Reflections of Nashville

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Alright, as usual my daily blogging of a trip didn't work out too well. Never can can a decent connection on a hotel phone with dial-up, and certainly not going to try too many times at $.50 a try. Anyway, I have had just about a week to reflect back on the trip. It included a trip to the Hall of Fame, celebrity home tour, and 2 nights of the Opry.

I had been in Nashville in June of 2004 the last time. I could notice so much change in the City since then, and especially going this time in an off-peak tourist time. The last time was during the CMA Music Fest (Fan Fair) where Nashville comes back to its roots of a music town for the week. This time, I got to see what the city is all about these days.

Country music is not the focus of the city anymore. Music Row is still there, the Hall of Fame is still there, the Opry is still there. But the feeling I got around the city was, well, not important to them anymore. The football team and the hockey team are more important it felt. Then again, there was a football game scheduled that weekend. That's where I noticed the city's preference. The Opry, both nights, at the Rymam, I saw no police presence. No help with traffic or pedestrian control (especially with the sidewalk closed.) The football game however, even as I pulling out at 9:30am, all over the place.

Country music in Nashville certainly isn't dying, that is for sure. It is still the home of the labels and all the businesses that play a part in the industry. It is just a little harder to find it and find people that take pride in it. Maybe this is one of the many reasons country music itself is not doing as well as I think it could. Just my thoughts of course...

Beside that point, the trip was wonderful. I can't think of a better way to spend an evening than at the Grand Ole Opry. Especially in the Ryman. What an awesome feeling. Then add one of the best lineups I have ever experienced at the show performing. Jim Ed Brown, Little Jimmy Dickens, Jean Shepard, and Bill Anderson.. just to name a few. Wow, what can I possibly say about it.

I hope my pictures turn out well. They go to the developer in the morning. We will just hold our breath til then.

Nashille Here I Come...

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Well, finally. I get to go back to paradise, for me anyway. It's been since June of 2004 since I have been able to make the trip. I have missed going out, and usually try to go out at least once a year. I'm cutting it close this year, for sure.

I have lots planned already, and I always get into more than planned as well. I leave Wednesday and will have to return Sunday. I am hoping to be able to post a lot from the trip here daily, but just have to see. Technology never works the way I want it to in these situations.

In the next few days, I hope to be in touch more in giving you a real look at a country music fan's idea of an enjoyable vacation.

The bar set too low?

Recently, a member contacted me and asked for my opinion on a journal entry that Richard Marx has posted. One of the points in it really caught my attention. He mentioned "The bar...is...too.....low" in regards to the level of talent in country music these days, and specifically was mentioning the CMA winners.

Well, as far as a stand point of CMA winners, well, the voting membership only can vote on what is out there to vote on. So, that point is fairly mute.

What I want to focus on though, is the overall bar. I do believe it is set low in the talent area. Big label Nashville is not looking for true talent. They look for market-ability. If they think the person can sing fairly decent, with a little help from the audio technology that is available, and have "that look and persona" that will sell records, then they have a new artist. It's sad.

When I look for really good music. I mean music with feeling, talent, and a dedication to the music, I look at the independent artists. That's where the music is these days. No doubt. There so many out there and far too many real good one to mention. However, those are the artists that get my attention. Sure a few exceptions like Alan Jackson and George Strait, for example are out there. Those are the ones that keep my passion for the music high.

So many so called country artists aren't that at all. They just so happened to end up in that category because that's who signed them. A lot of them don't know anything about the music they are in. They probably have never heard a song by Little Jimmy Dickens, Hank Williams Sr., Hank Snow, and others of that caliber. If they have, its either been by accident, a cover song, or maybe just the biggest of the hits. The Opry's history probably is not known to them, except maybe that its where their manager said they need to go to, its 80 years old, and its held on Friday or Saturday.

Then there the ones that do know what they are doing in Nashville and are restricted in what they sing and do because of those large labels. They look at one thing: the bottom line. If it sells, lets do it. Tradition, heritage, talent, and honor to the music is much lower down on the list.

Until the big Nashville labels discover that what the fans of the music want is talent and true country music, that bar will be set low. Maybe they will notice that the independent labels are doing quiet well and take their lead, but I'm not holding my breath on that one. Also, until the label's management and decision makers come from those deep country tradition, we won't see it.

It is definitely heart-breaking to notice these observations, but that is the fact of the music business. Sure, I don't want to say there isn't any good music out there, but, I'm afraid you have to dig for it a little. Country music is still strong and alive, no doubt, but I believe that it could be so much stronger.

Busy UPS Drivers

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Well, I wonder how many Garth Brooks fans are having trouble sleeping tonight? I'm serious... tomorrow the UPS driver is going to be delivering many boxsets to the pre-order boxsets to the awaiting listeners.

The boxset won't be available in the stores until Friday....

Personally, I cant wait to listen to the new tracks from Garth. 11 new songs (including "Good Ride Cowboy") is down right exciting. Its been a long time since I've gotten to hear something new from Mr. Brooks.

I am sure the reaction to the boxset will be swift, vocal, and abundant tomorrow as the UPS trucks make their rounds.

It's 11:05pm here in Richmond, VA... I hope the UPS delivery drivers are getting a good night's sleep, they have a busy day ahead of them.

Thoughts on the CMA's Part 4: Media and Ratings

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Alright, the dust has settles, and I imagine pretty much the entire country music community has evacuated the New York City Area by now. Most probably couldn’t take too much more of the glamour, crowds, and the fast pace of the city.

FOX News and many other national news outlets covered the story. The country music artists made their rounds on all the popular talk shows and morning news programs. What a major media blast for country music.

All through the day, the print news media articles have popped up, one by one. The AP article can be found just about anywhere you look. It does a good job of reporting the events, just like it should. 3 awards for Lee Ann Womack took the headline, her comments in some of them, Keith Urban winning Male Vocalist and Entertainer of the Year, a mention of Garth Brooks in Times Square, and yes, Big & Rich just had to be mentioned in every article.

The Austrilia press took basically the same direction in most of the articles I could find, except Keith Urban took the headline and focused most quotes on him.

Good job on the mass media on presenting the information, just like they do each year. The AP and other newswire services alike are used to covering the award shows and know what to write.

I checked the The Tenneseean. The Nasville based paper did an excellent job, as expected, with an in-depth look at the show. Just a few lines short of a transcript.

Now, the New York slant on things. Fashion was their biggest thing. Go figure. Comments (close to down-right making fun of the atire) were made all throughout about the rhinestones and hats. Blah, Blah, Blah. Just because they don’t look like New Yorker’s (most of them anyway and thank god they don’t,) doesn’t mean they were not in style. Nashville and the rest of middle-America is many light years away from the importance of style in New York. Quiet frankly, we, non-New Yorkers, don’t care (more about this later.)

A New Your Daily News columinist did make a big mistake in his collum refering to Keith Urban as receiving the Entertainer of the Year Award 2 years in a row and making a few comments that I didn’t believe were exactly appropriate. But hey, what can I say, it is a simple mis-understanding.

There were also a few articles discussing the lack of a country radio station in the New York City. This could be the wake-up call to New York, but I am not going to hold my breath. If it does happen, well, the CMA’s trip to New York, I will be happy to call a complete success.

Now, here is where I ran into a problem with the coverage.

The focus was on fashion, differences between the way of life between New York and Nashville, the stars who showed up, and on and on. Very little on the celebration of the music itself. That is one thing that New York missed in its coverage. Not just mention of the winners, but really dig down and explore the music. They may be very surprised at what they hear, and not just a quick peek into the community.

The Ratings:

Nielsen Ratings for this year:

1st place for # households (11.1/17 share) (2004: 9.7/15 basically, the same)
1st place for Viewers (17.73 million)
1st place adults 18-49 (5.4/13 share)
1st place adults 25-54 (6.7/15 share)

Best Tuesday viewer and key demographics for CBS since May 10, 2005
Best Tuesday adult viewers 25-54 for CBS since last year’s show.

My Final Thoughts:

Well, that completes my look at the CMA Awards for this year. It is such a special day for me. Ever since I can remember, the night of the CMA’s have been “the” night of the year to me. I enjoy this night more than any of the hollidays, believe it or not. This is one of 2 nights (the ACM’s the 2nd) that my music, that I get up for each and every morning is in the massive media spotlight. I get such a rush about the whole event and talking to co-workers and friends about it. Making my predictions and seeing how well I do (for the last 3, 7 awards picked correctly.) It even became even more special to me 2 years ago, when I became a member of the CMA.

Country Music is alive and well, I must say, and maybe this year, a little bit more than usual.

P.S. If you are looking for a list of performers or the list of winners, visit:
http://www.countrymusicalive.com/39cma.htm

Thoughts on the CMA's Part 3: Overall

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Overall, the CMA just may have pulled this off. It came in the last week. Country music was all over the TV, radio, and newspapers. That is what did it. Not the special non-country people showing up, but the absolute media blast. (I will talk about that tomorrow in depth)

The biggest mistake I still think were the additions of the performers from outside of the country music community.

The support of the City of New York appeared awesome. That helped so much. Mayor Micahel Bloomberg introduced Garth Brooks. The Mayor of Nashville Bill Purcell was also present at the awards.

