Blake Shelton and Carly Pearce Play PPG Paints Arena; Pittsburgh Humanities Festival Starts (Fri., 2/24/23)

1) Blake Shelton‘s background pegs him a genuine old-school country boy. Born and raised in Ada, Oklahoma, he learned to pick and sing from family members, then at 17 moved directly from Ada to Nashville. But Shelton also typifies the cutting-edge modern face of country music—open to eclectic influences, and reaching out to all audiences, as he tried to illustrate in his famous video of “Boys ‘Round Here” (above). In songs like “Sangria” and “Neon Light,” he mixes traditional country themes with new musical touches. And Shelton makes all his tunes work by virtue of how naturally he comes across. With a fine natural singing voice and an easy, engaging manner, he doesn’t have to shout or showboat to bring life to a song; he just brings himself. A multiple Grammy winner and Grand Ole Opry member, Shelton was named the Country Music Association’s Male Vocalist of the Year five years in a row.  He is also a judge on the NBC singing competition show “The Voice” and the husband of Gwen Stefani. 2021’s Body Language is Shelton’s latest studio album. This is Shelton’s Back to the Honkytonk Tour featuring Carly Pearce and Jackson Dean.  7 p.m.  PPG Paints Arena, 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown. (M.V., RH)

2) What does it mean to be human? The Pittsburgh Humanities Festival, held annually since 2015, is set to tackle that topic beginning today. The seven-day festival explores the human experience through the lenses of various disciplines including culture, art, music, dance, theater, fashion, and literature. A joint production of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and the Humanities Center at Carnegie Mellon University, the festival has been billed as Smart Talk About Stuff That Matters. Talks and other activities will be held at various locations in the Cultural District. Headlining events are The Legacy of Women in Hip Hop | Monie Love, DJ Perly, & many more (Friday); and An Evening with Ira Glass: Seven Things I’ve Learned (Saturday) For information on all of the events visit the Pittsburgh Humanities Festival 2022 website.

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Rick Handler

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