Tuesday, January 30, 2007

More Geography Lessons

I have absolutely nothing creative to write about tonight, so I'm going to attempt to lure out some more lurkers. I love seeing where people are reading from... earlier today I had a visitor from Brazil! And one from London tonight.

Sometimes I see a city and know that there's a PG'er in that city who's most likely at the keyboard. But some of y'all, I don't know. So... it's time once again for lurkers to de-lurk. Post a comment and just tell me your city / state. It's painless, no registration, or nothin'.

For instance.... someone visits me regularly from Glendale, California. My hubby was born there, so I notice you. I also have a reader in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. You get my vote for the coolest city name. Please come out and say hello!

I got a Belleville, IL visit today - love seeing the IL contingency! I was wearing an ISU sweatshirt today. And my faithful reader in Chicago at Ameritech... come out come out whoever you are!

Carrie Underwood leads the pack in google searches that bring people to me. Today I got hits from "Carrie Underwood Vegan" (is she?) "Carrie Underwood Tour 2007" and "Carrie Underwood Dating."

BTW - one of the questions we posed to Kellie Pickler was if she'd been able to compare post-Idol notes with Carrie - who is on a sister record label. You'll have to tune in to Highway 16 Driver's Ed next week to find out what those two blondes talk about when they get together!

Monday, January 29, 2007

About that song title...

I guess we can be glad she doesn't sing a song called "Red Pushup Bra." You'll have to be the judge if the shoes matched the rest of the outfit... be watching for the full photo to appear on the Jon Anthony Celebrity Slide Show on his myspace page.

Grascals on XM 14 Bluegrass Junction tomorrow just after 3pm Eastern. If you listen to this interview, you have to come back here and give me your impressions. No Jimmy on this one - two Terrys and the Newbie Grascal.

On a compltely unentertainment related note, I have discovered the most delicious cereal. And I don't eat cereal. But I couldn't resist this when I saw it out of the corner of my eye on the Wal-Mart shelf. YUMMY!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sunday Night Ramblings

I watched the last half of the Grease reality show tonight. I guess there are worse ways to kill an hour. It's become a bonding time with Delaynie, who clearly has all the makings of a reality show junkie. We voted for our favorite. How sad is it that that show is the only hour of television I watch all week? We did not get to see the Nashville girl perform.

We're cutting a Driver's Ed with Kellie Pickler tomorrow. I have not met her yet. Again... as someone who doesn't watch Idol, I didn't know much about her. But I asked the girls at the studio we work at on Music Row, and they gave me the scoop. Her story is an interesting one, I'm looking forward to seeing how this show turns out.

Thanks to several of you who emailed me after my (joking) post about needing a cleaning lady... I actually have one. How crazy is that? It's going to be a huge blessing, I can tell already. They restructured some things at work at the beginning of the year and I've had to put in a lot of weekend / holiday hours, and am back to spending a lot more time at night on the computer at home. This is going to be money well spent! AND, oddly enough, it's motivated me to work harder around the house when I am here, because I'm coming up with other things I can have her help me with, like organizing cupboards. :-D I was lucky enough to have a friend who was willing and available to take on my dust bunnies, so I don't have to worry about her stealing my jewels or anything.

Like I have jewels worth stealing! LOL

The other exciting thing in my world is that we all completed our first 5k this weekend. The Zoo Run Run. :-D I jogged it, Delaynie galloped it, and Gary hobbled across the finish line with an incredibly messed up knee. It was cool to be running past the tigers and elephants, and getting to see behind the scenes areas of the zoo that aren't normally accessible.

Please note the one of a kind tiger striped scarf and matching headband on my Future Zookeeper Drama Queen.

It's gonna be a crazy week, we have FIVE bluegrass tapings, a Driver's Ed taping (which is written) and a ShortCuts taping (which is not.)

Your turn to fill me in on how you spent your weekend!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Idol Questions

I confess to being one of the only people in America who doesn't watch American Idol. But I'm writing a Kellie Pickler show and am stuck on a couple of things. Like... the bio doesn't tell ya how far she got in the show. Was she singing country? Were the judges hard on her for being country? Or was she pop on the show and went country later because Carrie was selling a gazillion records?

I know about her hosting The View and the basics on the situation with her parents. But if any of you saw her on the show and can fill me in on her Idol background, I'd be most appreciative!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Today I put together our country GRAMMY preview show. I enjoy doing free form shows where I don't have a format to follow, and can basically shape it however I see fit. However, this show, which will air on both Highway 16 and GRAMMY radio... has to be exactly one hour long. 59:59. Unlike absolutely every other show I work on, which is completely free form. New Music Roundup is roughly an hour... but if I'm 2 or 3 minutes off, it's no big deal.

So first step, pick the music. I put together a list of the music I wanted to use, with one song on "standby" in case I came up short. 46:34.

Then I wrote the production. Voiced by the lovely Amy Paige. Produced it myself, short sweet and to the point. Less than 2 minutes of production in the whole show.

Next I edited the soundbites I wanted to use. Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert. Came back from the Grammy party with a Gretchen bite, Little Big Town and yet more Carrie. I'm up to about 6 minutes in artist audio, with another bite on standby.

