Monday, June 30, 2008

This is been a very...

This is been a very exciting day in Music City. I am headed out to Nashville Star. However, when I get home tonight, I am going to fill you in on my day. I went Statler Stalking! And I have an album that has my name in the liner notes -- the very first time that has happened to me, so I'm very excited! I will fill you in later tonight. Be sure to tune in to Nashville Star. listen

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

And the winner is.....

From the Big Machine Radio Report:

*Trisha Yearwood’s new single from her Top 10-selling album Heaven, Heartache And The Power Of Love is “They Call It Falling For A Reason”, penned by Matraca Berg & Jim Collins, and Trisha loves the tongue-in-cheek take on what falling out of love feels like.”What I love about this song is that it’s about falling flat on your face in a romance and it says that in a way that’s funny,” notes Trisha. “I love the imagery in the first line that says ‘He had me spinning like a girl in a circus in a trapeze act.’ She’s on the high wire and everything is awesome then you fall and hit the ground. It’s a great analogy. They call it falling for a reason. I thought what a great way to look at it. The energy and groove of it draws me in and makes me want to hear it again.” Fans now have the chance to hear it again and again: the single impacts playlists on July 14th.

I suspected this would be the pick since this song garnered both male and female votes - and there was no landslide winner between the two. Will make a cool video.

BTW -- Don't bother posting this on Trisha's site... the message board Nazi will just yank it and claim it's not official -- even though it came from Big Machine. They just don't like getting scooped. ;-)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Highway 16 Test Drive: Trisha Yearwood - RESULTS ARE IN!

Listen in Friday morning in the 8am ET hour for a Highway 16 Test Drive -- help pick the next Trisha Yearwood single!

Spread the word -- tell your friends to be listening to Jay Thomas on XM's Highway 16 (DirecTV channel 814) Friday morning! He will play both contenders, and then take YOUR feedback via email or phone, and compile it all for our friends at Big Machine Records.

Funny note... this came about because someone at Big Machine heard the Alan Jackson test drive we did yesterday morning. I LOVE getting those phone calls!

WOW -- this turned out to be our closest "Test Drive" ever.

53% of voters chose "Nothin' 'Bout You Is Good For Me" with predominantly female votes
47% of voters chose "They Call It Fallin' For A Reason" with a pretty even mix of male / female votes

Which means -- Big Machine has a tough decision to make!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Nashville Star Week #3

I was in the audience for Nashville Star Monday night -- six seats down from John Anderson, and the row in front of Laura Bell Bundy. I'm going to have to take Delaynie some time, because I was right in front of the circle stage where Billy Ray did a bunch of intros, and all I could think of was "I'm four rows away from Hannah Montana's daddy."
So here are a few things you don't see on tv:

- They've redone the audience setup from year's past. Taken out a bunch of seating, and added risers. So it's a smaller audience.

- In the commercial breaks, the judges often pull out their guitars and sing. Jewel did a song that was apparently a hit for her, Jeff did part of "What Hurts the Most," there was a sing along to "Lyin' Eyes."

- They had a sing-off in one break for tickets to the Tuesday night Opry. The two contestants from the audience sang Amazing Grace, accompanied by Jeffrey Steele. They both had more talent than some of the contestants.

- Everything was live this week -- no pre-taped special guest performance.

- Billy Ray Cyrus came out into the audience and hugged or high fived a bunch of little girls throughout the night. He knows his fan base. He also made a trip out once they announced John Anderson was there.

- Watched the show on TV tonight. It sounds so much better in person when the crowd is loud and you can't hear it. It's also hard to hear the judges in the house.

I'll go on the record as saying I think Ashlee Hewitt has the most star potential. They're going to have to develop a story on her to get the audience won over. It's tough to compete with a single dad, a sailor, or a mother of five.

BTW -- who else is dying to hear Melissa let loose on Trisha's "Real Live Woman?"

I sat behind a friend of Courtney's from Pearl Heart. Got a good story out of her that is going to make this weeks' edition of Nashville Star Radio. I also had someone tell me they'd seen Pearl Heart at the Bluebird last year. Shawn had some friends in the audience too - including a guy from South Dakota who used to own a bar she sang at.

