Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Brad Paisley agrees to jam with ex-Fresno guitarist Blaze

Earlier this month Las Vegas guitarist Blaze (some will remembered when he lived and gigged in town) posted this video up his Youtube page.

It’s for a song titled “Brad Paisley,” a funny little rock-twinged country tune about a kid (Blaze, by all accounts) who grew up playing rock guitar and listening to bands like Kiss — Until he discovered country music, that is, and Paisley specifically.

The song includes lines like “That cowboy’s been No. 1 on my iTunes play lately. All my headbanger friends think I’ve gone crazy. Because now I want to jam with Brad Paisley.”

In a bit of wish fulfillment, it might happen.

Last week Paisley wrote this Tweet, which included a link to the video.

While I like this song (and the video) and think that calling out a known celebrity like this is ballsy (and kinda genius), I wonder: Is this a heartfelt ode to a musical hero? A brilliant piece of marketing? Just silly stupid fun? All of the above?

Check out the video for yourself on the jump and let me know what you think while we just wait for the jam to happen.

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Was Eric Church’s “The Outsiders” tour a little too outside?

Eric Church may be the future of country music (and pop music in general, perhaps). He’s an artist unbound by genre, who sets his own rules and is unashamed to wear his influences on his sleeves, even if it’s Black Sabbath. His music is country-rock, with an emphasis on the rock, though there are hints of roots and soul music, too. And some twang for good measure.

“The Outsiders” tour, which stopped at the Save Mart Center last night, is a reflection of Church himself. The two opening acts (Halestorm and Dwight Yoakam) showcase the disparate worlds of rock and country, with headliner Church standing as the bridge between.

But does it work as a show? From the reviews I’ve heard, the crowd didn’t really start filling in until after Halestorm’s set (as if they knew?) and at least a few of those who did see the band were less than enthused by their rock pedigree.

There’s no doubt the walls we’ve set up around specific genres are beginning to brake down and I think we will soon begin to see more of these kinds of concerts. That said, was “The Outsiders” tour a little too outside from mainstream country music fans?

Win tickets to: Joni Morris’ Patsy Cline tribute


Before she died in a plane crash (at the age of 30), Patsy Cline had cemented for herself as one of most unique and inspiring voices in country (and pop) music.

More than fifty years later, her voice (and music) continues to inspire artists like Joni Morris, who has been doing a tribute to Cline (and Connie Francis) for more than 20 years.

Morris brings the After Midnight Band to the Tower Theatre, 7:30 p.m. Friday. We have tickets for a few lucky Beehive readers. To enter to win, leave a comment in this post. Who is your favorite country music voice? Male or female.

This contest is a quick one. You have until 5 p.m. tomorrow (Oct. 22). Winners will be chosen at random, notified by email and must be able to pick up tickets at The Fresno Bee office (1626 E. Street) during normal business hours.

Check out a video of Morris doing her favorite Cline songs on the jump.

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Concert Announcement: Eric Church


Eric Church will be the first performer to hit the Save Mart Center in 2015.

The outlaw country rocker will play the arena Jan.22 on the second leg of his Outsiders World Tour. County icon Dwight Yoakam and rock band Halestorm open the show. Tickets are $25 to $59.50 and on sale 10 a.m. Oct. 24 at select Save Mart Supermarkets, the Save Mart Center box office, online at or by phone at (800) 745-3000.

Fan club and VIP presales start 10 a.m. tomorrow, with radio and venue presales staring 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

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KFSR hosts Fresno Grand Opry fundraiser


I almost let this one slip through the cracks:

KFSR presents another installment of the Fresno Grand Opry, its semi-regular fundraising-concert series that has local musicians and bands paying (and playing) musical tribute to traditional country music.

The show, which coincides with the end of the station’s fall pledge drive (they will still take your money), is 7 p.m. Saturday at the Fresno Scottish Rite Center and features Brad “The Dudeboy” Rogers, The Roger Perry Band and Mofo Party Band. Tickets are just $10, and are available at

So, slide on them boots, snap up that pearly buttoned shirt and go on, get to it.

