Friday

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.

CATCH IT IF YOU CAN

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)

CATCH IT IF YOU CAN

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)

CATCH IT IF YOU CAN

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)

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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.

CATCH IT IF YOU CAN

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

THE GREENCARDS The trio is based in Austin, Texas, but its members hail from London, New South Wales and South Australia. Their eclectic and adventurous take on acoustic music has earned them opening slots for the likes of Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson. (Mustang, 4-4:50)

ALSO

BUCKY COVINGTON A 2006 "American Idol" contender, Covington worked his way into the country Top 10 with his nostalgia-driven single "A Different World." (Tundra, 4:05-4:55)

5 P.M.

DON'T MISS

TAYLOR SWIFT Country's teen queen of 2007 keeps conquering new vistas, thanks to her bubbly charm and, more important, skillfully written songs in which she doesn't pretend to sound older than she is. (Tundra, 5:20-6:20)

CATCH IT IF YOU CAN

CHERRYHOLMES The L.A.-based family group, (started by Jere Cherryholmes and including five of his and wife Sandy's kids,) has earned kudos from the International Bluegrass Music Assn. (Mustang, 5:15-6:05)

ALSO

KENTUCKY HEADHUNTERS Brash Southern rock stoked with bar-band blues. (Palomino, 4:45-5:35)

6 P.M.

DON'T MISS

SAM BUSH Mandolinist extraordinaire has helped expand the boundaries of bluegrass as much as anyone in the last couple of decades, thanks to stellar musicianship and an appetite for stylistic experimentation. (Mustang, 6:20-7:10)

ALSO

CROSS CANADIAN RAGWEED Kansas-based Southern-rock quartet, with chugging music and folk touches. (Palomino, 6-6:50)

7 P.M.

DON'T MISS

DWIGHT YOAKAM He's now into his third decade as the kind of performer Mick Jagger might be if he slipped into a cowboy hat full time. Though born in Pikeville, Ky., Yoakam owes his biggest debt to the pioneers of California's twangy, attitude-laden country music. (Palomino, 7:15-8:15)

CATCH IT IF YOU CAN

DIERKS BENTLEY With a voice deep and clear as a mountain lake, Bentley bolted out of Phoenix in 2003 with a No. 1 hit "What Was I Thinkin'." (Tundra, 6:45-7:45)

DAN TYMINSKI BAND As Alison Krauss' right-hand man in Union Station, Tyminski long ago proved himself an exceptional guitarist and country-bluegrass singer in his own right. (Mustang, 7:25-8:15)

8 P.M.

DON'T MISS

THE JUDDS Naomi and daughter Wynonna Judd practically ruled the '80s country airwaves. Naomi's bout with hepatitis C took her out of the act and launched Wynonna's solo career, which never quite reached the heights she did with mom at her side. (Tundra, 8:15-9:45)

CATCH IT IF YOU CAN

J.D. CROWE One of the leading lights of "newgrass," Crowe has long fronted the influential New South band, whose ranks have included such luminaries as Ricky Skaggs, Jerry Douglas, Doyle Lawson and Tony Rice. (Mustang, 8:30-9:20)

9 P.M.

DON'T MISS

EARL SCRUGGS With longtime partner Lester Flatt, this 84-year-old did as much as anyone to expand bluegrass music beyond niche boundaries, to say nothing of nearly inventing the style of banjo-playing heard on bluegrass records over the last six decades. (Mustang, 9:35-10:25)

10 P.M.

ALSO

RASCAL FLATTS The 800-pound marshmallow of modern country-pop music exemplifies the "keep 'em smiling" manifesto of the genre's timid radio programmers. Singer Gary LeVox has the kind of chops "American Idol" judges dream of, but, like Randy Newman once sang, it's "big hat, no cattle" country. (And yes, we know the guys don't actually wear Stetsons.) (Tundra, 10:15-11:15)

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Sunday

2 P.M.

CATCH IT IF YOU CAN

WYLIE & THE WILD WEST You've heard singer Wylie Gustafson's yodel on every ad for Yahoo over the last decade. His range extends a lot further with his group's rollicking approach to the cowboy canon. (Mustang, 2-2:45)

ALSO

HALFWAY TO HAZARD Duo members David Tolliver and Chad Warrix are barnstorming Southern rockers out of Hazard in eastern Kentucky. Tim McGraw co-produced their debut album. (Tundra, 2-2:40)

KARISTA SMITH This singer-songwriter and former swing-band singer is a product of Yucca Valley outside Palm Springs, bringing a dash of Southland flavor to the Stagecoach lineup. (Palomino, 2:15-3)

