Herald JournalHerald Journal, May 26, 2003

Countdown to Winstock: Tenth anniversary festival just three weeks away

By Ryan Gueningsman

The countdown to Winstock 2003 is on.

These artists ­ The Prairie Rose band, Ronnie Milsap, Gary Allan, and Martina McBride ­ will be at Winstock Friday, June 13.

The Prairie Rose Band, 5 p.m.

The Prairie Rose Band has a combined 125 years of musical experience among its six members.

The band was started when Karnick and Martin Sandgren became a couple eight years ago. The members of the band they were in at the time started doing different projects, so the two of them started their own band.

They have opened for several national acts over the years and continue to do a full schedule year to year.

Ronnie Milsap, 6:30 p.m.

One of country music's top singers/entertainers of the past three decades, Ronnie Milsap has earned 40 number one hit songs, seven Grammy awards, eight Country Music Association awards, and three Academy of Country Music awards. And that's just a start.

Milsap was born blind and into poverty in the mountain town of Robbinsville, N. Ca. A rough childhood led Milsap to turn to music for comfort. Eventually, he was entered into classic piano training, but was listening to the country tunes from Nashville at the same time. He took his classical training, and his love for country music, and turned it into something gold.

After several years of work, in 1973, Milsap was signed to RCA Records, where he had a string of hits, making him RCA's top hit-making artist only behind Conway Twitty, who also had many duets with fellow-Winstock performer Loretta Lynn.

His most recent release, "Ronnie Milsap Live" includes a medley of his hit songs, in addition to full-length versions of the hits.

"I've been fortunate to have had a lot of successful records," Milsap said. "Now, it's time to make some more."

Spoken like a tried and true musician 'til the end. Winstock is proud to welcome one of country music's biggest hit makers of the past 30 years to help celebrate its 10th anniversary in style.

Some of Ronnie Milsap's hits:

· "Smokey Mountain Rain"

· "(I'm a) Stand By Your Woman Man "

· "Lost in the Fifties Tonight"

· "I Wouldn't Have Missed it For the World"

· "Since I Don't Have You"

Gary Allan, 8:15 p.m.

A California surf boy at heart, Gary Allan is not your typical country singer with a Kentucky or Texas background ­ and that's not a problem for him or his fans.

"We get asked a lot at shows, 'What's a guy from California doin' playin' country music?'" Allan said. "When we were writing songs in California, we wrote 'em for how we thought they would come off in a club ­ you know, 'How's this gonna be to sing live.'"

With the release of his most recent album, "Alright Guy," Allan just keeps going out there singing songs that some other country singers wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole.

He sings, "You know just the other morning I was hanging around in my house. I had that old book with pictures of Madonna naked and I was checkin' it out. Just then a friend of mine came to the door. She said she never pegged me for a scumbag before. Said she didn't ever want to see me no more. And I still don't why/ I think I'm an alright guy . . ." in his song of the same title as the album.

"Someday, I'm gonna make an album called "Songs My Mom Hates," he said jokingly. Even if his mother may not approve of all of Allan's hits, his fans sure do. He has always been a singer known for not being so politically correct. PC or not, Allan has been a fan favorite for years.

Come late Friday night, Winstock fans will also be roaring their approval with Allan's contribution to Winstock's 10th anniversary bash.

Some of Gary Allan's hits:

· "Her Man"

· "It Would Be You"

· "Forever and a Day"

· "Right Where I Need To Be"

· "Smoke Rings in the Dark"

· "Man to Man"

· "Man of Me"

· "The One"

Martina McBride, 10 p.m.

Martina McBride has slowly but surely been working her way to the top of the country world. The Kansas native recently released a "Greatest Hits" CD in addition to doing a Christmas show tour last winter, and is working on a new album.

McBride and her husband moved to Nashville in 1990, where she landed a job selling T-shirts for Garth Brooks. She began to perform and has earned a lot of respect for the songs she has chosen to record. Many of her songs touch on a very human aspect, or have an emotional message behind them.

She has touched on everything from domestic violence, drinking and driving, unconditional love, heartache, and everything in-between.

"I never go into the process of picking songs by 'thinking,' she said. "I go into it just listening and feeling . . . when one hits me, it's simply a gut reaction. Then I just hope that it will strike a chord with somebody who feels the same way I do."

McBride has found a lot of people to feel the same way she does about her songs. She was the Academy of Country Music's female vocalist of the year and looking to repeat that title come May. She brought down the house with her last Winstock performance in 1998. Expect no different from McBride this time around.

Some of Martina McBride's hits:

· "A Broken Wing'"

· "Happy Girl"

· "My Baby Loves Me"

· "Independence Day"

· "Safe in the Arms of Love"

· "Wild Angels"

· "Love's the Only House"

· "When God Fearin' Women Get the Blues"

· "Blessed"

· "Concrete Angel"

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