Sunday, December 31, 2006

It's a Wrap!

The Back of the Producer J. World Tour 2006 T-shirt would list the following tour stops:

Washington D.C.

St. Maarten
St. Thomas

Locations in Bold had multiple visits

Thanks for taking the journey with me. :-) I've enjoyed this blog so much!

Stay Tuned - the 2007 World Tour has destinations in the Southern Hemisphere!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Wall Bling

Last night a friend and I took our girls to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, which has been running out at the Grand Ole Opry House. The girls all loved seeing the Rockettes dance. I consider myself to be fairly limber, but I hurt just watching those ladies do those high kicks!

The Opry moves downtown to the Ryman Auditorium for a couple of months each year when the Rockettes come to town. There was an ad in the program for a Christmas dinner show with Pam Tillis that was running out at the Opryland Hotel that I hadn't heard a thing about.

At any rate, my friend and her husband run Lofton Creek Records, and she brought me some wall bling for my office. :-) Although I have to admit, I had no idea that USA Today did a chart.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Friday Programming Note

Artist Confidential: Dixie Chicks airs today at Noon Eastern on Highway 16.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

My 2007 Resolutions

1. Everyone has the diet thing on their list, so I might as well get it out of the way first. There needs to be a few pounds less of me.

2. Update my resume and make a resume tape.

3. Change my expectations of others. If I've learned ANYTHING over the past year, it's that a leopard doesn't change it's spots. At least not for me. Or maybe especially not for me.

4. Scrapbooking. *sigh* Let's not expound upon how far behind I am here, ok?

5. Home improvements in 2007 = Home for sale in 2008


7. Volunteer more. I'm a slacker of a webmistress and I really miss working with Room in the Inn.

8. Stress less. Accomplishing 1-6 above will help that a lot.

9. Run a 5k. I'm walking one next month with Delaynie, but that doesn't count. I expect the humiliation of my 46 year old husband doing one first is going to be good motivation.

10. Find Michele. I miss her.

Your turn.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Mail call!
The cool thing about having your mail held while you're out of town is that you come home to all kinds of goodies. And some not so goodies. The latest stash includes chocolate chip cookies from Brooks & Dunn (seriously, doesn't anyone send fruit baskets anymore?) a Christmas card from Dakota and Avery, and this beautiful scarf from Sandi, who wouldn't let me steal hers. Oh yeah... and a DVD from what's his name. Check out B&D's Christmas card. The inside says "From our herd to yours..." And Kix and Ronnie both signed it - unlike every other artist card that was pre-printed.

Roll call!
Ha! I have outed another lurker... this one a friend in Columbus, OH. Yay! Now I want to hear from the California contingency. San Jose, Rancho Cuca-something-or-another, and my hubby's birthplace of Glendale have all shown up this week. Who are you?

Phone calls!
We got rid of our home phone a couple of weeks ago, and added an additional cell phone line. (But are NOT calling it Delaynie's phone.) It saves us $25 a month, but I've yet to decide if it was a good decision. Has anyone done this? Feedback?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A Belated Merry Christmas

Hope everyone had a great Christmas - thanks for keeping the party going here! I appreciate the e-cards and emails too, as usual, I'm a slacker and didn't manage to send out any such niceties.

I had every intention of blogging from the cornfields, however, I wound up being highly distracted by these two cuties. Y'all will forgive me, I know.

US Country is back - it made for a very nice drive home. (When I didn't loose control of the radio to ESPN Radio or Radio Disney.) I'm curious to see tomorrow if we've gotten any hate mail for not leaving the Christmas music playing longer. For those who haven't gotten their fill of the eggnog yet, Holly, XM 103, is staying Christmas for another week or so.

So... what did Santa bring you?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Ask and Ye Shall Receive..

Christmas cards from Trisha and Alan - neither of which came through my mailbox. Photo courtesy of Paula.

Cool things that have come through my mailbox lately - food! I got a box of these amazing brownies from one record label, and today, a honey baked ham and a pecan pie from another! OMG I just LOVE Honeybaked Ham!

Massachussetts once again tops the states on my blog counter. The thing I love about my MA readers it they come from cities with cool names. Randolph, Marblehead, West Springfield and Braintree (I've gotta know the story behind that city's name!) all represented today.

The MA contingency, however, does not get credit for the coolest city name to show up on my statcounter. That, far and away, goes to the visitor from Kyonggi-do, Republic of Korea. Awesome!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Countdown Begins...

... I know y'all have been counting down the days on your calendars... palm pilots... paperlink chains... advent calendars...

... and I know that what you're REALLY excited about, has nothing to do with the fat guy in the red suit, or the mysterious boxes under the tree that rattle...

Let's face it. You're counting down the hours until US Country comes back!

I scheduled the first US Country log today. Since I don't expect y'all to stay up until Midnight PACIFIC time Tuesday (3am Eastern) when the channel change happens, allow me to tell you that the last song to play on Music City Holiday will be MG's Merry Christmas From the Family. And the first song to play on US Country? Why FILP of course!

Speaking of his Garth-ness, I'm sure many of you have already realized this, but the man is cheap these days. My Walmart has a big bin of his CD's for $5.50, and they've marked the DVD set down to $15! Yikes. And there's still plenty of them left. Instead of being worried that the ebay'ers would grab up the "limited" number of set and jack the price up, they should have worried about whether they could sell a million of them. I did my part, I bought three. Two of them are wrapped and under the tree... I wish I had the receipt so I could return them and re-buy them, saving myself $20. Maybe over Christmas break I'll get around to watching mine.

On a much brighter note, I keep forgetting to congratulate Mr. & Mrs. B for their Grammy nomination for "Love Will Always Win." I know a bunch of you heard it for the first time on Highway 16... I'm glad that whole experience turned out to be worth something.

Thanks to all of you for posting your locations below, and a special welcome to all those we drew out of the woodwork! I love connecting with country music fans from all over the world, the internet has been very good to me in that respect over the past 7 years. Special shout out to Cathy in Canada who remembers my CountryCool days. It's very nice to meet y'all... I hope you'll come out and play more often.

Those of you who have been here in the past 24 hours but haven't posted your location for everyone else to see... well quite honestly, I wonder what you've got to hide. ;-)

Y'all can quit bugging me about the photos... I get the message. I *may* share my headshot choice here tomorrow now that Sandi has fixed my hair (how's that for a great hairdresser? She colors it in real life and cuts it in cyberspace!) There's a couple more things I want to tweak if I can figure out how.

I'm contemplating blackmailing Kyle and Jon...there are a couple of really goofy ones where they're talking. It might take some serious chocolate for me not to share them with the XM Nation.

In the meantime, I'll share a slightly larger version of my own goofy one, which some of you astutely noticed is my new profile pic. Although probably not for long.

Taken, for those who don't recognize it, in the Rotunda of the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum. The mural behind me is the "Benton Mural" and the lower rectangle on the wall on the right is George Strait's plaque.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Christmas Card Dilemma - Part 1

It must be tough to be a country star. The simplest decisions, like which Christmas card to send, can be mindboggling. How best to convey the message of the season?

Do you pick out a favorite photo of yourself, so that your adoring public doesn't forget what you look like in this season full of jolly fat men wearing red? Because seriously... that baby in the manger is getting way too much face time.

Or is it better to show you and your favorite four-legged creature, to spread that warm fuzzy holiday feeling? (Seriously Josh... we'd much rather have seen the baby!)
L-R those pooches are Gibson and Moses, should you be wondering.... they both "signed" the card.

Perhaps you figure people have seen enough of your face(s) over the past year, and you can find something with really cool artwork.

L-R: The CMA, Diamond Rio, and Phil Vassar.

Phil's cards always have cool piano artwork, and Rio's features a design by someone from Big Brothers / Big Sisters, along with a message about the organization.

The Christmas Card Dilemma - Part 2

If you travel a lot - even if it's for work - it's probably best to show off a family photo from somewhere exotic. Just resist the urge to sign it "Nah-nah-nah-nah-neh-na, you didn't get to go here."

It was upon opening Charlie Daniels' card that I thought about not even bothering to send cards of my own. How can you compete with the Great Wall of China? You can't.

The illuminated cacti are from my SIL in Tucson, who does not have a record deal but always sends the coolest Christmas cards.

Of course, you can completely forgo the whole "card" notion, and send something that doesn't open, so you don't have to come up with a catchy greeting or anything. I'm particularly fond of the one on the right, because I took the photo in the Bobby Brady position of Grascal Munchkin holding daddy's IBMA award.

There are some more generic - although very beautiful - Christmas cards sent out by artists and labels as well, but those won't fetch me nearly as much on ebay. ;-)

Monday, December 18, 2006

Come out, come out, whoever you are!

