Sunday, September 30, 2012

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 this one? Well, these guys are certainly capable of playing country music and playing it well. But I'd have to classify them as more of a rock band. And a true one, meaning that they play like a band instead of like a group of musicians. Confused? A band plays together whereas in a group of musicians it's every man or woman out for themselves. I'll take a true band like this one any day.

And now I think it's time to give each of the five some attention. Seems only fair, right? I'll be doing this doing this alphabetically by last name which means we're starting off with...

Saturday, September 29, 2012

My CMA picks: Entertainer of the Year. The explanation.

The case for Aldean...almost sounds like the title of a book or Lifetime movie, doesn't it?

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 alone makes him a strong contender, especially when we consider that he's been doing stadium shows for the past few years.

Brad Paisley. He's won this once before and his nomination came as no surprise to me. Brad always puts on a great show, a very visual one at that. If this a question of who has the most creative videos shown during the concert, he wins hands down. He's forever coming up with new things in this area and each tour he finds another way to change it up. That makes him my second choice to win.

Blake Shelton. This is his first nomination in this category. I realize I may be setting myself up to face the wrath of unhappy BS'ers when I say that I feel that his nomination in this category is a little premature. Not hating on him; I like him quite a bit. If this was a question of who the most entertaining person is, he'd be my pick.

Taylor Swift.  Another favorite for this category. She's already won twice and she's going to be hard to beat. Why? Well first, when you watch footage from her shows, it's almost like watching a Broadway play. Speaking in terms of the sets and costumes. Her show is massive. So massive that it took her to four different continents. Love her or hate her, you gotta admit that that's impressive.

Overall, a pretty strong group of nominees. I'm positive that anyone so inclined could make a strong case as to why any of them should win. If you'd like to give it a shot, make your pick and present your case in a comment. I'd like to read them. Now you know my choice. I've decided to leave this one here and give my reasons for my choice in the next post.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

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. They asked a lot of interesting questions, some of which you never see anyone ask. So kudos Congress, and to the songwriters as well for being willing to answer their questions. Definitely go check it out.

Now there's just one more thing we need to do before I get to my thoughts on the song. This is going to require some reader participation, so work with me here. I want everyone to clear their minds and stop thinking about all the things you have to do. Stop worrying over the things you can't do anything about and not focus on anything that might be stressing you out. Just let it go.

Need some help? Try this: take a nice, deep breath, hold it for a few seconds and let it out on a big sigh. Repeat as many times as needed. Feel better? Good. Now let's talk about the song.

Friday, September 21, 2012

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 particular song.

"Hey y'all, is that my dog up on the roof?"

Now granted, it may not be as poetic as a couple of the other lines I quoted, but that's okay. The point is that it gets your attention. Because odds are, you hear or see that line and want to find out where things are going. And if you're anything like me, you find yourself wondering if this is actually a thing. Like if anyone has ever asked this question, in total seriousness. For the sake of dogs everywhere, I'm hoping not. 

Remember what I said about the opening line setting the mood for the song? This is a very good example of a line doing just that. What we have here, ladies and gentleman, is a hangover song where our lead singer is trying to figure out what went on the night before. The details might be fuzzy, but the consensus is that they must have had a good time. Odds are that a lot of people are going to listen to this and relate, having had a similar experience one or more times themselves. 

Parmalee recently released the video for this song it's exactly what I was hoping it'd be. It was directed by Wes Edwards, who I love for two main reasons. One, he's great at picking the right treatment for the song in question. And two, his videos are always filmed in whatever style is best for the artist. As a result, his videos are among my favorites. The video for the song could not be more perfect. 

I'm going to go a little more into the song after the cut, but for those of you who maybe aren't all that familiar with Parmalee, I strongly suggest that you go watch this video. I wish more new artists made videos like this; it's a great way to let people know what you're about and where you come from. So go check it out. 

Going a bit deeper...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

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 did on a much smaller scale with the ACM's - the difference being that this time I'm going to be making much more of a case for why I feel the artist(s) in question should win. I'll be starting things off with my pick for Entertainer of the Year and then go down the list of categories as they appear on the CMA website. All but musician of the year because I'm really not familiar with a couple of the musicians. That said, my love for the steel guitar makes me hope that Paul Franklin will take it home.

Meanwhile, I don't know about the rest of you, but I was pretty surprised by a bunch of the nominees this year. On one hand, I love seeing new people get nominated because shake ups like that are good for the industry. If the same people always get nominated and if the same people always win, than the awards themselves become less and less meaningful. My opinion is that having won before does not necessarily mean you deserve to win again. The five nominees should be chosen because they were the five best at that point in time; not because they'd been nominated before. Artists should never be allowed to become complacent in their careers. The goal is not to stay the same; the goal is to evolve. The goal is to be better than you were last year and even better the next. Throwing new, deserving artists into the mix is a good way to make that happen. Nominations should never be a given or taken for granted. Artists should actively fight for those nominations.

How? By not settling. By not making the same album over and over again. By growing, but never abandoning what it was that make them stand out in the first place. By not being satisfied with how well their tour went last year and vowing to make the next tour better. By working harder tomorrow than they did yesterday. By understanding that being popular now doesn't mean they always will be. By realizing that they are countless others just waiting for an opportunity to take their place and that there is never an excuse to drop their game. Do all of that and then if the nominations come, they are well deserved. And if they don't come, at least they know that they did their best. The best artists will take the lack of nominations as more motivation to improve. So yeah, I support new people getting thrown into the running for awards.

That all said and being on one hand, there is that other hand to contend with. There were some nominations that left me quite baffled and some snubs that I just don't understand. The winner for the most baffling nomination has got to be the inclusion of Kelly Clarkson for female vocalist of the year. Now don't get me wrong: girl can sing. In fact I'd say she's a better singer than two of the other nominees in that category and about at the same level as the other two. The issue isn't her voice. Rather the fact that she's not a country artist. I'm sorry, but doing a duet with a country artist; releasing a country remix of a song previously released to pop radio; doing country covers in your live show and being BFFs with Reba McEntire doesn't make you a country artist. The fifth spot should've gone to either Sara Evans or Kellie Pickler. I'll accept Kelly Clarkson as a female vocalist nominee on a country awards show if she ever releases a fully country album with no country remixes of previously pop songs.

Biggest snub of the year is Rascal Flatts. No question. It's absurd that they didn't get a vocal group nomination. Ignore that vocally speaking they are one of the best groups in country music; they've had a very good year this year. Should've gotten the nomination over The Band Perry. Other than that I don't agree with Miranda and Lady Antebellum getting album of the year nods. At all. I do love that Dierks Bentley got a nomination in that category: that one is well deserved! Meanwhile, how did "Come Over" and "Red Solo Cup" get video of the year nominations? Ridiculous on both accounts.

This should go without saying, but all of this is of course my opinion. And this wraps up the first of many CMA related posts! Stay tuned for the first of my picks, Entertainer of the Year. I have a lot of album and reviews to get up so be on the lookout for those as well. And if you'd like to share any of your thoughts and opinions on this years CMA nominees, than please feel free to do so by leaving a comment. I'd love to know what you all think. Thanks for reading!