Music News & Reviews

Country comes to Pozo

If you like outdoor country music festivals but can’t make it to this weekend’s Stagecoach Festival in Indio, why not enjoy some great country music on the Central Coast at Sunday’s Pozo Stampede at the Pozo Saloon?

With its two acres surrounded by oak trees and green rolling hills as a backdrop, the saloon’s backyard is the perfect spot to park some lawn chairs and enjoy headlining artists Merle Haggard, Billy Currington and Phil Vassar.

“This is the first time three major headliners will be sharing the stage at this venue,” said Levi Beanway, promotions manager for the Saloon. “Other than the Mid-State Fair, the Saloon is the only other active venue that gets big artists.”

Merle Haggard has 38 No. 1 hits under his belt and will be performing on the Pozo stage for the second time—his first visit was in 2006.

Billy Currington, a multi-platinum recording artist from Nashville, has five No. 1 singles. Ten songs from his three albums, all released in the past five years, have charted in the Top 40.

One of his singles, “People Are Crazy,” from his 2008 album “Little Bit of Everything,” was nominated for single of the year and song of the year at last weekend’s Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas.

Phil Vassar, known as the “Piano Man” among friends, has written songs for Tim McGraw, JoDee Messina, Alan Jackson and Colin Rave. In 1999, he was named Country Music Songwriter of the Year by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.

Also at the event will be The Devil Makes Three, which is based in Santa Cruz and has sold out venues across the country. No strangers to the Central Coast, the band’s most recent show in the area was at Downtown Brew in San Luis Obispo last October. The group’s music is a mixture of bluegrass, country, folk, blues, rockabilly and ragtime.

Female duo Miss Willie Brown sings its own version of country music. The pair appeared on Jimmy

Kimmel in February. Jade Jackson, a 17-year-old Santa Margarita native, is returning to the Pozo stage after opening for Charlie Daniels last year.

“San Luis Obispo has a great market for country western artists,” said Beanway. “Pozo lends itself to this type of event.”

The saloon plans to make the Pozo Stampede an annual event.

Previous performers at the Pozo Saloon include the Black Crows, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Method Man, Ziggy Marley, Willie Nelson, Pepper, Steel Pulse and Ted Nugent.

Reserved seating tickets can be purchased online. General admission tickets will be available at the door.

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