Dig Baton Rouge

Bayou Big-Time

By Claire Salinas

Cowboy boots tromping up the Stadium steps, 10-gallon hats bobbing around tailgates, parking lots filled with mud-splattered trucks—the sights and sounds of Baton Rouge’s biggest music event will soon return to the LSU campus.

The lineup for this year’s Bayou Country Superfest consists of star-studded performances, including one of the biggest names in country music, Kenny Chesney; the newly solo other half of Sugarland, Kristian Bush; country music power couple, Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert; and country music bad boy Brantley Gilbert.

Chesney recently celebrated back-to-back number one songs “Til It’s Gone” and

“American Kids,” and will be heading out on tour with Brantley Gilbert as one of his opening acts this summer.

SLU nursing major Danielle Hernandez says she’s going to the fest specifically for Chesney, and she can’t wait to hear him play his old stuff.

“I’m a big fan of his, one of the first country songs I ever liked was ‘Don’t Happen Twice,’ and I can’t wait to hear him play that and ‘Young,’” said Hernandez. “This is my first time seeing him perform live.”

Hernandez says she is also looking forward to seeing Brantley Gilbert, who she’s been liking his music for a few years now.

“It would be really cool if Brantley and Kenny did some type of collaboration,” she said. “They will be on tour together this summer, so I hope they do something like that.”

In a recent interview with billboard.com Gilbert explained he is looking forward to touring with Chesney because he can’t wait to watch his show from behind the scenes.

“To see the things that he’s doing, not only onstage, but offstage with his crew… really excited about this tour. I’m just thankful for the opportunity to learn from somebody like him.”

Both halves of one of country music’s biggest power couples, Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert, will be making appearances during this year’s Bayou Country Superfest.

The couple tied the knot in 2011 and have admitted that the flame between them began to kindle while Shelton was still a married man, during an onstage performance in 2005 at the CMT 100 Greatest Duets concert.

Shelton’s previous marriage ended, and since tying the knot, Lambert has said “divorce is not an option.”

“When this is all said and done, we will be drinking a beer together on a front porch somewhere, reminiscing about the good old days,” Shelton told the Huffington Post. “That’s what I’m happy about.”

Shelton and Lambert refuse to do joint interviews because as Lambert explains they feel that they’re very honest with who they are and their relationship.

“We’ve kinda told the good, the bad, the ugly,” Lambert said in an interview with Norah O’Donnell for 60 Minutes. “I feel like, we don’t really hold back, because if you hold back they’re going to dig anyway so might as well just tell it.”

Although they won’t do joint interviews, the couple recently treated their fans with a joint performance at the Oklahoma City stop on Lambert’s tour. The performance consisted of two acoustic songs in the middle of Lambert’s set, which included a performance by Shelton of, “God Gave Me You,” which he has admitted was written about Lambert. Shelton’s words to the song were almost lost over the din made by the crowd of adoring fans.

“This will be my fourth year in a row attending Bayou Country Superfest and this will be my third time seeing Miranda Lambert, but I am beyond excited to see both Lambert and Shelton playing Tiger Stadium,” said Shelby Singleton, a 23-year-old wireless phone sales associate at Sam’s Club in Kenner, La. “I really hope that they are going to be onstage at some point singing together.”

Although Singleton would be happy to see any type of joint performance happen, there’s one in particular she’s really hoping to see the couple perform.

“They have a song together on Miranda’s Four the Record album called ‘Better in the Long Run,’ that I’m hoping they will sing together, and maybe they’ll do a cover of ‘Jackson’ made famous by Johnny Cash and June Carter,” she said.

In a recent interview with Success Magazine, Lambert explains the couple keeps their relationship up by making “a conscious effort to spend time together.”

“If you don’t, you will lose sight of each other,” said Lambert.

Rounding out the weekend’s biggest names is Kristian Bush, who has recently launched a solo act apart from Sugarland. The fest brings a huge opportunity for him to show off his new sound. In a recent interview with Tasteofcountry.com Bush insists “the band is not over.”

“We’re not finished,” said Bush. “This is just a timely break of, you know, Jennifer [Nettles] being a mom for the first time, and you gotta give people space to do that.”

This will be the third year in a row that SLU general studies major Meghan Reilly attends the fest. She says she keeps coming back because of its fun experience.

“It’s never dull, [or] boring and the atmosphere is great. It’s always nice that it’s after finals, so it’s a way for me to relax with my friends,” said Reilly.

The fest will also feature a fan festival starting at noon each day, which will feature popular local acts such as The Gillis Silo and Adam Sanders.

Tickets for the fest can be purchased online at bayoucountrysuperfest.com/tickets.

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