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Showing posts from 2012

Song Review: Beer with Jesus by Thomas Rhett

Going to start off by saying that I hope had everyone had a very Merry Christmas! And here's wishing everyone a better year in 2013. If you've caught my tweets on twitter, you may have seen me mention coming up with my top artists and albums of 2012. I'm still thinking about it and deciding who and what I want to include. In addition to my top artists and albums, I'll also be coming up with a list of which new/relatively new artists to keep an eye on in 2013. And maybe they'll be some other lists in there too. I haven't decided. I'm open to suggestions if anyone has any. But now it's time for a song review.

I usually try to review songs pretty soon after they get released to radio or, in some cases, when the video comes out. "Beer with Jesus" has been out of radio for a couple of months now and the video came out just over a month ago, if I remember correctly. I was debating not reviewing it because of that, but obviously changed my mind. For …

Song review: Don't Ya by Brett Eldredge

I've decided that Brett Eldredge is my new Chris Young. And now you may be wondering if I've lost my mind. Let me explain.

I was first introduced to Chris Young when he was on Nashville Star in 2006. I liked a few of the other contestants that season, but the week he did "Drinkin' Me Lonely" he became my favorite. So I was so happy when he won and was fully expecting him to take off. And he didn't. It wasn't until 2009 when he got his first #1 with "Gettin' You Home" and things have been going pretty good for him since. So what does any of that have to do with Brett Eldredge you're wondering?

Easy. I spent so much of the time just waiting for Chris to have that hit that would launch him into the next level of his career. I had so much faith in him as an artist and I just knew that he was a superstar in the making. He had everything - a great voice, a great personality and, as his female fans would probably agree, he's pretty easy on …

Album review: Christmas with Scotty McCreery by Scotty McCreery

First things first, I'm wishing everyone who celebrates a happy Hanukkah! Perhaps that's a strange way to kick off a review of a Christmas album, but it wouldn't have felt right not to include it. And really, when you really think and learn about what each holiday is about you see that in a way the first Hanukkah is one of the things that made Christmas possible. So once again, happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate.

Those of you who have read my album reviews know this, but the way I do album reviews is to give my overall opinion and then look at each song individually after the cut. Which means that album review posts can get pretty long. Just a warning.

This album came out back in October, but I never listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving. Hence why there hasn't been a review until now. So what do I think? I think that releasing Christmas albums can be a little risky. The majority of these songs are so well known and loved already. They've been recorded by …

My CMA Picks: Music Video of the Year

Well. We've arrived at the last category in this series. If you recall from my introductory post, I decided against making a pick for Musician of the Year. Mainly because I'm not familiar enough with a couple of the musicians nominated and knew I wouldn't be able to come up with much to say about them. And that didn't seem fair. It's easier to write about artists you don't know too well than it is to write about musicians. Why that is, I'm not sure. Most people seem to be calling this for Mac McAnally (guitarist) and I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that he's won it for the past four years. Not a bad track record, I'd say! My love of the steel guitar makes me hope that Paul Franklin might take this one. But honestly, all five of the men nominated would deserve it. I don't have to know all of their playing well to know that they all deserve it  because I know how strong the talent pool is in Nashville. These five gentlemen being chos…

My CMA Picks: Musical Event of the Year

Starting off with an FYI for those who may haven't heard: the winners of both this award and Music Video will be announced on Good Morning America tomorrow morning. I'm sure that they'll mention who won at some point during the CMA Awards, but I wanted to bring it up just in case anyone had any interest in seeing them announced live.

This is one of the first years where I've actually heard all of the songs nominated in this category. I listen to a ton of music and try to listen to as much new stuff as possible, but there's usually one or two songs nominated that I've never heard. This category is strange that way. Meanwhile, odds are that this will be one of the shortest posts I've done in this series because I just don't have a lot to say about any of these songs. 
The nominees: "Dixie Highway", Alan Jackson featuring Zac Brown Band "Feel Like a Rock Star", Kenny Chesney duet with Tim McGraw "Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die&…

My CMA Picks: Song of the Year

I want to take a moment and say that my thoughts and prayers are with everyone who was affected by Hurricane Sandy, particularly those in New Jersey and New York. The pictures and footage they've been showing are just heartbreaking. They have a long road ahead of them and it's not going to be easy. Let's not forget about these people in the days to come. And of course, let's say a few prayers for all of the firefighters, police officers and all the other emergency responders in these places, along with all the crews that are going to be working to restore power to those who lost it.

