10 shows suburban country fans won't want to miss
Whether you like your country music rich and sweet like chocolate pie, or raw and gritty like a Texas dirt road, you'll find plenty to love among the country acts coming to the city and suburbs between now and fall.
Legends Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers will be visiting the area, as will younger stars such as Carrie Underwood and Luke Bryan. With so many acts coming through, the Daily Herald has picked out 10 country shows that local fans will want to keep in mind as the spring/summer music season kicks into high gear.
This veteran country star first found fame as the leader of Pure Prairie League in the 1970s. He went solo in the mid-1980s, and since then he's sold more than 26 million records and earned 20 Grammy Awards, more than any other country artist. Gill is touring behind his most recent album, "Down to My Last Bad Habit," a tour that will bring him to the South suburbs next month.
8 p.m. Thursday, May 5, at Rialto Square Theater, 15 E. Van Buren St., Joliet. Tickets start at $42.50. Go to rialtosquare.com.
Crystal Gayle has been making and performing music for more than 40 years. Gayle, sister of country legend Loretta Lynn, scored a massive hit in the late 1970s with "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue," and she was a regular presence on both the country and pop charts throughout the ensuing decade. Her crossover appeal helped her become the first female country artist to see a record certified platinum. Gayle visits St. Charles this spring.
8 p.m. Friday, May 6, at the Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles. Tickets start at $45. Go to arcadalive.com.
Carrie Underwood will take the stage at Rosemont's Allstate Arena May 17.
- Associated Press
Though just in her early 30s, Carrie Underwood has already enjoyed a lifetime's worth of success. She introduced herself to the world by taking first place on "American Idol" in 2005. Since then, she has gone on to sell 58 million records and conquer both the country and pop charts. She remains the only female artist to be named the Academy of Country Music's Entertainer of the Year twice. Underwood will make a stop in the suburbs in support of her latest record, "Storyteller."
7 p.m. Tuesday, May 17, at Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim Road, Rosemont. Tickets start at $46. Go to ticketmaster.com.
This Grammy-winning power trio was a feisty, rootsy presence in the slick 1990s country scene, with songs that drew from bluegrass, rock and blues music. The band scored huge hits in the late 1990s with the albums "Wide Open Spaces" and "Fly," and the group's energetic live performances made it a wildly popular touring act well into the following decade. The Dixies have ruffled some feathers over the years with their lyrics and outspoken comments, but their concerts continue to draw huge crowds. The band's current tour includes a stop in Tinley Park this June.
7 p.m. Sunday, June 5, at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, 19100 S. Ridgeland Ave., Tinley Park. Tickets start at $42. Go to livenation.com.
Windy City LakeShake
The second annual Windy City LakeShake festival is a three-day country-music extravaganza that will bring some of the genre's most popular acts to Chicago's lakefront. Headliners at the fest include Lady Antebellum, Tim McGraw, Brooks & Dunn and Travis Tritt. Three-day passes and single-day tickets are on sale now. Country fans won't want to miss this one.
June 17-19 at FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island, 1300 S. Lynn White Drive, Chicago. Three-day passes start at $225, one-day tickets at $99.50. Go to lakeshakefestival.com.
Willie Nelson will play RiverEdge Park in Aurora on June 25.
- Associated Press
Willie Nelson/Kris Kristofferson
The suburbs will get a special dose of outlaw country when Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson perform this summer in Aurora. Nelson, who's been making music for six decades, has one of the most beloved and recognizable voices in the genre, as well as a gift for crafting rootsy and compassionate songs about everyday people. Kristofferson is an ace songwriter and performer who gives his tunes a gravelly, plain-spoken power.
8 p.m. Saturday, June 25, at RiverEdge Park, 360 N. Broadway, Aurora. Tickets start at $40. Go to riveredgeaurora.com.
The velvety tones of down-home crooner Kenny Rogers have entertained listeners for nearly 60 years. At his best, on songs like "The Gambler" and "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town," Rogers brings the triumphs and failings of regular people to vivid, memorable life. Rogers is in the midst of his farewell tour, which he's calling "The Gambler's Last Deal." So fans who haven't seen him perform shouldn't miss this opportunity.
8 p.m. Sunday, July 24, at Ravinia, 200 Ravinia Park Road, Highland Park. Lawn seats start at $27, pavilion seats at $50. Go to ravinia.org.
Dolly Parton brings her latest tour to Ravinia Festival this summer.
- Associated Press
A legendary entertainer and a pop-culture icon, the indefatigable Dolly Parton will visit the suburbs this summer. After growing up poor in a music-loving family in Tennessee, Parton became one of country music's most popular stars, then found success on television, in the movies and on the Broadway stage. She's won numerous Grammys and has been nominated at least once each for an Emmy, an Oscar and a Tony. She will bring her sunny, folksy persona and high-wattage smile to Ravinia.
7:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 7, at Ravinia, 200 Ravinia Park Road, Highland Park. Lawn seats start at $38, pavilion seats at $115. Go to ravinia.org.
Luke Bryan will heat up Wrigley Field Aug. 27.
- Associated Press
Luke Bryan had a monster 2015. He released a No. 1 single, "Home Alone Tonight," and his album, "Kill the Lights," was certified platinum and ended the year as the best-selling country record of 2015. The superstar is currently supporting the album on tour, and he'll bring the show to Wrigley Field in August.
Gates open at 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, at Wrigley Field, 1060 W. Addison, Chicago. Tickets start at $69.50. Go to tickets.com.
New Zealand probably isn't the first place most people think of when they hear the phrase "country music," but Keith Urban has shown that the genre transcends national boundaries. Though lately best known as a judge on "American Idol," Urban's musical success continues, as seen with his No. 1 single from last year, "John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16." Urban will perform in the suburbs in October, giving local country fans a twangy start to autumn.
7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28, at Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim Road, Rosemont. Tickets start at $37.50. Go to ticketmaster.com.