Contacting Country Music Alive and Vacation Notice

Friday, September 28, 2007

Hi there everyone,

If you look at the comment left on the previous post, someone found it difficult to get in contact with me, well, I did not notice my e-mail address wasn't on my blog template. I have taken care of that now for you all. On the right side, you will see the link to e-mail me.

On my website, you will also find other contact information for publicity representatives to contact me.

I do not actually type my e-mail address out on any of my web pages or blog, rather I use an ecrypted mailto link to prevent spam. It really helps out a lot with that issue. I had a major problem with my previous e-mail address.

I love to hear from you all through e-mail and try to respond to every single e-mail that is sent to me. So, please if you have something to share, whether just saying hi, a suggestion, or want to discuss something in more detail, I am always excited to read it.

With that said, now, this NOTICE:

I will be on vacation beginning tomorrow morning through October 9th. So, there will be no blog updates until after I return. Since I will be on a cruise, I will have extremely limited, if any, access to e-mail/Internet.

Until next time, keep it country and...

As Always, Keeping Country Music Alive!
Kirk Fitzgerald

The Opry on XM Radio

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Wow, finally. A long time ago, I became an XM subscriber. I loved the lineup that was on XM much more than Sirius. Couple other reasons went into the decision, but what made it really hard was back then Sirius had the Opry. I made the decision to go with XM.

In September 2006, Sirius ceased to provide the Grand Ole Opry. So at that point, the only way to hear the Opry was on AM radio or in front of the computer and I began to wish and hope XM just may work out a deal to bring the Opry to XM, and today, the announcement was made my wish has come true.

I can't even begin how special the Opry is to country music fans, and to myself. Sure, you can listen online to WSM-AM 650 anytime, but you are restricted to a computer in order to listen. Also, if you weren't able to be in front of the computer when its live, you missed that week.

Well, XM now gives me the power to be able to listen live basically anywhere I want. With my XM device, I could record it and listen to it anytime and anywhere I want. Those without recording ability on their XM, they will have replays to listen to as well.

My country music friends, this is such an exciting announcement.

Just when I was happy as I could be, I got even more excited. Classic episodes of the "The Eddie Stubbs Show" will also be apart of XM. Now, here is something that is so special and absolutely thrilled already that I will have the chance to have XM access to this as well.

If you are a country music fan, XM Radio is now the ultimate choice for us. Just when I thought XM couldn't get much better, it did.

Here are the details at this moment from the press release:

Beginning with the Opry's 82nd Birthday Bash broadcast featuring Carrie Underwood, Travis Tritt, Ronnie Milsap, and more on Saturday, October 20, XM will feature the live Friday and Saturday night performances as well as the Tuesday Night Opry.

The country hits channel "Nashville" (XM 11) will feature live Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday night performances (Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET; Fridays at 9 p.m. ET; Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. ET and 10:30 p.m. ET;).

Encore broadcasts of new Opry episodes will air on XM's classic country music channel America (XM 10) at 10 a.m. ET every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, along with archival Opry broadcasts.

Many individual performances recorded live on the Opry stage will also be featured on XM's other country music channels, including Willie's Place (XM 13), Bluegrass Junction (XM 14), Highway 16 (XM 16), and U.S. Country (XM 17).

In addition to the Grand Ole Opry, XM will also add "The Eddie Stubbs Show" to the XM programming lineup. The popular WSM program is hosted by Eddie Stubbs, a regular announcer for the Grand Ole Opry, award-winning country music DJ, and respected country music historian. "The Eddie Stubbs Show" will premiere later this fall on XM 10.

The Eagles on CMA Awards?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Uhoh. The CMA announced this morning The Eagles will be appearing on the CMA Awards this year.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Ok. Do I like The Eagles? Yes. Are they some how connected to country? Well, indirectly. They have an appeal to country music fans like southern rock does to country music fans. They have a lot of fans that are also country music fans. Even though they may have a country music related sound, they are a rock group. They are a very good rock group, and amazing in concert, I must say.

Do they belong on the CMA Awards?

The CMA press release this morning talks about their new single being on the charts (top 25 on Aircheck) and a new album coming. Also, talks about how since the 70's they have been an influence on country music.

Ok, sure they have had great influence, but they aren't a country music band. My biggest thing though is this. There so many country music artists and so little valuable time on the award show to showcase the music from the past year and the artists. I think there is so many more artists that should be using that time than The Eagles.

We only have a few artists announced so far, but I have a feeling we are going to see some names missing from the performance list that should be taking their spot.

We will see as time goes on...

UMG Moving From Music Row: A Big Deal?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Well, once again, I was reading the new on the Tennessean's website (which I seem to read more than my own city's newspaper that is in the front yard,) and I learn that Universal Music Group is moving their offices from Nashville's Music Row to the new Suntrust Building, located near The Ryman.

In most cases, a story about a company moving their offices around within the same city isn't too much of a story. This though is a big story to the country music community.

Why you might ask?

