Country is king in Rensselaer County this Saturday.
Lee Brice will wear one of the crowns. The hotshot singer-songwriter will headline “Countryfest 2016,” which will be held at the Schaghticoke Fairgrounds.
It’s the 23rd annual party, hosted by country radio powerhouse WGNA.
Gates open at 11 a.m., and music fans should plan for a long day — and evening — outdoors. In addition to Brice, performers include the Eli Young Band, Thompson Square, Granger Smith and Charles Kelley.
WHEN: 11 a.m. Saturday
WHERE: Schaghticoke Fairgrounds, 69 Stillwater Bridge Rd.,
Routes 67 & 40
HOW MUCH: General admission $35
MORE INFO: www.wgna.com
Here are a few facts about the acts:
• Lee Brice — Brice has written songs for many of country’s top artists, such as Tim McGraw, the Eli Young Band and Jason Aldean. In 2007, he co-wrote Garth Brooks’ “More Than a Memory.”
His recent hits have included “Drinking Class,” “I Don’t Dance,” “That Don’t Sound Like You,” “Hard to Love” and “Parking Lot Party.”
Fans will probably also hear the award-winning “I Drive Your Truck.”
He has charted four No. 1 country singles: “I Drive Your Truck,” “Hard to Love,” “A Woman Like You” and “I Don’t Dance.”
Brice is a South Carolina native who attended Clemson University on a football scholarship. He stopped playing, however, after suffering an arm injury.
• Eli Young Band — This country quartet released its self-titled album in 2002 after founding members Mike Eli and James Young met at the University of North Texas and formed a group in 2000.
On the recent hit list are “Got a Little Drunk Last Night,” “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” and “Crazy Girl.”
The guys played the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall last November.
• Thompson Square — Married musicians Keifer and Shawna Thompson have topped radio charts with No. 1 hits “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not,” “If I Didn’t Have You,” and “Everything I Shouldn’t Be Thinking About.”
In 2012, Thompson Square won both the ACM (Academy of Country Music) and CMA (Country Music Association) “Vocal Duo of the Year” awards.
• Granger Smith — Country newcomer Smith has a big future: The Taste of Country web site recently named him the “Hottest Artist to Watch in 2016.”
Before Smith picked up major fans with his “Backroad Anthem,” he scored on YouTube as his redneck alter ego Earl Dibbles Jr., and his token phrase, “Yee yee!”
• Charles Kelley — Kelley already has bunches of fans for his priority job; he’s a member of country super group Lady Antebellum.
Kelley’s solo project includes his first single, “The Driver.”
In previous years, Countryfest has featured Darius Rucker, Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert.
Reach Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 395-3124 or at firstname.lastname@example.org or @jeffwilkin1 on Twitter. His blog is at www.dailygazette.com/weblogs/wilkin.