Kathy Mattea at Orchestra Hall, Burns & Poe at "I Love This Bar & Grill"

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Montana brand Bluebird boots, in the style of Gene Autry, to be worn at fancy, sit-down recitals
I'm a little torn on how best to spend a Saturday night - put on my immaculate, fancy inlay boots from Schatzlein's and sit prim and proper at Orchestra Hall... or hoof it on down to Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill in my poop-stained, torn-at-the-seams Justins. Or perhaps reverse that. Kathy Mattea, playing at Orchestra Hall, has long been a sort of working class hero, while Burns & Poe, playing at Toby Keith's new bar/grill/venue in St. Louis Park, will likely be playing on a shiny new floor, too clean for my poopy boots. Either way, I'd hafta sit still at Orchestra Hall, and I don't like doin' that. Shall we compare instead the music being offered and at what price? Yes, let's do that.

First up, Kathy Mattea at Orchestra Hall, part of the U.S. Bank-sponsored Pops Season, and sans "orchestra" (8:00, $22-65). The venue calls it "An Evening with Kathy Mattea." Sounds intimate. Sounds serious. Sounds like I'd have to sit reaaallllly still and be a reaaallllly good girl. Multi-Grammy, multi-Country Music Association award-winning Mattea, whose last Orchestra Hall appearance sold out quickly, is set to perform her hits including "Come from the Heart," "Where've You Been," "Love at the Five and Dime," and "Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses."

Orchestra Hall's promo materials tell us we should "get ready for a lovely treat." Describing something as "a treat" is what rich folks do after sitting really still through something for way too long. Still Mattea, who has recently added environmentalist to her credits as she travels the country advocating for clean energy and global warming awareness, is a gem of country and bluegrass and an all-around cool lady. I could sit still for that.

For something entirely different, check out Toby Keith's Pickle Park, er, I Love This Bar & Grill -- that's a mouthful, let's just call it Pickle Park, eh? -- for Burns & Poe, a country duo "described as the Sonny & Cher of Country" (per their MySpace page). The Sonny & Cher of Country? Good lord, if that ain't enough to keep you out of the 'burbs... but hold up. The two boast a couple fairly impressive resumes. They write all their own songs. That's good... if they can write songs. But hey, they can! Keith Burns was a founding member of Grammy-nominated Trick Pony (which also featured now-solo artist Heidi Newfield) and has penned songs for Joe Diffie, Sammy Kershaw, and others. Michelle Poe has backed up acts including Dierks Bentley and Hank Williams, Jr. on vocals and bass. They seem to me like the real deal.

Both acts seem promising. Poopy boots or not, Saturday night is a win-win.


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