As I type this I'm watching a re-run of Grand Ole Opry live. Crystal Gayle is singing, and she sounds fabulous. Whatever happened to the idea that old fashioned notion of getting singers who can actually sing?

One of the things I miss this year is the signs and t-shirts from the fans of a particular contestant. It's hard to tell who's got the crowd support - although in the house, Coffey and Shawn seemed to get the biggest reactions.

I interviewed Jewel prior to the show, and Justin after he was eliminated. (I correctly picked that one!) Try not to be jealous of the plush accomodations I enjoyed while I chatted with Jewel. You can hear clips from both interviews Thursday at 8pm ET on XM's Highway 16. We tape the show Wednesday night at 10pm local time, so it's a quick turnaround!

Test Blog

I am typing here...
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Monday, June 23, 2008


Once upon a time, I would load up my baby daughter and drive from Tennessee to Central Illinois. The trip took almost 3 tanks of gas round trip. A tank of gas for my Chevy Cavalier in 1998 was around $30, the trip was just under $100 round trip.

As the price of gas grew proportionally to my daughter's legs, we had to get a four door vehicle. Round trip to Central Illinois was still 3 tanks of gas, and a tank of gas for a Pontiac Grand Prix in 2005 was about $45. Trip now is still well under $150.

With longer legs comes bigger bicycles and bigger suitcases, meaning traveling to Grandparents Camp is best done in daddy's pickup truck. Round trip to Central Illinois in a Ford F-150 is 4 tanks of gas, and in 2008 they cut you off at the gas tank when you hit $75. Round trip hit $300.

I've cancelled any further thoughts of a summer vacation, and am considering leaving her bike there so I can take my car when we go pick her up. It will be cheaper to buy her a new bike!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Just a Trace...

Sharon was eagle eyed enough to spot me in a picture from the Round Robin proceeding Trace's #1 party this week. Here's what the view looked like from where I was sitting.

Trace's wife, Rhonda, and their three girls were there -- the girls looked so adorable in their sunglasses and pigtails. Rhonda's SUV has a Trace Adkins "Hot Mama" licence plate on the front. Cracked me up.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Honey, The Dog Ate My Radio

Yeah. So, technically he didn't EAT my husband's radio, he just kind of... gnawed on the chords. Not just any radio, his XM Radio. So now it doesn't really work very well.

Which is not the end of the world. I want an in-dash unit with a CD player... so my husband can have my SkyFi 2. A trip to Best Buy and a phone call to HQ and we'll be good to go.

Except... my husband didn't tell me the dog ate his radio....until we were underway on an 8 hour journey through the cornfields.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Hey Ran Fans!

Attention Miranda Lambert Fans -- this message just in from Highway 16's resident early bird, Jay Thomas:

Tomorrow morning in the 8am ET hour I’m going to be playing two cuts from Miranda’s “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” CD to get some feedback for Columbia Records regarding the next single. I’ll be taking calls and e-mails. Tune in and take a Highway 16 Test Drive! Exclusively on XM channel 16 and DirecTV channel 814.

Jay will have the number / email address for voting tomorrow morning, so tune in!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Clearing the Cobwebs

I've sucked at blogging lately, I know. Thought I'd come in tonight and dust a few cobwebs off.

Nashville Star -- in person, I think Shawn Mayer looks like she could be a star. She's been playing Tootsies here in town for a while now. There are a few of the girls that really I just want to hug and say go home and be a teenager. Because they'd get eaten alive on Music Row. A couple of the guys are rather... obnoxious. Like they're afraid their 15 minutes of fame might run out any second, so they have to cram everything in right now. Melissa Lawson was definitely the one I related to most - we sat and talked about her kids -- the youngest of whom is 9 months.

Which brings me to the biggest revelation of Nashville Star radio... the contestants are SEQUESTERED. Like jurors. Cell phones taken away, no access to the internet, no contact with their family. The only way they even know if their family is in the audience is if they happen to see them from the stage. At one point, they weren't allowed to see the newspaper for a few days (probably around premiere time.) Quite honestly, I couldn't do it. This is the first year Nashville Star has done this with the contestants, and I have no idea if other reality shows do this, but I was shocked. Especially given that one of the girls is 16.

