Blake Shelton, One Year Later

By Rob Greenwell

Over a year ago, Blake Shelton had the uneasy task of playing two nights after the 9/11 tragedy that struck the hearts of all Americans. At the time, I didn't realize the heavy and almost impossible task that Blake had, to make the audience forget about the worst terrorist attacks on our soil for a little while. As I said before, Shelton should be commended for his professionalism and fortitude to get up on that stage and perform. Now a year later Shelton came back to Coyote's on November 8 and, without that extra responsibility on his shoulders, he just came to perform.

The guy knows how to do that, mixing covers from his old heroes and his own material to create one hell of a country show. While his success has been largely attributed to the commercial success of his ballads, the man can belt the high-energy dance tunes, as was evident on this night.

Blake's country roots are increasingly obvious, as his performance of old country tunes suggested. Clearly, when he was growing up in Oklahoma, the choice of music on the record player was material by Merle Haggard, Conway Twitty, Hank Williams Jr. and even Earl Thomas Conley. Along with these classics, he also added the songs that made him who he is: "Austin," "All Over Me," "Ol' Red" and the new single making big waves on country radio, "The Baby." Blake did a fantastic job keeping the crowd interested throughout his show; he seemed like he was just "on" this night.

With guys like Blake Shelton out working, I can rest assured that the future of country music is in very safe hands.

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