‘Pirate Flag’ by Kenny Chesney Provides Intrigue For The Album – Single & Video Review

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There has been much hype around this song, claiming it will
begin Kenny’s move to a different terrain musically, and that the album will
follow that. However, when I first listened to the track, I find it a bit odd
and confusing.

The track begins with a quiet, unobtrusive organ melody, and
I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s made the mistake of trying to turn it up to
full volume due to this. Handclaps and a nicely strummed mandolin jump in, and
it sounds quite nice, quite sweet. At this point I was totally thrown off base
by a subtle key change in the music that happens mere milliseconds before Kenny
comes in with the vocals, that are in line with this sudden key change, in a
kind of pitched melodic rapping. To add to the confusion, the sweetness of the
instruments already in the mix are added to by a heavier drum beat and some
snappy muted distorted guitar, just hitting the bassier strings. The two ends
of the sonic spectrum clashing plus this rapping in a key that to me doesn’t
automatically fit with the key of the music, makes it rather a melting pot. The
heavier guitar part becomes more prominent as the song progresses, and then we
have its saving grace: the chorus.

The chorus launches in full pelt with the kind of country
rock from Kenny that we’re more used to hearing and the melody and key parts
that originally confused me begin to make a lot more sense. The chorus links
the whole song together and without it I’m not sure it would work, as after
that the second verse etc feels a lot easier on my ears. I can see Kenny’s
trying to go for something different and off-base as country music does tend to
stick to the familiar, traditional keys and melodies. Perhaps that’s why it
feels a little uncomfortable to me – I’m so used to hearing what I’m expecting
and what is ‘familiar’, that anything different sets me on edge. I think this
one is a grower, and definitely the more I hear it the more I get used to it.

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Chart Roundup – Week of February 23rd, 2013

Wanted

After the chaos of Grammy weekend, it appears my predicted shake-up of the country charts has occurred.
Following a successful mini-performance on the Grammys and 3 nominations, Hunter Hayes’ super-hit of last year, ‘Wanted’
has hit #1 again on Hot Country Songs in its 51st week, his
self-titled album leaping up to #5 on Top Country Albums. His latest single, ‘Somebody’s
Heartbreak’ meanwhile, is trailing back at #11 on Hot Country Songs and #16 on
Country Digital Songs, but at least is up to #10 on Country Airplay.

Last week’s #1, The
Band Perry’s ‘Better Dig Two’ drops to #2 for their 15th successive
week on Hot Country Songs, whilst it tops Country Airplay but is down to #6 on
Country Digital Songs. But Hunter Hayes isn’t the only one to have two tracks
on the charts this week. Tim McGraw’s ‘One Of Those Nights’ leaps to #3 on Hot
Country Songs, #3 on Country Airplay and #3 on Country Digital Songs. In
addition to that an album track of his, ‘Highway Don’t Care’ (featuring Taylor
Swift and Keith Urban), that has been a huge hit with fans, debuts at #1 on
Country Digital Songs. It also made #13 on Hot Country Songs because of its
digital popularity, despite the impressive fact that it’s not even been
released as a single (although I think it probably will after this). Tim’s
accompanying album ‘Two Lanes of Freedom’ goes straight in at #1 on Top Country
Albums, making for a pretty awesome comeback
from the 45-year-old superstar.

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ACMS: And The Nominees Are… (Artist Awards)

AcmPOST

And now, the nominees you’ve all been waiting for!

Vocal Event of the
Year:

Don’t Rush – Kelly Clarkson & Vince Gill

Easy – Rascal Flatts & Natasha Bedingfield

Feel Like A Rock Star – Kenny Chesney & Tim McGraw

Let It Rain – David Nail & Sarah Buxton

The Only Way I Know – Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan & Eric
Church

 

Video of the Year:

Creepin’ – Eric Church

Wanted – Hunter Hayes

Tornado – Little Big Town

Merry Go ‘Round – Kacey Musgraves

We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together – Taylor Swift

The Wind – Zac Brown Band

 

Single Record of
the Year:

Even If It Breaks Your Heart – Eli Young Band

Over You – Miranda Lambert

Pontoon – Little Big Town

Springsteen – Eric Church

Wanted – Hunter Hayes

 

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ACMs: And The Nominees Are… (Industry Awards)

AcmPOST

That’s right, the ACM Awards 2013 have announced their
nominees, and they are as follows!

