Sunday, September 30, 2007

Country Music Month is HERE!!!

Ok, technically, it arrives in a couple of hours. But still....

The programming going on across the XM country neighborhood this month is insane. I almost get afraid to talk about it because I'm going to leave something out. But to the best of my ability, here are some highlights you have to look forward to this week, including encore times when I know them:

MONDAY:
Marty Stuart Artist Confidential -- all day long on XM 2

TUESDAY:
Release Day Rest Stops with Brooks & Dunn - every hour on XM 16
Driver's Ed with Whiskey Falls - hosted by Amy Paige - 3pm ET on XM 16
Bill Anderson Visits with the Legends w/ Kris Kristofferson - Noon ET on XM 10

WEDNESDAY:
Jack Ingram - In Concert at B.B. Kings / NYC - 10am ET on XM 16

THURSDAY:
Clint Black Artist Confidential (Encore) - 6pm ET on XM 17
Driver's Ed with Whiskey Falls - 9am ET on XM 16
Bill Anderson w/ Kris Kristofferson - Noon ET on XM 10
IBMA Awards - Live from the Grand Ole Opry House - 9pm ET on XM 14

FRIDAY:
Marty Stuart's American Odyssey - SERIES DEBUT all day long on XM 10. (First episode focuses on Marty's hometown of Philadelphia, MS)

SATURDAY:
Jack Ingram - In Concert at B.B. Kings / NYC - 10am ET on XM 16

SUNDAY:
We're working on something VERY cool for Sunday, but it's not quite a done deal yet, so watch this space for details!!!

**whew**

It's Duo Night!

On my show tonight (7pm ET on XM 10 America) I've got 2 special guests. Ronnie Dunn of Brooks & Dunn is there (thanks to the magic of audio tape, LOL) to talk about his duet with Reba. It's country enough to play on XM 10, and gives me a great chance to cross promote Release Day Rest Stops with Brooks & Dunn - all day Tuesday on Highway 16. That happens in the first hour of the show

Then at 8:30pm ET, Wil Reid of Grandstaff is going to join me on the phone to talk about the upcoming fan cruise they're doing with Jimmy Fortune of the Statler Brothers. I'm also going to get some advice from him on how to go Statler Stalking should I ever make it to Staunton, VA, and we're going to talk about the Statler Brothers going into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. (I've printed out an order form... have not yet ordered a ticket. $125 is a lot of money...but SO worth it... right?)

Back to the cruise... 7 nights sailing the Eastern Carribbean on board the Carnival Valor... leaving out of Miami... hitting the Bahamas... St. Thomas... St. Maarten... private performances and receptions... a great gift for the Statler Brothers fan on your Christmas list! They're booking through October 10th, so not much time left, then they have to start giving back the cabins they have on hold. You can book online through JimmyFortune.com or Grandstaff.net.

Come Sail Away!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Friday, September 28, 2007

T.G.I.F.!!!!!

Good gracious, what a week!

I thought it was going to be a fairly mild week, in advance of the IBMA's next week. Ha! Tried to even make plans to catch up on some overdue lunches, thinking I might actually have time to eat lunch this week. Ha again! That didn't even come close to happening.

However, in spite of computer problems... country music month...excrutiating pain in my left hand... last minute shows to write... 5th grade drama... a subscriber who wants to hold me personally responsible for everything she doesn't like about my company... bookings and rebookings...and not nearly enough hours in the day for me to actually do anything that resembles cleaning...I can't complain.

I could have this guy's job!

Yes, I stopped traffic on Hickory Hollow Parkway to take his photo. The best part you can't tell in the photo... but he was smoking a cigarette!

Remind me tomorrow to tell you about the special guests I have on Sunday night's show!

Multi-media Blogging

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Email Shut Down

Sorry gang, I've temporarily shut down the ProducerJ email account. Apparently it's not enough to tell me at work how much I suck... someone's decided I need to hear it when I'm at home with my family, too.

And quite honestly, I don't.

With words of hatred they surround me; they attack me without cause.
- Psalm 109:3 (NIV)

Concert Update

From today's Country Aircheck email blast:

Brooks & Done: Kansas City's new Sprint Center, opening in October with Elton John, will be the site of Garth Brooks' "One Artist, One City, One Time" show set for Nov. 14 at 7:30pm. "Several months ago we'd announced that we would perform a thank-you concert for our friends at Wal-Mart," Brooks said in a statement released to Country Aircheck. "They'd suggested either Fayetteville or Kansas City. AEG was kind enough to help us out with this concert and offered the opening of the new Sprint Center. We were thrilled since this allowed us the opportunity to make this an even bigger party by opening up the concert to the public." Ticket information will be released Oct. 3.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Special Treat for My Blog Readers!

Didn't want you to have to wait until tomorrow for this news! The long rumored Kansas City show is now being confirmed by the music industry trade Radio & Records in their daily email blast:

Holy Crap, This News Is Garth-Gantuan! It's no rumor, this is happening.... When Garth Brooks announced plans for his "Ultimate" box set release, he hinted there might be a road trip on the way too -- the kind where he brings musician friends and all his toys. Well, you can put Nov. 14 in your day-timer, because the G-man is set to play the Sprint Center in Kansas City that night, and if he sells enough tickets for that show (like, duh!), he may add another. We understand radio will announce the shows tomorrow (Sept. 27), with details about the ticket on-sale Oct. 3.

By the way... this is the question during GRS that he was asked about that he gave the "yes... I'm not supposed to talk about it... but YES" answer to. ;-)

XM Is Now Home to the Grand Ole Opry!

Grand Ole Opry to Debut on XM in October
PR NEWSWIRE
Posted: 2007-09-26 10:47:23


WASHINGTON, Sept. 26 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- XM will be the new satellite radio home of the Grand Ole Opry beginning in October, it was announced today. Beginning with the Opry's 82nd Birthday Bash broadcast featuring Carrie Underwood, Travis Tritt, Ronnie Milsap, and more on Saturday, October 20, XM will feature the live Friday and Saturday night performances as well as the Tuesday Night Opry. Additionally, XM will offer classic broadcasts of the renowned country music show, archival performances, and "The Eddie Stubbs Show," which is hosted by regular Opry announcer Eddie Stubbs.