With the artist audio decided, I could polish up the script I wrote last week at Nashville Star. 11 segments. I built in places where I could edit Jon down if need be. Didn't even bother to time this out in my best Jon Anthony impersonation, just sent him the script and crossed my fingers.

So after he cut the audio today I chopped it all up into segments, MPA'd it, and was going to go home. But curiosity got the better of me.

Would it be too long? Would I have to loose the 2nd Carrie soundbite? What if it was short? I have another song... and another soundbite that goes with that song... but I can't just add the soundbite without adding the song. What if I'm like... 2 minutes short? Half a song? Do a medley? Write some more stuff for Jon to read?

I couldn't go home with such lingering questions haunting me all night. A few seconds here and there was manageable, but if it was off anywhere between 1-3 minutes, I was going to have trouble. If I was going to have to do a major overhaul on this show, I needed to know it now. So, I delved into the dreaded, evil GROUP function and put the show together. And when it was put together and mixed down, it came out to be.....


I about turned cartwheels down Music Row. I wasn't crazy about my show close to begin with, so tomorrow I'm going to tweak it and add an XM audio logo and it will be done, Done and DONE!

This will air GRAMMY weekend, Feb 9 - 11th. I'll put up air times closer to the date. That also gives the 785 Carrie Underwood fans who came to visit me yesterday (Seriously, a record for this blog!) time to get their own XM Radio so they can hear the show themselves! (Just remember, don't pay full price, I have deals! ProducerJ at aol.com) And then they can listen to the Pre-Telecast (broadcast for the first time EVER!) live on GRAMMY Radio to hear all the categories that DON'T get announced on television. You can find out who wins say... Best Country Collaboration with Vocals the same time Garth and Trisha do. I **KNOW** the GarthNutts and TrishaWhateverY'allCallYourselves already have XM and will be listening.

And yes, like you need to ask, "Love Will Always Win" is in the show. It's the show closer actually. Not because I think like Garth and want to put my favorite song last, but because I had a good segway out of the song to wrap the show with. I'm not a GRAMMY voter, but if I was, I would probably vote for Jennifer Nettles and Bon Jovi on this one.

Although I did enjoy bringing things full circle from the first time the song played on XM just over a year ago (January 17th!) to be able to play it again as a GRAMMY Nominee.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Mista Smiff Smiles - Caught on Film!

I think this photo is just too darn cute. If I didn't know better, I would think that Mista Smiff knew that the man taking this photo was using my camera, and if he didn't smile we'd all wind up talking about it. I got to meet the new Grascal tonight. I knew he was a Grascal becuase he was dressed like one. There's a fashion etiquette to being a Grascal, and it definitely requires a leather jacket and cool shirts. Perhaps Sista Smiff can let us in on Grascal fashion secrets.

For those new to this blog, Mr. Smiff is the tallest Grascal, aka Terry Smith, and his wife pops by here to visit sometimes. And if we're really cyber-harrassing him good, Terry has been known to show up and defend his non-smiling honor.

Everyone I talked to tonight artist wise WAS going out to Los Angeles for the Grammy Awards. Even Josh Turner, who has a concert in San Antonio that night. "I have connections" was all he'd say. With a slightly mischevious smile.

Here's a peek down the media line from my vantage point. If you look closely, you should be able to spot Carrie Underwood, Josh Turner, and all six Grascals. Fashion report - lots of denim tonight. (Dang it, and I wore a suit 'cause I didn't think I could get away with jeans!) Carrie wore a long black sweater, skinny jeans and boots. Gretchen was in a turtleneck sweater, jeans and boots, accessorized by a beer bottle. I have a photo of that, but I probably shouldn't share. You'll note the nominees all have yellow boutineers to wear. Although a certain redneck woman made her publicist hold hers. I have a photo of that, too. ;-)

Little Big Town was probably the most excited about their nomination, they were just downright giddy. I also learned that Kimberly's new husband has quit his job to go on the road and sell t-shirts for them. LBT has a song on John Mellancamp's new CD, which comes out tomorrow.

I asked Carrie about performing in front of an auditorium full of Grammy nominees, and she was VERY confident, and excited about the opportunity to represent country music. She can't say what song she's performing, but I'm told it's NOT going to be the one she's nominated for.

There's something very different about Gretchen these days... she's lost some of her bad-ass attitude, and seems more comfortable in her own skin. I asked her about it, and she said a lot of it had to do with being single for the first time in her life, and finding happiness in just being herself. She's in a really good place, it seems. She talked quite a bit about representing the song at the Grammy's, and her disappointment in country radio for not making it a hit. She didn't write "I Don't Feel Like Loving You Today" - it was written by Jim Collins, who came through and talked to the media, and Matraca Berg, who didn't. Matraca was there with her hubby Jeff Hannah.

There was a little string ensemble playing at the reception, and they had a buffet line with spring rolls, mini crab cakes, lamb, roast beef, and lots and lots of chocolate. And of course, plenty of wine and champagne.

Getcha Some GRAMMY Nominees

Check back later tonight for the scoop from the reception for Nashville's GRAMMY Nominees. Those expected to be in attendance include Carrie Underwood, Gretchen Wilson, Little Big Town, the Grascals (who will be in our studio tomorrow!), Josh Turner, Big Kenny, Matraca Berg, and Rhonda Vincent.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The coolest blog ever!