I have this nifty little thing on my blog that tells me cool stats on the people who visit me. It tells me that I'm getting right around 100 visitors a day, mostly, of course from across America. I smile when I see Dalton, GA, come up, because I know LeeLee has come by, and I get a cute little Canadian flag in the middle of all the Stars and Stripes when Susan comes to visit. I wonder who's hanging out from Chicago, and I wonder why MA seems to be my most popular state, and I giggle when I see an ISP from a hospital in Central IL because I know I'm entertaining my SIL at work.

However... some of y'all... just perplex me. Don't get me wrong - I *love* having you here! I've seen UK (hello Dave!) and Australia, and I got my first Ireland visit today. However... someone is visiting me daily from Norway, and I have no idea who you are. I guess I'm entertaining you, or you wouldn't be coming back, right?

So today's assignment is if you're reading this - post a comment with your city / state / country. You don't have to register with blogger, you don't even have to give me your name. Just an anonymous little post, checking in from whatever corner of the XM nation you're in. It's not like I don't know you're there. ;-) So say hello!

Grammar 101

This might just be my favorite email EVER from a subscriber.

Sent: Friday, December 15, 2006 8:27 PM
To: Music City Holiday

You guys are so stupid to put christmas music hear on a country channel i enjoy and not only that, play the same christmas on 105, that is so stupid, maybe i better switch to Sirius!!!!!

Quite honestly... at this moment... I feel like the smart one in this conversation. ;-)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

* sniff * sniff *

My baby cut off 10" of hair today...

She wasn't going to go that short... we went in thinking just below the shoulders, so about 7". But if she went shorter, she could meet the 10" minimum requirement to donate her hair to Locks of Love.


Don't mind me... she was just bald until she was nearly 2, and we've grown and grown and grown her hair ever since she finally got some. *sniff*

Friday, December 15, 2006

Say Cheese

Anyone who knows me know I hate having my picture taken. It's pointless, because I'm never happy with the end result, so why bother wasting everyone's time?

Alas... the powers that be decreed that I needed to have a photo on the xm page to go with my bio. So today, with about 24 hours notice, all of the XM Nashville staff did a photo shoot.

The grief and agony caused by just THINKING about doing this was enough for me to decide 10 times over I wasn't going to do it. Guys - and I work with 3 of them - have it easy. Hmm... which shirt to wear - brown or blue? (2 brown, 1 blue on this shoot). If they really put some effort into it, they had their wife iron it for them.

For me... not so easy. I hate my hair style of the moment (although I love the color!) so there was the "Hair Up?" or "Hair Down?" Decision. (Down.) Jewlery is a tough one for me, and I spent a lot of time wrestling with "Do I wear a choker over the gash across my neck or do I photoshop it out later?" (Choker.) But most horrible was the "What in the heck do I wear?" decision.

I have been accused... of having an entire closet full of brown and black. I was determined I wasn't going to wear either for the pictures. I went to 3 different stores looking for something red that DIDN'T look like Christmas but WAS something that I'd actually wear in real life. No luck. Tried on 10 or more outfits back at home, completely tearing apart my closet.

The end result? Black. I know... you're shocked. But at least it matched my hair.

We did have some really neat settings for the pictures, which we shot at the Hall of Fame. Jon's was particularly cool. I'll let you know when they go up online - I should get them back Monday.

I have a feeling that no one but me and the photographer will ever see the ones of me. Which is good - no one will know I was wearing the same jacket I'm wearing in the picture with Vince.

The photographer, by the way, was Alan Mayor, who's shot SO many events in Country Music History - from Garth flying over Texas Stadium to Tim and Faith's wedding. There are several of his pictures (Tim, Dixie Chicks, and the famous Garth picture) blown up lifesize in the Hall of Fame. I'm confident that mine won't wind up there.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Overwhelmed? Me?

This was today's "To Do" list:

Buy Abbie's Birthday Present
Wrap Abbie's Birthday Present
Mapquest to Abbie's House
Pack Laynie for slumber party
Wrap Book Buddy gift
Upload and order pictures
Send JDC photo to Kyle
Send JMC photo to Jon

Call American Family & Equitable
Returns: WalMart and Steve & Barry's
Parent Teacher Store
Reschedule yesterday's missed Dr. appt.
Pkg. GN gifts
Mail GN gifts
Wrap Brad's presents

Mail Brad's package
Buy Giftcards: Tom, Mike, Sara, Shawn, Samantha, Stephen
Mail Barb's pkg.
Mail Diane's pkg.
Send check to Paul
Fill out expense report
Fax in receipts
Fill out ESP form - return
Fill out flex spending form - return
Next week's calendar
Email Britt
Wrap teacher presents
Christmas cards!!!!
MCH logs 12/20 - 12/25

Things in italics I actually got done. As you can see, it's going to be a long night.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Rewind: Brush with Fame

I don't have any idea what made me think of this tonight, but at some point while driving to pick my daughter up from choir practice, I realized that I did not share a brush with NASCAR fame I had a couple of weeks back.

Sandi and I are at the post office on a Friday afternoon, standing in line behind a little short guy in an orange UT hat. We're both trying to apply for a passport. He's killing a good deal of his time waiting talking on a cell phone.

So once I finally get through all the forms and such, and we're just about finished, Mr. Short Guy wraps up his ordeal, and leaves. The guy behind the counter asks "Do you know who that was?"

We didn't.

"Bobby Hamilton" he states proudly.

I'm hoping at least some of you have the same blank look on your face that I did.

Ever the helpful one, Sandi pipes up "NASCAR driver."

The other lady behind the counter gets all a tither and asks if he'd gotten his autograph. The guy waiting on me tells her sure - he signed the same form the rest of us did. Not only did he have his autograph, he had his home address and phone number.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Programming Alert!

I book so many different things, I forget what I've done. LOL. Jimmy Fortune is on with Country Dan tonight on XM 10 America. I've been listening. Lots of Statlers music. :-)

Here's my kids with their Snow Woman. (Delaynie said it had to be a girl.) Notice Delaynie in her Chiefs jersey! I believe that was one of (many) Chiefs things that Annette helped me aquire. Still getting good use!

And I have to show off the decoration we got for the studio yesterday. Or should I say - 13 decorations!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Can I buy a vowel?

Had a funny moment last Friday, in the middle of Missouri. (Ok, technically I was on the edge of Missouri.) My phone rings, a number I don't recognize, and I answer it. It was someone with Wheel of Fortune, asking if we'd send a crew out to cover Country Music Week, which they were taping in Vanna's home state of South Carolina. Umm... let me get back to you on that.

Jason Michael Carroll (you can call him Jason Michael, but don't call him Jason) was in studio with us today for a session of Hwy 16 Driver's Ed. Nice young man - very well spoken, a good interview. You never know with a new artist, whether you're going to get someone who's so green they can't hold a conversation, or so arrogant that they have a record deal that you don't want to hold a conversation with them. Jason was great, and sounded fabulous live. As I was listening to him singing, I decided he is a cross between Tracy Lawrence and Trace Adkins. He reaches down low and sounds great - like Trace. But there was something about his energy and twang that reminded me a lot of a young Tracy.

At any rate - there was a point in the show that was just... beyond goosebumps. More like a punch in the gut. Show will air sometime after the first of the year - his album is in stores early February.

The XM Nation Awards were announced this morning. Keith Urban for Country Superstar, Carrie Underwood for Rookie Driver, Rhonda Vincent for Bluegrass, and Brian Burns for the Best in Texas. I was a tad disappointed that the song banished from the XM Nation was NOT "Achy Breaky Heart." That may be the first song I play when US Country comes back.

Or not.

Would you like a photo of the snowy Missouri cornfields (do they grow corn in MO?) to enjoy? Sure, I knew you would. They had lots of snow once we got south of Kansas City, in the area where my son is preaching. Delaynie loved it. The kids had a couple of snowball fights, and they built a big snowman. Blogger won't let me add another picture, or I'd show you.

Home Sweet Home

Got back into town around 10:30 last night. Sunday nights at the airport are funny, if you've never been. Coming back from Kansas City, we were on a plane full of people in Chiefs jerseys (my hubby and daughter included, although we did not go to the game.) As I'm waiting at baggage claim, in came a gaggle of people in Titans paraphenalia (sp?) - the flight from Houston had just arrived.

Hope everyone had a great weekend - a reminder that New Music Roundup airs at Noon Eastern today on XM 10. Trisha's up first!

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Updated - 6:30pm CT
Just in case you think our weekend in Pigeon Forge was nothing but shopping and entertainment... I have photo evidence that Sandi actually had to do some work... yes... I trusted her with a bottle of haircoloring. And my head. The best part was when I asked her if she had done this before. Her answer was "I watch my hairdresser." Nice.

