The moment all of America’s country fans have been waiting for is here. Real Country, a talent show just about country music, premiered on the USA Network. Sure, we all love the country shenanigans of Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan, but as the title of the show suggests, this is REAL country.
The title is a little shady, but whatever. Here’s how it works: the show is hosted by Graham Bun and the judges are country music legends Shania Twain, Travis Tritt, and Jake Owen. It’s like The Voice in the sense that the judges are competing each other with one of three pre-selected acts. Each episode the winner gets $10k and a chance to play at the Stagecoach Music Festival. The winner of the season gets 100k and a spot at the Grand Old Opry. The studio audience and the viewers at home vote for their favorite acts. Every episode has a theme and for the premiere they did drinking songs. What’s more country than that?
The Young Fables
Shania Twain’s pick for the evening is the Young Fables made up of real life couple Wes and Laurel. They sang Emmylou Harris’ Two More Bottles of Wine. The audience and the other judges loved it. They said it harkened back to the country duos of the 70’s and 80’s and I agree. It’s the kind of thing I would have watched on The Grand Old Opry presents on Sundays on PBS as a kid. The audience gave them four out of five stars.
Jake Owen had played with his pick, Adairs Run, before. The pair of singers from West Virginia sang David Lee Murphy’s Dust On the Bottle. It was OK, but I thought The Young Fables were much better. Shania suggested that they try and make the songs more their own. They got 3.3 stars.
Travis’ pick is from my home state of Texas. I’ve actually seen Copper Chief before one of the last times I was back home. They remind me of the raucous country music of yesteryear. The band showed off this outlaw country vibe by singing Waylon Jennings’ I Ain’t Living Long Like This. They are totally country but with rock star swagger. They got 4.3 stars.
Adairs Run was eliminated and then The Young Fables and Copper Chief squared off. The Young Fables sang Deana Carter’s Strawberry Wine, which is a much quieter, simpler song. It was really great, I thought. But then Copper Chief came with Dierks Bentley’s What Was I Thinkin’ and it was all over. You could just tell they were going to win and they did.
All in all it was a great start to an exciting new show.