Golden Nugget delivers the country goods
There are only two things cowboys come to National Finals Rodeo for as much as roping and riding: shopping at Cowboy Christmas and enjoying country music. NFR attendees can see shows throughout the Strip, but the Golden Nugget provides an alternative to the hustle and bustle of the heart of the rodeo scene with nightly 10 p.m. concerts in Downtown Las Vegas. Although the temptation of Fremont Street is boot steps away from the Golden Nugget Showroom, from Dec. 10-14 country music fans can immerse themselves in shows by veteran acts such as Tracy Lawrence, Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan, Lonestar, and newer acts like Colt Ford and Jamey Johnson.
Tracy Lawrence (Dec. 10) is the most established male performer of the series. The neotraditionalist/honky tonk singer debuted in 1991 with the album Sticks and Stones, which had to be delayed while Lawrence recovered from being shot four times defending a friend from an attack. He scored four top 10 hits on the country singles chart including the No. 1 title track, was named Billboard’s top new male vocalist, and went on to release more than a dozen studio albums including this year’s Frozen in Time.
Lonestar (Dec. 12) formed in 1992 and went on to sell 10 million albums. The band, formed in Tennessee by Texas natives, charted nine No. 1 country hits including “Amazed,” which reached the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2000. “No News,” Lonestar’s first No. 1 country song, was the second single from the band’s self-titled debut album. The band scored chart toppers with songs such as “Smile,” “What About Now” and “Tell Her,” and scored their last No. 1 with “Mr. Mom” in 2004.
The music of Colt Ford (Dec. 13) has been described as “hick-hop,” although country rap may be more indicative of his style. Ford was a professional golfer before cultivating his alpha-hillbilly image and turning pro with his lyrical flow. After releasing several albums in the mid-to-late 2000s he reached No. 1 with 2012’s Declaration of Independence. Colt has collaborated with Jamey Johnson (Dec. 14), who scored a gold record with his second release, 2008’s That Lonesome Song. Johnson’s critically acclaimed 2010 follow-up The Guitar Song and 2012’s Living For A Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran went on to become top five albums on Billboard’s Top 200.
Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan (Dec. 11) spent the ’80s as signed solo artists before hitting their strides as A-list entertainers in the ’90s. Tillis, the daughter of late country singer Mel Tillis, recorded demos in Nashville before being signed by Warner Bros. in 1981. Ten years later, she released Put Yourself in My Place for Arista Nashville and became a chart mainstay. Morgan’s father George put his daughter onstage at the Grand Ole Opry at age 13. She took over his band three years later after he passed away. She earned her first No. 1 in 1990 with “Five Minutes” and joined Tillis in 2013 and 2017 for the duets albums Dos Divas and Come See Me and Come Lonely, respectively.