Buffalo, the land of hockey and snow and Tim Hortons, is country?
Go to a country show in Western New York and there’s a good chance you’ll hear a Nashville-bred singer spill some version of that sentiment into microphone.
But if you hear it, know that the musician is saying it with mock surprise.
They know Buffalo is a hot city for country music. That’s why you have some many options. Here are some that stand out:
*June 10: WYRK Taste of Country. Rascal Flatts is headlining the country station’s annual summer show at Coca-Cola Field. That’s a big-name headliner for the show, which also includes Justin Moore, Randy Houser, Michael Ray and West Seneca native Eric Van Houten. Tickets are $29 and up for the 6 p.m. show.
*June 25: Zac Brown Band. The “Chicken Fried” ZBB has become an annual go-to at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, which also has country shows with Florida Georgia Line (June 16), Brantley Gilbert (July 30), Dierks Bentley (Aug. 4), Lady Antebellum (Aug. 10) and Luke Bryan (Aug. 25). Tickets are $34.75 and up for the 7:30 p.m. ZBB show.
A note about those lowest-price seats — and this applies to every Darien show: Those are for general admission lawn tickets, which will give you more of a party experience than sitting in the amphitheater seats, which are a comparatively chill spot to soak up the show. Remember, in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Darien Lake P.A.C. each concert ticket gets you free same-day park.
*July 1: Hank Williams Jr. He’s the son of a country legend whose own music will be long remembered, too. Especially, perhaps, his “Are you ready for some football?” spinoff of “All My Rowdy Friends” that played on "Monday Night Football" for more than 20 years. Williams is playing the Seneca Allegany Casino in Salamanca, so you can hit some slots or card tables before the 7 p.m. show. Tickets start at $45.
*July 6-8: Jam in the Valley. This is country in the countryside. Each year, rural Varysburg becomes home to thousands of country fans who come for one, two or three days to the festival. Headliners include Old Dominion (July 6), Brett Eldredge (July 7) and Toby Keith (July 8), with a solid slate of rising stars behind them.
Single-day tickets are $27.50 to $99 with multi-day and family options available. For more information on tickets, which include camping options, visit jaminthevalley.com
[PHOTOS: Smiles at Jam in the Valley, 2016]
*July 20: Eric Paslay. Canalside doesn’t do many country concerts, but Eric Paslay made the cut. The renowned songwriter and singer plays a 5 p.m. show at the outdoor venue. Tickets are $5 general admission, $35 VIP. See the full Canalside Live! lineup here.
*July 21: Lee Greenwood. The “God Bless the USA” singer is part of "Rockin' the Downs," the Batavia Downs summer concert series. The 5:30 p.m. show at the racetrack also includes Ricky Lee and Gypsy Souls. Tickets are $10 general, $25 VIP. Visit BataviaConcerts.com
*Aug. 10: The Bellamy Brothers and John Conlee. The Erie County Fair in Hamburg is marking this show its “Throwback Thursday” concert. It’s an apt theme: The Bellamys and Conlee both have career that date back to the late 1970s and a slate of songs that will be as familiar to longtime country fans. The 7:30 p.m. show is free with fair admission.
*Aug. 12: Dwight Yoakam. Here’s another chance to see a country legend. Yoakam will be playing a 7:30 p.m. show at the Artpark Mainstage Theater. Tickets start at $40.
*Check out the rest of The Buffalo News' concert guide:
- Jeff Miers' column on this year's lineup
- Miers' 10 must-see concerts for summer 2017
- Guide to tween- and teen-friendly concerts
- Free jazz festivals in Buffalo