Who knew that “Hollaback Girl” could work as a country song? 2020 is wild. This musical revelation came via a skit on the Oct. 19 episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. With Jimmy– in a wig that would make “Long Haired Redneck” David Allan Coe proud – acting as a host of one of those old infomercials that would sell your parents new CDs, the Tonight Show host presented the perfect album for those who “love the sweet sounds of downhome country music” and “the music of multi-talented superstar, Gwen Stefani.” Enter, Gwen’s Gone Country, a collection of “ska and pop by the way of the south.”
While dressed in a look that harkened back to Dolly Parton’s early days, Gwen, 51, then performed three of her biggest songs – “Don’t Speak,” “Spiderwebs,” and the aforementioned “Hollaback Girl” – as if they were written in Nashville, and not Southern California. Blake Shelton better watch out, because it seems he might not be the biggest country music star in his relationship.
While Gwen’s Gone Country is a joke, her CMT Award nomination is very sincere. She and Blake, 44, are up for Collaborative Video of the Year for “Nobody But You.” How does a former skapunk/pop rocker feel about this? “It’s really weird. I definitely bounced in different genres in my career and it was just easy, it was natural, but this was one I never would ever imagine would happen. Although, my parents – I grew up on bluegrass music and folk, so, its kind of similar in a way. The first concert I ever went to is an Emmylou Harris concert, when I was in girl scouts. It’s just crazy to think I’m on two records, actually, two country records. And on country radio? That’s hard for me to believe. But, so honored, and I love the song so much.”
Jimmy pointed out that country music fans are sticklers for authenticity – “You can’t be a phony,” he said — so Gwen’s acceptance into their community is a big deal. “And that’s one thing about Blake Shelton. He’s not a phony. That guy is like, ‘Blake’ no matter where you are. I remember the when I first met him, and I took him to some Hollywood party. I didn’t know what he was going to be like, and he was just him. I bring him to my parents’ house and he’s him. He doesn’t care that it’s my dad, he’s still Blake. He’s so authentic and that’s what I love about him.”
For those fans who want some “authentic” music from Gwen Stefani, there’s good news. She revealed that she’s written about “over twenty-four songs” after a burst of creativity.
During the chat, Jimmy also expressed gratitude for Gwen for appearing on The Tonight Show remotely during the first weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic. He was especially grateful for Gwen providing some must-see TV by shaving Jimmy’s initials into the side of Blake’s head. “One of my favorite moments in my life,” she said of her brief stint as a barber. “I feel [with] my favorite human beings, I get to create art. It didn’t last long, though. It grew out.”