New Music Monday- Greg Bates: “Did It For the Girl”

I’m considering dedicating Mondays to posting about new (or relatively recently released) country music, so we’ll call this a trial run for that. If I like it, I just might keep it up… 😉

When I was in Nashville at the beginning of this month, I had the pleasure of meeting Luke, a friend of a friend who attended Belmont University and now works in Nashville. Luke asked if I’d ever heard of his fellow Belmont graduate Greg Bates, and at the time I hadn’t. I’ve since looked him up, and I definitely like his song “Did It For the Girl” that was released in May, but I’m considering it to be new for the purpose of this post.

If you like the video, find the song on iTunes here (it was free last week, so if you hurry you can probably still catch it as a free single!), follow Greg Bates on Twitter, or check out his website for more info on him.

Keep talkin’ twangy!

-Allie

Johnny Cash: God’s Gonna Cut You Down

I saw this video (not for the first time, but for the first time in a while) today, and I immediately knew I wanted to find out more about it. The video was produced by Rick Rubin, who also appears in the beginning and end of the video (and resembles Hank Williams, Jr., in my opinion). I did a little reading, and apparently the idea originated with Justin Timberlake.

I always love when artists and stars from different genres and fields come together for a project because it proves to me that music serves as a powerful means of connection and communication, no matter who you are and what background you have. In this case, a group of celebrities have come together for the purpose of commemorating Johnny Cash with a posthumously released video for “God’s Gonna Cut You Down.” I love the haunting sound of this song’s accompaniment, and of course Johnny’s legendary voice makes it all the more chilling. If you’ve never heard this song or seen the video, it’s most definitely worth taking the time to watch it.

I’m not terribly familiar with very many artists outside of country music, so I know this isn’t an all-inclusive list, but these are the stars that I recognized immediately as I watched the video (in order of appearance):

Chris Martin (of Coldplay)
Kris Kristofferson
Adam Levine (of Maroon 5)
Justin Timberlake
Kate Moss
Sheryl Crow
The Dixie Chicks (Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire, and Emily Robison)
Bono (of U2)
Kid Rock
Billy Gibbons (of ZZ Top)
Johnny Depp
Owen Wilson

To read a little more about this video and see the full list of celebrities who appear in it, I recommend scoping out this article from The Inspiration Room.

Keep talkin’ twangy!

-Allie

Throwback Thursday: 7.26.12

Well, it’s Thursday, so let’s get a little TBT action going!

I grew up hearing Diamond Rio on the radio, so I love hearing them on the radio today. I’m particularly fond of this song because it mentions Georgia. 🙂 I also just love their sound in this one. They’re classic. Enjoy!

Song: ”Meet In the Middle”
Artist: Diamond Rio
Album: Diamond Rio: 16 Biggest Hits

Keep talkin’ twangy!

-Allie

Book Review- Patsy: The Life and Times of Patsy Cline by Margaret Jones

My obsession with Patsy Cline began almost seven years ago. My seventh grade English teacher wanted us to make pop-up books on a historical figure, and after asking my parents and grandparents for ideas, I decided on Patsy Cline. The only song I’d ever heard by Patsy was “Crazy,” but that pop-up book English project sparked a love for her voice and her music that I still carry as a college student, and I doubt that obsession will ever fade. She’s a classic sound and her story is one of both tragedy and triumph. I could go on forever about the woman herself, but let’s get down to business about the book that bears her name.

I spotted Patsy: The Life and Times of Patsy Cline on a store shelf when I was in Nashville, and due to my previously mentioned obsession, I knew I had to read it. The description and reviews sounded promising, so I started reading the same day.

The book starts out with a detailed account of Patsy’s family history as far back as her grandparents, and then launches into the even more detailed stories of Patsy’s childhood. Jones tells about every aspect of Patsy’s early life in quite a few wordy (and at times almost off-topic) passages, and continues into Patsy’s teenage years and the start of her musical career. Quite honestly, the book was difficult for me to read when I first started out because there isn’t much personality in the tone.

Jones gives ample information about all of the happenings of Patsy’s musical career and about her marriages and personal life along the way, but she also presents quite a bit of background information about many of the people Patsy encountered. For someone who only wants the straight facts about Patsy and Patsy alone, that would get irritating. But because I’m pursuing a career in the country music industry, I didn’t mind the chapters that contained history lessons and mini-biographies on the industry and its key players during Patsy’s time.

Some chapters were devoted almost entirely to people other than Patsy, and I did get a little impatient because I felt that the book was getting off-topic. Most readers might skip all of those extraneous details and back stories, and I was tempted to do just that; however, I’m glad I read them because it made me aware that I know little about the history of the business side of the country music industry. Seeing as how that’s exactly the area in which I’m chasing a career, I find it important to know the history from a business-based perspective as well as from the more common perspective of an audience member and listener. Some of the anecdotes piqued my interest, and it’s led me to do some enjoyable research of my own on people such as Owen Bradley and Connie B. Gay.

