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 CountryNation.com 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 People.com 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 www.NashvilleLifestyles.com. 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?)