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Hubba Da Hula? Why the heck not?


© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 6, 2001

Finding her own success
Jamie O'Neal got her start singing demos and writing songs for other performers. Now she's earned two Country Music Award nominations.
The name Hubba Da Hula means nothing to country fans in the Tampa Bay area, but it's a fairly common term in California.

For the past three years, nationally syndicated country radio host Blair Garner has held a listener appreciation concert called Hubba Da Hula in San Diego, not far from his Los Angeles broadcast base.

This year, the listener appreciation concert takes place in Clearwater's Coachman Park and is sponsored by Tampa country radio station WRBQ-FM 104.7 (Q105), where Garner's show airs from midnight to 6 a.m.

"The name means absolutely nothing and is completely off the wall and different," says WRBQ operations manager Eric Logan. "Why Hubba Da Hula? Why not?"

[Publicity photos]
Rascal Flatts
The Tampa Bay area increasingly is seeing country concerts of this caliber. Three major tours -- George Strait, Brooks & Dunn and Tim McGraw -- all made stops here this year, and the Round Up nightclub in Tampa continues to pull in big names. Ty Herndon, Eric Heatherly and Tracy Byrd are scheduled to appear there this fall. Trisha Yearwood, Wynonna Judd and Travis Tritt will be at Ruth Eckerd Hall in October and November.

"Tampa is a big market for country music. The economy and the market are able to support it. If people were not going out and seeing these acts, they would not keep coming back here," Logan says.

Rascal Flatts

Keith Urban
Andy Griggs
Darryl Worley

Blessed with harmonies only family relations can provide, Rascal Flatts is still basking in the success of its self-titled debut album. Released last year, the album featured three hit singles and earned the guys an Academy of Country Music award for top new vocal group. Second cousins Gary LeVox and Jay DeMarcus and non-cousin Joe Don Rooney make up the trio. Their music is a blend of new country, pop, bluegrass and gospel.

Keith Urban

One of the highlights, and surprises, of the Brooks & Dunn tour this year was the showmanship and guitar virtuosity of Australian Urban. Along with fellow Hubba Da Hula performer Jamie O'Neal, Urban was recently nominated for the Country Music Association's Horizon Award. His self-titled 1999 solo album continues to produce hits, including the chart-climbing fourth single, Where the Blacktop Ends.

Andy Griggs

Giving up a job at a Sam's Wholesale Club was a good idea for Griggs, who showed up on the country scene in 1999. The success of his debut album and its single, You Won't Ever Be Lonely, afforded him the opportunity to record Freedom, an album due out next year that's already spawned the single How Cool Is That. Griggs made news earlier this year when he was charged with grand theft auto for taking an ambulance for a joy ride while in Tallahassee. The charge was eventually dropped.

Darryl Worley

Worley stays with traditional country rather than the pop-tinged tunes of his contemporaries. After writing songs for the likes of George Jones, Worley last year released his debut album, Hard Rain Don't Last. He was surprised recently when he heard a contestant on the NBC game show Weakest Link say Worley was one of his favorite country music artists. "I was so shocked when I heard my name being mentioned," he said, "but pleased that someone thought so fondly of my music."

Lee Ann Womack

Lee Ann Womack

Many people view Womack as one of the artists who is helping put the country back in country music. "Other people are always trying to put on name tags, but I don't do that to myself," she told the St. Petersburg Times earlier this year. "I didn't set out to save country music or the format. But that's fine. Whatever people see me as, it's probably due to the music that I make." Womack has been showered with accolades and awards for her double-platinum third album, I Hope You Dance.

Kenny Rogers

Kenny Rogers
Refusing to be treated like a has-been, Rogers formed his own record label in 1999. At 61, he became the oldest artist to top the country charts, with Buy Me a Rose. He has recorded 59 albums and has won more than 46 awards. Now 63, he's still on the Billboard chart with his latest single Beautiful (All That You Could Be).


Gates open for Hubba Da Hula at 4 p.m. Saturday at Coachman Park, Clearwater. Tickets are $20, available through Ticketmaster at (813) 287-8844 or (727) 898-2100. The lineup:

5:30 p.m. -- Jamie O'Neal

6:15 -- Rascal Flatts

7 -- Guitar jam featuring Keith Urban, Andy Griggs and Darryl Worley

7:50 -- Lee Ann Womack

8:55 -- Kenny Rogers

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