Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Tuesday Notes on Wednesday - UPDATED 9am

1:16am. I'm starving. Toby did feed me well, but that was like... 6 or 7 hours ago.

Gary Allan. hot hot HOT. kicked off with "A Feelin' Like That." A couple songs later it was "Nothin' On But the Radio." Love him. hot hot HOT. Seriously, the most underrated male vocalist in Nashville.

And I know... that's a whole lot of tattoos. But I think I could learn to get over that.

WB Suite - karaoke. Jon Anthony singing Cowboy Troy's "I Play Chicken With the Train." I have video. And I'm not afraid to use it.

The girl singing with him is one of the WB interns. They made their interns get up and get the karaoke started. I told Kim she was not allowed to ever again complain about anything I ever asked her to do. Ever.

John Rich in the WB suite. The man is everywhere.

And then there's Toby. Had a great GRAMMY quote that I wrote down... somewhere. I spent 3+ hours with Toby tonight. Much more to come from this party. Including pictures if you want them.

Big shout out to my friend Amy who found my blog when one of her artists showed up in a Google Alert. I've been outed.

Three of my friends in the biz are pregnant. Two of whom I didn't realize until tonight. There's something in the water.

Whiskey. It could be said that Jon completely corrupted my intern tonight. And Gary Allan singing "Drinkin' Dark Whiskey" was a very appropriate song.

Pictures coming. My alarm is going off in 5 hours.

Things I'd forgotten about CRS:

Everywhere you go there's music playing, and to talk you have to shout over it. I am so hoarse this morning.

It is SO much fun to wander around and see people you haven't seen in months. I love this part of it.

The Nashville schools really need to co-ordinate CRS and Spring Break. Because I still have to get up to get my daughter to school in the morning. And that sucks.

More notes from Toby:

The girls at the label call him "Big Daddy."

When asked about American Idol he said the only thing he'd seen of the show was a few minutes of the opening auditions. His quote I wrote down was "Such a class of freaks."

He's going on a USO tour for 17 days in May.

Food at this party was great - as it always is at BMI. There was a mashed potato bar, served in Martini glasses. Fried balogna sandwiches, fried chicken, fried catfish, and peach cobler. Ok, so it wasn't healthy. But it was delicious.


"You can't really count them, they're a TV show, not an awards show." (GRAMMY's)

"The only cat I'm germing right now is Bob Seger."

In the crowd at the party: Eddy Raven, Joe Stampley, Show Dog's entire roster, and mega hit songwriters Dean Dillon, Bobby Braddock, and Scotty Emerick.

I hope CMT or somewhere has some photos from inside this party. There could not have possibly been one more place to have put Toby's picture. Kim, my adorable impressionable intern who was indoctrinated into her first CRS last night asked who had to put Toby's picture on all these boxes. I think she is learning to appreciate her internship with me more every second.

This photo, btw, only shows ONE side of the entrance to BMI. Same setup on the other side of the entrance. That's a whole lot of Toby before you even get in the door.

Gary Allan notes:

A couple of years ago I wrote about seeing Gary at a convention and what a great show he put on, and how you forget just how many hits he's had. He's added a ton more to his set list since then. Hit after hit after hit.

And he puts on an amazing show. High energy, not a lot of chatter, but he's just rockin'.

On the docket today: Steve Holy at lunch... Sugarland at Happy Hour, Toby after dinner, and Dierks Bentley if I can stay up that late and get into the tiny club he's performing in.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Tuesday notes

Got a little downtime and thought I'd start some notes:

Heartland... I think their story would make a great CMT movie. Local bar band suddenly finds themselves with a hit song. Now what?

Jack Ingram was great. So well spoken, and delivers liners like a pro. I like him.

I've been up so late writing scripts the past two nights I'm completely exhausted and brain dead. And it's only TUESDAY! I need to find a Red Bull. I hope Toby's feeding us well. I'm managing to get nothing accomplished this afternoon.

From yesterday's notes:

Craig Morgan on his political aspirations: "I'll greet at Wal-Mart first." (I don't believe him, he'd make a great politician.)

Kellie Pickler told Dolly "I can't cry - my eyelashes are gonna fall off!"

And oh yeah. Huckleberry. There must be a story there. Must be. Why else would you do that to a child?

Monday, February 26, 2007

And Hell Week Begins!

This week is Country Radio Seminar - known in my world as Hell Week 1.0. (Fan Fair being 2.0 and CMA's 3.0.) What makes it a Hell Week, you might ask? Basically, I kiss my husband good night on Monday and don't see him awake again until Saturday morning.

In the meantime there's a ton of great performances, parties, interviews, and schmoozing to experience. I know I won't be able to keep up with blogging this week, so I'm just going to pop in and make notes and then will probably do a special edition of "Music Row Roundup" next week after I've slept.