Although as you can see... I didn't end up with green hair or anything.

Sandi has a ton of photos that just... well... defy words. And laws of electricity. Seriously... the photos don't do justice to the Smoky Mountain Tackiness. If you ask her nice, she might share.

One more of my favorites though - the mantle at this BBQ place we ate at.. where I somehow managed to get a sandwich that was not in the least bit BBQ'd. Apparently there was not room for the kitchen sink up there - but everything else made it. I've added a few photos below too, including one of the MistleToe Roaster guys posing for Paula mid-show. BTW - if you remember when I first saw a preview of the show in August I commented that Santa had to go to Wal-Mart on Christmas Eve, and that I was sure this crowd could figure out why. We laughed hysterically when the punch line was delivered in the show (Langdon even commented that they had some Garth fans in the house that night.) After the show they told us we were only the 2nd ones to get the joke - Garth's brother Kelly had seen the show the night before.

I also added a picture of the promotional posters for the show. You'll see why I nearly fell down when I walked into the theatre and saw it.

Funny story posted on tonight. Click here to read it. I'll wait until you come back.

This is my favorite part of the story:
Yeah, Toby Keith was here,'' Schooner Wharf bartender Angus Cameron said. ``Came in several times with his big old security dude that weighed like 400 pounds.''

That 400lb. security dude is my buddy Jason, (who is more like 300 lbs.) who used to be the head of security for the Hall of Fame. I saw Jason just last week. He said Toby was worn out from trying to tour and be a movie star all at the same time, and was taking a couple of months off.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Today... is Wednesday.

I was just informed that. After trying to make someone believe it was Thursday. I'm glad it's only Wednesday, because I'm not packed for my Friday trip.

This is my little XM radio station in my Christmas village. Blogger wouldn't let me add it to the entry where I talked about it below. I did, however, add some pics of the Illinois Cornfields at the bottom of the page. Lots more photos to come, but I need sleep.

Had a delightful lunch today with Nina Fortune, whose husband Jimmy is the only Statler Brother I've ever met. She brought me Jimmy's new Christmas album, which you'll be hearing soon on Music City Holiday.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Brushes With Fame

I'm home. And suddenly, I have all kinds of energy, despite running on very little sleep.

My first brush with fame du jour came in the XM Cafeteria this morning. I'm waiting on my scrambled eggs, and I look over and see a guy in khaki's and a sweater who looks familiar. The conversation I had in my head went something like this:

"Gosh, that guy looks like the guy... what was his name... used to see him on the news channels all the time.... James someone... worked for Clinton... James... James... married to the republican who had a name like Marlee Matlin but she's not as pretty... Carlin? Carville. James Carville. How funny. Really looks like him. Wonder what James Carville is doing now."

Umm... well genious, that would be a radio show, for some satellite company based out of the nation's capitol.

My second brush with fame was my own. Or nearly my own. I discovered that I appear in a photo with Vince on Wire Image. Captioned and everything. However... they managed to spell my name wrong. Not only wrong, but wrong in a way I've never seen it wrong before.

Allow me to introduce you to our country crew: Jay Thomas (H16) Dan Dixon (10) Jon Anthony (H16) Marty Fitzpatrick (12) Vince, Me, Kyle Cantrell (14).

For the record - we're standing in front of the couch I slept on.


Clearly, when I suggested getting on a plane Monday morning after a weekend away, I was slightly loopy.

But when I really lost my mind was when I said "I don't need a hotel room! I'm not there very long anyway. Eckington has everything I need."

Well it's true, they did. See, I was booked at this ever so slightly creepy hotel in not the best neighborhood. I have some really lousy memories of the last time I was there - not as much related to the hotel as it was the situation I was put in - but quite honestly, I have no desire to go back.

So since our massive headquarters has both of my hotel requirements (a coffee pot and a hairdryer) as well as the basic necessities (a roof, showers) and I'm usually at HQ until late at night and back early in the morning, I figured what the heck, I'll just crash on a couch.

So, the Green Room was my home for the night. Which would have been really nice - it was private, I could kill the lights, and I had my own XM system. However.. the one problem was that the couch was not at all the big comfy leather couch like I have at my house. It was more of a square, short, modern uncomfy couch. A good night sleep it was not.

However, I didn't loose time with trivial things like going to a hotel, and have gotten all kinds of things accomplished. To the point where I could probably take the rest of the week off.

And sleep.

Monday, December 04, 2006

From One Suitcase to Another

When last I blogged... I was in Pigeon Forge, TN. I'm currently in Washington D.C. During the 10 hours I was home overnight, I remembered to move my makeup case and curling iron into my next suitcase, which I'd packed before I left. Hopefully by the time I get home again mid-week, my husband will have done laundry, and I can re-pack suitcase #1 for our trip to Kansas City.

Hopefully my husband still remembers my name by then.

Lots and lots and lots to tell you about but for now I'll leave you with a couple of tidbits -

Artist Confidential with Vince Gill was awesome. He cried.

Vince and Amy have XM in the car and in their bedroom. They listen to Bluesville in the bedroom. TMI.

Dave Talbot is leaving The Grascals to go to work for Dolly.
:-( There's a banjo player out there somewhere about to get lucky.

MistleToe Roaster was awesome. Had a blast with Sandi and Paula. The show was even funnier this time - they've tweaked it since I saw it in August. And Bryan Kennedy got a new Santa suit. Had dinner in Chinatown tonight with Jon Anthony, Kyle Cantrell, and Jay Thomas. One of those men... who shall remain nameless... refuses to eat anything adventurous. So I ate in Chinatown... at Fudruckers. I had an Asian Chicken Salad, does that count?

I can't believe I finally got to Chinatown and didn't have my camera on me. It was not NEARLY as cool as NYC's Chinatown.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Las Vegas for Rednecks

It had been a while since I'd been to Pigeon Forge, so I'd forgotten just how decked out they get at Christmas time. I have dubbed it "Las Vegas for Rednecks." Sandi is completely overwhelmed. Paula and I are in pain from laughing at her so much.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Wild Ramblings

Without a doubt, "A Feeling Like That" is still my favorite song on the radio. I just can't get enough of it.

I was listening to XM 11 today and heard Billy Currington's "Good Directions." As many times as I've heard that song I *just* today got that Miss Bell was his mama.

No hate mail on XM 11 please. It has a great mix of music and the sound quality rocks.

New Music Roundup is done. As suspected, it sounded much better when I cut it in my den the 2nd time, vs. cutting it in my kitchen the first. It doesn't air until next week, I'll remind you closer to the time. 58 1/2 minutes. Starts with Trisha, ends with Trace. Blog readers from New England to South Dakota rejoice.

I don't think I mentioned it at the time, but I worked with Brad Paisley a couple of weeks ago. He's a little nervous - and feeling quite helpless - about becoming a father. The best part of our conversation came after the tape stopped rolling. I told him to tell Kim to take the drugs.

I did not go to the Musik Mafia thing last night, although I was invited. Had I known Jon Bon Jovi was going to be there, I might have reconsidered.

Anyone reading near Cleveland? I need a favor.

Received my first press release on MistleToe Roaster today. 'Bout time! Although it's only for a show they're doing in Nashville, not the Pigeon Forge run. There's a great photo that really should have been serviced to the press on their website. I offered... but since it still hasn't gone out, allow me to link you to it.
If you aren't joining us this weekend around the Toe Roaster - feel free to tune in to XM to experience one for yourself. Dates and times found here.

And last but certainly not least... I took Delaynie to the dentist today, and faced that moment that strikes fear into every parent's heart. And pocket book.

He used the B word.

Monday, November 27, 2006

World Tour Update

Back from a Midwest leg of the World Tour, which included stops in Farmington and Quincy, IL. Nothing like the IL cornfields at the end of November. I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving weekend and safe travels with better scenery. If you look closely at the 2nd picture, I'm pretty sure you can see Iowa.

Up next:
Friday / Saturday / Sunday - Pigeon Forge TN
Monday / Tuesday - Washington D.C.
Friday / Saturday / Sunday - Kansas City, MO

I'm living out of a suitcase for a while starting next weekend... and hoping that my husband and daughter don't forget what I look like.

Have you had a chance to check out XM 105 - Music City Holiday? Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Contest Time

Every year at this time... the company I work for runs a little employee contest to see who can garner the most new customers through our Friends & Family program. This year is no exception. The people who win each year usually work in advertising and I'm convinced must buy email lists because they always have like, a thousand more referrals than anyone who works in programming. But I digress.

