Minnesota State Fair 2012 country: Blake Shelton, Wanda Jackson and beer in plastic cups

Thumbnail image for WANDA JACKSON 02.jpg
Photo by Nikki Miller
Wanda Jackson at the Minnesota Zoo, Summer 2011
Oooooh-wee, what's that smell? Smells like pigs, corn on the cob, and carny sweat. But then, a gentle waft of pheromones floats through the air -- the aroma of a 4-H gal from Faribault locking eyes with her Future Farmer of America. And the soundtrack to it all? The Minnesota State Fair's country music lineup, kicking off this morning with gospel girl-turned honky-tonk hopeful Morgan Frazier, and continuing with the Jacksons (Alan and Wanda, not those other ones), Blake Shelton, The Mavericks, and more.

Morgan Frazier
Thursday 8/23 and Friday 8/24, 10:30 and 11:45AM
Leinie Lodge, Free
She's not yet legal to drink, but she's crossed over from singing gospel music to performing on the stage of Tootsie's, Nashville's Broad Street lynchpin. Wuh-oh.

Bonnie Raitt
With Mavis Staples

Thursday 8/23, 7:30PM
Grandstand, $34.50-44.50

She's a little bit country, she's a little bit blue-eyed soul. But when it comes to roots music, Bonnie rules the roost.

Alan Jackson
With Jamey Johnson

Friday 8/24, 7:30PM
Grandstand, $40

He's released a few clunkers, to be sure, but Alan Jackson reps for honky-tonk music in Country's Top 40 with unmatched authenticity. An opening set by long-haired outlaw Jamey Johnson strengthens the bill.

Blake Shelton
With Sunny Sweeney

Saturday 8/25, 7:30PM
Grandstand, $31-41

Blake Shelton has just scored his seventh straight Number One hit, and he no doubt has his judging spot on The Voice, his high-profile union with singer Miranda Lambert, and his own strong voice (both on his records and on Twitter) to thank for it. We like this guy. Houston-born opener Sunny Sweeney was improbably an improv comedian before going country, so between the two of them, expect yuks a-plenty.

Elizabeth Cook
Saturday 8/25 and Sunday 8/26, 1:00 and 2:30PM
Leinie Lodge, Free

Sirius subscribers will recognize Elizabeth Cook's voice from her fine morning show on the Outlaw Country station, "Apron Strings," where Cook spins Americana, outlaw, and alt-country music when she's not cussin' and spinnin' yarns about making music and touring with her husband Tim Carroll. Her persona is adorably redneck, but it's definitely not put on; born in Wildwood, Florida, Cook's mother and father were both musicians. Mom played mandolin and guitar on radio and television, and Dad plucked the upright bass in a prison band while serving time in the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary for running moonshine. People still run moonshine? Why not.

Jeffery Broussard & The Creole Cowboys
Saturday 8/25 and Sunday 8/26, 3:30 and 4:45PM
Leinie Lodge, Free

A lot of questionable influences have crept their way into country music - jazz, pop, rap. Zydeco, on the other hand, is the best thing to happen to country, ever. Fais do-do, my babies.


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