I also think, that just maybe, there could be chance that New York will have the return of a country music station. We will just have to see what happens.

This was so close to being what I would call a disaster, but the day after, I am pretty proud of what the CMA did this year. I just can't wait til next year where the show is back in Nashville and can celebrate the 40th.

Thoughts on the CMA's Part 2: The Speeches

Please, please, please.... next year, would the CMA cut out at least 1 performance. This will give an additional 3 or so minutes for the acceptance speeches. Kenny Chesney got cut off last year and this year Lee Ann Womack (twice,) Keith Urban and Glen Campbell were hurried, and the worst was Alabama.

Sure, I understand they don't want them to go on and on, like Womack probably could. However, they need just a little more time. The fans want to hear them, unlike some other awards. These artists are like friends to their fans.

Alabama should have planned a little better. They were going to have limited time and there was four of them. Still, they should have had a little more time... they are Hall of Famers now.

Best Speeches:
Bill Anderson. In the brink of tears, Anderson was so humbled that still after all his years in the business, he is still accepted and honored. The best line of the night came from him, "I'm supposed to be whispering, but I feel like shouting tonight"

Lee Ann Womack. Taking the first award of the night, she did a great job of delivering the most important message of the night. It had to be said by someone... if your listen to music that doesn't mean anything to you, give your country radio station a try. (Too bad New Yorkers don't have that chance, yet)

Thoughts on the CMA's Part 1: The Show

Alright, as you can imagine, now the show is over, I have a lot to say. It is in 4 parts. 1st, lets tackle the show itself. Second, the acceptance speeched. Then, the overall outcome of the event. Fourth, the media coverage.

The show to me turned out to be one of the best I have ever seen, with a few major bumps. The show was high paced and included a great representation of the music.

I was fairly happy with the award winners for the night. The ones I weren't as happy with, I can understand why those rascals won. But, I won't get into that too much, because I am so excited to see winners like Lee Ann Womack and Dierks Bentley be honored with the awards. Its the likes of these artists that have made the last year in country music so good and even a turn back to the traditional country sound.

The best performance of the night:
Garth Brooks. His performance IN Times square was pretty amazing. The man is so pumped up, its just a truly awesome spectacle to see. On top of that, what a perfect tribute to Chris LeDoux. This is exactly the kind of tribute he would want.

Alan Jackson. What the perfect country gentleman. Vocals were strong, walked up to the microphone and did his thing. Pretty cool song selection as well. Eric Claptons' "Wonderful Tonight." Now, why he picked that song, not really sure yet. I was expecting "USA Today, but oh well.

Faith Hill and Tim McGraw... They have another hit on their hands after this exposure.

Lee Ann Womack. Elegant, great song, great example of what country music is all about.

Honorable mentions: Gretchen Wilson, Brad Paisley, Sugarland, and Miranda Lambert

The Less Desirable Performances:
Willie Nelson, Paul Simon, and Norah Jones. I'd never thought I'd mention Nelson in an area of not that good. He did a decent job, but, what ruined the performance was Paul Simon. Give me a break. That must have been one of his first times playing the song or something was really off. This was exactly what I was scared of when these announcements came out. Norah Jones was beautiful. Nelson should have done half of "Still Crazy After All These Years" and "Crazy" with Jones on piano, now that would've been perfect.

Big & Rich. The embarrassment of the night. Why do we need Big Kenny flinging around on the stage with a 2 Foot Fred up there. God help us. John Rich is the real deal and so talented. I must say that.

Bon Jovi. Great artist, but he was so out of place. Jennifer Nettles joining him made things better.

Glen Campbell

Monday, November 14, 2005

By now you know that Glen Campbell is one of the 3 inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame this year. As I was sitting here getting ready for work, I was watching FOX News as usual. By chance, I catch the great Campbell on the "Day Side." Wow, he looked and sounded great. The audience was loving the performance as well as the hosts. He did "Rhinestone Cowboy" and some of "Whithca Linemen."

I began to think.

What an awesome artist. He is one of those artists that I truly think of as a living icon of the music. In his own way, he has done so much for the music and when I hear his music, I come to a stop. I don't do that for many artists, that is for sure.

I have only seen him perform 1 time. A performance I will never forget. It was a 1/2 Christmas Show and the other portion was his own music. I hope to see him again.

He is such a great pick for the Hall of Fame. I have a feeling he will be very active in his support of the tradition of the Hall. Once again, congrats to Mr. Campbell on this honor.

Writer not a fan, but trying

Saturday, November 12, 2005

BCNG Portals Page

I found this article this morning as I was going through my e-mail this morning. Basically, from what it sounds from the article, she tries twice a year to become a fan of the music. This time around she picked an independent artist (good move) and Kenny Chesney's new album (bad move.)

No wonder why she is turned off to the music. Chesney's new album is one of the worst albums out there right now (review on the website coming soon.) Country music fans know whats good music and hooked us on the music, and what isn't. Sure, we have our "superfans" that if the artist put out a blank CD with their name on it, they would love it.

I have sent an e-mail off of a online feedback form on the site to the writer. I have invited her to e-mail me and have gaurnteed I will make her a fan of the music.

I will keep you posted on what happens if I hear from the writer. I hope I do. I have challenged myself, and believe I can do it.

First Thoughts on Garth Brooks New CD Package

Friday, November 11, 2005

Well, well, well… Garth is back.  The new special Wal-Mart box set has been announced.  Pretty cool for sure.  

The details.  1 new CD with 11 songs.. wow!  I was expecting maybe 4, but 11… awesome.  1 DVD, 90 minutes.  Great.  

Now, also included is “Scarecrow,” “Sevens,” and the “Double Live” 2-CD set, with yes, you guessed it, even more album covers.  Um, can someone explain the reason for this?  Why were these 2 CDs picked?  Sure, I understand the Double Live CD (greatest hits type album)… great pick, but why not pick his very first CD?  

“Sevens” American Music Awards—Favorite Album/Country—1998, debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and Country Albums charts,  and topped the Billboard 200 for 7 weeks and the Country Albums chart for 13 weeks.

“Scarecrow” Debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and Country Albums charts, the highest selling debut week for a country album since the release of Garth Brooks' Double Live in 1998 and was among the 10 best selling country albums of 2001.

I would have picked his self titled album.  Bring this deal full circle.  

The best part of this deal is the price.  $25.  Very nice for all fans to be able to enjoy his music.  

Overall, I am so excited about this project.  It should be just as exciting to watch its success.

I don’t believe Garth is done with surprises.  I don’t believe the man can keep him out of the Wal-Mart stores in special appearances to support the package, like it needs any help.

Washington Post Remarks on Country Music

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


"These days country stars are created in a factory in China, molded out of plastic by workers earning 38 cents an hour, then shipped to Nashville where they are fitted for a cowboy hat and taught to sing ditties written by a commitee of moonlighting Hallmark employees"
 
The Washington Post staff writer Peter Carlson
Tuesday November 8, 2005
Section C, page 2
 

Brilliant.
 
This quote came from an excellent article in The Washington Post on Merle Haggard and his GQ Magazine article.  Though all that long, still was a great read.  In the paragraph, the writer was commenting on that Haggard in a part of a dying breed of authentic artists.
 
Though, not the direct subject of the article, the writer brought up such a great point.  It is true.  No doubt.  I don't want to hear the same lines I hear all the time about how country music is at its best or the "room for everyone" motion.  This is pretty much a standard thing these days.  The record label finds the look og the order of the day and then changes their physical appearance, style of sound, takes a bunch of pictures, film some over produced music video, get an article in Country Weekly, release one of the Hallmark written songs, and sell records to teeny poppers that are attracted to the sex appeal, and not talented musical influence.
 
Don't believe me?  Pick up Billy Currington's new album.  Tell me, with a straight face, that their primary goal is selling talented music with sexy male photographs filling the album cover.  Look at the career of Sara Evans.  Compare her first album release "Three Chords and the Truth" with her newest "Real Fine Place."  I could list so many more examples.  These two artists have talent, I'm not saying that.  What I am saying, though, is that they’re too many people making decisions for them.  What they look like, sound like, what they sing about, and on and on.  If someone like Evans had totally 100% freedom of musical expression, can you imagine what we could be hearing by this point in her career?
 
That brings up another point.  Average or non-distinctive artists wouldn't have a chance for a dreaded second album.  If you can't put in 110% of your talent that you believe you have, the open market will put up a permanent roadblock on your chosen career path.  Look at an artist like George Strait.  His image hasn't changed since he began recording.  Why? Because the image he portrays is his personality—the real him.  He is successful because of his vocal talent and ability to select perfect songs for him.  He is not apart of the current trend of music; he is apart of the dying breed that Peter Carlson mentioned.  

The breed is dying, no doubt, but not extinct.  Thankfully, there has been a trend of independent labels opening that are giving artists their freedom back.  Toby Keith, Clint Black, Neal McCoy, even Garth Brooks all have gone to either start their own or become members of an independent label.  Broken Bow Records that includes Craig Morgan and Jason Aldean are very successful.  The reason I believe is there freedom from the commercialization of the music, which becomes more like a product than an entertainment source.