Be warned: You’re not gonna hear Florida Georgia Line or Rascall Flatts (or Garth Brooks or Brooks & Dunn, for that matter). This is for fans of Waylon, Willie and the boys.

And likely George Jones, Hank Williams and Bob Wills, too.

Win ticket to: Justin Moore


Justin Moore’s life is a country song. The 30-year-old country star singer grew up in (and moved back to) Poyen, Ark., a town of 300 people. He dreamed of playing baseball or basketball until he realized he was 5-feet-6 and 140 pounds. He went to college for all of three weeks before he finally moved to Nashville to try his hand at music.

It proved to a good move. Moore was named New Artist of the Year at the American County Music Awards in April. That’s a year after the release of “Off the Beaten Path, ” and five years after his self-titled debut hit No. 3 on Billboard’s Country charts. The singer headlined Visalia’s JugFest 2014 in May and plays 7 p.m. Thursday as part of the Big Fresno Fair’s concert series.

We have tickets to give away to a Beehive reader. To enter to win, leave a comment in this post. Tell us why you love country music (doesn’t need to be specific to Moore). The contest is a quick one. You have until 5 p.m. tonight. Winners will be chosen at random, notified by email and must be able to pick up tickets at The Fresno Bee office (1626 E. Street) during normal business hours.

Check out a video from Moore (and complete contest rules) on the jump.

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Review: Blake Shelton at the Save Mart Center

Blake SheltonI’m a rock girl, but I have to say there’s something about country music. Maybe it’s the story. Or the twang. Or even the good time sentiment found in many songs. In the case of Blake Shelton — arguably the hottest singer in country music right now with hit after hit (and a new album on the way) — it’s all three. And each was on full display Thursday night at the Save Mart Center where he headlined the Ten Times Crazier Tour.

For one hour fifty minutes, Blake Shelton wove his way through his extensive song list that included new single “Neon Lights” and favorites like “Kiss My Country Ass,” “Honey Bee” and “Boys Round Here.” And the fans — who filled nearly every seat all the way to the last row on the upper level — toe-tapped and sang along until the very last note.

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Win tickets to Sergio Martinez and the Silveradoz Band at Arte Americas

nightsFresno’s summer days can be brutal. But our nights … our nights are so very lovely.

Which is why Arte Americas hosts a series of Friday-night concerts in it outdoor pavilion each summer. The Nights in the Plaza series features local and regional bands playing Latin lazz and mariachi, Brazilian, Son Jarocho and rockabilly.

We’ll be giving away passes each week (except Sept. 26) for the rest of the series’ run. This week’s concert features Hollister Tejano/country artist Sergio Martinez and the Silveradoz Band. To enter to win, leave a comment in this post. Tell us your favorite way to spend a warm summer’s night in the Valley. The contest runs through noon Thursday. Winners will be chosen at random, notified by email and be able to pick up the passes at The Fresno Bee office (1626 E. Street) during normal business hours. Passes are good for any concert night, but do not guarantee entry, so early arrival is suggested.

We’ll have a new contest up every Monday so keep checking back. Complete performer schedule and contest rules on the jump.

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TONIGHT: The Swon Brothers at Tulare Outlet Center


Here’s one that’s worth the drive: Country duo The Swon Brothers performs a free concert tonight at the Tulare Outlet Center as part of KJUG’s Summer Concert Series. The show starts at 7 p.m. at the mall’s main entrance.

The Swon Brothers –Zach and Colton — are one of a growing number of acts who have made a name for themselves as contestants on NBC’s singing show “The Voice.” The brothers were the first duo to make it from the Top 12 live shows to the season finale. They finished third. Currently, they are working on a major-label debut.

The brothers were in Clovis in April playing the Rodeo Road Show concert at Sierra Vista Mall with Jaime Lynn Spears.

Watch the video The Swon Brothers’ single “Later On,” on the jump.