A songwriter friend of mine, Thom Shepherd ("Redneck Yacht Club," "Riding with Private Malone") is currently over in the Middle East entertaining the troops. One of the guys in his band is blogging the experience - with some really awesome pictures.

Take the time to check it out - and leave them a message!


I just don't have words for this one...

Friday, January 19, 2007

Ummmmm.... yeah

So, maybe Carrie isn't quite over the "ummmmm" phase. Maybe I just couldn't hear them over my stomach growling. I still say she's come a long way, and is a delightful interview. Check her out for yourself - in video! - www.bradon2.com - she's several items down the page. All y'all CarrieFans can thank Paula for the link. :-) And yes, I just said All Y'all. I like to pretend I'm southern.... y'all is absolutely my favorite word.

I about stumbled over a couple of Chilli Peppers today in the Hall of Fame lobby. Chilli Peppers of the Red Hot variety. The guys have been seen all over town the last couple of days - they played the GEC the other night, and one of them was put in the Musician's Hall of Fame. They've done a bunch of touristy things too - in fact, the drummer was seen buying some photos of himself from the CMHOF's photo kiosk.

Just in case you were momentarily impressed with my rock & roll knowledge there, I must confess I wouldn't recognize a Chilli Pepper from a Spice Girl. I was talking to one of the Visitor Service Staff who pointed him out to me.

I think I lost every battle I fought today. I'm beat up! Gonna go schedule a couple of logs and hit the sack early tonight. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I Need A Maid - And a Hairdresser

If y'all could see how high the dirty dishes are stacked at my house...! I know y'all think it's so exciting to do some of the things I get to do, but the truth is, the more exciting my work life is, the less that gets done around my house. Especially on Thursdays, when the hubby works late and the munchkin has three tests to study for. Seriously... I need a maid.

Today, I spent an hour with Miranda Lambert. This is two days in a row for the petite blondes. I may get a complex. She had lots to talk about, including how proud she was to be going back to Nashville Star tonight. I'm headed there now, if you get a chance, tune into her performance.

Miscellaneous tidbit: Miranda was wearing a Merle Haggard t-shirt and a Blake Shelton belt buckle. I asked her before we started taping if she was still going to marry Merle, and she said she was, and then Jack Ingram. But Merle first because he was older.

CMT has their story on Carrie's parties up, click here to go read.

11:19pm Back from Nashville Star

Thursdays are Hell in my world. Our studios are over crowded, hubby works late, and my daughter has 3 tests on Friday. Tonight I threw Nashville Star into the mix. From the time I left my house to deliver my daughter and her school books to my husband's office where she undoubtably did not study, to the time I got back home to kiss her sleeping cheek where she undoubtably did not brush her teeth, it was four hours of my life I didn't have to loose.

Although I did take multi-tasking to a new level... I sat in the audience of Nashville Star and wrote my Grammy show. This looks like a Grammy show, don't you think?

Here's a little television tidbit for ya. Did you watch the show? You know how at the top of they come out to a crowd with a "Live" cg in the corner, and then went to Cowboy Troy who introduces Miranda? Um yeah... that live thing? Not so much. They taped it 15 minutes before show time. Miranda was a one take wonder though. Funny... her hair grew about 6 inches since I saw her this morning.

Ok, so along with my maid, I want a hairdresser too. Every woman on the show tonight had hair extensions in. How much easier would that make my life?

As long as I'm asking for things, if someone could take my daughter's spelling test tomorrow, that would ease my guilt a lot.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Carrie Underwood's Love Life... and other things you wonder about.

Update: Lots of Carrie quotes in this morning's Tennessean.

Well. Let me just say I've never seen that much media at a #1 party. Ever. And I've been to a bunch of them. It would be easier for me to tell you which country music media outlets weren't there: None of them.

Before the party Carrie did about 15 minutes with radio and print, and then did one-on-ones with tv. From my scribbled notes, some of the things she talked about:

- The current single "Wasted"
- Grammy's: 1st time going to the Grammy's, she's excited to be going and proud to represent country music in the all genre categories.
- Upcoming album
- Co-writing... she's got writing appointments, not sure where it's going to go. Brett James and Hillary Lindsey are a couple names she mentioned.
- Her size. I'm not sure what this was all about (maybe the CarrieFans can enlighten me?) but apparently it's been in print that she's lost a lot of weight. She was incredibly tiny. She said she's done nothing unhealthy, but didn't specifically say what she'd done. She said she was her heaviest on Idol at 125, and was now around 110, but that was over 2 years.
- The pressure of following up the success of her first album
- Her fans (my question!) She talked about how widespread her fan base was in terms of demographics, and credited it all to Idol.
- What it's like to read things about herself - she says 90% of what is in print isn't true.
- Her new website - she posts on the message boards and hopes that will cut down on the rumor mill.

And what y'all REALLY want to know about: her love life.

She is NOT dating the Dallas football player (and was a little irked that she got blamed for them loosing the game, LOL.) She hadn't even met him until Christmas Day, she's talked to him a couple of times, but didn't even sound like she knew him very well. She hasn't talked to him since he made the comment about dating her so she was not sure why he said that. She took it - as did I when I read it - as the guy deflecting the Jessica Simpson questions with a smart alek "Nah, I'm dating Carrie Underwood."

