Clay Walker & Jason Jones
IRON RIVER—The Upper Peninsula Championship Rodeo will welcome country music superstar Clay Walker to the Iron County Fair Grounds Friday, Aug. 3.
The Nashville-based singer has recently been seen on HGTV’s “Selling New York,” Great American Country’s “Tom’s Wild Life” and ABC’s “The Bachelor.”
Now he will headline the fourth annual rodeo concert in Iron River.
The concert is held in conjunction with the 45th annual Upper Peninsula Championship Rodeo, which takes place Aug. 4-5.
The Texas-born country star got his start singing in night clubs, including Beaumont’s Neon Armadillo. In 1992, Walker was discovered by record producer and president of Warner Music Group, James Stroud, and was later signed to Giant Records.
His debut self-titled album saw three No. 1 hits, “What’s It To You,” “Live Until I Die” and “Dreaming With My Eyes Open,” which was featured in the 1994 film, “The Thing Called Love.”
Recording under Warner Bros., RCA Records and Asylum-Curb Records, Walker had three more No. 1 hits with “If I Could Make A Living,” “This Woman and This Man” and “Rumor Has It.”
Walker has released a total of 11 albums, including a greatest hits collection, and a Christmas album.
His first four studio albums all achieved platinum certification, selling over a million copies, and his greatest hits collection and fifth studio album were each certified gold, selling over 500,000 copies.
In addition, he has had 30 singles on the country charts.
His most recent album, “She Won’t Be Lonely Long,” his first since 2007’s “Fall,” received accolades from the Associated Press, which wrote, “Walker keeps coming back, thanks to savvy song selection and a friendly, romantic style that fits well with country radio. His latest album shows why Walker continues to deserve his place in modern country music.”
The album includes the title track, which was named one of BMI’s Most Played Songs of 2011, as well as “Where Do I Go From You” and “Like We Never Said Good Bye.”
Walker is no stranger to the rodeo scene. The Texas cowboy has performed numerous times at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, was named its 2011 parade grand marshal and has placed seventh in the cutting horse competition there.
Walker has also taken part in America’s Horse Channel’s “Celebrity Cutting Challenge.”
He has been involved with several charities to help raise awareness of Multiple Sclerosis following his diagnosis in 1996, including his own non-profit, Band Against MS, which he founded in 2003. The charity has raised over $2 million to date.
He was also recently honored with the Shell Oil Company’s Legacy Award for his humanitarian efforts with his work to end MS and his efforts with the Military Warriors Support Foundation.
And, thanks to Walker, the NFL football team, the Houston Texans, recently got a new theme song. “It’s Football Time in Houston” was donated to the city by Walker.
Walker isn’t planning to slow down any time soon. With a slew of tour dates slated for the summer and a new album in the works for the fall, he hopes to remain in the country music spotlight.
“I definitely don’t feel like a rookie, but at the same time, I think the best years of my recording career are ahead of me.” Walker said.
Opening for Walker is newcomer Jason Jones.
The Florida native came onto the country music scene in 2011, with his first single “Ferris Wheel,” the title track from his debut digital EP from Warner Bros. Records.
The EP, from Dierks Bentley producer Brett Beavers, includes the title track feel good summer song, as well as the popular wedding song, “You’re My Favorite” and the sorrowful, “She Was.”
Though the EP was just released last year, Jones says he knew from an early age that country music was something he wanted to do.
Leaving behind his high school, hard rock band days, Jones said, “I always loved country music the most. I’d get out of band practices and go home, grab my acoustic and start trying to learn the songs that were on country radio.”
From there, Jones fronted a band at Nashville’s famed Wildhorse Saloon and established a songwriting deal with Warner/Chappell Music until he scored a recording contract with Warner Bros. Nashville.
Jones lists being on stage and in the studio as the best parts of his new music career, saying, “I really want my music to touch people’s lives and help them in some way or another.”
“With a voice compared to Rascal Flatt’s Gary LeVox, you won’t want to miss this new artist’s performance at the U.P. Rodeo Concert,” said a spokesperson for the Rodeo Committee.
Brought back by popular demand will be local entertainers Next Myle.
Originally formed in 2003, Next Myle currently consists of Bill Bice, Kevin Fraker, David Sweig, Kristan Nordine and Darwyn Aberly.
The group performed at the 2011 U.P. Rodeo Concert and their mix of country, rock and oldies were crowd pleasers then, and are sure to be again.
Gates open at 5 p.m. and those arriving early will be in for a treat from special guest Jessie McPherson.
McPherson, a local singer/song writer/guitar player, will be entertaining the crowd with a pre-concert show. McPherson also took part in the 2011 concert.
U.P. Rodeo Concert tickets will soon be available at the Iron County Chamber of Commerce, Angeli’s Central Market and online at www.UPRodeo.com .
Advanced tickets will be $24 and tickets purchased at the gate will be $34. Visit www.facebook.com/upprorodeo for regular updates.
The show is for all ages and food and beverages will be available on the grounds.