The big business style of country music needs to wake-up.  They are missing out on the chance to produce quality instead of what they think we want to hear.

CMA Awards My Final Say

Sunday, November 06, 2005

CMA Awards, My Final Say.

Alright, the nominations were announced and the voting is complete, the presenters and the performers are all announced (hopefully).  It is now a week away.

This whole New York thing was been proven to be a mistake, just like I said when it was announced a long time ago.  The CMA had to do specific things to pull this off.  They didn’t do those things, yet made the mistake of commercializing this evening that is special for the CMA and the fans of the music all over the world.

Now its time to get it over with, let the ratings come in.  High or not, it doesn’t matter. It is now a publicity stunt and probably will turn into an embarrassment for the CMA and country music.  We will tackle that when it happens.

A year from now, the CMA will hold its 40th show, back in Nashville, where the show belongs.  Will the CMA learn from this mess and give us fans what we really want?  Time will tell.

CMA Awards now Elton John???!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Ok, this is crazy. Just when I thought I'd heard it all, well, time for the CMA to give another punch in the face.

Elton John.

Don't get me wrong here. I've seen him 3 times live, own that special DVD set from Best Buy awhile back, and own some of his albums. I like him, but not on the CMA Awards show. I would also have a different opinion if he was coming to perform with duet partner Catherine Britt that was done earlier this year. That would be a display of the music from the past year. Instead, he is coming to perform with Dolly Parton. Yes, I said it and no I'm not making this up.

If Dolly wanted to do a duet, well, why not pick one of the 12 from her new album, "Those Were The Days." There plenty of duet partners there for her to pick from, and a few that aren't even country music artists.

The CMA by having Bon Jovi, Elton John, Billy Joel, and all the others that have been announced appear on the show is a big mistake. This is not what the country music community wants to see and ratings are not going to be effected. The CMA should not be focused on overall ratings, but the ratings of the target community. Make the country music fans want to watch.

Tomorrow, I will discuss this New York thing with you and the one good announcement that was made.

CMA Awards welcomes Bon Jovi?

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Alright, I had to read the press release twice. I thought I was seeing things.

Yes, Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, James Gandolfini, and Donald Trump are all going to be at the awards. I am giving the CMA the benefit of the doubt on Reese Witherspoon and
Joaquin Phoenix due to they are in the upcoming Johnny Cash film.

Huh? Yep! Give me a break. This is about the craziest thing I have ever heard. Please let me know if I'm wrong, but the CMA awards are given out by the Country Music Association, and that I am proud to be a member.

Last night, a good friend and I discussed this topic in some detail and then an excellent article in The Tennessean by Brad Schmitt appeared this morning. I am so glad their some people out there that agrees with my reaction.

Lee Ann Womack is quoted in the article, and she deserves many kudos for what she had to say. It should feel like a slap in the face to her. Here is an extremely talented artist that has put out one of her best works ever with a traditional country music album, and she could be presented the award by someone that may have never even heard of her before that night.

The mostdisturbingg thing in what I read in the article is this:

"But I'm a record executive. If it'll make more people watch the show, I'm all for that." Luke Lewis of Universal Music Group in Nashville and a member of the CMA's TV committee said.

Ok, that shows a major issue here. Its all about the ratings to the people that make these crazy decisions. Not the dignity,heritagee, tradition, and honor of country music and the CMA. The show should be targeted to one audience. The country music fans. The chance of someone that isn't a country music fan sitting down and watching the CMA's are slim, I don't care who you pick to be on the show. Plus, even if they did, the chances of a non-country music listener to jump up and go pick up a country album because Bon Jovi was on the show is just as slim.

The CMA's is my favorite night of the year. It should be about country music's night to recognize the incredible work of the previous year, honor theachievementss, and display some of the year's best music. I'm afraid this year that is exactly what we aren't going to get.

More about this later... I have second thoughts on this whole New York thing too.

Tracy Lawrence's Greatest Hits: overdue or no?

Friday, October 28, 2005

Today it seems like greatest hits packages come out way too often, and some shouldn't even be thinking about one and have released one. A "greatest hits" is a collection of the artists "greatest" of their "hits" and not an album of hits. Other words, if you don't have over say 15 songs that can be considered "hits" these artists shouldn't even consider one. Also, what appears to be considered a "hit" these days has become very broad. Just because it's a radio single, doesn't make it a hit.

To put out a greatest hits album should be an accomplishment, indication of status, and establishment in the country music community. It should not be a routine occurrence. Other styles of music don't follow this trend, and country needs to stop. A lot of these greatest hits albums are done for one-reason...money.

Now, there is occasionally an exception to this. Tracy Lawrence has released a greatest hits collection, finally. Sure, we have had his "Live!" album, and it is an excellent album. However, for the first time, we have a greatest hits collection from him than spans his entire career. Also, included are a few new songs, including his current single "Used to the Pain." This song is doing very well and is getting very close to being considered a true hit, and already is considered a hit by the "normal" standards.

I have been playing the new Lawrence album now for about a week and it is doing exactly what a greatest hits album should do. Bring back the memory of all the great work the artist has done over the years. Take for example, "My Second Home" or "Sticks and Stones"... what a great talent he is.

The timing of the album is perfect. It's been long enough to allow a lot of these singles become true memorable singles and a strong part of the country music community. To a lot of people, "Alibis" is one of the top country songs of the last decade, and to me, it is as well. This is how a greatest hits package should be approached and released. It is mighty nice to be able to re-visit an artist of this caliber, all on one album.

Happy 80th Grand Ole Opry--take a listen

Sunday, October 16, 2005

There is nothing in country music as important as the Grand Ole Opry, in my opinion. It is more than a performance, more than just music, more than a radio show, more than just a concert... it is like the pulse of the entire country music community. It is the showcase of that community; their pride a joy that is shared with everyone that wants to come every weekend.

Last night, the Grand Ole Opry celebrated 80 years.

When this insitution began in 1925, Calvin Coolidge was president, B.B. King and Sammie Davis, Jr. were born, and the wheel-type can opner was patented. Just think for that long, the Opry has been around.

Today's Opry isn't all that different either. Yes, technology has changed alot with the modernation. However, the core beliefs inside the Opry and still intact. It is still to this day broadcasted on WSM-650 AM every Friday and Saturday night. In the winter months, the Opry even returns to the Ryman Audiotorium, the home of the Opry from 1943-1974.

What though we must remember right now is the importance of the Grand Ole Opry. In today's world, I feel that it is forgotten. The Opry should never be. Country music fans have something very special. 80 years of heritage that is still ongoing. Some of the greatest artists in the country music community perform every weekend there and it is one of the highest honors that can be given to a performer, and the fans should treat it at as such.

I ask you today, right now, take the time and visit the Opry's website and make a promise to yourself to take the time (Friday from 7:30-10:00pm CST and Saturday night 6:30-12:00am) CST to take a listen. The Opry is streamed online, totally free of charge. If you can't listen to it all, I ask that you listen to at least 1 hour of the non-televised portion. I think you will be amazed at what you are missing.

Check out the Grand Ole Opry:
http://www.opry.com

The Grand Ole Opry Hisotry:
http://www.opry.com/MeetTheOpry/Intro.aspx

To Listen to WSM-AM Online:
http://www.wsmonline.com

Music Overload

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Is it possible to have too much new music come out? Right now, I sure am feeling like it.

Gretchen Wilson, followed by Gary Allan, Dolly Parton, a Hank Williams Sr. set, a new single from Garth, Chris Cagle, the list goes on and on... just in the last 3 weeks or so. Goodness!

That doesn't even count all the awesome independent artists around.

I am slowly getting caught up on letting my readers know about all the music, but part-time work ain't cutting it. I need to be doing it full time, just stay on track like I would like. ha, but I got to pay the bills to be able to do it.

Anyway, e-mail me and let me know what are some of your favorites out right now. I need to get back to writing.

Welcome Back Garth

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Garth Brooks' new single "Good Ride Cowboy" has hit radio this morning according to press releases. I haven't heard it yet, but some of us haveto go to a workplace without the luxury of listening to radio all day.

I have heard the clip of the song on a website I visit for radio and media. Awesome is all I can say. The voice is still there and everything that people are drawn to Garth for is alive and well.

It is even nicer to hear a song that is in tribute to the great Chris LeDoux. I know, no doubt, this is one special song to Garth.

It certainly is nice to hear the new song out, and I sure hope more are to come soon from Garth.

Gretchen Wilson: Personally Energizing!!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Engergizing. That is the best word to describe the feeling pumping through my body tonight after seeing Gretchen Wilson. The full review will be posted soon to the website and it will probably get a run in the newsletter, however, I wanted to share a more of a "personal" experience with you, rather than the "proffesional."

Tonight I truly understood Gretchen Wilson's connection with her biggest fans. I have loved her music, talent, and persona since day one. I couldn't wait for the new album that hit stores to come out. However, tonight, I got to see first hand wait her relationship is with her "target fan base." (middle 20's southern living mother with a young daughter) One row in front of me was an example of just that. It hit home on so many levels.