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TONIGHT: Easton Corbin

PR AOTR by Jim WrightAs a young country artist, Easton Corbin knows that success can’t be measured in months. Having one hit single, or two, or even an entire album, can’t be enough. Neither can being named to Billboard’s list of country music’s top male artists — though Corbin found himself there in 2010, sandwiched between Blake Shelton and Tim McGraw.

Those things are great markers, but real success is built over years, and takes a consistency that only comes from being true to yourself.

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” says Corbin, who brings his brand of chart-topping traditional country music to Table Mountain Casino tonight. “You have to be yourself, whether you are the flavor of the month or not.”

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Win tickets to The Clovis Rodeo

rodeoIf there is a local event that’s run longer or has more cultural history than the Clovis Rodeo, I can’t call it.

The annual event, which kicks off on Thursday and runs through Sunday, celebrates its 100th year.

We have tickets to Friday’s rodeo competition and concert, which features country chart climber and “Redneck Crazy” Tyler Farr. To enter to win, leave a message in the comments section. Tell us your favorite Rodeo story (everyone has one). If you’ve never been, let us know why this is the year that changes.

This is a quicky. The deadline for entry is noon Thursday. The winner will be chosen at random Thursday night and notified via email (so check yours if you enter). These are physical tickets, so the winner will need to come to The Fresno Bee office to claim them.

Full contest rules and a video from Farr on the jump.

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Concert announcement: Oak Ridge Boys

oakridge boysThere is no mistaking the Oak Ridge Boys. The band’s four-part harmonies create a sound that is legendary. Also; one of the most distinctive in country music. Over the band’s 40 + years, it has had 12 gold, three platinum and one double-platinum album, a double platinum single and had more than a dozen No. 1 singles and more than 30 Top 10 hits. They’ve also collaborated with everyone from Paul Simon (the band sung backup for his hit “Slip Slidin’ Away,”) George Jones, Johnny Cash, Billy Ray Cyrus and even Shooter Jennings, the son of Waylon Jennings. On Tuesday, the band releases “Boy Night Out,” a live greatest hits album.

The band comes to Visalia’s Fox Theatre, May 13. Tickets are $49-$99 and on also now at the box office (559) 625-1369 and on-line at

Watch the video for “Ain’t No Short Way Home” on the jump.

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Concert news: Kip Moore added as Tim McGraw’s special guest

kipmooreWe already told you about the Fresno date for Tim McGraw’s “Sundown Heaven” tour. It stops at the Save Mart Center May 8. Now comes news that Kip Moore will join the show as McGraw’s special guest, along with the already announced Cassadee Pope.

Moore is an up-and-comer who helped usher in the next generation of truck-loving country artists (his single “Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck” was No. 1 on the Billboard country chart). His debut album, “Up All Night,” was and was the best-selling debut by a male country artist in 2012 and 2013.

Check out the video for “Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck” on the jump.

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Concert announcement: Blake Shelton at the Save Mart Center Sept. 11

sheltonCountry superstar and TV singing-competition coach Blake Shelton announced round two of his “Ten Times Crazier” tour, which includes a Sept. 11 date at the Save Mart Center.

Shelton, who’s been CMA’s best male vocalist for four consecutive years, is touring in support of the platinum-selling “Based on a Truth Story…,” which was released last March. The Band Perry, Neal McCoy, and Dan + Shay will join Shelton for the 20-plus dates, which includes shows at Madison Square Garden, Wrigley Field and the Hollywood Bowl.

“I cannot wait to get back out on the road,” says Shelton, who has been a judge on NBC’s “The Voice,” since its inception and has produced three of the show’s five winners. “I had so much fun playing songs from ‘Based On A True Story…’ and getting to see the crowd’s reaction to those songs was unforgettable. It is one of the most validating things for an artist like me, to have people sing along to your songs. It means what I’m doing is right and no matter what I’m doing, whether it is ‘The Voice’ or a TV special, absolutely nothing compares to playing live for me,” he says.

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Concert announcement: Tim McGraw’s “Sundown Heaven Town” tour heads to Save Mart Center

Country to CountryAs could be predicted, the Save Mart Center has lined-up another big-name country act for spring.

