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Showing posts from March, 2016

Video spotlight: "You Should Be Here" by Cole Swindell

I'm going to be completely honest and admit that I've been on the fence about Cole Swindell. I have liked some of songs and he comes across like a genuinely good dude. I've only heard nice things about him from people I know who have met him. It's not that I've disliked him by any means. But I just haven't been sure how I felt about him as an artist. I've needed to see more from him, especially in the way of emotional depth. And, well, now I have.

"You Should Be Here" is a song that Cole wrote with Ashley Gorley about his late father and you know what? It's a great song. It truly is. The chorus especially. He's said that he thinks this is the song that he came to Nashville to write and I believe it. It's obviously a very personal song for Cole, but anyone who has ever lost someone can relate to this. You know how it feels to miss someone, especially when something happens that you know they would have loved to be a part of. When the be…

Video spotlight: "Fire Away" by Chris Stapleton

One of the greatest things that happened in 2015 was the rise of Chris Stapleton. He released his fantastic album Traveller in May and would go on to win not one, not two but three CMAs in the fall. It was fun watching people freaking out over him who had never even heard of him until then, even though he's been around for quite a while. A wonderful songwriter with that incredible voice to match, Chris has been a Nashville favorite for years. At this year's UMG showcase during CRS (Country Radio Seminar), Vince Gill came out and compared him to George Jones, saying something along the lines of wondering if people react to hearing Chris the first time the say way the did with George Jones. I think it's a fitting comparison. George Jones was the voice of country music in his time and it's not hard to imagine Chris Stapleton assuming that role in his. As wonderful as it is listening to his voice on his album or on TV, it is so much more powerful live. Chris sweeping the C…

Video spotlight: "Madness" by Street Corner Symphony

So now that it's been announced that Adam Chance will start performing with Home Free in June, the Home Fries have been trying to get a feel for who Chance is as an artist. Among other things, this has involved a mass Fry watching of various Street Corner Symphony videos. Street Corner Symphony being the a cappella group that Chance formerly sang bass with, for those who weren't aware. The best thing about this is that in addition to giving everyone an idea of what Chance can do, it's also introduced some new people to Street Corner Symphony. Or has perhaps reminded those of us who were already familiar with SCS of just how good they are. As someone who falls in the latter camp, I must admit that watching their videos has made me a little sad to think of how Chance isn't with them anymore. Of course, it's not like we're losing Chance all together. He's just relocating. As has been pointed out a lot lately, change is just a part of life. If things do have to…

EP Review: Heartbreak by Natalie Stovall & The Drive

Welcome to my first EP review of 2016. I've kind of backed away from reviews for the most part, but when I listened to Heartbreak by Natalie Stovall & The Drive, I knew I had to write about it. Suffice to say, I really like it. The key word for this EP is strong. I don't just mean strong musically or strong lyrically, although it is definitely both. It is also strong, vocally speaking. But what I love about this EP is that all six songs come from a place of strength. Not from partying like one of the boys. Not from a bottle. The kind of strength that comes from within. I feel empowered and uplifted after listening to it. I would recommend this EP to anyone who enjoys great music, but women especially. This is one every woman should have in their music collection. I've yet to see Natalie Stovall & The Drive live, but this makes me hope I get an opportunity to at some point. The sooner, the better. These songs are great and they deserve to be heard. Let's talk ab…

Video spotlight: "Movin' On" by Chris Rupp

It's funny how things work out sometimes. Earlier this week, I decided that this would be the next video featured in this series. It's a gorgeous song, both lyrically and musically. The video is simple and elegant which lets the song itself be the main focus. Great vocal from Chris Rupp and he plays the piano beautifully. "Movin' On" can be found on Shine, which is Chris Rupp's solo country album, which is a very strong album. Chris also released a classical piano album called Setting the Stage which is beautiful. I recommend them both.

While I'd decided that it would be next, I hadn't gotten around to starting this post. Then we got the news. Home Free announced that Chris Rupp would be leaving the group in May to pursue solo projects. Adam Chance, the former bass singer of Street Corner Symphony, will be joining the group in his stead come June. I can't say that I was completely surprised to find out that Chris would be leaving, but it's one…

Video spotlight: "Good Ol' Country Harmony" by Home Free

Ah, Home Free. You can always count on these producing great harmonies and putting out great videos that fit their songs pretty perfectly. "Good Ol' Country Harmony" is another Tim Foust original and the arrangement is his as well. I like all the references to other country groups in the song and it has a great melody. Fun to sing along with this one. So yes, Home Free, I believe I will sing along with you. As far as the video goes, once again I love the treatment they used. It's not one I'd expect which makes me enjoy it all the more. This video makes me smile and I think it might just make you smile too.

Check it out.

