Lonestar "My Christmas List"

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Has the Christmas music bug gotten ahold of you yet? Well, if you have stopped by a Cracker Barrel, you may have seen the new release from Lonestar. It's a Christmas album featuring the new lead singer, Cody Collins.

The album has 9 classic songs and 2 new Christmas songs. They seems to be the trend of Christmas album these days; drop in a few new ones rather than trying to record a totally new song project. I guess a few new ones isn't as bad as all classic recordings. The classics are recorded with a little more pop sound than country, to me, but again, that's the current trend in country, unfortunately

"That's What Christmas Is For" and "My Christmas List" are the new tracks featured. Both having pretty much a common theme to them, wouldn't say instant classics, but pretty decent tracks. "Christmas List" deals with how we become older in life our list for Christmas changes from the younger Matchbox cars to the older wanting peace on Earth, troops safety and health of family. This song did make me stop a moment and think to myself that I indeed agree. The other song talks about the more family tradition and true meaning of Christmas.

The big headline though for this album is that its the first time we get to hear the new lead singer of Lonestar is heard. Vocals are crisp and clean, quiet radio friendly, I must say. However, Lonestar fans from their first album aren't going to adjust very easily I don't believe. Its a new group in my opinion when the lead singer leaves.

Remember, this album is available only at Cracker Barrel... that's another blog for another time.

Glen Campbell: Good Times Again DVD

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

TimeLife.comGlen Campbell: Good Times Again DVD

What a cool DVD, man, there is some good treasures out there. This is one of them, this single DVD has great performances from Glen Campbell himself, as well as duets with Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and more. Oh, yes, more like Roger Miller and Glen Campbell singing "King of the Road," one of my favorite songs, and this performance is quiet entertaining I must say.

The DVD also is great in the great insight into Glen Campbell that it provides through his commentary throughout.

This is the kind of thing we need so much more of from the legends. The Hall of Fame members, the Opry stars, and all the legends out there. It gives us not only some great music, but a piece of history to share and keep. Their voice and words preserved for us forever. I believe this type of DVD is so important.

A Visit To Circuit City

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tonight, I was out and noticed our newly renovated Circuit City appeared to be back together. This particular store is directly across the street from corporate headquarters for Circuit City. When you walk in, it feels a little smaller but more open feel to it though. Pretty nice. I began to browse around, and well I noticed the emphasis on video games. A large round area filled with video games and a few large screen flat panel televisions with the demonstration units there to play. I noticed the digital cameras, the normal electronic store merchandise.

One thing was very different though. The music section. We have a problem.

The entire music section was basically one row. Approximately 2 feet per genre. A little more maybe for pop/rock, 4 feet possibly. There were a total of 30 slots for country CDs. 6 slots, 5 rows. Maybe 10 deep. Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney, and the normal artists filled the front of the shelf, and if you dug behind the top CD, found a few greatest hits CDs from older artists. But substance of what is there is close to nothing

Its not just Circuit City; there is a new concept Wal-Mart store in our area that you notice a slightly lower selection of CDs. This is a retail trend. Sure there CD stores, very few still though. However, your typical local or chain CD store's prices are out of the price reach of many consumers for music. There is a big difference between $18.98 and $11.99 at a lower priced major retail store.

No wonder why sales of music is lower.

The music industry itself is fighting with the video game generation. No longer is the newest music release is what excites the younger generation, rather now the newest release date of a video game does.

It sure is sad that this is the trend. Yes, I enjoy a video game and play them on my very hard to find video game system, yet music still and always will excite me more.

The music industry as a whole, especially country, need to really think hard about how they market music. Get rid of the inconvenience of the copyright protection features that just frustrate the honest and market digital music more and more.

There has to be mastermind ideas around that can get the product of music back at the top of the consumers mind. Digital kits that include the lyrics, credits, the music, and the photographs is one thought, making the CD packaging thinner so more can get on a shelf is another. There has to be so many different ideas.

OK, I'm done venting... well, for now.

Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


What a holiday. Not only is it about the parades, family, friends, eating, and football. Its the days set aside to give thanks. I know, I know, you've heard this over and over each year that's important in the middle of the hectic day to remember its purpose. However, I am here to remind you again.

On this special annual occurrence, I hope that you will find just a moment, on a very personal level to acknowledge what you are personally thankful for. No matter how petty or how important those things are, remember them on this day. In the hectic lives that we live, that seem just to get even more hectic each day, it is so important to grab hold of the holidays set aside.