Well, Music Row is an area of Nashville, TN, in the southwest section of the city. This area is packed with small house style buildings, small offices, and large buildings that house publishing companies, video publishing companies, recording studios, small record labels, and currently 3 of the major labels (Universal, Sony/BMG, and Warner Brothers.) For a country music, this is where it all begins. Pretty much 16th and 17th Avenues, a few blocks each way, makes up this special area.

Capitol Nashville is a few blocks away from the Music Row area, as well as Lyric Street. Universal Music Group will be making the move in December, leaving 2 major labels in the area. What is the big deal? They need need the office space, it will save the company money,and there is more parking available. Its not like they have totally left Nashville. They are moving less than 2 miles away. Yes, Music Row is special. Yes, it would be an issue if every business moved out of the area. But, just because one business made a decision based on financial smarts doesn't mean there is a dying Music Row area. In fact, I believe it possibly could be a good thing. Here is a chance for more businesses to come into Music Row. Also, If this move helps profits of universal, well, yet another positive action on the industry. Again, its not like their focus has turned from Nashville at all, they are still in town.

One other thing, location is not as much as a factor in today's fast moving- technological world. I don't even live in Nashville, and I get my information just as fast than someone in Music Row thanks to e-mail, fax, phone, Internet applications, MP3s, digital photography, and cell phones.

Teddy Thomspon Covers Country

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Numerous albums come across my desk in a month. Some are albums I request, some I have no idea who they are nor why I received them, and some I get contacted first and ask if I would be interested in taking a listen. The latter happened with Teddy Thompson's newest album "Up Front and Down Low."

Country music fans won't know the artist, he is a folk-pop rock artist from the UK. His new album though is a collection of cover country music country music songs. Some well known classics and some lesser known songs from the classic artists. It is an amazing listen. (review)

This album also brings up a few thoughts in my head that I believe is important. 1-the classic artists will never be forgotten by the true music lovers, regardless of what style of music you enjoy. 2-country music classics have influences in so many types of music.

Thompson's album is his own interpretation of the songs he covers. He wasn't "trying" to sound like the artists or just re-sing them. You can hear in his delivery that he takes extreme influence from the artists and evolved the music into his own style.

There many talented artists in all sounds of music that bring influences from country music and it is just one more way that country is one of the most important and popular styles of music in the world.

Jessica Simpson to Country?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

So, I've seen the reports that Jessica Simpson is going to do a country album... great. Um excuse me, I have to ask a question. Why??

Well, lets back up a little bit. At very first read of the headline, I had 2 immediate thoughts. 1> no way is this going to be good and 2> here comes another pop star that isn't having success to try to make some money in country.

Then, I read the article(s) and my mind changed a bit. Yes, I know you are suprised.

There a bunch of comments about being from Texas, well, that wasn't what changed my mind. Lots of people live in Texas and have no interest in country music nor creating it. But, there was one comment her father said about she being a singer and pop music has moved away from the focus on a singer. That hooked me a little, however, what really grabbed my attention was his comment about country music is the only storytelling genre left.

Now, here is someone that understands country music, and sure hope that his daughter understands the storrytelling part of country and will live up to it.

The first question, why?, well of course I dont know the actual answer, but it will sure be interesting to see what comes of it.

H-E-D-G-E, by Merle Hazard

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Tennessean ran a story about this in their "Online Buzz" area. Pretty funny I thought, and had to share it... He also has a website,

Enjoy! Tomorrow another detailed post I feel coming. :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sara Evans Divorce in The News: Overstepping Boundaries

Sunday, September 09, 2007,2933,296184,00.html

Well, well, well, as I was reading the news, or should I sat wading through all the non-news stories and randomness to find the news, I ran across this article on the front page of the FOX News website. The title reads "Husband Asks Country Star Sara Evans to Admit Affairs."

Yes, here we go again. A "news" article that goes just a little too far into the private lives of the artists. The article talks about a legal filing of 118 pages that apparently includes a list of questions that deal with whether Evans had sexual relationships with other specific celebrities/music artists.

Now, this information may be important to the case, but personally, I do not think it has any business being in the newspaper (where FOX News got some of the information from.) Yes, celebrities are in the spotlight and we should have some insight into their lives, I understand the interest. I do not understand, however, the media and their decisions in making private and domestic matters public, even if they are in legal documents that are of public record. Divorce situations are tough and get very nasty, especially when big money is apart of the equation. All of that should be left out of the media.

On my website when reporting news, I will report "...have filled for divorce" or somehting like that, and I believe thats all we should be told and should report in the media. The details, fights, blaming, and all the rest that goes with the divorce process should be between the families, and no one else.

1 Shot To Make A Country Fan

Friday, September 07, 2007

Alright, this is always a challenge in my life's journey. This challenge I have successfully done many times in my life, but everytime it gets harder.

I have someone that has not been exposed to country music too much in their life and has a open mind to exploring other styles of music. So, in about 20 songs or less, I need a list of songs that would hook anyone into the music I dearly love, and if you are reading this, you probably do too.

