Las Cruces Country Music Festival 2018 – 7 Great Acts, One Fantastic Weekend of Country Music
UPDATE – The Weekend Passes are selling out faster than any prior year. We strongly recommend you secure your tickets now.
WEEKEND PASS INCLUDES
Access to Friday, Saturday & Sunday events at festival grounds
Secure your Weekend Pass here >
Las Cruces Country Music Festival – This year we’re excited to announce our 6th Country Music Festival Event in Las Cruces, New Mexico. It’s the same spirit of legendary country music with on our grandest stage yet.
“We are thrilled with the new location. Hadley Field,” said Jennifer Bales, of Visit Las Cruces. “With its wide open spaces and increased parking, it is the perfect place to showcase this year’s fantastic line up. And as for moving the festival to October, fall is the best time of year in Las Cruces and there is no better time for an outdoor festival.” – Jennifer Bales
Iconic Dwight Yoakam will headline this year together with country music mainstays Randy Houser and Rick Trevino. They will be joined by Sawyer Brown, King Leg, Frankie Ballard, and Brennin Hunt. But, how well do you know these top country singers? We have 5 facts we bet you didn’t know about each of them!
5 Facts About Dwight Yoakam You Never Knew
Reckless and fearless Dwight Yoakam is country music’s rebellious star who straddled rock and country and gave a generation of Americans a voice and direction. His iconic 1986 debut album “Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc.” gave country music a new sub-genre to enjoy and to delight a bigger audience.
Fact #5: MTV’s first country music video star
Yoakam broke into the music scene with perfect timing just when MTV was breaking cultural grounds. “honky Tonk Man” off his debut album not only spent 24 weeks in Billboard’s Country chart, it’s the first ever country music video to be ever played through MTV airwaves. The exposure gave him a wider audience and gave country music, which was caught in the Dolly Parton-Alabama-Kenny Rogers style, a new sound.
Fact #4: Breaking Barriers and Genres
Yoakam has always been bending and breaking them rules beginning with breaking out from California, of all places, rather than in country music’s hallowed home Nashville. In his own words, he calls his music, “neo-honky-tonk stuff…straight to the jangly, country-rock cowpunk” which is no surprise since he played alongside LA punk banks and rockabilly artists like Blasters, Lone Justice, and X. In 2016, he released a tongue-in-cheek bluegrass album “Swimmin’ Pools, Movie Stars…”
Fact #3: Acting out the Right Stuff
Yoakam just isn’t the stuff of music legends; he’s a movie star and acting force all his own with his movie appearances in the Oscar-winning “Sling Blade”, Jodie Foster-starrer “Panic Room”, and South of Haven and West Hell. He was also in the TV dramas “Roswell” and “When Trumpets Fade.”
He’s also appearing in Amazon Prime’s David E. Kelley written legal drama “Goliath” with friend and fellow Sling Blade actor, Billy Bob Thornton. Yoakam will play the boss of a huge aerospace company caught in a legal David vs. Goliath battle. William Hurt completes the trio acting force.
Fact #2: A Star of His Own
In 2003, pioneering country music icon Dwight Yoakam got his star in the legendary Hollywood WalkWalk of Fame, 15 years after his breakthrough album. It’s been quite a journey from Kentucky to the West Coast, but Yoakam continues to be the authentic voice of fearlessness.
Fact #1: Quintessential and Legendary
Just being able to break into the music scene during the rock heyday of the 80s is enough to make Yoakam legendary but couple that with his humor and over-all tough but nice aura. He went around with a real plastic 1950s guitar during his “Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc, Etc.” promotion, loved music outsiders such as Jimy Martin as he listened to country music in his grandparents’ home in Kentucky as a boy, and jampacks his lives with pure music. He is the quintessential Renaissance man of all eras, and in his own words “Don’t be what you are not.”
5 Facts About Randy Houser You Never Knew
Soulful and reflective, Randy Houser has always been called one of country music’s stirring voices. With three albums under his belt, success seemed elusive until he cut the 2013 sing-along country-anthem”How Country Feels.”
Fact #5: Live and Spontaneous
In the 2015 CMA Music Festival, Houser turned in a stirring performance in front of 60,000 strong live audiences when he cut-off his band halfway through a song.
“I couldn’t hear myself in my ears (his in-ears weren’t working), I didn’t have any monitor. Finally, I had to break it down to its simplest form, and that was a guitar,” Houser explained. He finished his signature song “Like a Cowboy”, with just his soulful voice and guitar to great acclaim.