Today's notes include:

Being with Kellie Pickler immediately after she met Dolly. She didn't know she was going to meet her. I have audio from the meeting and it's just hysterical. Not to mention she babbled for about 20 minutes afterwords, repeatedly using the phrase "My Size Barbie" to describe Dolly.

Kellie has a red washer and dryer but a black Merceedes. "If you're blonde you have to drive a black car, you just pop!"

Craig Morgan's gold party. Craig has a new XM... he's addicted. Held at the home of the spicy bbq that I can't eat. Mark my words, some day, Craig is going to be the mayor of Dixon, TN.

On the agenda for tomorrow:
Heartland Driver's Ed
Jack Ingram ShortCuts
Toby Keith talking about himself
Warner Brothers artists in a hotel room
Equity artists (including Clint Black!) at a little club on Broadway
Gary Allan in concert!!!

Speaking of Gary Allan, who sings my FAVORITE song on the radio (still!) - have I told you the story of Delaynie wrinkling up her nose and saying something like "I don't EVEN want to know what this song is about!"

I met my counter part at Sirius today. Wanted to hate her but she was very, very nice. I think I could take her in an arm wrestling competition for the gig if it came to that.

Later in the week, performances by:
Steve Holy
Trace Adkins
Chris Young
Terri Clark
Rodney Atkins
Big & Rich

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Credits You Don't Hear

At the end of each episode of Highway 16 ShortCuts there's brief credits of the people who work on the show. (Delaynie does an AWESOME Jon Anthony impersonation of his mentioning her Mommy. ) However, what really needs to be credited are all the web resouces I use in writing a show. I'm about 2/3 of the way through a Jack Ingram episode and so far I need to thank:

Back to the writing now. (Needed a brain break). I'll let you know if I need to add anywhere else to my cyber credits.

12:03am Update: I need to thank for the escape when I needed a break from writing - including a really good article on George Strait's songwriters that he's linked in the Newsstand. Show is all done - came in under 4 hours including blogging breaks. ;-).

Saturday, February 24, 2007

I'm the Queen of...


There's not much I'll admit to being very good at in life, but in this, I excell.

I've been noticing it a lot lately, because of something a friend said the other night. She was hanging with me while our daughters were in their Girl Scout meeting. During that hour and a half I ran errands, made lists, talked on the phone, and stuffed the children's bags for church. She says "you just don't ever stop, do you?"

Well I got thinking about it. Earlier in the day I'd made G.S. folders while sitting in the doctors' office. My greatest joy at work is when I have both fast studios because I can have several projects cooking at once. (And give the tourists whiplash if they watch me bopping from room to room.) My greatest stress is toiling in a slow studio on a computer where I'm unable to have a bunch of things running at once. At any given moment while I'm on the computer I've usually got a couple different programs on, and possibly chatting with my family online, writing scripts, and running logs.

And let's not even begin to talk about the system I have created to do laundry.

However... I'm always open for more efficient ways to do things. Especially while driving (which I realize, has limited options) or riding in the car (where it's not unusual for me to have my laptop plugged in to the cigarette lighter.) We had a 30 minute drive tonight to have dinner with friends and it about killed me to not be able to do anything since it was dark.

I need to keep a CD player in my car so I can get more work done on the commute. But what else? How do you economize time? What is your favorite multi-tasking combination?

Help me achieve multi-tasking world domination.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Things You Can Count On

I don't know who said "There are two things you can count on - death and taxes" but I'm thinking it should have been one thing - that taxes will be the death of me!

Every year it's the same thing. I think I'm going to have some nice big fat deductions - especially this year since I had to buy a laptop for work. I agonize over stupid receipts, and inputting all the numbers, and STILL it tells me I'm better off taking the standard deduction.

I guess that's one way to avoid an audit. But it makes me wonder why I bother worrying about getting Gary's work clothes on a separate receipt. Check the box and be done.

So. Question(s) du jour: Do you do your own taxes? And have you done them yet?

I, obviously, do. And I guess they're about as done as they're going to get. At least I won't have to stress over them for another year.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

April 3rd, I'll Be At Best Buy too!

Breaking news that I just found while surfing

MCA Nashville will release LIVE AT TEXAS STADIUM, a collection of individual and collaborative live performances by musical legends Alan Jackson, George Strait & Jimmy Buffett, April 3. The recordings are from their 2004 mega concert event in Dallas.

Alan Jackson
Five O'Clock Somewhere (with Jimmy Buffett)
Designated Drinker (with George Strait)
Texas Women
Seven Bridges Road
Where I Come From

George Strait
Honk If You Honky Tonk
Murder On Music Row (with Alan Jackson)
Milk Cow Blues
Cowboys Like Us
All My Ex's Live In Texas (with Jimmy Buffett)

Jimmy Buffett
Hey Good Lookin' (with Alan Jackson and George Strait)
Sea Of Heartbreak (with George Strait)
North East Texas Woman
Boats To Build (with Alan Jackson)
Margaritaville (with Alan Jackson and George Strait)

Almost as cool is the news that there's now a Margaritaville Cayman Islands. I love Grand Cayman - have been there 3 times and would love to go back!

