Story & Photos by Andy Lyons, Editor-in-Chief
The Missouri State Fair kicked off 2017 with a bang, with country stars Royal Wade Kimes and Sawyer Brown getting the party started at the Pepsi Grandstand Thursday night. Although opening night typically sees fewer fans than others, the track area filled up and people let loose for the show.
Thursday afternoon, Kimes chatted with CMN over the phone and had plenty to say about the Missouri State Fair and Sedalia, Mo., where the Fair is held. It had been about 10 years since his last performance at the Fair, but it’s one the Arkansas native holds in high regard.
“I love Sedalia” Kimes said. “This is a cow town and I’m a cowboy, I do cowboy country music and this is the right town for the show. In fact, I’ve been to the Fair a couple of times outside of playing because I enjoy it.”
Among his favorite stops at the Fair is The Beef House, which serves beef products from Missouri farms and ranches.
Kimes kicked the show off playing recent single “Cowboy on the Loose,” which debuted at number 8 on the Hotdisc International Play charts. The song comes off his latest release, “Love Of A Cowboy.” Kimes got the crowd going early and ready to let loose as he played tracks from more than 20 years of experience.
He also shared a story about his bond to the late Glen Campbell, who passed away Tuesday after abattle with Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 81. Both men are from Arkansas, and that became a bonding point for the pair. Both have played in Branson together and both play an Ovation guitar. The two met in line for a lunch buffet when Kimes made a comment that Campbell responded to.
“When we first met we went to lunch,” Kimes said. “We were waiting on some food and I made a comment, he said ‘Boy where you from?’ And it turns out we were both from Arkansas. He got a kick out of that. He was a picker first, before he broke as an artist. He played Ovation guitars, since the 70s. Another thing I liked about him is the guy was real, and that’s what I try to be. Am I gonna be all of that? Or am I gonna be me? You can be an artist and still be yourself.”
After Kimes finished his set, Sawyer Brown got the crowd going. The packed track area was full and people were on their feet as the group played ups and downs from their catalog spanning 37 years. The group is known for vocalist Mark Miller’s dancing and bouncing around on stage, and he didn’t disappoint.
Throughout the set, fans were line dancing, stomping their feet, and singing loud enough it echoed off the Grandstand bleachers. The show set the tone for what should be a great year of music at the Missouri State Fair.
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