, I have been told that opening act duties have been promised to 2011 State Fair Idol Winner Ryan Manuel.
And he’ll probably be very disappointed in me, as I have never heard of either of these bands. Of course, history has shown that doesn’t really mean anything as I don’t keep up on the sort of entertainment that usually plays at the Missouri State Fair or have any sort of understanding of what the people want to see. (The people still go crazy for Jason Aldean, for some reason.)
It seems that they at least took the identity of their State Fair Idol opener into consideration when deciding who to book for the opening act because the Randy Rogers Band and our winner fly the flag of “red dirt” country. Strangely enough, the Dirt Drifters, despite their name, are usually categorized as just general country.
I listened to all of The Randy Rogers band’s singles and I still can’t distinguish one from another. Randy Rogers is an effective lead singer and his band doesn’t lack any musicianship, but it all seems a little generic to me. Maybe I’m not country enough to pick up on the subtleties,
The Dirt Drifters’ first single, “Something Better,” is a catchy ode to misplaced dedication in the absence of more desirable opportunities. It’s a little bit country and a little bit rock ‘n’ roll.
Their second, “Always a Reason,” features a line or two that continues the anti-boss sentiment but mostly expands on popular country thought that you don’t need much justification to pound a few brews. The music is less diverse and less interesting than that of “Something Better.”
You might be able to guess what “There She Goes” is about, but they manage to overcome the standard premise fairly well and produce a decent song.
I’m going to be there to support Manuel, but I don’t know if I’ll be there past that.
The next night brings us Justin Moore, whose singing accent is so thick that you might assume his songs are satire.
His debut single, “Back That Thing Up,” is decidedly not subtle and coasts on the chorus a little too much but there was something catchy and appealing about it.
His second, “Small Town USA,” isn’t any more subtle and by reading the title you’ve got the gist of the song. “Backwoods” is another one of those “let’s get drunk in the woods” songs. It’s a little better than “Small Town USA.”
The childhood trouble-making premise of “How I Got to be This Way” is good, but the lyrics still aren’t very good. Take this part, for example:
“I’ve been kicked in the face by a horse
Cause I ran up too fast behind him
And I shook hands on a deal with a man
And found out he was lyin”
I know I’m hardly in any position to talk about bad verse, but even I can rhyme better than that.
“Bait a Hook,” Moore’s tirade against the not sufficiently country male menace, offers even worse lyrics. Just look at this:
“I heard you had to drive him home after two umbrella drinks
I heard he’s got a Prius, ‘cause he’s into bein’ green
My buddy said he saw ya’ll, eatin’ that sushi stuff
Baby that don’t sound like you, that don’t sound like love, sounds like it sucks”
On Aug. 16, Jake Owen and Colt Ford are coming to the grandstand. Now I’ve never heard of Jake Owen but there is something I’d like to say about Colt Ford.
I was at the Retro Bowl in Liberty and they show music videos from giant televisions hanging from the ceiling and the night I was there they consistently displayed the musical stylings of a person called “Colt Ford.”
At first, I just thought that he was the living embodiment of everything that was wrong and painfully generic about modern country music But I eventually realized that his music, was, in fact genius bits of parody.
He’s large, loud, obnoxious and his trigger discipline could use some work. His videos and lyrics are so over the top — he’s hitting all the old marks hard. The only way it could get less subtle is if he was literally singing while swimming around in a pool full of chicken drumsticks and light beer.
Even if it’s not acknowledged as parody, that’s really what it is — and it’s actually pretty genius.
But the strangest addition is that of the “Where The Action Is” tour, featuring Paul Revere and the Raiders (Most famous for “Indian Reservation”) and Gary Lewis and the Playboys (Most famous for, uh, er, ah ...)
But the Raiders’ website does describe them as “America’s No. 1 Party Rock Band,” after all.