May 22, 2003
Ty England To Perform At 2003 Scotland County Fair
No knock against past performers but for years the music fans at the Scotland County Fair have been asking for a big name performer. Well the wish is coming true in 2003 as Ty England will be performing Tuesday night, July 1 at the fairgrounds.
England grew up in Oklahoma where he taught himself how to play as he picked away at his grandfather's guitar always with a deep background in country music. He first stepped on stage in a junior high talent contest, which gave way to a number of bands and the school choir during high school.
Ty grew up on traditional country, learning songs by Hank Williams and Lefty Frizzell when he was still a little boy.
"My maternal grandfather was a music nut, who listened to all those artists who really molded country music," he said. "Being a typical little boy I admired my Grandpa a lot, spent a lot of time around him. I wanted to be like Grandpa, and so I liked the singers he did."
England went on to attend the Oklahoma State University where he continued to perform while pursuing a marketing degree. He was singing in a coffee shop in the basement of the student union building when a listener suggested he meet another OSU student interested in country music. That singer turned out to be Garth Brooks. The two musicians hit it off and soon became roommates.
But eventually England left school because of drooping grades that he blamed on his pursuit of music. He went home and got a job and went on to finish his marketing degree in night school.
Then the call came from Nashville where his old college buddy had just signed a music deal and wanted England to come join the band.
England got his start in the music industry as the lead guitarist for Garth Brook's band. After six years with one of the most successful country music acts of all time England departed for his own solo career.
In 1995 he debuted his self titled album "Ty England" and saw immediate results with his first single, "Should've Asker Her Faster" which went all the way to #3 on the charts. England released another album, "Two Ways To Fall" under the RCA label in 1996.
After leaving RCA, Ty did some touring, but mostly attended to his family.
England switched over to Capitol Nashville Records and reunited with his college buddy, Brooks, who produced England's third album, "Highway and Dance Hall", which hit the shelves in 2000.
Since that time Ty has devoted more time to his family, He and his wife, Shanna, have four children and recently relocated back home to Oklahoma after living in Nashville for several years.
"I'm a daddy first," said Ty. "The number one goal in my life is to have great kids. And to have great kids you have to be there. So whenever we've had a child, I've taken time off. We had two in two years, so I had a lot of time off."
However England has not given up music by any means. He maintains an active summer tour that features him at anywhere from 40 to 60 fairs and festivals over that time period.
"It's nothing like what we were doing back in the late 80's when there were more than 200 tour dates in 1989 alone," England said.
Still England and his band will be hitting it hard during July and August the two busiest months of the fair circuit.
"We really focus on fairs and festivals," England stated. "That's my kind of crowd and I work best in front of the grandstands. I'm not very good in nightclubs because that's just not my lifestyle. I'm a dad, so I like to come home from work and be with the kids."
The performer added that the fair venue allows he and his band to put on a wide variety of shows to insure the crowds have the most fun possible.
"The show is all about entertainment," England said. "If all the folks in the grandstands wanted was music they would just go buy a CD."
The show features one main holdover from England's days touring with Brooks - the use of a totally wireless sound system.
"That worked so well with Garth," Ty said. "This allows all of us to move around and do our thing. Otherwise we would all be standing there in front of a microphone staring at the same 10 people all night. Being wireless lets me go anywhere, even to the back row of the grandstands were I can sit in the lap of that darling old lady and serenade her if that's what it takes to make everyone have fun."
Fun is the key word for the show that doesn't run by any set guidelines or routine. Obviously England and his five member band will play a lot of country music but they will mix it up with some old 50's rock and roll like Chuck Berry to keep a good mixture and a variety of sounds.
"We'll keep throwing curveballs and keep the crowd guessing," England said. "Our number one goal is to please the crowd. We want to make sure we leave them smiling."
To insure a chance to be part of the smiling crowd fans can secure tickets for the show from any fair board member. Track seating will be limited to the first 200 tickets, which are available in advance for $15. The price is $20 the day of the event. Grandstand seats are available for $10 in advance or $12 that night.
Gates will open at 5:00 p.m. with hypnotist Gary Roberts of Wichita, KS, performing as the opening act.