Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Video spotlight: Dear Dolly by Ruthie Collins

I first fell in love with "Dear Dolly" when I heard it on Natalie Stovall and The Drive's wonderful Heartbreak EP. Come to find out, Natalie wrote this song with Ruthie Collins and Jessica Roadcap. "Dear Dolly" is an open letter to, you guessed it, Dolly Parton. Because if you were able to get advice from Dolly Parton, well, why wouldn't you want to? If ever there's a woman who has seen everything there is to see in the music business, it's Dolly Parton. How could you not look up to her? Even people who aren't in the music business could learn quite a few things from her. I love this song just as much as I did the first time I heard it. If not more.

Ruthie released "Dear Dolly" as a single back in July, but I somehow didn't come across this video until pretty recently. Making me wonder where on Earth I've been. It's always interesting to hear different versions of songs. Having heard Natalie's version first, I'm happy to say that I like Ruthie's version just as much. Ruthie's voice actually reminds me a bit of Dolly's; very similar inflection. If you prefer a more traditional country sound, I think you're going to love this girl.

Here's Ruthie Collins with her lovely video for "Dear Dolly".

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Video spotlight: Die a Happy Man by Home Free

Considering that it's been over two months since I last wrote about Home Free, this is long overdue! They've put out a string of wonderful videos over the past couple of months. Although, let's be real: I don't know if these guys are capable of releasing a video that isn't wonderful. They give me the same problem that so many of my other current favorite acts give me. Namely, that there's so many great things to choose from that it can be nearly impossible to pick. I'd been leaning towards writing about this one and that decision was sealed after putting up a poll on Twitter.

This is Home Free's cover of "Die a Happy Man" by Thomas Rhett and it's beautiful. Take a few minutes to watch and see for yourselves and then we'll talk more about it afterwards. Deal? Deal.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Video spotlight: Love Triangle by RaeLynn

I've said it before and will say it again every time that it happens: I love when an artist wins me over. Up until now, I haven't really had much of an opinion of RaeLynn. Nothing against her by any means, but I never took much time to listen to her music. Then I started seeing articles about her current single "Love Triangle". If you have not heard this song yet, it's one that RaeLynn wrote about being the child of divorced parents. The love triangle in question consisting of child torn between her parents. It's a fantastic concept and as odd as it may sound, I was hesitant to listen to it at first.

Why? Because there's so many songs where the initial idea is great, but it ultimately fails in the execution. But I kept seeing people talking about it and it got to where I just had to watch the video. So did it live up to the concept? Yes, it did. You know when a song is great? First, when it's personal to the artist. This doesn't necessarily mean that it needs to be written by the artist, but that certainly helps. Second, you know a song is great when it touches your heart. Either because you can relate because you've been there. Or because it gives you an idea of what it's like to go through something. I am not the child of divorced parents so I don't know what it's like. But "Love Triangle" does a wonderful job of explaining it.

RaeLynn is now 22 years old and wrote this song with Jimmy Robbins and Nicolle Galyon a few years ago. Now a great song is a great song regardless of how old the writers were when they wrote it. But the fact that she can write a song like this at her age makes me very interested in what kinds of songs we'll get from her in the future. Especially seeing as this one shows that she's not afraid to be real and honest, even when it hurts. These are the kinds of songs that make the country genre so rich. Songs that we need more of these days. This isn't just a song; this is RaeLynn sharing a piece of herself with the world. Respect that.

In the meantime, take a few minutes and watch the video for "Love Triangle".

Monday, September 5, 2016

Arthritis Awareness: Music Therapy, Part 4b. VoicePlay

Thinking about what VoicePlay means to me got me thinking that this might be a good time to highlight why I've chosen to support them on Patreon. If you're not familiar with Patreon, check this out because VoicePlay's got you covered. Actually, every creator does an explanation video, but theirs is the most amusing one I've seen. Watch. After all, you wouldn't want to hurt Earl's p-feelings, would you?


Always good for a giggle. Anyway, I love Patreon. It's a wonderful way for fans to support their creators, especially when you can see a difference. All of VoicePlay's videos are good, but there's been a marked increase in quality since they launched their Patreon campaign. So what made me decide to become one of their Patrons? There's several reasons, but I've narrowed it down to the top three. 

First and foremost, it's because of their content. They won over my ears before anything else. If I hadn't liked what I heard the first time I heard them, we wouldn't be here. Plain and simple. They have yet to put out a song or video that I don't like. Sure, I have my favorites and there's definitely a group of their videos that I watch more than some others. But I genuinely like all of them. 

