Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, May 21, 2001

Winstock preview, part 1

By Ryan Gueningsman

The warm weather we've been having serves as a nice reminder that the beginning of summer is just around the corner. That also means that Winstock 2001 is coming up fast.

Winstock will take place in three weeks, on Friday, June 8, and Saturday, June 9, at the festival grounds, located one mile south of Winsted.

Since Winstock began in 1994, with headliners Waylon Jennings and Crystal Gayle, Winstock fans have seen the festival grow to become one of the midwest's best, ranking right up there with major festivals such as We Fest and Country Fest.

Although Winstock is only a two-day event compared to Country Fest's four days, Winstock still is proud to have many of country music's top entertainers coming to Winsted. Profiled below are the bands that will be performing on Friday, June 8 at Winstock 2001.

Chely Wright

Friday, 6:00 pm

It was Christmas 1973, at the Wright family celebration, and the adults were asking all the kids what they wanted to be when they grew up. Chely Wright, barely three years old, proudly answered, "I'm gonna be a country star!"

Now, almost 30 years later, after a lot of hard work and determination, Chely Wright is living that little three-year-old girl's dream. She landed a record deal and began to make albums in 1994.

Although she did have some success with songs like "The Love That We Lost," she eventually lost her first recording contract due to corporate reorganizations. MCA Nashville President Tony Brown, who is known for giving bands and singers a second chance, signed Chely to a contract, and she quickly justified his decision by putting out the song "Shut Up and Drive."

In 1998, she was hired by Vince Gill as his opening act, and was the only female artist chosen for the 1999 Crown Royal Tour. Her latest album, "Single White Female," basically describes just who Chely Wright is today.

"This is the most honest record I've ever made," said Chely. "I have lived these songs. In the past, maybe I've tried to avoid talking about my personal life because I thought it didn't have much to do with the music. Now, I know that the music you make is directly connected with your life experiences. I used to turn songs away that were too close to home. Not this time. These songs really represent who I am right now."

Wright is currently working on her next album and hopes to have a single out by June. Since her signing with MCA, Wright has chosen to keep striving for that little three-year-old-girl's dream.

As Chely Wright continues dreaming big, Winsted will be another stop on the road towards superstardom.

Some of Chely Wright's hits:

"The Love That We Lost"

"Heart Shaped World"

"Shut Up And Drive"

"Single White Female"

Terri Clark

Friday, 7:30 pm

Below is part of my interview with Terri Clark which took place prior to her show at Grand Casino Mille Lacs in February.

Step on board country singer Terri Clark's tour bus and you instantly feel right at home. With several candles on the table, and The Beverly Hillbilly's on the TV, Clark makes her bus into a home.

Originally, Canada was Clark's home. Moving to Nashville at the age of 18, Clark took on a job, playing for tips, at Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, a wrong side of the tracks type of bar in Nashville.

"When I played at Tootsie's," Clark recalls, "It was kind of dangerous. I saw my share of drunk people falling off of stools, that's for sure. Now they've got more patrol, more policemen. They went through a big reconstruction of lower Broadway, I'd say about 1990-91, and by that time, I had already moved on."

Moving on to bigger and better things, Clark landed a record deal with Mercury Records in 1995. Her self-titled debut album went to number 1 on Billboard Chart's new artists category. Also going to number 1 on the Gavin Charts was her first single, "Better Things To Do."

Since "Better Things To Do," she has been lucky in the music business. She has had several more number 1 hits, was Billboard Magazine's Top New Female Artist for 1995, has won five Canadian Country Music Association Awards, and has won a Juno award as Best New Solo Artist in 1996. The Juno Awards are the Canadian equivalent of our Grammys.

Her latest album, appropriately titled "Fearless," has more of an acoustic style sound to it than any of her past albums.

"The album's very acoustic," said Clark. "I started out just by myself with my guitar and I found that doing my big band shows, I always had a segment where I would just sit with my guitar and they leave the stage. I had so many comments from people that that was the favorite part of the show, and they really liked hearing me sing with just my guitar. So I decided to expand on that idea, add a couple acoustic instruments, and just do a tour like that."

About touring in the Midwest, Clark said, "I do like touring in the Midwest, the audiences just seem to love it. I mean, it's so cold up here, they're afraid no one is going to come and tour. I'm from Canada, I'll always be here."

