Do you cringe at the mental image of guitar-squealingly stupendous Styx shrieking "Come Sail Away" at this summer's Western Idaho Fair? Or prancing butt rocker Bret Michaels pouting his lips while he begs Boise to "Talk Dirty To Me"?
Flee to 2C.
Unlike the rawk-leaning lineup at Expo Idaho, this summer's Canyon County Fair in Caldwell will crank no classic-rock cacophony. Just pure country. Oversized-belt-buckle-friendly concerts will fill the fairgrounds at 111 S. 22nd Ave. The shows are free with paid gate admission ($3 in advance for senior or child 6 to 12, $5 in advance for adult). Reserved seats and pit passes also can be purchased for $30.
▪ Sawyer Brown will dig into its near-infinite catalog of top 10 country hits on Thursday, July 26. Although the Florida band formed in 1981, it wasn't until the 1990s that the career needle pointed due north with hits such as "Thank God for You" and "This Time." Does anything sum up the social vibe of a county fair better than the No. 1 single "Some Girls Do"? "Well, I ain't first class/But I ain't white trash/I'm wild and a little crazy, too/Some girls don't like boys like me/Aw, but some girls do." (Take that line to the bank when you're hittin' on that hot carnie at the ring-toss booth.) Opening act: Ryan Robinette.
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▪ Craig Morgan, who will headline on Friday, July 27, has no shortage of favorites. Somewhat surprisingly, the U.S. Army veteran has only one No. 1 country hit on his resume, but it was a doozy. "That's What I Love About Sunday" topped the charts for about a month in 2005. He's had six other top 10 singles: "Redneck Yacht Club," "Almost Home," "Little Bit of Life," "International Harvester", "Love Remembers" and "Bonfire." Opening act: Jackson Michelson.
▪ Relative newcomer Michael Ray headlines the coveted Saturday-night slot on July 28. Back in 2012, Ray was mentored by John Rich of country duo Big & Rich on The CW network reality series "The Next: Fame is at Your Doorstep." Ray went on to win the competition. Since then, he's landed a couple of top 10 country hits, including 2015's "Kiss You in the Morning" and 2016's "Think a Little Less." Other Ray songs that have charted include "Real Men Love Jesus" (2015) and "Get to You" (2017). Opening act: Smithfield.