We've worked with Carrie probably 4-5 times prior to this, in one-on-one interviews, round robins like this, and backstage at award shows. She's always been a bit of an edit...she's an "umm"-er. At her Triple Platinum party she was a little overwhelmed at sitting down in front of about 10 microphones. However, the young lady sitting before us today was very poised and polished, not at all daunted with having 30+ media people sitting around her throwing questions at her. I don't recall a single "umm..." I don't know if she's gone through media training, or if she's just grown more comfortable in the spotlight, but I do believe our little girl is growing up nicely.

Sorry I forgot to take my camera. Ed Morris from CMT was there, I presume they'll have a story and photos up tomorrow.

On a completely unrelated side note... the food at this one was an odd combination. Fried chicken strips cut into bite size pieces... fresh strawberries...cookies... and... sushi. Don't ask me.

Hello Carrie Fans!

I've gotten a TON of traffic this morning from the folks at CarrieFans.com. Y'all be sure to come back tonight, I will have all the scoop from our interview with Carrie and at least the first party... not sure I'll be able to stay for the 2nd.

Here's the invitation to Party #1. Very pretty I thought!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Southern Hallelujah

Today was a joyous day. Kim, my intern, returned from winter break. Seriously... I have been SO overwhelmed without her. For instance, all throughout the fall I was running about a week out on US Country logs. Since Christmas it's all I can do to stay the minimum requirement of 48 hours out. I am praying hard for some sanity in the days ahead.

Tracy Lawrence was in today cutting his episode of ShortCuts. No photo - Tracy had just finished up a taping for GAC, and managed to cut his nose while taking his makeup off, and was sporting a band aid. I've been taking off makeup for 20 years now, and can't ever recall it making me bleed.

Speaking of ShortCuts... did you get a chance to listen to Ty Herndon's episode last week? What did you think? Did you like the music? Was Ty entertaining? It was a bit of a different episode for us, I'd love some reaction if you heard it.

Tomorrow Carrie Underwood is having 2 #1 parties. Which happens frequently, when the writers of one #1 song are split between BMI and ASCAP - both organizations give them parties on the same day, OR they'll do a joint party off campus.

However, Ms. Underwood the overachiever is having 2 #1 parties, for 2 different songs. Same building, an hour and a half apart. I thought the invitation for Before He Cheats was... different. Not really the image of the knife slinging, baseball bat swinging, jilted lover I had in my head. You? Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 15, 2007

The week ahead

Things are gearing back up in Music City.. .parties being scheduled, lunch dates being made, and artists crawling out of holiday hibernation. This week we've got Tracy Lawrence coming in for an episode of ShortCuts, Carrie Underwood has a #1 party, Miranda Lambert is doing a media Round Table, and Nashville Star goes live. Plus we've got Kenny & Amanda Smith taping Studio Special for Bluegrass Junction.

Today was a company holiday, so I didn't have to go into the studio. It was an "easy money" day... scheduling a couple logs and writing an episode of ShortCuts - both of which I can (and did) do in my PJ's.

Someone asked the other day whatever happened to Brad Cotter. Before I could type "he couldn't stay sober long enough to play a show or keep a record deal" it was announced he's putting out a CD on yet another new indie record label. Hope they have stock in aspirin and dark sunglasses.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

My Readers Rock!

I hope by now y'all know that I appreciate you hanging out here and interacting with each other as well as me... but allow me to just say so again. I was just checking out the Grammy Blogs we have up, and the ONLY one to get a comment reacting to it was Jay Thomas's blog. And it was our very own Sandi! :-D And that was after two days of being featured on Yahoo Music where it was exposed to 80 zillion people. Y'all are more interactive than that on my most boring of ramblings, LOL.

Those big time bloggers may have more readers, but by golly, my readers freakin' rock.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Music Row Roundup ;-)

It was a long 13+ hour work day today. But before I tell you about the last 24 hours, I have to tell you about the 24 or so before that. Lots to catch up on today!

First off, I wanted to say how cool it was that the People's Choice Award winners for both favorite male and female performers (all genres) were country. I don't know why it's not getting more attention in the press, but country music is on an upswing like we haven't seen since the early 90's.

Carrie Underwood's debut album is now certified 5 times Platinum. FIVE TIMES! The best selling country album since the Dixie Chicks' Home. Aren't we long overdue for a female country superstar? It's been a while. This young lady is doing things right, every step of the way. Now if they'd just release "I Ain't In Checotah" as a single, I'd be content.

Carrie and Kenny both have their detractors, but clearly there is a huge audience for what they are doing. The fact that they are both selling records and having hit singles while proudly proclaiming to be country artists is good for our business. They're both bringing a lot of people to the format. Which is why country music sales were up last year while every other format was down.

Switching gears...Nearly a year ago I met a songwriter at a #1 party - his first - and commented at the time that he looked like someone who could be a star, and I wanted to hear him sing. Last night I finally got the chance. The artist is Jerrod Niemann, and he did a showcase last night in the back room of a little club downtown. It was a different sort of schmooze fest, not much of an industry crowd, just a bunch of friends and probably family. Jon and I were the only media types I saw.