May 1st... I'll be at Best Buy

The Best of Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters, two-DVD set, will be released on May 1 by Time Life. The show starred Barbara, Louise and Irlene Mandrell and aired on NBC from 1980 to 1982, with a weekly audience of 40 million viewers. The set includes 44 musical performances from guests including Johnny and June Carter Cash, Dolly Parton, Ray Charles, Alabama, Glen Campbell, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, the Statler Brothers and the Charlie Daniels Band.

Anyone wanna guess what my "Happy 6th Anniversary at XM" present to myself is going to be?

So. The M Word...

Seriously (or is that... Siriusly...) y'all don't know how much I appreciate the nice notes I've gotten. I think of y'all every time I hear "Find Out Who Your Friends Are" on Highway 16. At this point we really don't know much more than what you can find on our website or in the press. But to answer a few questions that have come in...

* If you have a radio that works the day before the merger is finalized, you're going to have a radio that works after the merger is finalized. Period. No one is going to suddenly have to go out and buy new equipment.

* There has been NO name decided for the new company (and probably won't be until much closer to actual merger time.) Check out for some amusing suggestions in the meantime. And some hysterical logos.

* Where company HQ will be is still undecided. Although conventional speculation that has been widely published points out that they pay very expensive rent in Manhattan, and we own our building in D.C.

* Obviously, there is a lot of channel duplication between the two services - especially in music. Some channels are going to go. Which ones will live and which ones will die is unknown at this point. Things like that can't be tackled until they clear anti-trust hurdles with the Dept. of Justice.

* Our chairman of the board stays. Directly under him is their CEO. Beyond that, no one knows anything about staffing. People are going to lose jobs, but who those people are is completely unknown, and probably mostly undecided at this point.

The most common question I've been asked is "So how do you feel about the merger?"

Quite honestly, I haven't decided. It's hard to get excited about something that's probably close to a year away and has a 50/50 chance of getting shot down by the government. I joined XM May 1st, 2001 - before the company ever broadcast the first note of music. So as an employee, it's a little sad. But it's pretty exciting too.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Wednesday Party Report

Tonight's Party was a Taylor Swift Gold Party. She showed up wearing gold from head to toe.

I truly don't think I can vocalize how impressive Taylor is as a person. Driven, is the best word I can come up with. "If you want to sell 500,000 albums, you meet 500,000 people. And that's what I did." She stands in her merchandise booth and signs for 2-3 hours after every show. And I'm told she LOVES doing it.

Even cooler was hearing her talk about the choices she makes. How she thinks through decisions about what to wear or where to go by thinking about what the 6 year old at her show last night would think about it. And then what that six year old's mom would think of it.

Taylor is SEVENTEEN.

Seriously, I want to meet Taylor's mom. Because I want to know how to raise a kid like that.

It was a most delicious oriental buffet tonight.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Flatts Tuesday

I confess, not being real familliar with all things Mardi Gras... I didn't get the connection. But nonetheless, I accepted the invitation to a Mardi Gras themed party honoring Rascal Flatts. Today. Tuesday.

The guys met the media before the event, which was the first time since Me & My Gang was released that we'd had a chance to sit down with them. (They didn't do media after their CMA win.) First off, we were told we were not allowed to ask about the GRAMMYs. Ok. Although at one point in the presentation, Gary started singing "Hotel California." They also offered up that they didn't understand how you could have the best selling artist album in all genres of music and not win Country Album of the Year. I don't have my notes with me, I'll have to fill y'all in on what they talked about later, if you're interested.

The food at the event was... foreign. LOL. At least to me. And poor Jon Anthony who doesn't eat anything that didn't come off the farm couldn't even find anything to put on his plate. I had never seen fried crawdads on a salad before. I couldn't bring myself to try that. Lots of creole and gumbo, and some shrimp dish that was pretty good. I tried a couple of things I'd never experienced before. I had shrimp grits, which I put on my plate before I figured out what they were. Not bad, but not the mashed potatoes I was originally hoping they were. And why on earth anyone ever thought to put shrimp and grits together was beyond me. I also tried King Cake - which tasted more like bread to me, but it was pretty good. Kim and I liked the purple sprinkles.

I know Teach is reading all of this and completely rolling her eyes at me. Hey - speaking of, I heard them talking about a Mardi Gras event in Metarie on XM 13, Willie's Place a few days ago. At any rate, I thought of you a lot today.

The event, I neglected to mention, was held at the Country Music Hall of Fame, which is closed on Tuesdays in the winter. Kix Brooks was there, and lots of music industry folks. Actually, I just discovered a much better write-up of the event than I'm giving you at

The last 36 hours have been pretty much Hell's Roller Coaster in my world - personally and professionally. Thank you for the notes, questions, and concerns... more about the M-word another day, I promise. At this point my mind is a little boggled by reading about it in every business section in the country. And the message board speculation is completely out of control.

