The Calhouns band

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The Calhouns band

Fair entertainment: The Calhouns to play at this year's fair

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It’s not easy to catch up with the lead singer and guitar player for The Calhouns this time of year. Jim Calhoun currently is out getting the wheat crop in on his North Platte, Neb., farm, but he will make it to the 2013 Moffat County Fair in time to entertain the crowds with classic county music.

The 2007 inductee to the Nebraska Country Music Hall of Fame will leave the farm behind in August and pack his guitar, harmonica, banjo and violin and join his three fellow band members to entertain the crowds at the fair.

Along with drummer Melanie Thompson, with extensive training as a music instructor, comes bass player and working cowgirl Jacquie Glaubitz, and Charli Deluna on piano and vocals. The Calhouns perform 200 shows each year, mixing their special brand of classic country, rock and blues.

“I absolutely love it,” said Thompson, the band’s newest member, who has family in Hayden. “I was born and raised in Northeast Colorado, and playing county fairs is like returning home for me.”

Calhoun may be a serious farmer, but with more than 30 years in the music business, he is no stranger to awards for his first passion of playing guitar and writing music.

The Rocky Mountain Association of Fairs in 2004 named the performer Entertainer of the Year and the 2008 Nebraska Songwriter of the Year. He has performed in England, Scotland and Canada, and twice had the opportunity to play for President Ronald Reagan.

The versatility of The Calhouns is apparent when they slip into a ’50s and ’60s rock ’n’ roll comedy performance routine, featuring Jim Calhoun as Stanwood Sparrow, the world’s only “Power Nerd.”

The Calhouns feature classic country, covering hits from Johnny Cash to newer releases from Garth Brooks and George Straight, but also expect to hear Elvis, the Beatles and ZZ Top songs make an appearance at the fair performance.

The Calhouns are well known at the Gateway Theater in Overland, Kan., and Oscars Palladium in Sargent, Neb., where they put on monthly shows as well as in their hometown of North Platte, where each month locals gather at the Calhoun ranch for a night of music and dancing.

Spending a lot of time at county fairs across America is never boring for Jim Calhoun. Before the concert, he can be found roaming the midway in his amazing Bigfoot costume. He’s always an entertainer and always pleasing a crowd.

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