Country standards, solo acts, a blend of country and rock and, yes, even some rap music, will grace the stage at the Deschutes County Fair.
“We are very excited to bring some of the first, big-name concerts to the Sunday Guitars main stage for the Bas-X Summer Concert series presented by Bend Broadband,” said Geoff Hinds, fair director.
The acts in order of appearance: Skillet, Wednesday; Chris Janson, Thursday; Nelly, Friday; and Reckless Kelly, Saturday. The concerts are free with admission to the fair.
“With four nights of free concerts, in a beautiful new outdoor location, we hope fair guests will have an amazing experience for 2021,” Hinds said. The 101st annual fair had to be canceled last year due to COVID-19 pandemic. This year, there some restrictions on attendance, but the music scene will be wide open.
“In addition to some of the biggest bands we have brought to the community so far, we also have a ton of additional entertainment throughout the rest of the fair, including bands on three other stages, some fantastic shows and hands-on experiences,” Hinds said.
Concerts are scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. nightly, with the exception of Saturday when the show starts at 4 p.m.
Skillet — WednesdaySkillet — John Cooper (lead vocals/bass), Korey Cooper (guitar/keyboards), Jen Ledger (drums/vocals) and Seth Morrison (lead guitar) — uplift and unite.
Faced with unprecedented circumstances and stuck at home like the rest of us, the Coopers found a way to spread a bit of light. Taking to Instagram Live, they served up a series of highly-trafficked performances and ultimately set the stage for the Deluxe Edition of their tenth full-length offering, Victorious: The Aftermath, comprising four “piano versions” and three unreleased new originals in 2020.
Skillet is an American Christian rock band formed in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1996. The band has released 10 albums, two of which, Collide and Comatose, received Grammy nominations, according to their promotional material.
Two of their albums, Comatose and Awake, are certified platinum and double-platinum, respectively, while Rise and Unleashed are certified gold as of June 2020.
Chris Janson — Thursday
Who is Chris Janson? He’s a “live legacy in the making,” according to Rolling Stone magazine. Breakout country star Janson is a platinum-selling recording artist, high-octane entertainer, multi-instrumentalist, and award-winning singer/songwriter. In the five years since the release of his debut album, the three-time CMA nominee has collected prestigious accolades that place him amongst country music greats.
For Janson, 35, country music is his bread and butter. Singer and songwriter Janson has recorded three full-length albums, Buy Me a Boat, Everybody, and Real Friends, through Warner Bros.
In June 2009, Janson co-wrote and recorded two duets with Holly Williams on her album Here with Me: “I Hold On” and “A Love I Think Will Last.” Janson released his debut single, “’Til a Woman Comes Along,” in April 2010.
According to his promotional material, he co-wrote Tim McGraw’s 2012 single “Truck Yeah,” played harmonica on the track “Beer” from Lee Brice’s album Hard 2 Love, and wrote the title track to Justin Moore’s 2013 album Off the Beaten Path.
In 2013, he released “Better I Don’t, “ which he co-wrote with his wife, Kelly, and Pat Bunch. “Better I Don’t” peaked at number 40 on Country Airplay in mid-2013.
On Feb. 6, 2018, during his first, sold-out headlining show at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, country star Keith Urban invited Janson to become the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry.
Nelly — Friday
Nelly is an American rapper and singer known for such hits as “Country Grammar” and “Dilemma.” His 2000 solo debut, Country Grammar, spawned a smash single by the same name, and his unique approach to music has kept his sound fresh and the hits coming. Nelly’s next four albums all made it to the top three on the Billboard chart, with the singles routinely making the top 20 and four of them going to No. 1. When the two-time Grammy Award winner isn’t creating hit songs with collaborators or on his own, Nelly ventures into film and television work.
Growing up in St. Louis, Nelly formed his first musical group, St. Lunatics, with some high school friends. St. Lunatics found some local success in 1996 with the self-produced single “Gimme What You Got,” but success didn’t stick, and St. Lunatics decided that Nelly would be better off as a solo act who could bring attention to the whole group. It wasn’t long before the theory was proved correct, as Nelly was signed by Universal to a solo contract.
Country Grammar features appearances by St. Lunatics, Lil Wayne and Cedric the Entertainer.
Nelly released Nellyville, his second solo record, in 2002. One week after debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, the artist found himself in the top spot on 10 different Billboard charts, with Nellyville eventually going platinum six times over. Its single “Hot in Herre” was a ubiquitous No. 1 and took the 2003 Grammy Award for Best Male Rap Solo Performance.
Reckless Kelly — Saturday
Understanding the virtuosity of Reckless Kelly requires the perspective of where the band has been. Cody and Willy Braun grew up in the White Cloud Mountains of Idaho. They moved to Bend, Oregon, and then migrated to that great musical fountainhead, Austin, Texas.
The band’s co-founders and frontmen toured the country as part of their father’s band, Muzzie Braun and the Boys, as children. They performed on The Tonight Show twice. Their father taught his four sons a professional ethic – integrity, persistence, hard work and professionalism – honed over three generations.
The band took its name from the legend of Ned Kelly, the Australian highwayman, and the three moved to Austin in the autumn of 1996, where they carved a niche of their own. They listened, watched and interacted with the creative dynamos of the outlaw country scene — Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle, Billy Joe Shaver, Guy Clark and others — and joined them in a redefinition of what contemporary country music had become. The band is now celebrating 25 years of playing together.
Willy Braun wrote half the songs of Millican, 1998’s self-released debut, in an abandoned school bus, where he had lived for six months in Bend. The effect of that album was to emblazon Reckless Kelly with a reputation as a band of no-nonsense insurgents that could raise the rafters.
Reckless Kelly’s concert — with special guest Micky and the Motorcars — is sponsored by Capital Press of EO Media Group.