Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Sunday, April 14, 2024 — Houston, TX

Boots on the Ground: Artists to check out this rodeo season

Photo courtesy Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

By Jacob Tate     2/22/22 11:08pm

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is right around the corner and Houstonians are dashing to Cavenders to perfect their Western drip before descending on NRG Park in droves. While many of the best parts of the radio stay the same (mutton grab, deep fried oreos), the musical performers change each night, with a total of 20 artists over the course of 20 days. If you’ve missed the rodeo due to its cancellation over the last two years, here are some performers to consider checking out and my personal recommendations.

Bun B’s H-Town Takeover

On Mar. 11, trill OG and former Rice professor Bun B will make history as the first Black man from Houston to headline the rodeo. He’s not keeping it a one-man affair (though he certainly has the hits to do so), instead bringing in a jaw-dropping lineup of Houston rappers. Z-Ro, Lil Keke, Paul Wall, Slim Thug, Lil Flip and others will join Bun B in a victory lap for the phenomenal Houston rap scene. Expect a concert where the audience knows every word, and Houston shows why the South has always had something to say. 

Tracks to check out: “Get Throwed,” “Murder,” “What You Know”

Sam Hunt

Sam Hunt has gotten hate from just about every corner of the Internet, but there’s a reason why he continues to break records: the man can write a hook. Since his last appearance on the Rodeo stage in 2017, Hunt followed up his impressive and record-breaking debut “Montevallo” with “Southside” and somehow managed to become an even more polarizing figure in country music. It’ll be thrilling to see Hunt perform new hits like “23” and “Breaking Up Was Easy In the 90s” which sadly haven’t gotten much stage time due to COVID-19 show cancellations. If you can drop any pretentiousness you might have and soak in the pop bliss and showy smirk, you should have a great time.

Tracks to check out: “Hard to Forget,” “Leave the Night On,” “Break Up In a Small Town”

Luke Bryan

Speaking of hated artists, bro-country king Luke Bryan will take the Rodeo stage Mar. 7 to hordes of adoring fans. It won’t matter that he produces the most lyrically stupid music on the charts or that his face looks exceptionally punchable because you will know an embarrassing number of words to his songs. If you don’t, I assure you whoever is holding the Miller Lite near you does. It’s 2022, you don’t have to pretend to hate bro country anymore, you can just accept it for the vacuous good time it undoubtedly is. Feel free to shake it for the birds and shake it for the bees.

Tracks to check out: “Country Girl (Shake It For Me),” “Rain Is A Good Thing,” “That’s My Kind Of Night”

Maren Morris

Since Maren Morris’ game changing debut “HERO” in 2017, she’s only rocketed upward. The pop-country songstress now boasts two bonafide crossover hits (“The Bones” and “The Middle”) and yet another phenomenal country album under her belt. After her rodeo debut’s cancellation in 2020, she’s back stronger than ever in the run-up to her upcoming third album “Humble Quest.” Morris is shamelessly both pop and country, making her both a great starting point for people getting into country and a hell of a good time.

Tracks to check out: “80s Mercedes”, “My Church”, “All My Favorite People”

Chris Stapleton

Yes, he might be your dad’s favorite country artist, but sometimes our parents are right about things. After a long career writing songs for heavyweights from Adele to Kenny Chesney to Alison Krause, Stapleton broke out with his excellent debut “The Traveler” in 2015. He’s been coasting off the power of his pipes and powerful penmanship since (though, ironically, his biggest hit is a cover). He’ll be a joy to see at the rodeo, hollering and rocking his heart out with a genuineness that few other performers this year can lay claim to. 

Tracks to check out: “Traveler,” “Broken Halos,” “Starting Over”

Los Tucanes De Tijuana

Of all the songs the pre-show DJ played at the Bad Bunny concert on Feb. 16, none tore the roof down more than the corridos of Los Tucanes De Tijuana. The real deal will be headlining Go Tejano Day on Mar. 6, returning to the rodeo after more than 20 years and 50 albums of undiluted norteño dominance. The five piece has range, switching effortlessly from decrying classism on “El Centenario” to celebrating all three of their girlfriends on “Mis Tres Viejas.” It’ll be a full house — six of the top ten most well attended rodeo shows of all time have been tejano concerts.

Tracks to check out: “El Jefe De La Sierra,” “La Chona,” “Hacemos Bonita Pareja”

More from The Rice Thresher

A&E 4/9/24 11:49pm
Museum fellows talk art, academia and experiential learning

On Monday mornings at 8 a.m., Ella Langridge walks upstairs to her desk at the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens and gets to work, sifting through photocopies of Americana and decorative arts with pasts unknown. Langridge’s job, as this year’s Jameson Fellow for American Painting & Decorative Arts, is to research these artifacts, uncover their histories and communicate their uniquely American stories to the collection’s thousands of annual visitors. 

A&E 4/9/24 11:48pm
Review: ‘Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire’ is Peak Cinema

There is no easy way to quantify a film, much to the chagrin of lazy film critics and lazier audiences. We may try to force a movie to fit into a box labeled ⅗ or ⅘ , but occasionally, there appears a work of art that refuses such indignity. A breathtaking fabrication that rejects the premise of a “rating,” whatever that monstrous practice might entail. These magna opera simply are. Along this line of thought, it makes sense to characterize this film for what it is, rather than lambast it for what it is not. This movie is about giant monkeys and lizards fighting. 

A&E 4/9/24 11:47pm
Review: “Bryson Tiller re-envisions genre on self-titled album”

Seasoned R&B singer Bryson Tiller has returned with his fourth studio album, a self-titled record that infuses cyberpunk aesthetics into both its visuals and its sound. On the eponymous album, Tiller, best known for hits like “Don’t” and “Exchange,” takes on the challenge of deconstructing his own artistic journey. “Bryson Tiller” is a multi-genre departure from Tiller’s comfort zone. It features pop, dancehall, neo-soul and drill elements next to his signature combination of hip hop and R&B. 


Please note All comments are eligible for publication by The Rice Thresher.