Jerrod has obviously cut his teeth in little honky tonk clubs and was very comfortable on stage. He did a few covers and some material from his forthcoming CD. The standout song for me was a song that sounded like George Strait should have cut it. Last night I knew the name of it, today... it's gone. He also did a couple of songs he's written that other artists have cut, including Zona Jones' "Whiskey Kind of Way" (if you don't know Zona, do yourself a favor and go find him!) as well as that first #1 hit, "Good Ride Cowboy". Category 5 is XM's Music Row next door neighbor, and they haven't had much success with their first few releases. Jerrod may be the key to breaking that, he's definitely a well rounded package. His debut single arrived yesterday.

If you go to http://music.yahoo.com you can link to XM's GRAMMY coverage, and see the "big time blogging" opportunity I was excited about a few days ago. Make sure to read - and comment - on Jay Thomas's blog about the Dixie Chicks, because I know y'all have an opinion! I never did finish my DC blog because I knew I'd eventually be linking y'all to his. Oh well. The Chicks have been announced as performers at the Awards show.

I posted the press release earlier today, but I just want to say that I was right in predicting Kenny doing the big festival tour a la George Strait. :-D

My prediction is he's doing a festival tour - a la George Strait's back in 2000+ where he'd go into a stadium all day and bring a bunch of acts with him.

Not just any acts... not many people have Brooks & Dunn opening for them! Observe too how pointed they are about noting he's playing NFL stadiums. This is to avoid confusion with another artist who tried to claim stadium dates last year... playing soccer stadiums. I was trying to recall earlier in the day - has any country artist in recent memory done full fledged stadium shows other than King George? I don't know who it would be.

My friend Skye over at CountryNation.com got a good dosing of harassment from me earlier today about a line in his report on Johnny Cash's upcoming gospel release. Guess which word was added after my note?

The disc will contain gospel songs recorded by Cash before he died (Duh!).

LMAO. I love Skye.

Special alert for the NY Contingency... Saturday morning at 8am Eastern - Amy Paige makes her Highway 16 debut!

It apparently was a slow news day in Music City yesterday. Our NBC affiliate (my former employer!) reports that Dierks Bentley has chopped off his hair. Sources tell XM that he actually did this last month... simply because... he's always wanted to. My completely unvalidated speculation is that his wife is tired of his hogging all the shampoo. You can see his new 'do for yourself here: http://www.wsmv.com/entertainment/10716663/detail.html

ACM first round ballots came out today. Let the propaganda begin!

I made a new friend on the XM web team this morning. He was trying to put me on the Highway 16 page, LOL. He's about a year too late. To make it up to me, he backed off the extreme close up picture on the US Country page. But he told me that was as far as he could go, that showing any more of me "just looked wierd." Thanks buddy, where's YOUR picture? I personally thought it was a little weird that he zoomed in to the point where people could count my eyelashes.

Shout outs to my visitors today from West Liberty, KY; Huntsville, AL; and Overland Park, KS. Chicago is back, as is Rancho Cuchamonga and Glendale, California. Welcome! California outnumbered Massachusetts today! Traffic has really increased lately, I've had 237 visitors today so far. The power of Google!

Tonight's schmooze fest was a launch party for Season 5 of Nashville Star. It was held at the Wildhorse Saloon and open to the public. They had a pretty decent turnout for a weeknight, I thought. The contestants all performed on the Wildhorse Stage and then they showed the Premiere on the big screen. (So we got to hear them do the same song twice.)

They had the 3rd floor of the Wildhorse blocked off for invited guests, and you couldn't swing a pool cue without wacking a former Nashville Star contestant. I guess you can make a career out of that. The sad thing was... you'd see people, and know their face, and maybe even what season they were on (She was on the Brad Cotter season... he lost the year Chris Young won...) but we couldn't come up with names to save our lives. The guy who came in 2nd to Erika Jo was there (he apparently lives in my neck of the woods because I saw him and his wife at a Japanese steak house a couple of months back) and the teddy bear type guy from that same season who turned down a Christian recording deal because he wanted a country one.

The highlight for me though, was getting to spend some time with Jon Small. My longtime readers - or anyone who's read my current bio, LOL - know he's a big part of the reason I'm in Nashville to begin with. I didn't just want to work for him, I wanted to be him. Funny how far you can get distracted from the dream.

I also had a good conversation with the editor of Country Every Once and a While. I need to parlay that into following up on my New Year's Resolution Addendum. 'Course then I'd have to stop making fun of their name, wouldn't I?

My observations on the judges are short and sweet: Anastasia still sounds like she plots her one liners before she's seen the performance, Randy needs a hair cut, and was that a new tattoo on Blake? I don't remember seeing that before.

Contestant wise, my money is on the brunette Miranda clone... although I've also gotta root for my Illinois sister.

If you tune in to Highway 16 tomorrow, Jon will have an interview with Cowboy Troy. When you're listening to it, try to picture us all hidden away in a back stairwell away from the noise, with Troy propping the door with his boot because he's afraid we'll get locked in. :-D

After working a 6 day work week last week that included New Year's Day, I'm taking tomorrow off. I'm going to make the time to go grocery shopping, get my cell phone fixed, and do laundry. Then I'm running away for the weekend with some girlfriends. Because I haven't deserted my husband enough lately. (Kidding! This weekend was planned long before my current work schedule was.)