Recognized as the preeminent showcase for country music, the Grand Ole Opry debuted on the radio airwaves in 1925 on Nashville's 650 AM WSM and can still be heard on its flagship station. Today, the Opry counts among its members such current chart-toppers as Dierks Bentley, Martina McBride, and Brad Paisley as well as country legends including Bill Anderson, Jimmy Dickens, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton. "We are pleased that XM listeners will now be able to experience the Opry's brand of entertainment every week," said Steve Buchanan, Gaylord Entertainment senior vice president. "Airing on XM provides Opry fans throughout the country a new way to tune in to the show and presents the Opry to an audience that may have not yet discovered this uniquely American experience."

"This is great news," said Martina McBride, an Opry member since 1995. "It's a better day for all of us when the Grand Ole Opry and all it embodies can be heard across the country on satellite radio."

The country hits channel "Nashville" (XM 11) will feature live Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday night performances (Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET; Fridays at 9 p.m. ET; Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. ET and 10:30 p.m. ET;). Encore broadcasts of new Opry episodes will air on XM's classic country music channel America (XM 10) at 10 a.m. ET every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, along with archival Opry broadcasts. Many individual performances recorded live on the Opry stage will also be featured on XM's other country music channels, including Willie's Place (XM 13), Bluegrass Junction (XM 14), Highway 16 (XM 16), and U.S. Country (XM 17).

In addition to the Grand Ole Opry, XM will also add "The Eddie Stubbs Show" to the XM programming lineup. The popular WSM program is hosted by Eddie Stubbs, a regular announcer for the Grand Ole Opry, award-winning country music DJ, and respected country music historian. "The Eddie Stubbs Show" will premiere later this fall on XM 10. The arrival of the Grand Ole Opry to XM coincides with XM's Country Music Month celebration, featuring XM's month-long showcase of country music programming throughout October. Highlights include original music specials featuring Carrie Underwood, Faith Hill, Brooks & Dunn, Jack Ingram, Kris Kristofferson and Bill Anderson, among others, and exclusive programming, including broadcast of the Big State Festival from the Texas World Speedway. Complete details on XM's Country Music Month programming are available online at http://www.xmradio.com/countrymusicmonth .

Yay for Reba!

Reba's Duets CD is #1 this week on the Billboard 200, scanning 300,536 cd's.

Kanye 2nd with 225,994
50 Cent 3rd with 142,916
Barry Manilow 4th with 113,149 in his first week
Kenny rounds out the Top 5 with 112,213

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Let's Start Some Rumors

Allow me to share this completely wild, based in absolutely nothing other than my own desire, suggestion to the CMA that just popped into my head.

Dear CMA Peeps -

So Brooks & Dunn isn't going to host this year's CMA Awards. As of this moment, a host has not been announced, although Brad Paisley is leading the wild speculation up and down Music Row. I'm sure you're already working on a host, but just in case you hadn't thought about it... allow me to just throw this out there for you to consider for your awards show hosting gig currently open for November 7th.

You need:

A superstar. Bigger is better in the world of network tv ratings.

Someone funny. Not Jerry Seinfeld funny, but quick witted like Ronnie, with just a touch of Vince's self-deprecation.

Someone who knows country music. Don't go giving us a random tv star like Dr. Phil or someone. 'Cuz we don't want to watch that for 3 hours.

Someone with an album to promote... maybe... say... one that is being released the day before the awards show.

And you know... if you're looking for another duo to replace Brooks & Dunn... perhaps you could find a host with a spouse who'd fit those qualifications as well.

Just think - you'd only have to change half of the letters on the marquis.

Anxiously awaiting your decision --
Anonymous GarthNutt

P.S. Since the show takes place on the 7th... it might also help to find someone who's lucky number is 7.

Monday, September 24, 2007

No Sympathy

I don't care how sad and teary and desperate Jennifer Nettles looks in her new video... it's hard for me to garner up any sympathy for a woman who's crying over her man going back home to his wife.

I've given you my best
Why does does she get the best of you?

Umm... maybe because she had him first. That's the way those things work. He's not yours. You're only borrowing. You have to give him back.

It's too much pain to have to bare
to love a man you have to share

You don't HAVE to share him. You chose to get what you could get. You can't live by those rules you shouldn't be playing the game. So stop whining.

Christian's the one who should be crying in the video. If you only hear the song on the radio you wonder when Jennifer finally went solo.

Movin' On Up !

Literally. Up the street... and Up in the air!

The joke over the summer around my house was that I was moving twice... once when I bought a new house... and again when we moved the XM Nashville operations. One down... one to go.

Here is where our new studios and offices are going to be.


<---- Right there...
<---- and there. 3 and 4 stories up. Studios, Offices, a conference room, a break room, and an incredible view of the city. Currently, I only have one of the above. Studios. We'll have everyone under one roof - I'm going to increase productivity just by not having to truck back and forth every day. I get giddy when I allow myself to think about it.

was over there for the first time last week. Well, the first time in years, lol -- I've actually been up there on the roof at the base of the spire. Right now, our space is an abandoned bar and pizza joint. They tell us we can't keep the bar.

The plan is for us to be in there the first part of 2008. Of course, The Merger should be decided by the end of 2007, so whether any of will still have jobs by the time the studios are done is yet to be decided.

But it's pretty dang exciting to think I could have my own desk high in the sky over Broadway.

News I Forgot To Break

Uh-oh.... I'm in trouble.

It was brought to my attention that I completely have neglected to blog about some very important happenings at XM Nashville. (The city, not the channel.)

One of my faithful blog readers had to hear about this exciting news... on another channel. One that I'm not a part of. One that doesn't actually have anything to do with music.

Sports. A sports channel broke a story I should have told you about 2 weeks ago.

NHL Home Ice, to be exact. I am ashamed. I have failed you.

Broken News - coming tonight to this space. In the meantime, go back and read this blog entry.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Music Movies

We got 3 months of digital cable cheap when we moved, so my husband has been a movie junkie (even more so than he was already.) Tonight he made me watch Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.


Oh. My.