For mother and daughter, tonight seemed like a esacpe to paradise for 2 hours from the day to day life. I don't know her life story, but I'm sure there is one that an escape was much enjoyed and most of all deserved. Daughter with matching beautiful brownn hair and big eyes just like her Mom, so happy seeing Mom have a good time and loving the attention from Mom as she helped her little hands happily swaying in the air.

Mom singing along with just about every song , a feeling of living Gretchen's world, even just a enough of it to make the connection, could be seen in her eyes. Daughter joining in with Mom on every word of "Redneck Woman." Something I won't forget anytime soon, that is for sure.

Gretchen Wilson is more than a singer. She has become a positive role model for so very many in that you can have your dreams come true when you put your mind to it, give it a try, and create the lifestyle you wish. The talent in amazing vocals, great song selection to carry her message, and stage presence certainly helps to deliver the message, but that's not all she is about.

I've read about it, heard about it, and knew exsisted, but tonight, I saw it. Seeing this, pushed my energy level to a new level for country music and life in general.

Special note: If this beautiful lady reads this (she knows who she is, red shirt and gave her a promotional card for the website,) please e-mail me at countrymusicalive@verizon.net

Nashville's Radio Ratings

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Arbitron ratings are in for the #44 market in the US, Nashville, TN. Want to take a guess at what radio format is #1 in Nashville, the home of country music?

Talk? Sports? Nope, take another guess.
Pop? Nope. Sorry.
Country? Nope.

Try Urban. No, we aren't talking Keith Urban either. Scary huh? The city that takes great pride in its country music doesn't have the radio market. Shouldn't that wake up the people that work in the country music industry that work in Nashville there may be a problem? Well, they would notice if people that create the music actually liked the music in the first place.

The home of the Grand Ole Opry.... 8th. Sadly.

#1 WUBT Urban
#2 WCJK Adult Hits
#3 WRQQ Oldies
#4 WRVW Top 40
#5 WJXA Adult Contemporary
#6 WSIX Country
#7 WNRQ Classic Rock
#8 WSM Country
#9 WQQK Urban Adult Contemp.
#10 WKDF Country

"The" Annulment

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Goodness gracious, Has it been reported enough already?

Have you tried to read about the whole Chesney and Zellweger story? Well, if you have, you have noticed its the same story over and over, just reprinted. At least I took the time in my report on it in my newsletter to do a little research and give my readers the definition of fraud.

Also, it should have been a short and sweet type deal. Not being blown out into every media market and make to be some story of the century, in which by about Tuesday, will be old news and will be treated like it should.

They have asked for privacy, and I respect that issue, however, there is a lot of fans of both parties involved and its human nature to want to know more. I feel, in due time, we will know more and the story will be told. For now, its time for everyone to chill out.

Hall of Fame Inductees 2 out 3 good

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Ok, what is going on here. The inductees for the Hall of Fame have been announced. Deford Bailey, Glen Campbell, and Alabama. Huh? Alabama.... come on.

First of all, the first two. Deford Bailey is an great pick to be inducted. Too bad that it wasn't done when Roy Acuff and other legendary members of the Opry were around to see it. Thankfully, some still are with us.

There is an excellent website on the PBS site on him. It is very interesting and a must visit:
http://www.pbs.org/deford/index.html

Glen Campbell is an artist I love and has done a lot for country music and its sound. Well deserved.

now, Alabama...
Come on. Their career "farewell tour" that I thought would never end, has just finished up. They may deserve a place in the Hall one day, as leaders in being labeled as country music when they actually are just a toned down rock band for the most part to me. However, that isn't the issue. The issue is why now? There so many others that belong shrined right now- today before they are even considered.

I could go on and on with a list of people that deserve this highest honor country music can give. That is my issue with this pick, not that they may not belong, but who belongs before them.

What do you think? e-mail me

Universal Shuts Down DreamWorks Nashville

Universal Shuts Down DreamWorks Nashville

A day after Toby Keith announced his new label plans, Dreamworks Nashville is going away. This is yet another example of what happens in the industry. Music is a huge business. Universal Music Group is massive in size. The Dreamworks superstar is now gone from the label, so, everyone that was on Dreamworks: Darryl Worley, Tracy Lawrence, Jessica Andrews, Jimmy Wayne, Hot Apple Pie and newcomer Tori Baxley are now in a position of wondering if they have a job or not. Most reports say they will be shuffled over to one of the other Universal Music Group labels: MCA Nashville, Mercury Nashville and Lost Highway Records.

What I think is we need even more of these independent labels to come around and many more "superstars" to leave. Show the music fan what the artists can really do and want to do. The inde label has been a huge trend, and it will continue to be. I think though, it is time for even more to take Toby Keith's lead. These big labels only have one thing in mind, making money. That means suffocating the artists with boundaries and "safe zones" of music. They are basically told what to do. I don't blame the artists fully either for it. If my boss told me that this is what we are doing and if you don't, you don't have a job, well, I would probably suck it up as well.

I guaranteee you the quality of music we get from Toby Keith in his next album will be his best yet. Stay tuned and we will see...


Being Appreciated

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Over the last week, I have read 2 simple "thank you" emails from members. I can't tell you the feeling I get when I read those. Even though it may be only two lines or so, thats all it takes.

My readers and visitors mean the world to me. They allow me to share my opinion and what I think, an expertise in country music community.

There 2 reasons I run this blog, website, and e-mail newsletter is to share my deep appreiation and passion for country music with others. 2nd, to promote country music by keeping the thoughts focused on country music in people's lives. Country music is more than just something to listen to. It is full of emotion, story-telling, morals, and a way of life.

If you enjoy the website, this blog, and the newsletters, remember that others may enjoy it just as much. So, be sure to tell them about Country Music Alive.

A Hidden Treasure

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Alright, I listen to probably hundreds of albums a year. I know, some I may go through fairly quickly to just stay caught up. I was listening to XM Radio's Highway 16 and heard a song that stopped me in my tracks. I knew the group was Rascal Flatts; no doubt. However, the song I'd never heard. "Feels Like Today" has been out since September 2004. I dont remember ever hearing it on there, so I thought it was new. I do a simple search today on walmart.com and notice it isn't new.

It's the hidden track. I never miss the hidden tracks, until now. The song is titled "Skin." It is available at the 3:52 mark of the last track.

What a beautiful, touching song. A true hidden treasure.

"Skin"

Sarah Beth is scared to death
To hear what the doctor will say
She hasn't been well
Since the day that she fell
And the bruise, it just won't go away
So she sits and see waits with her mother and dad
and Flips through an old magazine
Til the nurse with the smile
Stands at the door
And says will you please come with me

Sarah Beth is scared to death
Cause the doctor just told her the news
Between the red cells and white
Something's not right
But we're gonna take care of you

Six chances in ten it won't come back again
With the therapy were gonna try
It's just been approved
It's the strongest there is
I think we caught it in time

Sarah Beth closes her eyes
and She dreams she's dancing
Around and around without any cares
And her very first love is holding her close
And the soft wind is blowing her hair

Sarah Beth is scared to death
As she sits holding her mom
Cause it would be a mistake
For someone to take
A girl with no hair to the prom

For, just this morning right there on her pillow
Was the cruellest of any surprise
And she cried when she gathered it all in her hands
The proof that she couldn't deny

Sarah Beth closes her eyes
and She dreams she's dancing
Around and around without any cares
and her very first love was holding her close
and the soft wind is blowing her hair

It's quarter to seven
That boy's at the door
And her daddy ushers him in
And when he takes off his cap
They all start to cry
Cause this morning where his hair had been
Softly, she touches just skin

They go dancing around and around
Without any cares
And her very first true love is holding her close
For a moment she isn't scared...

Gretchen Wilson in Parade

Sunday, August 21, 2005

There is an excellent article in the Parade section that
is found in just about every Sunday paper. The article
doesnt talk about her success too much like most "Country
Weekly" type- fluffy promotional articles. This one goes
a bit deeper and learn a lot in just a few paragraphs
about Wilson. No, its not a pretty fairy tale story; it
is true life though.

I believe this article says more than is actually written.
There is a lot more in this that isn't said. For one,
anyone can be successful in the music business with the
right attitude and timing. Talent is also a part of it of
course.

Also, I believe it says a lot about the character and
dedication to the music Wilson has deep inside her.

Most importantly, I believe it portrays what country music
is all about. Always has been, always will be. The story
of true life; no matter how good or difficult life is for
someone, country music has a song about it. If there
isn't one, there will be one soon or you just may want to
pick your pen up....you may have a hit on your mind
because someone out there has been there, done that.

Garth Brooks + Wal-Mart= Win?

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Friday, Billboard announced the news that indeed the
ultimate superstar of country music Garth Brooks has
signed an exclusive deal with the retailer Wal-Mart.

First of all, before I'm asked about this becoming a trend
let's get this portion of this issue straight. It will
not be a trend. The reason is very simple. Not many
other artists have this kind of intense demand and success
to allow for this. If another artist did an agreement
like this, well, they just wouldn't sell many albums and
probably would disappear. This is not so with someone
like Brooks.

