Remember when CMT played videos?
Sure, MTV was the big channel back in the day, but Country Music Television made huge in-roads in the late '80s and early '90s and was partly responsible for launching the career of countless country acts. The channel is now known for old movies and reruns of Reba, but those glory days of boot scootin' boogie will be represented well this week in Houston music venues, with a few distinct, familiar voices from that era as well as a few that would be on the channel if it was still playing music clips.
With RodeoHouston announcing their final additions to the 2020 lineup last week, old school country fans will want to get warmed up for the big dance in a couple of weeks. In fact, three of the artists playing shows this week appeared at RodeoHouston over the years.
CultureMap's best, biggest, and most notable shows of the week are as follows:
Andy Shauf at White Oak Music Hall
After a week of great Canadian representation on Houston stages, we are joined by Toronto indie singer-songwriter Andy Shauf who has been fast-rising, finding himself on the bill for several upcoming festivals. It probably has something to do with innate ability to hark back to a time when singer-songwriters ruled the top of the charts or his descriptive personal storytelling.
Either way, Shauf gathered accolades for his last two albums, 2016's The Party, and this year's The Neon Skyline, both which recall Randy Newman, the hooky poetry of Joni Mitchell, and a less strange Father John Misty.
Andy Shauf performs at White Oak Music Hall, located at 2915 N. Main St., on Thursday, February 13. Molly Sarlé opens. Tickets are $18 plus fees. Doors open at 7 pm.
Grace Potter at House of Blues
Rock fans will know Grace Potter from her stint with her band, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, which broke up in 2015 after some moderate success on the international touring circuit. Potter has found new life following the dissolution of her band and marriage to her previous bandmate. She's back with with more of the roots, rock, and blues that made her famous with 2019's Daylight after a detour into softer rock material in previous efforts. But with a new baby and marriage to buoy her, Potter is back on the road, sharing her huge stage presence with the masses.
Grace Potter is at House of Blues, located at 1204 Caroline St., on Friday, February 14. Devin Gilfillian opens. Tickets start at $29.50 plus fees. Doors open at 7 pm.
Stryper at Warehouse Live
Bert and Ernie. Ben and Jerry. Hobbs and Shaw. Christian and metal? Orange County '80s act Stryper had it all: the hair, the yellow-and-gold bumblebee spandex, Ted Cruz as a frontman, and a undying love for Jesus, seemingly becoming the first metal act to incorporate their Christian faith and not in an overly horrible way.
Stryper stood for Salvation Through Redemption Yielding Peace, Encouragement, and Righteousness (whoo-boy) and they tossed Bibles into the audience while throwing down sweet guitar riffs and nailing righteous high notes. They may be a side note in musical history but the band actually sold over a million copies of 1986's To Hell With the Devil buoyed by the strength of singles "Calling on You" and the ballad "Honestly."
Stryper gets their Bible on at Warehouse Live, located at 813 Saint Emanuel St., on Thursday, October 17. Lilac and Black Heart Saints open. Tickets start at $10 plus fees. Doors open at 6 pm.
Tracy Lawrence at Arena Theatre
You couldn't make up a better country song than the one Tracy Lawrence lived, a RodeoHouston headliner six times. A huge hitmaker in the '90s and 2000s, Lawrence has seen his fair share of misfortune, some of it self-inflicted. Prior to the release of his self-titled debut, he was shot multiple times in a mugging, he got arrested a few times in subsequent years, divorced, he's been to the top of the charts and lost record deals.
That said, country fans love a redemption story and his catalog has enough huge hits — nine No. 1 country songs — to bring out fans, including "Sticks and Stones," "Time Marches On," and "Texas Tornado."
Tracy Lawrence is at Arena Theatre, located at 7326 Southwest Fwy., on Saturday, February 15. Sister Hazel opens. Tickets start at $49.50 plus fees. Show starts at 9 pm.
Whiskey Myers at Revention
While together for over a decade, Texas band Whiskey Myers is making some waves as of late. The Palestine, Texas act's inclusion on the soundtrack of the Kevin Costner show, Yellowstone, gave their previous albums a boost, leading to an opening slot for the Rolling Stones at Soldier Field in Chicago last year during that band's No Filter tour.
Their combination of country and rock has slowly built an audience, culminating in their self-titled album hitting No. 1 on the country charts, No. 2 on active rock, and No. 6 on the Billboard charts, aided by lead single "Gasoline." They'll be getting some love for their Southern rock from their home state — their Houston show is nearly sold out.
Whiskey Myers performs at Revention Music Center, located at 520 Texas Ave., on Saturday, February 15. Tickets start at $52 plus fees. Doors open at 7 pm.
Marty Stuart at Heights Theater
In another world, Marty Stuart, three-time RodeoHouston headliner, would be one of the highest-selling country artists of all time. Hugely popular in the '90s, Stuart sported one of the most distinct looks of any country star but his ranging music interests and adherence to the classic tradition of country and western meant he was passed by by other acts who cashed in on commercial country-pop (here's looking at you, Garth Brooks).
Still, Stuart released plenty of excellent work over the years, and is still going strong with this band, the Fabulous Superlatives, producing the excellent 2017 album, Way Out West. His extensive songbook makes it no surprise that Stuart sold this show out ages ago. This one's definitely worth a look at the resale market.
Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives play Heights Theater, located at 339 W 19th St., on Saturday, February 15. Michaela Anne opens. This show is sold-out. Doors open at 7 pm.
CultureMap show of the week: Patti LaBelle and Babyface
Two of the biggest names in the history of R&B, multi-Grammy award winners Patti LaBelle and Babyface, are on the road together, meaning it's a great time to celebrate Valentine's Day late. This might be the most sultry lineup in Houston this year, so take the next day off and make a night of it with with that special someone.
LaBelle, a four-time RodeoHouston headliner, has been a chameleon-like force since the '60s, first as a member of the girl group, The Bluebelles, then as a funk singer in the '70s, then a hit-making R&B/pop star in the '80s and beyond. Her hits include wedding reception fave, "Lady Marmalade," A.M. radio staple, "On My Own," and the new wave-rock mix of "Stir It Up" from the massive Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack. The legend's voice could move mountains.
Kenneth Brian Edmonds (aka Babyface), more than capable as a performer, paved the way for any R&B male artist singing nice and slow to his lady about love and romance with silky production and vocals. His skills behind the board and as a writer are what really set him apart in the '90s when he manned production for a litany of artists including Boyz II Men ("End of the Road" and "I'll Make Love to You"), Madonna ("Take A Bow"), Whitney Houston ("I'm Your Baby Tonight"), among almost anyone that had major success over the course of the decade. His LaFace record label broke huge artists such as Toni Braxton, TLC, and Usher.
Patti LaBelle and Babyface perform at Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land, located at 18111 Lexington Blvd. in Sugar Land on Sunday, February 16. Tamia opens. Tickets start at $49.50 plus fees. The show starts at 7 pm.