Songwriter of the
Year:

Rodney Clawson
Dallas Davidson
Josh Kear
Luke Laird
Shane McAnally

 

Casino of
the Year:

Agua Caliente Casino ‐ Rancho Mirage, CA
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Tulsa, OK
Northern Quest Casino – Airway Heights, WA
Red Rock Casino & Resort – Las Vegas, NV
WinStar World Casino ‐
Thackerville, OK

 

Nightclub
of the Year:

Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace ‐ Bakersfield, CA
Joe’s Bar – Chicago, IL
The Dusty Armadillo – Rootstown, OH
Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill ‐ Denver,
CO
Wild Bills- Duluth, GA

 

Venue of
the Year:

Blossom Music Center – Cuyahoga Falls, OH
BOK Center ‐ Tulsa, OK
Klipsch Music Center – Noblesville, IN
Meadowbrook – Gilford, NH
Ryman Auditorium – Nashville, TN

(more…)

Continue ReadingACMs: And The Nominees Are… (Industry Awards)

‘Nashville’, Episode 12 – RECAP

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The fallout from last week’s episode of Deacon joining the
tour as Juliette’s guitar player continues as the group land in Chicago for two
sold-out shows. After Deacon lets on to Juliette on a couple of occasions he’s overwhelmed
with the amount of entourage her tour comes with, Juliette starts to feel like
she doesn’t want to do her whole ‘brand’ thing anymore and she wants to get
more serious, despite the warnings of her manager. She writes a song with
Deacon called ‘Consider Me’ that is more in line with that musical ethos and
Deacon tells her that “there’s thinking about something, and there’s just doing
it”, which appears to be the running theme for this episode. Because of this,
Juliette decides to begin her second night’s set with the stripped down song as
a surprise, that not even Deacon knows about. Her manager is livid but the
performance appears to go really well. Back in the dressing room Juliette hears
of thousands of angry tweets slamming her performance, including an important
reviewer. She mulls over them until her assistant, who really enjoyed the song,
shows her the love on YouTube and everything is righted, making Juliette more
determined than ever to do what she wants.

Rayna is also having a difficult time, trying to adjust to
Deacon being on the tour after being knocked back by him again and again,
whilst facing the wrath of Teddy over the phone who’s convinced it was Rayna’s
idea. Deacon mostly refuses to speak to her, and there are several awkward
elevator scenes, until Juliette’s manager confronts Deacon after finding out
her convinced Juliette to perform ‘Consider Me’. He says that Deacon has no
business telling her the distinctions between thinking and doing, and that all
he had ever seen Deacon do is think. Straight after this, Deacon gets in the
same elevator as Rayna and BAM! He passionately kisses her (with her kissing
back) and every fan of the couple melted (including me).

(more…)

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Chart Roundup: Week of February 16th, 2013

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The Band Perry knock
Gary Allan off the #1 spot this week
with ‘Better Dig Two’, although they
stay at their respective places at #2 and #3 on Country Digital Songs and
Country Airplay.  With them sticking to
the top 5 of the charts so much lately, we can only imagine what the release of
their sophomore album in April is going to do for this sibling trio. Gary Allan, who was #1 across the board
last week, has dropped down to #2
on both Hot Country Songs and Country
Airplay with his hit track ‘Every Storm (Runs Out Of Rain)’, down to #3 on
Country Digital Songs but manages to hold on to the top spot on Top Country
Albums for another week. Meanwhile Country
Airplay has a new #1
, in Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and Eric Church’s ‘The
Only Way I Know’ from Jason’s album ‘Night Train’, although it’s still at #5 on
Hot Country Songs and has only managed to climb back up to #8 on Country
Digital Songs. ‘Night Train’ is down #6 this week.

In its 4th week on the chart, Blake Shelton’s ‘Sure
Be Cool If You Did’ has jumped from #3 to #1, and Blake’s recent controversial comments don’t seem to have affected his
selling power
, as he appears to be going from strength to strength. The
song has also gained 3 places on Hot Country Songs, now at #4, although it
remains down at #12 on Country Airplay. Hunter Hayes, meanwhile, is also having
a not-too-shabby time, with his multiple Grammy nominations on Grammy weekend
and holding on tightly to the #3 spot on Hot Country Songs, the #4 spot on
Country Digital Songs and the #11 spot on Country Airplay. In addition, his
self-titled debut is up one place to #7, celebrating its 69th week
on the chart.

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Continue ReadingChart Roundup: Week of February 16th, 2013

Lip-Syncing – A Mark Of The Devil?