Which leads me to ask -- what are your favorite music-related movies? (Not counting musicals... it's not fair to compare anything to... say... South Pacific or The Sound of Music.)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Why Marty Stuart Fans Need XM

Marty Stuart to Host Weekly Country Music Show on XM 'Marty Stuart's American Odyssey'
Premieres October 5, as Part of XM's Country Music Month Lineup

WASHINGTON, Sept. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- XM, the nation's leading satellite radio service with more than 8.2 million subscribers, today announced the launch of a new, weekly show hosted by Marty Stuart. Debuting on Friday, October 5, "Marty Stuart's American Odyssey" will expose fans to broad range of American music -- including traditional country, blues, rockabilly, bluegrass, gospel and rock songs -- with Stuart serving as host.

"'American Odyssey' will be an amazing adventure inside the musical walls of our cities. It's theater and radio has always been great theater to me; I knew XM was where it belonged," said Marty Stuart. "This will be a journey through America with a big smile."

Each hour-long episode of "Marty Stuart's American Odyssey" will focus on a different part of the country and bring the musical sounds and stories of that region to life through informal interviews with local musicians, stories, guests and a regular cast of studio and tour musicians.

New episodes of "Marty Stuart's American Odyssey," which airs Fridays at 8 a.m. ET on XM's classic country channel "America" (XM 10), will also be available all day every Friday on "XMX" (XM 2), a recently launched channel that provides fans with XM's most popular and critically-acclaimed original music shows all in one place.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

My Next House....

... will NOT be this one.

However, if you would like a little two-and-a-half-million dollar Keith Urban souvenir of your own... you might want to buy it.

And if you don't live in Nashville and would like to buy it for me... well that would be all right too.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Statler Stuff

I don't know how I managed to miss this, but I just discovered that the Statler Brothers are inductees into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame this year. There's an induction ceremony in October, here in Nashville. I'm nearly hyperventilating at the thought of going. I've never met 3 of the 4 Statlers, you know. Unfortunately, tickets are $125. Although I could probably get media credentials to get in... there are a couple of problems with that little scenario:

1. I'd have to interview the inductees. And I have never heard of any of the others, nor could I pick them out of a lineup.

2. I'd have to interview the inductees. See the above mentioned note about hyperventilating.

I completely feel like an idiot, because I close out my show every Sunday night on XM 10 with a Statler's Gospel song, and I had no idea this was announced - over a week ago!

In what is clearly a "full circle moment" waiting to happen... when I first moved to Nashville with pie in the sky dreams that I was going to go to work for Jim Owens on the Statler Brothers TV show... I used to moonlight doing catering while I was working at WSMV. One of the places I worked most often was The Richland Country Club. Which is where the induction ceremony is taking place.

In other Statlers News... Jimmy Fortune has announced his annual Fan Cruise for 2008. He's sailing the Eastern Carribbean in March, leaving out of Miami. And his special guest - my buddies Grandstaff!

http://www.jimmyfortune.com/ for all the details.

And finally, Jimmy's 3 day music festival, The Fortune-Williams Music Festival, takes place at the end of this month in Staunton, VA. Where I've still never been. Yet.

And the Spin is In!

Kenny Chesney Lands at #1 on Country Album Chart, #3 Between Hip Hop Feud on Top 200

Nashville: Sometimes you can only get out of the way - and when Kenny Chesney dropped Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates amidst the biggest beef of the year between hip-hop's Kanye West and 50 Cent, he decided to take the quiet route. Rather than ramp up the vamp, he hit radio, kicked off the fall concert series on “Good Morning America,” stopped by “The View” and performed on “The Late Show with Conan O'Brien.”

“There are some things you can't fight,” Chesney said simply. “And I've never been very good at that sort of thing. I think the music will do the talking for me in the long run - and I know that our albums tend to keep selling week-after-week-after-week…”

Who's Boots are Cooler?


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Wrong Again

When I'm wrong, I'm wrong. And I don't mind admitting when I am.

I, Producer J. was wrong about Whiskey Falls.

Yes... they're a newly formed band. Yes, their rock & roll credentials are a million miles long. So you played with Alice Cooper. So you wrote the Steven Tyler / Carlos Santana song. So you look like bad ass rock stars.

Teddy bears. All of 'em.

I was quickly put in my place when Damon (Mr. Rock Star) walked in with his toddler son, who was wearing a shirt that said "I'm With the Band." You can't be too much of a badass when you're tickling a 2 year old. (He does have the obligatory rock star gorgeous wife though.)

These guys couldn't have been any nicer. Took on every question we threw at them, and played right along with Driver's Ed.

And they LOVED Amy Paige. Seriously, I've never seen that girl with a stranger. I would love to have the social skills that reside in her little finger, she's amazing. I'm quite certain she's going to wind up in their next video.

So pay no attention to my earlier ramblings, that was just a result of an incredibly difficult booking and sleep deprived script writing.

Although I do stand by my assertion that if I had a guy in my band that had written the theme song to Paris Hilton's TV show... I think I might include that little nugget in the bio somewhere...

It's AMAZING the things that you learn in Driver's Ed.

Ouch!

It's one thing to not come in first. It's another to come in third.

Kanye West - 957,000
50 Cent - 691,000
Kenny Chesney - 387,000
Can't wait to read that press release....

So now it's up to Garth. November 6th.

Game. On.

Studio Blogging

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Your sweet talk made me love you

But prozac made me stay.
- Antsy McClain and the Trailer Park Troubadors

Unfortunately the lighting is too dark for you to see, but there's currently an accordian in the studio... along with a drum set... an electric guitar... and an upright bass. Amongst other things.

The accordian is green.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Rookie Driver Alerts!

Those of you who listen to XM's Highway 16 know that artists on their first single are called "Rookie Drivers." And those who make it to having an album come out get to go through a little show we call "Driver's Ed." Cool little show, 2 songs performed live, 2 from the CD, sort of a "get to know you" session. Past graduates of Driver's Ed include Sugarland, Little Big Town, Jason Aldean, and Taylor Swift.

(We've also had to revoke a few Driver's Licenses too... anyone remember Shelly Fairchild? Boy was I wrong about her! Or Aaron Lines?)

