MUSIC – Stagecoach brings country stars to Indio
The annual Stagecoach Country Music Festival makes its seventh trip to the Empire Polo Grounds this weekend with country superstars Toby Keith, Lady Antebellum and the Zac Brown Band, among others. The reunion of the Inland Empire’s The Honky Tonk Angels Band another attraction.
The festival, featuring nearly 50 country acts, follows just a week on the heels of the two-weekend Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, held at the same location.
“We all are obviously super grateful for this. You really don’t get a second chance in the music business,” said Kurt Ross, Honky Tonk Angels Band vocalist and Claremont resident, who added the group would play at 1:45 p.m. Saturday on the Palomino stage located inside the huge Sahara Tent.
Other acts include Hank Williams Jr., Trace Adkins, Jeff Bridges & the Abiders, Dierks Bentley, Rodney Atkins, Darius Rucker, Thompson Square, Lonestar and more.
Ontario-raised Ross said his band came out of the punk scene in 1988 and their early material consisted of cover songs and “goofing around.” Soon, though, the group was performing “smoking originals,” he said. “It works so well. The people would come and see us and it was so awesome. We were kicking out songs left and right.”
Eventually the group, which blended Americana, rock and Southern rock, broke up and Ross is now a production manager who has been working at the Stagecoach festival since its first year.
Ross said Stagecoach organizer Paul Tollett heard him sing vocals on the Unforgiven’s “Hang ’em High” at last year’s festival and asked him to put the Honky Tonk Angels back together.
Ross said he is looking forward to Commander Cody performing at the festival. “Absolutely. We love him. He’s right up our alley and Dwight (Yoakam) and Nick 13 from Tiger Army. A punk-rock guy country thing.”
The three-day festival will be broadcast on AXS TV. For information on the live telecast, go to www.axs.tv, www.facebook.com/axstvconcerts or @AXSTV on Twitter.
wes.woods@ inlandnewspapers.com @ClaremontNow on Twitter @IEMusicNow on Twitter