While the Q.C., with its green pastures and “farm smell,” might not be as exciting as “The O.C.,” where Benjamin McKenzie and Mischa Barton’s on-again, off-again on-screen romance heated up the Southern California beaches before Barton’s character’s untimely death at the end of last season, the Q.C. has one thing that “The O.C.” doesn’t — a country concert series.
Beginning Tuesday with Ryan Shupe & the Rubber Band and concluding with a show by Trick Pony on Nov. 28, the Queen Creek Performing Arts Center, 22149 E. Ocotillo Road, is the go-to place for country shows for the remainder of the year.
Here’s a look at the acts scheduled to perform during the series.
RYAN SHUPE & THE RUBBER BAND, JULY 26
Blending rock, bluegrass and country, this eclectic Utah outfit found a home on country radio with the uplifting “Dream Big,” but to appreciate Ryan Shupe & the Rubber Band you have to see them live. When they opened for Trisha Yearwood in Mesa last October, their good-humored showmanship nearly upstaged the headliner. Tickets: $22-$45.
CLAY WALKER, AUG. 4
Texan Walker racked up several No. 1 singles in the ’90s with hits such as “Live Until You Die,” the Alan Jackson-penned “If I Could Make a Living” and “Rumor Has It,” and has been a steady country chart presence in the 2000s, with his last Top 10, “I Can’t Sleep,” coming in 2004. Tickets: $39-$75.
TRACY LAWRENCE, SEPT. 14
One of the most consistent country hitmakers since his 1991 debut disc, “Sticks and Stones,” racking up seven No. 1 singles and landing plenty more in the Top 10, including 2004's “Paint Me a Birmingham.” Lawrence’s 2005 compilation “Then and Now: The Hits Collection” was a Top 10 album hit. Tickets: $32-$69.
PHIL VASSAR, OCT. 15
Formerly a songwriter of hits for other singers (“Right on the Money” for Alan Jackson, “For a Little While” for Tim McGraw and “Bye Bye” for Jo Dee Messina) before launching his own solo career, Phil Vassar has landed country No. 1 hits with “Just Another Day in Paradise” and “In a Real Love.” He’s also scored several Top 10s, including “American Child” and “That’s When I Love You.” Vassar’s latest disc, 2006's “Greatest Hits Volume 1,” featured the singer’s own versions of his covered hits and was a No. 2 country smash. Ticket prices: TBA.
DIAMOND RIO, NOV. 9
The latest in a long line of outstanding country vocal groups, Diamond Rio plays contemporary country with a dash of rock ’n’ roll. Since the band’s debut in 1991, Diamond Rio has collected plenty of awards from the Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association for best vocal group — only recently being usurped by Rascal Flatts — and have hit No. 1 on the charts with songs such as “Meet in the Middle” (1991), “How Your Love Makes Me Feel” (1997) and “Beautiful Mess” (2002). The band’s second greatest hits disc, released in 2006, was a Top 20 album. Tickets: $39-$75.
TRICK PONY, NOV. 28
Featuring the powerful vocals of Heidi Newfield — who sounds a little like Janis Joplin with a more pronounced twang — country trio Trick Pony first hit the charts with the rocking “Pour Me” off their self-titled debut disc in 2001, which also spawned the Top 10 hit “On a Night Like This.” The group most recently landed on the charts with a cover of Bonnie Tyler’s “It’s a Heartache” in 2005. Tickets: TBA.