Last week we cut a Driver's Ed with Luke Bryan. One thing that stood out on Luke's cd, to me, was some really strong songwriting. He was a great show - him and Jon hit it off really well, and Luke was a great interviewee. It was just him and the guitar for the performances. When I script those shows, there's a lot of just winging it... hoping that the route you draw from point A to point B actually gets you there. Unfortunately, especially with new artists who don't know the "stories" that the label has created for their bios, they don't always give you the answers you're expecting, and things don't always segue like you want them to. Luke walked through every door we opened for him, and it's a real high energy show. It debuts next Tuesday, be sure to check it out!

Another Rookie Driver to keep your eye on is Chuck Wicks. A group of us had lunch with Chuck last Friday at Maggianos -- OMG put this restaurant on your "MUST DO IN NASHVILLE" list. The food was amazing. I've got some sort of wierd tomato / garlic allergy which makes it really hard to do Italian. But this food was just too much to resist, and it was worth every bit of pain I was in later. I'm definitely going back, I could just live off their house salad.

Oh yeah, Chuck. He's in this new tv show "Nashville" which debuted on Fox last week. I didn't see it, (hubby was supposed to tape it for me but forgot) but a former intern dropped me a note to tell me how much it made her miss Music City. The review of the show wasn't very hot, but let me tell you... Chuck is. He's young enough to be my... ok, we're not going to go there. Cutie patootie, and seemed to be a very nice guy. His debut single is called "Stealing Cinderella" and it's a very sweet song to begin with. Then you learn that his girlfriend of 4 years (sorry gals!) played Cinderella at Disney World. Everybody now... awwww! Keep your eyes and ears open for Chuck.

I've been gathering items for a "Protecting the Guilty" column lately, but this one can't wait. We're cutting a Driver's Ed tomorrow with a band that I really didn't know anything about -- including which person in the publicity photo was who. So I did some digging. Couldn't find anything that identified the band members individually, so I did some more digging.

And that's when I found the dirt. Muddy dirt. Two of the members of this group once had a pop deal, which isn't necessarily a crime - they wouldn't be the first act to not be able to make it in the pop world so they gave country a try. (love ya Sugarland!) That was just an interesting little footnote. That oddly, wasn't mentioned in their bio.

However... another member... did serious time in the rock world... SERIOUS time...as the lead singer for a hard rock group that had 3 #1 singles...as the lead guitarist for that almost-country dude... Alice Cooper... as the lead singer in another heavy metal band that apparently isn't done yet. We're not talking the Eagles kind of rock. (Oh wait, they're charting country singles these days!) We're talking black leather, black eyeliner, your press photo kinda scares me rock.

And... if all that isn't damning enough... Mr. Rock Star is planning to put out an album - and tour with - his heavy metal band. Next year. Yet his country album is coming out shortly. Already, his participation grade in Driver's Ed is mediocre at best.

Just to make things a little MORE interesting... we've got Amy Paige hosting this show. Sweet, adorable, Amy Paige. Teddy's Mommy. Can't WAIT to bring back photos from this session!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

How the Other Half Lives - Part 2

Last night while I was hanging with some friends, someone mentioned her neighbor teaching at the private school in Nashville where Tim & Faith take their kids. It happened to be the school Delaynie was cheering at this morning. (You might recall, last weekend she cheered at the school Alan Jackson sends his daughters.) Cool for me - I was able to get directions. At any rate, it was funny that it came up, since when we were with Faith earlier in the week she mentioned having to go pick up the girls, and we all kind of snickered about looking over and seeing Faith Hill in the carpool lane and wondering what school they went to. Apparently, according to my friends neighbors, it is indeed Tim and Faith - not some nanny - who take the girls to and from school.

BTW - Once again, our team got their butts kicked. We have a perfect record. Anyone can be undefeated... it takes effort to be unvictorious.

In another wierd act of randomness, we were talking about the book Flat Stanley last night, and I was telling everyone about "Flat Emily" - who got to meet Trisha Yearwood. And someone mentioned that they thought Trisha lived not far from them, and mentioned the street name. I said she did indeed live on that street, but I wasn't sure exactly where, I'd only been there once years ago and really had no idea whereabouts her house was.

So this afternoon, we're driving home from Cool Springs where I'd done some shopping, and we're taking this back road Gary discovered that would supposedly be a shorter way home, and all of a sudden, I look up and go "Hey - that's Trisha's house!" Very odd that I'd even remember it, and even funnier given that we'd just talked about it the night before.

Anyway, that's my completely random and insignificant stories about how the other half lives for this weekend. Next week, I'm thinking maybe we'll find out where Trace Adkins sends his girls to school?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Eh?

So apparently... I don't have any Faith Hill or Alan Jackson fans amongst my readers. I'll make a note of that.

So here's a couple of notes for the next time I go see a loud band play in a small club:

1. Earplugs
2. Don't stand in front of the speakers

My ears are STILL ringing and I can't hear out of my left ear.

The showcase for Lonestar was pretty well attended, and I'm really glad I went. It's odd to think that a band with their history is "showcasing." That's when they rent a club, put on a live show, invite some friends to scream really loud, and invite the record label heads to see them perform live, hoping to wow them into getting a record deal. There were at least 4 record label guys that I saw in the crowd, and they really put on a great show.

(Incidentally, the last successful showcase I remember attending was Keith Anderson, at Exit/In. I took my husband, who really liked him. I however, was not so impressed. I think his comments about Garth re-writing "Beer Run" rubbed me the wrong way.)
Back to present day -- Storme Warren brought the band out on stage, and they immediately went into 2 songs that I didn't know. I had my eyes on the new lead singer as he walked out -- who's name is Cody if you haven't heard. He had that look you have on your face right before the roller coaster starts up -- you know you're in for a great ride but it's just a moment of nerves before it starts. Once the first note hit he was comfortable and confident.

So the first 2 songs were fine, I was probably slightly pre-occupied by the fact that they hadn't told us this guy's name yet and like everyone else in the room, I was thinking "how does he sound compared to Richie?" I had 2 songs worth of "Hmm... Lonestar. Are they still Lonestar? Can they continue to be Lonestar?" Michael's there, Keech is there, Dean is there... it's mostly Lonestar.

And then... they launched into "What About Now." And I got it.

When we were out in Vegas Richie and Dean came by our live broadcast and told us they wanted to rock, and that it's hard to rock out to "Mr. Mom." Tonight, they rocked.