Overall, the book is merely a chronological information dump. I enjoyed seeing big names in country music in the book as they shared their own personal memories of Patsy, but the parts told in the author’s words lack personality and emotion. After reading this book, I feel like I know quite a bit about Patsy’s life and what happened to her, but I’m left wanting to know Patsy herself and her personality more intimately, and unfortunately that is where this book doesn’t quite hit the mark.

I would recommend this book to anyone who– like me– has a passion for Patsy Cline’s music but also wants some extra knowledge about the country music industry’s history, but if you’re looking for a compelling and sincere account that will give you insight into who Patsy was, you should probably look elsewhere.

For more information, you can find Patsy: The Life and Times of Patsy Cline on Amazon.com here.

 

Music with a heritage.

I don’t consider myself to be a history kind of person. I’m not good remembering who did what on which day and in which year. I never have been.

But when it comes to country music, history makes me come alive. When I was in Nashville with some friends earlier this month, I can’t tell you how excited I was to be able to give them a not-so-brief history of the Grand Ole Opry when we stopped by the Opry House. Sometimes when I’m in the car with my family, I can supplement a classic country song on the radio with a relevant fact. I’ve even started recognizing record producers’ names when I look through old records.

I’ve done some reading this summer, and through that I’ve learned about the origins of country music as an industry. I can’t explain it, but I feel like knowledge of earlier country pioneers and trailblazers will give me a better understanding of the music I love hearing on the radio today. History lets me imagine life in another time, and the best part about country music history specifically is that it’s accompanied by melodies that can truly carry me to another time and place.

When I sat down and really thought about why I love country music, its rich history was definitely a significant reason. Country music lets me forge a connection with those who came before me because so many of the traditions and sounds of the genre are still alive and thriving even after several decades.

I don’t know of too many genres that can say the same, and I can’t wait until I can truly be a part of making some new musical history.

Keep talkin’ twangy!

-Allie

Throwback Thursday: 7.19.12

If you’re heavily involved in the world of social media, you might see the hashtag “#TBT” floating around on Twitter. What does it mean? Throwback Thursday, where you look back on something of the past… hopefully with fond memories in tow!

For my very first twangy attempt at #TBT, I thought I’d reflect on a video of an artist who has since exploded into a massive country star. I saw this video on CMT recently, and even though it’s only been five years since this song was released on an album, the video shows the simpler side of Miranda (in a good way!) than most of what we see from her nowadays. Enjoy!

Song: “Famous In A Small Town”
Artist: Miranda Lambert
Album: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Keep talkin’ twangy!

-Allie

Add some twang to that thang! Country covers over the years.

Today I stumbled across a video of Keith Urban playing Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe,” (there’s a short, REALLY low sound quality snippet of it here) in a recent show, and that led me to search for cover songs that country artists have recorded over the years. Hope you enjoy my favorites that I found!

Song: “God Gave Me You”
Artist: Blake Shelton
Album: Red River Blue
I heard Dave Barnes’ version of this song (watch it here) on Christian radio about a year before I heard Blake’s version. Dave Barnes actually wrote the song. You could technically say that they released them close enough together that Blake’s version might not be considered a cover, but I still wanted it to be on this list. The two versions are pretty similar, but it’s such a well-written (props, Dave!) song that it allows both to truly shine. I love Miranda’s introduction in Blake’s music video!

Song: “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”
Artist: Dwight Yoakam
Album: The Very Best of Dwight Yoakam
Queen originally sang this song, and Dwight’s version definitely has a lot more twang contributed by both the accompaniment and his rockabilly voice. Queen’s version is a classic (see it here), but Dwight did a great job of adding his own flair to the song.

Song: “Life Is a Highway”
Artist: Rascal Flatts
Album: Cars (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture)
Tom Cochrane originally recorded this song (see his version here). Rascal Flatts made the song a bit more driving and exciting than the original, and their pop-rock bent remake was featured in the Disney-Pixar film Cars.

Song: “To Make You Feel My Love”
Artist: Garth Brooks
Album: Hope Floats (Soundtrack)
This song was written and originally recorded by Bob Dylan. Since the original recording, Billy Joel, Garth Brooks, and most recently Adele have also covered the song. You can see their versions here: Bob DylanBilly JoelAdele.

 

Song: “When You Say Nothing At All”
Artist: Alison Krauss and Union Station
Album: Alison Krauss and Union Station: Live
Until I started doing a little research for this post, I wasn’t actually aware that Alison Krauss didn’t record this song originally. I love her version, and I was happy to find that another country singer, Keith Whitley, recorded it first (see his version here—sorry for the less than great video quality!). From country original to bluegrass remake, both versions are wonderful.

Keep talkin’ twangy!

