We'll break this to you gently: Twenty years before Shania Twain kicked up her cowboy boots, Juice Newton crowned charts with her crossover classics. The Queen of Hearts (and crooner of a few heartbreakers) may not have penned the majority of her hits, but she reigned over every tune she recorded. Mastering folk-rock fundamentals as an underage singer-songwriter, Newton founded her first band, Dixie Peach, with musician friend Otha Young. The pair's next project, Juice Newton & Silver Spur, featured pronounced country stylings and inspired a substantial fan base. RCA Records issued Silver Spur's self-titled debut in 1975, which was released to modest success -- but the group disbanded after subsequent albums were ignored. Then, in 1981, Juice -- Newton's third solo on the Capitol label -- went platinum. Several of its singles dominated both pop and country lists, layering rockabilly roots atop traditional twang for stylish Top 40 rhythms with simple Nashville melodies. This angel of the morning crested early, though, and since she won her 1982 Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance, Newton has largely been confined to country music's kingdom. Rekindle an old flame when she holds court at Fortune Valley Casino in Central City this Friday, September 17.


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