Shelton rocks country across stage

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 8, 1999

Ricky Van Shelton is a man of few words, but varied personalities if his songs speak for him.

Sunday, August 08, 1999

Ricky Van Shelton is a man of few words, but varied personalities if his songs speak for him.

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The country singer switched from &uot;I Am a Simple Man&uot; to &uot;Wild Man&uot; with little pause during his first performance on the Freeborn County Fair grandstand Friday night.

While he had little to say during between songs, he didn’t want that to stop the audience from making a little noise.

&uot;You can do anything you want to do,&uot; he told the filled-grandstand audience, only to be answered by a unified scream.

&uot;… Within reason,&uot; he quickly added.

From his opening song, in which he proclaimed, &uot;I got my radio blasting,&uot; Shelton announced what would be an adrenaline-filled, hour-long set which only slowed a bit for crowd favorites like &uot;Somebody Lied&uot; and &uot;Life Turned Her That Way.&uot;

But, while energy and seriousness started the show, Shelton quickly lightened up the show after accepting a quarter from a fan and playing as what &uot;must not be a very good song,&uot; if it was only worth a quarter.

With that, he belted out the words, &uot;I’m a long, tall Texan, I ride a big, white horse.&uot;

As the song ended, the singer announced, &uot;That’s foolish&uot; and turned to his band for some added levity, from a Beetles’ song turned bluegrass – &uot;Beetlegrass,&uot; he Shelton called it – to a song written for a dog and sung by an out-of-tune drummer.

With the laughs out of the way, Shelton turned to something that has proved to be a staple in his career for more than 10 years. He worked at making old favorites new again, as he sung songs originally made famous by the likes of Ricky Nelson and Carl Perkins.

Through out the entire performance, Shelton displayed to the audience the skill that turned him &uot;From a Jack To a King,&uot; as his chart-topping hit proclaims.

That skill has earned him 12 number one singles, five platinum albums and three more gold ones.