Saturday, March 31, 2007

15 hours from now...

...Clay Walker will be in the XM Studios cutting an episode of ShortCuts. I've spent the last 3 hours writing the show, and quite honestly... I'm not sure it makes any sense. LOL Will give it a polishing in the morning.

A lot of ballads on this album, a cover of a 1974 country / pop #1, and a song that is lyrically nearly word for word the same as an 80's hit we play on US Country. CD goes on sale April 17th, but of course you'll be able to hear it all the weekend before on Highway 16 ShortCuts!

I really stopped in to remember to link to Clay's charity's website It's a cause near and dear to my heart, and I remember when Clay was first diagnosed that it took him a while to come to terms with it all and be willing to step out and be a face for those with MS. He's doing good work, and they've come a long way.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Richie McDonald on XM -- TONIGHT!!!

UPDATE: This will replay one more time Monday morning around 8:30am Eastern.

Don't miss Jay Thomas's exclusive interview with Lonestar's Richie McDonald - tonight on XM Satellite Radio's Highway 16. The conversation, recorded earlier today at XM Headquarters in Washington, D.C., will air at approximately 3:15pm Eastern, with a replay in the 5pm ET hour.

Richie will talk about his involvement with the Children's Miracle Network's "Champions Across America" program, his upcoming media appearances, and of course - why he's leaving Lonestar and how his bandmates feel about his decision.

TONIGHT on XM's Highway 16 - also available on DirecTV channel 814 and around the world via the Highway 16 feed at AOL Radio.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

My Day Off

I took the day off today as a "comp" day for working President's Day. Battle pay for hosting the Emerson Drive ShortCuts, if you will. My goal of the day was to be home while I had a new kitchen floor installed. At one point I had my stove, refrigerator, microwave, kitchen chairs, all of our food, two small cupboards, and my basement door -- in my living room.

Most of it... except for the refrigerator... is still there. I've gotten ambitious and been scrubbing windows and walls and rearranging the furniture before I put all the junk back in.

The stove is still there because Gary didn't get home until almost 9pm tonight (he leaves the house at 4:30am) so I figure it's just fine there. We had McDonald's for dinner.

It wound up being a highly productive day off. I got a ShortCuts lined up for Clay Walker, a Driver's Ed scheduled for Angela Hacker, a Bucky Covington Driver's Ed script formatted, progress on several bluegrass bookings, reconciled logs, photos edited and sent to Kyle, Alison Krauss audio downloaded, US Country logs scheduled through next Thursday, and attended a staff meeting via conference call.

I need to take a day off more often - I get a lot of work done.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Name This Song

Quote: The highest non-collaborative country chart debut in the 17-year-old Nielsen BDS era by a non-core country act with prior chart history!

- Bonus points if you can tell me what the heck that means.

Party Du Jour

BMI is cranking out the parties this week... tonight's schmooze fest was a combination #1 party / platinum party for Rodney Atkins, and the song "Watching You."

Another #1 party, another Round Robin, and we got about 40 minutes with Rodney! So we pretty much covered everything. (Including a couple of wacky things from an internet reporter none of us had every seen before.)

One of the things I asked him was how Elijah was handling the fame of being a video star. :-) He told a great story of being in Taco Bell the other night and someone came into the restaurant and recognized "the buckaroo kid." It wasn't until after they talked to Elijah that they recognized his daddy. The person asked if he could get his picture taken with Elijah, who said sure - after he finished his taco. LOL. The next two places they went that night they got recognized, and on the drive home Elijah said "we just have fans everywhere!"

Someone asked him his favorite album of all time, and he said that No Fences was the one that was "always in the back of your mind that if you could just make one of these albums." He said he keeps No Fences and Ray Charles' Modern Sounds In Country & Western Music in his home studio to inspire him.

Those of you in Indy, he's shooting his next video ("These Are My People") at the Country Music Expo next month.

Food at the party was an ecclectic mix, including fried chicken strips on skewers, a delicious cucumber salad, roast beef on these little pancake things, fried fish nuggets, fried corn nuggets, and one unknown round item topped with guacamole.

I'm off tomorrow to get a new kitchen floor put down. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

How to Make Your Intern's Day

I have mentioned my intern, Kim, who's in her second semester of torture being my unpaid 2nd pair of hands. However - she does get the occasional perk of free food and alcohol, so it's not constant abuse. Kim has very bad luck when it comes to artist visits. The first day she came and picked up her keys I introduced her to Kenny Chesney. But it went downhill from there.

She's a HUGE Brad Paisley fan. When I talked to Brad in October about his Christmas album, she was out of state for a wedding.

She also loves Tim McGraw. For weeks she was telling me I had to get Tim scheduled for ShortCuts around her spring break. Sure enough, while she was home, we had not only our interview with Tim - but also the big Tim & Faith party. And she missed them both.

Yesterday I realized that a bunch of things that came in while I was out sick never made it onto my planning calendar - including a couple of parties this week. So yesterday afternoon I left her a voicemail along the lines of "Kim - it's Joyce. I'm sending you an email about something I need you to be at tomorrow afternoon - and it's mandatory, so adjust your schedule accordingly."

I then sent her an Outlook calendar appointment for a Brad Paisley #1 party and Round Robin. It wasn't long before she called me all giddy.

So we get to ASCAP today for the Round Robin - where Brad sits down before a bunch of reporters and we go around the table asking questions. Earlier in the day I'd talked to someone at Brad's label and mentioned that I was bringing Kim. I was told that would be ok, but she wasn't allowed to grope him and couldn't ask a question. No problem, she wasn't planning on doing either. I'm pretty sure.

Before we get started the above mentioned label person went around the table making sure Brad knew everyone - including Kim. "You brought your intern? Cool! I want an intern question," Brad says.

