September 11, 2009 in Features

Interstate Fair lands quartet of top music acts

Atkins, Campbell, Beach Boys, Gracin headline next week
By The Spokesman-Review
 
The Spokesman-Review photo

Rodney Atkins
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

If you go

Spokane County Interstate Fair

Opens today and continues through Sept. 20 at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center, 404 N. Havana St. Featured concerts include:

•Rodney Atkins: Monday, 7 p.m.

•Glen Campbell: Tuesday, 7 p.m.

•The Beach Boys: Wednesday, 7 p.m.

•Josh Gracin: Thursday, 7 p.m.

Tickets are $15 for VIP Golden Circle, $10 for other Golden Circle seats and $5 general admission (ticket prices do not include fair admission), through TicketsWest outlets (509-325-SEAT, 800-325-SEAT, www.ticketswest.com).

Some people love the Spokane County Interstate Fair for the rodeo cowboys, but at least as many this year will be drawn by the “Rhinestone Cowboy.”

Glen Campbell will be one of the music headliners at the fair next week, along with the Beach Boys, “American Idol” sensation Josh Gracin and country star Rodney Atkins.

Let’s take a look at all four acts:

The Beach Boys, Wednesday, 7 p.m. – This is definitely the most famous act at the fair, but how many of the original members are in the current touring lineup?

That would be one: Mike Love.

Maybe two if you’re willing to count Bruce Johnston. Johnston is the next best thing to an original member, joining in 1965.

The three Wilson brothers formed the core of the original band in 1961, but they will be present only in spirit.

Dennis Wilson died in 1983, and Carl Wilson in 1998. Songwriting genius Brian Wilson, his notoriously fragile mental health having improved, is a solo artist these days.

The other original member, Al Jardine, split off and created his own Endless Summer Band a few years ago.

So the current touring lineup consists of Love, Johnston, John Cowsill (yes, one of The Cowsills), Tim Bonhomme, Randell Kirsch, Scott Totten and Christian Love.

They do, by all accounts, deliver authentic versions of those Beach Boys hits. They may even remind you of why the Beach Boys, not the Rolling Stones, were the foremost creative rivals of the Beatles back in the mid-1960s.

And while we’re discussing former Beach Boys, let’s not forget that the next name listed below was also a member of the Beach Boys, briefly.

Glen Campbell, Tuesday, 7 p.m. – Yes, Campbell filled in for Brian Wilson on tour in 1964, before becoming a hit-making machine on his own in the 1960s and 1970s.

Campbell was a sought-after session guitarist in L.A., playing on tracks by the Champs and the Hondells. In 1967, America discovered him as a solo act. He had a string of hits in the late 1960s: “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Gentle on My Mind,” “Wichita Lineman” and “Galveston.”

He combined a country sensibility (he was born in Arkansas) with a more slick California pop sound. Today it would be called country crossover.

Campbell became a staple on adult contemporary radio in the 1970s with hits like “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “Southern Nights.”

In the 1980s his music began to hit it big on country radio. He became a headliner in Branson, Mo., and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005.

Josh Gracin, Thursday, 7 p.m. – Gracin first wowed audiences in 2003 as a finalist on the second season of “American Idol.” He was serving in the U.S. Marines at the time and was subsequently sent on a promotional/recruiting tour.

Gracin finished his four-year Marine Corps stint in 2004 and started his recording career, hitting No. 1 on the country charts with “Nothing to Lose” in 2005.

Since then, he has had an impressive string of country hits, including three from his most recent album, “We Weren’t Crazy” – “Telluride,” “Unbelievable (Ann Marie)” and the title song.

Rodney Atkins, Monday, 7 p.m. – This Tennessee-bred country singer has been a staple on the country charts since 1997.

His career has been on an impressive roll since 2006, when his album “If You’re Going Through Hell” spawned four No. 1 country singles: “These Are My People,” “Watching You,” “Cleaning This Gun (Come On In Boy)” and the title song.

The title track to his latest album, “It’s America,” also hit No. 1 in May. Another track, “15 Minutes,” is climbing the country charts.


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