I know there's a lot of information out there about ways we can help, but I thought I'd provide some links here as well:
The American Red Cross:
World Vision:
The Humane Society:…

My CMA Picks: Album of the Year

Ah, Album of the Year. One of the biggest awards of the night, second only to Entertainer in my opinion. My choice for Album was an easy one. Another category where I was able to make my pick right away.

Without further ago, here are the nominees for Album of the Year:
Chief, Eric Church
Four the Record, Miranda Lambert
Home, Dierks Bentley
Own the Night, Lady Antebellum
tailgates and tanlines, Luke Bryan

And my choice for Album of the Year?
Chief, Eric Church. No question.

What do I think of the other nominees?

Starting off with what I'm sure many will consider one of the favorites for this award, Miranda Lambert's Four the Record. This album has gotten a whole lot of praise from critics, fans and other artists alike. But in all honestly, I'm just not feeling this one. I think Miranda is a lot better than this album. In fact, I know she is. I loved Kerosene,Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Revolution. This album was a bit of a disappointment and one that makes me wonder what we'll s…

My CMA Picks: Single of the Year

I'm going to start this off with mentioning that the eligibility period for this years CMAs started on July 1st, 2011 and ended on June 30th, 2012. I point this out because I was pretty surprised by a couple of the songs up for this award. Not because I don't like the songs, but because it seems like it's been so long since they were released. Come to find out, when a song comes out doesn't really matter. What matters is when it reaches its peak chart position - which has to be somewhere in the top fifty. So there we go. I still think it's weird that a couple of these songs are in the running, but then, I am not a member of the Country Music Association.

For anyone interested in how the voting process works and what the criteria for all the awards is, you can read about it here. That all said, my picks have more to do with my own personal preferences and factors that I think should be considered. That should go without saying, but I wanted to make it clear.


My CMA Picks: Duo of the Year

The nominees:
Big & Rich Love and Theft Sugarland The Civil Wars Thompson Square
I kept going back and forth between a couple of them, but ultimately my pick for CMA Duo of the Year? Thompson Square.
My thoughts on the other nominees?
First up is Big & Rich. After taking a break for the past few years to pursue individual projects, they're back to making music together. Their new CD, Hillbilly Jedi, came out last month and the lead off single from said CD "That's Why I Pray" became a top 15 hit on country radio. But I really don't see them having a shot here.

Love and Theft. My second choice. As I said in my pick for new artist, I really believe that they have a huge chance of winning this. They just had their first #1 with "Angel Eyes" and have really been making a name for themselves lately. They've put on a great show every time I've seen them. I really like these guys and I'd have no problem whatsoever if they managed a win.


My CMA Picks: Vocal Group of the Year

After the difficulty of the category, this one felt like a breeze. One of the categories where I instantly knew who my pick would be. Makes this a whole lot easier, lemme tell you.

The nominees:
Eli Young Band
Lady Antebellum
Little Big Town
The Band Perry
Zac Brown Band

My pick for CMA Vocal Group of the Year?
Little Big Town

Before I talk about the other nominees, I just have to say once more how ridiculous I think it is that Rascal Flatts didn't get a nomination this year. Biggest snub of the CMAs, in my opinion. Though that's probably a sign of how tough this category could become. What with all the groups currently doing so well in country music. There was a time when you always knew who'd get nominated in this category because that's all the groups there were. Now in addition to the nominees and Rascal Flatts, we have Eden's Edge, The Farm, Pistol Annies and Gloriana. And then there's Lonestar, who are going to be putting out a new album at some point wit…

My CMA Picks: New Artist of the Year

This one was a tough one for me. Another one where I've changed my mind multiple time. But as evidenced by the existence of this post, I've finally made my decision.

