Sunday, September 27, 2009

Today's country music tidbits...

Luke Bryan is featured on, including a listen to his version of the song "Apologize."

Carrie Underwood will be the recipient of Nashville Symphony Orchestra's annual Harmony Award at their gala on December 12th. The annual award recognizes "individuals who have shown strong and continuing support of music in Nashville. Martina McBride received the award at last year's ball. Other past recipients include Amy Grant, LeAnn Rimes, Michael W. Smith, Tony Brown, Mike and Linda Curb, Lyle Lovett, Trisha Yearwood, Dolly Parton, The Judds, Steve Winwood, Vince Gill, Chet Atkins and Rascal Flatts.

Reba McEntire pairs up with opera star Andrea Bocelli for a duet on Elvis Presley's holiday classic, "Blue Christmas." The duet will be part of Andrea Bocelli's upcoming holiday album, and will also be part of a PBS TV special which will air in November.

Eric Church takes a break from his Young and Wild(er) Tour to return to his home state for a special concert. He'll perform before the NASCAR Banking 500 race on Oct. 17 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C.

Farm Aid is set for Oct. 4 in St. Louis. Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Jamie Johnson, Gretchen Wilson and Dave Matthews Band are scheduled to perform at the event benefiting American farmers and their families. Tickets are $45, $85 and $175 each.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Today's country tidbits...

Miranda Lambert sold out the Ryman last night for a performance of her upcoming CD, Revolution. It streets Tuesday, but you can hear it here now.

And quotes from Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton on their enduring relationship: "She's a person who can relate to me in a way that very few people in this world can," says Blake. "We're both from the same part of the country. We're both into the outdoors. It should be illegal how much fun we have when we're home. It's absolutely redneck heaven!" Miranda adds, "We love to fish, hunt, drive around back roads listening to music, and sit on the tailgate with the cooler. Literally, what people sing about in songs is what we do in our downtime."

Bucky Covington, after winning 25 grand on "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader:" - "Just like any good student would do, I called my mom first after the class ended. Arthritis hits close to home with our family and I had to let her know about the A+ win!"

Dierks Bentley announced some new names for his annual Miles & Music For Kids ride and concert on Sunday October 11. Darius Rucker, Eric Church, Wynonna, Heidi Newfield and Michelle Branch will join Bentley for the charity motorcycle ride through rural Tennessee to Nashville's Riverfront Park. Tickets are through Ticketmaster and start at just $20.

And finally, Wynonna was performing last night and a mouse ran across the stage. The unflappable redhead kept the show going, but remarked later on – "I must say, that’s a first!"

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Here's today's country music news & fun stuff:

Big & Rich's first greatest hits package is out next Tuesday on CD and DVD. 'Big & Rich: Greatest Hits' includes 16 hits, plus a new cut, 'The Man I Am Right Now.' The DVD includes nine Big & Rich music videos. B...reak-up rumors?'ll probably be at least a year before they come back together for a Big & Rich project, as John and Big Kenny continue to explore their own separate paths.

Keith Urban was interviewed for the Pentagon Channel's "Command Performance" show when his tour stopped in DC.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Your whole world can change in a flash.

We know this, deep in our hearts, but don't really know what it means until we see it first-hand, or have it happen to us. We witness the devastation that once was an orderly life and wonder what to do next. Then we look to our friends, and hope we've chosen well.

Yesterday my husband Bob came home from work early. Our yard backs up to a small creek, and since torrential rains have dumped a foot of water in our neighborhood in the past few days, he wanted to get home to check on things. He noticed that water was puddling in the front yard of two of our neighbors, and went to check on them after he'd found nothing amiss at our home. One set of neighbors wasn't home, but the other neighbor was, and he was getting a little bit of water under a sliding glass door. The two men came back to our house to get the big shop vac and by the time they got back, the little trickle of water had become a stream. Bob went to another neighbor's house to borrow another shop vac and in the space of about three or four minutes returned to find that the water had risen to knee-high and our neighbor was trapped inside.

With both of them working on it, they finally got a door open. As the water rose rapidly, Larry and Bob dashed up the driveway to higher ground. If things floated close enough, they would snag what they could: a pair of golf sandals, a plastic case containing barbecue tools, a partial case of bottled water. Other things floated out of reach: the extra leaf from the kitchen table, a separated pair of golf shoes, a cushion off of a chair. The water looked like Yoo Hoo and churned around and through both houses, carrying with it whatever it could.

In our neighborhood, it didn't sweep away any people. In other areas around Atlanta, it did. This morning's news reports that six are dead and many more are missing.

