“There’s a place for all types of country music as long as there is honesty and realness and a real human experience for the fans.” – Wynonna
Welcome to the 2012 CMA Fan Fest edition of Rock On Together. Although there will a few 80′s references thrown in just because of my recent exposure to “Rock of Ages,” this will be country music based. Whoop! Whoop!
Nashville was full of country music fans from all over the world a couple of weeks ago and even though us locals like to complain about the traffic, noise, tourists, etc….I secretly love it. How can you not enjoy a group of people who are fiercely passionate about their music. It always makes me smile to just sit back and listen to fans of the music talk about the artists and songs. It’s not about sales, or song structure or image or publicity. It’s just about the music that moves them. Isn’t that why all these artists come to Nashville in the first place? I sure hope so. CMA Fan Fest week is a time to remember why the industry even exists and I’m proud that country music is a genre that is good to its fans.
I got to meet people from all over, including Paul from New York (via Rhode Island). He and his New York friends were a blast and absolutely embraced the entire experience. Paul is one of those people who made me smile…and Rocked On Together of course.
Plus, I got to meet some really, cool guys from Ohio. A big shout out to Jason and Michael for Rockin’ On Together with me as well. And trusting that I wasn’t pulling a prank on them. These guys were awesome…as was my fellow Nashvillian, Grace. It was a blast getting to know y’all!
So have you heard about the YOLO craze? It took me about a week to figure out what in the heck everyone was talking about…and I’m still not really sure. The acronym stands for “You Only Live Once” and (although it’s been around for a while) is becoming a pop culture craze because of a Drake song called “The Motto.” Think of it as today’s “Seize the Day” notation. It’s great in theory. I was all on board…until I heard how it’s being used. Most of the time it’s being used as an excuse for people to do dumb stuff or be rude. Example: “I’m gonna record myself skateboarding off of this three-story building and land in that trash dumpster so I can be on TV. #YOLO” or “Took the freeway exit going 100 mph and just missed a pedestrian. #YOLO” No thanks. I’m not getting on that train. YOLO was going to be the music review theme, but I’m going retro instead. Carpe diem. I like that definition better. Carpe. Diem.
CARPE DIEM AND WATCH THE NEW “DALLAS.”
If you grew up watching the night time soap opera, the reboot will not disappoint. About 5 minutes in, I was hooked. Do you know why? Because they kept the original theme song and intro. Never underestimate the power of a theme song. It’ll make you come in from the next room to experience a television show. JR, Sue Ellen (There is no way she’s in her 70′s! She looks great!) and Bobby are back. The anchors of the original remain the anchors of the remake. We are one episode in and there has already been family double crossing, misunderstandings and medical issues. I cannot wait to watch the plot thicken.
CARPE DIEM AND TRY SOMETHING NEW
Which is exactly what we did last week. Have you been to Sip ‘n Strokes yet? It’s a cool little place in the Gulch where you can bring friends and drinks to paint a fun pictures. It really doesn’t even matter if you’re an artist. Trust me. I drew a vase that looked like Barney and I don’t think that’s what they were going for at the time. However, it was so much fun! There were lots of laughs. And you get to take your painting home at the end of the night. My friends are pretty talented artists, so they now have some art for their viewing pleasure. Grab some people and check it out. Just click HERE to peruse the artwork and register.
CARPE DIEM AND REGULARLY LISTEN TO GREAT COUNTRY MUSIC
Here are your Songs of the Week (country style):
1. “That Way Again” by Lee Brice. Two years ago when Lee sang this at 12th & Porter, I cried. It was that amazing. The recorded version is just as great. I mean “rip your heart out” great. “He used to love her like crazy. You couldn’t pull them apart. God, she felt so unbelievable in his arms. Now, she’s catching herself looking down at her ring every now and then. She don’t want to leave. She just needs him to be that way again.”
2. “Hard To Love” by Lee Brice. It is the current single for a great reason. The tune is catchy as well as meaningful. I think we can all relate. “I’m hard to love. Hard to love. No, I don’t make it easy. Well, I couldn’t do it if I stood where you stood. I’m hard to love. Hard to love and you say that you need me. Well, I don’t deserve it, but I love that you love me good.”
