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.