Larry has a lot of friends, and many, like Bob, showed up to see what could be done. One donned some improvised waders made of two plastic garbage bags and a pair of LL Bean muck boots and waded back into his house to get his medications, which had been left behind in his haste to escape the rapidly rising water. One gave him a place to stay for as long as he needs it, another offered his car, since Larry's was in the shop and the rental car was submerged in the garage. A case of Miller Lite was found floating, and that was snagged for Larry, too - his beverage of choice was rescued, at least, which made him laugh out loud when he saw it. To be able to laugh at a time like this is so valuable, so whether the beer is drunk or not, it's rescue served a noble cause.

In the midst of this, the other pair of neighbors returned home and were shocked to see that the tidy house they left yesterday morning was filled with two and a half feet of water from the normally-tiny creek behind the house. The friends and neighbors again started helping: the improvised waders were transferred to the wife and guys started going in to help the couple see what they could salvage, as well as get their needed items out of the house.

Community means a lot on a good day. On a really bad day, you discover what your community - your friends and neighbors - are made of. From what I witnessed yesterday afternoon, Bob and I are blessed with very caring friends. I wish the same for you, and hope your friendships aren't tested in such a drastic way.

Friday, September 18, 2009

It's the time of the year when the major country music tours are wrapping up. Kenny Chesney's tour wraps this weekend, as does America's Toughest Tour, with Trace Adkins and Toby Keith. Hope you got to at least one good country concert this summer so the memories of it can carry you to next summer.

Fall is about to officially start next week, and with it, cooler weather, county fairs and lots of football. High school football is a rite of passage for high-schoolers, and there are a lot of parents who continue to go to the games long after their kids have graduated and headed off to college. The reason? It's at least as much about community as it is about the games. It becomes another way to connect with neighbors, share experiences and feel good about where you live and the people you share your life with.

No matter how you spend this weekend, spend some of it connecting with the people who are important in your life. And if you can do that at a country concert or a local football game, so much the better.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Finally, the Taylor vs. Kanye mess is winding down, as he apologized and she accepted. That Taylor is a class act, who, by the way, is growing up and about to move into her first home - a condo. Bet she'll have better furniture in hers than I had in bout you?

Wanted to entertain you with a bit of w
eird news -A Kansas couple in their 40's decided to have a "romantic moment" in a dumpster. Two crooks, one 50+, one 60+, decided to take advantage of their distracted, semi-naked state and stole their shoes, jewelry and wallet. The suspects were caught quickly, stolen property returned, but no word if the couple also faces charges. This story is so wrong on so many levels won't your Wednesday be better now that you have that story in your head? Happy day!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Last night, someone showed some class and someone showed his...well, it rhymes!

Last night, Taylor Swift was the only country artist nominated for an MTV Video Music Award. She and her mom were in attendance, and it was clear when her name was announced that she didn't think she'd win. She got started on her acceptance speech when rapper Kanye West appeared and took the mic from her. Even then, she was excited, thinking something special was about to happen. It was.

But not in a good way.

This particular rapper has a history of shooting off his mouth at inappropriate moments in award shows. He's done it before, and he'll probably do it again. But when he took over Taylor's moment to shine and basically told the world that Beyonce should have won, not Taylor, that was like kicking a puppy.

It also brought on a Twitter-storm of support for Taylor, plus a few oddballs who were on Kanye's side. Whatever - as Mom always said, "It takes all kinds."

The event got country stars to tweet their thoughts, too, and I've collected a lot of them here for your reading enjoyment. Just a note - I've left them as they were posted, profanity and all. If bad words offend you, you might want to skip reading the artist tweets.

The show ended like the fairy-tale ending of one of Taylor's songs: Beyonce won the big award of the night, took the mic and reminisced about how wonderful she felt when, at 17, she won her first MTV Video Music award, and then called Taylor back out onto the stage to have her moment to shine. Beyonce gave up her time for an acceptance speech so that Taylor could have that time.

Someone showed a lot of class, and someone showed his...well, remove the c and the l and you'll have the answer. And Nashville showed a lot of on:

KELLIE PICKLER TWEETED: Tator Tot, you handled yourself with Grace. Kanye, go grow some f-ing balls bitch! don't mess w/my lil sis!!

RANDY HOUSER TWEETED: Pretty much would love to get redneck on Kanye's ass right now. Classless

TWO FOOT FRED reminded us: 2 yrs ago Vince Gill put him in his place! He said you may be all that Kanye, but you never received a grammy from a Beatle. Please – run over him twice.

GLORIANA TWEETED: congratulations sweetheart! Keep ur head up. We love u!

JOHN RICH TWEETED: KanyeWest is a lowlife. He needs to have his @@@ kicked in the middle of the stage right now! What a piece of @@@@!!! Go T ...

HILLARY SCOTT OF LADY ANTEBELLUM TWEETED: I wish people knew when to keep their mouth shut! Love you T!!

LITTLE BIG TOWN TWEET: Seriously Kanye??? Your apology was almost as lame as what you did...classless! Kudos to Taylor...proud of you girl.

