Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, May 24, 1999

Three weeks until Winstock '99

By Ryan Gueningsman

Winstock, once again, is back and organizers, once again, are bringing a great group of country artists to town.

Starting Friday, June 11 and ending June 12 with headliner John Michael Montgomery, we are sure to be in for a great weekend. I will again be profiling this year's Winstock artists, starting with Tracy Byrd.

Tracy Byrd

Friday, June 11, 10:30 p.m.

Taking his country music career professionally in 1992 was the starting point for Tracy Byrd. His self-titled release made his name known to country music's fans, but it was his second album which started to produce hits.

That album, titled Ordinary Man, spent an amazing 30 weeks in the Top Ten Country Album charts. One of his best known songs, "Keeper of the Stars," was on this album and won the 1996 ACM Song of the Year Award.

"After the single (Keeper of the Stars) came out, letters and calls started coming in about how the song affected their lives. That's the kind of thing that stays with me," said Byrd.

Love Lessons, his third album, produced yet four more chart-topping hits. Tracy's favorite song, "Heaven In My Woman's Eyes," was recorded on this album.

"I think 'Heaven in My Woman's Eyes' is a classic sounding country song. It's my hands-down favorite," Byrd said. The year 1996 also brought Byrd a new album titled Big Love, which produced several more hit songs.

The title cut from his next, and fifth, album, "I'm From the Country," has been ranked as No. 5 among all country songs.

"That's amazing," said Byrd. "The song got a lot of spins and I think that's testament to how much people want to hear it. It's really become an anthem for country music . . . and for me. I come from a really country place and I live a really country lifestyle. From the way I eat, to the hunting and fishing that I love, to the truck that I drive, country is how I was raised and how I live my life."

With this many hits, a Greatest Hits collection was needed. Appropriately titled Keepers, this album mixes his ballad-type songs with his up-tempo songs and makes for a really great country music album.

Ask Tracy Byrd what his favorite thing in life is, besides country music, and you will probably get an answer about the great outdoors. Nature, hunting, and fishing have always been a passion of Byrd's. This is proven in his frequent fishing and hunting trips. He even hosts the popular TV show, "TNN Outdoors." As an avid outdoorsman, let us welcome Tracy Byrd to The Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Jo Dee Messina

Friday, June 11, 8:45 p.m.

Born in Holliston, Mass., this is one small-town girl who has made it big.

Since the age of eight, music has been Jo Dee's main interest. Performing in plays and on her own, Jo Dee has always known that she wanted to sing.

At 13 years old, Jo Dee began singing with bands at local clubs. Three years later, she formed her own band called The Jo Dee Messina Band.

She always laughs when she recalls the name. They became a big part of the regional music scene and played a lot of shows sometimes performing up to four hours a night.

Making a gutsy move at the age of 19, she decided to pack up her things and head to Nashville. She performed at many talent shows and contests, where she caught the attention of a producer named Byron Gallimore. They set up a recording contract, but unfortunately the deal fell through and Jo Dee was jobless.

Jo Dee and Byron continued to work together and another struggling artist, Tim McGraw, met up with them. Tim recalls telling Jo Dee to look him up after she became a big star. Now that both Jo Dee and Tim have respectable careers in country music, they still remain friends.

Tim has produced both of Jo Dee's albums which include her self-titled debut album and her second, titled I'm Alright.

Her debut album yielded her several hit songs including "Heads Carolina, Tails California," and "You're Not in Kansas Anymore."

Jo Dee's second album is what really broke the ice in her career. Making history with three straight number one hits has classiffed Jo Dee as one of the hottest up-coming stars out of Nashville.

Ty Herndon

Friday, June 11, 6:45 p.m.

Hailing from the small town of Butler, Alabama, Ty Herndon was raised to know and to stay true to his country roots.

He compares his hometown to Mayberry and says that Butler even claims its own "Aunt Bea." This "Aunt Bea" is none other than Ty's grandmother, Myrtle, who hosts her own local radio show.

Sonny James, Tammy Wynette, and Connie Smith are some of the musical influences he listened to growing up. His mother and two sisters also had a band known as the Todd Sisters.

According to Grandma, Ty began performing at an early age. He sang a lot during church services and at camp meetings.

When he was eight years old Ty remembers lying in bed at night listening to the radio and wondering "how am I ever going to get in that box."

Ty decided to try and follow his dream by moving to Nashville. Taking various jobs at the Grand Ole Opry and Opryland got him excited about being a musician.

Unfortunately, he was not able to make a go of his own singing career. Following advice from a friend, he moved to Texas, where many other country music stars began playing bars and honky tonks.

"I felt my life finally beginning," he said after he was named Texas Entertainer of the Year in 1992. Nashville now started to take notice of this budding talent. Landing a recording contract with Sony Records Nashville was Ty's much anticipated beginning.

His first album, What Mattered Most, in 1995, quickly became certified gold. His follow-up album, Living In a Moment was also certified gold and both albums produced #1 hits. His next hit song, "A Man Holdin' on to a Woman Lettin' Go," was perhaps his best to date. His third and most recent album, Big Hopes, currently has several charted songs and much more to come.

Chace Roberts Band

Friday, June 11 4:45 p.m.

Chace Roberts has been performing in the Twin Cities area for many years. Singing since the age of 5, he has a lot of experience as an entertainer.

Several months ago, I was able to see the band perform at a camping and RV show. They put on a great show and were great to talk with both before and after the show.

With Chace teaming up with Wendy Lynn Poynter, you are sure to hear some great duets. Talented fiddle playing and great guitar work are also a big part of the show.

Chace and the band will be sure to let you know when they take the stage, so come out early Friday night and hear what the Chace Roberts Band is all about.

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