Vince Gill Heads Huge Weekend Of Music In Conroe

This one has sorta snuck up on us, but this weekend Conroe is bulging with top quality Americana and country music.

The centerpiece of the weekend is Saturday's writers-in-the-round at the Crighton Theater, which features Country Music Hall of Famer Vince Gill, big-time songwriter Tony Arata and the inimitable Mark Germino.

Germino is a regular host at Nashville songwriter haven Bluebird Café, and a year or so back he enticed his buddy Gill to come out. Lonesome, Onry and Mean's singer-songwriter significant other was at that show and she came home talking about how wonderful it was. She's still talking about it.

The sleeper here is Arata, who is largely unknown outside the inner sanctum of serious Nashville songwriters.

Arata wrote umpteen Garth Brooks hits, including "The Dance," and had chart-toppers with Patty Loveless, Lee Roy Parnell, and Clay Walker. The list of people who've used Arata's material is staggering: Emmylou Harris, Delbert McClinton, Bonnie Raitt, Trisha Yearwood, Suzy Bogguss, Hal Ketchum, Don Williams and Reba McEntire.

Saturday's 8 p.m. show is sold out, but the box office reports that as of today about 100 tickets are left for the 5 p.m. matinee. The Crighton box office is 936-441-7469 Ext. 201.

Coinciding with the Crighton shows, Vernon Wayne's City Café, just around the corner from the Crighton on the town square in Conroe, is sponsoring a Notorious Songwriters Festival, featuring free live music from noon until 10:30 p.m.

The performers and times:

Mike Allen & Stephen Sullivan - 12 p.m.

David Sheffield - 1:15

Slim Bawb & Gator Bait - 2:30

Mike Stinson - 3:45

Robert Ellis & The Boys - 5:15

Randy Pavlock - 6:30 (in front of the Crighton)

Randy Weeks - 8:15

Dustin Welch - 10

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