Even though I don't have a shot in Hades at winning the 7 foot tv or whatever it is that they're giving away this year, I **DO** want y'all to take advantage of the special deal they're running, which, for the first time ever, includes a discount on service too! And, of course, I don't want to be humiliated by not having any referrals when they send the weekly updates.

However, contest rules state that if this offer is posted on the internet, you're DQ'd and they lock you in VT7 and force you to listen to an 8 hour loop of "Who Let The Dogs Out." So I can't post the details here, but if you're interested, PLEASE let me save you some money and email me at ProducerJ - at - and tell me you want to join the XM family. I'll hook you up.

Monday, November 20, 2006

A Couple of Programming Notes...

Wednesday night at 9pm Eastern - one final Road Trip, a special mid-week episode! Appropriately enough... the night before Thanksgiving, we're headed "Home." This actually aired last Sunday too, I just forgot to tell you about it. Be sure to stay tuned all the way to the end for a special close. The show runs 35 minutes I believe.

While you're on the channel, you might as well just keep it on XM 17 and catch the last hour of US Country at 11pm Eastern. See if you can detect the theme... hee hee hee. And THEN you can hear Music City Holiday launch! (Garth is song #2... sorry.)

I'm waiting on the official air dates, but it looks like there will (finally!) be a new episode of New Music Roundup for December. Hoping it will air the week of December 4th. And no, believe it or not - it's not Holiday music. (Don't EVEN get me started on Holiday music... after the day I had today wrestling logs, I am quite the Grinch!) It does, however, revolve around the event that these photos were taken at. (Storme and I were outside, btw, which is why we have the red noses!)

Oh - and for the record - the song Mrs. Brooks is performing in that red dress is in BOTH of the above shows.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Giant Reba

...and no, I'm not talking about the Billboard at the West End / Broadway split.

I saw part of CMT Giants last night. It's hard... I think... for other people to cover Reba. After everyone - and I do mean EVERYONE - tried, she got up there and blew them all out of the water. Aside from the Martina / Kelly Clarkson duet I wasn't overly impressed. (I didn't see the whole show - didn't see Wy or Jennifer Nettles I know.) However, I was very impressed with Kelly. To be able to hold your own sharing a stage with Martina McBride is quite a feat.

I've interviewed Reba twice, and both times she gave the same speech she gave onstage about how her fans traveled with her to Broadway, to Hollywood, etc. etc. etc. Someone needs to write her a new script, LOL.

However, what we really need to discuss with this show, is the fashion. And the hair. OMG - could Faith and Trisha have had worse hair? I don't think they could have POSSIBLY gotten Trisha's any bigger. And Faith's makeup! OMG - is that Hollywood's idea of beautiful? And WHO picked her clothes? She had that beautiful silver skirt, and then a frumpy 1960's turtleneck? Did they not have mirrors in the dressing room?

Trisha's dress was not any more flattering either - I don't know why she's so hit or miss in her outfits. I think it's great that she's confident enough to show some skin, but there are some styles that just don't show off your best assets. Strapless with an empire style waist is not for her.

I know there are the fans who will say she looks beautiful in anything. My husband will tell me the same thing. However, there are times when I look in the mirror and say "Hmm... this outfit... not today." You have to police yourself.

Anyway - if you saw the show, feel free to comment... I'm looking forward to seeing the whole show.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Mid-week Mistress

My husband works ridiculously late on Wednesdays and Thursdays. If I didn't know better I'd wonder what he was up to.

I took advantage of the solitude tonight to really comb through the Music City Holiday database. I'm close to getting ready to actually be able to schedule some logs. So... I'll give you a chance to redeem yourself for the lame participation in the "Guess the Last Song to Play on US Country" quiz.

It was Jo Dee Messina "Bye Bye" for the record.

As the computer scheduled it in my test run, the first song was Garth's "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year."

I'm listening if anyone has a better suggestion.

Morning Ramblings

I'm going to miss US Country when it goes Christmas. I really love the music of the channel, and feel really good about how it sounds.

The episode of New Music Roundup I did at my kitchen table didn't sound so good by the time it went through 3 pieces of equipment to get into our system. LOL. Which I kind of figured was going to be the case. But for a few shining moments I was really happy creating the show, so all is not lost.

I thought Dancing with the Stars was crowning a winner last night, but I haven't heard. I'm rooting for Emmitt. I was in Texas Stadium the day he broke the record and became the NFL's all time leading rusher.

Clear Channel was sold this morning. Radio is about to get very interesting.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

It's beginning to look a lot like...


I have scheduled US Country through next Wednesday, at which point, it turns Christmas. Anyone want to take a guess at what the last song to play on the channel is?

Monday, November 13, 2006

State of the Nation

Or the country... as the case may be. Do y'all know how confusing it is to work with channels named "America" and "US Country" ? I have an identity crisis 2 or 3 times a day.

So here's my lesson du jour that it doesn't pay to be the nice guy. I had ordered some production for US Country (XM 17) that was due just before CMA's. The production guys were slammed with some other things, and asked if I could extend the deadline until last Tuesday. I said sure.

So Tuesday came and went, and of course I was in major CMA recovery mode trying to get caught up, and Wednesday... and Thursday... and Friday morning, realizing that my production still wasn't done yet, sent them a nice cheery little "Hey, can I get an ETA on this stuff?"

Well lo and behold, Friday night (after I'd left the studio) the production director emailed me back that it had been done MONDAY - a day early even! It was right there waiting for me... in the America (Channel 10) folder. Umm... no wonder I didn't find it. At least I'm not the only one who's confused.

I wrote, recorded, and edited an episode of New Music Roundup last weekend - at my kitchen table! I love technology. I'm waiting on a broadcast waiver to be able to put the show on the air - then I'll tell you all about it. If I can remember which channel it goes on.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Songs That Grab You

There's some great new music playing on Highway 16 these days.

I still love Kellie Pickler's "Red High Heels." No matter how many times I've heard "Alyssa Lies" I cry. Seriously, crying in traffic today while trying to merge onto I-65 was not cool. The last song that did that to me was "Live Like You Were Dying" but that was probably more because I was dealing with a tumor of unknown origins at the time. I haven't met either Kellie or Jason Michael Carroll, but I'm hoping we get them both in for Driver's Ed.

But the song that I love, Love, LOVE right now is Gary Allan's brand new one - "I Can't Find A Feeling Like That."

You're all I want...
Now all I want

Is that lightning in my veins
Thunder in my chest

All tangled up with you
Trying to catch my breath

I've been chasing that sensation
Halfway 'round the world
Lookin' back
On what we had

I've done it all
And seen it all
But I can't find a feeling like that

What's grabbing you?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Is this a problem?

In case you thought you had a bad day today, be glad you aren't on our web team. For several hours today, this is what people saw when they visited every channel page on xmradio. com. Imagine that you were looking for Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash, and you were greeted by this:

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Yet More Awards!

Ummm... ok, nevermind this entry. LOL. Way too complicated.

But while I have your attention - my Property of Garth Brooks Road Crew t-shirt arrived today. Very thin - you can see through it - and made in Honduros. Very disappointing.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

And yet STILL more Faith

Wow. The CMA issued a statement from the President of the CMA Board of Directors (who also happens to be Brooks & Dunn's manager.)

Statement From Clarence Spalding, President CMA Board Of Directors:
There has been a lot of public discussion about Faith Hill's on-camera reaction during the announcement of the Female Vocalist of the Year Award. Having been there, I can assure you that Faith was in no way being disrespectful of Carrie Underwood or her accomplishments. It was a playful moment caught on camera that has been blown out of proportion and taken out of context. Faith has always shown the utmost respect for Country Music artists and the CMA Awards. This inadvertent moment does not reflect who she is as a performer or a respected member of this community.

The view from backstage

The press room was a huge assembly of every media under the sun. There were over a dozen tv cameras, including a reporter from England that had such a strong accent the artists couldn't understand her questions. There were four more rows behind me of reporters - and this only shows one side of the room. I estimated about 150 people back there - and CMT, GAC, and Extra all had individual interview booths separate from the main room.

The problem with just a few artists taking home all the awards is that it makes for a very slow night in the press room. And when the hosts of the show are the big winners, they can't come back until the end. So it was 2 1/2 hours of boredom, and then we got all four at once.

I have copious quantities of audio from Brad, Kenny, B&D and Carrie if y'all are interested in hearing it. I seriously need to podcast - I sure missed being able to share the scoop from the past few days with the masses.

Statement From Faith

Hot off the press:

“The idea that I would act disrespectful towards a fellow musician is unimaginable to me. For this to become a focus of attention given the talent gathered is utterly ridiculous. Carrie is a talented and deserving Female Vocalist of The Year.”