It can't be just today's top 20. That's too easy, for one, and more so the current list doesn't explore the music deep enough. So, it has to be a balance of the newest, that 80-90s era, and of course the classic artists. It can't be taken from a list of 20 greatest songs either, those are too familiar, but also important to include some of those type songs. This will be an sampler list to "set the hook," leading to another list of tracks that will bring the fish on shore.

When you have such a passion for a music, or anything in life, its near impossible to produce a list of this type. The list of artists going through the head is endless. The feelings each artist and song come to mind carry those emotions along with them too. That's the power of country music and thats why I am more than proud to be a country fan.

I will keep the blog updated with the progress, and of course suggestions can pour in as well.

Country Weekly, again...

Quiet sometime ago, maybe 2 years now, I cancelled my long-term subsciption to Country Weekly. I got fed up with it. Well, this past week, I was standing in line and saw the cover mentioned a "special report" on country music fans and the incident with Tim McGraw on stage incident and also fan-stalkers and such.

I knew when I bought it, I would be disappointed, and here I go.

First of all, since Ive picked up an issue it has been physically trimmed down to the "normal" magazine size, instead of its old size. The paper weight is a bit heavier. The articles, if you can actually find them, are pretty decent, but nothing overly exciting or of great penmenship. The pictures are as they were before my cancellation. A couple good ones here and there, but then again mostly press stock photos that any media outlet can use (including my own site.)
Here are a few of my simple problems with Country Weekly:

  • It takes 24 pages to make it to the first actual article. A 3/4 page article actually begins on page 25.
  • Out of 72 pages, only about 11 pages have any substantive writing on it. If I'm going to be paying for a magazine, I informative, enjoyable, and substantive writings. Not a bunch of fluffy-pop quick written news bits. Give me a break! The articles that are in (the 11 pages,) are decent but again, no prize winners either.
  • The actual "special report" really gave no detail or a real deep insight to the issue.

My major problem with this magazine is showcased nicely.

Their priorities are screwed up. Tim McGraw is on the cover. There is a couple sentence mini-paragraph about the Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees! The highest honor a country music can be given and one of the most important events of the year get a paragraph, barely.

Roy Clark, Merle Haggard both have articles in this edition. Thats awesome. I was thrilled to see that, but Roy Clark not mentioned on the front cover, Merle Haggard is, but barely in a small black box near the address label.

This is absurd! The Hall of Famers should be on the cover, major mention of Haggard, Clark, and give me newsworthy information in an professional-informative way. Until then, I will continue to do with out Country Weekly.

There needs to be a good, in-depth, and informative country music magazine. If I had the cash to get it going, I would! I know Country Weekly is a product of the popular country music sounds and is published by the same company that does the National Enquier and many other magazines. So, I can't blame them, really. However, there is a need for a major magazine for real country music fans that want in depth, hard core country music insight.

CMA Award Nominations

Monday, September 03, 2007

The past week, I was busy writing the Van Zant article, mentioned earlier on the blog. So, I hadn't gotten around to making comments on the CMA nominations.

First, the headline I guess. Brad Paisley and George Strait tie with the most nominations, with 5 each. Kenny Chesney, Alison Krauss and Martina McBride tie for 2nd with 4 each.

Now, as far as the actual predictions, I will post them this week over on my
CMA Award Viewer's Guide website that has a place for my predictions, a collection of albums to buy, and lots more.

But, now, what do the nominated artists say about the CMA membership (which I am apart of in full disclosure) and their thoughts on the best of country music in the past year?

It is very interesting I think.

There is a divide in opinion, but a leading edge given to more traditional artists. Brad Paisley and George Strait both are more of traditional style artists. You look through the list and see more pop-slanted, yet still country artists nominated as well, but no real trend.

Album of the Year surprised me a little bit with the nominations, especially Dierks Bentley. A great album, but I really believe there a couple that deserve the nomination a little more. Big & Rich also show up. A group that is very new country, however, "Lost In This Moment" is an amazing song, and the CMA membership I believe really stepped up to the plate and though may not be the most traditional sounding band, recognized the talent in this song.

The toughest categories I see this year comes in the Horizon Award and Song of the Year.

The talent displayed in the Horizon Award category is strong. All the artists, at this moment anyway, seem to be real solid in their career's future. Time will tell.

Song of the Year, well what can I say, these are some great songs. Also, some really good songwriters too.

Tomorrow, I will make my predictions and post them on my website. I have some tough decisions to make. I hope that I can continue to keep my just above 50% correct average. We will see.

Don't forget to submit your predictions too my CMA Award Viewer's Guide web page.

Van Zant: Dedicated to Music, Family, and Fun

Last night, I posted a special feature on Van Zant on my website, I hope everyone will take the time to take a look and download the article. I believe it is the nest I've written, article wise.

Van Zant is one great duo. Highly talented, great music, and you should be excited about the new album on the way October 9 ,2007. I hope this article gives you some great insight to Van Zant and the upcoming album. I hope that because these 2 guys are really know their music and are so proud of what they produce.

Here are the links:
Feature Website

Download Article Only
(PDF, right click link to save, click to view)

Feel free to share the links with your country music friends and on message boards.