by Marcus K. Dowling
Blake Shelton could very well be country music’s busiest artist during the pandemic. For instance, last week, he was a host on The Voice, a performer at the 56th ACM Awards, plus surprised guests at the Nashville and Orlando Ole Red bar locations with surprise mini-concert appearances.
The artist celebrating the 20th anniversary of his single “Austin” popped in to say hello to some people at his Nashville and Orlando bars before performing at the ACM awards. Taking the stage at both Ole Red locations, fans unable to attended noted “I wish I was there,” and “That never happens when I’m there” in the comments on the post from the Ole Red Instagram account. “Yeah, that really happened,” the caption read. “Cheers to the boss man [Blake Shelton] surprising folks in Orlando and Nashville, then performing last night at the [ACM Awards] to top it off!”
At the start of the pandemic, Shelton vowed to continue paying his Ole Red employees. “Obviously, I felt like it kind of went without saying that all of the locations are closed down, but I wanted to officially say that obviously until this thing gets behind us, we’ve closed down the Nashville, Tishomingo and Gatlinburg locations. I want people to know that we do have a commitment to all of our employees, and we’re taking care of them, and we’re trying to figure out ways to take care of some of the artists and musicians that perform at Ole Red.”
Now that vaccinations are beginning to spread nationwide, crowds are beginning to fill bars like Shelton’s again, as highlighted by well-attended venues for both surprise appearances.