It's a tough time of year to be a Bonnaroo fan. You're almost exactly halfway between your last visit to The Farm and your next one. The usual February lineup drop date is in sight, but maddeningly far away. This year, even the rumor mill seems to be churning slower than usual. But until the Bonnaroo Clues start back up or some credible rumors come along, we can make some educated guesses about who might be on the Bonnaroo lineup from past lineup trends. We already explored classic rockers who could headline Bonnaroo 2014 here. We've already explored classic rockers, modern rockers, and wildcard acts that could headline Bonnaroo. Now we'll explore the undercard with legendary country artists.
Every year, Bonnaroo pulls at least one country music legend out to perform a set. Country legends in recent years have included Dwight Yoakam, Kenny Rogers, Loretta Lynn, and Merle Haggard. But what country legend could perform at Bonnaroo this year? While we can pretty definitively rule out a constant favorite, Dolly Parton, who is playing 3 of Bonnaroo's 4 days in Ireland and England, that still leaves a lot of artists to choose from.
After a long hiatus, country superstars Alabama reunited in 2013 for a series of shows celebrating their 40th anniversary. They were also celebrated with a tribute album featuring some of Americana's best artists. While Alabama currently has no tour dates lined up for 2014, they'd probably be the biggest non-headliner get Bonnaroo could find in terms of name recognition.
Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell
Emmylou Harris is no stranger to Bonnaroo and has been very well received when she has played. But this year, Bonnaroo could get something new if they booked Harris as a duo with Rodney Crowell. The pair released one of the best received Americana albums of 2013 in "Old Yellow Moon" and spent much of 2013 touring together. Harris is currently out on tour on her own but it seems very plausible that Bonnaroo, wanting a "new" act for their country legend, could convince the pair to reunite for another show.
While Bobby Bare, Jr. has graced the Bonnaroo stage, dear old dad has not. The 78 year old Bare tours sporadically these days but has a couple of shows lined up for 2014 already. Bare was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2014 and is respected enough among young artists that a sit-in at his show would be a very real possibility.
With the recent success of Darius Rucker, renewed attention has been paid to country legend Charley Pride. As the first African American to see major chart success in country music, Pride was a trailblazer. Along with Rucker and DeFord Bailey, he is one of only three African American members of the Grand Ole Opry. Pride also comes with a massive library 39 #1 country hits to entertain the crowd.
Billy Joe Shaver
Bonnaroo likes its country outlaws. In previous years, it has seen performances from Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard, and Willie Nelson. While not nearly as big a draw as those names, Billy Joe Shaver's influence on outlaw country can't be denied. His string of albums in the 1970s helped bring the genre into definition. Shaver has since released a number of critically acclaimed albums and has been listed as an influence by Bonnaroo alumni like Todd Snider.
With a new album coming in 2014, country legend Ronnie Milsap is burning up the road in the new year, but has a gap in his touring schedule between 5/18 and 7/3, perfect for a Bonnaroo appearance. Milsap's string of hits including "It Was Almost Like a Song" and "Smoky Mountain Rain" would be recognizable sing along songs for many Bonnaroo fans.
Want to join in with your own ideas for Bonnaroo headliners? There are several ways to do it. First, you can share your ideas here in the comments section. Second, Bonnaroo themselves has gotten in on the rumor game this year by inviting fans to post on their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, or Tumblr pages with the hashtag #roo14wishlist to let everyone know who you'd like to see. Third, if you can't get enough talk about Bonnaroo, you can head over to the Inforoo fan message board where some of Bonnaroo's most hardcore fans debate the merits and possibilities for all of the Bonnaroo 2014 lineup.