Tragedy at Sugarland Concert; Vince Gill Celebrates 20 Years with the Opry; New Music Videos

Ken Morton, Jr. | August 15th, 2011

  • At least five people were killed and over 40 were injured—some critically—when the entire concert rigging blew over in a storm during the Sugarland concert at the Indiana State Fair on Saturday night. Sara Bareilles had just finished her opening number and Sugarland had yet to take the stage. Witnesses tell of a wall of dirt, dust, rain and wind that came up the main thoroughfare of the fairgrounds that struck the stage area, toppling it over onto the VIP section. Indiana State Police Sgt. Rich Myers confirmed the deaths and number of injured and said the injuries ranged from “slight to very critical.” The forty-plus confirmed in hospitals include fans and stagehands. Three children are being treated at Riley Hospital for Children. Both performing acts were okay in the tragedy. Sugarland made this statement: “We are stunned and heartbroken for the fans and their families in Indiana,” Sugarland singer Jennifer Nettles said in a statement. “We hold those injured in our prayers at this very sad time. There are no words. It is tragic.”

4:45 p.m. Saturday: The National Weather Service issues a warning for Marion and other counties: “Thunderstorms may be severe with damaging winds and large hail as the main threats.”
8:15 p.m.: Sara Bareilles, opening act of the concert at the Grandstand, finishes her set by noting it’s a beautiful night.
8:43 p.m.: The storm is looming. State Police special operations commander Brad Weaver and executive fair director Cindy Hoye decide it’s time to evacuate the crowd to shelter. But WLHK program director Bob Richards announces that main act Sugarland will begin as planned, at 8:45 p.m. He advises that if the storm gets bad, fairgoers should seek shelter at the Pepsi Coliseum and the Swine Barn.
8:44 p.m.: A gust of the wind topples the rigging above the Grandstand stage.


  • The Grand Ole Opry celebrated Vince Gill’s 20th year as a member on Saturday night and played this video highlighting some of his biggest moments on country music’s biggest stage.  He honored the recently departed Billy Grammer in song and performed with Emmylou Harris, Jimmy Dickens and wife Amy Grant to numerous standing ovations. Gill’s also got a new song on the radio for the first time in four years. Listen to “Threaten Me with Heaven.”
  • Jimmy Wayne is going to have a busy second-half of 2011. He has a book, a new CD and a documentary of his walk across America all coming in and around November. He tweeted this weekend, “4th CD coming soon. -Currently filming a documentary with i25productions. -My first book titled Paper Angels is coming Nov.01, 2011.”
  • American Idol runner-up Lauren Alaina will be releasing her debut album Wildflower on October 11th. From the press release: “Lauren’s Wildflower takes its name from her favorite song on the record.  ‘I like to have a lot of fun and I’m really sassy, so I feel like a wildflower would be a good description of who I am as a person.’  When describing fans can expect from the album, Lauren explains, ‘I feel like it has a flavor for everybody. It’s a mixture of all different songs, so I hope it will appeal to all different kinds of people. There are fast songs for people who like up-tempos that you can dance to, and there are also tearjerkers for people who like slower ballads.  I tried to get songs that are all a little different so that we could bring a fresh feel to each and every song.’”
  • Bruce Hornsby is really enjoying touring and getting his bluegrass groove on with Bela Fleck.
  • Songwriter and XM/Sirius country music host Fred Imus passed away. Imus co-wrote “I Don’t Want To Have To Marry You,” a No. 1 country hit for Jim Ed Brown and Helen Cornelius back in 1976.
  • Trace Adkins had a funny interview with Chelsea Handler on the Chelsea Lately show last week.
  • Although he’s now resting comfortably at home, Dave Evans from the bluegrass band Dave Evans and River Bend flatlined on the operating table undergoing heart bypass surgery.
  • I’m not kidding when I say that Jewel’s album release this week will be on the Fisher Price label. The Merry Goes Round is Jewel’s second collection of children’s music which follows her 2009 release, Lullaby.
  • Recent country crossover artist Kristin Chenoweth is one of eight new inductees into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.
  • Matt King is busy building a new album with Ray Wylie Hubbard and is posting some early song creations.
  • Most country fans will remember Clay Davidson. He had a string of hits including “I Can’t Lie to Me” and “Unconditional” back in 2000 and 2001. He’s been touring with a new band called Caution that you can listen to here.
  • Eddie Bush, who has had some chart success independently with “Thin Blue Line” and with the band One Flew South with “My Kind of Beautiful,” has a new solo song out. Eddie’s brother was killed by a drunk driver at the end of 2010 and “We Shared Time” is written in his honor.
  • After two short years on the charts and a number one hit in “What I Really Meant to Say,” Cyndi Thomson walked away from her recording career. She’s recently picked it back up again and according to her website, has a new song called “Slow Me Down.” (Warning: autoplay.)
  • Kenny Chesney, Craig Morgan, Zac Brown Band and Alan Jackson are among the artists named in the fan-voted Discover Boating Top 10 Boating Songs.
  • New (or new to you) music videos with a couple of cool live performances for good measure:

Jimmy Rankin — “I’m Just Saying”

Wilson Pickers –- “Can’t Steal”

Buxton Hughes — Big Blue Sky”

Shiny and the Spoon –- “Bread and Butter”

Hannah Trigwell — “Headrush”

Danielle Bourjeaurd — “Way Too Late”

Brett Eldredge — “Play”

Sunny Ledfurd — “Place To Stay”

Emily West — “Good For My Heart”

Scotty McCreery — “I Love You This Big”

Marc Broussard — “Cruel”

Lauren Alaina — “Like My Mother Does”

Jason Michael Carroll — “Numbers”

Doc Walker — “Country Girl”

Damian Howard — “One Step Forward”

Tyrone Vaughan — “Downtime”

Carmel Mikol — “Creature”

Dave Hutzler — “The Brick”

Ryan Inglis — “Secret”

Clay Dustin — “I’ll Take That Job That Johnny Paycheck Shoved”

Mallory Hope — “Sweet Magnolia”

Michelle Branch — “Loud Music”

Gloriana — “Carolina Rose”


    August 15, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Thanks again Ken!

  2. Rick
    August 15, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    That Cyndi Thomson song is really nice. It reminds me of the vibe Kim Richey was groovin’ in when she recorded her “Bitter Sweet” album. The picture of Cyndi on the back of her debut CD still stands as one of the sexiest album photos in the history of country music. Talk about what it takes to keep boys down on the farm!(lol) (PS – If you let the player keep running it moves on to other songs after the second go round of “Slow Me Down”.)

    Once the Indiana State Fair folks got the severe weather warning they should have evacuated the area in front of the stage immediately! I guess they need to anchor such structures in a way they can’t blow over like that if its possible.

    The Jypsi Facebook page just mentions some of the siblings are playing as part of another band, but there is no direct statement I can see that says they are kaput as a group. Am I missing something?

    Laura Bell Bundy cracks me up! Talk about a live wire. She joins Sarah Buxton as one of the zaniest and most entertaining gals currently working in country music. Go Laura!

    Lauren Alaina’s single hasn’t done squat on country radio compared to Scotty McCreary’s. Is this Top 40 AirHead’s usual bias against new female artists at play or just the relative quality of the music? Can’t say I care either way…

    Here’s my quick summary of LA’s “Roots Roadhouse Festival” yesterday. Brennen Leigh: 2 Thumbs Up, Mike Stinson & Eilen Jewel & Whitey Morgan and The 78’s & Big Sandy and the Fly-Rite Boys & Jacksh*t (Elvis Costello’s road band): 1 Thumb Up. I left before The Sadies and Old Man Markley came on so can’t comment about that. Whitey Morgan is a real life outlaw type with a very foul mouth and anger management issues! I’d love to see Whitey locked in a drunk tank jail cell with Eric Church to see who emerges unscathed as the real outlaw! (lol)

  3. Jon
    August 16, 2011 at 9:52 am

    The Jypsi Facebook page just mentions some of the siblings are playing as part of another band, but there is no direct statement I can see that says they are kaput as a group. Am I missing something?


  4. Barry Mazor
    August 16, 2011 at 11:20 am

    Jypsi got a lo of early attention, but the act never quite happened..

  5. Ken Morton, Jr.
    August 16, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    I had the chance to watch Jypsi play live at a benefit concert a couple years back and there is no denying that they had talent galore and were wildly entertaining. I think that this is an example of their dress and appearance working against them with (still) conservative radio. I don’t think country music was ready for a bluegrass-tinged country group that looked like gypsy punk rockers.

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