The production crew was awesome to work with though, and really went out of their way to make sure XM looked good on tape. We aren't in our new studios yet, as y'all know, so that's a bit of a bummer. But at least tune in to Monday night's show and see the XM gang on NBC. 9pm ET!

My favorite part of the show was watching Jon fret over what shirt to wear!

On the subject of reality TV, I just discovered last week that CMT is doing a little show of their own called "Can You Duet." They picked a winner last week, they get a record deal on SonyBMG. Was it just me, or did that show have zero buzz?

On a more personal note... I have a budding songwriter in the family. Delaynie has always written her own little melodies, from the time she was a toddler in the highchair and she'd hum out a tune over and over. Well last spring she and I wrote a little song together, based on that old sailor expression that my dad taught her (and me, 30 years before.)

Red Sky at Night - Sailors Delight!
Red Sky at Morning - Sailors Take Warning

It turned out pretty cute, and she recorded it acapella and sent it to my dad for Father's Day. If I could figure out how to put up MP3's here, I'd share it, because I think it's kind of neat. It's a "round the campfire" kind of songs. We made a pretty good co-writing team, so watch out!

A couple of media events on my to do list this week - including a Trace Adkins #1 party and a Toby Keith press conference. I will let you guess which one I'm excited about.

This is going to be another insane week... I'm hoping to take Thursday and Friday off (as battle pay for Fan Fair week)... I'm heading to Illinois to meet Ryan this weekend. 8 hours in a car with no air conditioning is not good, so I have to get my car worked on sometime... whenever that may be... I'm really hoping that I can talk Gary into taking Friday off and going with me. A) His truck has air B) I don't think I'm up to driving all that way alone. (Isn't it funny how you are going merrily through life, and then when some quack doctor decides something is wrong with you, their "cure" means you barely have the energy to get out of bed?) Anyway. I'm sure I'll blog from the cornfields, but the place may get dusty around here again in the meantime.

So how's your summer?

OH - which reminds me. I would like to take a vacation. I have a free Southwest plane ticket, 3 nights at a Marriott hotel and almost $500 Disney dollars. But I don't do Disney in the summer. Where should we run away to for the weekend without spending a lot of money?

The short list:

Cleveland (Delaynie's dying to go)
Niagara Falls (Gary wants to go)
Hattiesburg, MS (Gary's sister lives there)

None of that sounds exciting to me. Probably because none of them involve the ocean. Or because any of them require more energy than it takes to get out of bed. But I'd like to go explore somewhere funky and peaceful and fun. Not horribly hot or crowded. Does such a place exist?

Before heading to bed, I checked my blog stats, which I haven't done in 2 weeks. Funny batch of google searches that got people here today:

"Kelly Clarkson Pictures of Hair on Reba Duets Show" (St. Joseph, MO -- used to go there all the time to see my stepsons!)

"Carrie Underwood Love Life" (which comes up pretty much daily, however, this time is was from someone in Dubai!)

"Angela Hacker Bookings 2008" (Guessing that search didn't turn up a lot of results?)

"Sommet Center Tower XM" (Hopkinsville, KY -- come on down and see it for yourself!)

The search of the day, however, goes to the person in Ann Arbor, MI who searched "J. Smooze" and wound up at this post, reporting on an event I can't for the life of me remember attending.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Nashville Star Radio on TONIGHT

Nashville Star Radio -- 8pm ET tonight on Highway 16

Jon Anthony and I put many many hours of our life into this show that we can never get back. The least you can do is listen. :-P Finished show is 98 minutes...

When it's over tell me what you think -- about the contestants, about the show, all of it.

Eventually (like... after I sleep?) I will fill you in on my impressions of the contestants... I've definitely picked a few faves.

i hear crickets chirping... no one listened?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Nashville Star Radio on XM!

No rest for the weary!

Nashville Star Radio on XM debuts this week -- we tape the first episode tonight. This is going to give you a much more in depth look at the contestants and the process -- it's very exciting for us.