First the nominees:
Lee Brice
Brantley Gilbert
Hunter Hayes
Love and Theft
Thompson Square

And my pick for CMA New Artist of the Year?
Lee Brice.

If you've been reading this series, you know the drill by now. I'm going to talk a little bit about each of the other nominees before I explain why I went with Lee.

Starting with Brantley Gilbert, who has had a pretty solid few years. First, scoring two cuts on Jason Aldean's My Kinda Party album. Two cuts that of course became very big singles for everyone involvedand came with the added benefit of getting Brantley's name out there. He'd had a very loyal following before that, but those cuts made him known among the general country fans who hadn't heard of him previously. As an artist, he has two #1's under if his belt. Namely "Country M…

Interview with Shane Morgan

Well, this post is a first: my first interview with an up and coming artist. Actually it's my first interview with an artist period. This isn't something I imagined I'd be doing, but when the opportunity came up I knew I had to do it. And it's something I'd like to do more often. So, that said, if you are an artist and would be interested in doing an interview, let me know! You can get in touch with me here, on twitter or Facebook or you can email me at

This interview is with a guy currently working to make it in country music, Shane Morgan. Shane can be found on twitter at @OfficialSMorgan, on Facebook at or and you can also check out his official website here. He has a CD available on either CDbaby, You can also purchase his album on iTunes, So be su…

My CMA Picks: Male Vocalist of the Year

This category kills me. It was so easy to choose my picks for Entertainer and Female Vocalist - I knew what my pick was the first time I saw the nominees. But then we get the Male Vocalist and I really like all five nominees. Three of whom are my favorite artists right now; not just in terms of male artists, but period. And the other two aren't terribly far behind. In all honesty, I wouldn't have much of a problem with any of them winning. It'll be a mixed reaction no matter what. Happiness for the winner and sadness for the losers. More so than any other category for me. This choice was a tough one and I've changed my mind more than once. A lot more than once, in fact. But after so much consideration, I have finally made my final decision.

The nominees? Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Blake Shelton and Keith Urban.

My pick for CMA Male Vocalist of the Year? Eric Church.

First, my thoughts on the other nominees. Starting with Jason Aldean, who I'd argue has …

My CMA Picks: Female Vocalist of the Year

The nominees: Kelly Clarkson Miranda Lambert Martina McBride Taylor Swift Carrie Underwood
My pick: Carrie Underwood. This was a pretty easy choice for me, for a number of reasons. But before I go into those, let me talk about the other nominees.
Kelly Clarkson. She's a great singer, but I don't understand why she got nominated in this category. Yes, her duet with Jason Aldean was a huge song for both of them. Sure, she released a country version of a song that had already been a single on pop radio. And yeah, she's good friends with Reba McEntire. But none of that makes her a country singer. Her inclusion in this category makes absolutely no sense. If she ever does a fully country album and starts releasing country songs to radio - and country remixes don't count - than I would have no problems with her being nominated for country awards. She could do well in country music, but she needs to fully commit to a project instead of just flirting with the genre. 
Miranda L…

The continued case for Aldean. Because band members deserve attention too.

As my title states, band members deserve attention too. They deserve to be appreciated and loved by the fans as well. Especially when they're as involved as these guys are. I mean, you seem them in pretty much every video that Jason does and not just in the background either. They tend to get featured pretty heavily. And when you go see them live, it's the same thing. These guys are more than musicians, they're entertainers. Jason's right to use words like we and ours when it comes to their show because that's what it is: their show. Obviously Jason is always going to be the main attraction, but I promise you that you could focus on any of the band guys and still be entertained.

In fact, I'd recommend doing that. At any concert you go to. Take some time to watch everyone on that stage, if only for a little while. Musicians are pretty interesting to watch. There's so many different kinds of players out there. Different kinds of bands. So what kind of band is…

My CMA picks: Entertainer of the Year. My choice.