I have written and discussed that just this thing would
happen ever since his appearance in June at the Wal-Mart
shareholder meeting. In discussions with friends, I
predicted this almost 100% correct.

Now, with a deal like this being made what do I think? It
sounds like a win-win-win situation to me. The fans get
their music at the nice Wal-Mart price and surely will be
able to find it. Brooks certainly will make a nice amount
of money off the deal. Wal-Mart will no doubt be making a
nice profit off the sales of Brooks? music since they are
the only retailer to be able to sell his music.

The argument has begun about if it is only available at
Wal-Mart, it will affect sales. No way. Think about
this. I can?t think of anywhere that isn?t within a short
driving distance to a Wal-Mart these days. Every Sunday,
there is a circular in the newspaper to make the public
aware of their specials. With no doubt, the advertising
department of Wal-Mart will be sure everyone in the world
knows exactly where they can come to find his music. If
by some chance there isn?t one convenient, there is always
walmart.com to visit that not only can you purchase the
albums, but could also download individual singles from
Brooks. The only type of sales that may suffer are
impulse buys at the other retailers. If a listener wants
Brooks? music, they are going to have no problem getting
it and knowing where to get it will be drilled into their
head by one of the best companies I can think of for
marketing and advertising: Wal-Mart.

All fifteen albums Brooks has released will now be
available only at Wal-Mart once the product that has been
printed by EMI/Capitol has sold. The rumor is the first
release from Brooks and Wal-Mart will be a four-CD set
that will include some previously unreleased material.
That doesn?t mean new songs, but hopefully it does. To
make this deal truly work, Brooks better release a new
album in the near future. His audience doesn?t want more
collection packages. They don?t want another pretty
picture on an album that they already have the songs (and
many have more than one copy and the biggest hits on more
than one album.) They want new music. If this doesn?t
happen, and quickly, this deal with Wal-Mart will hurt the
career of Brooks.

Brooks announced his retirement a few years ago and has
stood by his message that he will not return to touring
until 2015 (once his youngest daughter finishes high
school.) I don?t believe it still and this is yet one
more step closer to his return. They may not be the
extended world tours, he may not swing from ladders and
smash a guitar, but I have a good feeling he will be
returning to at least short-term tours. If the crowd
control and security can handle it, I wouldn?t rule out a
few in-store appearances from Brooks either.

This is yet another chapter in the biography of Brooks
that certainly will be interesting to read one day.
Brooks is one of country?s most talented performers and
vocalist. He is also one of the smartest when it comes to
the business side of the business, which he is proof just
may be the most important, sadly.

I'm Tired of Exclusive Albums

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Ok, I am so tired of this new trend in country music of releasing special songs or special features to only certain chains of stores. Come on, this is crazy. It is not fair to those that may have not heard about the special album at a certain chain store like Wal-Mart or Target.

Brad Paisley's newest release (which was one of the last artists that I thought of participating in this type marketing) has been released in Target Stores with a bonus 4-track CD. Wal-Mart doesn't have the songs, but does have a special DVD. The others, including Amazon.com and others that offer pre-order options don't have the special features to them.

So what is a fan to do to get what I think of the whole CD if they 1- pre-ordered the basic CD or 2-didn't know about the special features? Buy 2 albums? Money is so hard to come by these days for music and other items of luxury. Not many fans can do this, especially shouldn't have to. If you are a dedicated fan of an artist, there is a pretty good chance they will pre-order it ahead of time just in anticipation of the release.

I understand its trying to get the competitive edge. How about compete on the basis of your company's reputation, policies, customer service, prices, and location of store instead of special features that cheat the fans out of the full album.

In Brad Paisley's new album case, some of the best work is the 4 bonus tracks, its such ashame some listener's wont get the chance to hear them.

Eddy Arnold's New Album; Good Luck Finding It.

You know, its not all that often that one of our country music legends, true legends, comes out with an album after awhile of not recording anymore. Eddy Arnold has. Sure, it may not the golden voice still we all remember nor will it have a shot on radio.

I visited Target, Best Buy, and Tower Records yesterday to pickup my copy of this RCA Release. Not some obscure label or an independent label. RCA; the same exact distributor of Brad Paisley's new album which was all over the place in the stores. I couldn't find a copy of this one though. A Hall of Famer can't get an album in the stores. I don't know what the reasons why, but it doesn't matter. It's pretty sad.

It is carried by the outlets on their websites, including Amazon, thankfully. My copy is en route to me. I have listened to a few clips on the Tower website, and even though it may not be the best sounding album out there, it still will go down as a small part of country music history.

To learn more about Eddy Arnold, visit http://www.countrymusichalloffame.com/inductees/eddy_arnold.html

Lots of Music

Saturday, August 13, 2005

WEll, I'm sure you have noticed I haven't posted in awhile. I took a little vacation from a lot of my writing last few weeks, but this week I have been back into it.

Have you ever thought just exactly how much music is out there at a given time. I'm talking like new music, stuff you don't know that is out there or know it is and just haven't taken time to listen to it. As I am writing you, my desk is covered in albums that need my attention. Each of them has a little voice saying "listen to me please!"

I try and try to get through them. However, some of the albums that do make it in my CD player are just so good it is hard to move on. I've been trying to get caught up on reviews and such this week. That mission has only been half accomplished really. Why? Well, a album like Zona Jones comes around and it is hard to take it out and move on.

It's this thing called "focus" I lack, I know. :)

How can you focus though when there is just that much good country music out there (and bad that needs to be discovered.) I proably have 10 more to get to. Then, I go to the mailbox and well, yes you guessed it...more. One package had about five! Great... I'm so excited and so privilaged I get to listen to a lot of music.

I guess it is time to focus and get back to working on the stack of CDs.

Wish me luck and drop me line on what new country music is out there that you are enjoying so I can be sure it is added to my list of albums to listen to.

Good Song or Just Overplayed

Monday, July 25, 2005

Country radio, among other sources of music such as cable
networks these days play songs over and over. We know
that. Is it because the song is really that good or is it
just overplayed so much it becomes so familiar that we
think it is a good song?

I'm thinking the 2nd option.

Of those songs we here hour after hour, do you really miss
hearing it after it is done with its time in the
spotlight? Very rarely do.. think about it. Don't you
think it was truly a good song, that you would miss it at
least some?

Sure, rarely, a song that is truly 1-country and 2-good
gets plenty of radio time, don't get me wrong in thinking
that every song that is overplayed is bad. It's not
totally so, but certainly close.

If the stations would take just a little time to cut down
on the overplaying and make room for other songs, just
maybe you can find something decent on country radio. I
won't hold my breath, that's for sure. Thank God for my
own CD collection and XM Radio.

Website Has a New Logo

Thursday, July 21, 2005


Pretty nice huh? This is the new official logo of Country Music Alive. I am quiet proud of this one. If you haven't ever checked out the site, go take a look. There is a lot more over there, including my free e-mail newsletter. Previous e-mails and the current edition are always available there as well.

I thank the guys at surelogos.com for the design of the logo. They were awsome to work with.

Cooter Spoke Out On Movie

Monday, July 18, 2005

Dukes of Hazzard | Cooter's Place | DukesFest | General Store | Cooter's Museum

The Dukes of Hazzard movie is about ready to be released, August 12th to be exact. It finally recieved a rating of PG-13. I have seen the trailer and read some about it. I agree that is not going to be like the show we all love, however, what is these days? Any remake of any show, movie, song, or anything else isn't the same. Yes, it is a shame at times that the world has become full of sexual innuendo, fast pace lifestyle, and laxed moral responsibility. That is how the world is, we can't really change that and this new movie is just one of so very many examples of this.

Now, Ben "Cooter" Jones' is entitled to his thoughts, I love that very much. And yes, I do agree with him quiet a bit on what he had to say about the movie. At the same time though, IF the Dukes were a new concept today and started to air this week. It would have a major following and it would be just like what I expect the movie will be like. It is plain and simple; a sign of the times. Nothing more, nothing less.

I agree with Jones as well on that it isn't for children. However, I don't agree that fans of the Dukes shouldn't see it. Sure it is not the same, but it is just another enjoyable extenstion of being a fan. Yes, most probably will be disappointed in the movie, but let's not rush to full judgement until it is out and seen.

The "If you don't clean it up, we're not going to see it." thought sounds great on paper. However, the "big industry" isn't scared nor will it have a major effect on the sales. In fact, all it is doing is gaining more exposure for the movie, which equals even more sales. That's all it does. For the person that tells someone they aren't going to see it, there is one more person that knows about the movie. A potential "replacement" for the person not seeing it. Then, you will probably tell more than one person. So, you end up supporting sales.

I will go see the movie, most likely in the theater and not wait for DVD, and fairly soon after its release. Why? Because I am interested in seeing it, a fan of the Dukes, and the simplest reason-entertainment.

Comparison of what's good writing and not.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Let's compare 2 articles that were written for basically the same reason. A promotion of an upcoming show with Dierks Bentley. These articles were published 1 day apart. The shows were also one day apart. So, it is a very fair comparison.