They didn't QUITE look like Lonestar, and they didn't QUITE sound like Lonestar, but it was still very much LONESTAR. The music was there, and ratched up a notch. High energy, fresh arrangements -- it was Lonestar on Red Bull. And I smiled, knowing that Lonestar would go on.

They did a few more hits, (including "Amazed" and "No News"), and then closed out with a brand new single that is clearly a smash. It's called "Future" and it's a 'driving down the highway fast' kind of song. love, Love, LOVED it. They've recorded it, and it was playing as the party wound down.

I didn't quite finish my Driver's Ed show tonight, but I did put in a 14 hour day today, so I'm going to call it a night.

The new lead singer of Lonestar is...

hot! He also looks very young. I get to meet him tonight. I'm skipping church to do so, so I hope he lives up to his image. Tee hee hee.

I've been on an artist booking bonanza lately... 4th quarter, 'tis the season. I've had to turn down about as much as I'm booking, because we're just overcrowded on some days. In the next week I've got 9 shows taping, and a lunch with a new artist. Tomorrow is a Luke Bryan Driver's Ed session -- anyone seen him live and have a good story to share or a burning question they want answered?

Saw Ray Scott at lunch today at a really good pizza place on Demonbreun that Jon and I hit for the first time. I had mandarin oranges on a pizza - and it was delicious!

By the way -- there is at least one web site that claims to have a track listing for Garth's Ultimate Hits. What they've posted does not line up with what he told us about sequencing, and this site lists there being 2 discs in the set instead of 3... so I'm wary of it's accuracy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

More Ramblings

First up -- the Faith Hill Ellen story.

When I was in New York City a couple of weeks back, I was at our studios at Jazz At Lincoln Center. It's a big building, there's always a lot going on that I have no idea about, and I don't particularly know my way around.

So my buddy Harriet pops in to see me one day, and we were walking around the building, and she comments on all the people wearing "Ellen" credentials. I had been riding the elevator all day with people loading in gear for something, but I hadn't particularly paid attention to what. Then I notice that some of the gear cases laying around are marked "Ellen." That was Wednesday.

So Thursday, I walk into a big area that has a lot less equipment in it than the day before, and I notice the big monitor up on the wall. It's an in house camera, turned on in the theater where Broadway Meets Country was done. Beautiful room with a gorgeous looking out over Columbus Circle, and the South West side of Central Park. And on the "stage" area they are building a set with a desk and chairs. Ellen's set. They were still putting the stage together as I left the building that afternoon around 2 (headed to get pizza.)

So as I'm handing my visitor's badge back in to the security, I tell him I'm done for this trip, headed back to Nashville in the morning. And he says "You aren't staying for the tomorrow's big tapings?" Umm... that would be a big no, my big day was that day. (CMA Nominations / Chesney Show.) Ellen, Schmellen.

So fast forward to Friday morning and through the email comes a press release from Warner Brothers that Faith is in NYC and going to debut her single on Ellen. Hello, she was going to be just down the Hall from the XM studios, and I didn't even know it. Missed opportunity there!

Anyway, that's my "almost" brush with Faith.

I also have a completely un-related story to share about how the other half lives. My daughter, who's 10, cheers for the 5th grade football team at her school. She's in a private Christian school, partially because we wanted her to have that small, safe environment here in the big city, but also partly out of necessity, based on the high population of immigrants in the area we used to live in -- I wanted her to go to school with children who spoke English, not who had to be taught to speak English.

At any rate, the school she's at, which is a very good school academically, is very much a working class private school. No porche's in the parking lot or superstar parents. The biggest celeb I've seen in the carpool lane is the Warren Brothers' tour manager -- and I only know him because they had that reality show for like, 10 minutes.

Anyway -- last weekend our team played at what I knew was a very nice, larger, private school. I knew it must be nice because I knew Alan Jackson's daughter's go there. You might recall a year or so back, he auctioned off a car to donate the money to the school.

Let me tell y'all -- that school does not appear to need charity. There are ivy league colleges that aren't that nice. Pristine. Immaculate. They had shuttle buses just to transport parents from the parking lot to the football field, which was like a 3 minute walk. It was nice to see how the rich and famous educate their children.

Their football team kicked our ass too.

Monday, September 10, 2007

A whole lot'a Faith

Was today as rotten a Monday for you as it was for me? Good gracious. Computer problems, having to re-do things, printer problems... ugh, ugh ugh! It sure was Monday.

I did not get to go to the Big & Rich party, had a last minute project come up. I did, however, confirm with the label that Keith Anderson's cd has been pushed back, and will NOT be coming out October 9th. (Feel free to go out and buy Van Zant's CD that day instead!) There are some good party pictures up at CMT.com.

I've decided I need a reality show. Because the things I get to do, really are too good to just keep to myself. I love sharing with y'all here, but it would be so much better if I could just take you all with me so you could experience it all first hand. I guarantee you that you'd have a completely different outlook on music, and the artists.

Today's celebrity extravaganza was a Round Robin with Faith Hill. Like a high profile Round Robin I did last week, it was held at The Reba Complex (aka Starstruck Entertainment) at lunchtime. (Reba was in the building, but I didn't get to see her.) Unlike last week's extravaganza, they fed us lunch! Seriously -- I can't tell you what a difference that makes in my day. Not that I expect to be wined and dined at every turn. But if you schedule any media event near a mealtime, you KNOW it's not going to start on time, it's going to run long, it's going to completely wipe out the day's schedule, and we're going to be behind on everything else we've got to get accomplished in our day. A sandwich and a cookie goes a long way in smoothing everything out and making it ok. Because without it we're hungry, grumpy, and needing to get out of the office.

So I definitely appreciated the set up. They played us the new single, which Faith debuted on Ellen. Which reminds me, I forgot to share my Ellen in NYC story -- remind me to do that tomorrow. I liked the single, although I think the title should have been "Let it Rain."

Right off the bat Faith told us nothing was off limits, whatever we wanted to talk about was cool. There were about 10 of us in the room, and 3 more out of towners on the phone. We were supposed to go an hour, we each got a question and a follow up.