There is so much to be thankful for... Family, friends, the country we live in, the troops that support of freedoms, the things around us that we don't think about everyday such as shelter, food, a job, and so much more. From the less fortunate to the most successful, we all have things to be thankful for.

Of course, my love of country music is apart of my list of things I'm thankful for. It is something that each and everyday brings me so much joy. Whether its listening to the most classic or the newest unreleased music, it is such a great feeling to be able, in some small way, share my deep love for the music with you, the readers. It may seem petty, but, if you take a moment and think about it from your prospective in life, it may not. Just think, how much joy in the past year you have gotten from music.

I wish each and every reader a very Happy Thanksgiving, and in your private thoughts and your time with family and friends to be sure to take the time to be thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving,
Kirk Fitzgerald
Country Music Alive

Dolly Parton: on Macy's Thankgiving Parade, New Album and Tour in 2008

Dolly Parton - Better Get to Livin' - Single - Better Get to Livin' Get To Livin' --Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton has been a strong influence and extraordinary artist ever since her beginnings in 1967, when she was featured on Porter Wagoner's television show. From her hits like "Jolene,” “Coat of Many Colors,” "I Will Always Love You," “Here You Come Again,” and "9 to 5", Parton has always had the keen sense of remaining contemporary for the times. With her more recent focus on the bluegrass style, Parton has seemingly had a chance to broaden her talent even further.

Believe it or not, its been 17 years since a release of a mainstream country music album. We've had Trio Two, a gospel release, a honky-tonk album, a patriotic theme, a live album, and a few bluegrass albums, and a few greatest hits packages, but not a mainstream country music album. That is to change February 5, 2008 with the release of "Backwoods Barbie" on her own label, Dolly Records.

The first single "Better Get To Livin' is an extremely ear catching song, with those vocals of Dolly filling the room, with absolute no doubt whom is singing.

Boy, I can't wait to hear more of the upcoming album when its released. I have a feeling we will be in for a real treat. Parton is one of those artists in our music to get excited about new music from.

Dolly Parton has even started an online fan club with the standard features of today's fan clubs, including special ticket pre-sale for an upcoming 2008 tour, now that would be a treat to see.

Also, don't miss Dolly Parton performing at the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade on NBC Thursday morning between 9am-12pm EST

Charlie Daniels Invited to the Opry

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Well, here we go again... Josh Turner sure didn't get too long as the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry. Now, its Charlie Daniels turn..

I do have a question, why did it take so long? Daniels is a perfect choice to be an Opry member and will uphold the tradition of the Opry to its highest level. Come to think of it, he really has even without being a member.

Charlie Daniels is one of country music's most special treasures, some of the finest southern music has come from him. One of the biggest hearts and pride of being an American fills the heart and soul of Charlie Daniels. Daniels is the type of artist I consider a role model.

What a great thing for country music. Congratulations to Charlie Daniels and job well done Grand Ole Opry for inviting him, even though it may be many years overdue.

Country Music Gift and Charity Guide

Monday, November 19, 2007

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is this week. Unbelievable. Where has this month gone.

My Thanksgiving message will be coming later in the week, as tradition carries on, but today on the website, The Country Music Alive Gift Giving and Charity Guide has been posted to the website.

This year's new Christmas music, just a couple gift ideas, links to help your gift searching, and a collection of charities with a country music theme is now available on the website for you. Also, you can e-mail me for assistance on picking out those gifts for country music fans.

There is a banner on the front page of Country Music Alive to access the special feature, or you can click here and go directly to it.

Lastly, On Garth...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Alright, Im just as tired of writing about Garth Brooks as you are reading about it on my blog. I mean really, the man is one of the most influencial artists of our time and has passed Elvis for most selling solo artist.

However, this past Thursday I had the chance to catch the Kansas City concert via my local movie theater. It in itself, watching a music concert in a movie theater was a little odd feeling a first, but I very quickly became comfortable with the surroundings. I enjoyed the music of Mr. Brooks and watching the crowd reaction to his music, however the most interesting thing was to be in an enviroment where I could observe his current emotional reactions and his facical expressions during a live event.

At the end of the show, he made a comment that if you wait for him, he will be back. Well, Ive predicted a lot of things about Garth that have become true, and I'm ready to do it again... The wait won't be long for another chance to see Garth live. No, I don't have inside sources or even some magical potion to look into the future, but I did watch Garth Brooks come alive on screen. It was like, even though this was the 9th show, a re-birth of this power within himself came alive again. He was having fun. He was still as humbled and amazed by the audience reaction to his talents. If Garth can figure out somehow of making his top priority of being with his family remain strong and do some type of tour, he's gonna do it. Im sure the brainstorming is going wild in his head ever since he went down the final stage step Wednesday night.

