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Friday

May 01, 2008|RANDY LEWIS | Times Staff Writer

Staff writer Randy Lewis sorts out the festival, hour by hour:

3 P.M.

CATCH IT IF YOU CAN

SONS OF THE SAN JOAQUIN Emphasizing the western half of country-western music, this Central Valley-based trio continues the tradition of Sons of the Pioneers with harmony-laden tales rooted in the vast American frontier. (Palomino, 3:10-3:50)

4 P.M.

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DON EDWARDS The cowboy troubadour from Texas is widely respected for his historically informed, unromanticized approach to western music and culture. (Mustang, 4-4:35)

ALSO

SHOOTER JENNINGS The son of Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter has a lot of his dad's maverick attitude, but hasn't yet fully channeled the unique musical perspective that marked Waylon's best music. (Palomino, 4-4:45)

RANDY ROGERS BAND Country-rock band from a Cleburne, Texas-reared preacher's son. (Tundra, 4-4:40)

5 P.M.

DON'T MISS

SHELBY LYNNE See critic's pick. (Tundra, 5:05-5:55)

STAR DE AZLAN There's grit and Tex-Mex spice in the traditional-steeped music of this young singer from San Marcos, Texas, who channels equal parts Patsy Cline and Tammy Wynette. (Mustang, 4:55-5:35)

CATCH IT IF YOU CAN

NITTY GRITTY DIRT BAND This veteran Long Beach-O.C. outfit's claim to fame in terms of country history was its 1972 triple album "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," which linked country and bluegrass stars with their rock counterparts. (Palomino, 5:10-6)

6 P.M.

DON'T MISS

MIKE NESS Anyone who thinks it strange to find the frontman for veteran O.C. punk band Social Distortion on the lineup for this festival obviously missed his two country-drenched solo albums in the '90s. It's no great leap from the outsider defiance of country kingpins Johnny Cash and Hank Williams to a rootsy punk rocker as perceptive as Ness. (Palomino, 6:25-7:25)

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TRISHA YEARWOOD Forget the Mrs. Garth Brooks association -- Yearwood established her ear for a great country song, and skill to deliver it with the requisite power or delicacy, long before he entered her life. (Tundra, 6:20-7:10)

ALSO

RISSI PALMER One of a handful of African Americans active in country music, Palmer owns a sultry, smoky voice. (Mustang, 6-6:45)

7 P.M.

DON'T MISS

JOHN FOGERTY There hasn't been a better time in 30 years to catch the driving force behind Creedence Clearwater Revival. On his latest album, "Revival," he sounds more at ease than he has in ages, and as a writer he's as fired up as he's been since CCR's heyday. (Tundra, 7:30-8:30)

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MICHELLE BRANCH The better-known half of the Wreckers country-pop duo -- once signed to Madonna's Maverick label -- performs minus Jessica Harp. (Mustang, 7:05-7:55)

8 P.M.

CATCH IT IF YOU CAN

GLEN CAMPBELL & FAMILY Long before he became the Rhinestone Cowboy in 1975, this former L.A. session guitarist brought his Arkansas roots to the upper reaches of the pop charts with country-flavored hits such as "Galveston" and "Gentle on My Mind." (Palomino, 8:20-9:10)

ALSO

CRAIG MORGAN The big hit from the Tennessee Army vet-turned-singer-songwriter was his 2004 single "That's What I Love About Sunday." (Mustang, 8:20-9:10)

9 P.M.

DON'T MISS

THE EAGLES Much of what's emerged from Nashville in the last two decades has adopted the Southern California band's sound as its template. With its return to the recording studio, the band sounds as engaging as ever. (Tundra, 9:15-11:15)

--

Saturday

NOON

CATCH IT IF YOU CAN

CRYSTAL SHAWANDA A full-blooded Ojibwa, Shawanda cites Loretta Lynn as her childhood hero growing up on the Wikwemikong reservation in Ontario, Canada. (Tundra, 12:35-1:15)

1 P.M.

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WADDIE MITCHELL Always a popular draw at the yearly National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nev., storyteller Mitchell grew up on the Nevada ranches where his father worked. (Mustang, 1:30-2)

ALSO

JYPSI Three singing sisters and their brother make for a Dixie Chicks & a Guy sort of band, fueled by impressive instrumental chops. (Tundra, 1:40-2:25)

2 P.M.

DON'T MISS

HAYES CARLL See critic's pick. (Palomino, 2:30-3:05)

CATCH IT IF YOU CAN

RED STEAGALL This 70-year-old has written more than 200 songs, discovered Reba McEntire and is a respected cowboy balladeer. (Mustang, 2-2:45)

3 P.M.

DON'T MISS

RIDERS IN THE SKY There's plenty of humor and a 10-gallon nod to Gene Autry in this outfit's shtick about living life "the Cowboy Way." But the good-time approach is underscored with sterling musicianship and spot-on harmonies. (Mustang, 2:55-3:45)

CATCH IT IF YOU CAN

LUKE BRYAN This young Georgian shows a dry wit and endearing drawl on his major-label debut, "I'll Stay Me," and knows how to work a small crowd expertly. (Tundra, 2:50-3:40)

RYAN BINGHAM Another rising Texas singer, Bingham writes songs as raw and unvarnished as his shredded vocals make them sound. (Palomino, 3:30-4:20)

4 P.M.

CATCH IT IF YOU CAN

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