Blake Shelton’s success continues to sky-rocket from his win on the Voice and his chart topper, “Neon Light”, to his debut as host and musical guest on Saturday Night Live. Saturday Night Live got a jump start after a few sluggish weeks. The pop country star brought a smile to many faces with skits including “Farm Hunk”, a parody of the Bachelor, and “Wishin’ Boot”, a satire of inspirational country ballads. Blake’s humor and wit stole the show!
This year’s SNL cast has definitely not been as strong as years past, but Blake’s wonderful comedic and musical performances gave the show just what it needed. Shelton’s humble roots shown through in his Hee Haw-themed opening monologue. While sitting on a bale of hay, Blake did a “little pickin’ and grinnin’” as he tried to draw out laughter with good old country jokes. Blake killed it with country self-parody throughout the episode.
Although using stereotypes of the south and country music, you’ve got to love a man that can laugh at himself! The highlight of the night was “Wishin’ Boot”, a song that satirized typical inspirational country ballads. Blake was accompanied in this pre-recorded skit by the hilarious Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant. This terribly catchy (and I mean terrible), country song had the crowd laughing hysterically, and I was no exception. Although obviously a bad country song, “Wishin’ Boot” was undeniably funny!
The episode’s rendition of the Bachelor, “Farm Hunk”, was hilarious as the female contestants tried to “steal him [Shelton] away for a sec”. This skit gave the audience some good laughs even though the majority of the comedic lines came from the strong female cast. Still, even with a strong cast by your side the typically hilarious “Family Feud” skit was not as funny as expected from this reoccurring skit. “Family Feud” contestants were comprised of the coaches from the Voice and the judges from American Idol. Once again, Kate McKinnon stole the spotlight with an impersonation of Keith Urban. Blake, playing himself, had a few good lines mentioning his beautiful and talented wife, Miranda Lambert.
Blake Shelton’s comedic versatility was refreshing and just what SNL needed; not to mention his phenomenal musical performances with songs like “Boys ‘Round Here” and “Neon Light”. In the words of Blake Shelton, he is “kind of like the Justin Bieber of country music — just a trouble-makin’ cutie.” Blake was welcomed with open arms to the SNL family, and hopefully, we will see him host again in the future.
As any Houstonian would understand, I got super excited a few weeks ago when the Houston Rodeo performer lineup was announced and I found that many of my favorite artists were coming either again or for the first time. I was especially excited to see that Alan Jackson was performing yet again, as he is one of my all time favorite country music artists.
I had the chance to see Alan Jackson at the rodeo about three years ago and it was one of the most memorable performances I have seen there. Before this show, I had never really listened to him or heard many of his songs, but I was excited to see him nonetheless. Little did I know that he would soon become one of my favorite country singers, next to George Strait of course. Some of my favorite country songs today are ones he sung that night. I immediately fell in love with them while watching him strum his guitar under the bright lights. Whether you are in the mood for an upbeat tune or a heartfelt ballad, Alan Jackson masters it all.
Here are few of my favorite Alan Jackson songs that I have grown to love ever since seeing him in concert.
“Livin’ On Love”
I love this song because of the simple and positive message behind it. The main idea behind what Alan Jackson is singing is that all you need in the world is love. It doesn’t matter what else is going on in your life, good or bad. He implies that there isn’t meaning to your life without love in it. All that matters is that you have someone to love whether it is a family member, friend, or significant other.
“Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)”
This song is a patriotic reflection of the events of 9/11. Every time I listen to this song I get overwhelming chills. He sings about all of the different places you might have been or things you might have been doing when you found out about the horrific tragedy. I love this song not only because I think it is an amazing tribute to 9/11, but also because he sings the song in a way that is touching and emotional, yet it doesn’t consume you with sadness.
“Where I Come From”
Alan Jackson touches on his down home roots in this upbeat catchy song. He reflects on where he is from and who he is as a person because of it. I particularly like how this song relates to anyone who has been far away from home and feels out of place. I’m sure we have all experienced the uncomfortable feeling of being somewhere foreign where no one knows you or who you are, but Alan Jackson embraces this situation in his song.
“Remember When” is my all time favorite Alan Jackson song as well as one of my favorite country songs in general. I’m really not sure what struck me about it when I first heard it; I just knew that it touched me. I love the beautiful instrumentation throughout the entire song as well as the underlying themes of love, life, sorrow, and happiness. Every single lyric resonated some sort of feeling inside me. If you like sentimental ballads, you will enjoy this song as much as I do.
Cowboy boots echoed through the concrete corridors of Cowboys Stadium as my twin, Mason, and I eagerly awaited the familiar twang of the king of country music. When the lights went down, I could feel the stadium shaking beneath my boots as enthusiasts from across the country screamed for the one and only George Strait.
Last May when I graduated from high school, my parents gifted us with the experience of a lifetime: the opportunity to go to George Strait’s absolute last concert in Cowboys Stadium in June. Naturally, Mason and I were absolutely overjoyed to see the cowboy ride away for the last time. We’d grown up listening to classics like “Amarillo by Morning” and “Check Yes or No” (one of the first song I ever committed to memory). But we were no country music snobs, we also appreciated his newer music like “I’ve Got a Car” and “Twang.”
