A familiar voice will fill the air during a prime-time concert at this year’s edition of the King County Fair.
Organizers have booked Buckley native Blaine Larsen to put on a Saturday night show during the fair, which runs July 16-19.
Other headliners are familiar to regional music fans, as well. Popular Elvis Presley illusionist Danny Vernon will be bringing his band and will take to the Enumclaw Expo Center stage July 17; old-time rockers Jr. Cadillac will be the headline act when the fair opens July 16.
A number of other acts have signed on to perform at this year’s fair, which is being produced locally for the first time in several years.
There’s a new approach at the Expo Center, with a nonprofit group directing things. One of the first decisions was to run the fair themselves and a key component was to find an entertainer to spark the local audience.
That’s where Larsen entered the picture. He was contacted by fair organizers, a deal was easily reached and he quickly signed on the dotted line.
“I was thrilled to receive the invitation to play at the King County Fair again!,” Larsen wrote in an email to The Courier-Herald. “This is going to be a very fun and intimate evening. It will be just me and my guitar player.
“I want this show to feel like you came over to my house and we had a concert in the back yard. Informal and lots of fun!”
Larsen’s story goes back quite a few years – despite the fact that he turned 29 just a couple of months ago.
He was introduced to music very early and, by the time he was 13, he was singing and playing the guitar. A trip was made to Nashville, Tenn., where Larsen recorded a CD that included a song that he had co-written with his school teacher. Nashville songwriters took notice and Larsen was soon back in Nashville, recording a debut album “In My High School.” The title song reached No. 60 on the country charts that year.
He signed with a record label, which re-released the debut album under the name “Off to See the World.” Two more singles made the country charts, “How Do You Get That Lonely,” which peaked at No. 18, and “The Best Man” at number 36.
A second studio album, “Rockin’ You Tonight,” included chart singles “I Don’t Know What She Said” and “Spoken Like a Man.”
During that time toured with renowned country artists, opening for the likes of Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts and Kenny Chesney.
Larsen’s next album, “Not Too Bad,” had a couple of singles reach the charts, but the album was eventually shelved. His recording company merged with a larger operation and Larsen was not signed.
A few years back, Larsen’s life changed direction.
In a Facebook post in 2012, he wrote: “I realized that I was put on the planet for a purpose bigger than myself. With this in mind, and with much prayer and counsel, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to be about God’s business full time.”
Larsen joined the staff of Search Nashville and continues his work in Tennessee.
“My day-to-day role is to create safe places in the business community of Nashville where professional men and women can come to discuss their questions and doubts about God and life,” Larsen wrote.
He still loves to perform, but now sings for personal enjoyment, rather than as a career.
He’ll be returning to familiar turf when he steps before a King County Fair audience. He has played the fair a few times, the first show coming when he was about 15, opening for country performer John Conlee.