I was third around the table... "That's enough talking about you Brad, what we really want to hear about is Will." After he talked for a while about the baby and fatherhood, everyone looked at Kim. And she jumped right in with a question about his upcoming album title - 5th Gear.

A few other things we learned: The album isn't done yet. No special guests yet, although he's got someone in mind to ask. He's not going to take Will on the road - and he's looking forward to going on tour so he can sleep. There are several car songs on the album. And he wanted name the baby Warren but Kimberly would have no part in that - said she couldn't name a little bitty baby Warren. She wanted "William" to carry on her family tradition, obviously, and they thought William Warren sounded like a supreme court judge.

And yes - he talked about the inspiration behind "Huckleberry" - which Kim was more into than he was, believe it or not. It was a very cool story about signing the birth certificate right before they left the hospital, and how he saved the pen to tell Will about the power of the pen - how by writing just one word, he'd wrecked his kid's life.

He also said the guys in his band all call him Huck - but he and Kimberly call him Will.

So after our time was done Brad thanked us and said "you really did let the intern ask a question!" And then he started talking to Kim about Belmont and when she was gradutating. And I had to get a ladder to get her down off the ceiling. :-D We got to see baby pictures too - as expected, Will is gorgeous!

The party itself - which was a #1 party for "She's Everything" was held in Owen Bradley park - between ASCAP and BMI. Brad writes for ASCAP and his co-writer, Will Nance, writes for BMI, so it was a joint soiree. I saw my buddy Thom Shepard there - who wrote "Redneck Yacht Club and "Riding With Private Malone" and remembered that the first time I heard "She's Everything" was at a writer's night Jen and I went to at the Bluebird when Will sang it - with the original words, not the ones Brad changed for his wife. Good mexican food, no alchohol (being an outdoor event.) The folks at ASCAP gave him this giant Moose for the baby. Kimberly and Will were not at the party.

Photo credit to Kim the Intern. Who I'm pretty sure would build a few thousand of the dreaded GROUPS for me about now.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Livin' In Fast Forward

Looking into the future... I see a little club on Music Row... I see a big superstar... I see a bunch of cover songs... it's someone's birthday... this will be big news tomorrow according to my crystal ball...

Or maybe... someone sent out a press release written in past tense for an event that hasn't happened yet.

10pm Update:

Ok, now that the event is over, here is part of the press release:

Loading in early for a 6 p.m. downbeat, Chesney and band knocked rehearsals for the upcoming Flip Flop Summer Tour, presented by Cruzan Rum, off early, so they could blow the roof off Music Row's demi-legendary Tin Roof. Like all Keg In The Closet shows, this was no set list, no production, no stress -- just a lot of covers, a few acoustic songs from Be As You Are: Songs from an Old Blue Chair and plenty of fun.

It was? 4 hours before the event started? LOL. I hope the Tin Roof didn't get shut down for crowd control, or Jimmy Buffett didn't show up or something, because that would make them look kinda silly for not including it in their press release! Of course - his publicist must have had a crystal ball too, so she'd have known if there would be a big event.

I had hoped to go, but my hubby didn't get home until almost 5:30 and I knew by the time I got down there I'd never be able to get in. Jon Anthony went, so listen for his report tomorrow morning on Highway 16!

Report now up at Sounds like it was quite a party!

Friday, March 23, 2007

I'm at a Buffett Concert!

Ok, not really. But I did get the upcoming Alan Jackson / George Strait / Jimmy Buffett Live CD today, and am listening to it now. So far, I'm just about through Strait's portion.

The booklet credits additional recording at the Sound Emporium in Nashville, and I'd bet some of the vocals have been redone. For instance... Strait on "Honk if You Honkytonk" sounds very different than he does on "Cowboys Like Us." To the live album purists, that's a problem. Personally, I could use a little more crowd in what I've heard so far. I'm thinking the crowd at Texas Stadium probably knew the words to "All My Exes Live in Texas" as well as "Margaritaville." But it's a great collection of duets (and trios!) some of which can't be found anywhere else.

I also thought it was interesting that the booklet, which lists each artists' band, doesn't have a female backup singer for either George or Alan - but she was definitely there for their duet. Wes Hightower - who MUST be the most recorded background studio singer in Nashville - is credited as being in the Coral Reefer Band that day! (Jimmy gives him a shoutout at one point)

I'm still listening... need to get a Margarita before Jimmy comes on. On the CD, Alan closes the show. If I had to guess, I'd have thought perhaps George or Jimmy would have been the bigger star there. I need to find a setlist from the actual show and see how it really went.

Fins to the left!

Edit: I've found the setlist for the show. Alan opened the show, and Jimmy closed it. I wonder why MCA - George's label - put him first? The show is very much out of order - Jimmy's second encore comes right in the middle of the CD.

A new Van Zant single was released today. Happy Friday to me!!! It's stellar. Very much the same vein as "Things I Miss The Most" which was the standout track on their last album, but got lost in the shuffle when Sony and BMG merged. This is FABULOUS. As soon as Jay Thomas gets back from vacation, I'll be bugging him to add it. Feel free to bug him too. ;-)

Spring Break

It's a quiet week around the studios this week, as all the schools are on spring break. Jon is on vacation with his family, Kyle is on vacation with his family, and Music Row is fairly quiet. I had hoped to take 2 days off myself, to get a new kitchen floor put in, but wasn't able to get the time off - Jay Thomas is off too! But I'd worked ahead thinking I would, so I was ahead of the game on all my regular work, and managed to get caught up on a bunch of OTHER stuff this week.