If you went to the show or to the moview theater, you understand the feeling I saw out of Garth, and if you have followed his career, you know there is this huge burning desire to be back on stage and recording even more. Garth Brooks is a master of performance, talent, and marketing. If there is any way possible, without being away from his family and home for any length of time that will be of impact, he will be back on stage sooner. If that can be worked out is the key, if it doesn't happen, trust me, Garth Brooks fans will wait.... and will be there ready with our hearts and wallets open.

Ok, thats all for now on Garth, the new album is out, the 9 night concert sell out is complete, and now I guess I assume he is back home with his family.... and until his next announcement, interview, or whatever it may be, I will be here ready to write on it.

For now, thank you Garth for the new music and the theater presentation of your concert.

Clint Black Tour Review

Monday, November 12, 2007

Clint Black
Up Close and Personal Tour 2007
November 10, 2007
The Paramount Theater
Charlottesville, Virginia

After the extended wait between Laura Byrna’s opening performance and replacing the soundboard, the restless, but understanding crowd arose to their feet to welcome Clint Black to the stage, the near forty-five minute delay was quickly forgotten as the strong country vocals of Black’s “The Shoes You’re Wearing” filled The Paramount Theater in Charlottesville, Virginia.
No flashy stage, (rather very simple large drapes in the background,) no pyrotechnics, no acrobatic tricks or running around from side to side. Just a little moving to the music and some toe tapping was in store from Black. An artist, his guitar (and for Black, his harmonica), and the importance of the music presented on a simple stage is all a true country music artist, like Black needs. Black’s music, lyrics, and vocal delivery are of such caliber, there is no need for any distractions.

“State of Mind” was played early on in the show, giving new fans a sense of Black’s highly talented harmonica playing. Longtime fans of Black’s music were treated to seeing him play live. Strumming and singing through his vast of collection of hit songs, Black’s facial expressions were animated, full of concentration, dedication, personal enjoyment, and a personal connection with the fans. He was having a lot of fun and so was the audience, no doubt.

In between songs, Black told a few short stories and entertained the crowd with his excellent sense of humor; yet at the same time he brought the true-life lyrical power of country music to life for the audience. The humor was shared by the audience in such form as an absolutely stellar impression of Willie Nelson and a story about his father before singing “Nothing’s News,” a lesser known song by title, but more familiar by sound. “Now I'm talking 'bout the good 'ol times / Talking 'bout the good 'ol times / Bragging on how I used to be / But I've worn out the same old lines / And now it seems nothing's news to me…” Black’s voice powerfully rose through the entire venue, filling every crevice and onlooker’s ear.

Along with the new single, “The Strong One,” a salute to Mothers (especially single Mothers) Black also featured his classic sound on a new song, “Can’t Quit Thinking” to be released in February. The attentive audience was very receptive to the music. Black then returned to the hits, performing “Nothing but the Taillights” to the crowd’s delight.

At 10:35pm Black ended his set with “Like the Rain” and “We Tell Ourselves,” the crowd wasn't’t in anyway ready to leave... After a lengthy standing ovation, Black came back to the stage for an encore including “Killin’ Time” and Black playing the drums on a Steely Dan classic. Following Black's time of playing drums, it was time for one more crowd pleaser. From the "Common Thread: Songs of the Eagles" various artist tribute album, Black performed "Desperado" that again amazed the audience.

Performing just fewer than 20 songs throughout the evening, Black’s country filled distinct voice remained powerful, consistent, and filled the beautifully renovated theater.

The fans tonight that were in attendance are real country music fans; if they weren’t before the show, they were when Black finished. Black brought the audience just what was expected; a well delivered show by an artist of the highest level of musical talent.

41st Annual CMA Award Performances

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Alright, the show is over and the performances have had time to sink in. Overall, pretty darn good performances (not considering a lot of the artists could be heard, in some cases may have been a good thing)

I could go and bore you with a comment about every artist, but I will save you from that.

Let's highlight a few real quick...

  • Taylor Swift did a superb job. Professional as can be imagined. Really a true talent.
  • Brooks & Dunn amazing song, great video behind them, really enjoyed the performance.
  • Brad Paisley's addition of the high school band, Kellie Pickler, and Taylor Swift was just his style of a performance. Lots of fun.
Ok. That's enough.

As a service to you, I have composed a full list of the performances and the links to download or buy the music. Support this site with your purchases, please.

