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Saucy, smoky or sweet: How Ribfest's musical lineup pairs with its savory fare

Diamond Rio plays RibFest on Friday night. Special to The Forum1 / 2
Night Ranger rocks RibFest on Thursday night. Special to The Forum2 / 2

FARGO — Happy Harry's RibFest kicks off on Wednesday, June 7, and as much as the sweet and savory smoked meat and sides are the main attraction, the music on the main stage each night also packs a crowd.

During the four day event, certain words will be used to describe the variety of foods available. While none of this year's acts — Collective Soul, Night Ranger, Diamond Rio and Little Texas — scored big hits with songs about barbecue, some of the tunes pair well with RibFest lingo.

We asked the DJs at Big 98.7 and 107.9 The Fox for some help dishing up some on some of the audible treats attendees will hear this week.

Little Texas closes out RibFest on Saturday night. Special to The Forum

Saucy — "God blessed Texas"

Jesse James and Amanda Lea of Morning Big 98.7 morning show think the lyrics should be changed to "God Bless RibFest," but Little Texas serves up a particularly sassy tribute to the women of the Lone Star State with these lines: "God blessed Texas/ With His own hand/ Brought down angels from the promised land/ Gave 'em a place where they could dance."

Sweet — "Sister Christian"

Dave Jacobs and Chad Moose Johnson had a lot of fun parodying this hit ("Sister Brisket" is delectable!). The 1980s was a decade for power ballads and few were bigger than this Night Ranger gem. Just how honeyed is this number? Singer/drummer Kelly Keagy wrote it for his younger sister, Christy, who he noted was, "growing up so fast." The group tried to hit the sweet spot twice with their next album and the tune "Sentimental Street," but that one is just sappy.

Sticky — "Beautiful Mess"

Jesse and Amanda's co-host, Pike Taylor, points out Diamond Rio's tune is a perfect fit for RibFest. "As in a 'Beautiful Mess' on your face from the BBQ sauce," he says. Of course, the song is about a girl, but these words could just as well be about someone who is getting their fill of ribs: "What a sweet addiction that I'm caught up in/ I can't get enough/ Or stop this hunger for your love/ What a beautiful mess, what a beautiful mess I'm in."

Collective Soul kicks off RibFest on Wednesday night. Special to The Forum

Fried — "Shine"

Collective Soul was writing about something deeper than searching for the fried food, with lyrics like, "Give me a word/ Give me a sign/ Show me where to look/ Tell me what will I find," but people are always looking for the deep-fried Twinkies at RibFest. Plus, the glowing title could refer to the gleaming face after eating said stuffed confections.

Meat — "Meet in the Middle"

You can't have a RibFest without meat, and while Diamond Rio is singing of an encounter, there will be plenty of meat in the middle of RibFest sandwiches.

If you go

What: Happy Harry's RibFest

When: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Wednesday - Saturday; headlining acts go onstage at 9:15 each night

Where: Fargodome, 1800 N. University Drive

Info: For a complete list of vendors, activities and specials, go to happyharrysribfest.com.

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