The one thing I did do on the Row was sit down with Gretchen Wilson yesterday. And boy, was she in a talkative mood. We had a great discussion about XM - which she loves - and how she has DirecTV and turns all the tvs in the house to Bluegrass Junction, blaring bluegrass through the house. In the car her and Grace love Radio Disney. Grace, as is Delaynie and every other elementary school girl I know, is a huge Hannah Montana fan. Gretchen's goal in achieving SuperMotherhood status is to get a guest appearance on Hannah Montana.

We talked about the new album and music stuff too, but the part I enjoyed most was the everyday "mom" stuff. I was given an advance of the new CD, but haven't had a chance to listen to it yet.

We need more discussion and opinions on the new Highway 16 feature we're thinking about below. Weigh in with your production ideas, name ideas, what you like and what you don't.

The next stop on the Producer J. World Tour is the international portion of my tour, which has nothing to do with XM. However, I'm incredibly excited about it, and have started a new blog to document the journey. Y'all are welcome to go along with me if you're so inclined.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Name that Feature!

Ok my little creative geniouses... we are trying to launch a new feature on Highway 16, and once again I need naming help. (For those who don't know, it was one of my readers who named the Highway 16 Gearjammer!)

Here's the concept of the feature:

On release day (also known as Street Day in our world) we feature a track an hour, every hour on the hour, from an album that's being released that day. There is an intro, audio from the artist, a song, and a close promoting that there's another new track next hour. Street days, for the record, are always Tuesdays, but this is not a feature that will be offered EVERY Tuesday.

Here are the concepts we're currently toying with...

Highway 16 APB -- Highway 16 patrol has an APB out on a hot new album hitting the streets today... tracking down the artist, going to pull them over and we'll hear what they have to say about this new release. Production focused around being in hot pursuit of a hot new album

Highway 16 Brand New Drive Through - conveys that it's brand new music... and a fast feature to get you right back to the music. Production focused on the drive through window experience.

Release Day Rest Stop - It's a big day in Nashville as a hot new CD hits the stores today. Take a few minutes to pull over to the side of the Highway and catch up with the artist on release day. Production has a more laid back, intimate feel.

On the Streets - the new CD is hitting the streets today, and the artist is hitting Highway 16 to tell you all about it...

I'm not gonna tell y'all - yet - which concepts are mine and which one I like best. Let me hear your thoughts, opinions, and suggestions for developing one of the ideas above, or going completely different direction.

None of us are completely sold on any one of the concepts, which is why we need HELP from the XM Nation!

Edit - just had another thought... what about something like "Fast Lane"... going with the whole concept of "getting you to the Hot New Country Music Fast!" theme. Too bad ShortCuts is already taken. LOL

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Three-thirty in the morning...

... not a soul in sight...

One of the side effects of either the medicine I'm on, or the fact that I've done nothing but sleep for the past week, is that I've not been able to sleep at night. When hubby got up for work this morning around 4am, I hadn't yet fallen asleep.

So at all hours of the night, all kinds of things were running through my head - from to-do lists to things I hadn't gotten around to blogging about from CRS. The hard part was although I was mentally alert, the cough syrup pretty much wiped out my energy, so I wasn't actually able to get up and DO anything about everything I was thinking about!

One of the events I wanted to tell you more about was the party that Sugarland had at CMT, celebrating their platinum album Enjoy the Ride and their first #1 song "Settlin." These photos (taken by Kim, my intern) are of the elevators in the CMT building. It was a much smaller soiree that the usual Music Row free-for all - maybe 100 people crowded into the lobby of CMT's offices.

They were serving something called "Joy Juice" which was some fruity concoction of champagne, pineapple juice, and a couple other alcoholic beverages which I've since forgotten. I can testify that it was quite joyous. They had a pizza buffet, and these enormous, colorful, sugar cookies. I thanked my buddy Katie who works at their label for providing a non-chocolate dessert - turns out she'd given up chocolate for Lent too, but was avoiding the non-chocolate sugar cookies because one thing might lead to another. She's a much stronger woman than I.

In waiting for the presentation I struck up a conversation with a guy who clearly looked uncomfortable in being there. Turns out he works for Takimine, and made the guitar that BMI was giving to the duo in recognition of their first #1 song. (He says it's an average model, nothing overly spectacular.) He's the craftsman type - not at all the show up at parties and schmooze type.

Because all things in my life seem to lead back to Garth, I mentioned that when I hear Takimine, I think of the GB7 - and he couldn't believe I knew that model number. He said they sold a lot of them, and told me a lot of things about the guitar that I, being the non-musician type, couldn't fully appreciate. Of course, he spoke highly about his Garthness. There were more Garth stories that I can't at this moment remember, regarding the timeline of the design, and how involved Garth was in it.

The story and photos from the party can be found here at

One Garth story reminds me of another, and I was somewhere during CRS week where I ran into an acquaintance who exports country music internationally. He buys up CDs and then sells them to international importers, who then turn around and sell them to record stores who sell them to their customers at horribly high prices. I've worked with this gentleman in the past, and mostly he's always been looking for Americana and bluegrass CD's - not the mainstream country Carrie Underwood and Kenny Chesney type music. Europeans have a decidedly different taste in country music than mainstream America.

At any rate, he told me he'd done half a million dollars in export business last year - and about HALF of that was Garth Brooks merchandise. He'd go buy it at Wal-Mart and turn around and make a profit off it - so you can only imagine how expensive those Garth CD's are on the shelf in Australia! He also said he could make a bunch MORE money, but he'd promised Bob Doyle he wouldn't sell to the UK and Ireland, because they were still hoping to get a deal done there. I know I have some readers in England - has Garth made it to your store shelves yet?