Read this:
http://www.delmarvanow.com/debeachcomber/stories/20050708/2178105.html

I read this article and I found myself looking for a second page or something that said it was just a part of the article. That was it though. That was the whole thing. All it told me basically was that Bentley lives on his bus and in a hotel. Great, thanks. Most of all, there is a transcript! I can't stand reading an article with a transcript. To me, that shows just pure laziness and lack of being able to create thoughts.

Now, this one:
http://www.timesdispatch.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=RTD/MGArticle/RTD_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1031783687605

This is how it should be. This is an example of a good article. It talks about the music, yes, a little bit about living on the road, it talks some about what to expect at the show, and full of great information. No transcript in this article, no way. Quotes, most definitely. A quote does so much for an article. It gives creditability to the article and enhances the impact of the thoughts that are shared in the writing.

Just like anything, there good ones and bad ones.

Summer Storm = Country Music Dedication

Summer outside concerts are so enjoyable. Then again, I think fall is the very best when its cooler and oh yes, the less chance of a awful thunderstorm creating great inconvenience for concert goers.

Last Wednesday night, Dierks Bentley came to the Innsbrook pavilion, a few miles from my house here in Richmond, VA. I have been ready to see him in concert since the last time Bentley was here with George Strait. The work day was over, and now it was time to change my focus to what I love most about life... an great evening of good music. One problem: 4:30pm it sounded like the end of the world was beginning. One of the worst thunderstorms of the season hit. It was one of those where you actually see the lighting strike and it wasn't just raining, but it was more like a raging river flowing out of the sky. It lasted till about 7:45, on and off. The show finally got started around 9:00pm. Great show of course. Dierks is one of the best artists out there right now.

That though is not the story here. During the storm, lines of fans waited outside in all of it. As much as I would like to say it was pure stupidity, I must also realize that it is dedication. A line of hundreds waited in all of the chaos of the storm, putting their lives at risk to see a country music performer. Of course, some other performers, fans may do this, but certainly not many. This type of thing happens for just about every country music artist that is successful.

Country music fans will do just about anything, within morals that country music fans have and legality, to see and support country music's artists and events.

Detroit's display of pride

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Tonight while I was enjoying the Major League Baseball All-Star game, I noticed something totally outside of the the baseball flair, the stats, the players, and everything going on with the game. I noticed the pride of the host city, Detroit, Michigan, of their music (specifically the Motown Sound, but also their visitors bureau takes credit for techo music as well.)

I noticed that taking that great pride in their music and being certain it was promoted in the coverage of the game really brought my attention to the music. In relation to country music, I think this is one of the numerous reasons of the success of the country music genre. Any chance Nashville, TN has to be in the spotlight for special events with national exposure, they take every moment they can to promote their pride of being the home of country.

Detroit got my attention tonight, though briefly of course. It allowed me to remember the Motown Sound and how good the music is. If it did this for me, it probably did it for many others as well. It had an impact, even though it was brief with a small piece with Smokey Robinson and Brain McKnight singing the National Anthem.

Detroit should be applauded for being sure that their pride in the music was a part of the presentation of the ballgame tonight. Even if they didn't think about it much or didn't play a part in the decision, they should be. I just don't know what kind of influence they have on the production.

It is also a great reminder to other cities, especially country of course, to be sure that their pride is on display when the time arises for their city to be in the spotlight.

By the way, Detroit also is the home of the 2006 Super Bowl, so I am sure we will see more of this pride on display this winter.

CMT.com : Hootie and the Blowfish ?what??

Friday, July 08, 2005

CMT.com : Hootie and the Blowfish : Message Board

Ok can someone please explain this to me. Why in the heck is Hootie and the Blowfish on cmt.com?

allmusic.com, lists them as Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/ Rock, American Trad Rock, Jam Bands. Which is accurate. It lists their influences as R.E.M., The Allman Brothers, and Pearl Jam. Pretty good influences. Don't get me wrong, I like the group, especially the earlier stuff they did. However, they are not country. Not close, not sorta.

CMT needs to wake up. Come on. This is out of hand. CMT should be promoting country music and respect its heritage, demographic, and the listners of country music. If you would do this, and properly, CMT may be surprised at what kind of ratings they would get. Adding groups like Hootie and the Blowfish to their website is not going to do it.

I already don't watch the channel and this is exactly why. They even have a listening party for their new album. This is out of control. I don't understand, nor care to.

CMT, sorry, but I can't handle it anymore. I will not be watching anything on that channel; Thank God for GAC.

How much longer for Strait?

Friday, July 01, 2005

33 albums down, how many more to go? Strait just keeps
going and going. Album after album.

The 32nd album sounded like the last one for him, just by
the tone of the album and some of the songs on it. Plus,
the release of the 50 #1 Hits album. Sounded like a nice
close to a long career. Now, #33 is out and is full of
more Strait perfection.

I certainly hope he continues to produce records, but I
have a feeling, that the near future he will retire from
the recording business. I do know when he does, it will
be simple. Maybe a fan appreciation tour to say goodbye,
but not bif fanfare around the event. A Simple thank you,
like at the end of his concerts.

I thought the same after the 32nd album, and now the 33rd,
and I'm sure before we know it, #34 will be in the works.

I sure hope so.

"Miss America" to CMT

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Miss America :: Press Releases

Ok, you have got to be kidding me. And, yes, I even checked to see if it was a joke.

The Miss America pageant is coming to CMT.

CMT is owned by Viacom, which also owns CBS and UPN networks, all the MTV channels, VH1 channels, Nickeloden, Comedy Central, Spike TV, TV Land, BET, Showtime, and a ton of other entertainment outlets in radio, and movies through Paramount pictures.

ABC had the rights to the show, but dropped it due to low ratings. So CBS was not the choice for the show. But, why in the heck out of all the different cable outlets they own did they pick CMT. Come on.

This is exactly what happens when big business and individuals that have no respect for country music run a channel. Not that I have respected CMT for a long time in the first place. I think for the most part, they do a dis-service to the country music community and this is just one more thing that allows me to give one more reason at the problems over there.

I don't understand it nor care to. I do know one thing though. When January 2006 comes along, I will not be watching the pageant, not that I watch CMT as it is. GAC is my choice and will continue to be when I am in the mood for country music videos, which personally I don't watch that many anyway, and that's a whole other topic.

Looking For Country Music on Radio

Monday, June 27, 2005

For the avid traditional country music fan, it is really becoming harder and harder to find what I would refer to as "real country music." It's out there, you just sometimes have to search around for it. You have to dig even further to find new "real country music." I will blog about that one day soon. But, let's focus on looking for real country music, old or new.

FM radio now is out of the question for this search totally. FM country stations are pretty much identical. I don't care what the disc jockeys say or the commericals for the station say. Pull up the playlists and you will see exactly what I am saying. A lot of what they are calling country isn't country, and what little bit does show up is overplayed to exhaustion. In fact, I even heard new "country" music on the local adult contemporay station... and what is more scary, it fit in just fine. That should be a huge clue that something isn't true country... if the song you are listening to can fit into the adult contemporary format and not see it as out of place.

Next step in the search, AM radio. Um...does that even come on a radio anymore? The AM dial, which usually was a good place to find a decent "real country music" station, doesn't seem to be anymore. If you are looking for sports or talk, yes, if you can get the signal to come in, but country music, not so much. There is one exception to this, WSM-AM 650 in Nashville. Still to this day may be the best place to find country music, other than in your own CD collection (we will get to that in a moment.) In fact, I am listening to it now online. wsmonline.com offers a free Internet stream of the station. (Sirius satelite radio offers it on their service)

I have found the best provider of country music, "real country music," to be on XM Satelite radio. If you have read any of my newsletters, you may notice I pay a lot of attention to what is going on over there, because I am a proud subscriber. There you will find "Hank's Place." A great country music channel that focuses on the older, classic sound. Then there is "Nashville" that focuses on the late 70's, 80's and mid to late 90's. Then, to get caught up on the stuff the FM stations are playing over and over, there is "Highway 16." Then "X Country" is the alternative country, a lot of newer sounds that have some edge to it. Then they also have a bluegrass channel, folk channel, and a Americana channel. So, looks like satelite radio is the choice for convienent country music selections. (Sirius Radio also has comperable stations, but XM is by far the leader in the industry.)

Of course, you can always depend on your own CD collection to hear exactly what you want.

MSN - Music: Home

Sunday, June 19, 2005

MSN - Music: Home

MSN has gotten into the music sharing business. $0.99 downloads, however right now, through July 10th, you buy 1 song and get 5 free! It was a great deal for me for sure. Check it out. Really easy to use searching and all, just like the rest of the sites out there, and right now $0.20 isnt bad a song to try it out.

Shupe Group

Shupe Group

Right now, my favorite song, "Dream Big" by Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband.

Tomorrow

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Tomorrow, I will be heading down to Virginia Beach for a concert. My first at the Verizon Wireless Ampitheater; Vriginia Beach. Of course, a full review will be done after the show, but now I am just thinking of what I should expect. I don't think this show will be like any other show I've seen lately. Look at the lineup: Toby Keith, Lee Ann Womack, and Shooter Jennings.

This has potential to be a real country concert. Real country music, done like it should be. I guess we will find out tomorrow.

