Fan Fair With Urban, Lonestar, Griggs and Paisley

Keith Urban and Lonestar hosted successful fan club parties Thursday (June 5), but Andy Griggs and his friends really hit the target on the parking lot at the Coliseum in Nashville.

Urban’s fans showed the meaning of diehard devotion at his third annual fan club party at the Gibson Bluegrass Showcase in Nashville. In fact, one faithful follower flew more than 9,000 miles from down under to spend time with her fellow Aussie.

“He’s just so great,” Becky Walsh of Queensland, Australia, told CMT News. “He’s gorgeous, and he’s so great to be around.”

“It’s just something you can’t take for granted,” Urban said of his fans’ loyalty, “because when it’s not around or when it’s sort of subsided, you’ll miss these days.”

If Urban has a refreshingly realistic attitude toward stardom, there’s no denying his increasing popularity. With 480 admirers in attendance, party organizers said they had to turn down ticket requests from almost as many of his fans. Because of the crowd size, Urban had to abandon his plan to sign autographs. He did, however, take the time to pose for photos with fans.

At the Coliseum, sunny blue skies graced Griggs’ second annual celebrity archery tournament, an event he created last year as an alternative to celebrity golf tournaments. Returning with a bow and arrow this year was Blake Shelton, who was joined by Troy Gentry of Montgomery Gentry, Craig Morgan, Rhett Akins, Ty England, Jolie Edwards, Neil Thrasher, Paul Overstreet, Daniel Lee Martin, Greg Cook of Ricochet and Doni Harris of the new band, Rushlow. The part of arrow caddy was played by Aaron Tippin.

Singer-songwriter Rusty Tabor’s archery skills won him the grand prize, a hunting trip to Cheyenne, Wyo. Griggs took second place honors while third place went to Craig Morgan. NBC-TV star Peter Reckell (Days of Our Lives) gave a shooting demonstration before the competition began but confessed he hadn’t shot since his high school days.

Preferring an indoor setting, Lonestar hosted its annual fan club party at the Hilton Suites in downtown Nashville. Having recently won the Home Depot Humanitarian of the Year award at the Academy of Country Music Awards, Lonestar continued their good works by hosting a charity auction. The band also treated fans to a performance featuring key tracks from its just-released Greatest Hits album.

Brad Paisley and members of his band were in nearby Franklin, Tenn., for a fan club party at the Factory. The musicians performed a casual concert for the crowd, and Paisley introduced new MCA Nashville recording artist Josh Turner for a song. Attending the party was Paisley’s friend, Country Music Hall of Fame member Little Jimmy Dickens, Dickens is featured in the music video for Paisley’s current single, “Celebrity,” and will also appear on Paisley’s upcoming album, Mud on the Tires. Dickens was also featured in the video for Paisley’s “I’m Gonna Miss Her (The Fishin’ Song),” which won video of the year honors at the 2002 CMA Awards.

Paisley used the fan club party as the occasion to give his CMA trophy to Dickens, telling him, “You’re deserving of this more than I am.” In accepting the award, Dickens told Paisley, “Count me as a friend. Anytime you need me, you know I’m there.”