3. “Cupid’s Got a Shotgun” by Carrie Underwood. It’s got an old country feel with a rockin’ undertone. It’s Carrie-sassy and a whole lot of fun. She if you can sit still when it’s playing. “He gave up on arrows a long, long time ago. Turns out I’m too hard to hit, so he put away his bow. I might just keep on runnin’ from here to Timbuctoo. ‘Cause he gave up on arrows and I ain’t bullet proof. Cupid’s got a shotgun, aiming at my heart. I’ve been dodging bullets. I’ve been hiding in the dark. Sawed off double barrel trigger. Happy as can be. Cupid’s got a shotgun and he’s pointing it at me.”
4. “Thank God for Hometowns” by Carrie Underwood. I don’t really need to explain this one. It says it all. This one is for Stacie. We’ll miss you. “Thank God for hometowns and all the love that makes them go around. Thank God for the county lines that welcome you back in when you were dying to get out. Thank God for church pews and all the faces that won’t forget you. ‘Cause when you’re lost out in this crazy world, you got somewhere to go to get found. Thank God for hometowns.”
5. “Come Over” by Kenny Chesney. Lately, I have been back to loving Kenny songs. He always had a knack for picking songs by wonderful songwriters. This is no exception. I love those songs that have ‘a ha” lines. This one is full of them. “You can say I’m done the way you always do. It’s easier to lie to me than to yourself. Forget about your friends. You know they’re gonna say we’re bad for each other. But we ain’t good for anyone else. I told you I wouldn’t call. I told you I wouldn’t care. But, Baby, climbing the walls gets me no where. I don’t think that I can take this bed getting any colder. Come over. Come over. Come over. Come over. Come over.”
6. “Faith When I Fall” by Kip Moore. This song is great for so many reasons. And Kip sings it so well. “I know it’s been a long time since the last time we talked. I know I’ve been a stranger and that’s all my fault. And asking you for anything don’t really seem right, but the winds of change are blowing so I’m begging you tonight. Give me love when I ain’t got nobody. A little hope when I ain’t got none at all. Give me light up ahead on the journey. Give me strength when I’m standing and Faith when I fall.”
7. “The Dance” by Garth Brooks. I thought this one fit in well with the theme. Live life to the fullest y’all. You never know when it will end. “And I’m glad I didn’t know the way it all would end…the way it all would go. Our lives are better left to chance. I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance.”
8. “Drive Me Crazy” by Kip Moore. After immersing myself in the album, this is the song that keep coming back to find me. Love. It. It’s deep, but also puts a smile on your face. The man can sing some hot tunes. “First time was down by the river. Our sweat made both of us shiver. Don’t stop. Darlin’, they’re just rain drops. The moonlight was all around. Our breath the only sound. Baby. Darlin’, she said, ‘Take me and drive me crazy.’”
9. “Love Your Love the Most” by Eric Church. It’s an older song, but I still adore it. The lyrics say it all. It’s the love we’re all looking for or have found. “I love sleepin’ in on Saturdays and I love college football games. I love not actin’ my age and good BBQ. Yea, I”m a fan of Faulkner books and anything my Mama cooks. Small mouth bass have got me hooked on Sunday afternoons. Yes, I love good, cold beer and mustard on my fries. I love a good, loud honkey tonk that rocks on Friday nights. And Hell yes, I love my truck, but I want you to know…Honey, I love your love the most.”
10. “Elvira” by The Oak Ridge Boys. It might be cheesy and fun, but it’s a classic for a reason. YEEEEAH! “Eyes that look like Heaven. Lips like cherry wine. That girl can sure enough make my little light shine. I get a funny feeling up and down my spine. ‘Cause I know that my Elvira’s mine. Well, I’m singin’ Elvira. Elvira. My heart’s on fire for Elvira.”
11. “Country Girl (Shake It For Me)” by Luke Bryan. It’s official. I love Luke Bryan and his music. This one does to me exactly what it says. Come on, girls! Get up and shake it. “Get up on the hood of my Daddy’s tractor. Up on the tool box. It don’t matter. Down on the tailgate. Girl, I can’t wait to watch you do your thing. Shake it for the young bucks sittin’ in the honkey tonks. For the rednecks rockin’ ’til the break of dawn. The DJs spinnin’ the country song. Come on. Come on. Come on. Shake it for the birds. Shake it for the bees. Shake it for the catfish swimmin’ down deep in the creek. For the crickets and the critters and the squirrels. Shake it to the moon. Shake it for me girl. Country girl shake it for me, girl. Shake it for me, girl. Shake it for me.”