Once an hour was up, Faith was insistant on staying and making sure everyone got a 2nd round of questioning in. We stayed for over an hour and a half. She was very loose and talkative and relaxed, and it was a lot of fun. She joked and talked about the Tim onstage incident in Louisiana... shared stories about the girls... talked about the tour... the upcoming Greatest Hits project... we covered everything. And while Faith was working, Tim was taking Gracie to the dentist.

The only time things got dicey was when she was asked about the CMA's not recognizing the highest grossing country music tour with an Entertainer of the Year nomination. "You will have to ask the CMA's about that." When pressed further she was quick to say that Tim deserved it, and lavished praise on what he's done for country music, onstage and off. She said his reaction was "why don't they like us?" and as a wife, she was there to console him, and that after a couple of days they just moved on. She also said it was the CMA's loss, because he wouldn't be on the show, and the fans' loss, because they would be disappointed in not getting to see him.

She also completely volunteered the full story of what happened at last year's CMA's... how it all went down, how she even heard about it, calling Carrie that very night, and how her biggest concern was that her girls were going to get harrassed at school about it. (And they did.) She revealed calling her manager and saying "I'm done" because she was just sick about it all. It was only a couple of weeks ago that she saw the telecast for the first time - she couldn't bring herself to watch it until now. And once she saw it, she understood why people took it so wrong. But she also said there are "miles" of tape of her clowing around with the camera guy at various tv and video shoots.

I have 4 1/2 pages of notes from our session, I wish I could come up with a way to share everything with the world. The sad thing is it all gets chopped up into "newsworthy" soundbites, but as a complete conversation, I think these types of things are really special. I just wish I could figure out a way to transfer them in their entirety (or mostly entirety... there are always some things not fit to print, LOL) onto the radio. This type of thing is what makes me realize that I'm in such a blessed position, and I know the fans would love to be in my shoes. Heck, I'm a fan myself, and I love being in my shoes!

Maybe that's the show. In My Shoes.... a conversation with (Artist). Although I prefer the idea of wearing a camera on my head and making my own little reality show. Ooh -- how about calling it "Fly on the Wall."

In other Late Night Ramblings... there's a Greatest Hits epidemic sweeping country music. Trisha Yearwood, Garth Brooks, Faith Hill, Sara Evans (10/9) Keith Urban (11/20). Lonestar reveals their new lead singer this week at a showcase in Nashville I'm hoping to make it to. "More Than A Memory" only fell to #8 on Country Aircheck's chart... I haven't seen R&R yet. Trisha is up 2 spots to #27.

And the new #1 is....

Rascal Flatts -- "Take Me There"

Both charts.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Late Night Ramblings

Sorry for the lousy formatting on this post... Blogger is giving me FITS tonight and the spacing is all wacked. It looks fine on my editor, but once I publish it it goes nutty. Hope it's not too hard to read.

The temperature in Nashville is like... 20 degrees cooler this weekend than it was 2 weeks ago. We went from something like 15 days straight of triple digit temperatures, to fall. So, we did some yardwork today, and even though it's only September 9th, I got out my scarecrow. The mums will eventually go in the ground somewhere.

Then, I discovered something completely ridiculous. I went to Walmart... and they have their CHRISTMAS villages out.

Yuck! But then... to make matters worse... I actually walked down the aisle they were in... and discovered... not only do they have their new village pieces out, but you can BUY a SUPER WALMART for your cute, quaint little Christmas Village. Not even a small little old fashioned WalMart -- a SUPER WALMART. That's just. so. wrong.

All of which made me realize, I don't know where I'm going to put my Christmas village in the new house. I don't yet have furniture for the room with the fireplace, which is where, I presume, we'll put the Christmas tree.

Back to September, now though... we got the WILDEST... CRAZIEST... thing today. It was water. Falling out of the sky. Bunches of it, at one time. I didn't think they had that stuff in my new neighborhood. (Glad to discover that my roof didn't leak!) In fact, it was such an unusual occurance that it posessed my daughter to channel Gene Kelly. (And actually, I have video of her dancing WITH the scarecrow.)


This photo was attached to a press release I got last week. I literally looked at the photo and didn't recognize the artist. And then I was even more shocked to see that the press release describe this artist as the "Queen of Country Music." Now I've looked closely, and I have determined that the photo is NOT Loretta Lynn or Kitty Wells. Do you recognize who it IS?


A programming note -- Kenny Chesney's Release Day Rest Stop will air this Tuesday. Every hour, on the hour, Kenny shares a cut from the new CD, Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates. RDRS isn't on my normal producing duties, but because Kenny has consumed all of our lives lately, I wound up working on this one, (it was an all-hands-on-deck extravaganza!) and have heard the music, and his stories. Be listening for the duet with George Strait -- it's really good, and really a dream come true for Kenny.


You know... I forget until I spend time with him, just what a great guy Kenny is. Very down to earth, someone who's worked really, REALLY hard to get where he's at, but is still, at least whenever I've been around him, just very nice. He showed up to our recording session last week in a faded Spaghetti-O's t-shirt, Vols cap, khakis, and tennis shoes. And he was really relaxed and in a great mood, and I really enjoyed listening to him talk - about everything from songwriting to cd sales. I forget how cool he is sometimes when I get overcome with rage at his ridiculously hard to read press releases.

And by the way... I really, REALLY hope that Kenny - and Country Music - shows ol' Kanye West and 50 Cent just how to kick ass and take names at the cash register. If you're planning to buy Kenny's CD -- PLEASE go do it the first week. Because the media's eyes are on this week's releases, and we need to show them that COUNTRY is KING!

Ok, off my soapbox now. And by the way -- if you weren't planning to buy the CD, you know they'll have great first week sales prices, so pick up a few to give as stocking stuffers... coasters... whatever. And if your kids want the 50 Cent cd, by golly -- tell them they have to wait until NEXT week.

Now, on to what you REALLY want to hear about. The #1 party I went to Friday.


Just to recap...
MONDAY: Official word comes out that More Than A Memory is debuting at #1 on the Billboard/R&R Chart.


THURSDAY: Invitations go out for the #1 party


FRIDAY: #1 Party. Four days after the song goes #1. Could it be that they just couldn't resist the chance to throw the party on the SEVENTH?

