New Music Monday: Jenn Bostic- Jealous

I have to tell you a bit of a story in order for this post to be complete, so just bear with me on the change of format…

So, I went to the Grand Ole Opry on Friday night with my family while they were here in Nashville. We celebrated my birthday at the Opry, how cool is that?! Here’s an obligatory picture to show you how I felt about my Opry birthday swag, and the fact that they wished me a happy 20th birthday from the stage:

Opry Birthday SwagAt any rate, it was a great show. There were a few names I did know, and a few I didn’t. One of the ones I’d never heard was Jenn Bostic. When she came out to perform her set, she was wearing a formal dress, and she sang this really upbeat song and was all over the stage. I was almost overwhelmed by the amount of energy she had, and I wasn’t really sold on the music.

She sat down to play her second song on the piano, and she began by telling the crowd that she started writing music after she lost her father to a car accident when she was ten. The song, “Jealous of the Angels,” was about her dad, and from the first note she played, I felt so much emotion in her performance, it was unreal. By the end of the song, Jenn was choking up, and tears were streaming down my face. I’m not sure if this video will do justice to the incredible moment I experienced when I saw Jenn perform it live, but it’s a fantastic song nonetheless.

She received a standing ovation from about half the crowd in the Opry house that night, and with good reason. I was just… moved. Lately I’ve been questioning if I’m cut out to be a songwriter– I don’t want to smoosh my writing into a mold to create a country (or whatever genre) hit song. I realize more and more that I want to write what’s on my heart, and I want it to resonate in someone else’s soul and help them to cope with situations similar to what I go through in my own life. I think part of the reason Jenn’s performance touched me so much is because she did just that. She sang exactly what had been on her heart since losing her father, and it was very obvious that it resonated with people in that room.

So, Jenn, thanks for re-inspiring me to write music with that one song. Country music needs more writers like Jenn Bostic and more songs like “Jealous of the Angels,” and I hope she gets all of the attention she deserves in the country genre (and any genre, for that matter). I hope one day I’ll meet her and join her journey toward more raw honesty and less cliché in songwriting.

Last week, Jenn released an album, Jealous. I’ve listened to several songs from the album already, and I can tell I’m really going to like this girl. Her music is definitely piano-driven on this album, and her voice can be both powerful and delicate. But don’t take my word for it– stream the album on Spotify here and find it on iTunes here.

Keep talkin’ twangy!


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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!


Show Review- Dierks Bentley’s Country and Cold Cans Tour

On Dierks Bentley’s rather short “Country and Cold Cans” Tour, Athens, Georgia was the first stop. Dierks’ decision to start the tour at the glorious University of Georgia was most definitely a good one, but hey, I may be a bit biased…

The concert was on Legion Field– right in the middle of UGA’s campus– on Monday night, August 20th. For me personally, the twangy delight began in the early afternoon. I came home and plopped down on my couch only to discover this incredible nugget in my Twitter feed:

Needless to say, I showered and primped in record time (seriously, I’ve never put on three coats of mascara that fast), grabbed a few friends who were feeling spontaneous with me, and blew off my homework to hightail it to the Georgia Theatre. After waiting outside for the longest twenty minutes of my life, they let us inside, and there in all his country glory was Dierks Bentley himself.

To make a long story short, we spent the next two hours dancing to the song “Tip It On Back” and conversing with Dierks while he was onstage between takes (and yes, I was elated to be that close to him).

I didn’t get one bit of my homework done that day, but that experience is without a doubt one of the coolest things I’ve done since I’ve lived in Athens, and I don’t regret it one bit.

Anyway, fast forward to the actual concert. As I expected it would be, Legion Field was completely packed. I had a radius of approximately .23 inches in every direction in which I could shift if I pleased. Nonetheless, the cramped quarters were worth it because Dierks put on one awesome show.

The band that opened for him, Cadillac Black, was less than my favorite. Their sound was cranked exponentially louder than Dierks’, and I can’t say that I appreciated it. Every one of them had long hair and a general appearance of having just emerged from living in the woods for several months (or years). I’m not a proponent of judging a book by its cover, but in this case their appearance and sound went hand in hand. To be quite honest, I wasn’t paying very close attention to their actual music simply because I was reeling from how insanely loud it was.

While I wasn’t really a fan of the opening act’s performance, I will give the lead singer (whose name I cannot recall and do not care to look up at this particular moment) some points for his songwriting. During Dierks’ set, he called out Cadillac Black’s lead singer to accompany him on a song that he had also co-written, and the song, entitled “The Woods,” is actually one of my favorites on Dierks’ latest album. That’s about all the kudos I can personally give to Cadillac Black, but hey, if you’re the type who’s into loud hybrids of redneck sound and a slightly caveman-like appearance, they could definitely be your kind of band.

Cadillac Black

When Dierks himself finally graced the stage around 9:40 PM, the crowd of course went crazy. Dierks sang a good mix of older and new songs, and even in that cramped environment it was difficult not to dance while I belted out every word. I’m a huge fan of his, so he could’ve walked up there and sang the alphabet and I would’ve been perfectly content. He got the crowd riled up with some of his older classics, “What Was I Thinkin'” and “Lot of Leavin’ Left to Do,” but he also turned it down a few notches with a story about his dad, who recently passed away. Dierks mentioned that his father would’ve wanted him to get on with his happiness and not mourn too long, but his story added a bittersweet dose of raw emotion to his acoustic performance of “My Last Name.”