-Allie

Just as grand as always!

When I was in Nashville this weekend, I moseyed over to the Grand Ole Opry House with a few friends because we happened to be close by. As I was explaining the history and purpose of the Opry to them, I realized just how unique and important the show itself is to country music.

Photo courtesy of the Grand Ole Opry

Just think about it. Do you know of an R&B organization that showcases its performers multiple times a week? Can you think of any radio programs that have been broadcast every Saturday night since the 1920s?


Photos courtesy of WSM Radio and Webb Wilder

It has such a rich and exciting history, and countless huge name stars in country music have taken part in the Opry. Both the Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville and the Grand Ole Opry House in east Nashville have housed it since it’s beginnings, but no matter where it goes, the Opry creates a rare community that could only be built on the foundation of heartfelt music.

Without the Opry, country music might not be what it is today. The Opry has given talented musicians a massive platform to share their music with the world, and in return those artists have gone on to make the artistry of country music into the culture and world that I love so much today.

The Grand Ole Opry is both an honor for performers and an irreplaceable experience for audiences. As its name implies, it truly is grand, and I certainly hope it’ll be around for many generations to come!

Photo courtesy of Gadling.com

To listen to the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday nights, tune in to WSM Radio’s live stream here!

Keep talkin’ twangy!

-Allie

Music City, baby!

It’s July 6th, 2012 and I’ve been counting down to this day for at least two months. I’m writing this post from Nashville, Tennessee, and for obvious reasons I’m quite excited. Being in the heart of Music City always revitalizes my passion for country music and sparks my mind to keep creatively exploring how I’ll get to where I want to be professionally and personally when I finish my college degree. For me, it’s literally the city of dreams. My dreams.

As a celebration of this trip, here are a few of my favorite country music videos that were filmed in downtown Music City!

Song: “Hello World”
Artist: Lady Antebellum
Album: Need You Now
“Hello World” was filmed very close to the intersection of 3rd Avenue and Deaderick Street, and you can see the War Memorial building in the background any time Dave is shown playing the piano. The video itself is incredibly powerful and is definitely my favorite Lady A video. If you watch one video in this post, make it this one.

Song: “Ours”
Artist: Taylor Swift
Album: Ours- Single
According to Taste of Country, the Nashville airport was shut down for this video! I guess if you’re as famous as Taylor Swift, you can’t risk thousands of passerby recognizing you in the time it takes you to shoot a music video in an airport. The entire video was shot around Nashville, but the airport is the most recognizable location that’s shown.

Song: “Take It Off”
Artist: Joe Nichols
Album: It’s All Good
I was able to figure out that part of this video was filmed on Third Avenue North downtown, but I can’t seem to figure out where the rest of it is shot. I’m not familiar with the building that’s in the background during the park scenes, so if you do know, leave a comment and help me learn my Nashville geography!

Song: “Temporary Home”
Artist: Carrie Underwood
Album: Play On
Like “Hello World,” this one is amazingly emotional. This video won “Inspirational Music Video of the Year” at the 16th Inspirational Country Music Awards in 2010, and for good reason. I cry every single time I watch this video, so if you watch it and the same happens to you, don’t say you weren’t warned.

Song: “Even If It Breaks Your Heart”
Artist: Eli Young Band
Album: Life at Best
This video was filmed at Gruhn Guitars (on the corner of 4th and Broadway) in downtown Nashville (source: Taste of Country). In the time since this song was released, it has more or less become my theme song. Chasing big dreams can bring proportionately big heartbreak, and I’m learning that I have to keep going after what’s in my heart even when I seem to hit roadblocks and letdowns along the way.

Keep talkin’ twangy!

-Allie

May we never forget.

Country music has always been quick to show appreciation for the United States of America, and musical displays of patriotism have become even more of a priority since 9/11.

If it weren’t for those who fought and continue to fight for our freedom, I don’t know if we’d be able to listen to the music we want to, wear the things we want to, or say the things we want to.

Even in changing times and a power-hungry world, may we never abuse those privileges that we have because so many have given their all.

And may we never become so spoiled in our blessed lives that we forget how many people have worked and made incredible sacrifices so that we can live the way we do.

I hope today was a wonderful reminder of how blessed we really are to live in the USA. And if not, then maybe a little musical reflection will help.

Song: “Home”
Artist: Dierks Bentley
Album: Home

Song: “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)”
Artist: Alan Jackson
Album: The Essential Alan Jackson

Song: “American Soldier”
Artist: Toby Keith
Album: Toby Keith: 35 Biggest Hits 

Song: “Have You Forgotten?”
Artist: Darryl Worley
Album: Have You Forgotten?

Song: “God Bless the USA”
Artist: Lee Greenwood
Album: 20th Century Masters- The Millenium Collection: Best of Lee Greenwood

Keep talkin’ twangy!

-Allie