I’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.
Fresno’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.
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.
As 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.”
If 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.
There 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.
We 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.
Country 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.
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 ticketmaster.com 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.
I 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.
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.
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 ticketmaster.com, 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.
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.
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.”
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.
Carrie Underwood 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).
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.
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.
Local duo Whisky Row is headed to the national finals of the Colgate Country Showdown, a prestigious talent competition that’s helped to jumpstart the careers of many country stars.
Whisky Row — made up of Kerman’s Mike Pereira and Jason Ruffoni — won the western regional in Oregon over the weekend and now they’re headed to Nashville for the finals on Jan. 14.
Five acts will compete for a chance at $100,000, plus the attention of the country recording industry. Acts such as Martina McBride, Sara Evans, LeAnn Rimes, Neal McCoy and John Michael Montgomery have all been in the finals of the Colgate competition.