When: Sun., July 8, 2 p.m. 2012
An inspired interpreter whose vision of country music includes a healthy dose of Bakersfield-style guitars and California-sized drama, Gary Allan has made consistently interesting and very commercial records for 15 years. His 2005 full-length Tough All Over contains his great cover of Matthew Scannell's "Best I Ever Had," and that's not to mention his equally accomplished 1999 release Smoke Rings in the Dark, or his excellent take on Nashville rocker Todd Snider's "Alright Guy." Allan continues to make fascinating records that are lean and laconic, even when they partake of the melodrama that drives so much of modern country music. Also appearing is the Georgia-born singer and songwriter Corey Smith, who hit the charts last year with "Twenty-One," a catchy country-pop tune about the downside of maturity. This year's Country Throwdown features three stages, with a plethora of other acts set to perform.