Allow me to also take this opportunity to continue spreading the rumor I've been spreading for a year now, which is that 7/7/07 Mr. Brooks will play Ireland. His promoter over there recently passed away, but I'm told that a deal was done prior to his passing, and Garth told the Irish media that he'd do a tribute show to the gentleman - so I'm thinking it's all going to wrap itself into a neat little package.

Bon Jovi's new single was released today, in two versions - a rock and a country version. I don't know that the country version is much of a country song, personally. It's more of an acoustic vibe to it - a lot of Jon, less of the rest of Bon Jovi.

I can't remember if I blogged about the show Bon Jovi did here during CRS. If not, you can read about it here. It was an odd show - a full blown rock show done on a corner stage in a bare bones club. I personally didn't get a lot out of it, and didn't stick around for the entire thing - we wandered over to see Keith Urban, who was stellar.

Reports on Keith's show are here, and here - I'm sure you've seen all this by now. A few things to hit on - they brought out a full grand piano and he did "Tonight I Wanna Cry" just him and the ivories. He's such a talented musician. They had no set list, and it was pretty funny to see him look around and ask what they were doing next, and change from one guitar to another because they'd change their mind. A highlight for me was his performance of "Mama Tried." I was amazed at how well he and the band knew everyone else's material - when Ronnie Dunn showed up (from the boat, where he'd been clearly indulging in the libations, and admitted he had no business being on stage) they launched into "Brand New Man" like it was their own. It was a really incredible show.

Now that I've rambled through all THAT, allow me to share what brightened my day today, courtesy of my oldest brother, who I'm sure has no idea he sent them, and my sister-in-law. Aside from the bright colored flowers, the vase they're in is so beautiful!

Delaynie just told me "I hope you're not going to bed yet Mommy, I like falling asleep to the sounds of your hands on the keyboards." Umm... perhaps I do ramble a little too much.

Amy Paige

One of the things that happened while I was out of commission was that Amy Paige started doing live shows on Highway 16. I know she has a bunch of fans amongst my blog readers, so I wanted to let you know she's live today and Thursday from 11am - 2pm Eastern, filling in for Jon Anthony.

Several of you have asked for her email address... she doesn't have an XM email, and I'm not privvy to her personal email, but I do know they're forwarding her email that comes to highway16 - at - She loves hearing from her fans, so turn her on!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Hi ho, hi ho..

.. it's back to work I go!

I did go to the doc today... I've got myself a nice case of bronchitis, and some good drugs. Yay me. I'm actually feeling better, and went in to work and tackled a bunch of stuff.

First off, I had to put the next episode of Music City Connection in the US Country log. Don Schlitz, Fred Knobloch, and Thom Schuyler (remember Schuyler, Knoblock and Overstreet?) I almost forgot to schedule it... crisis averted. Thursday at 9pm, Saturday at Noon - all times Eastern.

Next I had to do a few finishing touches on the Jack Ingram ShortCuts, which my lovely intern edited over the weekend. This is going to be a really good show, but you'll have to wait for it - Tim McGraw's up first. Jack's episode airs the weekend of 3/30.

Now, ladies... Jack is totally NOT my usual type of guy- for starters, he's blonde - but I don't know... there's something kind of hot about him, don't you think?

The bulk of my day was spent working on new ShortCuts promos - which we desparately needed. I put together scripts and soundbites for three of them - which meant nine different artist soundbites. That's the challenge of those - finding quick, catchy things that the artists said over the course of 45 minutes.

Tonight I've been working on getting photos printed for Delaynie's Tennessee Scrapbook project. I've sorted through boxes and boxes of photos, but somehow have lost our entire trip to Chattanooga. I found a postcard from the aquarium - that's it. Do I have any readers in Chattanooga?

Speaking of Delaynie... we have not talked about the Grease reality show in several weeks, but we watched it FAITHFULLY. It's been so cute for me to watch her - she's all wrapped up in it. And the girl she's been voting for all along (Ashley) is in the top 2, and she tells me if Ashley wins, we just HAVE to go to NYC and see her on Broadway.

*sigh* I've created a monster.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

I Need a Rx for Chocolate

Y'all... I have never ever ever ever EVER been this sick for this long. It's crazy. I had walking pneumonia Delaynie's first Christmas and wasn't down for this long. I've been in bed for days.

Of course what everyone wants to know is "have you been to a doctor?" Ugh. Like I feel like getting dressed and sitting in a waiting room with other sick people. Joy. I did go to something they have here called a "Minute Clinic" on Friday. The doc in a box had 2 very helpful (not!) observations:

1. Are you sure you're not pregnant?

Umm, yeah. And if I am, I've got much bigger problems than any doctor can help me with.

2. Medicine isn't going to work if you don't keep it down.

Genious! Freakin' genious! I paid you how much for that?

Ok, sorry. I know y'all come here for much more exciting info than my medical troubles, but that is what has consumed my life for the past 3 weeks. I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow, but I'm actually feeling a bit better, so I may blow it off. I've discovered I can eat bananas. Even Mt. Dew doesn't taste good to me any more.

I do not, however, think it's entirely co-incidental that I started having these medical ailments shortly after giving up chocolate for Lent. And despite having tons of it laying around the house (can you believe my husband actually bought DOUBLE STUFFED CHOCOLATE OREOS yesterday?) I haven't once cheated. But let me tell you, it's the one thing that actually sounds tasty.

What I really don't understand, is why... if I am not eating chocolate... not drinking soda... and basically not keeping any food in my system for the better part of a week... I'm not down to like, 110 lbs?

In between naps today I FINALLY finished writing the Tim McGraw episode of Highway 16 ShortCuts. I've set a new record for how long it took me to do a show, LOL. At any rate, we're gonna give you the XM World Premiere of this cd this coming weekend, before it hits stores the following Tuesday. I really like the CD, lots of really strong material, although it's not a very uptempo collection. A couple of very country sounding songs, including one Faith sings on.

