The Pima County Fair officially opens on Thursday, April 20, and, truth be told, we’re not big fans of cotton candy and oversized corn dogs.

But we love free concerts, so we’re thrilled that the fair, which runs through April 30, has live music every night starting with a night of rap/hip-hop Thursday with T-Pain and Naughty by Nature. But our favorite concert happening over opening weekend is country hunk Josh Turner on Saturday, April 22. It’s one of our picks for Tucson’s Top Three Tickets.

  • Turner, whose latest hit “Hometown Girl,” is in the Top 10 on Billboard’s hot country singles chart, has a handful of hits from his 2003 debut single “Long Black Train” to his back-to-back No. 1 hits “Your Man” and “Would You Go with Me” in 2006. His show on the Budweiser Main Stage at the fairgrounds, 11300 S. Houghton Road, begins at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 22. Admission is free with paid fair admission: $8 for adults, $4 for kids 6 to 10 and free for those 5 and younger. Details:
  • The Grammy-nominated, Dove Award-winning Christian pop band MercyMe brings its Lifer Tour 2017 to Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd., on the UA campus on Sunday, April 23. When it comes to contemporary Christian music, MercyMe is the patriarch of a generation of faith-based bands and artists dipping into all genres of contemporary music, from pop and metal to rock and country. MercyMe has been around since 1994 but broke out big time with the single “I Can Only Imagine,” which became a crossover pop radio hit in late 2003-04. Sunday’s concert starts at 7 p.m. Get there early for a Q&A with the band beginning at 6. Tickets are $25 and $35 through Hawk Nelson and Micah Tyler open the show.
  • Comedian Maria Bamford returns to the Rialto Theatre for a show with comedian/comedy writer/occasional actress Jackie Kashian. The all-ages show starts at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 22, at the Rialto, 318 E. Congress St. It’s $24 and $35 at

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at or 573-4642. On Twitter @Starburch.

I cover music for the Arizona Daily Star.