SEMO Fair sticking with Southern rock

Friday, May 23, 2003

When the Southern rock of .38 Special blasted from the grandstand stage at the SEMO District Fair last September it was the fair's first departure from a tradition of presenting 100 percent country acts. This year the Marshall Tucker Band will continue the new tradition with a performance Sept. 10.

The Southern rock band is one of the three headliners announced for the 2003 fair. Country star Phil Vassar will perform the following night. The Operation Redneck tour featuring John Anderson, David Ball and the band Shenandoah will take over the grandstand on the final Saturday night of the fair.

Other activities at the grandstand during fair week Sept. 6-13 include the antique tractor pull and the hot-rod tractor and truck pull Sept. 6, a horse show Sept. 7, the Dual Demo Derby Sept. 8 and mud drags Sept. 9.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Marshall Tucker Band's first album. Hits like "Fire on the Mountain," "Heard It in a Love Song," "Can't You See" and "Take the Highway" have made the band's music an indelible part of the past three decades. The band is known as one of the strongest on the fair circuit, says Pete Poe, president of the SEMO District Fair Board.

The Marshall Tucker Band plays 150 to 200 shows a year every year.

Lead singer Doug Gray is a founding member. Slide guitarist Stuart Swanlund joined in 1989; drummer B.B. Borden signed on in the early 1990s. The rest of the band is Tony Heatherly on bass, Chris Hicks on guitars and David Muse on keyboards, saxophone, flute and vocals.

Vassar, a longtime Nashville songwriter, became a star after his self-titled 2000 CD spawned the No. 1 hit "Just Another Day in Paradise" and four other Top 10 singles. His new single to be released in June is titled "Ultimate Love."

Operation Redneck features three acts that have been country stars for a long time. Anderson's single "Swingin'" was on most everybody's lips for a time in the 1980s. Ball had a hit with "Thinkin' Problem" in 1993 and more recently with "Riding with Private Malone." Shenandoah released their first album in 1987 and have topped the charts with such hits as "Next to You, Next to Me," "Somewhere in the Vicinity of the Heart" and "Church on Cumberland Road."

Tickets for all grandstand events go on sale at the fair ticket office July 16.

335-6611, extension 182

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