This time it’s Tim McGraw, who brings his “Sundown Heaven Town” tour to Fresno, May 8 at the Save Mart Center. Singer/songwriter Cassadee Pope will open.

Tickets for the show go on sale Feb. 7 and will range from $39.50-$72.50 and available through ticketmaster at select Save Mart Supermarket or the Save Mart Center box office. 

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Win tickets to: Florida Georgia Line

There is still a month before Florida Georgia Line brings its “Here’s to the Good Times,” tour to the Save Mart Center. The 32-city tour is the first headlining tour for the band, which just won two Country Music Awards. Tickets for the Dec. 11 show are on sale at select Save Mart Supermarkets, online at or on the phone at 800-745-3000 or at the Save Mart Center Box Office, but we have a pair to give away to one lucky Beehiver reader.

To enter, just leave a comment on this post. Tell us what makes for a good time in your mind. The contest will run through Sunday. Winners will be chosen by random Monday morning and notified via email. So check your email if you enter. One comment per person, please.

Rules are on the jump.

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You review: Darius Rucker

CEK DARIUS RUCKER 03I suppose it’s time to stop referencing Darius Rucker by the time he spent in Hootie and the Blowfish. It’s the easy call, because I grew up in the 1990s and those songs were played ALL THE TIME. But this is 2013 and Rucker has grown into a star in his own right and with his own name and brand, as was evident at last night’s performance at the Paul Paul Theater. If the show wasn’t sold out, it was very close and there were large crowds gathered at various spots outside the Paul Paul, watching the show on the theater’s big screen.

FYI: You can actually get a decent concert experience out there. If you can find a good vantage point, the sound is really good.

So, what did you think? Does Rucker have the voice and charisma to a mega-huge country star? Will his next stop through town be at the Save Mart Center? Moreover, was this a good finale for the fair’s concert series? Share you thoughts in the comments and make sure to check out The Bee’s photo galleries for pictures from the night.

Whisky Row is a finalist in the Pepsi Southern Original Competition

Kerman “Yallternative” duo Whisky Row is looking to bring home some national recognition at Pepsi’s Southern Original Competition finals. Of 50 bands that competed in five regional competitions, the band finished in the top 7. They won the Atlanta regional, and will perform at the Gulf Coast Jam in Florida, where the winner will be named.

But before they get there, they need some local support. A large part (40 percent) of the final tally will be made by fans, via online voting (because that’s how these competitions work these days). So log on now. Vote early and often as they say. As of this morning, the band was in 4th place, but the voting runs through Sept. 25, so there is still time to chime in.

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Concert news: Lady A coming back to Fresno

Lady Antebellum performs at the Save Mart Center in Fresno in March 28, 2012.

Lady Antebellum performs at the Save Mart Center in Fresno in March 28, 2012.

Award-winning country trio Lady Antebellum is heading back to Fresno for a March 16, 2014 show at the Save Mart Center.

Today, the band announced it is extending the Take Me Downtown Tour with 40 additional dates. Opening acts Kip Moore and Kacey Musgraves will remain on the second leg of the tour.

Tickets go on sale Sept. 27 at, at 800-745-3000, at the Save Mart Center Box Office and Save Mart Supermarkets. Ticket prices won’t be released until the week tickets go on sale. Find updates at Lady A’s website, where you can also explore VIP info.

Lady Antebellum last played the Save Mart Center in March 2012. Check out The Beehive recap here, which includes great photos from the show by The Bee’s Craig Kohlruss along with fan reviews.

You review: Kenny Chesney

Kenny Chesney brought his No Shoes Nation tour to the Save Mart Center last night. Country shows always do well in Fresno and Chesney is arguably country music’s biggest star. The Wall Street Journal dubbed Chesney the king of the road, a nod to the old country song and the fact that his shows draw crowds. Big time. He’s already sold more than a million tickets on this tour.

So, members of the No Shoes Nation, what did you think? Did Chesney deliver the goods?  How does he stack up with other country notables you’ve seen? How was the turnout? What about the openers, Eli Young Band and Kacey Musgraves? Be sure to check out The Bee’s picture gallery from the show.