Today being Fa...err...Flatts Tuesday means tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, and I'm giving up chocolate for Lent. So now you'll know why I'm grouchy for the next 6 weeks. ;-)

There's another party tomorrow too. Check back same bat time.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

It was a good idea at the time...

We've been trying to get Emerson Drive into the studio to tape ShortCuts forever now... those boys have been busy touring Canada and Jon doesn't have a passport, and really, who wants to go to Canada in the winter? (No offense to Susan and the gang) So we're just now catching up to them (tomorrow) in Nashville. In setting up the interview the conversation went something like this:

Publicist: How many of them do you want?
Me: There are 6 of them right? What are my options?
Publicist: I can get you just Brad (the lead singer) if you want. We do that a lot.
Me: Hmm. It's a big show for one person to carry for the whole band.
Publicist: Do you want just a couple? We could do Brad and 2 others.
Me: Ok... a good option. What would happen if we did all 6 of them?
Publicist: Oh they do that all the time... they're good about not talking all over each other. Do you want them all? I can do it.
Me: Sure, bring 'em on!

And so now I am faced with writing a show in which 7 people are speaking. 6 of whom I know very little about. My only prior experience with The Drive is when I interviewed Brad for my Shania series. And that was on the phone.

Wish us luck.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Looking Ahead

A few things on the Producer J. Calendar over the next 2 weeks:

- Emerson Drive ShortCuts Taping
- Cherryholmes World Premiere Taping
- Heartland Driver's Ed Taping
- Taylor Swift Gold Party
- Toby Keith something or another Party
- Rascal Flatts Lunch
- Clint Black club show
- The Sony BMG Boat Show
- Craig Morgan Gold Party
- Big & Rich Showcase

- and a few other not nearly as fun things related to Hell Week 1.0 (aka Country Radio Seminar)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Even **I** Can't Ramble This Good!

Excerpted from an official KC press release:

With 2006 closed out as Chesney's best year ever, with ACM and CMA Entertainer wins, a People's Choice Award for Favorite Male Musician and the most attended North American Tour - and 2007 off to a brisk start with “Beer In Mexico” being his fastest moving single to date, his stadium sell-out and interest in his Flip Flop Summer Tour so intense, dates for the Sugarland/Pat Green trek, had to be posted two weeks early to make sure the fans were getting the right information, it's a good time to be Kenny Chesney.

Yep, that was all one sentence. Go ahead and try to read it out loud.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Non-Grammy Ramblings

I had a few other things to ramble about, but wanted to keep the GRAMMY stuff all together, so I'm posting separately.

1. Blogger made me upgrade to their new Google version. I haven't figured out the new features yet, so if you see something weird, don't be alarmed.

2. I put this kind of neat thing in the sidebar that shows where people visit from. We've added a bunch of countries already, and I've only had it up for a couple of days. It's a fairly vague representation though - although you can break it down a little by clicking the 'show smaller clusters' button. For instance, when you look at it right now, you see one Florida dot around the Orlando area. But if you break it down to smaller dots you get one over Jacksonville and one over Naples. (Not that I know where Naples is, but those are the two FL cities that show up in my other stat program.) Anyway, it's on a trial run, not sure if I'm going to keep it or not.

3. In all the GRAMMY excitement, I neglected to mention that I did run my first 5k Saturday, and didn't die in the process. ;-) I actually came in a few minutes ahead of my goal - and a few minutes ahead of my friend from church I started out running with. Only because my legs are about 6 inches longer than hers, LOL.

4. Next week I hope to be able to tell you about the next stop on the Producer J. World Tour. The only hint I'll give you for now is that it involves the ocean. Surprise, surprise!

My real reason for wanting to post, however, was so that I could share this photo. Because I'm sure it's going to cause a few accidents on the corner of 5th & Demunbreun.

Life? Who's "life" is THAT?

Post Grammy Ramblings - Part 2

So the day after the GRAMMY awards I asked everyone I ran into to explain the Carrie Underwood / Rascal Flatts Performance. The press release on said it was a tribute to country rock. Between them they did one Bob Wills song and 3 Eagles songs. The music alone ran just under 11 minutes.

First question: What part of Bob Wills rocked?

Second question: What's with the 3 to 1 ratio?

I have more questions but I'll stop there. I finally learned - thanks only to a SONY BMG prep sheet because no one I talked to got it - that it was a "salute to Lifetime Achievement honoree Bob Wills and MusiCares Person of the Year Don Henley."

In other words - nothing whatsoever to do with country rock.

Third question: How did these two artists get chosen to sing these four songs?

Fourth question: What's with the 3 to 1 ratio?