12. “Wrong Again” by Martina McBride. I love the twists and turns in this one. It’s a great explanation for the journey of love in life. Of course Martina does it more than enough justice. Not only does she have the vocal power, she can also interpret a tune. “And it seemed to me the pain would last. My chance for happiness had passed. Nothing waited ’round the bend. I was sure I’d never find someone to heal the damage you had done. My poor heart would never mend. Wrong again.”
13. “I Know How the River Feels” by Diamond Rio. I have been in love with this song for a bunch of years. This band is so spectacular. I miss hearing new music by them. The vocal blend alone make me smile. “Now I know how the river feels when it reaches the sea. It finally finds the place it was always meant to be. Holding fast. Home at last. Knowing the journey’s through. Lying here with you, I know how the river feels.”
14. “Right About Now” by Ty Herndon. I’ve always thought he was one of the best singers in Nashville. Ty takes those beautiful vocals and puts them on a song that it amazing. It takes a simple phrase and makes it something entirely different than what you were expecting. That, ladies and gentlemen, is great songwriting. “Right about now, I wish I was more than just a memory to her. I didn’t listen somehow. Well, she said, ‘You’ll miss me if you go.’ And I swore, before I slammed the door…I’ll never think of you again. Oh, I was so wrong back then, but she was so right about now.”
CARPE DIEM LIKE 50 CENT DOES
The rapper was interviewed by Oprah on the OWN Network recently and I was thoroughly impressed. I’ve always liked his music, but never really knew much about the rapper. 50 (or Curtis Jackson) is so self aware and insightful. There were numerous times that I related to what he was saying and learned something. Here are some quick tidbits…
1. He invested in Vitamin Water when it was a start-up and everyone told him not to invest. He ended up making around 100 million dollars when the brand got sold to Coca Cola.
2. 50 was shot nine times before he made it as a rapper.
3. He is full of amazing quotes like this one, “Either pray or worry. Don’t do both.”
4. 50 donates an enormous amount of money from his numerous businesses to charity because he thinks it is so important to give back.
5. He lives in Mike Tyson’s old house. And it’s one of the biggest in America.
Bottom line: I have a new respect for 50 Cent. Now I’ve got to go read the biography. People who are that life and business smart can only teach you things.
CARPE DIEM AND FIERCELY BELIEVE IN YOUR FAVORITE UNDISCOVERED BANDS
Because 12 years later they might end up celebrating their 12th #1 hit. They might earn at least one #1 song every year since 2002. They might become one of the most beloved country trios of this century. They also might continue to choose songs that matter. I’m just sayin’
CARPE DIEM AND DANCE LIKE EVERYBODY’S WATCHING
Because Donald Driver sure did! Holy Mother of Pearl. That guy performed the best freestyle in the history of “Dancing With the Stars.” I never thought anyone could beat Drew and Cheryl for best ever, but Donald and Peta did. Wow. Just wow. And I am totally allowed to include this section in the country music themed blog because Cowboy Troy sang. His “hick hop” was the perfect music for Donald, Peta and that dance. I wanted to cheer like I was at a football game when they were finished. Seriously. Amazing.
CARPE DIEM AND WATCH THE CMT AWARDS
Because they are usually the most fun of all of the awards shows…and fan voted. I know most of you were watching. Here are some quick thoughts on the night in “stream of consciousness” form. This should be interesting. Here we go…
I love the intro with all the celebrities putting in their two cents on who should host between Toby and Kristen. What’s all the smoke billowing behind Willie Nelson from backstage? Are they riding into the arena in a giant Red Solo cup?! If Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley weren’t already married to other people, they should be married to each other. They have great chemistry. Luke Bryan rules. Why did I start to fall in love with him and his music? I know why. He always looks like he is having the time of his life. Luke looks like he gets to do exactly what he is passionate about doing for a living. He gave his guitar away?! Nice. I haven’t seen that much enthusiasm since Garth. Love the Band Perry, but I’m still confused about this “Postcard From Paris” song. Jason Aldean is so consistently good. And he’s just cool. Little Big Town is the most underrated band in music. I want a Pontoon right now. There is something pretty perfect about Willie, Toby, Darius, Zac and Jamey singing a song titled “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me If I Die.” I love “Come Over” by Kenny Chesney more than any song of his in years. He can actually sing really well and sometimes that gets overlooked. Damien is singing on the side stage! GO DAMIEN and The Farm! Who is that singing now? I see sunglasses. That means it’s Eric Church and the crowd is loving him. How cool is it that Jake Owen and his wife are singing along in the audience to Kip Moore’s “Something About a Truck.” I love that Carrie’s music is always so sassy and it has that rock edge. The woman can SAAAAANG. There’s a girl with a banjo onstage. OHHHHH! I know what’s coming. Rascal Flatts! It’s Journey! It’s Journey! It’s Journey! And you can hear the crowd singing every note. Sing it with me everybody! “Just a small town girl. Living in a lonely world…” That, my friends, is a lasting and tremendous song. I give this year’s CMT Awards two thumbs up! Hope you enjoyed it too.
