Blake Shelton

Blake Shelton


If you go

Blake Shelton

with Chris Janson

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Pinnacle Bank Arena, 400 Pinnacle Arena Drive in Lincoln

Tickets: $26.75 to $66.75 via Ticketmaster

Info: pinnaclebankarena.com or 402-904-4444

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Some of you know Blake Shelton for singing hit country songs such as “Drink on It,” “Hillbilly Bone” and “Some Beach.”

But a good portion know him for coaching Jermaine Paul, Cassadee Pope, Danielle Bradbery and Craig Wayne Boyd to victory on “The Voice.”

Shelton has been a country star since his first No. 1 song hit in 2001, but he’s popped up in the public eye more since being a judge and mentor on the singing competition show.

(Tabloid headlines about his divorce from country star Miranda Lambert and new relationship with girlfriend Gwen Stefani have helped, too.)

He’s not alone. Other country stars have also picked up second gigs. Keith Urban is a host of “American Idol,” and Florida Georgia Line’s Brian Kelley has a clothing line.

“Country is more mainstream now, and (this) is a byproduct of that,” said Tony Michaels, program director and morning show host for Sioux City’s country station KSUX.

Endorsement deals or TV appearances may have come off as inauthentic before. But now that country fans aren’t as exclusive to the genre as they used to be, they don’t balk at country stars endorsing products, creating businesses or hosting TV shows.

Pop stars and rock stars have been doing it for a long time. But products or shows looking for a musical endorsement are looking more to country singers now, who may come cheaper than the stars from other genres, Michaels said.

These other opportunities also are a way for artists to make more money, as revenue from album sales have fallen off due to streaming and file sharing. Touring is one way to do it, but appearing on “American Idol,” the modern version of old variety shows such as “American Bandstand,” works if an artist doesn’t want to tour, said Scott Anderson, who teaches a rock history course at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Other popular avenues include writing books (Bob Dylan, Keith Richards, Elvis Costello) and producing (Mark Knofler, Roger Waters, David Gilmour).

“Sometimes the artist or band just can’t make it. Sometimes they have made enough money that they don’t need to do anything, and sometimes they just need a change,” Anderson said.

At the record store, appearances on popular shows have a big impact on sales.

“TV in particular helps sales, sometimes more than radio,” said Mike Fratt, general manager of Homer’s Music.

You only have to look at The Grammys. Winners of the awards do sell more records, but those who perform on the telecast get an even larger sales bump, Fratt said.

It’s uncertain whether that also translates to concert ticket sales, according to an industry expert.

“You certainly get broad exposure,” said Gary Bongiovanni, editor of concert industry publication Pollstar.

But exposure from “The Voice” may not make someone go out and buy a ticket to see Shelton tonight.

Shelton sold more than 141,000 tickets in 2011, the first year of “The Voice.” Seven seasons later, his 2014 tour — Shelton’s last major outing — sold more than 438,000 tickets.

In that time, he also released 20 singles — six of them hit No. 1, and 11 were in the top 5 on Billboard’s country singles chart.

So did his TV fame inform his success, or was it the other way around? It’s probably a little of both.

Michaels thinks the exposure from “The Voice” has been good for Shelton. His appearances have at least brought him to new audiences.

“(Shelton) went from a longtime B artist to a superstar artist,” Michaels said. “Some artists never get past that B status.”

* * *

THE MAN

Born Blake Tollison Shelton in Ada, Oklahoma, the singer started early. After graduating high school, he moved to Nashville to be a country singer, and his first single, “Austin,” was a hit.

Since then, he’s had a cascade of hit albums (each of his eight full-length albums has peaked in the top 10) and even more hit songs (13 No. 1s).

Right around the time Shelton was hitting it big as a country star, he landed a job on “The Voice,” the singing competition show where judges are also mentors. He’s also the show’s most successful coach. Four of the show’s nine seasons have ended with his performer as the winner.