Scott and Kristi Warner back in the Valley

You’ve got to love proud parents. They make the best PR reps.
For instance, Gary Warner, who emailed in to let us know his children (son Scott and daughter Kristi) will be performing on Thursday night at Yosemite Ranch.

This is actually a good tip.

Some will no doubt remember Scott (who now attends Belmont University in Nashville), from his days making electro-pop music under the name RoboPop. And his sister Kristi is making a name for herself as a country singer, dping Nashville’s club and café writers rounds, open mic nights at the like. Recently, she competed at the Wildhorse Saloon’s Battle for the Saddle competition, and did fairly well, according to dad.

Thursday’s show starts at 9 p.m. There’s no cover. Here’s a link to the flier with some more details.

And here is a video of Scott (looking a bit like Mike Patton) at Zapp’s Park, followed by one of Kristi doing a cover of Patti Loveless’ “Jealous Bone.”

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RIP country legend George Jones

Most of what I know of George Jones comes second hand, via guys like Elvis Costello. But Jones was one of those old-school country guys who defined the genre (and probably what it’s become). And he probably doesn’t get enough credit from the younger set, who are more enamoured with Waylon, Willie and the boys. Jones was always around if you were looking, but he never got the cool-kid resurgence of Johnny Cash, let’s say.

Jones died this morning at 81. I am sure he’ll be fondly remembered at the Rodeo tonight, and at the Fresno Grand Opry next weekend.

This video of his classic “White Lighting,” is about as honky-tonk cool as it comes.

You review: Carrie Underwood

Carrie 1nQwjS.St.8Underwood is a dazzler. She sells-out shows and wins Grammys and does it all while looking stunning. Seriously, that hair … In Fresno, she’s a staple. She’s played (and sold out) both the Saroyan Theatre and the Save Mart Center and was back last night with her Blown Away tour.

So, were you blown away? Did the elaborate light show and staging do it for you? How about her song choices? And what about the opener, the young up-and-comer Hunter Hayes? We’d love to hear your take.

Make sure to check out the photo gallery from Bee photographer Mark Crosse (that giant rose looks awesome).

You review: George Strait in concert

George Strait rolled into Fresno Friday night for his “Cowboy Rides Away” tour. And if the traffic backed up on Hwy 168 was any indication, it was a packed house at the Save Mart Center. We’d love to hear your take on his farewell concert, so post a review in the comments. And be sure to chime in on opening act Martina McBride, too. Be sure to check out our gallery of photos captured by Bee photographer Craig Kohlruss. Here’s a taste of how the night went.

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Sara Rue had to make acting choice

At any given time there may be about 1% of those in the Actors Guild who are actually working. That’s why it’s always amazing when one actor ends up with two roles.

Back in June, when I was watching all of the new shows for the 2012-2013, I noticed the very talent Sara Rue was in both the new NBC comedy “Guys With Kids” and the ABC comedy “Malibu Country.” There have been actors who have been on two shows at the same time such as when Kirsten Vangsness was on “Criminal Minds” and “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior” in the same TV season. But, that takes lots of planning and coordination.

Rue’s good, but starring on two weekly sitcoms would be impossible because a comedy takes a week to film while TV dramas can go as long as eight or nine days. this potential headache meant it finally came down to Rue having to make a decision. There were no assurances that either show would get on the air so her first pick was “Malibu Country” but she filmed the first episode of “Guys With Kids” with the agreement the role would be recast if “Malibu Country” got on the air.

Both shows got on the air and Rue’s “Guys With Kids” role went to Erinn Hayes (who just happens to also be on the cable series “Childrens Hospital.”)

“So I’m right where I wanted to be from the very beginning. I feel really lucky,” Rue says of being on “Malibu Country.”

Her role on “Malibu Country” is of a very spoiled, annoying and superficial neighbor to the character played by Reba McEntire. Rue prepared for the part by watching TV.

“I watched countless hours of ‘The Real Housewives of Orange County’,” Rue says proudly.