CARPE DIEM AND TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ALL THE WONDERS YOUR CITY HAS TO OFFER
And when it comes to Nashville, that’s the music. I won’t go through each, individual show since it has been a crazy few weeks. Instead I will highlight some of the best artists and songs from those shows. Over the course of six weeks, there were 28 artists, 14 shows, 10 venues and a whole lot of talent. Are you ready?
I got to hear Hurricane Doyle play for the first time in a long time in the friendly confines of East Nashville. I’ve missed these guys. The music is a little country, a little rock and a lot of lyrical depth. There is an edge to both the music and stories in each song. Check out “Got a Gun” and “Cocaine.”
If you haven’t heard Mama’s Blue Dress yet, why in the heck not?! This is a band of four multi-talented women. They write, sing and play on every tune. Some of them play multiple instruments and the harmonies sound like they’ve been singing together for years…instead of only six months. The sound is fresh, fun and folky. They are the Dixie Chicks with a side of Alison Krauss. These women can take a cover and make it their own and then switch to a bluegrass/rap song that just works. Listen to the music. You would be doing your ears a huge favor. Check out “Mama’s Blue Dress,” “All Through The Night” and “Blue Nation.”
Old Dominion is the kind of band who produces music you keep coming back to hear. The band is Springsteen with some Mellencamp and a whole lot of country. They are comfort music. It doesn’t matter if the song makes you smile or breaks your heart. When these guys are playing and singing, you want to hear it. Classify it however you want to…just make sure you understand the most important classification is great music. Check out “Slow” and “Day One.”‘
Mockingbird Sun is a rock band that feels like your hometown. They are comforting and real. Some of the songs provide a place to fall and walk you back to your roots. It only took me hearing their song about Nashville to love this band. “This town will make you reach down to the place where the sound of a true song is born. This town will bring ya to your knees. Will make you beg and plead. Baby, don’t leave me. This town.” Wow. Also check out “My Hometown.”
Will Hoge makes life somehow better when he sings. There is no one quite like him on the current music scene. He has found songwriting success for other artists recently (“Even If It Breaks Your Heart” by the Eli Young Band), but I love hearing Will sing. There is something very special about the way a songwriter performs and sings the tune they wrote. Nobody else can give a song that kind of care on stage. Will delivers each tune with a fire and passion filtered through a strong, gritty, textured voice. He makes music emotional…and each song he plays delivers a different emotion. Check out “Too Old To Die Young” and “Dirty Little War.”
Gary Allan can take a great song and make it a classic. He has the voice and the “it” factor to pull it off every time. A few weeks ago, he sang a song called “It Ain’t the Whiskey” with “It ain’t the whiskey. It ain’t the cigarettes. It ain’t the stuff I smoke. It’s all these things I can’t forget. It ain’t the hard times. It ain’t the nights. It ain’t that easy. It ain’t the whiskey that’s killing me.” Wow.
Have you ever wondered who writes the theme songs to some of your favorite TV shows? If you’re a True Blood fan, that would be Jace Everett (“Bad Things”).
How about all those songwriters who change people’s lives for the better with their music. I got to hear quite a few in these past few weeks. Here are some of the incredible men and women who write music that matters.
1. Marcus Hummon is a master of his craft and has written amazing songs like “Bless the Broken Road” for Rascal Flatts and “Cowboy Take Me Away” for the Dixie Chicks (among many, many others). I love Marcus music this much…
2. Dave Berg is the mastermind behind “Stupid Boy” by Keith Urban. It is such a sweet, heartbreaking, strong song. It is one of those tunes that I will never pass by on the radio or iPod…no matter how many times I’ve heard it.