Going from there, the more I watched and listened to them, the more I liked them and their personalities. Meeting them last year sealed the deal for me. Looking back, it's surprising how much that encounter reminded me of my first encounter with Little Big Town. This is a good thing. See, there's been quite a few artists I've come to love because of how great their music is, but more so from how great they are with their fans. I've gotten to meet some really sweet artists who genuinely care about the people who buy their music. 

There's a group that I'll refer to as the elite: Little Big Town. Jerrod Niemann. Lee Brice. And last but definitely not least: VoicePlay. There's a few others who come very close, but I consider this group to be the best of the best in terms of how they treat their fans. I always knew that VoicePlay appreciated their fans, but didn't realize just how much until they launched their Patreon campaign. They are so wonderful to us. Which brings us to reason #3.

That last reason is what made me want to feature them in my Music Therapy series. Because they can always make me feel better when I'm feeling down. They have a way of making me smile when all I want to do is cry. In their ability to do that, they've become a powerful ally in my fight against rheumatoid arthritis (RA). I recognize that that may sound strange to some, so I want to explain. 

To do so, I first need to you an idea of what it's like to live with this disease. This is one of those things that you can't completely understand unless you have it, but I'm going to do my best. Please note that no two experiences with RA are exactly the same, though of course there's similarities. This is mine. Hopefully by the end, you'll understand why these crazy talented and wonderfully wacky group of guys means so much to me.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Arthritis Awareness: Music Therapy, Part 4a. Once Upon an Ever After by VoicePlay

I knew when I decided to dedicate August to all things Disney, that it would involve a write-up of VoicePlay's Once Upon an Ever After album. How could it not? It's a wonderful album and one I've been wanting to write about for a while now. Those of you who've read any of my other VoicePlay posts know that they tend to get pretty silly and even downright ridiculous. They just bring that side of my personality out, which is one of the reasons why I love writing about them. 

That said, this time is going to be a little different. This was originally just going to be a typical album write-up. The format will be the same as all my other album write-ups, but I decided to make this the fourth installment of my Music Therapy series. If you're unfamiliar with that series, it's one I started to highlight one of the biggest things that helps me deal with having rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This is the first installment that consists of an entire album. The others have been a hodgepodge of songs by various artists. So why dedicate an installment solely to this album? First, because it's impossible for me to feel bad when I listen to it. It takes me to a happy place. 

If you noticed, I have this titled as Part 4a. Why? Because in starting to write about why this album makes me happy, I found myself writing about why VoicePlay makes me happy. That's the second reason why I wanted to feature Once Upon an Ever After in this series. After realizing that the original post was starting to reach novella status, I thought it'd be better to break it up. This part, 4a, is all about the album. The second part, 4b, is going to be about what these guys have become to me and the impact that they've had on me. That's going to be a little more serious and more personal and will be coming very, very soon.

In the meantime, let's talk about Once Upon an Ever After.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Video spotlight: I See the Light double feature starring Evynne Hollens & Peter Hollens

Ladies and gentleman, I am pleased to present the very first Video Spotlight Double Feature. See, I knew that I wanted to feature both Evynne and Peter Hollens at least one more time before Disney month ended. Time was starting to run out and I had some other videos I wanted to include and I worried that I would only be able to feature one of them. Then I remembered that they had sung "I See the Light" from Tangled. Twice. One for her channel and the other for his. But which one would I pick? The answer was obvious. Why pick one when I could very easily do both?

As fabulous as they both are on their own, they are so much more so together. Their voices complement each other so beautifully. So take a moment to get comfy and watch this oh-so-charming husband and wife perform their versions of "I See the Light". You're going to like them. I'm sure of it.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Video spotlight: One Man Disney Movie by Nick Pitera

In the mood to watch a Disney movie, but short on time? I got you covered. Or rather, Nick Pitera's got you covered. If you were around during my Phantom of the Opera week back in March, you might recall his "One Man Phantom (medley)". Well, before he did that, he did this. It's a Disney movie performed by one man and one man alone and it all happens in less than 9 minutes. It's kind of like a Disney movie to-go. He takes songs from multiple Disney movies, namely: Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Enchanted, Hercules, Mulan, The Jungle Book and Pinocchio. With a little but of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the very end - seriously, it's like two words.

You have the hero and the heroine, the villain and the sidekick and a couple of chorus members. Check it out.