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Last week, Beyonce revealed the truth to the rumors that had
been circulating – she had lip-synced
at President Obama’s Inauguration. She claimed that due to the bad weather, and
that she had not had a sound-check, she chose to lip-sync. At the press conference
where she announced this, she then sung, totally live and a capella, the
national anthem, to prove that she could do it. But she’s still attracting
controversy over this because the age-old debate of ‘to lip-sync or not to
lip-sync’ is a heated one, and I know my opinion has changed over the years.

For me, although Kelly Clarkson and other singers performing
at the Inauguration apparently completely live and perhaps Beyonce was able to do so, I don’t care that she
lip-synced. Let’s face it. It’s the President’s Inauguration, you’re set to
sing the national anthem, you’re going to be more nervous than you’ve ever
been. To add to that, you know it has to be perfect because all the world is
watching, and you don’t want career-damaging publicity after a messed-up
performance. No matter how much we say we want human mistakes in our live
performances, it’s a fact that gossip media will jump on anything they can to
criticize stars and knock them from the top. Beyonce can’t risk a perfectly
acceptable mistake attracting that kind of attention. In addition, in a way you
don’t want to ‘disrespect’ the President by messing up such an important song
at his event.

So how does this apply to country music? Well in a genre so
focused on authenticity, the question comes up again and again, and more often
than not the act of lip-syncing links country music in some people’s minds to
the dreaded pop, and the ever-blurring lines between them. When it comes to
country music, I prefer my artists to sing live. Perhaps that’s double
standards, but let me explain. When it comes to a concert where fans have paid
to see their favorite artist, there is no excuse. You sing live and you do your
best for those fans who have travelled far and paid the Earth to see you. As
for big industry events, appearances, etc, I am a little more lenient. But it
all depends on the event, and each situation should be handled separately when
deciding whether it’s okay to lip-sync or not. For the Inauguration, I would
have accepted a country artist lip-syncing, because of the reasons I outlined
above for Beyonce. However country is
different from pop, in it that it is still fundamental to appear ‘real’, for
while pop has links to fantasy and escapism, country music tends (not always) to appeal to people’s real lives, to be
relatable and tell the stories of ordinary people. That’s the reason it’s so
loved.

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‘Nashville’, Episode 11 – RECAP

Nashville-s1ep11-blog

Excited for Nashville tonight? If you haven’t seen the promo
for episode 12 that we’ve waited 2 weeks for, check it out here (it’s
gonna be a huge one!). This is what happened in episode 11.

The episode launches in with the incredible yet unexpected
sexual tension of Rayna and Liam and Juliette getting annoyed at them for going
off into their own little world on stage and ignoring her during performances
(plus some fiery intimate moments off-stage!). In addition, Calista, the entrepreneurial
head of her own label, approaches Rayna and wants to sign her, putting in a
visit to Rayna’s home in Nashville and pushing the flexibility and creativity
and freedom Rayna would enjoy at a new label. Rayna almost considers it, until
it is revealed at Edge Hill’s party to celebrate ‘Wrong Song’ hitting number 1
that Liam, who is already signed to Calista as a producer, would enjoy
significant benefits from getting Rayna on board too, and that’s why he’s been
pushing it as best for her. Rayna is furious and ends their partnership, livid
at the accurate insinuation that they were more than just business
partners/friends. Teddy sees the argument ensue and questions Rayna of any
extra-marital goings-on while she’s on tour, considering the failing state of
their marriage that they have discussed earlier in the episode. Rayna is upset
because she has insisted they are trying to fix things, not headed for divorce,
and assures Teddy nothing will happen.

Meanwhile, there’s some really juicy tension and banter
between Rayna and Juliette, that is really adding to the show’s appeal. Juliette
is furious because Rayna is getting far more attention and credit for writing
Wrong Song. She is also caught up with her mother’s impending hearing, but with
the slanderous magazine publication of Deacon supposedly falling off the wagon,
he feels it is not appropriate that he speak for Jolene at the hearing.
Therefore he asks Juliette to do it, to speak from the heart, but she cannot
manage more than the very basic facts of her mother being addicted to drugs for
many years. As a result Jolene is told to finish rehab and there’ll be another
hearing, but with a free day out of rehab Deacon persuades Juliette to allow
her mother to come with him as his date to Edge Hill’s party. At the party,
Jolene seems so much more sober and normal, but her talking to people and
taking food from waiters’ platters angers Juliette, who is intent on keeping
her out of ‘trouble’.