Have a great weekend!

Nashville Star tonight!

I'm headed out to the Nashville Star kickoff party at the Wildhorse Saloon... when I get back I've got lots of scoop from the past 2 days in Music City. If you watch the show you have to come here and tell me what you thought. One cool thing is that the judges get to eliminate someone tonight...two someones, actually. And since Jon was in the audience for the first taping - I know who!

More later!

And the announcement is....

Flip Flop Stadium Summer --
Chesney Starts 2007 By Announcing His NFL Stadium Shows
Tickets On-Sale Feb 10, Seattle + Philly Go March 10

Nashville: He had the most attended North American Tour last year, and now Kenny Chesney gets ready to kick-off his Flip Flop Summer 2007 Tour by announcing six stadium shows across the country. With an all-star line-up that includes 3-time Entertainers of the Year hailed as “the Rolling Stones of Country” Brooks & Dunn, triple platinum new country sensation Sugarland, current Academy of Country Music Top Female Vocalist Sara Evans and triple Grammy-nominee Pat Green, Chesney will play his first stadium show June 9 at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field, home of the Steelers.

“There is a whole other kind of energy, other kind of dynamic. We're talking the firepower of one of country music's most hardcore, hard-rocking duos,” the reining Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year says of his stadium shows. “All the acts really… it's a pretty intense line-up, in what we've found to be a very exciting place to do concerts!”

In addition to Pittsburgh, Chesney will bring the same line-up to Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field, home to the Eagles on June 23; Seattle's Qwest Field, home of the Seahawks on July 7; Cleveland, Ohio's Browns Stadium on July 14; Foxboro's Gillette Stadium, home to the Patriots -- where he sold out last year's play in less than a week -- on July 28; and Detroit's Ford Field. Home of the Lions on August 18.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I had this really long chatty post written tonight about Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney, and a showcase I went to. But I was multi-tasking, and by the time I got around to publishing it, I'd been logged out. Poof!

I did debut my new Treadmill CD tonight, using a lot of your suggestions. It starts out with "Down to the River to Pray" (credit to Sharon #2!) and ends with "How Do You Like Me Now?" It's great motivation - if I run fast enough, I get through the 5k before Toby starts singing. Which I did tonight - with over a minute to spare!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

"Major" Announcement

The fine folks at Sony BMG have warned us to mark our calendars for Thursday... to be watching when Kenny Chesney makes a big announcement. Which to me is just an open door to inviting the rumor mill to crank up. So... let's crank.

What on earth could the reigning ACM and CMA Entertainer of the Year be announcing?

Monday, January 08, 2007

I stressed over THAT?

Oh my gosh... I'm laughing until I'm crying. Although the tears are real.

ALL of that stress over what to wear for my XM photos... how best to cover the scar on my neck... was I showing too much cleavage... which angle to stand so I looked thinner...and LOOK at how much of it they used:

Edit: A week or so after I posted this I found someone to back it off for me. Told him the XM Nation doesn't need to be THAT close to me.

I could have been naked and it wouldn't have mattered. Here's what I sent them, in which I was very much dressed.

While you're checking out that page... take a minute to read my bio - which I wrote about 5 years ago, Jon's bio - which I wrote about 2 years ago,and Jay Thomas's bio on the Highway 16 page, which I had nothing to do with. See if you can find the common denominator.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Musical Motivation

Working at XM is like having your own personal jukebox. When I'm in a rut at work and need a pick me up there are certain songs I pull up and just CRANK, and I'm feeling uplifted in no time.

I've decided I need to put together a CD of my favorite "pick me up" songs to take to the gym. This time of year, I spend more time on the treadmill than the pavement, and it bores me silly. So y'all are going to help me come up with 45 minutes of musical motivation. You guys know my musical tastes by now. So the only real rule is: no Toby.

Actually... I might break that. "Piece of Work" - his duet with Buffett - might make it.

Starting with my favorites to crank up in the studio, some 1st round contenders include:

A Feelin' Like That - Gary Allan
Brown Eyed Girl - Buffett
We Shall Be Free / Beaches of Cheyenne / Two Pina Coladas - Garth
Bed of Roses / Do You Know You Are My Sunshine - Statlers
She Couldn't Change Me - MG

On a completely unrelated note... I almost never watch tv, which is very wierd since I have a degree in the field. I just don't have time. (Someday, I'm gonna figure out what the thing is I need to buy so I can get an internet connection in my living room, and I'll get TiVo, and y'all may never see me again.) However, in the movie theater last week I saw the previews for a new NBC reality show that looked really good - the casting of Grease, for a Broadway revival.

I don't normally do reality shows, and hate how contrived they are. I've seen a total of maybe 10 minutes of American Idol. But this was set in NYC... it's Broadway... good music... I've been excited about it ever since. As was Delaynie, who loves NYC as much as I do.

Let's just say... I was underwhelmed with the first episode. Anyone else see it?

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Garth on Ice

Once a year I get a pair of tickets to see my former employer, the Nashville Predators, play. Tonight was my night, but I wound up having to work. So hubby took Delaynie to the game, which wound up being ok since the Chiefs were getting their butts kicked and he didn't mind missing the end of the game.

