Yee-Haw! Rodeo Austin 2017 Lineup

Charley Pride, Kenny Rogers, and Dwight Yoakam top the talent

Turns out that SXSW Music’s big band reveal this morning and Rodeo Austin’s talent announcement preceding it are perfectly complementary: The former boasts volume, while the latter unveils headliners. Among the country legends gracing the Travis County Expo Center March 11-25 are Charley Pride, Dwight Yoakam, and “The Gambler,” Kenny Rogers.

Country Music Hall of Famer and longtime Texan Charley Pride, 83, at Dale Watson’s 3rd Annual Ameripolitan Music Awards, Paramount Theatre, Feb. 16, 2016 (Photo by David Brendan Hall)

Naturally, the bull riding, bronc taming, and mutton bustin’ attract a demographic that may or may not still have an 8-track tape player in its pickup truck, but as per usual, Rodeo Austin programs for broader tastes. Indie roots star Elle King, daughter of comedian Rob Schneider and recent tour partner for Austin’s Paul Cauthen, bats third in the two-week run after Yoakam and Pride. ACL Fest favorites and regular Stubb’s sell-outs Fitz & the Tantrums will attract a younger crowd.

Rarely seen in Austin over the past couple decades, soul diva great Patti LaBelle anchors the second half of the run.

Opener Yoakam crowned Rodeo Austin two of the last three years, and there’s no better native locale to catch the Kentucky country blue blood, recently glimpsed on the small screen opposite Billy Bob Thornton in Amazon series Goliath. When my wife and I concluded our SXSW 2014 by taking a couple visiting music dignitaries to see the singer, everyone agreed he proved the most authentic performer of the week. You don’t know country music until you’ve experienced it at the spinning stage on a dirt floor hosting epic contests of will between man/woman and beast.

Last year, the Patti LaBelle slot went to Smokey Robinson, who put on a three-alarm Motown revue in a tight, red leather suit. We chased that with buoyant bounce from Raul Malo and the Mavericks. Even with Austin’s annual March madness heating up already, this year’s animal husbandry lineup and accompanying soundtrack should get us and our 2-year-old cowboy hat enthusiast out to North Austin at least thrice.

Time for a SXSW and Rodeo Austin collabo.

March 11: Dwight Yoakam
March 12: Charley Pride
March 13: Elle King
March 14: Cole Swindell
March 15: Fitz & the Tantrums
March 16: Bobby Bones & the Raging Idiots
March 17: Randy Rogers Band
March 18: Chase Bryant
March 19: Kenny Rogers
March 20: Neal McCoy
March 21: Josh Turner
March 22: Patti LaBelle
March 23: Old Dominion
March 24: Cody Johnson
March 25: Kevin Fowler

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Raoul Hernandez, March 12, 2017

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Rodeo Austin 2017, Dwight Yoakam, Charley Pride, Kenny Rogers, Patti LaBelle, Elle King, Fitz & the Tantrums

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