Anyone who knows me well is not going to be surprised by my pick for this category. At least they shouldn't be. There's been a couple of categories where I really had to think about who I was going to pick, but in this case there was absolutely no hesitation. I knew what my pick was right away.

But before I reveal who that is, let me remind you of the five nominees: Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton and Taylor Swift. And my pick for CMA Entertainer of the Year? Georgia's own, Mr. Jason Aldean. Now I'm going to be presenting my case for why I believe he deserves it after the cut, but first I want to say a little something about each of the other nominees.

Kenny Chesney. Probably one of the favorites for this award. He's already won it four ties and the only other artist who has won this four times is Garth Brooks. So if Kenny wins, he will set a new record for most wins in this category since the awards began in 1967. Impressive. That fact alo…

Song Review: Tip it On Back by Dierks Bentley

Before I get to my review, I want to give a shout-out to the Dierks Bentley Congress aka the @dbcongress. They are members of the Dierks Bentley fan club dedicated to supporting and promoting Dierks any and every way possible. They have a blog page, found here, which includes links to their Facebook page and twitter account that you'll find to the right when you click on the link. If you're a Dierks Bentley fan and aren't following them, you really should be. They're pretty much my go for anything Dierks related - articles, interviews and so on. They also keep everyone updated on where his songs are on the charts and post all sorts of links to places to request or vote for his songs. Well worth the follow, I assure you.

Last month they had the opportunity to interview the three gentlemen who wrote "Tip It On Back" - Ross Copperman, Tully Kennedy and Jon Nite. I strongly recommend that you go and read it as it's a very enjoyable read. You can find it here.…

Song Review: Musta Had a Good Time by Parmalee

The opening line: the single most important line of a song. Why? Because it sets the mood and feeling of the song. That first line should be so strong that it grabs the listener and gets them invested in the song. It can make the difference between actively listening or not. Every great song that's been written has had a great opening line. 
Some examples: "He said 'I'll love you 'til I die"
"She put him out like the burnin' end of a midnight cigarette"
"A farmer and a teacher, a hooker and a preacher"
"It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty, Delta day"
"Hello darlin', nice to see you, it's been a long time"
"Cowboys ain't easy to love and they're harder to hold"
"Sara Beth is scared to death to hear what the doctor will say"
"It was all I could to keep from crying"
I could keep going, but I think you get the point. So let's look at the opening line to this particu…

2012 CMA's: Nominations and Thoughts

Well, it's getting to be that time again in the country music world. We are less than two months away from the Country Music Association Awards, more commonly referred to as the CMA Awards. The nominees have been announced and in the next few weeks, we'll no doubt be getting more and more information about the show itself. The CMA's will air on ABC on November 1st at 8PM Eastern and 7PM Central. Many of you have probably seen the list of nominees already, but for those of you who haven't you can find the whole list here.

Now, as some of you might remember, before the ACMs earlier this year I did a series of posts offering my predictions for the show. For the CMA's I've decided to change it up a little bit. First, instead of talking about multiple awards in a single post, each of the main awards will get a post of its own. Second, I'll still be saying who I believe will win, but this time I'm focusing more on my personal picks for each category. Which I …

Album Review: Edens Edge by Edens Edge

I've talked about how lucky I've been in that I've genuinely liked most of the things I've reviewed so far. That might be a little hard for some of you to believe - after all no one likes everything, right? But I don't know, there's been a lot of great music coming out lately. 2012 has been such a strong year for country music. So many artists are on the very top of their games, but even the ones who aren't are still putting out good music. Have I liked every single thing that's been released? No. But I have liked most everything I've written about. I've talked about Edens Edge before and if you saw those posts, you know I like them. So what about the album? Did I like it? No.