I am so tired of going to so called country shows and just being country-influenced pop show. Full of crazy effects and bunch of loud musicians showing off. If I want to see that, I'll head to a pop show. I want my country music straight up and fun.

Stay tuned to the website for a review and let's see if these 3 can give me what I'm looking for.

XM Radio - America to air Fan Fair

Sunday, June 05, 2005

XM Radio - America

Fan Fair, CMA Music Fest, week is upon us. As an XM subscriber, I am so happy that they are covering some of the events including a couple fan club parties and performances from the Country Music Hall of Fame.

XM satellite radio is most definitely dedicated to country music. They understand country fans and do a real good job at bringing the listeners a nice balance over the 5 channels that are country music related. This balance is also shown in the CMA Music Fest choices to air. Of course most of the performances are new country artists, since that is a focus of the event, but they also have performances from some of the older/ more traditional artists.

This upcoming week will be a real treat for the fans of country that isn't going to the CMA Music Fest this year to get just a little taste of what all goes on.

Favorite Song Right Now

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

You know, every once in a while a song comes along that you can't get out of your head, and don't want it too... it manke you laugh each time you hear it and can't get enough of it.

"Alcohol" by Brad Paisley is one of those songs. It may just entered the charts around #24 right now, but look for it to skyrocket real quick even higher. There is a clip of the song on his website, http://www.bradpaisley.com

Paisley has a talent for being able to write this kind of song. Paisley in fact is one of the most talented artists out there right now. He honors the tradition of country music, he knows how to make music fun atthe same time give the listeners some great ballads/serious type songs, but never forgets to be sure to make the listeners have a good time as well. He has talent in writing and performing. Plus his personality, which is directly the reason for his amazing talent, is country music perfection. The country music needs more and more of this type of person around. Not just like him, no, but artists who can take influence and his lead.

He didn't become a member of the Grand Ole Opry for no reason, there so many reasons he was given that high honor. I also believe this is still just the beginning of a long, enjoyable career for the artist. I can not wait to hear his next album, which is not ready as far as I know. The first single from it sure makes the album a good one to look for in the near future though.

My hat off to Brad Paisley.

Something Behind Brooks n Yearwood

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Well, look at this. It's official. Rumors for years
about "them." The questions in my e-mail now and then can
stop and the message boards now can focus on something
else. Garth and Trisha are engaged. Sure, its kinda a
big deal but not really, they have spent a lot of time
together and everyone pretty much knew it was going to
happen.

However, their is a backside story to this. Timing of the
whole proposal; I believe there is more to this than we
even know yet. Not about the actual marriage, but the
future plans for Garth Brooks.

Take a look at the last few months. A benefit
performance, followed by an appearance on the ACM Awards,
and also an appearance at the induction ceremony at the
Hall of Fame. Then last night's appearance with the
marriage proposal during the unveliing of the "Legends in
Bronze" event at the Buck Owens' Crystal Palace in
Bakersfield, CA .

All were made very public and I believe all for a
reason.
Remember the ACM award appearance? Did you notice his
reaction... the emotions could be seen in his eyes; he's
got the performance bug, bad.

Trisha Yearwood has a new single, so a new album in the
works, so the timing of this announcement is not just by
chance I don't think.

I believe that this boost is publicity is a preface, a
foreshadowing if you will, of what is to come in the very
near future. Don't be surprised one bit, and you can mark
my words, we will be seeing Garth Brooks on tour very soon
in some capacity. It may not be a world tour or some
large scale-every night of the week tour, but something is
bound to be in the works both from a tour and an album
prospective.

No, no inside sources or anything like that, but just the
feeling I have. We will see in the next coming weeks and
months if this feeling is correct.

Rascal Flatts To Perform "Bless The Broken Road" on American Idol

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Rascal Flatts Bless The Broken Road Lyrics, Tickets, Fan Club Street Team and Official Website - News & Information

Well, Well, Well, what interesting news. A "country" band on American Idol. Well, wait a minute. That's where we are wrong. Rascal Flatts is in the country category, but not a country band. Don't believe me, listen to any of their albums. I don't hear country myself. Many others agree.

Sure, they may be talented and have some great songs. However, I would not refer to any of their music as country. They are a perfect fit for the American Idol audience and goes right to their target audience. The younger female.

Want more proof their not country? No problem at all... You don't see American Idol calling any of the real country music artists in the top 10 this week do you?

Think about it, it is great to love all music, in which I do, but give credit where credit is due to true country music artists and groups, even if it is contemporary country or the most traditional country. Rascal Flatts doesn't fit in those categories. They know it, but certainly won't admit it anytime soon.

What you think? You can always e-mail me or post a comment below this post.

I'm Back

Ok, its been awhile since I have posted, but I actually forgot about writing here and then today I felt like I was missing something. The blog was it. So, keep looking here for thoughts and information from me.

If you haven't checked out the website lately, there is a feature article on Larry the Cable Guy posted which I am quiet proud of writing. So, take the time to go the website and check it out. Also, today a few new reviews have been posted. There even more in the works, but I wanted to get a few up so there was something there.

Anyway, check out the website http://www.countrymusicalive.com and I also have something else on my mind that I will post in another segment.

Nashville Star 3 Prediction

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

well, I am torn between Erika Jo and Jason Meadows, I love them both so much

my prediction though.... write it down, lol, Erika Jo will win tonight

well, the reason I believe she will is because she is really the first female on the show this a positive role model and has the appeal of "want to be like her"

See, there is a lot of females watching the show and voting. So, they are more attracted to the males, so, thats why the guys get the vote, however the impact of good role model and the strong will of Erika Jo has even more of an impact on the female voter,

I love Jason though, he is extremely talented, and probably will get a record deal with no problem, but what hurts him is he has basically one style, though he has perfected the style and is extremely talented. Erika is a bit more diverse in what she can sing and do.

So, watch tonight and see if my prediction of Nashville Star 3 Winner Erika Jo is correct.



CMT.com: News

Thursday, March 17, 2005

CMT.com: News: "Volunteers Wanted for 2005 CMT Music Awards Mosh Pit
Wed. March 16.2005 6:44 PM EST

Seats for the 2005 CMT Music Awards are almost sold out, but the show's producers are looking for volunteers who can help provide an enthusiastic audience on the main floor of Nashville's Gaylord Entertainment Center. Many of the locations in the free admission area will be in key camera shots for the April 11 awards show. Those on the floor will be required to stand throughout the entire evening without any breaks."


What??? Come on. This is amazing.


1st, mosh pit and country music do NOT go in the same sentence. 2ndly, if you want great shots of fans having fun, you create an exciting show to have fun at, not coach the crowd into having a good time and faking it. See, this is exactly the problem with the big media. They don't understand what country music is about. CMT, owned by Viacom, which also owns MTV and among many other media outlets, is trying to create a MTV persona to CMT. The only thing that a channel like MTV is like CMT... is the "T."

I haven't missed a CMT Award show in an extremely long time, even back when it was the Music City News Awards. Of course, it isn't the same show. I just may pass up watching this one. They are trying to create country music into something that it isn't supposed to be. Come on, bring country music and honor the makers of the music with awards in the tradition and respect that is deserves.

Now, LeDoux Gets Noticed

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Here are 2 things scheduled in memory of LeDoux:

XM Satellite Radio is airing an encore presentation of a conversation with Chris LeDoux, Friday at Noon, Saturday at Midnight -- and Monday at 5am (all times Eastern) on XM 10.
In April 2002, Chris joined XM's Shannon for a reflective chat celebrating his life and career, as he looked forward to the relase of his upcoming CD, After the Storm. The hour-long feature was recorded at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

GAC's Storme Warren will host a 30-minute special on the life and music of Chris LeDoux, Saturday night. As of now, it's scheduled air following "Grand Ole Opry Live."
Filming took place at the site of LeDoux's last long-form on-camera interview, the log cabin porch of Charlie Daniels' office in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee.
Included the GAC special is footage of Chris' 1976 bare-back rodeo championship, live performance, music videos and Chris himself.
http://www.gactv.com/gac.html

The Impact of Country Music Videos

Do you realize how much influence that a music video has on your interpretation of a song?

Take this example:

Listen to Toby Keith’s “My List.” Read the lyrics and come up with your own judgment of its meaning. My thought is the song is a reminder of life in general, remembering we aren’t here for an eternity. So, be sure to do the things in life that are important, with focus on family.

In my mind, I can see a beautiful day, front porch swing on the porch, kids around playing with a loving father.

Now, watch the video for the song.

The video gives the song an visual twist that has seem to have a large impact on the country music audience in their perspective of the song. The video portrays the events of 9-11 and the personnel. This portrayal may be somewhat along the lines of the theme of the song, but not exactly.

If you listen to a country music listener that watches videos, you will hear them add this song to the list of patriotic themed lyrics that Keith sings. If it is a country music fan that doesn’t watch videos, you will not hear a connection to patriotism.

The song itself mentions in no way 9-11, New York, or anything alike. The videos made the song take a theme of difference.

Videos have seemed to limit the creativity of our own minds. Interpretation of a song should be left to the listener, in most cases.

