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7 Country Things To Do This Weekend In Kansas City

Larry Darling

From bluegrass and honky-tonk to stuff that can seem a lot like pure pop, country music is a relative thing.

And, shucks, if it don’t just keep on a changin’ with the times. (How do you like my drawl? Trust me, it’s swell.)

Anyhow, the malleable music and adaptable culture of the country experience is available to all around the metro this weekend – 10 gallon hat optional. Well, unless you already own one, and then you have to wear it. Them’s the rules.

1. Hunter Hayes

It’s becoming a crowded situation to catch rapidly rising young country star Hunter Hayes in the flesh. The four-time Grammy Award nominee’s Tattoo (Your Name) Tour is packing arenas across the country, and Hayes is delivering the goods with an expanding catalogue of hits that include Somebody’s Heartbreak and Wanted – which he definitely is. And it’s more than charisma that’s fueling the Louisiana native’s success. This is someone who at age four played accordion and sang Jambalaya onstage with Hank Williams Jr. That’s a powerful pedigree, pardner. Saturday, 7 p.m.; Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $35, $45.

2. Chase Rice

Before tackling a country music career, Chase Rice was a starting linebacker for the University of North Carolina football team. When a severe ankle injury sidelined Rice’s dream of an NFL career, he fell back on his songwriting talent, which has turned out pretty well. Rice co-wrote a little ditty called Cruise, which became a No. 1 country smash last year for the group Florida Georgia Line. That success sped up the progress of Rice’s own singer/songwriter career. This summer saw the release of his first full-length album, Ignite the Fire, which includes his previously released gold single, Ready Set Roll. Friday, 8 p.m.; Uptown Theater, 3700 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $27.10.

3. Travis Tritt

With early influences that included gospel, bluegrass and southern rock as exemplified by the Allman Brothers Band, Travis Tritt went on to great achievement in Nashville. He may not be producing any more No. 1 country singles – he accumulated five between 1990 and 2000 – but the country-rocking Tritt continues to hit the sweet spot for fans who like their country stars both traditional and edgy. Friday, 8 p.m.; Ameristar Casino and Hotel, 3200 Ameristar Drive, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $47.20.

4. Denim & Diamonds

Kansas City’s largest country music nightclub is a magnet for the young and the restless who like a little twang now and then. Moving (and watching others move) to the music is the deal at Denim & Diamonds, and the tune selection extends beyond country to Top 40 and full-on dance music. The cover charge is waived for those with a college ID. It’s nice to see that an education is still worth something. Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m. to 3 a.m.; Denim & Diamonds, 1725 Swift St., North Kansas City, Mo.

5. The Nace Brothers

The Nace Brothers are fourth-generation performers from Warrensburg, Mo., who move easily from honky-tonk to roots rock to straight-up blues. Bandleaders David Nace (lead vocals, drums) and Jimmy Nace (guitar, vocals) trace their legacy to a multi-instrumentalist grandfather who called square dances in the 1920s and ’30s. Their father performed at country dances and led house bands on such old-time radio and TV shows as “Hillbilly Jamboree” and “Circle Six Ranch.” The Nace Brothers’ most recent album is “Well Traveled Road” – so stick out your thumb and hop in. Saturday, 8:30 p.m.; Knuckleheads Saloon, 2715 Rochester St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $10.

6. The Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm Historic Site

It’s all country all the time at the only Santa Fe Trail stagecoach stop that remains open to the public. Visitors can explore the mid-19th-century living history grounds and tour the Mahaffie House & Agricultural Heritage Livestock Barn, where horses and oxen may be encountered. Be sure to check out the Heritage Center, where the country learning extends to videos about the Mahaffie family and the Border War. Interesting times, but tough times. Thursday, Friday, Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday,noon-4 p.m.) Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm Historic Site, 1100 Kansas City Road, Olathe, Kan.; admission: $3 adults, $2 ages 5-11.

7. The Price is Right Live!

Stick with me here: The soul of country culture is patriotism. And there’s nothing more patriotic in this nation than feeding the consumer engine. So get yourself down to the live stage version of the classic TV game show The Price is Right. Selected audience members will compete in guessing the retail prices of consumer items (without going over) for the chance to play such popular (and nerve-racking) games as Cliffhangers and the Big Wheel. The touring show has played to more than a million fans and given away more than $10 million in cash and prizes. Wear a 10 gallon hat for good luck. Better yet, go buy one. Saturday, 2 and 7:30 p.m.; Music Hall, 301 W. 13th St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $20-$60.

Brian McTavish follows popular culture in the belief that the search for significance can lead anywhere. Brian explains, "I've written articles and reviews ... reviewed hundreds of concerts, films and plays. And the thing is, these high arts all sprang from the pop culture of their day. Don't forget: Shakespeare was once Spielberg."
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