Seriously. I didn't see the segment on tv, but I did listen to it in the XM archives. I'm told Reba introduced the segment. Raise your hand if you think Reba would have rocked on that Bob Wills song. Now raise your hand if you would have rather heard Carrie let those pipes loose on one of her own mega hits. Next show of hands - everyone who thought 3 Eagles songs was 2 too many.

I knew I liked y'all.

Don Henley had his own tribute Grammy Week- a completely separate event - and I don't believe either RF or Carrie were a part of it. Raise your hands if you'd have rather heard Trisha singing a Don Henley song like she did at the event. Ok, those of you who only raised your hands because you wanted to oogle her husband sitting in the audience, put your hand down and go stand in the corner.

The whole thing just makes no sense. It's not like anyone's suddenly going to go "OMG! Who knew that the Eagles songs were so GREAT! I'm going to run out and buy my first Eagles album tomorrow!" Who did that segment benefit? Not Carrie... not Rascal Flatts... Don Henley isn't exactly hurting for royalty checks. The least they could have done was share the wealth - have several different performers. Performers who actually have a connection to the artists they're honoring. (Raise your hand if you hear "Eagles" and think "Rascal Flatts." Didn't think so.)

Or better yet - let people do material that's right for them, don't force them to sing something out of their range or comfort zone just because that's the only way they can get on national television. When you have the best selling CD in any genre of music, you shouldn't have to pimp yourself to get a performance slot.

Ok, on to next thing that made no sense to me. I told you this morning about Vince's quote to a Nashville newspaper, cutting down people who are nominated but don't show up. (Read the blog entry below this one if you missed it.) Yet he told an Illinois newspaper that he wasn't going to be there this year so that he could spend another night at home with his girls before going out on tour.

Which is fine and all... sometimes you have better things to do than show up at awards shows. But shouldn't you have thought about that before you bad mouthed people who might be doing exactly what you yourself were doing? How do you know why other people don't show up? Could be that they had a much better reason than you for not being there.

The full Vince interview is found here, it's a really good read, if you cut out the little segment of hypocrisy.

I think I'm done Grammy rambling now. If you really want some DC controversy check out Jon Anthony's MySpace page. Thanks to everyone who commented over on my post on the XM Grammy Blog, they updated it today so I could see everyone's responses. Corporate was very excited by the country participation. Y'all rock!

(But that doesn't mean I want to hear y'all singing "Tequila Sunrise" ok?)

Post Grammy Ramblings

I love mornings after award shows. I love hearing the reaction - from fans and DJ's alike - to who won what, what everyone was wearing, who was and wasn't there, etc. Those are the kinds of shows I love to produce, and I love to listen to.

Not surprisingly, much of morning radio yesterday focused on the Dixie Chicks and the statement that the GRAMMY voters made by their sweeping their 5 categories. The Simpson's reference was the most repeated thing I heard. The email that came in to XM was overwhelmingly anti-chicks. I just don't think this thing is going to go away.

As polarizing as the trio itself is, the fans are every bit that way too. There are tons of "if you play the Dixie Chicks again I'm cancelling my subscription" listeners. Really. Turn the channel for 4 minutes. You've got 170 others to choose from. There are tons of songs and artists that we play that I don't like. And I change the channel when they come on. Just as I change channels on the television if a stupid (IMO) commercial comes on. I'm not going to demand a channel stop playing something, what kind of censorship is that?

I personally despise drinking and driving. Especially by people who can afford to hire a driver. Let's think about what US Country would sound like if I took my personal beliefs and didn't program anyone who had ever been busted for a DUI. There would be no music from:

Terri Clark. Wynonna - and The Juddds. Trace Adkins. David Lee Murphy. Mindy McCready. Marty Stuart. Deanna Carter. And where would the entire country cluster be if we didn't play George Jones?

I won't force my personal beliefs on the listeners, and I won't force yours either.

On the other side of the issue, the Chicks fans have a chip on their shoulder that isn't helping anything. I couldn't believe the comments I was reading on the Chicks message boards yesterday. Carrie Underwood said she was happy for the Chicks, but that apparently wasn't good enough. So the DC fans now hate her because she said she was happy instead of saying "congratulations" and she should have gone into some long diatribe of support. Please! The woman just won her first GRAMMY awards, I personally think it was rude to ask her to talk about anything else. Let her have HER moment, don't make it into something else. And John Rich was apparently was spotted not clapping for 3 seconds on television after the Chicks won. So he must hate the DC too, acording to the DC message boards, who are calling Big & Rich all kinds of horrible names. UGH! Just because people don't think someone should win an award doesn't mean they hate them.

I personally wouldn't have voted for Alan Jackson for Country Album of the Year. Doesn't mean I don't like Alan, or even that I didn't like the album. Just means there was something else I liked better. You might have caught me not clapping for 3 seconds had he won. Get over it.

Ok, lots of rambling there. But it makes me nautious all the stuff I've been reading.

