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Sanford Center: 'Tailgates & Tanlines' concert tour coming to Bemidji

Headliner Luke Bryan of the "Tailgates & Tanlines" CMT Tour, which will be Saturday at the Sanford Center. Submitted Photo

"Tailgates & Tanlines" with Luke Bryan and special guests Lee Bruce, Josh Thompson and Matt Mason will be welcomed by the crowds at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 5 at the Sanford Center. This upcoming 10th Annual CMT on Tour concert started in September in West Virginia with a 22 venue tour in support of Bryan's third CD, "Tailgates and Tanlines."

CMT on Tour has a track record in showcasing potential and current superstars like Trace Adkins, Brad Paisley and Keith Urban so Bryan is in heady company. Just remember to cast a vote for Bryan, who is up for the American Country Awards Male Vocalist of the Year, before or after the show.

Bryan's big year in garnering awards was 2010 with his Capital Records Nashville Gold-certified album "Doin' My Thing," which featured three back-to-back No. 1 singles. And this year, he has been nominated for two CMT Music Awards: Best Web Video of the Year for "It's A Shore Thing" and Nationwide Insurance's Best New Live Act. Bryan also recently toured with Tim McGraw's "Emotional Traffic Tour." Just a little reminder, when you vote for Bryan as best male vocalist, don't forget to also give him the nod for Best Single for a Male Artist.

Lee Brice is no slacker as the title track of his debut album, "Love Like Crazy" on Curb Records was named Billboard's No. 1 country song of 2010. The song also holds the record for the longest charting song in the history of Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart. Brice also penned some songs for Garth Brooks and Tim McGraw and just finished touring with "Willie Nelson's Country Throwdown Tour."

"Just being with Willie is a thrill because he is a legend," said Brice during a telephone interview. "A couple of my cool good friends were with me and we got to sing on stage with Willie. I have a new album coming out in the spring and my new single, "A Woman Like You," is already in the Top 40 and I've just made a video. I'm just doing the best I can."

Columbia Nashville artist Josh Thompson has already earned praise for his first album, 'Way Out There,' which debuted in the Top 10 on Billboard's Top Country Albums Chart. Thompson wrote or co-wrote all 10 tracks, including "Won't Be Lonely Long" and "Beer On The Table." Although now busy working on his second album, Thompson had the time to do some touring with Brad Paisley last season.

Matt Mason, the winner of CMT Next Superstar, is the fourth performer on the bill. Mason's been playing and singing for crowds since childhood and got his start at a talent show in Florida. He toured as opening act for Charlie Daniels and Joe Diffie out of Nashville, but he looks back to his childhood and singing gospel for his church choir as an early start. Mason talks about the artists who influenced him: Elvis Presley, Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings and how they gave him inspiration to become the singer he is today.

Dave Brooks, Paul Bunyan Broadcasting on-air radio personality, was quick to put the foursome in the up and coming star category during a recent telephone interview. Brooks was taking a quick break during his afternoon stint to give a "thumb's up" about the performers and the show.

"The stuff that they're putting out is pretty good for some guys who haven't been around very long," said Brooks. "Down the road they could become the next Tim McGraw and beyond that they could become the next Merle Haggard, who knows?

"These guys have shown the talent and if they stay on that road, there's no telling when they will get there," Brooks continued. "Lee Brice dropped out of college because of a football injury and that's when he started writing country music. Singer/songwriters are the gold standard and to get all four of them together is better than a doubleheader or even a tripleheader."

Tickets prices for the show start at $27.50 and can be bought by calling the Sanford box office at 441-4032 or Ticket Master at (800)745-3000. The group sales number is 441-4030.