The concert was everything you could possibly want to see out of Strait: his all-time best songs accompanied by some of the hottest, most talented voices in country music today. Miranda Lambert, Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, Alan Jackson and so many more sung duets with him during his 3 hour long finale. He was happy and sad and sentimental and everything in between. When he sang his last song, “The Cowboy Rides Away,” you could feel the emotional he poured into the song. There was not a dry eye in the entire sold out stadium. It was, too put it plainly, incredible. Easily the best concert I have ever been to.
However, walking out of the venue that night, I couldn’t help but wonder who would take over his throne? For the past 20 years, King George has reigned supreme and consistently produced chart-topping hits—he has 60 number one hits. It seemed as though there wasn’t any obvious choice. All the artists who got on stage with him were good, sure, but were they country music royalty?
Country music is in need of a hero. It needs a new traditional, Texas country voice. While the bro-country music has taken off and has an abundance of talent, we’ve left traditional country without a leader. Hopefully we’ll have the next George Strait come out of the woodwork and assume the throne. Until then, I’ll be left swooning over fifteen to twenty year old albums and wishing some of the greats never quit.
As last week poured never ending rain and everyone’s rain boots were brought out from the back of their closets for the first time this year, I went back to a time where I didn’t curse the wind and the rain for breaking my umbrella and completely soaking me. Back to a moment where I encouraged the rain and grabbed the closest guy near me to dance the night away. I went back to the summer of 2012 where the Josh Abbott Band played at the Whitewater Music Amphitheater in New Braunfels, Texas during a thunderstorm.
As I reminisced about the great night of the Josh Abbott Band playing the performance of their lives, in my opinion, I realized how much I wished that Josh Abbott was a common household name like others, such as Carrie Underwood or George Strait. Now, if you do not know who Josh Abbott Band is, shame on you. If you are from Texas and still have no clue I am talking about, double shame on you. I encourage you all then to immediately listen to their signature song, based on the one that has gained them the most attention, “Oh, Tonight” featuring Kacey Musgraves.
The Josh Abbott Band
The Josh Abbott Band was formed when lead singer, Josh Abbott, formed the group roughly eight to nine years ago while he was student at Texas Tech University. In the Lone Star State, they quickly became a “hometown band” everyone seemed to know all the words to. They also became huge, in Texas of course, for their concert performances. To describe one of their concerts in three words, the phrase “Damn good time” would perfectly fit. Rolling Stones even described their live shows as the Josh Abbott Band’s “bread and butter,” and as a band that was “building an audience one gig at a time.” Having been to seen them four times and never having the same experience and show as the last, I would urge you all to put them on your Bucket Lists.
At Josh Abbott’s concert in the summer of 2014.
So why is this all relevant you may ask? Well, as of January 26 around 8:13 pm, Josh Abbott’s twitter account gave the world a little gift. He tweeted a part of his lyrics to a new song he is working on. The tweet stated: “In search of a beholder she’s beautiful despite her flaws. Turning a new leaf over, Autumn’s changing in the fall. #Autumn coming soon.” Could this be another sequel to “She Will Be Free” and “She Don’t Break”? I do not care what is, I know I will absolutely love it and will know every single word to it after the first five minutes of it being released. Hopefully, this could be the song that gains them the stardom they deserve. And if they never break that barrier, I will be completely content with their late Saturday night shows. I will proudly sing along to every one of their songs in my dress and cowboy boots.
Over break I went to visit one of my best friends who happens to live in South Florida. Even though technically Florida is considered the South, we were in one of the least southern places, Miami. One night we were out shopping and looking around when we stumbled upon this restaurant called Tequila Cowboy. Obviously from living in Texas, tex-mex is one of our favorite foods so we thought that we would try it out. We walked into to the restaurant and it was one of the most stereotypical “country” places I have ever been to. There was a man and a guitar singing at the entrance, the décor was rustic with cowboy boots and trucks as decorations, and the waiters and waitresses were dressed to a tee in theme. However, the best part about the restaurant was that they had an electric bull and a karaoke bar attached. They were playing older country music over the speaker system, although it seemed like me and my friends were the only ones that knew the songs.
We ordered our margaritas (because who doesn’t get tequila at Tequila Cowboy) and started looking over the menu. The first thing noticed is that almost everything on the menu contains some form of barbeque. Whether it was pulled pork tacos to barbeque chicken enchiladas. They took the two main staples of Texas cuisine and tried to combine them. Don’t get me wrong, I know pulled pork tacos are a very normal dish but on their menu it seemed like they were trying too hard.
After dinner, we went to the next room to the karaoke bar. We were the only ones in there, when a man walks up to us and asks us if we “want to ride his bull”. We explained to him that we live in Texas and have ridden or have the opportunity to ride a bull on almost any night a week. Finally, the place started to fill up, meaning two more people walked in. The karaoke begins by the “dj” singing a George Strait song. Next up is the two other people in the bar, who happen to be this old man and a woman clearly half his age, watching them sing a love song had to be one of the most uncomfortable experiences out there.
We were up next and chose to sing “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks. We weren’t serious about our singing or anything we just got up there to have fun, which we did, but no one knew the song. More people began to trickle in at this point and we had a street audience since the stage was at a window. Yet there wasn’t an ounce of recognition of the song on anyone’s faces. We got up there, sang, got down, and left.
We had a blast in this cheesy stereotypical country restaurant. Granted the food wasn’t very good, their margaritas sucked, and no one knew the music. But I was with my two best friends and we had a great time.