3. Kyle Jacobs is getting numerous cuts lately and for good reason. The man has a way with words. He wrote “Still” for Tim McGraw and “I Can’t Outrun You” for Trace Adkins. However, the tune that got me most was a new one Tim recorded called “Nashville Without You.” It states simply, “It’d just be another river town. The streets would have a different sound…”
4. Brett James is an artist, songwriter and producer. The man is a talented genius. I had the opportunity to hear him talk about producing as well as sing some of the amazing 300 or so songs he’s had cut in this town. If you don’t know how big of an accomplishment that is…think MVP of the Superbowl…twice. He wrote “Out Last Night” by Kenny Chesney, “The Truth” by Jason Aldean and “Mr. Know-It-All” by Kelly Clarkson.
5. Tony Lane is humle and understated about his music. He shouldn’t be. The music is amazing. Tony wrote “I Need You” for Tim and Faith as well as “Letters From Home” by John Michael Montgomery and “Roll With It” by Easton Corbin. He sang song after song of awesomeness.
6. Rivers Rutherford is a man who has written many hits, but continues to deliver these song with amazing meaning. The night I heard him play his hits like “These Are My People” by Rodney Atkins and “Real Good Man” by Tim McGraw, he ended with a tune that I needed to hear at exactly that moment. Isn’t it interesting how that works. The song was a new one and led you through a chorus that ended with “When ya think you’re down to nothin’, Heaven’s up to somethin’.” Wow. Just wow.
7. Cary Barlowe can go from dark and sad in the tune “Cheap Wine and Cigarettes,” to sugary sweet with Lady Antebellum’s “American Honey.” It is that versatility that makes his songwriting special.
8. Rob Hatch is one of the co-writers of the current Jerrod Niemann single “Shinin’ On Me.” He also penned the #1 tune “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away” for Justin Moore. Rob’s music is always 100% real and relatable. His songs have the ability to take you not just back to a place, but back to a feeling.
9. Lance Miller is such a great singer, it’s hard to hear someone else sing the songs he wrote. He’s got that deep old school country sound and writes songs that are profound because of their every day themes. He takes a relatable theme and writes it from a truly unique perspective. Give a listen to the Thomas Rhett Akins song “A Beer With Jesus” and you’ll see what I mean. He also has a fun cut on the new Lee Brice album called “Friends We Won’t Forget.”
10. You might know Cledus T. Judd from all his parody songs. The man is hilarious. I heard him sing his most recent parodies like “The House That Broke Me” (to the tune of Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me”) and “Double D Cups” (to the tune of Toby Keith’s “Red Solo Cup”). Both had the entire crowd in stitches. Don’t be fooled though. Cledus is also a great songwriter in his own right. All you have to do is listen to tunes like “104 Amanda Street” to understand his talent.
There were also lots and lots of artists who performed the past two months. I know I’ll forget some, because every once in a while I go to a show just to enjoy it (and not work while I’m there). So to those artists, I’m sorry. Loved the shows, just wasn’t working those nights. Here are the artists who stood out when I WAS working.
1. Kip Moore – Brett James (his co-writer and producer) went on and on about Kip before I ever had the chance to hear him perform live. My only exposure had been the (now #1) song “Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck.” When Brett James raves about anyone, you listen. So I made a point to see a show and I am glad I did. Kip is spectacular. After buying the album, I never stopped playing it. The songs are radio-friendly, but also have depth. He interprets the songs with rugged vocals that have a smooth, gravel sound to them. It is comforting, sexy and fun all at the same time. I am now Team Kip. By the way, he also helped a guy propose to his girlfriend at the Riverstage. How cool is that?!
2. Oak Ridge Boys – If you don’t like the Oak Ridge Boys, you’re un-American. No, I’m not being harsh. That’s just the truth. They received two (well deserved) standing ovations at the Opry. Every person in the house was singing “Elvira” with them. They are seasoned performers who just know how to entertain. New artists should stand up and take note. Love those guys.
3. Carrie Underwood is one of the best singers on the planet. Hands down. She was also on hand at the Opry that night. I have yet to hear her have a bad performance. This includes a show a few years back where she had almost lost her voice. Somehow, she was still hitting those notes. There are very, few people who are as vocally impressive as Carrie.
