“Country is Your Core Not Just Your Cowboy Boots” – A Thought From NBC’s The VOICE

the-voice-bientot-de-retour-sur-tf1So, I like competition shows.  Most specifically, I love NBC’s THE VOICE.

(Logo from Wikimedia Commons, via NBC, no copyright infringement intended)

I love to sing, I love to hear good music well sung, and *looks around, makes sure no one’s listening* I have a serious crush on Pharrell, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton.  SERIOUS crush.  I don’t exactly have a girl crush on Christina Aguilera but I respect her, and I adored Shakira and Gwen Stefani when they were on the show.

Don’t even get me STARTED on Usher.  Mmmmmm-mmmmm.


It’s down to the top 6 and I’ve been sad to see many of the artists’ go home.  The gal who led a prison choir was so inspirational.  The other gal who was a bluesy crooner and reminded me of Amy Winehouse was also a loss.

And that’s just this season!  Wow!  Through 8 or 9 seasons now, this show has brought out and introduced us to some outstanding talent.  Then, polished it just a bit so it shone.  Really wow.  (Christina Grimmie, Vedo, Tessann Chin, 2SteelGirls, CraigWayneBoyd, The Swon Brothers….)640px-TimGunnSmileAAFeb09_portrait_crop

I also love Top Chef and Project Runway.  “Make it WORK, people!” – Tim Gunn’s famous line – is a funny standard around my house.  And I have to admit that I love to watch Top Chef just to learn what the heck a ceviche is.  Grins.  And some of the ingredients?  OMGosh, who actually eats EEL???? (other than in sushi or shashimi?)

Some of the other shows that are about competition or are “reality TV” are, to me, just people behaving badly while other people look on and say, “Oooh, I knowed she was wrong!” (And I didn’t do nothing about it, neither!)  Sigh.  It’s the lowest common denominator.

I don’t much care for that.

But true competition?  Skill?  American Ninja Warrior, anyone?   That’s an ab-fest right there.  Grins.  Or Dancing with the Stars.  Really, seriously amazing.  I’m not a dancer, and I’ve never played one on TV, or anywhere else but a beach bar on a Saturday night.  I have HUGE respect for anyone who can, in a week or so, master a complex dance routine, with a generally unfamiliar partner and go out and perform it.  American_Ninja_WarriorYou GO, people!  And So You Think You Can Dance? – that show is every teenage courage movie in one, one-hour segment.  OMGosh, some of those people are so brave and talented.

(Logo from Wikimedia Commons via NBC who owns the copyright, no infringement intended)

But the one I keep coming back to is The Voice.  It’s a simple premise.  Blind auditions, so they don’t see the “package” a person is wrapped in, the Coaches just hear the voice itself, as it’s presented.  Then they turn and try to get the artist on their team.  Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.  Then each week, people sing and present themselves and hope they get better.  If they don’t, they go home.

So I tried to analyze one day why I like this show.

It’s honest in a way that other shows aren’t.  No bullshit about what someone looks like, the question is, can they SING?  The celebrity Coaches aren’t Diva-ish, even when they can actually be counted AS Divas, like Christina, Shakira and Gwen.  Or even CeeLo, with his cat and his wild outfits.  Grins.  They genuinely want people to succeed and they BlakeSheltongenuinely want to help those artists become the best they can be.

They  “Pay it Forward.”  And apologies to the most fabulous country singer evah, Miranda Lambert, but I adore her husband, Blake Shelton, not only for his wicked sense of humor, but for his constant approbation, approval and support to up and coming artists on The Voice, even artists who aren’t on his team.  I love the way he’ll say, “Sis, I don’t think you could have done ANY better job, you deserve to be here” or something of that nature.

(photo by bubbledevswalls from photobucket, no copyright infringement intended)

This last week, as the field is narrowed to six brilliant new artists, I was disappointed when one of my favorites went home.  This young man, Cory Kent White, is really a country star to his bootheels.  He had some things to learn (open your eyes and look at your audience, kiddo!), but learn he did, and grow, he did, every week.

Last week, former coaches Gwen Stefani, Usher and CeeLo Green came back to be mentor coaches.  CeeLo told Cory, as advice to keep him grounded, “Country is your core not just your Cowboy boots.”

That really struck me.

