From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
Oklahoma music stars rocked through 2010
Pardon me if my ears are still ringing from 2010.
It’s a common side effect from standing near an epicenter of musical greatness, so I’m not complaining.
Oklahoma’s vast and diverse musical scene practically quaked with success and possibilities in 2010.
Tishomingo country star Blake Shelton hit his “Hillbilly Bone” with Trace Adkins, and the raucous duet became the first of back-to-back chart-toppers for the Ada native. Shelton, who swapped traditional albums for a pair of Six Paks, also joined the Grand Ole Opry and proposed to his country music sweetheart and Tishomingo neighbor Miranda Lambert in 2010.
Lambert continued spinning off hits from her 2009 album “Revolution,” notching the first two No. 1s of her career with “White Liar” and “The House That Built Me.” She set a record by earning nine nominations for the Country Music Association Awards, and she and Shelton affirmed their status as the genre’s new power couple when they took home five trophies between them at the CMAs.
Checotah native Carrie Underwood, who wed pro hockey player Mike Fisher in July, expanded her repertoire into acting last year, guest-starring on the sitcom “How I Met Your Mother” and filming her movie debut in “Soul Surfer,” which will open in theaters in April. The “American Idol” also earned her first Golden Globe nomination for co-writing “There’s a Place for Us,” the end credits theme for the big-screen adaptation of “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.” We’ll find out if she won when the Globes are handed out Sunday night.
Rascal Flatts, which includes former Pitcher resident Joe Don Rooney, released its first album on new label Big Machine Records. Chockie-bred diva Reba McEntire notched her 59th Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and launched a superstar tour with George Strait, which is coming Saturday to Oklahoma City. Toby Keith continued to pay tribute to his late friend and fellow Oklahoman Wayman Tisdale, playing his hit ode “Cryin’ for Me (Wayman’s Song)” on April’s Academy of Country Music Awards, before reloading his career with the release of his 15th studio album, “Bullets in the Gun.”
Several Oklahoma country music standouts did our fair state proud when Nashville, Tenn., was devastated by May floods. Country Music Hall of Famer Vince Gill, who was raised in Oklahoma City, organized the first of the many star-studded telethons, while Owasso couple Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood played last month a series of nine sold-out concerts that raised a projected $3 million for the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.
Cross Canadian Ragweed and Brooks & Dunn broke my heart with breakups, but my hopes were rekindled when Ragweed frontman Cody Canada re-emerged with new band The Departed and former Tulsan Ronnie Dunn set a 2011 solo show in Thackerville.
Oklahoma’s country music stars weren’t the only ones celebrating big achievements in the past year. Edmond teen Greyson Chance channeled Lady Gaga and achieved YouTube stardom before his 13th birthday. Former Tulsa teen trio Hanson finally pushed their 1997 global hit “MMMBop” to the back of people’s memories with their equally catchy “Thinking ‘Bout Somethin’,” which was accompanied by a clever music video tribute to “The Blues Brothers” featuring a cameo by “Weird Al” Yankovic.
While Oklahoma City-born and bred singer-songwriter Audra Mae was delivering “gypsy cowgirl soul” on her auspicious debut album, rockers Kings of Leon, which includes Oklahoma City-born members Matthew and Nathan Followill, offered a brand a rock that was more “Back Down South” for “Come Around Sundown,” the follow-up to their Grammy-winning 2008 breakout album “Only
By the Night.”
Songwriting great Jimmy Webb, who hails from Elk City, revisited some of his defining hits, including “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Galveston” and “Wichita Lineman” on “Just Across the River,” a duets album that paired him with singing stars such as Gill, Glen Campbell and Billy Joel. And songstress Judy Collins cut the defining rendition of Webb’s gorgeously complex ballad “Gauguin” as the closer to her 2010 album “Paradise.”
But few musical storylines could match the comeback of Tulsa Sound man Leon Russell, a triumphant return conceived by Elton John and produced by T Bone Burnett. For years, Russell, a shining rock star in the 1960s and ’70s, languished in relative obscurity, but John set out to restore the Lawton native to his proper place in the modern music pantheon. Their album “The Union” debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart, giving Russell extra exposure that undoubtedly helped him gain the attention of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Russell’s upcoming inauguration into the rock hall, set for March 14 in New York City, is sure to be just one highlight of 2011. I hope the new year rocks even harder. My ears can take it.
Golden Globes live blog
Find out whether Carrie Underwood wins the Golden Globe for best original song from a motion picture when Brandy McDonnell live blogs the 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards starting at 7 p.m. Sunday at BAM’s Blog, http://blog.newsok.com/bamsblog. The Globes will air live from Beverly Hills, Calif., at 7 p.m. Sunday on NBC, with Ricky Gervais as host.