Big city country


I grew up in a pretty small town in Northern California where it wasn’t uncommon to see cowboy hats and Wrangler jeans in the hallways of my high school. There were plenty of opportunities for country music to make its way into my music library, but for some reason it never did.

When I moved to San Diego, my playlists were filled with (don’t be too judgmental) the likes of Aaliyah, Usher, J. Lo and a host of other Top 40 pop music, sprinkled with some classic rock (thanks to the influence of my parents).

But then, the girl across the hall in the dorms who became my No. 1 wing lady fully introduced me to country and it started creeping its way into my mix. Chalk it up to needing to “experiment” in college, because this girl, from what some may say was a hick town, never would have thought a surf culture town like San Diego would get her to tune in to country music.

It wasn’t long after we met, that the same girl invited me to my first country concert — Kenny Chesney at then-Coors Amphitheatre (now Mattress Firm Amphitheatre) — and from that point on, I was hooked.

There’s just something about the atmosphere at a country concert and preceding tailgating that’s unlike any other concert experience. And now, with bars like Moonshine Flats and Moonshine Beach being plopped in the middle of the downtown and P.B. party scene, the country lifestyle is more evident in San Diego than ever.

This month, Chesney brings his No Shoes Nation back to San Diego in what I consider to be the official kickoff to summer — the first in a series of six country concerts that run through October presented on the Country MegaTicket.

I’ll be ditching my workplace attire and throwing on some boots and my cowboy hat, ’cause this girl’s goin’ country this summer! I’ll see you in the parking lot or on the lawn two-steppin’ away. Find more details about Chesney’s June 21 show and how to enter to win a pair of tickets, here.


Leslie Hackett