Monday, November 21, 2005

I can't believe this semester is already coming to an end. It was a great semester but I'm sad that this means my senior year is half over. I had fun with this Blog project, it made me learn more about country music, including stuff about my favorite singers that I didn't even know.

I would like to thank everyone that commented on my blog as well. My favorite part of having a blog was reading everyone’s comments - some of them were funny and made me laugh and others gave me things to think about or new songs to consider. I am surprised at how many people in class like country music, usually I'm just made fun of but I can't help it if I'm just a country girl at heart. I'm glad to see I'm not alone though, and I know country music is becoming more and more popular every year even among non-country listeners.

And in response to someone's comment... rednecks are not the same as cowboys, cowboys are much hotter.

I decided this post would be about my personal favorite country songs. It was very hard for me to decide but I tried to narrow it down to only 10. I also tried to limit it to one song per artist and added some not so well known songs to give you guys a broader range of music. These songs are from various artists with different styles. I hope you will download some of them and enjoy them as much as I do!

1. It's a Great Day to Be Alive - Travis Tritt
2. Good Morning Beautiful - Steve Holy

3. Making Memories of Us - Keith Urban
4. One of These Days - LeAnn Rimes
5. I've Got Friends in Low Places - Garth Brooks
6. Back Where I Come From - Kenny Chesney
7. Mud on the Tires - Brad Paisley
8. Where the Green Grass Grows - Tim McGraw
9. I'm Moving On and Prayin' for Daylight (I couldn't decide!) - Rascal Flatts
10. When You Come Around - Deric Ruttan

Thanks again for everyone’s great comments! Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Save a Horse.
Ride a Cowboy.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The biggest night in country music was this week!! The 39th Annual CMA awards aired on November 15th and for the first time ever, they were held in New York City instead of Nashville. Here are some of the results, for more details check out the CMT coverage of the CMA’s.

Entertainer of the Year
Other Nominees: Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, and Brad Paisley
I definitely think Keith Urban deserved to win this award. If you haven’t been able to tell from my previous posts, I am a huge Keith Urban fan. Every song he makes is a hit, not to mention he’s gorgeous. I did think it was interesting that there were no female nominee’s though.

Female Vocalist of the Year
Other Nominees: Sara Evans, Alison Krauss, Martina McBride, and Lee Ann Womack
In my opinion there wasn’t really a competition here. Gretchen is a much more prominent country singer than the other nominees. Although they all have great songs, Gretchen’s are better known. Sara Evans would probably come in second.

Male Vocalist of the Year

Other Nominees: Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, George Strait, and Brad Paisley
Keith Urban did really well this year! It is tough competition between these four though, and I think Toby Keith should have still been in the running over George Strait.

Horizon Award
Other Nominees: Big and Rich, Miranda Lambert, Julie Roberts, Sugarland
I couldn’t find out exactly what this award was for, but I’m guessing it has something to do with being new in the country music industry. I think Dierks Bentley deserved to win the award because in his few years starting out he has come out with at least 4 hot songs. Big and Rich and Sugarland are also great new groups to watch out for.

Vocal Group of the Year
Other Nominees: Alison Krauss & Union Station Featuring Jerry Douglas, Diamond Rio, Lonestar, and Sugarland
The other nominees can’t even compare to the talent that Rascal Flatts has. They definitely deserved this one.

Vocal Duo of the Year
Other Nominees: Big and Rich, Montgomery Gentry, Van Zant, and the Warren Brothers

Other Awards:
Single of the Year: “I May Hate Myself in the Morning” by Lee Ann Womack
Album of the Year: There’s More Where That Came From – Lee Ann Womack
Song of the Year: “Whiskey Lullaby” written by Bill Anderson and Jon Randall
Music Video of the Year: “As Good as I Once Was” by Toby Keith

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Top 5 Hot Country Songs

Here are this weeks top 5 country songs according to the Billboard music charts:

1. Keith Urban – Better Life
I love this song! And pretty much every song Keith Urban comes out with. It’s very upbeat and puts me in a good mood. It reminds me a lot of some of his other songs such as “Better Half” and “Who Wouldn’t Want to Be Me”, which are also very energetic and fun.

