Country Artists Hard at Work on New Year’s Eve

Brooks & Dunn, Carrie Underwood Among Those Booked for Concerts

While most Americans won’t be working on New Year’s Eve, Brooks & Dunn, Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts are among those who will on the job as country music fans celebrate the arrival of 2007.

Brooks & Dunn will be in charge of Nashville’s biggest party — a concert at the Gaylord Entertainment Center that also features Trace Adkins and Jason Aldean. Underwood is headed north to the Minneapolis area for a show at the Mystic Lake Casino. And Rascal Flatts will perform in New York’s Times Square for the 35th annual Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. Clark and Ryan Seacrest will host the ABC-TV program that will also includes appearances by Christina Aguilera, Fergie, Ludacris, Meat Loaf and others.

At Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, Garrison Keillor, best known as host of public radio’s A Prairie Home Companion, has assembled an all-star cast for a live television special to air on PBS. Scheduled to join him are Emmylou Harris, Robin and Linda Williams, Rhonda Vincent & the Rage, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Old Crow Medicine Show, Sam Bush, Buddy Emmons, Jerry Douglas, Cowboy Jack Clement and others.

Also in downtown Nashville, Steve Holy will be appearing at the Wildhorse Saloon on a bill with Deep South and the LoCash Cowboys. Deep South features several Southern rock mainstays, including Artimus Pyle (Lynyrd Skynard), Robert Nix (Atlanta Rhythm Section) and Jimmy Hall (Wet Willie). The schedule in Music City also finds Raul Malo, the Mavericks’ former lead vocalist, at 3rd & Lindsley Bar and Grill and Nashville Star winner Chris Young at the Nashville Palace. The Grascals, the International Bluegrass Music Association’s entertainers of the year, will be at the Station Inn.

In Texas, Jack Ingram is at Billy Bob’s Texas in Fort Worth, and Chris Cagle and Bomshel will appear at Cowboy’s Red River in Dallas. Other New Year’s Eve shows in the Lone Star state include Tracy Lawrence at Cowboy’s Dance Hall in San Antonio, James McMurtry at Jovita’s in Austin, Cory Morrow at Gilley’s in Dallas and Chris Knight in Grapevine at a venue known as Love & War in Texas.

At least two other multi-act concerts are scheduled, including Montgomery Gentry’s hometown show in Lexington, Ky., with Gary Allan, Rodney Atkins and — believe it or not — Styx. Phil Vassar, Little Big Town and Trent Tomlinson are at Target Center in Minneapolis.

In Georgia, Lonestar and Keni Thomas provide the music at the 18th annual Peach Drop Celebration at Underground Atlanta. Other New Year’s Eve shows include Sara Evans at Soaring Eagle Casino in Mount Pleasant, Mich., Cross Canadian Ragweed and Wade Bowen at the Wormy Dog Saloon in Oklahoma City, Todd Snider and the Bottle Rockets at Mississippi Nights in St. Louis and Lyle Lovett at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.

Conservative talk show host Sean Hannity was in Nashville in late November to tape a New Year’s Eve special to air on Fox News. The taping at the Nashville Palace featured Hank Williams Jr., Jo Dee Messina, Crystal Gayle, John Conlee, Van Zant, Heartland, Josh Gracin and others.

Calvin Gilbert has served as’s managing editor since 2002. His background includes stints at the Nashville Banner, Radio & Records and Westwood One.