At least that’s the best description I am able to come up with for the sound that comes from South Carolina’s NEEDTOBREATHE. Check out this track “Drive All Night” off of their 4th studio album called The Reckoning. They opened up for Taylor Swift on her 2011 tour so they definitely have some street cred right? Let me know what you think about them.
Its a fact. Spending two years of middle school in the midwest and then the past two years in Arizona has turned me into a country music fan. While this may be a difficult reality for my New York friends and family to accept, its true. Like most of America, I must say Im drawn to the music’s simplicity, wholesomeness, patriotism, spirit and community. Ive been to a number of country concerts in the past year and they by and large are fun, happy concerts where everyone dances, knows every lyric and just parties. While driving cross country in early September I was able to see Luke Bryan play with Jason Aldean in Indianapolis and I must say it was one of the most hugh energy shoes Ive been to. This track, “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye” is off his 2011 album which was a monster hit on country charts. I dare you country haters to listen to this one!
So as my AZ friends probably know by now, Ive gotten back into country music in a serious way
I say “gotten back into” because I did get turned on to it by my mom when we lived in the Midwest, but being in Arizona has rekindled the fire. It first started by getting invited to the Country Music Awards which inspired me to take a deep dive into the country music abyss on the internets one night, and I havent looked back since.
One of the newer artists I really like and got to see perform in Vegas is Eli Young Band. “Crazy Girl” is their big hit right now, but this track, “Even If It Breaks Your Heart”, is my fav. I also loved that when they won their award at the CMA’s the lead singer was wearing on of my friend Jac Vanek’s “Believe” bracelets. Jac also made a special one for us at Big Brothers Big Sisters that says “Think Big”…if you want one let me know!
Its true. The first song I ever remember listening to and learning the words to was a country song…”The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers. I also remember being about 4 and standing up in the front seat of the car while we were driving singing it, but we will save the discussion of the evolution of child safety awareness in cars for another time…
Anyhow, this song is a classic, definitely on my All Time Favorites list. There isnt much that needs to be said about it so I wont, other than no matter what music you listen to everyone has at least heard the song once and most likely can sing along to the chorus. Heck, even Coolio did a remix to it (which could be one of the most awful samples Ive ever heard unfortunately…judge for yourself here).
One of the musical highlights for me last year was going to the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra gala where Kenny Rogers (or a man who closely resembled Kenny Rogers post plastic surgery) performed all of his greatest hits with the orchestra playing backup. Truly and unforgettable night and an honor to see a country and songwriting legend perform. Now, enjoy “The Gambler”!
Make no mistake about it, Garth Brooks is one of the best musicians in music history in any genre.
If you dont believe me, chew on this: Garth Brooks has sold 128 million records worldwide in his career, which is 3rd in all time music history only behind The Beatles and Elvis Presley. That is just insane and makes me wonder why I haven’t gone and seen him play in Vegas yet!
His success is not only remarkable in the overall music picture, but for country music he really put that genre on the map globally. Yes, country music was big in the US for decades, but it was Garth that crossed over and brought his country music to other countries and other music outlets (rock, pop, contemporary).
Whats respectable about Garth is that with this success, he also worked to elevate issues in his song lyrics and videos. The two examples Im sharing today are “Standing Outside the Fire” and “Thunder Rolls”.
With “Standing Outside the Fire” he visually displays the common stereotypes that people with disabilities face and then shows a story of courage and redemption as the protagonist overcomes these obstacles. In doing so he also somewhat comedically highlights classic early 90′s video making including over the top pyrotechnics, bad outfits and exaggerated visuals (ie. the boy who trips on the track then gets up with so much blood on his face it seems like he must have gotten shot).
“Thunder Rolls” on the other hand is less uplifting and also Garth’s most controversial video, and one of the most controversial in music video history. In this story he depicts a cheating husband and a vengeful wife who ultimately invokes her own penalty for his indiscretions. While the video was initially applauded for highlighting the issue of domestic violence, it was ultimately pulled from CMT (Country Music Television) and TNN (The Nashville Network) within 24 hours of its premiere because they thought the violence shown was unnecessary and they didnt feel their networks should be a platform for pushing social awareness agendas. Thankfully times have changed.