4. Colt Ford is so interesting you can’t not watch and be intrigued by his show. This guy has a cult following in the South and I finally had the opportunity to see a show. Colt Ford fans are FANS. This guys sings a little country, throws in a little rock and finds time to rap within most of the songs he performs. There are no boundaries to his music and that’s what makes it great. You never know what to expect.
5. Chad Warrix is now making a solo record and he entertained a large CMA Fan Fest crowd with many of his songs. His current single is called “Rain on the Roof.” I love hearing Chad’s voice on the radio again. He was a part of Halfway to Hazard, an incredible band, that I was sure would be huge. Listen to some of their music. The songs will change your life for the better. Or at least make you think for a second or two.
6. Keith Anderson’s still got it. When I sit in the crowd at one of his shows, I’m reminded how many great songs he’s had. I forget how long the list is. Songs like “Every Time I Hear Your Name,” “I Still Miss You” and “Pickin’ Wild Flowers” are classics that I still love to hear. Now, Keith is working on another album. He’s been singing some of the new stuff and it’s so much fun! There is the extremely catchy “Tight, White Wife Beater”…you’ll be singing it for days after you hear it. There’s also the rockin’, good time party anthem “I’ll Bring the Music” that is made for parties.
7. Lonestar is back to their original glory. That’s right Richie is back as the lead singer! *cheering* It just wasn’t Lonestar without Richie and the new music sounds awesome. They had the CMA Fan Fest crowds happily singing along to all their past hits. I cannot wait to see what the band has up their sleeves for the new music.
8. Thomas Rhett Akins is a new artist who is full of energy! He was all over the stage despite the heat and truly looked like he was having fun. Most of his songs are country rockin’, but he also pulls off some incredibly poignant songs in their simplicity. I stopped everything I was doing to listen to every word of “A Beer With Jesus.” Wow. “If I could have a beer with Jesus, Heaven knows I’d sip it nice and slow. I’d try to pick a place that ain’t too crowded. I’d gladly go wherever He wants to go. You can bet I’d order up a couple of tall ones. Tell the waitress, ‘Put it on my tab.’ I’d be sure to let him do the talkin’ and be careful when I go the chance to ask…How’d you turn the other cheek to save a sorry soul like me? Do you hear the prayers I send? What happens when life ends? And when you think you’re comin’ back again? Yeah, I’d tell everyone, but no one would believe it. If I could have a beer with Jesus.”
9. Keep in mind, I do not say this without much thought. There are very few acts on the face of the planet who are as entertaining and talented as Jo Dee Messina. She is that good. Jo Dee is true to herself and her music and it comes through to the audience when she sings. She stepped out on the stage and hit a strong note to start “My Give a Damn’s Busted” and never let up after that. Jo Dee even shared some new music like “A Woman’s Rant” that had everyone laughing…especially the women in the crowd. There is a hole on the airwaves where Jo Dee Messina music used to be and I want to hear her back on radio stations soon. Jo Dee could go to a gun fight armed only with her voice, energy and comedic timing…and win. Awesome.
CARPE DIEM AND TRAVEL OUTSIDE OF YOUR CITY TO HEAR LIVE MUSIC
That’s what Brit and I did last month. Artist has to be very entertaining to get me to travel long distances to see a show. There is no doubt Phil Vassar is one of those artists. So…it was off to Kentucky. And this was the radio station that welcomed us…
Good times. Fried food. Carnival rides. How do you get much better than that? I’ve been listening to/watching Phil Vassar perform for 12+ years now. He is never a disappointment. He is pure energy from the moment he hits the stage until the second he sings the last note and crowds feed off of that. It helps that so many of his songs were hits…not only for himself, but for others as well. He’s got #1 songs for both Jo Dee Messina and Tim McGraw. Plus, he is a co-writer of that David Nail masterpiece “The Sound of A Million Dreams.” If you ever get the chance to see a live show of Phil’s…no matter how much it is or how far away it is…go.
CARPE DIEM AND FIND SMART PEOPLE FROM WHOM TO LEARN
There were two men who taught me things about music in the past few weeks. The first was Brett James. Did you know this guy was a few years away from being a doctor? He’s had over 3oo songs cut (that is unheard of in Nashville). Brett has this grounded common sense about him that works really well with the artist side of his personality. The combination of the two is what makes him so successful…with a side of hard work. In one hour, I learned a who lot about producing and the business in general. I love smart people.