I adore it. Seriously, I realize that that might be an odd word to pick and it's not one I use all that much. In fact it's one I really don't use at all. So when I say that I adore this album, that's saying something. That's truly the best word to sum u…

Album Review: Thirty Miles West by Alan Jackson

Steady. Consistent. Solid. Traditional. Class. These are just some of the words I would use to describe Alan Jackson and his music. He knows what his sound is and he knows what his fans expect of him and he delivers. Every single time. I've been reading a bunch of other reviews of this album and the general consensus seems to be that if you're an Alan Jackson fan, you won't be disappointed. I would absolutely agree with that. I'd also add that if you're a fan of traditional country music and haven't already purchased this album, than you need to do so. I have to say that I love that we have artists like Alan Jackson keeping this sound alive and well. It's very important that there's always some artists making straight up traditional country.

Now I'd like you to do me a favor and refer back to the five words I used at the beginning. In addition to all of them, I would say that this album feels very polished and familiar. Thirty Miles West is very muc…

Song review: How Country Feels by Randy Houser

So if you somehow have made it this far and never listened to Randy Houser, I would strongly urge you to start. Why? Because he's among the best male vocalists in country music today. And one of the most underrated. For some reason he seems to fly right under the radar of a lot of country fans and that's a shame.

He signed on with Stoney Creek Record, sister label of Broken Bow Records, earlier this year and "How Country Feels" is his first single with them. If I'm not mistaken, this was released a couple of months ago and seems to be making an impression. I've seen a bunch of good comments from other fans and can't help but feel that this song could do some very good things for Randy.

Why do I think so? Well, keep on reading and I'll tell you.

Song Review: Eighteen Inches by Lauren Alaina

I'm going to start off this review by saying something that could very well make Lauren Alaina fans want to throw virtual tomatoes at me, so I'm going to ask that you all stay with me and keep on reading until the end. Because in order to fully appreciate this review, you should know where I'm coming from. I've always said I want to be honest and so I'm going to admit that they jury has been out on Lauren Alaina for me. I can't quite pinpoint what it is, but I just haven't known what to make of her.

It's not her voice. I've always thought she had a very good voice and it seems to get better all the time. I've watched various clips of her from the My Kinda Party tour, particularly of her singing "Don't You Want To Stay" with Jason Aldean and was impressed by how much she's grown as a singer. It seems like there's notes she's hitting a lot more easily and she seems more confident in her vocal ability. I love seeing growth…

Album review: Punching Bag by Josh Turner

I'll be getting to my review momentarily, but first I decided to take advantage of my ability to add pictures and include one of the man of the moment: Josh Turner, with his wife Jennifer, at the Grand Ole Opry in April. I unfortunately didn't get a lot of pictures of him, but if you'd like to see the ones I did get you can find them here on my Facebook page. Check them out and if you haven't already, I'd love for you to like the page while you're there.

Now. Punching Bag. This CD was released in the beginning of June and if there's one thing I can say about Josh Turner, it's that he's very consistent. This is his fifth studio album and is done in typical Josh  fashion. He knows who he is as an artist and stays true to that. Something I find admirable. You pretty much know what you're going to get with him: traditional country music with an emphasis on relationships and faith. All of the songs on this album fit very nicely with the rest of his s…

Song Review: Better In A Black Dress by Katie Armiger

You know, there are times when I can't help but get a feeling that an artist is about to reach a new level in their career. Their songs start doing better and better, more and more people start talking about them - there's a lot of signs that it's going to happen. And if you ask me, this is exactly where Katie Armiger is right now. Her last couple of singles have done pretty well and "Better In A Black Dress" is the fastest rising single in her career to date. That next level is right within her reach and this could very easily be the song to get her there. 

Yeah, I really like this song. Find out why after the cut.

Introducing: Steelshot

This post marks what I hope will be the beginning a new ongoing series. In this post I'm introducing you all to a group of guys who are based in Virginia who call themselves Steelshot. I've been listening to and reading about them a lot lately in preparation for this post and in doing so it made me think of all the bands and artists out there who are trying to make it in the music business. There's a ton of them out there and that's putting it mildly. I've noticed that I have several up and coming people following me on twitter, all at different levels in their careers. Some have music out and available for purchase, like the band I'm going to be talking about now. Others haven't gotten to that point yet. Some have been at it for years and others are just starting out. It's a hard road to choose, a tough dream to chase and it can be so hard for people to get themselves out there. And I've decided that I'd like to try and help these people out as…