Of course, as luck would have it, I missed the Garth Brooks Teammates For Kids night. I went to GarthBrooks.com looking for information. They haven't updated their news page since October 30th. Went to PlanetGarth and they haven't updated theirs since October 4th. So, you're going to have to make do with reporting from Gary and Delaynie, which was promted by me reading the program they brought home, which told about the event.

Me: Woah! The players wore patches on their uniform tonight for Garth's charity?

Gary: Oh yeah. There was a bunch of Garth stuff going on tonight. And they had a country girl singing the national anthem. The American Idol girl who sings about red shoes.

Me: Kellie Pickler?

G: Maybe. Did she win American Idol? I thought that was the unwed mother who wrecks the car on Christmas Eve.

Me: That's Carrie Underwood. Kellie didn't win. How'd she do on the anthem?

Delaynie: Oh she was great! She sounded like a professional.

Me: Well that's a good sign.

D: But she smiled way too much. She was very smiley. (Demonstrates enormous grin while holding a fake microphone and pretending to sing exaggeratedly.) The Star Spangled Banner isn't really a smiley song.

Me: Ok, so back to Garth... did they have Garth videos on the jumbotron?

D: Yeah, he came on the jumbotron and said "Hey everyone this is Garth Brooks. Something something something something... blah blah blah blah."

So there ya go. I know you probably don't need any more information than THAT, but just for fun... this is what's in the program:

Keep an eye out for the GB TFK patches being worn on the Predators jerseys tonight. The NHL and the NHLPA are working together to hekp kids in need through the 2007 GB TFK patch prgoram. During one select home game from 1/4 - 1/13, all players on each of the 30 NHL team rosters will wear a team jersey featuring a special GB TFK commermorative patch. After the game, each player will donate his jersey to the 2007 TFK Online Auction with proceeds benefiting the GB TFK Foundation. More than 600 game worn jerseys will be available for bidding at NHL.com and NHLPA-com.

It would be VERY cool if they'd sell those patches to us regular folk who can't afford jerseys, in exchange for a donation to TFK.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Late Night Ramblings - Thursday Edition

So much to ramble about tonight.

Ty Herndon has cut his episode of ShortCuts. Ty was very thin... with very short hair. It's an interesting show, for a lot of reasons. I think it's going to air next weekend - will let you know when I know for sure.

The Montgomery Gentry interview with Dr. Maya Angelou is going to air January 16th on XM 156.

Have you been following this Keith Urban affair story? I first heard about it from my hairdresser of all people, when Delaynie got her hair cut off. She told me about the story and photos of Keith and Amanda in Life & Style magazine, and how one of her friends knew Amanda, who apparently is a stripper. (She was identified as a "model.") I didn't give a lot of credibility to it at the time, but it's gaining steam as a London newspaper publishes the dirty details - right down to the color of Keith's bathtub. Funny thing is my hairdresser said Amanda went to Memphis to work because she didn't want her family in Nashville knowing she was a stripper. Umm... I think that's going to be the least of your problems once mom & dad read this story.

I need to send some shout outs to some regular readers who are lurking. Especially today's leading visitor - the reader in LaGrange Park, IL who came by today. That's near the Brookfield Zoo, right? And hello to whoever is reading regularly in Jacksboro, TN. I had to mapquest you to see where that was. Checking my blog stats is a good geography lesson for me. MA still leading - even though 'Lisha has left the state.

Speaking of people who came by... my faithful blog reader Dave from CT came by - not the blog, but the studio! I first met Dave at Fan Fair this year when he asked me if I was really running on 3 hours of sleep - referencing a blog post I'd made earlier that day. I'm a little miffed at him though... he's in town to see Kathy Mattea and my fellow Illinois State Alumni Suzy Bogguss - who are BOTH at the Bluebird. Tonight. Together. Why didn't anyone tell me about this show??? Dave brought his mom, who was just adorable, to see our Ty Herndon taping. He got to experience the just-out-of-the-rain soggy Producer J. , lucky guy.

For a couple of hours this afternoon I thought I was getting my shot at the big time... a special guest blog opportunity for the masses... but alas, it was not meant to be. Which gave me a little breathing room in the afternoon, but was highly disappointing nonetheless. I think I'm going to finish the work anyway and post it here.

Adding to my New Year's Resolutions: Find another writing gig.

It may not be the big time but by lunch time Friday this blog will cross 20,000 hits since I put the counter in. That's pretty cool.

And I shall leave you with this photo. For those of you who have been to Nashville, this is currently on the big Billboard at the West End / Broadway split. I'm thinking if they meant Tennessee Volunteers, the billboard would be UT Orange. Yes, I stopped traffic in rush hour in the rain to take this photo. The web address at the bottom is cmtonecountry.com if someone wants to check it out and report back.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Not really music to run to...

I wish y'all could see me now. (Actually I'm glad you can't, because I have no makeup on and my hair is up in a ponytail.) I am writing an episode of ShortCuts on one computer, scheduling music logs on another, and answering email, simultaneously. Since my head is about to explode, I thought I'd take a break and come say hello.

In preparation of our ShortCuts interview tomorrow, I took Ty Herndon to the gym with me tonight. 11 songs on this CD, only 2 of them what I'd consider to be really uptempo. Ballads do not make for a good pace time on the treadmill.

