Big Kenny plays free concert today in Steamboat |

Big Kenny plays free concert today in Steamboat

Country music star leads off Free Summer Concert Series

Luke Graham

Big Kenny performs Saturday at the first of this year's Free Summer Concert Series shows. He'll play at 7 p.m. at Howelsen Hill.

— Big Kenny Alphin has written top-10 hits for Tim McGraw, Gretchen Wilson and Jason Aldean.

He's been named the Broad­cast Music Inc. Songwriter of the Year, sold more than 5 million albums as half the duo Big & Rich and played to sold-out stadiums.

But Big Kenny, who opens the Steamboat Springs Free Summer Concert Series at 7 p.m. Saturday at Howelsen Hill, is back to a solo act. The gates open at 5:30 p.m. with Legal Tender playing at 6 p.m.

Judging from Big Kenny's success, he's at one of the best points in his life — musically and spiritually.

"I've had a lot of time for reflection," he said in a news release. "I've come through some tough places in my life. I've been through hell and back musically and personally. I wanted to step beyond all of that and just write great stuff that would mean something to people, stuff I'd want to sing for the rest of my life. I have a 3-year-old now, so I found myself really asking, 'What is it I want to leave behind? What lessons can I impart?'"

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His latest album, "The Quiet Times of a Rock and Roll Farm Boy," was rated the 13th best country album of 2009 by Roughstock, and he's currently on his Love Everybody Traveling Music Medicine Show nationwide tour.

"It is a big act to open up the series," said John Waldman, the concert series' promoter. "We hope everybody comes out and supports the show."

Waldman said there was a bit of luck in landing Big Kenny but that because of the artist's appearance at Country Jam in Grand Junction on Sunday, Waldman was able to do so.

Big Kenny said with his most recent effort, he was able to put a lot more into the album. Unlike working with Big & Rich, the pace and leisure of recording a solo album allowed Big Kenny to experiment with different sounds and interludes.

"It's not just a bunch of songs," he said in the release. "It's like one great big one."

The next Free Summer Concert Series is July 23 with the Rhythm Devils featuring Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann and Keller Williams.

If you go

What: Steamboat Springs Free Summer Concert Series featuring Big Kenny

When: Gates open at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Opening act Legal Tender goes on at 6 p.m. with Big Kenny going on at 7 p.m.

Where: Howelsen Hill

Online: Learn more about the concert series here.