Sunday, August 31, 2008

What would you take?

Imagine you turned on the television and your mayor was telling you to "get your butt out" of town. You had a few hours to pack up 2 suitcases worth of stuff and get on a plane. What would you take?

I walked into church this morning and my heart just broke. Our church is one of 3 in Nashville that was a Red Cross shelter for Gustov evacuees - and they sent us 2 more busloads than we had capacity to house. People were laying in the hallways, kids sleeping on suitcases, it was wall to wall people. They'd traveled all night and arrived in the early hours of the morning.

Fortunately the overflow was soon loaded back up and bussed out to MTSU. But there are about 200 people who now call our gymansium "home." They have no idea how long they will be there. They packed 3 or 4 days worth of clothes. And by mid afternoon they were bored silly.

So we went home and gathered up a bunch of board games, old magazines, construction paper and crayons. My daughter and I made a Dollar General run and bought some crossword puzzle books and word searches. We returned to the church and set up a kids area with videos and just listened to people tell their stories.

I'm blessed to be part of an amazing church that just opens their doors and takes care of people. From ESL classes to JFON clinics to housing for traveling youth groups, our congregation truly does live out the United Methodist slogan of "Open Minds. Open Hearts. Open Doors." But no matter how many people we had up there working to feed, clothe, and clean our guests, no one could give them what they really needed. We couldn't tell them where their friends and family were. We didn't know who had gotten out and who had stayed behind. We couldn't give them the comfort that everything and everyone was going to be ok back home.

So we wait. And while we wait we listen, we play, we encourage and we pray.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Mixing Music and Politics

One kid dreams of fame and fortune
One kid helps pay the rent
One could end up going to prison
One just might be president

In response to the Democratic Convention’s use last night of Brooks & Dunn’s song, “Only in America,” the duo’s Kix Brooks offered the following statement:

“Seems ironic that the same song Bush used at The Republican Convention last election would be used by Obama and the Democrats now. Very flattering to know our song crossed parties and potentially inspires all Americans.”

Kix Brooks - Brooks & Dunn

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Protecting The Guilty - Including Me!

I have to tell you about the lunch I was invited to today. But in the interest of Protecting the Guilty, who really was mostly innocent, I'm not going to name names.

First off, I wasn't actually invited. One of my co-workers was, and I thought I was going in their place, but they went too. So really, I had no business being there. Ok. I crashed it. (Does it count as crashing if you call ahead and tell them you're crashing? I have no idea.)

Anyway. So lunch was at a very nice Italian restaurant. I don't usually do italian... but a free lunch is a free lunch when you're broke and awaiting to get downsized. So I'm not complaining. It was a media lunch, for an artist who's been off the radar for a while, and is now back on the scene with an Indy record deal. Lunch, an acoustic performance, and a round robin.

Well this lunch took FOREVER. AND EVER. (AMEN? - And no, it wasn't with Randy Travis.) We were there 40 minutes before we even ordered. And then it took light years to get our first course. Seriously, we got there at noon and didn't get dessert until 1:45. We had one waiter taking care of about 18-20 of us. And apparently, they had to grow the lettuce.

So during all this down time, you would think the artist would be making the most of it... shaking hands, kissing babies, talking to the assembled media. No. They were sitting at a corner table with their back to us, talking to their band members. Why were we there again? Oh yeah. Free lunch.

Now, I really like this particular artist. Which is why I'm not mentioning their name. And the people working with this artist are also very nice people. Just the fact that they thought to provide us lunch, unlike many other folks who schedule Round Robins right over the lunch hour with not even so much as a bottle of water, gives them bonus points. But there were definitely some things that could have been executed better. (Yes, I backseat produce EVERYTHING!) And I would never give this restaurant my business again.

To add insult to injury, the restaurant was nearly dead empty except for us. Can't imagine why. ..

We wound up having to leave before the Round Robin to get back to the studio for another session. So I crashed the event and didn't even get good audio out of it. That will teach me!

Believe it or not, that was not the most interesting part of my day...

Back in the office that afternoon, my cell phone rang. It was someone pitching me an interview with a brand new artist I've never heard of before. We had a lengthy, informative conversation about the process for getting artists booked on Highway 16. And as all conversations do these days, it made its way around to the merger. He was very kind, asking if my job would be ok (don't know), when I'd know (fairly soon), how the channels would be affected (can't speak to that either), and whether the Sirius folks would be moving into our new facilities (yes). As others have, he gave me best wishes, told me I did great work, he's enjoyed calling on me all these years and was sure I'd be fine because the cream always rises to the top. Told me to let him know if I needed anything. It was a lovely conversation, not unlike others I seem to be having about once a day these days. Except for one problem...

