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Honky Tonk Tailgate Party returns with Wills, Willmon, Bates

Monday, March 2, 2009 – The Honky Tonk Tailgate Party, headed up by Mark Wills, kicks off in Dallas on April 17, at Gilley's. Wills invited Trent Willmon to return and with Jeff Bates also playing.

"I am so excited to get back on the road and start performing with my buds again," said Wills. "The Honky Tonk Tailgate Party really is a party on stage, and I just enjoy sharing it with some good guys. I was happy when Trent agreed to come back on the road and then to add in Jeff Bates makes it ever cooler."

Bates said, "It's truly an honor to join Mark and Trent on this year's line-up. I can't think of two better guys to share the road and stage with."

"Not only do we have a great line-up of artists, but we have the most talented musicians in our band to back us up," said Willmon. "I'm grateful to be asked back and look forward to hitting the road with Mark and Jeff."

The 90-minute party is a fast paced show with one band and no set changes. Wills, Willmon and Bates will each play their most popular hits and close the show by performing a finale together.

Tour dates are:
April 17 Dallas, TX Gilley's Dallas
April 18 Star City, AR 6th Annual StarDaze Festival
May 2 Porterville, CA Eagle Mountain Casino
May 23 Monticello, MS Atwood Music Festival
June 7 Blue Ash, OH Blue Ash Towne Square
June 13 Georgiana, AL Hank Williams Festival
June 18 Marinette, WI Porterfield Country Music Festival
June 27 Hamler, OH Hamler Summerfest Park
Aug. 8 Cambridge, OH Deerassic Classic '09
Aug. 16 Wyoming, RI Washington County Fairgrounds
Aug. 22 Katy, TX Mo's Place
Aug. 29 Nashville, IN Little Nashville
Oct. 18 Kumamoto, Japan Aspecta at Mount Aso
Oct. 24 Phoenix, AZ Veteran's Memorial Coliseum

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And The Crowd Goes Wild
With his latest, Mark Wills stands up for the underdog on the title track, feels pity for the brokenhearted through the words of "He's A Cowboy" and salutes hard working truckers with "Prisoner Of The Highway." It sure reads like a guide to being all things to all people. But instead of acting as a sincere communication with the world's increasingly diverse music fan universe, it actually plays out like a paint-by-numbers attempt to touch all the basic country music demographic groups. »»»
Greatest Hits
Mark Wills is king of the mid-tempo country ballad, and all the necessary proof is right here in the plodding of this greatest hits package. It's a collection of nine singles - plus two extra tracks - characterized by soft rock guitar, piano and drums, which support Wills as he squeezes every last ounce of sincerity from his vocals. "Jacob's Ladder" begins this retrospective by riding on a slight bounce, but then it all bogs down to a crawl after that. What follows next is a slow motion wade »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Carlile warms hearts with empathetic thoughts – Brandi Carlile, dressed festively with a Santa hat, began her mid-week concert set with Joni Mitchell's "River" and closed with the carol "O Holy Night." In between, she sang about an equal measure of old and new songs. And on this first night of a short acoustic tour, Carlile was both in fine spirits and voice.... »»»
Concert Review: Daniels wears out bows, but music endures – After each of the first few songs Charlie Daniels played, his 'fiddle tech (?)' exchanged his bow. Is this because he was playing particularly hard? Perhaps. Whatever the case, Daniels and his five-piece band clearly appeared to be giving it their all during the act's hour-and-a-half set. As it is the Christmas month, Daniels sang a... »»»
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