I'm so flippin' excited at what this song has done -- not for Garth, because he really doesn't need the fame, and certainly not the fortune! But the guys and gals at Big Machine have worked their asses off, completely re-inventing the wheel and re-energizing country radio. Taking what couldn't be done, and doing it -- bigger and better. Scott Borchetta, John Zarling, and Jack Purcell are 3 of the best guys in the business - and 3 of the NICEST to boot. I know I'm gushing, but it's great to see good things happen to people who really work for it. Y'all have seen what they've been doing for Trisha, and how much better life is for her under their umbrella. Love them. I guarantee you, if this radio thing doesn't work out for me I'm going to be at their doorstep begging to just file papers or something.

So - first up Friday morning was a Round Robin with Garth and the 3 writers -- Lee Brice, Billy Montana, and Kyle Jacobs. I will tell you - I groaned when I heard this. Because at Garth's last #1 party - for Good Ride Cowboy - we all had our one microphone set up on a table, and all 17 writers on the song (kidding!) were at the end of a table, and Garth was standing in the back. And the audio was horrible -- no one I talked to was able to even use it. Which was a shame, because Bryan was completely hysterical, and we had Bob Doyle on the record, which was a rare treat.


But I digress. I can do that in late night ramblings. It's late - that gives me an excuse.

So they take us into the Ford Theatre -- we were told the Round Robin would be done in the Green Room, which is small. And much to our delight, there were four comfy chairs across the stage, and microphones on mic stands. Every one was mic'd and running through a mixer, and most importantly - the four of them were comfortable. Yet another example of the Big Machine rockin'!

Prior to the guys coming out I chatted for a few minutes with Bob, and once again put in my vote for Midnight Sun to be a single. He gave me a not completely convincing "it's in there..." It all came up actually, because I asked him my question of "now what?" Are they coming with a second single - has this one peaked?

The answer was, not yet times 2.

He said - and Garth later said - that they fully expect this one to fall drastically, but they hope it's going to work it's way back up. I loved what Garth said -- that songs have to EARN the right. He also said that "Borchetta said it when he picked it - this will be a song they'll be playing for the next 20 years." And Garth said he hoped they will. My favorite quote of the day: "Wherever it lands, there begins it's journey." So don't y'all be stressing out if it falls hard. Just help it climb back up!

When the four of them came out for the Round Robin -- which, not surprisingly, was very well attended - the first question was put to the writers to comment on Garth's recording of it. Garth got up and left (he likes doing that at press events I've noticed -- he did that when they played the single the first time for us at GRS.)

A few thing **I** learned and found interesting from the session:
Lee Brice sang the demo for the song, and in fact, has played it on the Grand Ole Opry! It was Lee who came up with the line "Dialing 6 numbers just to hang up the phone..."

Garth made some lyrical adjustments to the song. He does that a lot, you may recall, but once again, didn't take a songwriter credit. He told us when he turns on the radio, he likes to know where in the song he's at -- so he tweaks things in the choruses to make them different. He said his favorite line was "You know she'll be there in your dreams...." and then later in the song he changed it to be "You know she's waiting in your dreams."

Which leads me to the next, absolutely astonishing thing that was said (at the party) that I almost don't quite believe, but I haven't had a chance to look it up...

Of his TWENTY SEVEN number one songs -- Garth's writer credits total... ZERO. He's not had a writer's credit on ANY of his number ones? Seriously - someone look that up.


He also talked about how you hear the song once and can't get it out of your head (he sang a little for us here!) and how the girls heard it the first time and were singing it.


Garth also said the "stupid thing" was that this was the first song he'd gotten pitched over the computer.

And you know how all of us have said the song reminds us of a Chris Gaines song... or "When You Come Back to Me Again," or "To Make You Feel My Love." ?? Garth hears remnants of Shameless in it. And he says that's the other song of his that he likes the songwriter version better than his.
The party itself was held in the Rotunda of the Hall of Fame. A gazillion people there, and a gazillion plaques handed out. Lots and lots of cameras. The Party was put together so quickly that ASCAP couldn't get their plaques done in time. But the plaques that Big Machine handed out look very similar to the online trade ads they've been running - and they LIST all the early believers -- including XM Nashville! and XM Highway 16. Very cool to be part of the history of that song.

On tomorrow's calendar I've got a Big & Rich #1 party (although I swear they've already done one of these!) for "Lost in this Moment." (Leelee, I'm going to make every effort to hug Keith!) There's also a Faith Hill Round Robin and a premiere party for a new GAC show that I probably, quite honestly, won't make it to. I'm doing my best to not be gone so much at night in 5th grade. Although I swear, I tried that in 4th grade and it didn't seem to work out.

Here's my question for Faith: Does it piss you off as much as it does me that you and Tim didn't get an Entertainer of the Year nomination?


Off to bed I go!

Friday, September 07, 2007

This is only a test

I've never tried to add video to a blog before... let's see if this works...

video

And because I unfortunately need to say this --
This is for you, MY readers. Right here, on this site. Don't post it elsewhere. Just... don't.

Lunch with Garth

I love it when a man feeds me!

Today was the #1 party for "More than A Memory." Will be back later with stories, photos, and possibly... video! And the answer to one of my earlier blog questions. But let me just let you chew on this little tidbit... which never occurred to me until someone verbalized it during the presentations.

"More Than A Memory" went to NUMBER ONE in ONE week.

You can't go higher, you can't get there faster.

That is a record that literally, can't...EVER... be broken.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

I'm SOOO behind!

I just realized, I never told you guys about hanging with Van Zant a couple weeks ago. You KNOW how I love them! Plus I have lots to share from my session with Kenny yesterday, and the music on his album. I still haven't had the chance to type out my Garth story from, what, 3 weeks ago? I just want you to know I haven't forgotten!

I'm completely buried these days -- I NEED AN INTERN!!!! (and... um... someone to paint, unpack, and organize my new house?) I've been completely spoiled by having awesomely fabulous interns the past couple of years, and I'm intern-less this semester and it's already killing me.

Been listening to the Rissi Palmer album - she's coming in for a Driver's Ed taping tomorrow -- it's really good! Bookings have been coming fast and furious the past couple of days -- especially in the Americana world. Dwight Yoakam, Billy Joe Shaver, Antsy McClain... but I'm unfortunately light years behind in my bluegrass bookings.

