When it comes to music, Nodaway County fairgoers can expect a little bit of everything on the courthouse square stage this year. There'll be some a cappella vocal magic, a couple of up-and-coming country acts and a Southern rock outfit that bills itself as a "blend of backwoods, blue collars, bar fights and the Bible."
Headlining at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 21 — the last night of the three-day fair — will be Nashville songbird Gwen Sebastian, who had a strong run earlier this year on the reality television series "The Voice" as a member of a team coached by country star Blake Shelton.
Since then, Sebastian has released a new single titled, "Met Him in a Motel Room," a gritty song about hitting bottom and finding redemption through love and faith.
"The first time I ever heard Gwen's voice I knew it was something special," Shelton said after reluctantly cutting Sebastian from his team of performers. She has the rare ability to combine power with passion in her singing abilities."
Sebastian's first single, "Hard Rain," was released in 2009. She also has a six-song EP titled V.I.P. (Barefoot Girl) available for download and featured on video.
Also appearing on the square Saturday will be Rickie Lee Tanner, who will open for Sebastian at 7 p.m.
The Missouri native is known for high-energy performances that have won comparisons to Garth Brooks and other contemporary country stars.
A songwriter and musician as well as a singer, Tanner has won numerous singing and songwriting competitions, impressing the judges at such contests as Nashville Star, and the Colgate Country Showdown, in which he was a state finalist. He has also performed on television shows like Smart Country and Nashville On Stage while touring as a regional act.
Opening night at the fair will be a little different this year, with an appearance by Six Appeal, an a cappella group featuring six young men who began their singing careers as students at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn.
Six appeal will perform two shows on Friday, July 19, at 7:15 and 9 p.m.
What began as a college hobby for the group blossomed into a career as they started performing concerts and winning competitions. Popular with audiences of all ages, Six Appeal is currently based in Minneapolis, Minn., and tours nationally.
Friday night at the fair will belong to music fans who were born to boogie. Country rockers Bush Hawg take the stage at 8:15 p.m. for an evening of guitar-based roots riffs that are, in the group's own words, "wrapped in an American flag and washed down with whiskey."
In the words of one reviewer, Bush Hawg, "carries on the traditions of their outlaw heroes with pride and a new excitement somewhere between Hank Jr. and Guns-n-Roses, breaking down the barriers within the Nashville establishment with a sledgehammer and a 12 gauge."