Did you watch the first episode Monday? The new home on NBC means a new set, new host, new judges - and hopefully a much bigger audience! So what did you think?

It's going to be fun to follow this show this summer!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My Contribution to People Magazine

Backstage at LP Field last week, Keith Urban met the press. It was actually really funny, because we had a game plan when he came back. There was a tabloid reporter in the press room driving us all crazy, so a bunch of us came up with a sequence of questions so we could get the good stuff answered without her asking something stupid.

I got question #3, and I asked Keith what kind of baby gifts the fans had been giving him. You can read his answer at

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Is it Monday yet?

I have discovered, I'm not superwoman. Maybe I'm just getting old. This has been the most exhausting and emotionally draining CMA Music Fest ever. I didn't blog at 3am this morning while I was munching on room service because I couldn't really think of anything exciting to tell you about. I am behind on work I wanted to get done. Had to make some staffing decisions yesterday that made it easier on my psyche, but tougher on my workload. (I have a mental limit of 2 days in a row of getting my ass chewed, I needed a break.) So today, I plan to spend most of the day editing, cleaning the office, and getting caught up.

I had hoped to throw together a little post-Music Fest soiree at my place for those of you in town this weekend, but... I haven't seen my house since Wednesday, and can't be confident in what kind of state it's in. So let's get together Monday around 10:30 at the Pancake Tree.

If that doesn't work for anyone (most particularly baby Cebastian) please let me know. Delaynie and I will be there!

I get to meet the new Grascal today. I'm sure he's a great fiddler, but the real question is - can he dress like a Grascal? Their bus is parked outside... I really want to climb on board and see what Mayberry's Finest offers up for breakfast.

Will report back later. In the meantime, I've added a photo to the My Favorite Audio Blog Ever. Which, for the record, Jon has absolutely no memory of doing.

I'm back. Met Jeremy. Pleased to report that he's every bit the sharp dressed Grascal. I took a zillion pictures but never saw him smile. Definitely missing the smiling fiddler...

Saturday, June 07, 2008


My new nephew is a lucky little guy I think to have such a cool birthday as that! Ryan Christopher has arrived -- 5lb 6oz... I'm not able to get all the details since we're live from the Never Ending Chevy Stage, but I am eagerly awaiting photos.

Ryan is welcomed by big sister Maddie, and cousins Aidan, Andrew, and Delaynie. :-)

Happy Saturday morning,...

Happy Saturday morning, it is 3 AM. I am in my pajamas, just finished eating some cold pizza and I'm getting ready to go to bed. I experienced a whole new level of fandom(?) tonight that I'm going(?) to remember to talk about tomorrow. The whole camping out issue: People are camping at the ____ tonight, people are camping at the Convention Center tonight. I cannot comprehend this level of fandom(?). We'll talk about it tomorrow. Goodnight. listen

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Friday, June 06, 2008

My Setup Here At The Chevy Stage

What else could a girl need?

You know you're out...

You know you're out late, when you come into your hotel the same time as the morning paper. 2:45 in Music City, the end of a 17 or so hour day. Interesting night at the Coliseum. I have to tell you a good Luke Brian story, and I think I've solved the Rascal Flatts' mystery. The songwriter show at the Hard Rock Cafe, I won't tell you who was there because Blogger will totally butcher their names. Then, I took Sandy and her friend Tammy on a 2 AM tour of our new offices, and now I'm back in my hotel room, ready for a couple of hours sleep. We will do it all again tomorrow! Goodnight. listen

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

Blogging from the Chevy Plaza!

Hello from the XM Broadcast Booth at the Sommet Center Plaza. We're currently in the bluegrass block of the Chevy Stage, heard live on Bluegrass Junction. Dan Tyminski is on stage. The Sommet Center is providing pockets of shade, the the crowd is moving their chairs as it moves... it's pretty funny.

Tonight I'm heading to LP Field for the backstage press conferences. On our list tonight to talk to: Kellie Pickler, Taylor Swift, Julianne Hough, Jewel, Sugarland, and Montgomery Gentry. On my way I'm hoping to stop by a James Otto #1 party.

