Dusty Armadillo country bar goes up against the big boys

Area country music fans have always known that the Dusty Armadillo is the real deal.

Now the rest of the nation does, too.

For the second year in a row, the Dusty Armadillo is up for the Nightclub of the Year Award from the Academy of Country Music.

It’s up against some landmarks, including Billy Bob’s Texas in Fort Worth, Texas, the largest and most iconic country bar going. Also nominated are Bub City in Chicago, Floore’s Country Store in Helotes, Texas, and Wild Bill’s in Duluth, Ga.

The nominations were revealed Wednesday, and the winner will be announced just before the ACM Awards show, which will be April 6 on CBS.

Joe’s Bar in Chicago won last year, and Billy Bob’s won the year before (the winner is ineligible the following year).

Carie Young, who handles marketing for the Dusty A, said the club is excited about the honor. The nomination is a reflection of the club’s support for the country music industry, she said.

The Dusty A is a regular roadhouse, spacious and intimate at the same time, its wooden walls replete with memorabilia and its rooms crowded with fun-loving people.

It has also become a “must-play” venue. In the past year, the club hosted 27 significant concerts, ranging from Jamey Johnson to Colt Ford. The list of those who have or will play the venue in recent months runs the gamut of country music from up-and-comers to old pros. It includes the likes of Will Hoge, Dustin Lynch, Terri Clark, Craig Morgan, Joe Nichol, Chase Rice, Chris Janson, Parmalee and, not so long ago, Florida Georgia Line and Jerrod Niemann.

The Dusty A is at 3147 state Route 44 in Rootstown, about a half-hour west of Austintown.

The ACM nomination is actually the second national honor bestowed upon the Armadillo. In 2012, Great American Country named it the best honky tonk in Ohio.


Their name was the first thing that caught my eye.

The Vindys are a new rock project comprised of veterans of the scene. And yes, the band did borrow the nickname of the local newspaper for its moniker.

It’s a way to reflect the band’s Youngstown roots, said John Anthony, who plays guitar in The Vindys. He added that it’s also a tribute to a “staple of this town.”

Good answer.

The Vindys started with Anthony (who is also in Hoss and the Juggernauts), drummer Nick Sainato (of the Strange Familiar), bassist Mike Geffert and Clay Colley (keyboards), who put the group together to play covers. When Jackie Popovec (vocals and guitar) joined the lineup, the act also started playing her original songs, which have a pop and blues influence.

The Vindys typically start with a pop song but make it their own, often changing the musical style in the process. Most of the band members are music-school grads, so they have that level of command.

The band will make its Cedars debut Saturday, although every member has played the club before as part of other acts.

The show will begin with an acoustic set by Anthony, Sainato and Popovec, and after a short break the full band will come on.

They will play a mix of cover songs and up to a dozen originals.

Opening the night will be The Judys from Cleveland.

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