Thoughts about the Phantom of the Opera U.S. Tour

I don't usually write reviews of shows, but it seemed only fitting to share my thoughts of the touring production of The Phantom of the Opera. After all, I have spent this past week talking about my favorite Phantom covers in celebration of the tour coming to Nashville for the first time in 14 years. I dubbed it Phantom week and what a week it has been. We've had Nick Pitera's One Man Phantom medley. Two instrumental medleys, one from Lindsey Stirling that rocked. The other a lovely classical duet by performed by Taylor Davis and Lara de Wit. We've had husband and wife dynamic duo, Peter and Evynne Hollens, with their Phantom medley. Finally, my favorite, VoicePlay's interpretation of "The Phantom of the Opera" featuring Rachel Potter. They were all wonderful and just a small sampling of all the Phantom covers in existence.

On Thursday, the 10th, I went to the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, known simply as the TPAC, to see The Phantom of the Opera. It …

Video spotlight: Phantom of the Opera by VoicePlay and Rachel Potter

Saved my favorite Phantom cover for last. As some of you know, the first solely VoicePlay video I ever saw was their ACA-Top 10 Broadway countdown. That solidified my love for this group. Like countless others, that little snippet of Tony Wakim singing "The Phantom of the Opera" wasn't enough. We wanted more. Well. Well! The people spoke and VoicePlay listened. Bless their a cappella, musical loving hearts. There's just something about these guys singing Broadway that does something to me. Something silly. It's like I go from a grown woman to a 14 year old at a One Direction concert. I have absolutely no chill when it comes to VoicePlay performing songs from musicals. I am sans chill. What's great about this is that I know I'm not alone. Others reading this will undoubtedly have the same problem.

Now these guys deciding to do more from Phantom themselves would've been enough. More than enough. But they decided to take this one step further and invite …

Video spotlight: "Phantom of the Opera Medley" by Taylor Davis and Lara

Time to go back to the roots, so to speak, for a classical cover. This video features a Phantom medley performed by Taylor Davis on violin and Lara de Wit on piano. Hard to go wrong when you pair a violin and a piano. These instruments complement each other so incredibly well. Especially when used to perform music like this. This medley showcases a gentler, more emotional side of Phantom of the Opera. With the exception of "Masquerade", which is used to open and close the piece, all of the songs are love songs. "The Phantom and the Opera" and "The Point of No Return" are sung by Christine and the Phantom; "All I Ask of You", which starts at 1:48, is the sweet duet between Christine and Raoul. These songs are about romance and passion and when combined like this are just exquisite. Enjoy.

Video Spotlight: Phantom of the Opera by Peter Hollens featuring Evynne Hollens

For the third day of Phantom of the Opera week, I bring you a video from Peter Hollens that features his wife Evynne. I have to say that as much as I enjoy both of their solo works, I especially love when they join forces for a project. Their voices are perfectly suited for each other and their collaborations are usually pretty special. Now Evynne usually sings with a pianist, but Peter is an a cappella artist. This video is completely a cappella and it's truly a lovely medley. Watch.

Video Spotlight: Phantom of the Opera Medley by Lindsey Stirling

In the few years I've had this blog, I've written mostly about music that included both singers and musicians. Lately I've written a lot about a cappella music, which of course is music without instruments. But I don't know if I've ever written about instrumental music. This is largely because up until last year, I only wrote about country artists. As I've branched out into the magical world of a cappella music, it only seems fair to talk about some instrumental music. Because sometimes you don't need words. Because sometimes the music itself speaks loudly enough.

That is certainly the case with the music from The Phantom of the Opera. If you've never heard of Lindsey Stirling, she is a very talented violinist with incredible stage presence. It's so much fun watching her perform. I have yet to watch all of her music videos, but that said, I feel like this is a pretty spectacular introduction. She arranged this medley herself and did an absolutely wo…

Video Spotlight: One Man Phantom of the Opera (Medley Cover) by Nick Pitera

It's here. ThePhantom of the Opera...week. This is the first of what may become a fairly regular occurance around here. Theme weeks where everything I write will be related to a theme of some sort. This week it's all about The Phantom of the Opera. Why? Because this week - the 9th, to be exact - the Phantom of the Opera tour is coming to Nashville for the first time in 14 years. That's right. It's been over a decade since this fabulous show came to Nashville. It is the longest running show on Broadway and the second longest running show in West End (London). It has been performed on Broadway over 11,000 times. It premiered in London in 1986 and made its Broadway debut in 1988. Now it's 2016 and the Phantom has apparently undergone a bit of a facelift. This is a brand new production of the show with new staging, new choreography and new scenery. Hey, I guess when you've been around for well over 20 years, you need to change things up a bit.

My love for The Phant…