Check out these video and share your thoughts. Unfortunately due to what I assume is copyright restrictions none of Garths videos are on YouTube or legitimate websites, so you will have to click on the links below to see the videos because I couldnt embed them. Sorry!
This weekend Im lucky enough to head to Vegas with Team Salkin (best technology marketing company in the country!) for the Academy of Country Music Awards which will air on CBS Sunday night. In honor of this event, Im go’in country with my blog posts the next couple days and maybe I can break some of you into country music a bit like I was.
It seems like in the states when you ask some people what music they listen to they commonly say, “I like pretty much everything except country and techno.” I probably was the same way until I moved to the Midwest (Kansas City and St. Louis) for middle school and got turned on to Garth Brooks, Clint Black, Alan Jackson, Deana Carter and others. While I dont necessarily listen to country music on a daily basis, I do appreciate it and love songs that give me that vintage, wholesome Americana feeling that so many do, those that creatively tell a story or those that push the limits of what country is.
Today I wanted to share one of my favorite recent country songs and that is “My Kinda Party” by Jason Aldean. I feel like this song has it all…the classic pick up truck, down-South vibe, tells a free spirited story of living life, but also includes a great rock guitar solo towards the end that gives everyone something to take away from the track. Check it out and let me know what you think!
It definitely happens every once and a while, and while I was recently looking up the video for this song I was quickly reminded about when bad videos happen to good songs. Deana Carter’s 90′s track “We Danced Anyway” for me was a nice, light country song and I imagined Deana dancing around some farm in Tennessee, the summer breeze, small town USA, fireworks, tailgating in the summer night, etc. Instead, Deana decides to take us to Puerto Rico in her video for this song. Now I’ve been to Puerto Rico a half dozen times and had a great time every trip. I love Old San Juan and have been to Fort San Filipe where the video is shot a couple times. Its all good…but not for this particular country song. I wont even get into the low production quality of the video, the awful 90s jeans and jean shorts, and the fact that she is walking the streets of San Juan barefoot. I saw Deana perform this song in one of the conference rooms at MTV prior to a CMT appearance she was doing and she was amazing along with the song. The bottom line is the video just doesnt fit the song, and therefore this one makes the list of “When Bad Videos Happen To Good Songs”.
The song Im choosing to share is one of my favorites of hers. It may not have been one of her #1 hits, but its a great one and to me is the essence of what she is all about. She writes songs about the emotions she feels as a young person in life and relationships. This song, “Enchanted”, tells the story of her meeting someone and having a sort of ‘love at first sight’ moment that we’ve all had. You know what Im talking about too! You see someone in the grocery store, or at the gym or walking on the sidewalk and maybe you exchange a few words with them and then you spend the rest of the day wondering if you will ever see them again, did they like you, what will you say if you see them again, etc. Its happened to all of us, Taylor just puts it into nice songs.
I also appreciate the fact she puts herself out there in her music and is honest with her lyrics. In this song, I love towards the end when she sings:
“Please dont be in love with someone else
Please dont have somebody waiting on you”
It doesnt get anymore honest than that. Shes sitting there hoping the person is not taken and that she has a chance with them. Gut-wrenchingly honest. And this is why I fully endorse Ms. Taylor Swift! Enjoy this performance of “Enchanted” from BBC Radio in London.
PS: I met Taylor in the elevator at MTV some years ago and I think she probably wrote this song for me. OK maybe not, but she was still very nice
This was the best performance of the 2012 Grammy Awards…and sadly it took place during the commercial break. In the vein of Johnny Cash’s cover songs, this is a well fit re-envisioning of Coldplay’s “The Scientist” by Willie Nelson, with a sprinkle of sustainability messaging…good on Chipotle for this.