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Brad Paisley performs March 19 at Rodeo Houston.

Image: Shutterstock

When the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo released its highly anticipated concert lineup for this year, one thing stood out: 2016 is the year of the big-name country act. Keith Urban, Jason Aldean, Darius Rucker, Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Miranda Lambert and Luke Bryan are all on the 21-concert bill.

The rodeo polls season ticketholders and volunteers annually to gauge which acts they’re interested in. “We celebrate Western heritage,” says Dan Cheney, vice president and COO of the rodeo, “so the majority of our season ticketholders expect to see a high proportion of country on our lineup.”

Organizers think that today the genre has wider appeal than in the past. “The great thing about the trajectory of country music is that the genre is broadening,” says rodeo president and CEO Joel Cowley. “We like where the music’s going because it’s becoming more inclusive. So the number of artists that appeal to the broader market are becoming more plentiful.”

While previous years have seen appearances by Bruno Mars, Selena Gomez, Usher and Maroon 5, there’s less emphasis, this time around, on blockbuster pop acts. Fans still have options, however; Jason Derulo, Kid Rock, Pitbull and breakout star Shawn Mendes are all on the bill.

We had to ask: With the rodeo’s focus shifting somewhat, what are the chances of a country music god like Garth Brooks rolling into town? “Certainly, there’s an open invitation to that star,” says Cowley. “We’d love to have him."

March 1–20, Check website for a full schedule and ticket prices.

NRG Park, One NRG Pkwy.
832-667-1000, rodeohouston.com

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