What a fabulous thing to say to someone.  Applicable to this artist, particularly, sure, but so profound in that what we are, what we love, what we MUST DO, even if we don’t get paid for it, is at the core of who we are.  It isn’t just the outer trappings.  Any yayhoo can put on a pair of Tony Lama’s, as Miranda sings about in her song, Little Red Wagon.  Anyone can don a plaid shirt or a fringed jacket.

TL7955-260x260But being a country artist, or a rocker, or a blues singer, or a writer or a chef or designer, is at your core.  Many people go to writers conferences just to hang out.  They say they write, but they don’t.  They like the idea of being a writer, but they don’t actually write.  You know the kind because they’re in every profession.  The hangers-on.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not dissing these folks, but it’s not the core of who they are.  They are not driven to write.  Or if they are, fear is so blocking them that they cannot be happy doing it, or doing without it.  Now there’s a terrible place to be.

But most writers I know can’t give it up.  Most singers are the same way, and most serious chefs.  Even if I never put out another word for publication, I’d be writing.  In my head, on scraps of paper in the car while in carpool, in secret on the computer, like I used to do before I actually admitted to anyone that I wanted, desperately, to write books.

But when I see these folks, either cooking in the kitchen at Top Chef, or putting themselves through the grueling workouts of Biggest Loser (another fav), or matching wits and muscle with the American Ninja courses (OMGosh have you SEEN those things??), I’m moved.

Really moved.  Why?  Because this thing – whatever it is, whatever desire burns within – is so powerful, so important, that it shines through them like a lighthouse beam.

It’s not just cowboy boots, big belt buckles and a hat.  It’s not just trappings.1

It’s substance.

It’s easy to forget that America (and really, every county) is made up of People of Substance.  People who work hard, raise families, build good, solid lives.  In these times when the media sensationalizes bad behavior – from Deflategate to the Clippers debacle to other more serious cases of people behaving badly – its really, really easy to forget that every country thrives on those who just do the work they love.

Its also easy to forget that people get up, head for work, only to stop and help someone who has a flat.  Or to not notice that there’s a couple of cops who helped War Vet get his broken down scooter home, by pushing it, and him, for more than a mile.  Then they walked back to their cruiser and went about the business of the law.  Or in Nepal, and Oklahoma, where people have stopped everything else to help their neighbors.

Sometimes, it’s hard to remember that country – and the values it represents – isn’t just what flag we drape around our shoulders in victory.  It’s the things we live day in and day out.  As CeeLo said, it’s the core, not the cowboy boots.

01tom-colicchioAs we head for Memorial Day, and BBQ (YAY!) and the “opening” of the Summer, remember what YOUR core is, and give it a little more time this summer.

If you’re a swimmer, go more often, enjoy it more often.  Love to cook?  You don’t need the chef judges to tell you you’re good.  The licked-clean plates are victory enough most days, but consider putting that prize pie in the Fair this year.  Learning to love running?  Making that first mile, or the first time you break 3, or 5, or 50, that’s the core.  The races and the t-shirts and any medals?  Those are just the cowboy boots.  The core is the love of the thing.

And if you’re a reader or writer at your core, then WOOHOOO!!!  This is the year to read more, write more and believe in yourself.

Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t be what you want to be.  If you have any doubts, Dr. Jeanne’s prescription is to watch The Voice, and/or go and binge watch all the Under Armour commercials.  Grins.  Watch Giselle Bundchen kick some ass.  :>  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-V7cOestUs  Or Misty Copeland’s story.    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZY0cdXr_1MA

And in the meantime….READ!

So what are your inspirations?

What’s your “core” – Gardening? Inventing?  Parenting? Modeling? Cooking? Laughing and making others laugh?

What’s your Summer Go-To reading list?  Banditas are on mine, of course, but so are Karen Robards, Mercedes Lackey, Nora Roberts, and Barbara Devlin.

And….what’s cooking for Memorial Day in the US?  (It’s gonna be riiiiiibs at my house!  Woot!)


All the Bandits are continuing to write wonderful books, and if you got our newsletter for May, you’ll see upcoming May.  June will have another slew of releases, so keep an eye out for your first Beach Reads of the Summer.  If you’re Down Under Bandita Buddies, or in the Southern Hemisphere, you’ve got great books coming up to snuggle in with!  In your case, stay warm and read some great books!  Grins.