BRIAN BANDAS OF LOVE AND THEFT: Kanye when're you gonna figure out you're NOT the "voice of our generation?" No one thinks you're as awesome as you're convinced you are.

BLAKE SHELTON: Sorry y'all but we're just a little bit protective of Taylor Swift around here!! Hey Kanye.. By around here, I mean the world!! Moron....

JUSTIN MOORE: I'd like to kick the shit out of kanye west!

RANDY HOUSER: Interrupting someone like that. I felt like a big brother to her when that happened. Wanted to kick his teeth in

JAMES OTTO: Kanye West. Is anyone surprised? It's a character issue. His is deeply flawed. He's made an ass out of himself many times.

JOSH GRACIN: Tired of Kanyes actions and then apologies.His latest stunt was uncalled for!I'm proud of u Taylor!The way you represented country music

REBA: So proud of Taylor winning last night at the VMA's!!!! Way to go girl!!!!! Lesson to all of us to keep a firm grip on the microphone ...

JOE NICHOLS: I guess Kanye gets off on picking on little girls. I guess that's part of his small man's complex. I wish I would have won an #MTV VMA. Kanye would be missing some teeth if he pulled that shit on me.

LUKE BRYAN: Just deleted my one kanye song off my ipod. Go Taylor and Conway Twitty. Boo Kanye Titty

BRAD PAISLEY: Poor shy,so humble,such a class act.what doesn't anyone like him?I mean come on! Just kidding of course.he's a total ass.

RASCAL FLATTS' JOE DON ROONEY: It's equally sad that one day he'll be remembered for his reticent remarks rather than his music! That is if he'll be remembered at all! JD

RASCAL FLATTS (unsigned-probably Joe Don) Kanye West means nothing! Everything he says is calculated & never wise......ever! I'm proud of Taylor for being such a strong young woman!

In the end, Taylor will win, because she'll probably write a song about it and make another few million bucks. Taylor, no one can take away your moment unless you allow it. Revel in the win, enjoy the trophy, and don't give the jerk another single thought. That way, you really win!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Today is the 8th anniversary of one of the most awful days in American history. Can you remember September 11, 2001, and how you felt as the horror of what had happened crept into your life?

Can you remember how it felt to watch the twin towers burn, knowing there were souls above the fire who knew they were about to perish and could do nothing to save themselves?

Can you remember the emptiness you felt, and the longing to hold those who had lost loved ones?

Can you remember the desire to do anything - donate bottled water, canned food, blood - anything to feel like you were helping?

Can you remember the sense of community that America felt that day, and for many days after? We put aside petty differences, focusing instead on what we could do to help our country recover from the blow.

Can you remember the American flags flying from houses, overpasses and cars everywhere? Today, outside your home or on your desk at work, do you have an American flag displayed? Maybe you're wearing it as jewelry, a lapel pin or maybe a pair of stars and stripes earrings. Today, especially, fly that flag to help you remember.

Songs like Alan Jackson's "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning" and Toby Keith's "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue" were born in tragedy, but continue to uplift us to this day, as the best country music always does.

Today, remember the sense of community we felt as Americans pulled together to recover from 9/11 and try to bring it to whatever you do. We are a community in the best sense of the word, when we remember to behave as one. May we not have to have another 9/11 to remember.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Today is 9/9/09. For everyone who turns 9 today, it's the ultimate champagne birthday. For music fans, it's finally the day to hear all of the Beatles' songs in digital quality.

Scores of engineers and producers have been slaving for years (ok, perhaps a little bit of exaggeration there!) to digitally re-master every Beatles song, and the result is being released today.

I've heard the resulting tracks, and can tell you the quality is amazing, and it's fun to hear instruments pop to the forefront when they were barely noticeable on the original recordings. If you liked the Beatles, you'll love what's been done to them.

The Beatles were influenced by country music, and country music returned the favor. Listening to the wonderful songs written by John and Paul, it's easy to hear the lyrical twists that have been a staple of country music forever. And listening to a lot of today's best country artists, it's easy to hear the musical and lyrical influences they picked up from the Beatles.

It's a great day for music, and a great day to pay homage to the cross-pollination that the best in music always produce.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Today is Labor Day, a day invented to celebrate the workers of our country. For a lot of people, the day is for shopping sales, having cookouts and wetting a boat keel. But for an awful lot of people this Labor Day, it's not a day off.

It's a day of work for police officers.

It's a day of work for fire crews.

It's a day of work for ambulance crews.

It's a day of work for hospital workers - doctors, nurses and orderlies.

It's a day of work for American men and women in harm's way overseas.

It's a day of work for the people who keep our lives safe, who take care of us if we have a problem, and for those who ensure our liberty with their very lives.

Have a wonderful holiday, but take a minute to remember those who have something more important to do.