As a young boy growing up in a small town in North Carolina, it was expected that Bucky Covington would one day take over the family business.

“My grandfather started an auto body shop, and my father took over,” said Covington. “I wanted to get out and see the country and the world.”

And country fans should be glad he did.

Now 32, Covington, who was a finalist on American Idol, will be performing at Capital Hoedown Saturday night.

His roots were humble. He started out “like everyone else, singing in the shower,” he said. One Christmas, he received a Tim McGraw album that he subsequently “wore out.”

He bought a guitar and taught himself to play.

“When I wasn’t at the body shop, I was at home playing the thing,” he said.

After performing in a rock band for years, Covington realized the music he should really be playing was country.

“It was a bit more about my life,” he said.

Covington’s self-titled first album debuted at Number One, and he’s getting ready to release a second, I’m Alright, in the fall.

Another band to take the stage Saturday is Australia’s Jetty Road, and lead singer Paula Bowman is thrilled about it.

“You guys really like to party,” she said.

Country music is a flourishing genre in Australia, but Canadians also make a great country audience, she said.

“Over here, country fans are younger and more vibrant, and we love to play to enthusiastic audiences.

“We find it homey here. You guys are a bit like us.”

The band, which formed six years ago, has been performing in Canada for the last three years.
While touring, Bowman learned the differences between American and Australian country music.

“American country is more based on religion, and Australian country is more based on the land and the bush,” she said.

Saturday’s show, she said, will be a high-energy performance — “a cross between the Dixie Chicks and Fleetwood Mac.”