Best Country Shows of 2010

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Given our proximity to an abundance of casino venues, the popularity of state and county fairs, big summer festivals in every neck of the woods (and on lakes and in fields), and the recent influx of urban and suburban Western-themed bars, it's no surprise we've seen plenty of great country acts come through the area over the past twelve months. Here are my top picks of 2010. Feel free to fill in the blanks with anything I've neglected - I've an aversion to port-a-potties and drunk chicks in bikini tops so I'm not exactly the expert on WE Fest around here.

10. George Jones at the Freeborn County Fair, 8/6/10

The merch table sold ladies nightshirts that read "He Stopped Loving Her Today," one size fits all. If that doesn't just say it all...


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Photo by Nikki Miller
9. Brooks & Dunn at Xcel Energy Center

Okay, this one's selfish.

Haters gonna hate.
Hater requests clemency.
Hater eats crow.

8. Glen Campbell at Grand Casino, 4/16/10

Don't hold me to this, but I reckon there's only one 73-year-old who could woo me straight into his hotel room, and that man played a surprisingly killer show at Grand Casino Mille Lacs Friday night. I mean, killer for a 73-year-old. A 73-year-old with well over 50 years of hard living under his belt.

But by golly, one smile from Glen Campbell and I knew immediately what five decades of fuss have been about. He's a great singer. A great guitar player. But what is it about Glen Campbell, aged 73, that at a casino on a Friday night made me swoon?

Well, Glen Campbell just don't give a shit.

7. Cactus Blossoms at the Kitty Cat Klub, 4/7/10

When my friend Sarah Jean texted me yesterday to say that the coolest -- and, she added, she would not say it if it were not true -- classic country in town was happening Wednesday night at the Kitty Cat Klub, I cringed. You're so untrusting, Nik. She added that they are brothers called the Cactus Blossoms, and would be opening for Jack Klatt. That they harmonize some Roger Miller and Louvin Brothers in a way she described as simultaneously fresh and traditional, and that her heart said I would love it.

Rest your weary mind, Nik. Trust Sarah Jean's heart.

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Photo by Nikki Miller
6. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band at the Medina, 3/19/10

You know that feeling you get when you go to a cousin's wedding? "Wedding... okay. Open bar (or cheap bar if you're most of my kin)... cool, this'll be good. Drunk uncles? Yes. I like it. Wedding band? Awesome. These guys coulda really gone somewhere if they were only stupid enough to think they coulda gone somewhere instead of opting to make bank playing a wedding once a month. Gonna drink a lot, then spill all ensuing drinks on this here dance floor. Chicken dance? No. Dancing with the flower girl to 'Fishin' in the Dark?' Yes."

5. Marty Stuart at the Dakota, 9/16/10

There's only one thing I love more than fried chicken, and that's Marty Stuart.

I missed this show.

In my mind, however, it was number 5 on the best country shows of the year. I've yet to find anyone to dissuade me of this belief.


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