Monday, August 15, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Sugarland and Sarah Bareilles were the featured performers at the Indiana State Fair on Saturday night. Sarah had just finished her set and Sugarland was preparing to take the stage when a huge gust of wind hit, estimated at between 60 and 70 mph, collapsing the stage. Five people were killed and dozens more were injured, with 45 still hospitalized. Many of the injured are "walking wounded," but several spent Saturday night in surgery and are still very critical, so the death toll could rise. Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland said, "We are stunned and heartbroken for the fans and their families in Indiana. We hold those injured in our prayers at this very sad time. There are no words to process a moment of this magnitude and gravity. There are only prayers for peace in the hearts of the bereft, and prayers of thanksgiving for those who were spared or safe. A piece of our heart is left in that grandstand." Sugarland was also scheduled to perform Sunday night, but the fair was shut down yesterday and the performance cancelled. Most of Sugarland's staging and band equipment is onstage, tangled in the lighting rig and broken stage supports. A concert-goer shot this video of the stage collapse...

Here's a high-def video from another angle. As you watch, notice people running to, not from, the collapsed stage and light rigging. That's the spirit of America on display there - people rushing to help in a tragedy. YouTube has age-restricted this video, so you may have to sign in and verify your birthdate to see it.

The Indiana State Fair will re-open this morning, starting with a service for those who lost their lives. The concerts will resume on Wednesday night. No word on whether or when Sugarland's show will happen.

Taylor Swift is well-known for her heart-hands, a gesture she flashes to fans from stage. She started making a heart symbol with her hands when she was in high school, and explains that the meaning is somewhere between "hello" and "I love you." She uses it to express her appreciation for fans. “It’s not like meeting a stranger, it’s sort of like saying hello to someone that I already know is on the same page with me. And I just feel so thankful to have that understanding between us. I just have so much fun with them. They’re incredibly cool people and I’m really happy that I get to spend the summer with them.”

In other, less fun, Taylor news, six Nashville police officers have been suspended after accepting an off-duty job escorting Taylor around town. Firefly Entertainment contracted with the officers, who were initially given the go-ahead to do the job by their higher-ups. Then the top brass told the officers, no, they couldn't take the gig, but the officers decided to do it anyway, hoping their superiors wouldn't find out. They did. Firefly is working to mend fences, and their spokesperson says Taylor was unaware of and is not responsible for the issue.

When George Strait's "Here for a Good Time" lands in stores on September 6th, we'll get to hear George duet with Faith Hill. The song is "A Showman's Life," the same song that appeared on Gary Alan's "See if I Care" cd. His version of the tune is a collaboration with Willie Nelson.

In more George Strait news, he tops Billboard's list of the hottest 25 country artists from 1985 through 2011. Garth Brooks is second, Reba is third, Alan Jackson is fourth and Tim McGraw is fifth.

Kellie Pickler will play a country music singer on the CW's "90210" next month. She'll perform her new single, "Tough."

If you've been waiting to get Scotty McCreery's and Lauren Alaina's debut cd's, your wait is nearly over. Release dates have been set for them both: Scotty's "Clear as Day" comes out October 4th and Lauren Alaina's "Wildflower" drops October 11th.

Congratulations to Vince Gill, who celebrated his 20th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night.

The tweet of the day is from Blake Shelton: "My prayers to the people at the Sugarland concert in Indianapolis.... Absolutely shocking and hard to comprehend... Beyond belief..."