Song Review: Too Good To Be True by Edens Edge

I've liked Edens Edge from the first time I saw their video for "Amen" and was so happy when it was announced that they'd be joining the Changed tour with Eli Young Band, Little Big Town and, of course, Rascal Flatts. This is such a huge opportunity for them and coming at such a good time for them what with the release of their new single, "Too Good To Be True" and their self-titled debut album, which just came out a couple of weeks ago. I got to meet them on the 23rd of June and have to say that in addition to being great musicians and singers, they are very nice and sweet people. I really don't have enough nice things to say about them and want to encourage anyone who gets a chance to see them, to do so. I will be reviewing their album as a whole, but for now I'm just going to focus on the new single.

Here we go.

Song review: Pontoon by Little Big Town

When I get to the end of the month I always promise myself that I'll try to write more posts in the following month than I did in the one that's ending. As you can tell from the monthly post numbers, I haven't succeeded in doing that. I was pretty consistent from February through May and then June happened. I'm not going to get into specifics, but I will say that I just didn't feel up to writing much for a few different reasons. Hence the lack of updates. But as you can clearly see, I'm back.

That's a good thing since there's a lot to write about. Song reviews for new songs by Edens Edge, Randy Houser, Parmalee, Andy Gibson, Katie Armiger and Kip Moore to name a few. Albums reviews of Alan Jackson, Josh Turner, Edens Edge and Jana Kramer. A few other kinds of blogs about random things and I'll be introducing you all to a band of guys was are based in Virginia and call themselves Steelshot. All I'll say about them for now is that I don't beli…

Album review: Blown Away by Carrie Underwood

Well, I’m going to start this off by thanking everyone who has been reading anything I write, but especially those of you who read the last album review I did for Josh Abbott Band’s new CD, Small Town Family Dream. Up until that point, my review of Scotty McCreery’s latest single was my most looked at post, by a lot. The Josh Abbott Band review shot past that one and set a new all-time high for me in terms of hits. Both for an individual post and for the amount of hits I’ve gotten in one day. Right now it sits at 549 page views, which I find kind of amazing. So thank you for that.

As you may have seen me mention in other posts, I’ve started a Facebook page for this blog which can be found here -’ve been starting to upload some of the pictures I’ve taken over the years and will be adding new ones all the time. As of right now, I have albums for the following artists: Toby Keith, Eric Church, Kix Brooks, country music songwriters, Ron…

Album review: Small Town Family Dream by Josh Abbott Band

I'll be getting to the review in a moment, but seeing as I'm posting this on Memorial Day here in the United States I'd like to talk about that for a minute. I'm a very big support of our military; there's a quote I've seen floating around the Internet that  says " if you can't get behind our military, get in front of them". That's pretty much exactly how I feel about it. We owe so much to our military, they are the reason why we get to live the lives we do. They are the reason we're free and they deserve our utmost respect and appreciation. Their sacrifices are many and today we remember those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and honor those who have died. Hopefully at some point today, you'll take a moment or more to think of all the brave men and women in uniform and be grateful. For all of the fallen, for all of the veterans and for all who are actively serving their country as we speak.

And may we also take a moment or more to…

Album review: Hard 2 Love by Lee Brice

There seems to be a lot of hype about this album as someone who liked Lee Brice to begin with, I was very interested to hear it for myself. I’ve finally sat down and listened to the whole thing in its entirety. And before I go into what I thought of the songs, I want to take a minute and say how much I like his voice. He has a great quality to it and so much power behind it, which is something I’ve always known about him, but it just seems so much more here. I don’t know what it is, maybe he’s getting more confident as an artist or maybe it has more to do with the songs themselves, but I’m not complaining. This guy has a big voice that has a hearty heaping of soul in it that I like a lot. I really think that I could listen to him sing just about anything and enjoy it. This means that we’re off to a great start here.

Vocals and music aside, there’s just something very likeable about Lee to me in general. I almost want to say that there’s a kind of warmth or something to him that is very…