I have absolutely no idea who this person is, nor do I have any recollection of having talked to him before in my whole entire life.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Come Walk with Me!

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer
Nashville Walk -- Saturday October 25, 2008

2008 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Nashville, TN

Thursday, August 21, 2008

XM on TV!

Did you get a chance to catch the episode of "Country Music Across America" on GAC that Storme shot in our new XM studios?

Well a reporter from NewsChannel 5 - the CBS affiliate here in Nashville - saw it, and filed the information away in his reporter's notebook.

Today he needed a story, so he called Storme, who sent him to me. After jumping through the appropriate corporate hoops, I got to give the news crew a tour of the new digs! For just a minute - I was back in TV news again. LOL.

Come on in!

New Music Alert: HOT Off the Presses!

Reason #795 why XM is cooler than every other radio station in America:

We've got a brand new song that Jack Ingram just recorded. Hasn't even been pressed to a CD yet. I'm not sure if his wife has even heard it yet, it's THAT new.

He sent it over to us and wants to know what THE FANS think. Jon Anthony is going to be playing it during his show today -- which goes live in like 2 minutes. So turn on Highway16 now -- or DirecTV channel 814.

Jack wants "verbatim" feedback -- so give it a listen, then send your HONEST thoughts to Highway16 at

Jack is waiting to hear from you!

Fay, Fay, Go Away!

Just wanted to let my Florida readers know you've been in my thoughts and prayers! Let us know you're ok when you can!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Just catching y'all up on some things in my world lately...

A couple of personal notes first... my brother has been in the hospital for the past several days with meningitis. Not the bad kind (although it certainly hasn't been the good kind either..) That's not been fun. That's when it sucks that I'm 8 hours away and can't take a hospital shift or help watch munchkins.

And it's a week and a half into the school year and I absolutely hate Delaynie's school. We put her into public school this year for the first time, which is a long convoluted story in and of itself. Unless things improve drastically (or I start drinking heavily) she's going to be back in private school by Christmas. Still awaiting the merger fallout before I can commit to that kind of money again.

For the past 2 days I've been immersed in Jessica Simpson. We're cutting a show with her tomorrow that may or may not ever make air. I have to tell you, this album is pretty dang good. She does have a beautiful voice (I never heard her as a pop singer, so it was all new to me.) There's a track on here called "Pray Out Loud" that I really love.

Today we had The Road Hammers in the new studios. Live. On the radio. That alone is always an adventure. Add to the mix that it was the first time Storme had worked in that particular studio. However it turned out, it was guaranteed to be exciting.

All went well, fortunately, and everything worked except the ability to take phone calls. Storme continues to amaze me with his interview skills. He did 30 minutes with nothing but an album cover as prep, and had tons of things to talk to them about. The only thing I needed to contribute was getting their tour dates up online. He's awesome.

Storme and I have some great conversations about music and artists, and we were laughing today because he was telling me about all the people he's interviewed for GAC in the past 2 days. Kid Rock, Jessica Simpson, Darius Rucker and Gretchen Wilson. One of these things is not like the other...

Oh yeah -- one of them started out as a country artist! But we laughed about how the rock folks are putting out some of the best songs on country radio right now. "Don't Think I Don't Think About It" is still my favorite song on the radio.

Don't think I don't wonder 'bout
Could've been, should've been all worked out
I know what I felt, and I know what I said

But don't think I don't think about it

On a related note... I've heard the Kid Rock radio edit on the local country radio stations, and they bleep out "smoking" in the line "smoking funny things." Which led my imagination to think there was something much more offensive than "smoking" going on before I knew what the lyric was. We play the unbleeped version on XM.

Call in and ask Storme about Kid Rock sometime. :-) He's totally a fan.

Should have good stories for you tomorrow night...

Monday, August 18, 2008

For the Bluegrass Fans

Here are pictures from the IBMA Nominations announcements last Thursday. Someone... who shall remain nameless... has not yet posted pictures on so I'm taking matters into my own hands and hijacking his readers!

By the way, a quirk of our new phone system here in the XM Tower is that sometimes, when you call in to Bluegrass Junction's Request Monday - I answer the phone.

My favorite request of the day came from Frank in Florida who wanted to hear "Sally Ann" before the storm hit.

AJ Party Pics!

I put a couple of pictures in my previous post about Alan Jackson's 50 Million Party. Here are a few more. Where else could you wash down your balogna sandwich with a blue martini?

Be sure to read my buddy Ed's review at -- and check out the slide show... there's a familiar face in there!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

And the winner of the Overcrowded Street Week is....

Sugarland! LOL But wait -- they didn't release an album last week!

