Red Dirt country comes to the county fair

Are you ready for 10 days of good, old-fashioned country fun? The annual Chaffee County Fair and Rodeo is about to kick off, hosting events from Thursday, July 19, through Sunday, July 29. Saturday the 21 promises to be a night to remember with country music star William Michael Morgan headlining the stage at 7 p.m.

Every big event needs a big name to get the show started, and whoo-whee did Chaffee County deliver this year! Opening weekend will welcome Jason Boland and The Stragglers as the opening act to William Michael Morgan. Doors open at 5 p.m., and Jason Boland and The Stragglers will begin serenading the audience with their Red Dirt country music at 5:30.

Boland and his band are beginning an extended summer and fall tour here in Colorado, bringing their unique mix of country music to the Arkansas Valley after performing at Denver’s Grizzly Rose. They aren’t bluegrass, honky tonk or any “genre” really, but this Red Dirt band mixes a variety of country and other musical styles into a new distinct sound.

After Boland and The Stragglers get the crowd jazzed, the stage will be turned over to none other than rising country star Morgan. Given the opportunity to play anywhere, Morgan said, “Anytime we get the opportunity to go to Colorado, I’m not complaining . . . it’s just so beautiful. We always try and take advantage of what’s around there like some of the hiking places.”

Morgan is most known for his break-out single “I Met a Girl,” but he has been working hard to grow as an artist and promote his newest album Vinyl, which was released at the end of 2017. Morgan has made quick work at getting his name and music out there, and the rewards for his hard work are beginning to pay off. He said he’s looking forward to starting his summer tour with the Chaffee County Fair and Rodeo.  

Morgan isn’t just in it for the musical performance, though. “Of course, it’s a fair, so I’m sure there will be some sort of food, there will funnel cake, so we’ll definitely have to have some funnel cake; we’ll get it with some ice cream, all the bad stuff for ya,” said Morgan, a childish grin hidden behind that Mississippi drawl, revealing perhaps that even country music stars secretly dream of funnel cake, cotton candy and other guilty pleasures at the summer fair.

Although Morgan gets to travel around the United States as a performer, the country artist said he loves traveling anywhere because without his career he probably wouldn’t have traveled far from his home in Mississippi, where a lot of people “don’t get passed the mailbox.” Asked to choose a favorite region or state to perform, Morgan said, “My favorite place . . . that’s hard. I have been to 49 of the 50 states, Hawaii is the one I haven’t been to. That will probably top my list if I do get there, but at the moment, I would have to say Alaska, maybe Colorado, or California. I love the West Coast, so I think around there is my current favorite.”

Bring the kiddos to the daily events showcasing our Chaffee County community and agriculture, and come out to see Jason Boland and the Stragglers at 5:30 p.m. and Morgan at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 21. Tickets are $35 and can be bought at Cellar Wine and Spirits, Bangs Salon, Walke & Associates, Salida Chamber of Commerce and online at ChaffeeCountyFair.com. Children 6 years old and younger are admitted free. Tickets are still available, so don’t miss your chance to see a country star in our stretch of the valley.