Fact #4: Against the Grain
When you have a versatile voice such as Houser, you get to play around and do magical stuff and mixes such as the 2016 SiriusXM intimate solo show where a trio of gospel singers simply backed him. He even sang a few songs with a touch of R&B.
Fact #3: Live for the Moment
Houser is known for his spontaneous live acts, and his pre-stage ritual consists of a straightforward thing: closing his eyes and setting himself apart from the hustle and bustle of the backstage.
Fact #2: The Story in the Song
Speaking about his breakthrough and first #1 Billboard hit “How Country Feels”, Houser admitted that the first time he heard the song he knew he just had to have it. Reminding him of his Mississippi childhood of hanging out in the woods and dirt roads. “We didn’t have anything in the cities to do; we had to create our own fun…that’s what How Country Feels to me.”
The song was written by Nashville stalwarts Nashville Vicky McGehee, Wendell Mobley and Neal Thrasher. Meanwhile the “How Country Feels” video became part of love story video trilogy that continued with “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight” and “Goodnight Kiss.
Fact #1: Love All Around
Houser sings his heart on a sleeve, and true to form, this Jack Daniel memorabilia collector even cries when he watches movies. His favorite all-time favorite is “Powder”, a movie about an outcast. The singer-songwriter also co-wrote Tacy Adkins 2005 super-hit “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” in an hour or so.
5 Facts About Sawyer Brown You Never Knew
Fact #5: The Oldest with the Mostest
Sawyer Brown may be the oldest group headlining the 2018 Las Cruces Music Festival, and it has undoubtedly seen the most with their 1981 debut. Before that, they played as Don King’s road band.
Fact #4: The Name Game
The band was at loose ends with the retirement of Don King in 1981 but eh five members wanted to continue on. They first named themselves Savanna before settling for Sawyer Brown – which was the name of the road where they used to practice while in Bellevue, Tennessee.
Fact #3: Stars and Winners
Sawyer Brown may have played for one of music’s most celebrated artists, but they were unknown. In 1983, they joined the television show Star Search (precursor of American Idol), so they can get their name out there. To their surprise, they ended up winning the grand prize which included $100,000 cash and a record contract.
Fact #2: Country Christian Rock
The band prides themselves with no songs about cheatin’ heart but the real deal of Christian love. Their 1992 Billboard #1 single “Some Girls Do” though is all about pretty girls falling for the wild boys.
Fact #1: More and Less
The band started with five members: Mark Miller in vocals, Bobby Randall in guitar, and Jim Scholten in bass guitar. Gree “Hobie” Hubbard played keyboards while Jim Scholten completed the band on drums.
Randall left the band in 1991 to be closer to family while in 2004, band-member Duncan Camron went to become a southwest airlines pilot. The 25-year old group still has a faithful following.
5 Facts About Rick Trevino You Never Knew
Fact #5: A Big First
Trevino’s 1993 debut single “Just Enough Rough” became the first mainstream country music song to have both an English and a Spanish version. The single carried his debut album “Dos Mundos”.
Fact #4: I am Mexican
The Texas-native has always showcased his Mexican background in his songs and. Trevino’s debut single featured both English and Spanish versions, he identified as a Latin country singer and songwriter. His new 2018 single “I AM Mexican” sings of the hardships and problems that Mexican-Americans face every day.
Fact #3: Music in His Blood
Trevino is so steeped in music that he can play several instruments with flair and passion from his stirring acoustic guitar, to rhythm guitar to piano and other keyboard instruments. His father also played in Regional bands around Texas, but Trevino never got into the Tejano music scene that his father was into.
Fact #2: A Child is Born
Trevino admittedly had a love-hate relationship with his Mexican roots before fully embracing it in 1997. What triggered the transformation? His son Luke was born. “The first thing I thought to myself is,” Trevino explains, “I want him to have more of an appreciation and love for his culture than I do.” This led him to collaboration with Mexican artists that continue to permeate his music.
Fact #1: Sony Booted Him, But He’s Thriving
One of the hardest things anyone can go through is to get pink slipped. In 1999, when Trevino wanted to put out more Mexican-inspired music, his record label Sony booted him out after they refused to let him out of his contract.
It was a dark time for Trevino after being used to the tour bus and catered tours. Most of his band quit. His tour dates nearly disappeared, and he was going to gigs in a van. Then in 2000, War signs him. From then on he just went forward with his music and his advocacy.
5 Facts About King Leg You Never Knew
He may be a newbie, but the much-touted millennial country singer is blazing new roads with his music while still rooted in the soul of country music counting Dwight Yoakam and Roy Orbison.