Are videos, to me, a bad thing? No; not at all. A video is a great promotion piece for the artists (just like radio.) Also, videos are a great entertainment source. However, I just believe that the video should not interpret a song for the viewer. If it is a song that has a defined meaning, then tell the story. If not, don’t create the story for the listener.

Country music videos have become a huge part of the industry. CMT, GAC, and VH1-Country, have all become vital sources of promotion. A video can make a song that sometimes may not be a hit, become one. The more exposure the artist receives, the better from the artist prospective.

Country music videos can be a very good thing and quiet important to the country music industry, however, the artists and producers of these videos must keep in mind the impact they have on interpretation.

My Thoughts on Chris LeDoux

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

It is yet another sad day in country music. The death of Chris LeDoux is a tough one for me, personally. Sure, LeDoux may have not been the most know country music artist, but to me in high school he meant so very much. Chris LeDoux deserves so much more credit in the mainstream country music community than he seems to get. His live shows were amazing, his talent of songwriting is at the heart of country music in sharing lyrics of true life, and his vocals were distinctive, fun, and could share a story perfectly. He has recorded with Garth Brooks, Bon Jovi, and Charlie Daniels. He influenced Garth Brooks...now, that says something.

LeDoux's music taught me something about country music and their fans.

A very good friend of mine in high school, that I have lost contact with, was in love with his music. If you wanted to see a smile come to her face or really get her singing and having a good time, pop in anything from Chris LeDoux. It would do the trick every time. She introduced me to his music, and I too became a lover of his music. Unfortunately, being on the east coast, LeDoux didn't make his way to the side of the country often. LeDoux reminded me somewhat of George Strait in some ways. LeDoux loved performing his music and writing, however, he liked being close to home and spending time on the rodeo circuit and his ranch. However, a little stroke of luck came my way and LeDoux came to a fairly large club in Greenville, North Carolina; 6 1/2 hour road trip from here in Richmond, Virginia. My friends and I planned a trip down to see him as a bit of a surprise for my good friend. We kept it a secret as much as we could due to being close to her birthday.

That night, I learned something I never really experienced in my life until then. I saw a face light up and an outpouring of intense energy be expressed by her when he took the stage. The connection she felt, standing a few rows of people back from him was something I will never forget.

What I learned from this experience has to do a lot with my dedication to music, especially country music. The intensity of feeling music brings us is extreme. The connection between the artist and the fan is also powerful. From that point in my life on, I understood music like never before. Before then, I was a huge country music fan, however with this little lesson in life it changed me. Music became even more of an important part of my life and has grown even more so through the years.

I can thank Chris LeDoux for this lesson in life. It is most definitely a sad day in country music. One of the great talents is gone. Today, he may be gone, but tomorrow and everyday of my life he continues to be a part of mine through this story I have shared.

Thank you to my friend, wherever she may be, and thank you Chris for your music.

For more about Chris LeDoux:
http://www.chrisledoux.com/

Country Music Alive:
http://www.countrymusicalive.com



Merle Kilgore

Monday, February 07, 2005

Yesterday, Merle Kilgore died at the age of 70 from
congestive heart failure from medical complications
related to cancer.

Kilgore was one of those country music industry
individuals that you may not hear from very much as far as
in music, but certainly was a very important part of the
industry. He will be missed greatly.

Kilgore was most known for co-writing"Ring of Fire" with
June Carter Cash. He also wrote "More and More" for Webb
Pierce and "Wolverton Mountain" for Claude King. Kilgore
also performed on his own, opening for Hank Williams, Jr.
that he managed.

Kilgore is probably most known for his management of Hank
Williams, Jr. He actually began his relationship with the
Williams family when Hank Williams, Sr. was playing on the
Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, Louisiana where Kilgore
grew up. He asked Hank Williams, Sr. if he could carry
his guitar for him up to the studio, since the elevator
was out of service. Never did Kilgore know many years
later that he would be managing Hank Williams Sr.'s son.

Kilgore also was an actor, with a a part in "Coal Miner's
Daughter."

Kilgore was the Country Music Association's 1st Manager of
the Year in 1980. Kilgore was also was a member of the
board of director's, elected vice-president of the CMA,
president of the Nashville Songwriter's Association
International, president of the Nashville Songwriter's
Foundation, two term president of ROPE (the Rite of
Passage Experience), Louisana Hall of Fame inductee, and
also was named Honorary State Senator of Tennessee.

Kilgore's legacy will never burn out and will always be
apart of country music. His direct influence through the
management of Williams Jr., his entertaining way of
providing information about who Hank Jr., and of course
the penmanship of "Ring of Fire" with June Carter Cash
for Johnny.

My heart filled condolences go out to the Kilgore family.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

On Tuesday, Lee Ann Womack will release her newest album, "There's More Where That Came From."

The album has been talked about quiet sometime. The album was created by Womack that she would do what she wanted and just enjoy making an album for herself. Kenny Chesney also released an album last week with the same thought in mind.

Both albums are amazing. They are filled with so much life and feeling. The "fun" they had can truly be heard in the music. The listeners can really hear passion when it is a its strong point.

Just maybe this will become the industry standard. What a thought.. do what you enjoy and not try to please every chart, radio station, and listener market. My thought is if you do what you love, it allows you to give it your all. Then, the rest is history... the listeners will love it, some won't of course. Then again, some don't like what you do when you be sure the sound is "radio friendly."

If all the artists would do this, well, then radio has two choices. They can either play what the artists put out or they can allow their listeners enjoy white noise of nothing being played. These two albums though should be an example. Kenny Chesney's newest release went straight up the charts to #1. Womack will probably do about the same thing this coming week. Both albums have already had had huge single success with just one song from them released. That should tell the artists, radio, and everyone else one thing:

The artists should make music from the heart, only. Radio, love it or leave it. The fans.. be yourself as well and love what you love, and leave what you dont. Music is based so much on personality of a person. There is going to be plenty you will love and hate. Nothing against the artist, but it just doesn't fit your style and liking.


Charlie's Soapbox

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Charlie's Soapbox

Charlie Daniels is one of country music's gems. An amazing talent in vocals, lyrics, and instrumentation. There is one more thing that makes Charlie Daniels such an wonderful role model to everyone. Why do I call him a role model? Daniels stands up for what he believes and isn't ashamed or scared to share his thoughts. In fact, every 3 to 4 days Daniels has something to say right on his website.

It is worth taking a look at Daniel's "soapbox." Whether you believe in what he does or not, it is a wonderful read.

By the way, Daniels has a new album ready for release in March. It is titled "Songs From The Longleaf Pines" and is a gospel/bluegress collection. I have a feeling this will be one special album.

Country Music Meetup Groups

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Have you ever wondered if there is a way to get a group of people together just to dicuss country music and make a few new friends?

Well, meetup.com is the place for just that. Here how it works in a nutshell. Search the website using your zip code and it will list the groups in your area. Don't see your interest/topic in the list, you can create a group. Others in the area join the group. Then, you decide on a place to meet such as a resturant.

What a cool idea and ideal for country music fans I think. Take the time to join one on your area. If you are in the Richmond, VA area, I am the organizer for the group.

Oh, it is totally free.

http://www.meetup.com

or directly to country music groups:
http://countrymusic.meetup.com

Richmond, VA area Country Music Meetup:
http://countrymusic.meetup.com/4/

Concert Date Update

Friday, January 07, 2005

I got a response from the Patriot Center yesterday.

Apparently they made a mistake about the" Disney on Ice"
coming. And indeed, the tour is coming to the Patriot
Center on March 18. Country Music Alive, of course, will
be covering the show.

However, the tickets for the show dont go onsale until
January 15th. That's less than a month away from the
show. I don't like that idea one bit. It doesn't make
much since to me. It doesnt give fans enough time to buy
tickets, which turns out low sales.

I've had my Alison Krauss tickets for months. Show this
month. The same with George Strait, tickets went onsale
Dec 4 for a Jan 20. That's the way it should be.

Country records are best-sellers in 2004 - Thursday, 01/06/05

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Country records are best-sellers in 2004 - Thursday, 01/06/05

Take a look at this article in the Tennessean. It is a really well written look at the past year just in sales. It also confirms the 12% rise in country music sales for 2004. Pretty good to hear, thats for sure.

This article uses Nielsen Soundscan for the figures while what has been most seen in the past week would have been Billboard's numbers. The biggest difference, as noted in the article, is Nielsen uses the calendar year for sales figures. Billboard collects December 2003-November 2004.

Checking Concert Schedules

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

You know, you always hear.. "always check with the venue
before planning to travel for concerts..." I always
thought that it was just the normal legal speech to cover
the person who put the information up in the first place.

Well..

Andy Griggs, Sara Evans, and Brad Paisley have teamed up
for what could be one of the best tours of 2005, and its
only January. The schedule on both Evans' and Paisley's
official website and Pollstar.com list a date for the
Patriot Center on February 18, 2005. The wait for ticket
onsale has been a long one, with no listing on the Patriot
Center's website nor Ticketmaster.com.

Today, the Patriot Center's website posted a Disney on Ice
event for the night that is scheduled.

So, the saga will continue... Will keep you updated on
what I find out about the actual date or what is going on.