Country music continues to exist in its own world, one where countless musical trends come and go virtually unnoticed, and the ills of the ailing music industry simply don't seem to apply. Buffalo, or at least a healthy dose of the area's population, is not immune its allure. Country station WYRK-FM continues to pull strong listenership numbers, and its summer and winter versions of the "Taste of Country" concerts command large audiences.
At 8 tonight in Shea's Performing Arts Center (646 Main St.), the winter "Taste of Country" welcomes the return of two Buffalo favorites -- Rodney Atkins and Kellie Pickler. Atkins is riding on the strength of his fourth album, "Take A Back Road," and its title tune, his sixth country No. 1 hit; Pickler is an "American Idol" Season 5 alumna whose latest charting single, "Tough," precedes a January full-length release. They'll be joined by relative newcomer James Wesley whose single, "Didn't I," is in rotation on WYRK.
Tickets are $30, $40, $60 and $100 (box office, Ticketmaster).
-- Jeff Miers