Help! Someone invent a 28 hour day!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Chart Chatter

So... when you debut at #1... is it REALLY a good thing?

Sure, it grabs headlines and makes history.

But then what?

Quite honestly, I don't know, because it's never been done before. Normally, a single builds momentum, and familiarity, and you hear it on the radio for weeks and it gets stuck in your head until you have to go buy it. And then it peaks - at whatever position it's lucky enough to hit - and then it goes away. Not entirely away, if it was a big enough song, it might move to a station's recurrent, or power recurrent, category, and get a few spins a week, and then they release the next single to do it all over again.

But do you really want "More Than A Memory" to go away already?

The problem, of course, with this #1 feat, is that it was done by stunt scheduling on Day 1. All those stations that played it every hour, or every 98, or 103, or whatever their frequency was minutes, didn't do it that way for the other 6 days of the week. So chances are, that it's going to take a huge nose dive in week #2.

Stunt scheduling it not unusual, nor is it new. It just usually comes a little later in the single's life. For instance, when an artist is pushing for #1, they'll do a satellite tour, sitting in a studio somewhere calling radio stations around the country, giving an interview in exchange for an extra spin. Do that for four hours one morning, boom, your single has a big boost.

The good news to come out of this Garth-gantuan feat, in my humble, optimistic, opinion, is that we're going to get single #2 before the CD comes out in November. I suspect it's going to be "Working for A Living" although I'm still hoping it will be "Midnight Sun."

To answer some questions that have been thrown at me:

- Chart week is Monday to Sunday. New chart is published on Tuesdays (but we usually hear how things went on Monday nights.) You'll recall, MTAM was released at Midnight Sunday / Monday -- to get maximum spins on Day 1 of release - which not so coincidentally was Day 1 of the new chart week.

- There are still two charts, but Billboard and R&R merged last year. Lon Helton, who was the Nashville Bureau Chief for R&R started his own publication, called Country Aircheck, which also publishes a chart.

- R&R uses BDS tracking, and weights it based on audience size for their chart. So for instance, a spin on US99 in Chicago (market #3) counts for more "audience impressions" than a spin on WXCL in Peoria (market 3 digit something). In BDS spin count, "More Than A Memory" was the 4th MOST PLAYED song last week, but based on audience impressions, was the MOST HEARD song. Less spins, but more ears listening, if that makes sense.

- Country Aircheck uses Mediabase tracking. Each chart has a slightly different panel of reporting stations, and different criteria for how they choose their monitored station.

If all this is confusing to you, don't worry, you're not alone. I'm constantly asking Jon Anthony to explain and re-explain things to me, and just when I think I've got it figured out, they change the rules on me!

What really counts here, is that Big Machine ROCKS! I have a lot of friends over there, and I'm so excited for them. In fact, I'm trying to come up with something clever to send over to them as a Congratulations.

Now... equal time... they need to get Mrs. Brooks to the top of the charts next!

Breaking News!

Guess who's debuting at #1???

Trisha and Babyface - A Guest Blog

Last Friday, Trisha Yearwood and Babyface taped an episode of CMT Crossroads here in Nashville, at Belmont University. The show will debut on CMT Friday, Sept. 21 at 9:00 p.m., ET/PT.

I was unable to attend, so I sent a proxy. Here is her guest blog:


Thanks to a very dear friend, I was given the opportunity to attend the Trisha Yearwood /Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds Crossroads taping on August 31--an absolute dream come true! The Trisha fans had been waiting for her to appear on Crossroads for years, and it was finally going to happen--a true Crossroads experience, at that.

It was so unbelievably cool. I liked "his" songs better than "hers"; in fact, I expected there to be some retakes of the "country" songs, but there weren't while we were there. They sang: "Exhale" (Shoop Shoop), from the Waiting to Exhale movie, "Take a Bow" (Madonna), "When Will I See You," "Fire and Rain" (James Taylor), and "Change the World" (Eric Clapton) --the last one was just out of this world--I can't even begin to describe it. I'd been hoping to hear this, and was not disappointed at all--they seriously rocked. "Take A Bow" was incredible also! They all were. She really can sing anything.

Of Trisha's songs, they sang: "Wrong Side of Memphis," "Walkaway Joe," "Heaven, Heartache, and the Power of Love," "Georgia Rain," and "How Do I Live." He mostly did harmony/backup singing, except for taking a verse or two on one or two songs. I didn't think Walkaway Joe was too great (on his side, anyway--I've heard her sing it with Don Henley, Garth, and Jon Randall, and I think Jon Randall was the best), and he barely sang on "Heaven."

Babyface had beautiful things to say about songwriters and Trisha before they sang "Georgia Rain," and the way she interprets/lives their songs, which was just perfect. You could tell he really "gets" her, and her music--hopefully they'll keep that in. I would have loved to see him sing more on her songs, like she did on his.In between songs they both would say how the producers were concerned that there would be a lot of silence, and that there wouldn't be any talking, but it was the complete opposite--you couldn't keep them quiet! He mentioned how he met her through Garth, and how he totally admires her, and she said how she really admires him. She kept hinting at how he should write/produce for some chick singer in town, *hint, hint*. And how 'the cowboy' wasn't there but that he'd be very jealous. All in all, classic Trisha jokes and wit, which Babyface also possesses.

I definitely walked away with a much bigger appreciation for Babyface than before; he's incredibly talented and interested in all aspects of the business--much like Garth. Interesting. :) The sad part of all this is that usually only 4 songs from each artist, or maybe less, actually make the final show on CMT. Hopefully one day all the "lost" parts from all the episodes will get released on DVD!
Photo credit: Jim Hagans / Courtesy CMT

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Kodak Moments



Country Boys
Richie - Garth - Jerrod
On the video shoot for "Midnight Sun"





Rock Chick
Maddie, My Niece
Rockin' out on Uncle Joyce's bed
with the Barbie Guitar





More Rockin'
Cousins Laynie and Maddie
On my front porch swing

Titans Cheerleader
First game of the season

(that would be the Ezell Titans, 5th & 6th Grade Squad)