2007 41st Annual CMA Award Winners

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The 41st Annual CMA Award Winners

Kenny Chesney
Entertainer of the Year

Carrie Underwood
Female Vocalist of the Year

Brad Paisley
Male Vocalist of the Year

Taylor Swift
Horizon Award

Rascal Flatts
Vocal Group of the Year

Vocal Duo of the Year

"Before He Cheats"Carrie Underwood
Produced by Mark Bright
19 Recordings Limited/Arista Records
Single of the Year

It Just Comes Natural
George Strait
Produced by Tony Brown and George Strait
MCA Nashville
Album of the Year

"Give It Away"
Bill Anderson/Buddy Cannon/Jamey Johnson
Sony/ATV Tree/Mr. Bubba Music/Slow Run Music/EMI Blackwood
Song of the Year

Tracy Lawrence featuring Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney
"Find Out Who Your Friends Are"
Rocky Comfort Records/CO5
Musical Event of the Year

"Online"Brad Paisley
Directed by Jason Alexander
Music Video of the Year

Jerry Douglas
Musician of the Year

CMA Awards Tonight

Don't forget! The CMA Awards are on tonight.

Red Carpet Special
7pm EST on CMT

The 41st CMA Awards
8pm EST on ABC

Country Music Alive will have a full report over the next days... tonight, will have the winners list as soon as it can be typed.

"The Ultimate Hits" Garth Brooks

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The day has arrived, Garth Brooks "The Ultimate Hits" 3 disc set is in my hand, and in the player. Of course, the blood is pumping to hear the new songs. I put the CD in the player and "Ain't Going Down (Til' The Sun Comes Up)" begins and well I start to sing. I notice I've listened to the entire song, and then I finally have to force myself to head to the new song, that is the current single "More Than A Memory" Again, I'm lost in his music, physically having to think that I want to go to the new song "Midnight Sun" a few tracks down. Incredible, what a great song. How special to hear something new from Garth. I make it to the second, focused on wanting to hear "Workin' For A Livin" with Huey Lewis.... Garth style, and that's high class no doubt. I make it through to the final new song, "Leave A Light On" this is one of those power-ballad style songs that grabs you in and takes you on a beautiful musical journey. Give it to me Garth... wow...

As I'm listening, flipping through the cover. The great photography work, the dedications and yes, even the lyrics are there for you, if you haven't memorized them by now. Nothing like a well done cover to a CD.

The DVD is just another amazing experience, a roll down a visual memory lane, topped off with 3 new videos. Classic style videos like "The Thunder Rolls," Live videos from Central Park, televised videos like "Two Pina Coladas" with Steve Wariner, or "Beer Run" where Garth's takes his hat off to George Jones' entrance at the CMA Awards. All your special visual memories are all on the collection.

Those new videos are as high caliber as the rest. "More Than A Memory" is a beautiful rain filled video of amazing feeling. "Workin' For A livin" is a fun video featuring Huey Lewis at Atlanta Motor Speedway featuring NASCAR, with a emphasis on the Home Depot car. "Midnight Sun" is yet another great video starting around a campfire, with a little surprise.

Boy, Garth Brooks really knows how to do it, yet again. The master of marketing, music, visual experience, and well, just Garth. Every fan of country music needs to have their hands on this collection, and the Garth Brooks fans that say I don't need this one, I have everything he has done, well... I say to you, 1- no you don't, there new songs and 2- the videos all in one spot is pretty amazing.

Thanks Garth, yet again, here is another special collection for us. Thank you.

Country Music's Upcoming Week

Friday, November 02, 2007

Country music fans have a huge week ahead of us. Tuesday, Garth Brooks' new album/DVD package hits stores and then Wednesday, The CMA Awards. Wow.

In all the anticipation, it is important to be sure you share that excitement with co-workers, friends, and family. Not only the ones that you know are country music fans, but all of them.

Monday, Let them have that chance to feel your anticipation in the next few days of what it feels like to wait for Garth Brooks to release a new album, and then let them understand how much you enjoy it after you get it out of the plastic and listen/watch for the very first time on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, be sure they know what you are doing that evening; watching a showcase of talent from the past year and finding out who wins the awards. Then Thursday, share your thoughts on the performances and your opinion on the winners.

You understand the power of country music. You understand the great feeling the sounds make you feel and what a country song means to you; the true life lyrical journeys, the expression of feelings, and of course just the make you feel good party songs. Reaching out, just making a few comments on the upcoming week's events may be last one spark that is needed for you to birth another country music fan. They will thank you.

Stay tuned... we have a busy week ahead of us.