No phone or internet from the lower bowels of LP Field, so I'll have to talk to you when it's over. In the meantime, go check out (and comment!) our XM blog at

My favorite audio blog EVER

To fully appreciate this blog, you must listen to the audio....

(Joyce)It is one in the morning, Sandy and I are at Rippy's with the whole XM Engineering Crew including a very intoxicated... well served Jon Anthony who wants to say hello. Say hello to everybody, John.

(Jon) Hello everybody, thank goodness for Bud Light.

(Joyce)If only I had my camera here.

(Jon) And Maker's Mark Whiskey.

(Joyce) Goodnight. listen

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For the record... I was drinking diet coke.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Surprise Guest

I will say she is stunningly beautiful in person.

Hey I am driving downtown...

Hey I am driving downtown and I realized that I almost forgot to tell you about a couple of very exciting thing that are happening today on Highway 16. First of all, Storming Warn(?) makes his SM debut at the top of the Chevy parade which is off the top of my head, 3:00pm Eastern. And then, we have a very special guest coming by the Chevy block party a little later in the day. I can't tell you who he or she might be. But if you are in the neighborhood you might want to come on over and be a witness to it. Otherwise be turned in the Highway 16 cos you are not gonna want to miss this. listen

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Blogging to the Power of X!

I'm recruiting Team XM to help blog our way through CMA Music Festival for those of you who can't be here in person. Check it out at

And also keep your eye on our Music Fest Photo Gallery at (you have to hunt for it down on the lower right)

You only get audio blogging here though. ;-)

11:51 in Nashville,...

Cleaned this up... although I was tempted to leave the Tuckle Bell in... (I didn't find one, for the record.) The first time I audio blogged it cut me off, so for a while there were two of these up, sorry about that.

11:51 in Nashville, Tuesday at CMA Music Festival, just out of the Grand Ole Opry. I am still awake, thankfully. Umm... what did I want to tell you. The show was great. John Conlee was fabulous, Luke Bryan very entertaining. I did not get to see Montgomery Gentry because I was tearing down our booth. I tell you what, seven and half hours out there in that heat today, just about did me in and I am trying to figure out if there is a Taco bell between the Grand Ole Opry and my house. That is my mission. Going to go home and check my e-mails. Sleep in a little bit hopefully tomorrow and then I have got to pack a suitcase and head downtown. The Chevy Parade and block party starts at 3 p.m. Eastern, 2 p.m. Nashville time. You can hear it all live on Highway 16. It's never been heard live on the radio before, so we are very excited. Tune in, don't miss it. I will be there. Hope you will be too! listen

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Hello, from the very...

Hello, from the very hot and sweaty Opry Plaza. The first show has started. Carrie Underwood and Montgomery Gentry are about to come on stage. We have given away a ton of XM goodies and I have seen Dave from Connecticut and Paula and JoAnn from Massachusetts. And a whole bunch of other XM fans, and of course the most popular question that I have gotten today is, "Is that merger ever gonna go through?" Having great time out here - I'm gonna go to the 9:30 show, so, I will probably talk to you after that. listen

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Monday, June 02, 2008

A Day in the Life of the XM Nashville Interns

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Happy Hell Week!

I just know the day is coming when someone from the CMA pulls me over and says..."umm Joyce... we'd really rather you didn't refer to our biggest event as 'Hell Week', ok?"

Ready or not - it's here! I have shipped my daughter off to camp, cleaned the house, and broken in new Sketchers. I even bought this ridiculously large pill box and am setting cell phone alarms to make me take all my meds this week (which would work better if I could A) find one of my meds that I'm missing and B)figure out which med is making me nautious when I do take it.) Feel free to ask if I've been drugged lately when you see me.

I've also prepped ridiculous amounts of note cards for our air talent this week and stuffed hundreds of goodie bags. At some point, I move downtown, which I haven't yet packed for, but I don't think that happens for a couple more days.

My first event today is a Gretchen Wilson graduation party, and my day ends with a Pizza & Planning meeting in our new offices.

Probably lots of audio blogging from here on out! Will check in as I can.