2. Kenny Chesney – Who You’d Be Today
This is one of Kenny’s more mellow songs but it is still really good. It is a sad and emotional song about wondering what someone who has passed away would be like today. I think it can probably be a sensitive song for some people but Kenny does a great job singing it and it deserves its place in the top 10.

3. Dierks Bentley – Come a Little Closer
If Dierks Bentley was singing this song to me I would definitely come a little closer! This is such a romantic song and his deep, smooth voice is perfect for it. I think this song really shows off his talent and versatility as an artist, considering most of his other songs are very upbeat and fast. Other Dierks Bentley songs to download: What Was I Thinkin’, How Am I Doin’, and Lot of Leavin’ Left to Do.

4. Rascal Flatts - Skin
This is probably the one Rascal Flatts song that I do not enjoy that much. “Skin” is a song about a young girl who finds out she has cancer. It is too sad for me and the lyrics are like a detailed story. I think that it is a beautiful song but I’m just not crazy about the content.

5. Joe Nichols – Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off
My roommate and I decided that this song is our new going out anthem. I love, love, love it! It is hilarious and so true. You have to download it and listen to it to understand how great it is. I’m sure a lot of people can really relate to it, especially if you are a college girl like know you've lost something at the bar!

Check out other Billboard charts to find out more information about what's hot in music right now!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Billy Currington

Billy Currington is a fairly new country singer who is just beginning to build his career and become better known in the industry. From the first time I saw one of Billy Currington's videos on CMT I could tell that he was going to be a big star. Currington grew up near Savannah, Georgia with his mom and a stepfather who was an alcoholic. Although growing up with an alcoholic father was hard, it actually inspired him to write the song "Walk A Little Straighter" which became his first hit single in 2003. The song "Walk A Little Straighter" tells the story of Billy's life growing up and most of it was written when Billy was only 12 years old.

Currington started pursuing his music career while he was still in high school. He auditioned for Opryland USA when he was a junior and although he didn't make it he continued to pursue his dream. After high school Billy moved to Nashville where he worked for a concrete company and as a personal trainer. Through connections with a client, Currington got work writing songs, and eventually landed a record deal with Mercury Records.

He released his first album; self titled Billy Currington, in 2003. Since then, Billy has gained a fan base and released his second album, Doing Something Right. Billy has also worked with many other artists in producing hit singles. My favorite song of Billy Currington's is "I've Got a Feelin'". It is a feel-good song that has a catchy tune and romantic lyrics. I even used to have it as my ring tone on my cell phone. His new single "Must Be Doing Something Right" was just released a few months ago and is a great song as well. It is a very sweet and slow song. Some of his other new songs that I enjoyed, which are more up beat and fun, are “I Wanna Be a Hillbilly” and “She Knows What To Do With a Saturday Night”.

Billy has also worked with many other country singers in hit songs. One of the more popular ones, “Party for Two” with Shania Twain, has been nominated for a Country Music Award. The CMA’s will air on November 15th, so remember to watch them and see all of your favorite country stars!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Kenny Chesney
Kenny Chesney has been a well known country singer for years and recently he has become famous even among people who don't listen to country. Kenny is probably the one country performer who gets the most publicity, other than maybe Tim McGraw. This is especially true after his recent marriage and divorce with Renee Zellwiger.
Kenny grew up in Tennessee and gained a fan base by performing at local venues while he was in college. After college Chesney moved to Nashville and, while it took him a couple years, he eventually landed a record deal with Capricorn Records. A couple of years later, Chesney switched to RCA Records and ever since he's had nothing but success.
Kenny Chesney is one of my favorite performers. So far I have seen him 4 times in concert and every time he is amazing. Last year I even got the chance to meet him backstage and also had front row seats for a couple concerts. We were so close I could touch him! I love all of Kenny's songs, both the older ones and the newer ones. The first song of his I ever heard was "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy" and to this day it is still one of my favorite country songs. This is probably the song that really helped to boost Kenny's career and success.
Kenny Chesney has tons of great songs coming from 12 different albums, dated as far back as 1994. My top 5 favorite songs are : She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy, She's Got It All, Young, Back Where I Come From, and Anything But Mine. I think this is a good range of songs that shows how he's grown since his earlier albums and also his versatility as a performer. Kenny has a lot of sweet, romantic songs as well as fun and upbeat songs.
If you get the chance I would recommend downloading some of Kenny Chesney songs if you haven't already, even if you aren't normally a country music fan.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Upcoming Country Concerts