Not much of an explanation there, is there?

The Story of the Night

... was not who won or who lost, but what someone did when they didn't win. Did y'all see the Female Vocalist of the Year announcement? Discuss.

(If you didn't see it, click here.)

The press room was very boring, which is what happens when the hosts win everything. It was dead the first 2 hours, then we got everyone at the end. Photos tomorrow, I left my camera cord at the studio with my laptop.

Shame on those who won but did NOT come back and do media. Two such offenders this evening, neither excusable. Maybe when you've won Vocal Group of the Year so many times, you don't have anything left to say, but you only go into the Hall of Fame once. And if you're lucky enough to be alive when it happens, then you need to come back and spend 3 minutes with the media.

Speaking of no shows... if I'm going to an event that is billed as the biggest night in the industry I work in, I would expect, whenever possible, that my husband to be there as my arm candy. (Which obviously, in my case, can't happen since I can't bring a date in the press room, but stick with me here, I have a point.)

And if my husband also happened to worked in this same industry prior to his retirement, all the more reason for him to be there and see his colleages. A reunion of sorts.

But if one of the 2 men credited by my husband as his biggest influences is receiving the biggest honor of their career, in the industry that my husband and I both work in, I'd damn well expect his arm to be there for me to lean on and for the national television cameras to get the shots of us clapping and cheering. Even if it meant getting a babysitter for the night. Seriously.

It was raining at the end of the show, so I only made it to two parties. The SONY BMG party was, as expected, incredibly crowded, held at the Country Music Hall of Fame. Lots of people, lots of stars, lots of chocolate. Had a white chocolate martini here. They had an Oil of Olay Lounge. Which was actually a pretty cool little hang. I got a goodie bag of products. Made my night much more worthwhile.

A much less crowded but more fun party was the joint party between Equity Records and Big Machine. Taylor Swift looked like a million bucks. Spent some time with Mark Wills, who suggested country music needs to learn to lip sync. Good calamari here, bad coffee.

So back to the female vocalist thing... let the spin begin.

Monday, November 06, 2006


Ok, it's time to make some predictions -

My guesses - Carrie Underwood has the biggest night, Brad Paisley only takes home 1 and Kenny takes back Entertainer. Alan Jackson surprises everyone with the Album of the Year trophy.

Also, I'm hearing Faith, Alan Jackson and Little Big Town are actually performing (gasp!) LIVE with a band - not to a pre-recorded track. See if you can tell the difference.

I'm off to get ready - decided I'm wearing the Mother of the Groom outfit, Christmasy red satin and all!

Is it Wednesday yet?

I had a really long post written last night and then managed to kick the power strip to my computer and lost it all. GRRRRR. Which is probably just as well, since I was grumpy from having spent hours in a pair of high heeled boots that I shouldn't have been wearing. (But will wear again tonight, LOL.)

Two events yesterday, the Music City Walk of Fame induction and the Songs of the Year Concert. We talked to Reba before her induction about the honor, the CMA's, and her Habitat for Humanity project. I mentioned the other day about Gretchen's changing looks... Reba's is much more drastic. And expensive, I'm guessing. I wish I had a better picture of her. It was a little shocking, actually. (Although at this moment Blogger isn't letting me add any pictures, GRRR.)

After that I went to the red carpet at the Songs of the Year event. We had great positioning on the red carpet - 2nd in line behind GAC, who sponsored the event. Spent hours doing index cards of prep for the air talent who was going to be doing the interviews, and he wound up ditching me. I did get great soundbites from those who did the carpet, including Jo Dee, Blake Shelton (and yes, he talked about Miranda, it was very sweet), new daddy Josh Turner, Lonestar, Trace Adkins and others.

My two favorite moments of the night: The guys from Lonestar were gathered all around, and Richie was talking but I couldn't quite reach my microphone from where he was standing, so Keech reached over and took it from me and held it up.

And then, there was my new favorite person, James Denton, from Desparate Housewives. I've never seen a single second of that show, but A) he's a good lookin' guy in cowboy boots, and B) he loves XM. On the red carpet ropes there's a sign for each media outlet, and he walked over and said "Who's with XM?" I said hello and he went on to tell me that he has XM in his car, loves it, loves XM 175, the baseball channel... lots of XM love. He gave a great interview about being from Nashville and loving country music, as well as presenting "The Brooks & Dunn Award" (his words) with Trisha at the CMA's. (He said she's blowing off rehearsals so he has to rehearse by himself.) Trisha, btw, didn't do the red carpet.

The show itself was less of a concert and more of a TV taping, which meant a whole lot of downtime between each performance. James and Trace traded off intro'ing each artist, and when James was out there he did a lot of audience interaction, talking about his tv show, the CMA's, etc. I didn't make it through the entire show, but stayed for most of it, including seeing Haggard, Trisha, and one of Trace's songs. (He did two.) Eric Church and Jack Ingram were the only ones who had to redo their performance while I was there.

Another misc. note - I was seated in front of the box that contained the ABC soap stars who walked the red carpet and stayed to watch the show (and got in trouble for bringing beer into the Hall, only to bring more in later, LOL.) They got hounded for autographs, but were very nice to those who asked.

I'm backstage in the press room tonight for the show, Jon will be live at 7pm Eastern, tune in to Highway 16 as I'll be sending him all the backstage scoop!

Happy CMA Day to you!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Around Music City

Gretchen last night couldn't have been any nicer. Previous occasions I've had to work with her she had her "I'm a badass" face on. Didn't see that last night. She did a nice interview with Jon right after coming off stage, and talked about performing the acoustic show, the progress of the new CD, and defending her CMA Female Vocalist crown.

After the interview she stopped me from leaving and wanted to know why Hank's Place had become Willie's Place. She told me how much she loved that channel and all the barroom schtick that goes on in between songs. That makes one of us, LOL. So I told her we'd give her Highway 16 for a day if she ever wanted to do Gretchen's Place.

As y'all know... Gretchen has really shaped up, and it was the first time I'd seen the new her in person. Kim, my intern, and I both compared the current Gretchen to the poster we have of her in the studio. She's lost her chest. Almost entirely. LOL. She looks beautiful, don't get me wrong. But as someone who's been everything from a size 4 to a size much larger than a 4, I can testify when you loose weight, you loose it everywhere, and it's not always good.

I've sent Jon photos for him to post on his myspace page (I'll link you once I remember where his page is) and you can see for yourself. I won't tell anyone you're staring at Gretchen's chest. Wayne.

Over at the Wildhorse last night we got a full show from Eric Church, who continually - CONTINUALLY - made references to playing too loud and too long. To be honest, I didn't think he did a lot of either. He had a lot of down time in between songs, he could have used some faster pacing for the show. But then at the end he explained that he liked to change the set list up every night, and it was this song that was the reason he was no longer on the Rascal Flatts "Me and My Gang" tour. And he did a very long - probably 7 minutes or so - medley of a bunch of songs, including his debut single "How 'Bout You," mixed with a bunch of other old country and rock songs.

So my guess is he'd play his alloted time slot and then get to the end and realize he didn't do the single and launched into THAT, going way over his time and not pleasing the headliners. Time management, when you're a new artist with one medium hit, would be a good thing. But he seemed quite confident in his ability to walk away from one of the year's biggest tours and play his "Me and Myself" tour. I hope the clubs he's playing has room for both egos.

Luke Bryan closed the show last night, brand spankin' new guy on Capitol. He reminded me a lot of Craig Morgan. Real country, real smiley. Luke wrote the current Billy Currington single "Good Directions" which he performed.

Today we're covering Reba's induction into the new Music City Walk of Fame, and then doing the red carpet at the Songs of the Year concert and staying for the show. I'll be back late tonight with a full report.

A couple of other random notes:

Paula is famous!

I got to briefly see Sally and meet Monica last night!

CountryNation carries this interesting tidbit today:
-- In the December issue of Playboy, Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks tells the magazine: "We never felt cool by any means -- and we were never talked about as being hot or pretty."

"Shania was the hot one, and Faith was the beautiful one. And we were like, 'Well, we have talent.'"


To Be Continued...

Good crowd at the Chevy Stage tonight. I was the unidentified brunette on stage with the redneck in the suit. Kim, my intern, was the unidentified blonde who took this picture and also threw out dozens of shirts and hats from XM, Chevy, and the CMA.

Good signage too! And apparently the stage (and hopefully the signs too!) are staying up through Monday, when Sugarland performs on Good Morning America.

Gretchen perfomed three songs from the new CD (But NOT "Come to Bed") and then did Redneck Woman. Lots more on my Gretchen observations tomorrow, plus a report from Eric Church's show at the Wildhorse.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Let the Parties Begin!

