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.