So get this - they've released the Top 10 Post-Grammy "Bounce" albums... the Dixie Chicks sales were up 823% in the first 24 hours after the show. In the number 2 spot, John Mayer was up 177%. Carrie Underwood was up 64%, which was really good, I think, considering she didn't get to perform anything that was on her album.

Back later with more ramblings on Vince, Carrie, and Rascal Flatts.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

A BIG Night for Country

When I wrote my Grammy Blog for XM about all the potential "firsts" on GRAMMY night, this one never occurred to me:

The first time country artists won all four "All Genre" awards.

Now I haven't done the research to see if this really was the first time, but I can't imagine it wasn't. Later edit: I've since done the research, and it was. And I know there are those who will say the Dixie Chicks aren't country, but they won 2 country awards, and weren't nominated in any other genre, so I say we still get to claim them.

I hope you caught some of XM's live coverage today, it was really amazing. I know how much prep goes into working a red carpet and press room at a Country award show. I can't IMAGINE how you deal with an Every Genre Award show. Kudos to my buddy Paul Bachman, Scott Walterman, Trinity (who is the fabulous female voice you hear on the US Country production!), Lou Brutus, and the rest of the team out there. I did hear the Grascals get interviewed on the red carpet - and then our guys brought it up again later about the G's being excited about seeing Beyonce and Christina Aguil...however you spell her. Boys will be boys.

There were a couple of interesting GRAMMY things in this morning's Tennessean.

First was an article about how country artists were the only acts not able to do their own songs on the show. Joe Galante (head of mega label group SONY BMG Nashville): "Our songs are as good as anybody's. Why are you telling us we can't sing them? ... We have to sing other people's songs to be on the show."

And then there was a feature with Vince Gill who said "People ought to come if they're nominated. Most people's perception is 'If I'm not going to be on TV, I'm not going.' That's very whiney. Very unprofessional."

So I was very surprised to be listening to the pre-telecast awards live on XM 200 and hear Charley Pride accept on the Best Country Male award on Vince's behalf.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Blog Cheating and GRAMMY Rundown

I wrote something for XM's GRAMMY Blog. I'd love for you to go check it out. I'm counting on y'all to not make mine one of the lame blogs without comments.

They do have comment moderation enabled, so it takes a while for comments to show up. Thanks to those who have already commented - keep 'em coming! Corporate is excited about all the response.

Now - a few GRAMMY Programming Notes.

Celebration of the Country GRAMMY Nominees
Hear from nominees Carrie Underwood, Little Big Town, Gretchen Wilson and Miranda Lambert, plus XM exclusive performances from Dixie Chicks, The Wreckers and Rascal Flatts.

FRIDAY, 2/9:
12:00 pm ET (noon) - Highway 16
11:00 pm ET - XM 200

3:00 pm ET - XM 200
9:00 pm ET - Highway 16

SUNDAY, 2/11:
6:00 am ET - XM 200
4:00 pm ET - Highway 16

The "Soul" of Country

Four-time GRAMMY® winner Marty Stuart will host "The Soul of Country," the 9th Annual GRAMMY Foundation® Music Preservation Project, with live performances by Stuart, Deana Carter, Shooter Jennings with the .357’s, Joe Nichols, Charley Pride, LeAnn Rimes and Porter Wagoner. Also in attendance will be 2006 GRAMMY nominee Carrie Underwood and a range of special guests.

Friday Feb 9 at 1pm Eastern and 10pm Eastern - XM 200
Saturday Feb 10 at 7am Eastern and 4pm Eastern - XM 200

GRAMMY Pre-Telecast Awards
Broadcast Live for the first time ever - anywhere! - on XM 200. 98 Awards will be given out in advance of the televised Awards show.

Live coverage from Los Angeles begins at 3pm Eastern
Pre-Telecast Awards will encore at 8pm Eastern

At 11pm Eastern XM's GRAMMY Radio takes you live to the Los Angeles Convention Center for the GRAMMY After Party. And all weekend long there are special programs from across the XM Platform celebrating GRAMMY nominees of all genres.

GRAMMY Radio will be available on XM Radio Online as well as coast-to-coast on XM channel 200.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A Decade Plus 1

Today was the 11th Anniversary of the day I moved to Nashville. Which I swear was determined by my needing to report to work on the 9th, and not at all related to anyone who happened to have been born on Feb. 7th. Although it's an ironic coincidence.

I celebrated today by writing an enormous check to the orthodontist and chopping about 7 inches off my hair. Then I went to go see one of my favorite chick singers.

XM airs this series, produced by the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau, called "Music City Connection: Heroes Behind the Hits." I personally call it MCC. But I'm lazy. Anyway, the NCVB does all the work, we just air it. And I have absolutely nothing to do with it other than to listen to it on the radio.

Imagine my surprise to have a friend forward me the invitation to the next MCC taping, held at the Frist Center, featuring Chely Wright, Gary Burr, and Victoria Shaw. Surely not the same Victoria Shaw who testified against XM before Congress?