(more…)

Continue Reading‘Nashville’, Episode 11 – RECAP

Sarah Darling ‘Home To Me EP’ Review

Sarah darling

Sarah Darling has been on the map for a few years but
according to Wikipedia (not the most reliable source I know) the single ‘Home
To Me’ has been her first entry on the chart. It seemed fitting, then, that I
take this opportunity to introduce myself to her music through her brand new EP
of the same name.

‘Home To Me’, the lead off single and title track of the EP,
is a country/pop love song using that well-known tactic of country ‘buzzwords’
to get on country radio and find a way in to the romantic metaphorical lyrics
14-year-old girls post on Tumblr. This time these ‘buzzwords’ are the names of
states, comparing certain aspects of the narrator’s lover to these states, I
guess creating various symbolisms and connecting to fans living in those
states. Yet, to Sarah, her lover feels like ‘home’ to her, and maybe she’s
saying each of these states are home to her because they’re all part of the
South. Either way, it doesn’t convince me that this is a country song.
Musically we have a banjo underlying throughout the whole song and a vague
steel guitar, as if this is another injection of country to what is frankly, a
rather pop-sounding song, totally reminiscent of both the pop and country
charts in the early noughties. The non-gender-specific harmonies are taken straight
from this period too, in addition to your typical soft electric guitar and drum
unit, maracas guiding the verses. That’s not to say I don’t like the song, it
reminds me of the music I loved when I was 14, and it will be hugely popular
with that demographic. Vocally she reminds me a little of Kellie Pickler and
generally it’s a sweet, nice song that is gentle on the ears and accompanies a
sunny day quite satisfyingly, the chorused blues-ish guitar solo adding a
slightly-out-of-place element to the song. However, it doesn’t kick me out of
bed or make me sit up and listen.

I’m hopeful that the second track on the EP, ‘How Dare You’,
will round out the image a bit and show me more to a singer who appears to
finally be coming over the horizon this year. To be perfectly honest it feels a
bit like more of the same. A classic singer/songwriter style pop song with
banjos added, lyrics about being helpless in love, as you can probably imagine
from the title. It’s well-sung, but a bit cliché, and the weird pop-style
echoes on the title lyric don’t sit all too well for me. Having said that, I
feel a bit harsh being negative about it, because it’s one of the least
offensive songs I have ever listened to. It’s simply pleasant and teenage girls
will lap it up.

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Chart Roundup: Week of February 9th, 2013

Gary allan

Gary Allan’s had a
great week
with his hugely successful single ‘Every Storm (Runs Out Of
Rain)’ jumping up to #1 from #2 on the Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay
charts, with it shooting from #4 to #1 on Country Digital Songs. Overall this
song has been on the chart a respectable 22 weeks with seemingly many more to
come. If that isn’t enough, his newly released album ‘Set You Free’ that the
aforementioned hit is from has debuted at #1 on Top Country Albums, making for
a clean sweep from the 45-year-old California native.

‘Better Dig Two’ from
The Band Perry is continuing to do well
, up to #3 on Country Airplay and #2
on Hot Country Songs and Country Digital Songs. While there is still two months
to wait until their as-yet-untitled sophomore album is released on April 2nd,
we can be sure with the success of the lead-off single that it will dominate
the charts in a similar way. Randy
Houser’s also enjoying a successful time
with the release of his album ‘How
Country Feels’, going straight in at #3 on Top Country Albums, the title track moving
up to #6 on Hot Country Songs and #4 on Country Airplay (on the chart for 40
weeks!), shooting, surprisingly, from #15 to #6 this week on Country Digital
Songs.

Other key figures on
the chart this week
include Hunter Hayes, whose mega-hit ‘Wanted’ is still
sitting pretty at #3 on Hot Country Songs and #4 on Country Digital Songs, his
self-titled album dropping to #8 on Top Country Albums. Florida Georgia Line
also aren’t looking too shabby, ‘Cruise’ remaining at #4 on Hot Country Songs
but dropping to #5 on Country Digital Songs. Their album, ‘Here’s To The Good
Times’ drops from #2 to #4 on Top Country Albums. As for climbers, ‘The Only
Way I Know’, the country/rap release from Jason Aldean, Eric Church and Luke
Bryan, is making its way up all charts, the album it’s taken from, Jason’s ‘Night
Train’, remaining at #5 on Top Country Albums for its 15th week on
the chart.

(more…)

Continue ReadingChart Roundup: Week of February 9th, 2013