When I sat down with Tim and Faith last week (or was it the week before?) I asked Tim about the little girl's voices at the end of his latest single. I'd heard they were his girls, but there were obviously more than 3 voices. The other two are his producer's (Byron Gallimore) daughters. I heard this song on local radio one day last week and they chop the end off! The cutest part is when the very southernest voice calls out "keep going!" How stupid local radio can be. Yet another reason XM rocks.

Did you get a chance to hear the Tracy Lawrence concert this weekend we aired following the encore of Tracy's episode of ShortCuts? I didn't, but am going to try to catch it tomorrow. It was captured Thursday at the famed South By Southwest music festival in Austin. We also have a Pam Tillis performance that will run soon on either channel 10 or 17. Pam has a new CD out, I'm looking forward to hearing some new stuff from her too!

A few other miscellaneous tidbits that have come in over the past week or so... Trisha is NOT doing a Fan Club party this year... CountryNation reports Trisha is in negotiations to renew her contract with MCA... Lonestar getting dropped by their record label was not much of a surprise... the news that Richie was leaving the group to try a solo career a bit more stunning... I think that's really the end of Lonestar as a band. I hate it for Dean and Keech and Michael, who are always so great to work with.

Ok, now, I'm totally exhuasted. Back to bed I go!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

My New Addiction

HGTV. I cannot tell you how many hours of HGTV I watched last night. It's a good thing I don't have TiVo, because it would be recording this channel around the clock.

The funny thing is, much of what I've seen has made me go "OMG, who would live in a room like THAT?" But there's some good ideas and inspiration for someone who's hoping to sell her house in a year or so.

So most of what I've done today is lay in bed scheduling logs on my laptop while watching HGTV.

Now I need to find out if I have the DIY network...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Passing the Time

Things I could be doing with a week at home sick:

Finishing / filing my income taxes
Planning how to re-arrange my kitchen after I get my new floor next week
Updating my resume
Dreaming of how I could have spent that nice fat bonus check I didn't get
Sharpening the pins on my voodoo doll
Catching up on the ABC soaps I haven't watched in 15 years (Luke & Laura are still married, right? That's all I need to know.)
Organizing photos for Delaynie's TN scrapbook project
Unscheduling my new kitchen floor installation since I didn't get a raise to pay for it.
Polishing the voodoo doll pins
Find a new doctor
Cleaning off my desk
Defragmenting my computers
Recruiting someone from Africa to visit my blog so I'll have red dots on all inhabited continents
Fill out expense report from CRS

Things I have done with my week at home sick:


Saturday, March 10, 2007

Sickbed Blogging

Y'all should be very, very grateful that I don't videoblog.

So I picked Delaynie up from school Wednesday, came home, and went to bed. And that's pretty much where I've been ever since. Delaynie was sick Thursday with some sort of stomach bug... she was better Friday, and could have gone to school, except that I didn't have the strength to get out of bed to drive her there. Happy four day weekend to Delaynie!

I'm bored silly, and currently missing a city wide Girl Scout event I was really looking forward to going to with Delaynie. Gary's an honorary Girl Scout for today. Lucky for him, this is the weekend he's sleeping up at the church monitoring the junior high youth's overnight escapades, which is turning out to be a much better option than listening to his wife whine all night about how miserable she is.

Remind me later to fill you in on Tim, Faith, & Martina.

Oh. And you'll recall a while back I mentioned how crazy I was for scheduling ShortCuts with all 6 members of Emerson Drive. Well, the show is airing this weekend. Having to write a show for 6 strangers was nothing to complain about compared to what happened that President's Day. Jon Anthony called in sick, one of the Drive guys had to get an emergency tooth pulled, and 3 of the 5 guys who did show up don't speak English as their primary language. It was a crash course in re-writing a show on the fly.

Yours truly wound up hosting the show. To say I was scared witless would be the understatement of the day. 4 years of High School french and I couldn't remember a word of it.

If you're one of those people who watches NASCAR for the wrecks, then tune into Highway 16 ShortCuts tonight at 6pm Eastern. DirecTV channel 814, or free around the world via AOL Radio.

I have a very bad habit of backseat producing when I listen to things on the radio. I am going to take an extra strong dose of cough syrup before it comes on so I'm not tempted to listen and yell at myself.

Sunday Update:


Tried to go to church this morning. Not the brightest move. But Delaynie was doing the scripture reading for Girl Scout Sunday. I barely lasted till she was done, then I bolted. Delaynie is all better though. :-)

Another not so bright move. I discovered, that after pumping your body full of every imaginable clairinex, singular, benadryl, theraflu, cough syrup and random antibiotic you can find in your house, it's not wise to give self an albuterol breathing treatment. Apparently, albuterol and something in the above list don't mix. Unless your idea of a good time is making your husband think you're having some sort of a seizure/stroke because you've lost your muscle control, your appendages all tingle, and you no longer have the ability to form complete words. yeah. not a fun 15 minutes there. For him anyway. I don't remember a lot of it.

Perhaps... I might need a doctor. Unfortunately, I'm really mad at mine and swore I wasn't going to go back to him. Ever.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

New Music Headed Your Way

Spent time tonight with two new releases:

Martina McBride Waking Up Laughing - Love this! It's a very stripped down record... "intimate" is the word I'd use. It's the feeling that you're reading someone's diary. Listen for her youngest daughter to make a cameo. I'm really looking forward to spending time with Martina... we have a couple of key things in common. But I don't want to interview her, I'd rather go have lunch! LOL I don't think I can pick a favorite off this CD. There's some really emotional, gripping music on here.

