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Country Crossroads Festival Comes to John Ascuaga’s Nugget this Memorial Day

121-leann-rimesJohn Ascuaga’s Nugget is gearing up for a three-day country music festival! Country Cossroads features performances by LeAnn Rimes, Ricky Skaggs and Neal McCoy, along with country karaoke contests, songwriting seminars and free live entertainment! This Memorial Day weekend will be a celebration of one of the nation’s greatest contributions: Country Music!

LeAnn Rimes performs in the Rose Ballroom at 9:00pm on Sunday, May 29th; tickets from $65.

Neal McCoy performs in the Celebrity Showroom at 9:00pm on Saturday, May 28th; tickets are $35.

Ricky Skaggs performs in the Celebrity Showroom at 9:00pm on Friday, May 27th; tickets are $45.

The Nugget is offering room, dinner and show packages, as well as a great deal on tickets for all three of the festival’s headlining concerts. Get more information at www.janugget.com or call (800) 356-3300. It’s gonna be a hoot!

Country Legends Oak Ridge Boys Play Three Nights at John Ascuaga’s Nugget

Oak Ridge BoysThe Oak Ridge Boys possess one of the most distinctive and recognizable sounds in the music industry. Their upbeat songs and four-part harmonies have delivered multiple country hits and a #1 pop smash, while earning Grammy, Dove, CMA and ACM awards and garnering a host of other industry and fan accolades. Catch the venerable Oak Ridge Boys, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, August 12-14, in the Celebrity Showroom at John Ascuaga’s Nugget.

Formed more than a half-decade ago as a country gospel group, the “Oaks” underwent many stylisic, label and lineup changes before scoring a breakout top-five hit in 1977 with “Y’all Come Back Saloon.” The follow-up, “You’re the One,” reached number two, and their next album, 1978’s Room Service, gave them their first number one hit in “I’ll Be True to You” as well as two more top-five hits in “Cryin’ Again” and “Come On In.”

Thus established as crossover country hitmakers, the Oaks embarked on a run of chart success that would last through the 1980s. They hit number one again in 1980 with “Trying to Love Two Women.” But it was the following year that would make them a genuine phenomenon. Their recording of “Elvira,” an obscure, doo-wop style novelty song from the 1960s, became a major, Grammy-winning smash. Not only did it hit number one on the country charts, but its infectious “oom-pop-a-mow-mow” bass vocal hook boosted it into the top five on the pop charts. Its accompanying album, Fancy Free, became their first to top the country charts, not to mention their biggest seller ever. The title cut of their chart-topping 1982 follow-up, Bobbie Sue, also went number one country and nearly made the pop top ten as well. American Made’s title track also topped the charts in 1983, as did its follow-up, Love Song. In early 1984 Deliver became their third number one country album, and they landed two more number one singles that year with “Everyday” and “I Guess It Never Hurts to Hurt Sometimes.” 1985 brought three number ones: “Little Things,” “Make My Life With You,” and “Touch a Hand, Make a Friend.”

The Oak Ridge Boys’ sales began to slow a bit in the latter half of the ’80s, but their popularity endured and they still produced big hits with regularity. They hit number one with 1987‘s “It Takes a Little Rain,” and “This Crazy Love”, 1988’s “Gonna Take a Lot of River”, and 1990’s “No Matter How High”, giving them a total of 16 career country chart-toppers and 29 top ten hits. To this day, every time they step before an audience, the Oak Ridge Boys bring 25 years of hits and 50-plus years of tradition to bear.

With their latest album, the evergreen Oak Ridge Boys prove that they are not only enduring, they are evolving. The Boys Are Back is a roots-music revelation wherein the veteran quartet explores blues, country, Gospel and rock textures. Producer David Cobb brought the group styles and songs it has never attempted before, from John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom” to Neil Young’s “Beautiful Bluebird,” from Jamey Johnson’s stone-country “Mama’s Table” to the blues classic “Troubl’in Mind.” “Hold You in My Arms” comes from pop star Ray Lamontagne. Country rebel Shooter Jennings wrote the collection’s title tune especially for the Oaks. “Live with Jesus” and “You Ain’t Gonna Blow My House Down” are Nashville songs, while “Hold Me Closely” comes from Los Angeles. This album’s innovative repertoire is perhaps best illustrated by The Oak Ridge Boys’ striking version of The White Stripes’ song “Seven Nation Army.”

The Oak Ridge Boys play three nights, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, August 12-14, in the Celebrity Showroom at 8 p.m. Tickets are just $50 and are available by calling (800) 648-1177 or (775) 356-3300.

Country Star Jo Dee Messina Performs in Reno Tahoe

Jo Dee MessinaMultiple No. 1 hits and a series of popular albums, including some pop cross-over success, has propelled Jo Dee Messina in to the music-scene forefront. This Friday, you can see Jo Dee Messina live in the Celebrity Showroom, July 30, at John Ascuaga’s Nugget.

Part of country music’s late-’90s crop of female crossover stars, Messina’s appeal nonetheless remained more with country fans than pop audiences. It seems like it only took a few short years for Messina to rise to the elite ranks of female country artists who headline their own tours. The truth is, however, that Messina has been singing and plugging away since her early teens, determined to be nothing else but a country music star. She sang in musical plays starting at age eight but discovered country music at age 12 and got hooked on the likes of the Judds, Reba McEntire, and Dolly Parton. She soon started performing live, and by 16 she was playing local clubs with a rhythm section made up of her brother and sister. At age 19, she moved to Nashville in search of greater exposure and sang regularly for prize money in local talent competitions. One win led to a regular gig on the radio show Live at Libby’s, which in turn caught the interest of producer Byron Gallimore, who helped her assemble a demo tape. Gallimore was also working with the young Tim McGraw around the same time, and Messina befriended him. Backstage at one of his concerts, Messina met an executive from his label, Curb, and jokingly suggested that they needed a redhead. Producer James Stroud, who had just heard Messina’s demo, stepped up to vouch for her, and she soon wound up on Curb, with Gallimore and McGraw serving as her producers.

Messina’s self-titled debut album was released in 1996 and gave her two Top Ten hits in “Heads Carolina, Tails California” and “You’re Not in Kansas Anymore.” The album sold well, setting the stage for Messina’s star-making sophomore effort, I’m Alright. Released in 1998, it made Messina the first female country artist to score three multiple-week number one hits from the same album: “Bye Bye,” “I’m Alright,” and “Stand Beside Her.” She nearly had a fourth, but “Lesson in Leavin’” stalled at number two. Honored by both the CMA and ACM in 1999, Messina staked out even pop-friendlier territory on her third album, 2000’s Burn. It became her first number one album, and the lead single, “That’s the Way,” her fourth number one single. Two more Top Tens followed in “Burn” and “Downtime,” and a fourth single, the Tim McGraw duet “Bring on the Rain,” also topped the charts, helping Burn sell over a million copies. Messina followed it with the holiday album A Joyful Noise in late 2002, and just months later, with only three albums to her credit, Curb released a Greatest Hits compilation. In 2005 she released her official follow-up to Burn, called Delicious Surprise, with Unmistakable coming in 2010.

Jo Dee Messina plays one night, July 30, in the Celebrity Showroom at 8 p.m. Tickets are just $50 and are available by calling (800) 648-1177 or (775) 356-3300 or by visiting janugget.com. Dinner and show packages are available.