In the early '80s, the pop charts finally seemed to let country music sneak through the back door and onto the car radios of "the masses." This phenomenon certainly owes a debt to the 1980 "domestic violence musical," Urban Cowboy. The movie and accompanying soundtrack brought the sights, sounds and smells of Houston to Middle America. Within a month of the film's release, middle-aged couples went from slow dancing to Air Supply to two-steppin' to Eddie Rabbitt. Several acts reaped the rewards of this rural revolution. I remember riding in the back of my mother's Chevy Nova and hearing Ronnie Milsap's "Smoky Mountain Rain" sandwiched between ABBA and Manilow. Milsap had been a country player since the early '70s, racking up an impressive 40 No. 1 singles. That Ronnie's brand of listener-friendly country-pop slid so easily into Adult Contemporary radio rotation is a testament to his craft. Milsap is a hero. The doors he helped open have allowed superstars such as Garth Brooks to warp the minds of future generations and have blurred the lines between pop and country music for all eternity. Well, maybe "hero" isn't the right word. Regardless, any lover of country-pop should relish this opportunity to check out one of the genre's living legends when Ronnie Milsap brings it to the metroplex at the Special Events Center, 4999 Naaman Forest Blvd. in Garland at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Details at ticketmaster.com.
Sat., Jan. 5, 7:30 p.m., 2008