New Music Monday: Hunter Hayes’ Live EP

I’ve been a huge fan of Hunter Hayes for almost two years now, and last November I jumped at the chance to see him live in Atlanta. By the time the show rolled around, I had every word of his album memorized, and I’m so glad he decided to preserve one of his live shows in the form of this new EP. He’s definitely talented as a young songwriter, and his abilities as a live performer certainly measure up to his songwriting talent.

The show I went to was in a relatively small venue with a small but lively crowd, so it was an incredibly up close, laid back, personal performance. I’m not sure where this live EP was recorded, but it sounds like a larger show than the Atlanta one I attended. He put on a fantastic live show for being a new artist, and I’m so glad I got the opportunity to see him live before he set out on Carrie Underwood’s arena tour. This EP is a true representation of his talent… I would even go so far as to say he sounds better live than he does on his first album!

Here’s a video of Hunter performing one of the most romantic songs that could possibly come out of a twenty-one-year-old male at the Opry. If you enjoy this video, check out the live EP here!

Keep talkin’ twangy!



Throwback Thursday: 10.18.12

Lately I’ve heard a lot of Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn’s solo music, and I won’t lie, it’s made me miss hearing them as Brooks and Dunn. They were a power duo, and it’s easy to know why when you listen to their music.

I love this song in particular because I have fond memories associated with it. When I was 12 or 13, my uncle took me out on his boat on a lake in Tennessee, and this song was blasting on the radio. Ever since then, I’ve tied this song to that feeling of the wind in my hair, driving that boat at full speed as a mist sprayed my face and the mountains opened up before my eyes…

… I’d love to be on that boat again right now, but I suppose I’ll have to settle for the memories of it that this song brings back. Hopefully you’ll enjoy listening to this Brooks and Dunn classic as well!

Keep talkin’ twangy!


New Music Monday- Music from “Nashville”

As you may have heard, there’s a new TV series on ABC called “Nashville.” Because I am in love with Music City, I inevitably had to watch the premiere. I loved being able to point out the places I (somewhat) know and definitely love in my favorite city, but I was also intrigued by how good the music was. I didn’t expect for the music to sound all that genuine, but I was pleasantly surprised. It’s obvious that the actors spent time making their voices sound just right, and it really added an extra good finishing touch to the show.

Hayden Panetierre’s (as Juliette Barnes) voice fits well with the driven, up-tempo “Love Like Mine,” and Charles Esten (as Deacon Claybourne) also plays quite a convincing role as a legendary songwriter with his heartfelt performance “Back Home.” In the end, though, the one song that had me completely floored was Sam Palladio and Clare Bowen’s (as Gunnar Scott and Scarlett O’Connor) version of “If I Didn’t Know Better,” which was made famous by the Civil Wars. I most definitely do love the Civil Wars, but this version could definitely put up some competition to theirs! Whenever I first recognized the guitar part to the song as the show’s first episode was coming to a close, I didn’t expect much, but it was actually pretty incredible. Their voices are somewhat similar to those of John Paul White and Joy Williams (The Civil Wars), but they were just unique enough to make me fall in love with the song all over again. It’s definitely worth a listen, and I hope those two characters have many duets to come on the show!

Find the music from the first episode of Nashville here:

“Love Like Mine” by Hayden Panetierre
“Back Home” by Charles Esten
“If I Didn’t Know Better” by Sam Palladio and Clare Bowen

You can watch “Nashville” Wednesday nights at 10/9c on ABC.

Keep talkin’ twangy!


Throwback Thursday: 10.11.12

Scotty McCreery performed at the Brad Paisley show that I never got the chance to write a review for, and he sang this song during his set. Scotty’s voice doesn’t have the same distintive sound that Travis’ does, but it was a fantastic cover of a classic song nonetheless. I remember hearing this one growing up, and I’m pretty sure I could sing it before I even knew what t-r-o-u-b-l-e would spell!

Song: “T-R-O-U-B-L-E”
Artist: Travis Tritt
Album: The Very Best of Travis Tritt

Keep talkin’ twangy!


Show Review- Kicks 101.5 Country Fair

When a friend asked me in July if I wanted to see Alan Jackson last weekend, I knew I couldn’t say no. If country music royalty existed, Alan Jackson would definitely be of that noble heritage, and I almost felt as if I couldn’t call myself a true country fan until I’d seen a legend like him in a live performance setting.

Alan was the headlining act of the Kicks 101.5 Country Fair, put on by one of the major country radio stations in Atlanta, Georgia. The show was held at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Alpharetta, Georgia on Saturday, October 6th. Corbette Jackson, Jana Kramer, and Clay Walker also performed.

