Rodeo fans aren’t the only ones who should be relieved that the National Finals Rodeo has decided to stay in Las Vegas. Country music fans have reason to rejoice as well, since every year while cowboys are ropin’ and ridin’ at the Thomas & Mack, the city’s music venues fill up with country acts.
Probably the biggest name hitting town for this year’s NFR week is Lady Antebellum, which will play the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center (December 5, 9 p.m., $35-$100). The pop-country trio is known for the ubiquitous “Need You Now,” as well as other adult-contemporary ballads.
Fans of classic country can check out legendary artists Hank Williams Jr. (Golden Nugget, December 4-6, 10 p.m., $142-$274) and Merle Haggard (Golden Nugget, December 7 & 8, 10 p.m., $109-$329), both still going strong after 50 years in the business. Haggard has been an NFR staple for years now, but you never know when it might be your last chance to see him. Country/folk singer-songwriter John Prine is just as influential, if not as widely known, and he’ll be stopping at the Pearl with fellow singer-songwriter Iris DeMent (December 6, 8 p.m., $49-$79).
New venue Brooklyn Bowl is getting into the NFR game in a big way, including a two-night stand from mainstays Big & Rich (December 5 & 6, 9 p.m., $51-$55) and an appearance by rising bro-country star Cole Swindell (December 8, 9 p.m., $17-$22). The most intriguing Brooklyn Bowl show, though, is veteran alt-country band Reckless Kelly (December 4, 9 p.m., $13-$17), whose blend of Texas twang and rock ’n’ roll grit is consistently underrated.