- If youre going to get dropped on a country road, make sure youve at least got a nice scarf for company.
Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Shania Twain and Reba McEntire: Meet your match. Chely Wright is one of those small-boned, big-voiced country-music star types that, like the aforementioned icons, inevitably are dubbed "perky" or "gutsy."
Wright entered the country scene in 1994 with her first album, but it was her third album, Let Me In and hit singles like "Single White Female" and "Shut Up and Drive" that earned her a foot in the door of country radio.
Of course, as anyone who's watched the Lynn biopic A Coal Miner's Daughter can tell you, the road to country stardom can be fraught with peril. Wright, initially signed to MCA, was victimized by the country industry upheaval that led to many stars being ousted by their labels. Like Dwight Yoakam and many other country performers, however, Wright took the opportunity to seek more creative control by signing with an indie label, Dualtone.
Her latest album, 2005's The Metropolitan Hotel, reflects that expression, for better or worse. Wright wrote or co-wrote most of the tracks, and while a few songs tend toward a radio-friendly, bland sound, others are downright surprising. Her style is very much part of the New Country scene, incorporating snippets of rock, Latin rhythms and other genres into the typical Nashville twang. One attention-getter is "Bumper of My SUV," a weeper about her family's long military history, getting flipped off for having a Marines sticker on her car, and her staunch anti-war, pro-Wright-family stance.
While Wright will be whipping local cowpokes into a tizzy at the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, Trent Willmon will be breaking hearts as well. According to his bio, Willmon can kill and skin a rattlesnake, as well as "repair your car in the morning, and then cater your dinner party in the evening. He can ride the roughest bronco and sing the sweetest love song. He handles a welding torch as well as he does a guitar. He loves both cattle roping and literature."
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is one heck of a rsum.
Roughstock 2006, featuring Chely Wright and Trent Willmon
ProRodeo Hall of Fame, 101 ProRodeo Drive
Saturday, Aug. 5, and Sunday, Aug. 6, noon both days
Tickets: $20-$250, to benefit the Hall of Fame; visit ticketswest.com.