Being that I absolutely adore Chely, and not one to miss some potential fireworks, I crashed the event. Invitations were apparently sent to everyone on Victoria's and Chely's email lists, so it wasn't really hard to do. Although I did invite my friend, the Queen of Event Crashing to go with me, but she wasn't available.

The show was absolutely fabulous, as you'd expect. It was SO funny, but also had some really tender moments too. Chely and Victoria were just non-stop comedy. And unlike sometimes when you hear songwriters who are great writers but not really such great singers, these three all have amazing voices. Great radio. The whole series always garners great reaction. Chely did a couple of unrecorded songs, one of which was completely hysterical. I love her. Have I mentioned that? Love her.

Victoria's self-titled cd is one of my favorite albums ever. I'm listening to it as I type, as a matter of fact. "In Spite of It All" "Just To Say We Did" "You Say The Grace" "All For the Sake of Love." Her voice is really stellar.

There were no fireworks, however. Chely was raving about XM, and she asked Gary and Vic if they had XM (he did, she, obviously, didn't) and she made a pitch to get one given to her from the stage. I'm pretty sure we gave radios to the people who testified FOR us before Congress. Against us, apparently not. Regardless, she sounded amazing. There are singers with major label record deals who can't sing half as well as she does.

I'm not sure when or which channel this show will air on, but I will let you know. There's one ahead of it in the series, so it will be a couple of months.

In spite of it all
Somehow I survived
I still get out of bed
One day at a time

Seriously, go find Victoria's first album.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Fiji. And other Monday Ramblings

I personally thought Budweiser had the best commercials in the Super Bowl. Never did see the Rascal Flatts spot. But I confess that a promo for Survivor Fiji also caught my attention.

Now really. How tough can it be to survive in Fiji?

I would like to find out. Anyone else?

In the meantime, however, I do have a tour stop on the Producer J. World Tour in the Southern Hemisphere this spring. (And actually, the airline I'm flying offers a stop in Fiji, if I'd be so inclined.) Although I'm beginning to think the likelihood of co-ordinating my work schedule, the schedules of my daughter and hubby whom I'm leaving behind, and a piece of equipment than needs to cross the Pacific on schedule in order to pull this off might be akin to the likelihood of me winning the 5K I'm running next weekend.

We get some interesting stuff in the mail here at the Country Music Hall of Fame. Clearly... or maybe not so clearly... we do pretty much nothing but country related programming out of here on a daily basis. However, sometimes we get on a mailing list for other genres of music, which can be interesting.

Today a CD single came through with a title that I can not type here, being a family-friendly blog and all. There were 3 versions of the song:

1. Main
2. Clean
3. Squeaky clean

It had a skull of some sort on the cover and did not make it to my CD player.

I was highly amused to get an email today from some rocket science department or another inside XM that began with this sentence:

By now IT Operations is sure that everyone is aware of the changes to the starting and ending dates for daylight savings time.

Umm... don't be so sure. Upon Googling for more information I see that America is doing something wacky, and apparently the rest of the world may or may not follow. Am I the only one who was in the dark (pun kind of intended) about this? Apparently it's going to create all kinds of computer scheduling nightmares. Joy.

There are 2 songs out right now that I really can't stand to hear. Today I heard 'em back to back. So I thought I'd throw them out there and get some other opinions.

First is the new Jack Ingram song "Lips of An Angel." I know it's a rock remake, although I've never heard the original. Lyrically I think the song is just stupid. (My girl's in the next room. Sometimes I. Wish she was you.) Like something a pop boy band should be singing on Radio Disney. Country music is better than that, isn't it? The music grates on my nerves too. We get a crazy amount of requests for it though. (And it certainly wouldn't be the first time a song I didn't like was a monster smash hit.) What is it about that song? Am I the only one that doesn't like it? Do you love it?

The other is the new Little Texas single "Your Woman." Again - it sounds like a rock song. I can't stand the sound of this one either - although it comes more from the music this time than the lyrics. It doesn't sound country, and it doesn't sound like Little Texas. Which is what happens when you change lead singers.

On the subject of musical band members, I'm working with Emerson Drive later this month. Their website doesn't list the band members by name. (Probably because they keep changing.) I'm counting on my friends north of the border (*cough*susan*cough*) to give me a crash course.

Ok, I've rambled long enough for tonight. (Don't believe the time stamp on this blog, I started making notes earlier today, but am actually posting around 7pm.) Tomorrow we're going to talk about a mutual songwriter acauaintance a lot of us have, and a show she's doing for XM.

Friday, February 02, 2007

More cross-pollinating

Today I did a southern gospel interview sandwiched between two bluegrass shows, and edited liners for our women's channel. All that while mixing US Country logs and listening to my daughter write a song about snow.