Some of Terri Clark's hits:

"Better Things To Do"

"When Boy Meets Girl"

"If I Were You"

"Poor Poor Pitiful Me"

"Emotional Girl"

"Now That I Found You"

"You're Easy On The Eyes"

"A Little Gasoline"

"No Fear"

Aaron Tippin

Friday, 9:00 pm

Aaron Tippin sings a song about getting himself a 'working man's Ph.D.,' and he has taken the message from that song to the extreme. Since 1991, Tippin has released 8 albums, has had four top 10 singles, two top 5 singles, two number 1 hits, and numerous award nominations. He has worked hard for all he has accomplished to date, and there are no plans to slow down, either.

"I still love playing for the folks," said Tippin. "I love to see people loving the old songs, and to hear them roar when we've done a good job." However, several years ago, hit songs weren't coming as easy as they should have for him, and he thought about moving on to the next chapter of his life.

"I wasn't sure I wanted to cut records anymore," said Tippin. "The last couple albums I had done, we were cutting all outside material, and it didn't feel like there was much Aaron in the records." So for two long years, Tippin was without a record label, but his fans and his family stayed by his side.

"After all is said and done," said Tippin, "I depend on my family. That's the most wonderful part of my life, and the real saving grace for me." Tippin's latest album, "People Like Us," even features two songs that he co-wrote with his wife, Thea. The in-your-face hit, "Kiss This," and the duet with Thea, "The Best Love We've Ever Made," are two of the songs Tippin is most proud of.

Now that Tippin is back with a new record label, Lyric Street, and a new sense of himself, he is looking forward to making more hit music, and just being out there, playing for the people.

"No matter what," said Tippin, "when I go out there on that stage, I can be absolutely in control of what goes on for that hour, and when we get to the end and I've really got 'em, boy, that's when I prove to myself I've still got what it takes to entertain people."

Tippin has always been a hard worker, no matter what he is doing, and when he walks onto the Winstock stage, he will once again prove himself as a great entertainer.

Some of Aaron Tippin's hits:

"There Ain't Nothing Wrong With The Radio"

"That's As Close As I'll Get To Loving You"

"Working Man's Ph.D."

"Kiss This"

Travis Tritt

Friday, 10:30 pm

Onstage, you will still get the same rambunctious, care-free, entertaining Travis Tritt you would have for the past 10 years. However, offstage, you will see a new, reformed man.

Tritt, who has battled with, and successfully overcome, several bad addictions, has changed his lifestyle for the good. Right now, he is focusing his energy on the things he really cherishes in life: his music, and his family.

He married his wife, Theresa, several years back and is now the father of two young children. In 1998, when his wife was expecting their second child, he decided it was time for a change.

"At the end of the year, I had a couple of things on my plate," said Tritt. "First, my wife was expecting our second child in June of '99, and I knew that I wanted to spend as much time as possible with her, our daughter, and our new son. But I also knew that I wanted to take at least a year off and negotiate a new record deal."

Tritt did just that and a year later, he has come back stronger than ever. With a new family and a new record label behind him, it was time for him to get back to doing what he loves to do most, making music and being an entertainer.

"I have a new band with two of the old band's members in it, so I'm looking forward to getting back out there and playing some music," said Tritt.

As Tritt returns to the spotlight, Winstock is sure to be just the place to make him feel right at home.

Some of Travis Tritts' hits:

"Best Of Intentions"

"Country Club"

"T-R-O-U-B-L-E"

"Anymore"

"Help Me Hold On"

"Where Corn Don't Grow"

"Here's a Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)"

"It's a Great Day To Be Alive"

Winstock notes

*The regional band Keystone has been added to the Winstock 2001 line-up. They will take the stage at 1:00 p.m., Saturday, following the K102 Rodeo Renegades performance at noon.

*Country music living legend George Jones has recently been confirmed to play at Winstock 2002.

*Winstock 2001 will be having several contests in the campgrounds this year. All you have to do is decorate your campsite to qualify for prizes. Categories are: best Classic Country campsite, best theme campsite, and best over-all campsite. All sites will be judged late Saturday morning and prizes awarded Saturday afternoon.

*For more information on these contests, purchasing tickets, and to see how you can win a key to your own private mini-biff at Winstock 2001, check out www.winstockfestival.com or call 1-888-WINSTOK.

See part 2 of Winstock preview


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