THE MUSIC

“Blake Shelton” (2001)

→ Chart position: No. 3 on Billboard’s top country albums chart

→ Singles: “Austin” (No. 1 on Billboard’s hot country songs chart), “All Over Me” (No. 18),

“Ol’ Red” (No. 14)

“The Dreamer” (2003)

→ Chart position: No. 2

→ Singles: “The Baby” (No. 1), “Heavy Liftin’” (No. 32), “Playboys of the Southwestern World” (No. 24)

“Blake Shelton’s Barn & Grill” (2004)

→ Chart position: No. 3

→ Singles: “When Somebody Knows You That Well” (No. 37), “Some Beach” (No. 1). “Goodbye Time” (No. 10), “Nobody But Me” (No. 4)

“Pure BS” (2007)

→ Chart position: No. 2

→ Singles: “Don’t Make Me” (No. 12), “The More I Drink” (No. 19)

“Startin’ Fires” (2008)

→ Chart position: No. 7

→ Singles: “Shouldn’t We Be Gone” (No. 1), “I’ll Just Hold On” (No. 8)

“Red River Blue” (2011)

→ Chart position: No. 1

→ Singles: “Honey Bee” (No. 1), “Drink On It” (No. 1)

“Based on a True Story...” (2013)

→ Chart position: No. 1

→ Singles: “Sure Be Cool If You Did” (No. 1),

“Ten Times Crazier” (No. 36), “Country on the Radio” (No. 49), “Do You Remember” (No. 42), “Boys ‘Round Here” (No. 2)

“Bringing Back the Sunshine” (2014)

→ Chart position: No. 1

→ Singles: “Neon Light” (No. 3), “Lonely Tonight” (No. 14),

“Sangria” (No. 3), “Gonna” (No. 4)

* * *

Musicians with second careers

Maynard James Keenan

Winemaker

The frontman of bands Tool, A Perfect Circle and Puscifer has a successful vineyard and winery, Caduceus Cellars.

Keith Urban, Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez

TV hosts

All three were plenty famous singers before taking on judging on the long-running “American Idol.”

Sonny Bono

Politician

The late half of Sonny & Cher was mayor of Palm Springs and was later elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Justin Timberlake

Actor

After NSYNC and a solo career, Timberlake began starring in films. He has more than a dozen roles under his belt so far.

Gwen Stefani

Fashion designer

The No Doubt frontwoman and solo singer — oh, and Blake Shelton’s girlfriend — has a fashion line called L.A.M.B.

Akon

Miner

The singer bought a South African diamond mine in 2006.

Brian May

Astrophysicist

The guitarist of Queen pursued a doctorate in astrophysics but gave it up when his rock band got super famous. He went back and finished his Ph.D. in 2007 and has since collaborated with NASA.

* * *

Reviews of recent Blake Shelton’s concerts

Between songs, Shelton was the same relaxed guy we see on “The Voice.” He kept up a fairly constant patter with the audience, making sure everyone was having a good time. It came off as easy and unrehearsed, and his country roots and strong voice shone especially well as he covered Conway Twitty’s “Goodbye Time” and “Ol’ Red” by Kenny Rogers. A mercurial rendition of Michael Buble’s “Home” had The Palace lit up to the rafters with cellphones swaying back and forth at Shelton’s request. If that wasn’t enough, the encore that included “Footloose” in all its guitar-driving splendor really brought it, well, home.

— Oakland Press

When you hear his body of work in the context of a two-hour show, it’s also evident why Shelton has struck platinum. He isn’t about pyrotechnics, opting for a sincere, likable approach that he pulls off with astonishing ease. The songs just rolled out Friday night, one well-crafted hit after another.

— (Louisville) Courier-Journal

The set list was a great mix of old and new. Shelton can be a romantic and belt out tracks like “Sangria,” “Who Are You When I’m Not Looking” or his Stagecoach closer, “God Gave Me You.” There are also plenty of butt-kickin’ country numbers like “Hillbilly Bone” and “Ol’ Red.” ... He asked the crowd if he could play “some of that old crap I had back in the day” before donning a cowboy hat that had a mullet attached to it. It was a nod to his early days and the singer’s look in the music video for his 2004 hit, “Some Beach.” It’s a gag he’s done several times on stage, but it still got a huge laugh and response and, above all, he still seems to enjoy it.

— The Orange County Register

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