Tim McGraw Let It Go - Strong stuff here too! I would have liked to have had another uptempo or two, but the material on here is really good. My two favorite cuts are "Whiskey And You" and "Shotgun Rider" - both of which are VERY country. You can listen to snippets from the CD by clicking here. Unfortunately... his duet partner doesn't show up as often in the snippets as she does in the album.

I don't even quite know how to prepare for my time with Tim & Faith tomorrow. The show I did with them last year for the Soul2Soul2 tour is quite possibly my favorite thing I've **EVER** produced. Can't we just re-run that? :-D

Delaynie's on a field trip tomorrow with my camera, so I won't be bringing back photos from the day, but will have lots of stories!

Monday, March 05, 2007

I hate getting up early!

Things went well with the ACM Nominations this morning, heard live on Highway 16. Photo at the right is the assembled Live Trucks outside the Hall of Fame on my way into work way too early. It was great to have Jennifer and Christian come into the studio after the announcements too and chat for a few minutes. If you missed it, they had a lot of fun talking about the competition, now that Sugarland is in the Duo category, with Kix & Ronnie. My favorite quote was from Jennifer: "You hear that Ronnie? We got the XM vote. Whadda you got?"

So I did pretty well on my predictions... was wrong on a couple - most notably picking "Come to Bed" over "Politically Uncorrect" and thinking Hank Jr. wouldn't get in. But his nomination means my boys Van Zant got one too, so that's cool.

Keith Urban not getting more was probably the biggest suprise to me. Although I kind of think Brooks & Dunn getting that many is a little surprising too.

The most exciting thing for me was Heartland's two nominations, because some dear friends of mine run the record label they're on. When I called them to say congratulations this morning, they hadn't heard the news yet, so I got to tell them their boys were double nominees!

On the docket this week - lunch with Tim & Faith, two sessions with Martina, and then more Tim. It never rains but it pours!

P.S. 667 Visitors yesterday - 90% of them linked from Carrie Underwood sites. I'm going to have to start making up news about her just to keep traffic up!! :-) I hope y'all are bookmarking my blog and will come back to visit!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

ACM Nominations - LiVE Monday on Highway 16!!!

Programming Note: ACM Nominations are announced live tomorrow morning on the CBS Early Show... which is tape delayed in time zones other than the East Coast. So the only way to hear the nominations LiVE in many places is to tune into XM's Highway 16! 8:31am EST is when the announcements are scheduled to hit.

I made some notes off the 2nd Round Ballots... and as such have some commentary and predictions on tomorrow's nominees. ;-)

We finally have a verdict on Sugarland. Are they a group? Are they a duo? Is Jennifer a solo act and no one told Christian? ACM says they're a duo, which makes the Brooks & Dunn award a whole lot more interesting. They're one of 9 contenders in this category, including all the usual suspects.

Vocal Group
- 11 contenders / 5 nominees
Alabama, Sawyer Brown and Diamond Rio all showed up in this group. When's the last time Sawyer Brown put out an album?

Female Vocalist
- 15 contenders / 5 nominees
Trisha Yearwood did show up on the 2nd round ballot.
My predictions: Carrie Underwood and 4 others

New Male Vocalist
- 12 contenders / 3 nominees
Several of the contenders here are hardly new, including Craig Morgan, Billy Currington, and Steve Holy. I predict Rodney Atkins is going to be a nominee... too hard to call the rest of the field.

New Female Vocalist
- 5 contenders / 3 nominees
My predictions: Taylor Swift, Kellie Pickler & Miranda Lambert

New Duo / Group
- Just 4 contenders / 3 nominees
My predictions: Heartland / Little Big Town / The Wreckers

26 contenders here including what stood out to me as the oddest choice - Pat Green "Dixie Lullabye." Keith Urban is in this category for "Stupid Boy."

27 contenders, remember this award goes to the songwriters, not the artist. Two Rascal Flatts songs are in the running, Keith Urban shows up here for "Once In A Lifetime."

21 contenders, including Alan Jackson competing against himself with Precious Memories and Like Red on A Rose.

Vocal Event:
The choices here are pitiful. Just six of them. I'm not sure they're going to deliver us 5 nominees. I predict you won't see Hank Jr.'s "That's How they Do It In Dixie" on the final nominee list, but will see "Building Bridges", "Come to Bed" and "Me and God." One of the titles I wrote down I have no memory of, and couldn't tell you who sings it. As I said... pitiful.

27 contenders, including Johnny Cash "God's Gonna Cut You Down." Seriously, there needs to be a statue of limitations on winning videos you didn't make when you were alive.

LiVE - LiVE - LiVE in the morning - find out who gets the nominations even before some of the nominees do! As a reminder, XM's Highway 16 is also heard on DirecTV channel 814 and free around the world via

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Around CRS: Toby, Sara, & all the Newbies

A couple of years ago I saw Catherine Britt at a little showcase in Nashville. Elton Jon was on video talking about how talented she was and she performed a Hank Sr. song and she yodeled and we knew that despite being from Australia the girl was completely country.

And now, she's looking like a rock chick.

Jake Owen is also looking like a rock star. The image doesn't go with the music, IMHO... I like him better in blue jeans, where he looks more real. There are some great fan photos of Jake at his website -
I was at this session. Also on the panel was artist Jack Ingram, and his label head, Scott Borchetta. At one point Jack, who's on his 14th year of recording, is about to put out his 13th CD, and is a superstar in Clay's native Texas was talking and Clay interrupted him with a comment that was something like "Yeah, that's well and good but you're new at this. You've had, what, two singles on the radio?"

At which point Jack looks at him and says "Don't you know who I think I am?"

