Rodney Atkins will headline the 2009 kickoff concert for the Pendleton Round-Up & Happy Canyon.
Atkins, the Academy of Country Music's 2006 top new male vocalist will perform Saturday, Sept. 12, at the Happy Canyon Arena. The annual concert opens Pendleton's week-long celebration.
Round-Up and Happy Canyon officials said Atkins is one of the hottest country music performers today, with four No. 1 hits to his credit. Atkins also received the Billboard magazine award for the most played song in back-to-back years - in 2006 for "If You're Going Through Hell," and in 2007 for "Watching You."
Atkins latest No. 1 hit is "These Are My People."
"Every song I sing is about the world as I know it," Atkins said. "Every word is real. I'm not going to sing it if it isn't." A native of small-town east Tennessee, Atkins was adopted and now has a famiily of his own.
"People always talk about image, 'You're the guy in the ball cap, the all-American country boy,' " said Atkins, who does indeed still favor caps to cowboy hats. "But if the songs don't connect with the folks listening, then none of that stuff matters."
Opening for Atkins at the Round-Up and Happy Canyon concert is Reckless Kelly, a band of two brothers, Willy and Cody Braun, lead guitarist David Abeyta, bassist Jimmy McFeeley and drummer Jay Nazz. Reckless Kelly comes from Austin, Texas. after moving from Bend, where the band formed more than 11 years ago.
Happy Canyon Director Michael Corey said the band has a strong fan base in Texas and the brothers' native Idaho. Corey said he's proud of the lineup for 2009.
"When we feature a headliner like Rodney Atkins, along with a Texas-style opening act like Reckless Kelly, we feel like we are really going to have something for everyone," he said.
Pendleton Round-Up Director Tygh Campbell is looking forward to the show as well.
"When you have a pair of talented performers like these, you just can't go wrong," said Campbell. "We are very excited to have both Rodney Atkins and Reckless Kelly here, and I hope everyone comes out because it's going to be a great time."
Tickets for the Pendleton Round-Up and Happy Canyon Concert go on sale May 6 at 8:30 am. Tickets can also be ordered by calling the Round-Up/Happy Canyon ticket office at (800) 457-6336 or (541) 276-2553, or by visiting www.ticketmaster.com.