Fact #5: The Man and the Band
Born Bryan Joyce, the name King Leg refers both to the man and his band. King Leg says it’s a state of mind when you’re on stage and facing the crown on your own two legs (like a king it seems). The artist explains it as ”
“just let the legs move you where they want to go.”
Fact #4: Fateful Meeting(s)
King Leg’s 2017 debut album “Meet King Leg” may have been produced by the iconic Dwight Yoakam, but it took several fateful meetings before that became a reality. King Leg met Yoakam a few years ago in a restaurant, but the former was just too shy to bring his music.
Fast forward a few years and Yoakam was playing in a gig in Ryman. While waiting in the alley for Yoakam, King Leg got invited to a party which was going to be held the following night. King Leg was singing his song “Wanted” when Yoakam, who happened to be a friend of the party-giver” stopped by and the rest is music history.
Fact #3: Multiple Musical Influences
King Leg’s music may be termed millennial mod, but he draws inspiration from the 1960s retro rock and R&B. Citing Elvis, Michael Jackson, The Turtles, Beatles, Radiohead and the Pulp as his musical influences while having Roy Orbison and Dwight Yoakam as his “conversations.”
Fact #2: Clown is Fun
Funny enough, Rolling Stone has described King Leg’s music as a quasi 1990s Smiths fronted by Orbison with a cheeky sense of humor. Which should not come as a surprise as he wanted to be a clown when he was a kid, having Jerry Lewis and Jim Carrey as his humor icons.
Fact #1: The Name Means…
True to form with his twisty humor, King Leg is named after a cockroach. Yep, a cockroach he found under his couch and those legs just waving in the air. Not to mention cockroaches survive all the time.
5 Facts About Frankie Ballard You Never Knew
The Michigan-native may be a long way now from the music contest he entered in 2008 which gave him the life-changing chance to open for Kenny Chesney in a series of summer gigs around the area. From then on, he never looked back as Ballard made his way for Nashville and the storyteller’s life of country music.
Fact #5: Taylor Swift and Him
Ballard was just coming off from his debut hit single “Tell Me You Get Lonely” when he got tapped to play in the first leg of Taylor Swift’s 2011 Speak Now World Tour. We all want to know how that played especially as Ballard has been very vocal about having had a crush on TSwift’s archnemesis, Katy Perry.
Fact #4: Fantasy Tours
For years now Ballard has been very open about touring with country music legendary star Keith Urban. He is also a big fan of Elvis Presley and Dolly Parton, but who isn’t?
Fact #3: Performance Injury
Ballard can get into the zone when he is performing live, so it’s no wonder that he injured himself in a 2015 performance when he jumped off stage in a Texas gig. The artist ended up in the hospital with an injured shoulder, a busted rib and a couple of mangled ligaments.
Fact #2: Christian Barbarian
He may be channeling a Christian barbarian with “The Barbarian Way”, but this key collector chugs coffee the way his favorite president, Teddy Roosevelt, does – in mugs and cups throughout the day.
Fact #1: Fighter Jet Dreams
Ballard wanted to be a fighter pilot when he was young, and until now, he still dreams of flying a fighter jet of his own. That and wrestling an alligator someday.
5 Facts About Brennin Hunt You Never Knew
Fact #5: X-Factor Surprise
In 2011, Simon Cowell brought across the pond his British show X-Factor. Guess who was one of the finalists? Brennin Hunt who wowed audiences more by his talents than by his looks. Cocky and way too pretty, he became an instant audience favorite with his mesmerizing performance. He failed to impress Rihanna though.
Fact #4: Real Fan
The “Lose My Cool” singer-songwriter also counts Michael Jackson as a musical influence together with country music greats such as the Eagles (he named one of his sons “Henley”, Sam Hunt, and Vince Gill. He even co-wrote Gill’s gut-wrenching tearjerker “I Can’t-Do This”.
Fact #3: The Country Star Plays a Country Star
After his X-Factor stint, the country music and songwriter were tapped to star in ABC’s country music drama Nashville where Brennin played hopeful Sullivan Fitzgerald.
Fact #2: More Than a Song
Brennin’s “Rip Off the Rearview”, his first #1 music video in the Country Music TV channel is more than just a song. Featuring one of his favorite artists, Vince Gill, and co-written with his forever writing partner Adam Johnson, the song raises awareness about domestic violence, and 2017 single was produced with YMCA.
Fact #1: Cool Narrator
Country music has always been about the story from unrequited love to the down-on-his-luck wanderer to alcohol-ridden Thomas to heartbroken Jimmy. Brennin breaks the mold as he opts to be the cool narrator who can get you places you missed because life is too much a grind. He’s also the laidback country kid narrator in his 2018 Valentine single “Dress Down”.