The lyrics that grabbed me most were from a song called "Someday Soon," which was co-written by Keith Urban.

Love is gonna build a bridge from me to you
Faith is gonna find a way to pull me through
And we will be together once again
Someday Soon

I love the positive spirit in this one.... it never says why the two are apart, just that they're going to be back together. Becase as WE all know... "Love Will Always Win." :-D

I liked "Mighty Mighty Love" a lot, but "You Still Own Me" gets bonus points for taking place at the ocean.

Baby I'm not in your arms
But you're still in my heart

There's a lot of love and longing on this cd.

A cute item in the liner notes... he thanks "Dean & LeAnn Sheremet for your love and support." Mrs. Sheremet is aka Miss Rimes.

The bio they sent over is pretty detailed on Ty's addiction troubles, and his stints in rehab. And in a list of thank you's in the CD booklet we see "Tanya Tucker and family."

I'm just saying....

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

People You'd Never Put Together

I about fell out of my chair when I read this in a press release:

"As a very special invitation, Montgomery Gentry will join XM Radio’s Oprah & Friends. The duo will speak one-on-one during in an interview with renowned poet, playwright, author, activist, educator, and three-time Grammy Award Winner, Dr. Maya Angelou to discuss their new video for “Some People Change” as well as their views on country music. The special interview will air on XM Channel 156. "

As soon as I get a date / time I'll let you know. Dr. Angelou has this amazing presence when she walks into the room. Grace and elegance, and such a gentle spirit about her. Eddie and Troy have a presence of their own as well.... but...ummm... grace and elegance it is not. ;-)

(Girls, feel free to come back to this page and drool over Troy's picture whenever you like. I'll be here with ya.)

Monday, January 01, 2007

Charlotte's Web

Aside from being a great Statler Brother's song and a fabulous book, it's also a movie... again. And the great thing about having a little girl is I can go see the kid movies. So tonight I took Delaynie and her friend to see Charlotte's Web. Research, you know. Reba show prep. Yeah, that's it.

Reba's part was really small... but very distinct. I would have liked to have heard more of her. She was much more memorable than her sister cow Kathy Bates. (Who my husband tells me I met many years ago, but I don't remember it.) I had no idea until I came to the net doing research after seeing it that Oprah was the mama Goose. (Who I've never met despite formerly working for a company she part owned, then living in her former hometown of Nashville, and her now having her own XM Channel...) I knew I knew the voice of Papa Goose but couldn't place it... I now know it was Cederic the Entertainer. (Who I also have not met, despite his being a guest on a segment I used to direct for a show on BET.) However, the voice of all voices belonged to Julia Roberts.

I know there are those who think she's overrated and overpaid, but I adore Julia. Goes back to her starring in my all time favorite movie - Pretty Woman. Mmm... black grand pianos... Runaway Bride, Stepmom, My Best Friend's Wedding... love her. She was fabulous as the voice of Charlotte.

I give it a thumbs up, and the two 9 year olds I went with agreed. Although somehow, the heartless little rugrats managed to not cry. *sniffle*

On the subject of tears... a friend sent me this amazing writing that I just love - so much that I've printed it out to carry with me. It's called "I Believe." Among the gems -

I believe -
that true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance.
Same goes for true love.
I believe -
that you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.
I believe -
that it's taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.
I believe -
that just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to, doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have.

Ok, I'm not really sure I believe all of that. But I'm gonna try.

Chiefs Are IN!

We interrupt your regularly scheduled Country Music-related chatter to bring you this exciting sports bulletin.

Here's a fun way to spend your New Year's Eve. Go to a gym... in Nashville... while the Titans are playing... for a playoff spot... get on a treadmill in front of the TV... and cheer for the other team.

I don't follow the NFL through the season, but yesterday was quite the exciting day, even for a non-sports lover like me. Hubby is a Chiefs fan. For those who don't follow the NFL, it all came down to a bunch of teams fighting for one wild-card playoff spot to be decided yesterday. In order for the Chiefs to get in, they had to beat Jacksonville, Cincinnati had to loose, the Titans had to loose - at home, Denver had to loose - at home, and it had to rain in Phoenix.

Ok, maybe the weather wasn't a factor.... But there were a lot of conditions, and it wasn't looking good for the Chiefs.

Chiefs and Jags were playing at the same time the Titans were playing New England, so we didn't get to watch that game, but it did make my time on the treadmill go much faster as I was pissing off everyone else in the gym by cheering for the Patriots. I'm sure the fact that I was running next to a guy in a Chiefs sweatshirt helped paint the picture.

The games started wrapping up... the scores started coming in...the Bengals lost... the Chiefs won... and the Titans lost (hee hee hee). Later that night the last spot was decided in a nail-biter that came down to an OT field goal - the Denver Broncos lost at Mile High. (Which probably has some corporate name to it by now, but whatever.)

Chiefs are in the playoffs! Playing against local favorite Peyton Manning no less, just up the road in Indy. It was a good day at the Rizer house.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled Country Music Related blog.

The only glimpse of anything remotely Country I could find on the New Year's Eve celebrations last night was Rascal Flatts on ABC. And that is debateable. I did find it amusing that the Lyric Street group was on an ABC show performing a song from a Disney movie. Talk about keeping it all in the family!

Happy 2007 to you and yours!