By Kathy Olivarez
“What Kind of music do you like?” asked Leslie Blasing as she started her show at Hidden Valley Ranch on Monday, January 23. “I sing all sort of music from 10 decades of songs in genres such as country, pop, swing, rock and roll, and patriotic.
“But I don’t do rap!” she told her audience. “My favorite music is from the big swing band music in the World War II era.”
She started her concert with two upbeat happy pop songs. “My Girl,” a song about sunshine on a cloudy day, was followed by, “My Guy,” a song that warned the audience they could say nothing to make the singer give up “her guy.” Leslie switched to country with a Conway Twitty, song, “It’s only Make Believe.” This was a followed by a 1950’s Elvis Presley song, “Blue Suede Shoes.”
For the Canadians in the audience, she sang Anne Murray’s, “Snowbird.” Leslie said she had been traveling to Canada during the summers to sing at the request of Canadian Winter Texans.
For the last two years she has done a two-day benefit in Manitoba to aid a Royal Legion group in danger of losing their building after covid.
She plans to return this summer. The music is usually patriotic music.
She then sang several patriotic songs beginning with the World War II era song, “The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy in Company B,” and Duke Ellington’s, “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.”
Moving to the Korean War, often referred to as “the forgotten war,” she sang Jo Stafford’s, “You Belong to Me,” a song about a young couple parting due to his upcoming military assignment. The young lady reminds him no matter where in the world he goes, or what sights he sees, she will be waiting for him to return.
Paying tribute to several long-time music legends who died in 2022, Blasing called Loretta Lynn, “A feisty singer” who sang songs like “You Ain’t Woman Enough to Take My Man.” Lynn’s heart-felt, “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” touched people’s hearts everywhere. Another music icon who died in 2022 was Olivia Newton John, who sang, “Let Me Be There.”
Blasing paid tribute to male singers like Mickey Gilley, who sang many popular country songs such as “That’s All that Matters to Me.”
Blasing clowned around on an imaginary piano as she mimicked Jerry Lee Lewis’s antics while Blasing started the second half with Broadway hit show themes such as the 1927 classic, “Ol’ Man River,” from Showboat. She also sang the themes from “Pretty Girl” and “Jersey Boys,” singing “Great Balls of Fire!”
She added a humorous skit on “Seven Spanish Angels” sung by Willie Nelson and Ray Charles. She had her hair in pig tails and had a bread clip on her nose to imitate Willie Nelson’s sound. She then switched to sunglasses and swayed at a pretend piano while doing Ray Charles’ voice.
Other singers included in the show were Patty Loveless, Celine Dion, Patsy Cline, Tammy Wynette and Credence Clearwater Revival.
With 10 decades of music to choose from and all genres except rap, there is something for everyone at Blasing’s concerts. In addition to her park shows, she does a veteran’s tribute each year (Feb.13 and 14 at SPI Convention Center) and has a cruise each spring.
There are many ways to see her. Whichever way you choose, don’t miss her. She has one of the best voices in the Rio Grande Valley and a wide variety of music to provide something for everyone. You can find her full schedule on her page on Facebook.