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Area venue to be site of 15th Farm Aid concert

| Sunday, Aug. 11, 2002

You didn't leave your Farm Aid concert ticket in the car, did you?

The clerk at a Ticketmaster booth I recently visited took the time to offer me a warning: Those Ticketmaster tickets are heat-sensitive. If exposed to sunlight or intense heat, he says, they will turn black. And once they are blackened and unreadable, you are out of luck: Tickets are nonrefundable.

Tickets went on sale Saturday for Farm Aid 2002, Willie Nelson's 15th family farm benefit concert. The concert, which will be Sept. 21 at the P-G Pavilion in Burgettstown, also is to be televised live on Country Music Television. Farm Aid co-founders Nelson, John Mellencamp and Neil Young will perform, as will Dave Matthews. Additional artists are expected to be announced later. Tickets for the concert, which raises money to help keep farm families on their land, are $62 for pavilion seats and $35 for lawn seats and are available from Ticketmaster outlets. Details: (412) 323-1919.

Today's two area events, however, don't require the help of Ticketmaster. Today, the concerts are free — the rub is that you have to choose between 'em. First, it was announced that Ray Benson and his band Asleep at the Wheel would perform at 7:30 tonight at the Hartwood Acres amphitheater in Hampton Township. Then along came the Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta with a lineup capped by Diamond Rio, still riding a tidal wave from its No. 1 country single last year, "One More Day."

The regatta concert, which will take place in Point State Park, begins at 5 p.m. with area performers Joe Patrick and Double Deuce. They will be followed by Steve Holy, a relative newcomer whose "Good Morning Beautiful" was a chart-topping country single earlier this year. Veteran group Diamond Rio, whose current radio single is "Beautiful Mess," will follow Holy and is expected to wrap things up by 10:30 p.m.

Last month, country fans were faced with a similar dilemma. The new group Pinmonkey, whose "Barb Wire & Roses" has spent some time on Billboard magazine's Top 40 chart of country singles, gave a free concert in South Park on July 26, the same evening as the Brooks & Dunn Neon Circus & Wild West Show in Burgettstown. If you missed the chance to check out Pinmonkey that evening, however, you'll get another when the group opens for Alan Jackson on Aug. 23 at the P-G Pavilion. Tickets, which have been available since June, range from $19 to $38. Details: (412) 323-1919.

Other concert news also has cropped up:

  • The Flatlanders will give a free concert at Hartwood Acres at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 18. Three successful solo musicians — Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely and Butch Hancock, all Texas singer-songwriters — make up the Flatlanders, and recently released the album "Now Again."

  • Also on Aug. 18, the Down From the Mountain tour will make a stop at Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Resort in Chester, W.Va., near Weirton. The tour features a baker's dozen of acts performing roots music such as that used in the movie "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" Artists taking part in the tour, which visited Columbus, Ohio, a few weeks ago, include Alison Krauss & Union Station, Emmylou Harris, Ricky Skaggs, Ralph Stanley, Patty Loveless and the Del McCoury Band. Tickets are $30; $50; $75 and $100. Details: (412) 323-1919.

    Goodtime hour

    Now that my cable television provider finally offers CMT, I haven't had time to watch any videos. The one time I did tune in, I discovered that country videos have gone Hollywood — actor-director Billy Bob Thornton plays the hapless bloke in Travis Tritt's "Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde" video, and actor Luke Wilson stars in another.

    For a more dated example of country-goes-Hollywood, check out the CMT reruns of "The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour." The show, which originally aired on CBS from 1969 to '72, is being shown at midnight Sundays.

    On the episode I watched Aug. 4, Campbell — young and sweet-faced — had the chance to sit down with his guitar and sing "Didn't We?" penned by Jimmy Webb. The rest of the show, however, was devoted to delivering the '70s idea of a variety show:

  • Cher sings the Buffalo Springfield hit "For What It's Worth" while bell-bottomed backup dancers strike funky poses.

  • Hawaiian singer Don Ho sips pineapple juice and performs duets with Campbell.

  • Campbell belts out "Somewhere" from "West Side Story" while the viewer again is distracted by the backup dancers, whose astonishing hairdos and fashions provide a terrifying trip down memory lane.

    Guest stars on tonight's episodes are Stevie Wonder and Roger Miller. The episodes are being introduced by Keith Urban, who — like Campbell — is a terrific guitarist who can blend country with soft rock and is shouldering the sex-symbol status that Campbell once did.

    Memory Maker

    If I keep watching "The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour" reruns, Mel Tillis will turn up as a guest star. Maybe he'll sing one of the hits he wrote and recorded. "Heart Over Mind" was a Top 10 country single in 1970, and "I Ain't Never" topped the chart two years later.

    Fans of Tillis' work also can hear those songs again as of Sept. 3, when Pam Tillis releases "It's All Relative" (Epic/Lucky Dog, Four stars), her tribute to her dad.

    Pam Tillis, a successful country singer in her own right, chose 13 of her father's songs for the CD. Asleep at the Wheel frontman Ray Benson lent a hand in its production, and friends such as Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton contributed vocals on, respectively, "Heart Over Mind" and "Violet and the Rose."

    Mel Tillis sings, too — with his grandchildren — on "Come On and Sing," which wasn't a hit for him but carries a message that his daughter admires. More recognizable are songs written by Tillis that were made famous by others, including "So Wrong," the Patsy Cline lament, and "Honey (Open That Door)," a chart-topper for Ricky Skaggs.

    In all, "It's All Relative" is packed with well-known songs and should please fans of both generations of the Tillis family.

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