3 P.M.

CATCH IT IF YOU CAN

IAN TYSON Long ago this veteran Canadian singer and songwriter was a member of folkie duo Ian & Sylvia. He's also the composer of the Neil Young favorite "Four Strong Winds." (Mustang, 2:55-3:45)

WHISKEY FALLS Look no further than this Southern California-based quartet to find the Eagles influence alive and well. Lead singer Seven Williams has a raspy, Don Henley-like voice, and the group emphasizes multi-part harmonies in rock-driven songs. (Palomino, 3:25-4:15)

ALSO

CHUCK WICKS The singer of the recent hit "Stealing Cinderella" was raised on a Delaware potato farm, and often comes off like Keith Suburban on his debut album, "Starting Now," with flashes of Rascal Flatts' sunny disposition surfacing regularly. (Tundra, 3-3:50)

4 P.M.

CATCH IT IF YOU CAN

THE ISAACS Another family band, this clan frames gospel-themed messages with incendiary bluegrass-driven music. (Mustang, 4-4:50)

TRACE ADKINS His first wife shot him during an argument -- what other career besides country singer could there be for a 6-foot-6 Louisiana man with a booming baritone? (Tundra, 4:15-5:05)

5 P.M.

DON'T MISS

CHARLIE LOUVIN Before Ira Louvin died in a 1965 car accident, the legendary Louvin Brothers influenced the harmonies of the Everly Brothers and, in turn, the Beatles -- and by extension most pop acts that ever tried to blend two voices. Charlie's 2007 solo album revisited some Louvin classics, as well as newer material, including a heartfelt tribute to his sibling ("Ira"). (Palomino, 4:40-5:30)

CAROLINA CHOCOLATE DROPS This trio vibrantly revisits the underexposed repertoire of African American string bands of the early 20th century with an act that's a little musical history, a lot of kinetic fun. (Mustang, 5:05-5:55)

6 P.M.

DON'T MISS

GRETCHEN WILSON A key Muzik Mafia member, Wilson may have confounded some listeners and radio programmers by refusing to milk the "Redneck Woman" persona that put her on the map. But her music has deepened as she's explored the many facets of human relationships over three albums. (Tundra, 5:30-6:30)

BILLY JOE SHAVER Yet another member of the class of great Texas singer-songwriters, Shaver has supplied material to Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and countless others who know a great song when they hear one. (Palomino, 5:55-6:45)

ALSO

MICHAEL MARTIN MURPHEY The man behind the 1975 wimp-rock classic "Wildfire" morphed into a credible country singer in the '80s -- Lyle Lovett cites him as an influence -- and for the last 20 years has successfully plied the western music circuit. (Mustang, 6:10-7)

7 P.M.

DON'T MISS

JERRY DOUGLAS A rare chance to get a front-and-center dose of musical wizardry from the dobro master on every country singer's recording studio wish list. (Mustang, 7:15-8:25)

CATCH IT IF YOU CAN

BIG & RICH Leaders of Nashville's boundary-bending Muzik Mafia, John Rich and "Big Kenny" Alpin make room under their Stetsons for rock, hip-hop, blues, R&B; and the just plain weird. (Tundra, 6:55-8:25)

JACK INGRAM Walking the line between commercial country and edgy Americana, this Texas artist balances catchy pop with more philosophically minded explorations. (Palomino, 7:10-8)

8 P.M.

DON'T MISS

GEORGE JONES See critic's pick. (Palomino, 8:30-9:30)

9 P.M.

DON'T MISS

RALPH STANLEY & THE CLINCH MOUNTAIN BOYS At 81, the patriarch of mountain music remains a wonder, with a voice part sandpaper, part ghostly echo of generations of Appalachian poor. (Mustang, 8:40-9:30)

CATCH IT IF YOU CAN

CARRIE UNDERWOOD Her sophomore album has been less the blockbuster than her debut, but her vocal prowess transcends even the production's sonic overkill. (Tundra, 8:50-9:50)

10 P.M.

ALSO

TIM MCGRAW The oversized black hat and droopy mustache have become the stuff of Vegas tribute shows, as are the hits in which schmaltz passes for heart, and cliche substitutes for emotional insight. (Tundra, 10:15-11:15)

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STAGECOACH

WHERE: Empire Polo Field, 81-800 Avenue 51, Indio

WHEN: Friday through Sunday

PRICE: one-day pass, $94; three-day pass, $249

INFO: stagecoachfestival.com

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