Because my friend Shelby and I were coming from Athens, we didn’t make it in time to hear Corbette Jackson play. We arrived right after he had finished, and we staked out our spot on the lawn just as Jana Kramer’s gear was being moved onto the stage.

I saw Jana Kramer play as a part of Brad Paisley’s Virtual Reality Tour several weeks ago (I never got around to writing a review– please forgive me), and her set was only the slightest bit different from that performance. She sang several songs from her debut album, including “I Hope It Rains,” “King of Apology,” “One of the Boys,” and of course her first radio hit, “Why Ya Wanna.” She also threw in a few covers of current pop songs and some classic rock. Her set was enjoyable, but the whole time I felt like she was trying harder than was really necessary, and there was almost an unnatural air about her. She was born and raised in Michigan, so I’ll chalk up her lack of relaxation on stage to her non-Southern heritage 😉

Between Jana Kramer and Clay Walker’s sets, some of the on-air personalities from Kicks 101.5 came out on the stage to recognize a Purple Heart recipient. He brought his girlfriend out on stage and gave a heartfelt little speech about how important loved ones are to those who serve in the military. To make a long story short, by the time he walked off the stage, his girlfriend had become his fiancee! It was quite a sweet proposal.

During the lag between the proposal and Clay Walker, Kix Brooks himself came out with just a guitar and sang “Red Dirt Road” as well as one other song. He was sort of an MC for the event, but I’m glad he performed as well.

After what seemed like quite a while, Clay Walker took the stage. I grew up listening to some of Clay’s hits, most notably the catchy, quasi-tropical, “Then What?” He did play that song, as well as a few of his other older songs like “If I Could Make a Living” and “Live, Laugh, Love.” I had forgotten that he also had a few recent hits until he played “Fall” and “She Won’t Be Lonely Long.” One thing I noticed is that he never shied away from difficult melodies and high notes like some artists do when they’re afraid of messing up something that’s on the recorded version of the song; it’s a small thing, but I definitely noticed and gave Clay some mental quality points in my own mind for being fearless. His set was longer than I expected, but the longer duration wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Alan Jackson finally took the stage around 9:15 PM. From the moment he walked out, it was obvious that he was truly just a “Small Town Southern Man” who could play some good country music. Despite his incredible success, his humility was evident throughout his entire performance. He played a good number of his classic hits that are still heard on the radio even today, and I was proud to know almost every word. His band inserted a few riffs and runs here and there to shake things up. The fiddle player introduced “Little Bitty” with a melody that incorporated the Andy Griffith theme, and of course I shed a few tears at the sound of that sweet tribute. Alan played just about every song that was iconic to his career, including “Don’t Rock the Jukebox” and “Livin’ On Love,” just to name a few, but he also played more recent hits like “So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore” and “Good Time.”

The most emotionally intense performance of the night was undoubtedly “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning),” which beautifully captures the emotions of Americans following September 11th, 2011. I used that particular song in my July 4th post (which you can find here), but there’s nothing that could compare to the haunting emotions that came with Alan’s live performance of the song.

The entire show was most definitely well worth the drive and the fair amount I paid for my lawn seat. I’m so glad I got the chance to see a country legend like Alan Jackson in concert, and it’s not something I will soon forget.

Keep talkin’ twangy!


New Music Monday- Brad Paisley: Southern Comfort Zone

I saw Brad Paisley live in concert several weeks ago, but I’ve been so insanely busy that I never found the time to write a review for his incredible show. To make up for my lack of a review, I wanted to feature Brad’s rockin’ new song, “Southern Comfort Zone” this week!

I am a Southern girl through and through, and as soon as the song began, the voice-over tributes to all things Southern made me tear up with pride, especially Andy Griffith’s voice. I found the lyrics to be relatable to my transition to college– when I got here, I realized just how many different cultures are present in the world outside of my semi-rural Georgia bubble. I absolutely love that Brad chooses to convey complete respect and even awe– not ignorant hatred– for those who have been raised in a different culture than his own.

The musical sound of this song is certainly not typical of Brad Paisley’s signature feel, but nonetheless, I definitely don’t hate it. It has a driving, almost pop-rock beat to it, especially when the chorus kicks up with a prominent cymbal part. It does, however, have a swanky guitar interlude– I’m convinced that a Paisley song simply can’t be without one!

Just as he did in “This Is Country Music,” Brad Paisley has managed to honor a culture in “Southern Comfort Zone” that is very close to my heart, and I will always admire him as a songwriter for that ability.

If you haven’t listened to the song all the way through, I encourage you to watch the official lyric video and pay special attention to the lyrics as well as the extra voices lending some extra southern heart to this tune.

Keep talkin’ twangy!