And so... CMA week is upon us.

Tonight's schmooze fest was a Curb Records Showcase at the Musician's Hall of Fame. A very odd event, with a bunch of radio station winners in the front, and the industry folks at the back. And a cash bar. A cash bar at a private showcase? Unheard of. The food was good, but that room isn't really good for a full band performance. Nothing but concrete everywhere.

Steve Holy hosted the show, and it kicked off with Bomshel. They bombed. Everyone around me was wondering how in the world they got a record deal. They are a female duo, one of whom is a fiddle player. She decided to climb up on the bar as the band botched their way through "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." I had to pull my camera out and try to capture that moment. I'm fairly certiain these blonde bombshells are in their forties, trying to look like they're 20 something. After an INCREDIBLY long delay, Steve Holy performed 4 songs. I really liked what will be his next single, a song called "Come On Rain." Wow. After a slightly shorter delay, Amy Dalley was next. As much as I LOVE the stuff she's put out to this point, it seems Curb is curbing her, so to speak. She did a couple of songs that I wondered where they came from and who was singing them. That girl should have been a star eons ago, she's so talented.

By that point my coughing fits were coming back, my feet were tired from standing on the concrete floor for 2 hours, and my intern was bored silly. (So much for showing her the fun, party side of the business!) So we skipped out on Rodney Atkins and Jo Dee Messina.

Tomorrow night it's Gretchen and Josh Gracin on the Chevy Stage, followed by Eric Church at the Wildhorse. Sunday I'm covering Reba and Ronnie Milsap being inducted into the new Music City Walk of Fame, and then doing the Red Carpet at the Songs of the Year show at the new symphony center.

The REAL parties, of course, happen after the Awards themselves. RLG (now SonyBMG) is usually THE party to be at, but Capitol, Warner Brothers, and Lyric Street are all having them, as well as a joint party between two indys - Big Machine and Equity. I've picked three I'm hoping to hit. Still don't know what I'm wearing to anything over the next 3 days. (Is red satin too Christmasy?)

By the way, Delaynie has been grounded from everything for the rest of her life. No Gretchen for her.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Press Release vs. The Scoop

THIS is what the Press Release Says:

Nashville, TN – Chevy, the official sponsor of the 40th Annual CMA Awards, will present a FREE concert on Saturday, November 4 at the Plaza at the Gaylord Entertainment Center. Lyric Street recording artist Josh Gracin will appear on the stage of the Chevy All Access Music Tour with a very special guest for a night of great country music in the crisp fall air. The concert begins at 6:30pm sharp at the Gaylord Entertainment Plaza.

THIS is what Producer J. Says:

Get there early, the special guest goes on first and is only doing 3 songs. Accoustic. Jon Anthony will be emceeing the event and I'll be on hand tossing out XM hats and t-shirts.

And of course... Delaynie will be there.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Looking for Garth in Nashville

So... for those of you non-GarthNutts here... there was this "Limited Edition" Garth Brooks DVD boxed set released today. A million of them to be exact. Available, according to all press releases, as 12:01am at all 24 hour Walmarts in America.

Being the good GarthNutt that I am, I wandered into the WalMart closest to me at about 10am. Ten hours after it's release. Checked out the check out area first, because when the "Limited edition" boxed set came out last year at Christmas, my store didn't have them in the electronics section, they had them by the checkouts. (A year later, there are a bunch of them still left on the electronics section shelf, so I guess "Limited" is a matter of your perspective.)

Nothing at checkout, including signage, so I went back to Electronics. Meander all through the section, no Garth to be found. No banners, no display, no promotional signage, no DVD's.

So I grab an employee, and in my loudest croak (I'm still sick) ask "Where's Garth?"

The guy looks at me like I have two heads. "Excuse me?"

"I'm looking for Garth. The new DVD set? Garth BROOKS?" As if anyone in Walmart - or the city of Nashville - and certainly not a Walmart IN the city of Nashville - should need an explanation as to who "Garth" is.

"Oh. I think I saw some of those in the back. But they haven't been released yet," says Mr. Helpful Walmart guy.

My croak gets louder. "They were supposed to be released TODAY."

At that time, around the corner comes someone with an Anderson tag (WalMart's merchandiser) and a WM employee with an Assistant Manager tag.

Mr. Anderson Guy has a WM Ad in his hand. "Novemeber 1st. That's today."

I smile at him as he comes up. "You wouldn't think it would be this hard to find Garth in Nashville, would you?"

Mr. Assistant Manager grimaces at me. Mr. Anderson Guy asks "Are you looking for the Garth DVD?"

"Yes. According to every press release Garth's publicist sent me, I was supposed to be able to buy it today. But I can't seem to find it."

Mr. Walmart Guy says "I know where they are in the back. I'll go get you one."

"Three," I say. "I'll take three."

So while I'm standing there patiently waiting, Mr. Anderson Guy and Mr. Assistant Manager are haggling over where to put the DVD's. Mr. Anderson Guy is making firm statements about it being a WalMart exclusive, a limited edition, and Garth being their best selling artist (he apparently gets Nancy's press releases too!) while Mr. Assistant Manager is telling him why he can't have every visible option he asks for.

They finally agree on an endcap display in the very back of the electronics section by the televisions. At least everyone else won't have to spend half their morning waiting on Mr. Walmart Guy to find them in the back. I predict they'll sell better in their 2nd 10 hours of release than they did their first 10 hours.

Eventually, Mr. Walmart Guy comes back with my 3 DVDs and then tells me I have to check out in Electronics. I agree only if he'll ring up my cough syrup too. Which he does.

And so - Garth went home with me today.

BIRTHDAY CORRECTIONS - Ok, I screwed up the birthday thing... spending half my Halloween in a cough syrup fog clouded my brain - Sandi's birthday was actually the 30th - DUH, I not only celebrated it with her I baked her an amazing chocolate lava cake.

However - JoAnn's birthday was yesterday! So a Happy Belated Birthday to the true Halloween Baby!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sick Day

I wound up spending my entire day home in bed sick today, but The Tennessean has good coverage of last night's Broadway Meets Country event.

And there's a photo of Trisha on CMT's covereage of the night. (Trisha didn't do the red carpet or the post party - in fact she didn't even stay for the finale. Nor, for the record, did Josh Gracin or Lorrie Morgan.)

My favorite part of the night was the duets. They were all really good. The finale with the cast of The Lion King was awesome - I can't wait to see this show! (We're going the night before Thanksgiving.)

The VIP post-party was nice, a lot different than last year's, which had tables and the artists worked their way through the room. This was all standing, and it was a free for all. Some of the artists didn't make it more than a few feet off the elevator. Got to spend some time with the Grascals, and I told Jimmy he was missed during the rendition of "Callin' Baton Rouge." It was Sandi's first time meeting them. :-)

Had a nice chat with Chris Young (hugged him twice Sharon!) and he told me about pulling up to a Dallas WalMart in his limo and going in and buying his CD. His performance was one of the duets and they really sounded great together. He said that was only the 3rd time they'd sung that song.

Speaking of WalMart - Garth's DVD set comes out tomorrow, so while I was in WalMart tonight buying an eye patch for my pirate costume, I checked out the electronics section just to make sure they weren't out early. There was NOTHING about the DVD to be found - not a poster, an endcap, nothing. They do however have a bunch (probably 15 or so) of last Christmas's boxed set stacked up above the country music CD's.

Garth's publicist sent out a note this week about how there were only 1 Million DVD sets made and Garth's fans should really get out this week and buy theirs so the scalpers didn't get them all.

If they're that worried about the fans getting them, then they should make more of them. And ship them internationally.

So with a heavy heart, I am retiring my favorite black dress. I was trying to remember exactly when I got this, which made me realize all the places I'd worn it. I bought it on the clearance rack at Hecht's for $27 in March of '04 for an Alabama (the band not the state) career achievement dinner thing. Wore it to the CMA's in Nov. of '04. Took it on our cruise in October of '05, and of course, it did Broadway Meets Country in November of '05 and '06. As my mom would say - it doesn't owe me anything.

Everybody wish Sandi a Happy Birthday today - she's 29 AGAIN, can you believe it?

The ULTIMATE Fashion Faux Pas

What on earth good excuse could someone have for wearing the SAME dress she wore LAST year to Broadway Meets Country, to THIS year's event?

A. It's the most comfortable thing in her closet
B. It showed off her tan
C. She already had shoes and jewlery to match
D. She was going with different people this year.
E. She was in Macy's 2 hours before going downtown and couldn't find anything to buy
F. Umm... yeah, all of that

Last year I took some dear friends to the Broadway Meets Country event in New York City. This year a dear friend took me to the Broadway Meets Country event in Nashville! Both nights, Trisha Yearwood was the best singer there.