Speaking of smart people, I got to hear another one of those speak at CMA Fan Fest. Scott Borchetta is on the genius level when it comes to music business. Scott is the Founder/President/CEO of Big Machine Label Group and is best known for discovering a young artist by the name of Taylor Swift. However, he has done so much more in the industry. Scott has built a group of record labels that house some of the biggest acts in country music like Taylor Swift, Reba McEntire, Rascal Flatts, Martina McBride, The Band Perry and (most recently) Tim McGraw. Those artists consistently sit atop the charts. He is always on the groundbreaking end of anything happening in the music world. Scott just signed a deal with Clear Channel that will more than likely change the entire music business model.
The man is a creative thinker who loves music and builds a strong staff of people around him. This is evident in all of his success. It is always fun to hear someone in the industry who actually adores music. Scott is one of those people. My favorite quote of the day was when he was discussing iconic acts before they became huge. “They were so extraordinary and so on-the-edge of the mainstream, they moved the mainstream to them.” Love it.
CARPE DIEM AND IMMERSE YOURSELF IN INCREDIBLE, NEW COUNTRY ALBUMS
Here are a few you should own. They are all different, yet all spectacular in their own ways.
“Up All Night” by Kip Moore – There is not one, weak song on this entire album. Kip understands who he is and what his music represents. The hotly, romantic “Hey Pretty Girl” has tinges of Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire” that make you reminisce, but is original enough to be fresh. “Crazy One More Time” has a beat as fast as the heart of the love-struck and will take a listener back to that one. “Faith When I Fall” is the anchor of the album and gives a sense of hope in those times when each one of us faces struggle. This album is outstanding and well-worth every penny of your money.
“Hard to Love” by Lee Brice – I’ve never been more proud of an artist than I was of Lee when this album hit stores. I have been waiting for him to release a group of songs that 100% represent what I have seen from him in local bars for the past five years. This is that group of songs. The first time though the album, I was smiling so much my face hurt. Lee has a unique ability to make every person feel like he is singing directly to him or her. This album takes that live show ability and translates it to sound. “Hard to Love” is the honest tune that stays with you and was written specifically for Lee to sing. “That’s When You Know It’s Over” rips a listeners heart right out of the chest. It is the over someone song that takes you back through the pain to get to the other side in three minutes and 17 seconds. “I Drive Your Truck” is a masterpiece. What a great way to explain dealing with missing a friend or family member who left too soon…and not by choice. Finally, there is a tune that made me cry in a bar two years ago. “That Way Again” is probably my favorite on an album full of favorites. These are the kinds of songs that Lee is built to sing. This is an album that will impact your life in all the right ways.
“Welcome to the Fishbowl” by Kenny Chesney – When “Come Over” hit the airwaves, I was hooked. It’s one of those songs that I connected to immediately. You see, I’m a Kenny Chesney fan from years ago. I’ve had a hard time attaching to his most recent albums. Usually it’s just a song or two that I buy from each one. However, this album took me back to 2005. It is spectacular. I’ve only owned it for about 8 hours so far and I have a feeling it will be played often in the next few months. “I’m A Small Town” is all about the great parts of being from a small town with an incredible hook “either I hold your heart or I hold you down. I’m a small town.” I love the song that revisits a past love in the form of “Makes Me Wonder.” I think most of us wonder at times. “Welcome to the Fishbowl” puts a catchy spin on life in this social media and reality show age. Kenny does a great job of switching it up on the album, but also staying with a consistent feel. I’ve missed this guy!
CARPE DIEM AND GO TO TWITTER FOR HILARITY
Since it’s been a while, there are three “Tweets of the Week”: “During the Laker loss, announcers said that Kobe will never say die (42 points, 0 assists). Apparently, he also never says ‘Here, catch!’” – Dustin Evans
“When one door closes, another opens. Because of air pressure.” Matt Shirley
“‘You’re my boo.’ – Possessive Ghost” - Sam
CARPE DIEM AND STAND UP FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE…LIKE DOLLY DOES
“If you talk bad about country music, it’s like saying bad things about my momma. Them’s fightin’ words.” – Dolly Parton
Until Next Time…