At one point he confessed his undying love of bluegrass music, and I was jumping up and down in anticipation of the twang that was to come. He stepped aside while his band got down to business with an abundant amount of banjo, and I loved every twangy second! I was disappointed that he didn’t play more songs from “Up On the Ridge” than just the title track, but I suppose the bluegrass-y jam session made up for it.

Bluegrass jam time!

As the show went on, his energy didn’t die down one bit as he played party-friendly tunes like his summer smash “5-1-5-0” and “Am I The Only One.” During “Sideways,” I was more than happy to scream out, “I can see you came to rock in your blue jeans and white tank top,” as that line had inspired my attire for the evening to a T. I don’t go halfway on these things, and neither did anyone else in the crowd; as expected, the country fans of the Bulldog Nation didn’t fail to reflect a party-ready attitude despite the fact that it was merely a Monday night.

Overall it was well worth the $10 I paid for my student ticket and more. I’ve always wanted to see Dierks Bentley live, and I hope if I ever do again that he’ll reach deeper into his bluegrass notions. Dierks mentioned several times that he loved Athens, and he’s most definitely welcome if he ever wants to come back.

Keep talkin’ twangy!


I apologize for the lack of pictures from the show, but sadly my camera is at my parents’ house, and I am not. And my phone camera doesn’t take wonderful pictures unless I’m very close to the subject, which unfortunately wasn’t possible at the concert. The few pictures that I do have are courtesy of my friends Katie and Sarah.


Show Review- Lady Antebellum’s Own the Night Tour

I saw the Own the Night tour twice:

1. Columbus Civic Center in Columbus, Georgia on March 3rd, 2012

2. Gwinnett Arena in Duluth, Georgia on June 22nd, 2012

Thompson Square was the first act to take the stage. I’ll admit that I don’t know much of their music other than the handful of songs that are played on the radio most often. Even so, I enjoyed their short set. Keifer and Shawna have this really entertaining energy that I would attribute to their real-life marriage. They didn’t use any crazy special effects, and quite honestly, they didn’t need them. Their performance of “Glass” during both shows was incredible. Their show almost had a pop feel to it, but lyrically, there’s no doubt they’re rooted in country music. The only complaint I have against their time was that it wasn’t long enough! I love Thompson Square’s style, and it would’ve been great to hear more than just the four or five songs they did.

March 3rd, 2012 at the Columbus Civic Center

June 22nd, 2012 at the Gwinnett Arena

Next up was Darius Rucker. I was really surprised by how long his set was. He sang several of his own songs (I didn’t realize how many hits he’d had until then!), and he also sang a Hootie and the Blowfish number. His visual effects were slightly corny, but not enough to take away from his music. He was dancing the whole time and you could tell he was pouring his all into making it a lively show. He succeeded. He had me dancing around the whole time and singing along to most everything. My favorite song that he did was probably “This,” mainly because that song rings true in my life right now! He was pretty laidback, but definitely not sloppy. I just got the impression that he wanted the audience to see him as a normal guy—he came out in jeans, a t-shirt, and a baseball cap. It’s nice to see artists who aren’t all into the glam factor—they just want to perform. And that he did, very well indeed. I won’t say what the song was, but his last number was a bit random for a country concert. It went on for a LONG time, and I was relieved when it was over. I will say that it was slightly out of context, but I’m sure some folks loved it. I wasn’t really one of them…

March 3rd, 2012 at the Columbus Civic Center

June 22nd, 2012 at the Gwinnett Arena

Lady Antebellum, as expected, was SWEET! I sat down for maybe two songs the entire time. They were all over the stage, and I danced until I was exhausted! Their lights and effects were more intense than their opening acts, obviously. They were really good about getting the audience involved just by singing, waving their cell phones, etc. They’ve got a great energy with the full band, but even when they stripped it down to an acoustic portion, they still sounded incredible. For me, the highlight of the entire show was their performance of “Hello World.” If you’ve ever seen the music video for that song, it’s really powerful, but their live performance gave me chills. I don’t want to say too much, but simply put, it was amazing. Their entire set was obviously very well thought out. This is a bit of a random thing to notice, but I thought the camera crew did a really great job throughout showing all of the members of the band equally—Charles, Hillary, and Dave, but also the rest of the instrumentalists. Lady A brought out the other two acts to end the show, and with that much talent on one stage, they certainly served up some great music together! Their encore was “Need You Now,” and that was a close second for my own favorite number of their show.

March 3rd, 2012 at the Columbus Civic Center

June 22nd, 2012 at the Gwinnett Arena

I definitely left the show as a happy fan. The June 22nd show was on my 19th birthday, and being the social media freak that I am, I tweeted at all three acts ALL WEEK prior in hopes they would sing to me. It didn’t happen, but quite honestly, I didn’t care because I loved the show anyway. It was definitely worth it to go to that concert, and I would certainly go and see all of them perform live again if the opportunity arises… actually, I already did!!! 🙂

Ellis and I rocked out the whole night. Heck yes!

Keep talkin’ twangy!