Didn't matter, they still sold more country albums than anyone else. Top 6 looked like this:

Sugarland - 91,429
Heidi Newfield - 34,417
Keith Anderson - 31,936
Taylor Swift - 28,041 (Self titled debut album, now available as a Deluxe Edition)
Taylor Swift - 18,737 (Walmart exclusive edition CD / DVD extravaganza)
Jamey Johnson - 16,924

Melissa Lawson had 32, 628 digital downloads -- #2 in country behind Sugarland.

In other news, I attended a 50 Million Party for Alan Jackson tonight, during which another media person told me she loved my blog. So I am feeling guilty that I've been neglecting it so badly lately. Tomorrow night I'll post lots of photos and scoop from the event, which I have to tell you, featured a full bar of toppings including shrimp, cheese, bacon, chives, jalapenos..

Not for Baked Potatoes.

Not for Salad.

For Grits. No I'm not kidding. I couldn't make that up. Never having had grits before, I could not resist the opportunity to sample some grits out of a martini glass. I mean really. How could you pass that up?

Now I will be always be able to tell everyone that the only time I ever ate grits was at AJ's party.

Before the party, which was held, for reasons never explained, at the Vanderbilt University Student Life Center, AJ did a little press conference. He reflected a lot on his career, and the music. One of the questions he was asked revolved around a quote in this article in today's Tennessean. He called the reporter out - twice - for taking his quote out of context. And she was in the room. He went on to give the full context, I'll get it for you from the tape.

VIP's in the room included Trace and Rhonda Atkins, Jack Greene, Mel Tillis and Charlie Chase. Ed Morris from was there -- I made sure to tell him about the Grits bar. So be watching for his article online tomorrow. He's always great with the details.

So pictures coming tomorrow, but for now I must get to bed -- I'm up early tomorrow for the IBMA Awards Nominations -- heard live from the Country Music Hall of Fame on XM 14, Bluegrass Junction. We'll see if I'm 3 for 3 in getting Kyle nominated for Bluegrass Broadcaster of the Year.

It will also be my first time working in the CMHOF since January. I should come back with LOTS of good stories to share.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Songs About Bridges

Looking through some photos tonight I found this photo, which reminded me of our earlier conversation about Bridges.

Auckland, NZ - May 2007

So -- let's start a list of songs about Bridges. Because I can't come up with any that talk about being terrified of Bridges, (Or, for that matter, crazy little brothers who Bungee off of them...) so I might need to write one.

Burning Bridges - Brooks & Dunn

We'll Burn That Bridge - Brooks & Dunn Hmm... maybe they have a phobia too?

Which Bridge to Cross, Which Bridge To Burn - Vince Gill

London Bridge -- does that count?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

What famous people have I met?

On a message board I visit, they've started a "Brushes with Fame" thread. Obviously, country music artists can't count for me, hee hee hee.

I'm trying to remember who I've met outside of the music world - I know there have been a few. Larry King, James Carville, Olympic gymnast Shannon Miller.

There's gotta be more.

It's Crowded on the Street this Week!

Busy street week here in Nashville. These three albums were released Tuesday -- which one(s) are you buying?

Keith Anderson - C'MON!
Jamey Johnson - That Lonesome Song
Heidi Newfield - What Am I Waiting For

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Why Taylor Swift ROCKS

Not that there was ever any doubt in my mind about what an awesome young lady Taylor Swift is, I know I've blogged about this before. But I just have to share how wonderful she was with Delaynie yesterday.

We were working at the Music Row studio we use, and it was completely a zoo. We were there doing a Driver's Ed with Heidi Newfield. Keith Anderson was there doing a radio tour. And Taylor came in to co-host Country Countdown USA with Lon Helton.

Now I had no idea that either Taylor or Keith would be working out of the same place that day. But it just so happened that when Delaynie got dressed that morning, she wore her tiara that I brought home from Taylor Swift's Prom party. For no other reason than - I have a crazy kid that sometimes wears a tiara. I secretly think she tells her friends that Taylor gave it to HER.

So when I learned Taylor was on her way in, I made mention to my buddy JZ at Big Machine that Delaynie was here, and if possible, I'd love for her to just be able to say hello. He tells me that it shouldn't be a problem if we can wait until after she cuts the show.

I'm in the studio with our Heidi session and JZ comes and taps on the glass. He asks if I can have Delaynie out in the common area, that Taylor is just wrapping up.

So she's out there, reading a book. Y'all know by now that I'm not one to force meetings with celebrities, if it happens, it happens. (I may never hear the end of taking Delaynie to Nashville Star and not introducing her to Hannah Montana's dad, even though he was 3 feet away.) We get done with Heidi about the time Taylor gets done and she and Heidi hook up and start doing girl talk. Delaynie's sitting in the hall with her nose in a book, and I'm just waiting for the appropriate moment that I can introduce her to Taylor. Turns out, that wasn't going to be necessary.