Details and photos tomorrow.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The view from the front

A few weeks back I talked about being on the Opry stage and standing in the circle - last night I got to experience the stage from the front - in the pews, as a fan! I can't remember the last time I did that. It was really neat, the Opry is so well orchestrated, and even more interesting to see how they do radio and television so seamlessly - yet so differently. The whole night was a big commercial for the new Barbara Mandrell tribute album, which was all right with me. A few notable notes -

Lorrie Morgan was apparently having a bad day, and didn't mind letting everyone know it. She was without her wedding ring.

Randy Owen singing Tennessee River - alone - was just plain wierd. The Opry House Band sounded great on the song. But Randy on stage by himself just wasn't right. There are a LOT of things he could have sung by himself with an acoustic guitar that would have been ok, but him on stage with the electric guitar singing Alabama's first #1 song... it wasn't right.

Pete Fisher stage manages for Grand Ole Opry Live. Very odd to see him giving time signals to the WSM announcer. You'd think they'd hire underlings to do such things.

I didn't recognize Blaine Larsen. He has a new grown up hairdo - and looked good. For a kid younger than my stepsons.

On his records, Rodney Atkins sounds so much like Tim McGraw it's crazy - I've caught myself more than once going "I don't know this Tim song..." Turns out, he doesn't sound that way live, at all.

Barbara's daughter-in-law was signing backup with Carolyn Dawn Johnson.

I hope to have photographic support for this entry soon... I'm waiting for my "date" to share photos - I hear they've been uploaded to a laptop....

Friday, October 27, 2006

Epiphany Du Jour

So it occurred to me while shopping today that I could re-wear my outfit from IBMA's to one of my CMA functions coming up. Woo hoo! Now I have to decide which event I want to shed sparkles all over. Probably the awards show itself, since I'll be outside a lot afterwords party hopping, and it is fairly warm. Unlike every other option in my closet.

I'm entertaining the idea of wearing the same black skirt to both Broadway Meets Country and the CMA's. It's my Mother of the Groom skirt, and I love it, and it's comfortable. And if it's really cold, I could wear a pair of leggings underneath and no one would know.

I got a MAJOR chunk of my Christmas shopping done today! It was a ton of fun, didn't TOTALLY break the bank (although I did some damage!) and - the best part - I never had to leave this chair. Seriously - Sally is my new favorite person in the world. Soon she will be yours too. I'm going to hog her for myself this weekend but next week I'll share.

Time to go to work! I need a new (on air) road trip to assign to my intern. (It's actually going to be a good lesson in crafting a show for her.) Is it possible to Road Trip to Canada? Where should we go? I'm not sure I want to saddle her with Texas right off the bat.

As a reminder - looking for 80's and 90's country songs ABOUT a place - not just having "Alberta" as a line in the song. SURELY Terri Clark has sung about Canada? I still haven't done a Midwest Road Trip. Hmm. Maybe I SHOULD give her a Texas City.

DAMN that sounded good on the radio!

Thanks to Paula reminding me that it was on (DUH where was my brain!) I got to hear most of the Statlers concert tonight. WOW it sounded great coming through those XM speakers! I even got my dad to turn in to the last part of it, and he got to hear his favorite hym (Amazing Grace) by his favorite band and his favorite daughter voicing the credits.

I don't know what it is about those guys, but they TOTALLY have the power to perk up my day and put me in a good mood. And I tell you what, they sounded great on their last show. There are artists out there that I hear performing and I think "please, hang it up. you shouldn't still be singing in public." Don Reid sounded absolutely every bit as fabulous as he did when I was going to marry him in the early 80's. Even Delaynie came in at one point and asked how it was those guys held those notes out so long. LOL. Ahh... the days when singers really had to be able to sing.

Although I do have to wonder why Phil and Jimmy don't get to talk on stage.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Wife and the Wardrobe

Yesterday I went to a luncheon with Big Kenny's wife, Christiev (I think I'm spelling that right.) She is a stylist to the stars, and she spoke about how to land yourself a musician for a husband.


No seriously, she talked fashion and style, and it was all very interesting. It was a lunch hour well spent, as I need to dig out the winter clothes and put away the summer ones, and the key here is ORGANIZING. And throwing out the clothes you never wear but hang onto because you think someday you will.

Another interesting thing I learned is that in addition to her baby with Big Kenny, she has a 20 and a 16 year old. Yikes.

Someone else at the table casually suggested that we should host a big formalwear trading event, because we buy all these dresses for award shows and such, and wear them once or twice, and then they hang in our closet forever. And really, how many black cocktail dresses does one person need? (And most of us agreed we had them in sizes we may never see again.) I am SO going to work on organizing this. I won't be able to get it done before CMA's, but I'm thinking "New Year - New Wardrobe" has a nice ring to it. ;-) It could catch on and be the rage of Music Row.

I got a full copy of the new Montgomery Gentry album Some People Change today, and 2 things disturbed me about it. Thing 1 was that Troy was wearing entirely too much makeup in the cover photo. Thing 2 was that the liner notes didn't include individual song lyrics or credits. I happen to know, because I got a detailed listing when we did ShortCuts, that Troy and Eddie each wrote 2 songs on the cd. As a fan, that's the kind of thing I'm going to want to know. I know times are tough and budgets are tight, but the label could have sprang a few extra pennies for more pages for that CD insert.

Also got the new Alabama inspirational album, whichI had been excited about until someone who's opinion I value that loves gospel music told me it sucked.

Party invitations are starting to roll in for CMA night - so far everything is right downtown where the CMA's are, which will be interesting since the show is open to the public and fans will be everywhere.

This is the other interesting thing that came in the mail this week. Personally autographed to me. So I can't sell it on ebay.

Kidding again!

Or not. You be the judge.

But in all seriousness, if you see this thing in the bookstore, it is worth opening up to the middle and checking out the pictures. See Gretchen as a bleach blond biker chick.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Say hello to Sally Jo!

Ok Y'all - I've invited Sally, from New Hampshire, to hang out and experience our insanity. Please don't scare her off in the first 5 minutes. Sally is a Highway 16 listener that I met earlier this year (Fan Fair, yes?) and she's a huge Rascal Flatts fan but I'm not going to let any of you hold that against her. You know who you are.

Since I wiped this thing clean before I went on the cruise I resurrected a few old posts so the place wasn't so boring when she came in. I just remembered I skipped the Wreckers'#1 Party today, I'm totally failing in bringing you any scoop this week. The only other eventful thing on my calendar is a George Strait #1 party that you know George isn't going to show up for.

So Sally - in absolutely no particular order, a few of the characters you'll find hanging out here on a regular basis are:

Sharon #1 - married to a Grascal. Even if you don't like bluegrass, we all love the Grascals around here. It's required.
Sharon #2 - from South Dakota who loves Trace Adkins and Chris Young, but I don't let anyone hold either against her either.
Paula and 'Lish - both GarthNutts from Mass.
Paula's Statler Brother loving sister who doesn't post but I'm told reads faithfully so I share any Statler info I can find. (twist my arm)
Sandi - who always posts as "me" because she can't remember how to spell her name. She lives in D.C. but I'm trying to convince her to move to Nashville since she's here all the time anyway.
Pammy - an air force wife stationed in... Texas last time I checked. I think I met her at Fan Fair the first time too.
JoAnn and Harriet GarthNutts from NYC

There are a couple of guys who pop in once and a while, including Dave in CT (another person I met at Fan Fair!) who's a faithful Kathy Mattea fan and US Country Listener. If you're not one who tends to post, no worries, my friend Patricia who lives in Colorado reads here daily and emails me her replies on the rare occasion I say something meaningful. (I figure if I pick on her enough, eventually she'll come out and defend herself.) If the counter is any indication, a lot of people from the XM Fan sites and Planet Garth come by here and read, but run away scared. Oh - and one of my sister-in-laws reads here as her lunch hour entertainment, but never posts. So I can't tell stories on my brother who used to pretend he couldn't breathe when I'd tickle him into hysterics.

Y'all are going to LOVE IT when I tell you what Sally does for a living, but I can't do that until after we take our Pigeon Forge road trip. ;-) Speaking of - I still need to order show tickets - Paula, are you in? JoAnn, should I get tickets for you, Paige and Bev? Sandi - you are in charge of emailing me at work tomorrow to remind me.

For the record, I successfully scheduled my neices 2 year old birthday party around this weekend. So we'd better have good shopping weather!