Next month, I’ll be back on the 8th with the cover for DEAD RECKONING, and a publication date for it too!  WOOT!!

Tom Collichio from Wikimedia Commons by bebe1991
“TimGunnSmileAAFeb09 portrait crop” by TimGunnSmileAAFeb09.jpg: Chrisa Hickey at http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisahickey/derivative work: Beao – TimGunnSmileAAFeb09.jpg. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

CeeLo Green from photobucket by BubbleDevWalls2 – no infringement intended

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  • flchen1 says:

    Reading is ALWAYS on my list, Jeanne! And dance 🙂 Although I’m still working on walking properly first 😉 Gonna get there, a step at a time! Woohoo, on Dead Reckoning! Super exciting!

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Hey Fedora! Thanks! I’m super excited about Dead Reckoning. :>

      And yep, the dancing thing? LOVE to dance. Will never make it on some show, but hey, dancing on the beach, or in club? I’m there.

    • Fichen!

      I forgot that you screwed up your foot! Hugs on that injury. I LOVE to dance. LOL. It must be my core self. I’ll have to do double duty on the dance floor to make up for your time lost 🙂

      Hugs and Heal!

  • Helen says:

    Hi Jeanne

    Reading is of course always on my list 🙂 and although I am not a big TV watcher I do love The Voice the judges have been awesome over here as well including Keith urban I was very sad to see him go and we have Joel Madden and Ricky martin and we have had Will I Am and Seal Delta Goodram and now we have Kylie Minogue I am looking forward to this years show not sure when it starts though.

    Looking forward to your new book 🙂

    Have Fun

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Hey Helen! I have loved seeing the pictures from the Aus version of The Voice. Totally cool. And Will I Am is a cool guy, isn’t he? Grins.

      And had to LOL b/c reading IS always on your list. Grins. Love that about you. :>

  • pjpuppymom says:

    Great blog, Jeanne! I love The Voice and this season’s singers are exceptional. I’m with you on Pharrell too. He’s just so adorable. Love Blake, Adam, Usher, Shakira and Gwen. Christina’s not my favorite but at least she’s less irritating this season than she’s been in the past. It’ll be interesting to see who wins. I was sad to see Kimberly Nichole go this week but I think not winning could actually work in her favor. She’s amazing!

    My core? Hmmm, let’s see. Reading has to be in there. Also photography, baking, writing, and handcrafting chocolates.

    Besides Bandit releases, I’m looking forward to summer books from Kaki Warner, Anne Gracie, Carey Baldwin, V.K. Sykes, Robyn Carr, Patience Griffin, Sabrina Jeffries, Vanessa Kelly, J.R. Ward and more.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Hey PJ! Had to LOL b/c I’m with you on Christina. Not nearly as irritating this season. Grins. And same about Kimberly Nichole. She’s a brilliant artist, and you’e right, NOT winning may do quite well for her. It did for the Swon Brothers. :>

      Knew baking and chocolate making would be in there for you. :>

      Happy Mother’s Day!

    • mmmmm…..turtles….. 🙂

      Happy Mother’s Day PJ!

  • Hey Jeanne –

    Sorry I’m late to the blog. I’ve been doing board stuff all day – you understand 🙂

    I’ve never watched any of the shows you listed. Sorry. It’s not due to lack of desire but rather lack of time! I used to watch American Idol until I got bored. Does that count? American Idol has an age requirement that causes them to favor the younger singers. Then those just-out-of high schoolers would sing a song that contained more mature emotions and the song would fall flat. They were singing about something they didn’t understand. They weren’t singing their core.

    Yeah – I’ll be typing or dictating stories on my last day on earth 🙂 And they will be fun stories because fun is at my core. 🙂 It’s a shame that robust exercise isn’t. LOL.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Hey Donna! I’m LOL b/c that’s what fell flat for me on IDOL as well. They’d give these kids, really, these very mature, very gritty songs and it’s like….really? Ha! Or, the kid would just buckle under the pressure, which just made me sad. :>

      I remember the board stuff! Yeeeha!

      Snorking about Robust Exercise. Yeah…I’d like that to be in my core curriculum too (and strengthen my core) but love of THAT game just isn’t my calling. Grins.

  • Amy Conley says:

    What is at my core? I’ve been trying to figure out the answer to that question my entire life. I still don’t know the answer.