The snow is gone, by the way. Which means I'm not going to get out of spending tomorrow night with a bunch of 10 year olds. However, I'm doing the smart slumber party. Instead of letting the little hellions tear up my house, I'm reting a couple of adjoining hotel rooms. I feel sorry for that maid.

Best news I've heard in months: Gary Allan is putting out a Greatest Hits CD.

Super Bowl Commercial Alert: Big & Rich and Rascal Flatts (separately) are in commercials. B&R is for Chevy... RF is for a company I forget, but the spot is some sort of Hanging Chad playoff. Didn't that joke get old about 5 years ago?

Go Colts!

It is possible!

That sad pathetic voice from yesterday morning is VERY happy and excited today. She awoke to a ground covered in white, and no school! It's the first decent snow we've had in years. It won't stick around long, but she's already swept the walk and made snow angels.

Of course, this WOULD be the day I left my camera at the studio last night. Grrr.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

On Location - Nashville Star

Was in the audience for Nashville Star tonight. Special thanks to Sandi who kept me entertained by listening to my text messaging commentary. And anyone who knows me knows I *hate* text messaging. I need a phone with a full keyboard. But it gave me something to do in the commercial breaks.

Anyway, a few tidbits. Jewel sang live, the Wreckers did not. Although they did it in one take. I can't for the life of me figure out what Michelle Branch was wearing. Their fiddle player, Jason, played with Keith Urban back in 2000+. Jason was a lone bright spot in a completely hellacious weekend I spent on the road with Keith.

So back to Jewel. She could give Kellie Pickler a run for her money in those red high heels. I'm not sure when it became fashionable to wear red high heels with a pink dress, but ok. Did you see her perform? She yodeled. The only other song I have ever heard her sing was "Silver Wings" with Haggard. (Yes, I know she did C2C #2 with Garth, but I somehow never managed to see it.) Sources tell me she's working on a country album. There's not a lot of yodeling on country albums these days.

(Completely sidetracking for a moment - did I tell you Bon Jovi is recording a country album in Nashville these days too?)

Big & Rich were in the house tonight, along with Two Foot Fred, watching the show from the skybox with Cowboy Troy's (very pregnant) wife. Big Kenny's wife with the exotic name that I can't remember was there too. The guy that got sent home the first week was there - again. Not in the skybox.

They should have put John & Kenny in the audience - there weren't enough people in the theater, so they moved a bunch of folks from the general admission section in the back down in front of the TV cameras.

I talked to Blake Shelton after the show... the comment you WON'T hear on the air was his initial reaction when I mentioned that the winner got a recording contract with his record label, and he said that was more like punishment. He was joking. I think.

Well.... Rats!

Regular readers might recall my last trip to XM HQ, when I gave up the hotel and slept on a couch. This week, the freakin' Washington Post ran an article about XM's rodent problem. And we're not talking cute litle squeaky mice. The internal memo that they excerpted included the phrase "the size of house cats." The Rouge suddenly looks a WHOLE lot better.

Montgomery Gentry has cut a zillion alternative sports team versions of their new single, which has a Bengals reference in the original version. The problem is... they're Bengals fans. To the point where Eddie came in wearing a Bengals jersey the day they cut ShortCuts. So I don't know.. it kinda cheapens the song to me. Am I wrong? Do you get excited by hearing them reference, say... the Red Sox... on the radio - even if you can't buy that version of the song and know they aren't really Red Sox fans?

For instance, everyone knows Kenny Chesney is a UT fan. I wouldn't want to hear him substitute "Go Vols" in a song with "Go Wildcats." Kenny is going to see his buddy Peyton Manning play in the Super Bowl, in case you were wondering. Kenny can't take a shower these days without us getting a press release about it!

I did some cross channel pollinating yesterday. Kyle was out sick, so Marty Fitzpatrick, from X-Country filled in on his live show, and interviewed Jesse McReynolds. Now Marty has only gone live on XM once before in his life, and that was months ago. And that's once more than I've ever gone live. The two of us trying to figure out how to load the music log was the real entertainment! Funny thing was, last week I was looking over my 2006 goals in advance of my annual review, and one of the things I failed to do that was on my list was learn the functionality of going live, so that I could should events warrant. Woops.

Marty did great though, and the interview went well, and to show his appreciation for my help, he brought me chocolate chip muffins. You gotta love a man who brings you chocolate. Speaking of interviews, Mountain Heart is in studio right now, and Barry, their banjo player, was giving Kyle a hard time about having The Grascals in - again. LOL. You don't think we play favorites do you?

When I give you the rundown of GRAMMY events next week, make sure I tell you about a cool Country event that we're carrying live!

It is cold here in Nashville, cold to the point where I had to dig out the winter coat I bought last year to go to Country in The Rockies. But despite the weather channel getting my daughter all excited with the phrase "90% chance of snow" last night, we got nothing, and school went on as scheduled.

The saddest, most pathetic voice you've ever heard came into the kitchen this morning and said "I don't think there's any possible way we're ever going to get snow in Nashville."