A Little This, A Little That

So since Sandi and Paula checked in with reports from MA, I shall now end Sharon #2's suspense and tell you that Laynie and I shared an elevator with Trace Adkins yesterday. Looking like he just rolled off the farm in work boots, jeans, and flannel shirt. We have an office on the Row that adjoins the studio we use for a lot of our performances, and most of the labels use that studio for doing their media days, satellite tours, etc. Trace was in their studio, when I walked by he was doing corny radio liners like "I know the ladies of South Dakota love the country boys on WXYZ." He wound up leaving the same time we did, and was very nice and talked to Delaynie in the elevator. She had no idea who she was talking to, LOL. And was less impressed when I told her he was the Badonkadonk guy. "Ewww, that's the video where the girls are all shaking their butts!"

I still expect to hear from 'Lish and Patricia about their Trisha adventures. One of them went across the country, one of them just walked out of her office! How funny. :-)

Y'all make sure to patronize now that Skye is back in business. He ran my Statler Brothers blurb top of the page today. Love him! And for the record - he wrote that last line, not me. Jimmy Fortune's wife put it on their message board for me too! Although all the hardcore Statlers fans (present company included) already own the DVD.

My Statlers production got done while I was gone, show is ready to go at 8pm Thursday night, and will re-air 4 times next week. I'm the female voice on the production. I couldn't resist.

The production dept. also produced a bunch of new intros for the "This is US Country Today" segments on 17 where we air a more recent (2003+) song next to an older song. There are some general ones and some that cross promote back to Highway 16. They'll start airing this weekend. (I hate having only one version of a production piece. Variety is the spice of life.) Next week I have a HUGE batch of new production coming in for US Country that I'm really excited to hear. Oh - and my fabulous intern Kim did a TON of new artist audio segments while I was gone - including George Strait and Alan Jackson pieces.

I'm off to do some MAJOR scheduling (which I can do from home) and then tomorrow I'm doing nothing but mix, mix, mix! Mixmaster J. am I!

Continuing our theme of "Country Music Sells Tabloids" - David Lee Murphy was in court this week for a DUI no one knew he'd received a couple of weeks ago. (Man, even Mindy McCready got news coverage - David Lee is at least still writing hit songs.)

I'm going to invite one of our listeners to join the party with us here, so y'all be on your best behavior, ok? :-)

BTW - Pammy, I never did get your address to send this magazine to! Email me!

Meeting of the Blog Readers

While I was out sailing the seas, several of my blog readers rendezvoued on the East Coast - some of them meeting for the first time.

I've yet to hear the details. And until I do, I'm not telling which one of Sharon #2's favorite men I shared an elevator with yesterday.

...we're waiting... some of us, more patiently than others...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

I leave the country and Country goes to Hell

Update Below - 8:50pm
Not that I'm suggesting a correlation, but good heavens! What is going on in country music! When the genre is generating more attention on than Jessica Simpson, you know we're in trouble.

The Keith Urban situation just makes me sad. Talk about a guy who had it all. The statement said Nicole is by his side... I'm rooting for them. I first met Keith in his very dark days of drug abuse, and he was one of my least favorite people in country music. But I admire him for overcoming so much. Jon Anthony sat down with him a couple of weeks ago for a special that airs the week his album goes on sale. Will be interesting to listen to.

The Sara Evans story, on the other hand... is taboid heaven. I watched her pre-taped interview somewhere in the middle of the Carribbean, and wasn't impressed. I was doing ok until her dance partner came in and started hugging all over her. Her husband has responded to her divorce filing with some pretty serious allegations of his own...who knows what to believe. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. I sure feel bad for those children.

On a brighter note, after a night on the East Coast of Florida and 7 nights sailing the Carribbean, I am well rested, fairly tan, and am completely buried under the mountain of work awaiting my return.

So. What's new in your world? And did you catch any of our new air talent on Highway 16 last week? Jay Thomas is his name (good thing I'm off 16, eh? Enough people assume Producer J. is a guy as it is!) and he'll eventually be doing an airshift later in the day.

Photos from vacation coming soon if you're interested. (Photo above is a beach on the dutch side of St. Maarten.)

Late evening update: Not only has Country gone to Hell, but Hell has frozen over.

Clearly, I needed to leave the country long ago, because the moment I thought would NEVER come - did. Garth Brooks has his own website.

Dear Santa -

Please bring me a "Property of Garth Brooks Road Crew" t-shirt for Christmas.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Monday, October 02, 2006

Schmooze Fest Du Jour & Beautiful People

I'm actually awarding tonight's event the Schmooze Fest of the Week, even though it's only Monday. I don't see anything on my calendar that will top this one.

Tonight's event was a CD release party for the upcoming Cracker Barrel "Songs of the Year" cd. Proceeds from the CD (designated to be $125,000) are donated to the Country Music Hall of Fame, which is where the event was held.

The event was held in the Hall's Rotunda, which houses the plaques for the Hall of Fame members. Gorgeous flower arrangements, candlelight, an open bar, and a delicious buffett including crab cakes and stuffed mushrooms to die for. (Let me tell you, I've never had food like this at Cracker Barrel!) Being just a couple of weeks away from the beach, I stayed away from the chocolate fondue.

There was the obligatory presentations and speeches interspersed with music. Live music! Trace performed Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down - just him and a guitar. Sounded great. He will be hosting the live concert to promote the project, which will be held the night before the CMA Awards at the new Symphony Center across the street. Lonestar performed "City of New Orleans" and Jo Dee Messina was also in attendance.

Vince Gill was not in attendance, but we were told that the idea came to fruition under his leadership as head poohba on the CMF Board. Interesting to note that three of the 12 songs on the project are ones he wrote. (As Laynie would say - "Cha-ching!")

Packaging for the project is really nice, and it comes with a folded up poster. The Wreckers quite possibly sound better doing "Strawberry Wine" than Deana Carter ever did. Randy Travis does "Chiseled in Stone" so well you forget it isn't his to begin with. Deana is on the project too, doing "Go Rest High on That Mountain" with Heart. It's... interesting. Not as interesting as unknown group Jypsi re-writing the lyrics to "Stranger In My House" to come from the female perspective. This one comes off like bad karaoke.

It was amusing to hear the Cracker Barrel woman doing the talking at the podium bungled a bunch of names, including DeeAnna Carter and Billy Shelton. I don't know what Billy's cut sounds like, but Blake does a pretty good job on The Gambler.

I've got a stack of new music sitting here to listen to, including the debut CD from Heartland, new Craig Morgan, and new Mark Chesnutt. I thought Mark's CD had some promise until I opened the CD and saw a picture of Mark staring at the camera with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. It's gone downhill from there.

A magazine I've never seen on the stands has named Nashville's 25 Most Beautiful People. Some of my blog readers will be thrilled with their picks. The recipients obviously got to write their own descriptors. Love Trent Willmon's - and Melissa Reeves' (who some of you knew as Jennifer on Days of Our Lives but some of us know as Scott from Blue County's wife). Check out the list at I've met 8 of the 25 -- including one former co-worker. (Anyone else think the girl who describes herself as a TV host but doesn't tell us what she hosts looks a lot like Chalee Tennison?)

Monday, September 25, 2006

What to Leave In, What to Leave Out

Too much to do this week!
Things I *am* doing:

Chesney 25 Million Party tomorrow
Montgomery Gentry interview tomorrow
Chris Thile (Nickel Creek) studio special today (man, there are days I want some of what he's smoking!)

What I've had to pass on:

BBQ with Alan Jackson (listening party for the new CD, I have it, no need to have him watch me listen to him, right?)
Chesney Round Robin interview
Pat Green show
Brad Paisley / Carrie Underwood bus trip

Things that might still be on my agenda:

Interviewing Marty Stuart at the Opry House on Thursday.

The Hall of Fame staff was all abuzz this morning about last weekend's Opry show. Apparently, there were NO Opry Members on the televised portion of the Opry Saturday night - I'm told that's the first time that's ever happened. Pat Green hosted the show - I'm not sure he's even played there before. Big & Rich, Cowboy Troy, and Danielle Peck. Odd.

Oprah debuted this morning, I listened to the first hour or so of the channel. At various points in the 6 years I spent directing news for NBC stations, I'd do newscasts right out of her show, so I'd see parts of it. She has certainly changed a lot since then. I also watched the very amusing hour long commercial for XM 156 on Larry King Live tonight. I was highly disappointed that Larry did not rave over his past visits to the XM Studios -- I've hosted 2 of his 3 visits (NYC and Nashville.) I'm sure it was simple oversight, it was hard for him to get a word in edgewise with all those gabby women around. Larry was wearing cowboy boots on the set.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Meet - Macy!

I didn't buy the black cocktail dress I wanted because I didn't have a big enough suitcase. Macy, however, followed me home.