I see Taylor come out and kind of scan the room, and she walks past me and Jon and Lon everyone and goes and sits down on the couch next to Delaynie.

"Hi, what's your name?"

She compliments her on the cool name, and then says, "I have decided that we have the exact same curly hair." And they sit there and talk about their wild and crazy hair. And Radio Disney. And Delaynie is just beaming. I wander over and tell her that Delaynie is my daughter and they talk about her tiara and I tell her that she just happened to be wearing it, we had no way of knowing that we'd be seeing Taylor, and she says that that is the coolest thing and tells Delaynie "thanks for representing!"

So then she asks Delaynie if someone has a camera that they could take a picture together. Of course... I do. ;-) So they do a photo, and then Taylor says "Now let's make funny faces."

And then Delaynie spent the rest of the night calling her friends to tell them that she'd met Taylor Swift and they have the exact same hair.

And THAT is why this young lady has sold 3 million albums and kids - and moms - all over America love love love her. Because we want people that treat our daughters like they are the most special person in the universe. Because they are.

I'm sure Taylor's mom knows that.

And the new Nashville Star is....

Melissa Lawson! Very cool. She will join Jon Anthony live tomorrow around 1:45 Eastern on Highway 16.

I think this show turned out the best it can be. The four going on the Nashville Star Tour are going to offer a diverse package of entertainment. This is probably Melissa's best chance, because let's face it... 35 year old mothers of five aren't what the Nashville Record Labels are signing these days, so I'm estatic that she's going to get it. Gabe is going to get signed somewhere because John Rich has been waving his Hispanic Country Flag, and Shawn is going to get valuable experience on this tour and be a star in her own right some day.

You read it here first... I predict John Rich will be hosting next year's Nashville Star. I can see the wheels already spinning in his brain.

Watch this space tomorrow and learn why I **AM** the coolest mom in America. Or Tennessee, anyway. Ok, Nashville. Well... at least the coolest mom that Delaynie has.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Nashville Star FINALE

Hey, I'm headed into Nashville Star. I wanted to remind you that the show has a later start time tonight 10:00 PM Eastern, 9:00 Central and they're going to crown a winner. I'm gonna predict that the winner will be Gabe, however I will tell you I voted for Melissa. I check in after the show and let you know how it went. listen

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Sunday, August 03, 2008

Sunday Late Night Ramblings

Howdy -- how's everyone doing? I feel like I haven't talked to you guys in forever.

It's going to be an exciting week at XM. Not like they've been dull lately here in MergerLand... LOL. We've done our few few interviews out of the new studios. Nashville Star Radio was done there this week -- our last episode. I hope you got to hear it, because I know some of you would have been interested in hearing Shawn talk about why she sang "The Dance" or heard what Melissa's favorite song to sing is. If you missed it, one last chance tomorrow (Monday) at Noon Eastern. Tomorrow night we'll know the winner! They'll be coming by XM on Tuesday to deliver their first single. I'm going to the show... not because I have to, but because... I feel like I've gone through the journey this far... I need to cross that finish line.

I think all three have good potential, but I did get to tell one contestant that Delaynie and I had voted for them. Shh! Don't tell the others!

Before we get to Nashville Star fun tomorrow night though, we're taping three - 3 - THREE - trois - tres - THREE shows tomorrow. All in a row. 10am, 11am, 12:30. At 2 different studios. Two ShortCuts, one Driver's Ed. I can't decide if that's incredibly efficient booking brilliance or sheer insanity.

When I was writing them, I was quite certain it was the latter. However, now that they're done and will be in the can ready to edit before my summer intern leaves me, I'm telling myself how brilliant it was.

It was incredibly hot here today, so I tried to stay inside as much as possible. My most productive thing of the day was to get my hubby to hang these new wrought iron pieces I got yesterday. (you'll just have to envision a cool, silver "R" in the middle of the top piece, it's not up yet.) Now if I could just figure out what to do with the windows in this room, I'd be happy.

Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of us moving into this house, following the House Closing from Hades. :-D We are definitely blessed!

I need to do a photo album of my pictures from Gillette Stadium -- I have some pretty cool shots of the concert. Have I blogged about the show? It was amazing. The only other stadium concert I've been to was George Strait a zillion years ago, and it was NOTHING like this. The production on this thing was incredible, I've not seen anything like it. Which is why he IS the four time and reigning consecutive in a row Entertainer of something or another and the 3 time consecutive one right after another winner of something else. ;-)

Big day tomorrow -- must get the munchkin off to bed.