Jack's episode of ShortCuts, by the way, is going to be awesome. He was a great interview.
In a session about interviewing, John Rich asked if we wanted to hear the absolute worst interview question he'd ever been asked. He recounted "Lonestar exited me from the band" in January of one year, and then by summer came out with "Amazed." He was doing a radio tour for his solo project, and a DJ asked him "So, how does it feel to have left the Beatles?"
I talked to Chris Young on the Boat, which was held the same night as the Nashville Star finale. He said he'd tried to get several of his friends to text message him the winner, but said he couldn't find anyone willing to watch the show for him. LOL
Also on the boat - Sara Evans was introduced as being happier than she's ever been. Somehow I just find that hard to believe. Happier now than she was 3 months ago, maybe. But ever? Nope, ain't buying it. Whoever introduced her should have their mouth washed out.
I watched Toby at the Music City Jam with the COO of the company that does Toby's (and a ton of other artists) video screens on the road. He snuck me Diet Cokes from the back. I'm going to sneak him into the Predators control room - he's a big Preds fan. Aside from the free soda, I got to know the special guests in advance, although I confess that I thought he had his artists confused when he told me Crystal Gayle. Who knew Crystal was Toby's favorite female singer?

There's a good review of the show here. Before they sang the second duet, Toby told her he knew she didn't usally perform this one live, and she told him to bare with her if she forgot the words. When they were done and he was getting ready to perform his next song, he shook his head and said "I just sang with Crystal Gayle, y'all!" It was, dare I say... cute.

Now, perhaps, I need my mouth washed out.
If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me about the merger this week I could afford to get TiVo AND the new boots. It's crazy. I did, however, get a chance to do a lot of networking, and had one job offer and a whole bunch of "you'll be fine, but if you aren't, call me and let me know how I can help" offers, which makes me feel much better.
My favorite New Faces performance was Eric Church. Where everyone else did 4 or 5 songs, Eric crafted a little musical scrapbook of himself and his songwriting... playing snippets of his influences - from Motown to Bluegrass - parts of his own songs - segueing from Bob Segar's "Night Moves" into his own "Two Pink Lines" and talking about the year he's had "I've been hired, I've been fired."

The performances were all good, but they were just 4 or 5 song mini-concerts. Although I am intrigued to find out if one performer was sick... or... umm... under the influence of something stronger than Tylenol.
Kix Brooks hosted the New Faces show... a gig he got not because he's an artist, but because he's the host of the mac daddy of Country Countdown shows - American Country Countdown. At one point he pulled out a guitar and accompanied himself singing "Red Dirt Road."
I had a brief opportunity to see Kenny Chesney at the Hog's Breath Saloon in Key West tonight. Had I taken it, I would have completely re-defined exhaustion. And insanity.

The reason, however, I'm sitting here blogging instead of being at the Jack Ingram show I wanted to be at tonight, is because my daughter is sick and my husband is running a 101 degree fever. So, I'm wired on Mt. Dew (I didn't decide for sure until after dinner that I really couldn't leave them to go out tonight) and stuck at home administering benadryl and aspirin.

It was laundry, or blogging.

The Party Boat

Edit: I see a zillion of you coming over here from Carrie's Fan Club website - welcome! Since it's a member-only forum I can't see what was posted to get you here, but I hope it was good. I invite all visitors to post a comment along with their city / state so I can tell where you're visiting from! And apologies that my pictures aren't better. I intentionally make them a little blurry so you can't steal them and sell them. ha! Kidding. Thanks for visiting.

As I've mentioned before, my favorite event of CRS is the Boat Show. This is the 21st year they've done this, and I have no idea which record label actually started it, but due to last year's consolidation, it is now the SonyBMG Boat. Which covers RCA, BNA, Arista, and Columbia. Columbia is the newest label to the label group formerly known as RLG, so several acts made their first appearance on the boat.

So here's how this works. They load up 300 people, invitation only, onto the boat where the alcohol flows as freely as the water around it. During mingle time, the artists come out, trotted around by someone from the label, and introduced to everyone. Then they serve dinner, and there's a show, where each artist does 2 or 3 songs. In between performances, while they're changing the set, they show videos, give plaques, and otherwise cheerlead the labels. The boat cruises from downtown out to the Opry landing, turns around, and comes back. You're captive for about 4 hours.

It was my job to secure seats for XM, Party of 5. So I took the first shuttle down there and wound up being about #16 in line. Scored a primo table - dead center, three rows back. Yay me.

The first artists I saw come wandering out was Van Zant. Double yay for me! I knew how these things work - usually the artists only make it part of the way through the room, there's a lot of germing, phototaking, and you're hurried from one guest to the other. But I hadn't seen these guys in WAY too long, and wanted to get a chance to catch up before they got mobbed. So I went over to them and stood patiently to the side while they finished meeting and greeting. Donnie saw me first and he grabbed Johnny and brought him over. I told Johnny as I hugged him that I'd never hugged a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame before! The great thing is that they are working on a new album - still in the recording stage, but they're still on Columbia and hope to tour again together once it's done.

Since we live in Nashville and get to see the artists all the time, we tried to stay out of the way as they made their rounds and met the local radio folks that they'd never gotten to meet before. Lots of picture taking, you could see the people who were so excited to get to meet the stars, it was kind of cute. I did get to say hello to some of them - including Jake Owen, who told me he hears his song on XM all the time, Terri Clark, Jason Michael Carroll - who said Driver's Ed was a big part of the success his CD had first week, and Eddie and Troy, both of whom kissed me on the cheek.

Not all of the artists on the boat were performing, but they came out to "greet and grope" as I like to call it. Terri Clark, who had performed at the lunch that day, and Jake, Catherine Owen, and Cole Deggs were all there - the last 3 performed earlier in the week at a club. (I have pictures of them too, that I'll eventually get up.) Miranda was there in a really cool dress - she didn't perform because she was on the New Faces show the next night. The only 2 artists I didn't see doing the meet & greet were Brad Paisley and Ronnie Dunn - but they might have done the upper level and I just didn't see them.

Dinner was good, although the dessert was even better, even though 3/4 of everything they brought out on the enormous dessert platter was chocolate.

Ed Morris has a great recap of the show at In fact, CMT definitely has the best coverage of CRS events that I've found. Usually at this event, there's always a surprise guest. And usually, it's someone that is working with the label on a special project. In recent years they've had Jimmy Buffett, ZZ Top, and Ronnie Milsap. Given that I knew she was at the label for a meeting with the label head earlier in the week, and that "Jolene" was playing in the pre-show music, I spread the rumor that the special guest might be Dolly herself.

I was wrong. In fact, there was no special guest.

A few fashion tidbits. Sara Evans and Martina McBride both had incredibly short dresses on for as cold as it was. I suggested that one of them had the legs to carry that hemline off and one didn't, but Jon Anthony tells me I'm wrong. Look at me, wrong twice in one night! Carrie Underwood had the hair extensions in, and her hair pulled back into a ponytail. When she came out for the finale she had a long black trenchcoat on. Eddie Montgomery had a very strange skull themed duster on that scared me a little. Troy looked good. (I know, you're shocked. )

I really enjoyed the Pat Green / Sara Evans duet. Pat is awesome in concert if you've never seen him, he's so funny. Carrie, who maybe heard the rumor I was spreading, did a verse and chorus of Jolene with no explanation or comments about Dolly before launching into "Before He Cheats." Carrie showed off her wrist accessories... grey seasickness bracelets. Apparently, she got pretty sick on the boat last year. Brad Paisley debuted his new single, which has the hook "I'd like to check you for ticks." Apparently, I'm not quite redneck enough to fully get that joke. During Brad's performance they handed out cigars to the crowd. He did not explain where Huckleberry came from, but he was introduced as Huckleberry's dad. Not Will's dad. Huckleberry's dad.

Also, I've ready some (slightly mean) speculation about the order that the performers went in. Remember, this show has a captive audience, there's no need to put an opening act while everyone wanders in off the street. They mix it all up putting newbies in between vets, girls between boys, and not clumping everyone from one label together. It probably has as much to do with stage logistics as anything. This year Brooks & Dunn went last, but last year they were one of the first - if not the first. So don't read too much into the order of events.

In keeping with my confessions of wrongness... last year on the boat Jon and I agreed that there was one new artist they debuted who tanked and would never be heard from again, and another who was awesome and we were going to be able to say "we say ___ before they were anyone."

Umm...yeah. So one of those artists were on the boat this year, the other was nowhere to be found. However, it was the opposite of ways I predicted it. I didn't make any such predictions this year.

One of the things they showed between performances was Kellie Pickler on American Idol. There was a buzz zipping through the room about her hair. Not a particularly favorable buzz. There was a very dramatic story told about someone TiVo'ing the show, taking it to the Opryland landing, getting on a speedboat and catching up to the General Jackson, and someone leaning overboard to get the handoff of the DVD to be able to show to the crowd.

The finale of the show had just about everyone (except, for some reason, Eddie and Troy) doing "Sweet Home Alabama." B&D, Johnny, Donnie, Gretchen, and Pat Green were leading the pack, the other girls all singing backup, Brad Paisley just playing guitar in the background. Absolute funniest moment came at the end when they took a big bow, and Johnny Van Zant grabbed Carrie Underwood's hand. This look of "oh my God what just touched me" crossed her face. Cracked everyone up... definitely a collision of worlds there.

When you get off the boat you had your choice of shuttles to take you to Bon Jovi, Keith Urban, Big & Rich, or back to a hotel. It was walking up the plank past the shuttle people holding signs for their respective shows that we heard another artist say quite loudly, disgustedly, and judgementally - "oh yeah...Keith Urban is cool. He's on crack."

My first stop was Bon Jovi, my second Keith Urban. Reports on both later.

Souvenirs from CRS 38

As with any convention, you come home with lots of stuff.
Cigar was compliments of Brad Paisley, who showed up on the boat and performed just him and the guitar. I don't smoke, but I'm curious if the hand gel they gave out to stop your cigarette cravings might get me addicted to thinking I'm a smoker. Maybe it would be a good stress reliever... the calming benefits of smoking without the deadly side effects. The red box holds apple pie from the Loveless Cafe, compliments of the CMHOF. The playing cards are probably the most useful thing, although I find it highly ironic that the CMA gave out ear plugs.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Friday Notes - part 1

Trace Adkins for lunch. Label hasn't decided the new single yet. I think it's going to be "I Came Here to Live." In the meantime, Highway 16 is playing Ride.

John Rich and the worst interview question EVER

New Faces Show in about an hour... Jen is going with me.

I am ready to fall into bed and stay there for 2 days.

Thursday Notes on Friday

I know I'm two days behind on blogging. Next event I just text scoop to Sandi and make her blog for me.

Things from today that I have to tell you about:

Chris Young
Terri Clark
Jack Ingram / Clay Walker
The boat: Carrie / Gretchen / Martina / Sara / Brad / Jake / MG / B&D / VZ
Happier than she's ever been. Bull.
The Kellie Pickler DVD story
Nashville Star story
"oh yeah, {someone} is cool, he's on crack."
Bon Jovi in concert
Keith Urban in concert in a full blown show that was still going on when I left it at 1am

Boots. Need comfortable boots. Black. Comfortable. Dressy. Do such a thing exist?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Most Important Wednesday Note

Proof that God takes care of me and rewards me for being good.