There are alot of great country concerts coming up at the end of October and all through November. Most of them are in Atlantic City but there are also a few in Baltimore. No matter who your favorite country singers are, there is bound to be a concert that fits your taste. Sorry, Billy Ray Cyrus will not be performing any time soon.

LeAnn Rimes featuring Phil Vassar and Aaron Lines
Saturday October 29th, 8 pm @ Mark G. Etess Arena/Trump Taj Mahal
For the price of one concert you get to see three great artists! LeAnn Rimes has been around for awhile but she is still coming out with great songs. One of my favorites is her new one called "Probably Wouldn't Be That Way". Phil Vassar and Aaron Lines are also amazing performers, although they haven't been around as long. Phil Vassar has had many hits such as "Just Another Day in Paradise", "That's When I Love You", and "In A Real Love". The song Aaron Lines is most famous for is "You Can't Hide Beautiful" which is one of my favorite country songs.

Alan Jackson with Sara Evans
Saturday November 12th @ Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ
I saw these two during the summer in Virginia and it was an amazing concert! If anyone has a chance to go see them, I definately recommend it. Sara Evans starts the show off with some of her well known songs such as "Born to Fly", "Suds in the Bucket", and her newest, "A Real Fine Place to Start". Alan Jackson is a great singer to see in concert. He has been around for awhile and has so many songs that just put you in a good mood and make you want to sing and dance. My favorite Alan Jackson songs are "Where I Come From", "Chattahoochee", "Designated Drinker", and "That'd Be Alright". His most famous song is probably "5 o'clock Somewhere".

Keith Urban with Little Big Town
Thursday, November 17th, 7:30 pm @ Sovereign Bank Arena Trenton, NJ
I also saw Keith Urban this summer as part of the Kenny Chesney tour. In my opinion, Keith Urban is one of the hottest country singers out there. He is actually from Australia but he grew up listening to country music. My favorite song of his is "Making Memories of Us". It's so romantic, I would love it if a guy ever sang it to me! He also has alot of songs that are upbeat and always put me in a good mood, such as "Who Wouldn't Want to Be Me", "Somebody Like You", and "Better Half". I would love to go to this concert and get the chance to see him in a full show instead of just opening for someone.

Other concerts coming up are Alan Jackson on November 17th on the boardwalk in Atlantic City and Pat Green at the Rams Head Live in Baltimore. Also the Country Music Awards show is coming up on November 15th, live from New York City.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Josh Gracin

Some of you may remember Josh Gracin from American Idol 2 (the one with Rueben and Clay Aiken) as the marine who sang everything like it was a country song. Josh was elminated from the competition after making it to 4th place but he has definitly become more successful than the winner, and the runner-up. Although Josh didn't make it all the way to the end, it was his performances on the show that helped him gain his huge fan base and become one of country music's newest stars.

Josh Gracin was born and raised in Michigan, just outside of Detroit, and grew up listening to Elvis, pop, and rock. When he was 8 his favorite radio station turned country and from then on he was a cowboy. Some of the first country singers to influence him were Garth Brooks, Joe Diffie, Randy Travis, and George Strait. After high school Josh enlisted in the Marines and a few years later he was married, had a daughter, and won a spot on American Idol 2. He may not have won the title of america's Idol but the episode where he sang "I'm Moving On" by Rascal Flatts (my favorite song!) led him to a record deal. Luckily, the singers of Rascal Flatts happened to be watching and were so impressed that they helped get Josh signed on their record label, Lyric Street.

I admit I wasn't a big fan of Josh on American Idol. I was cheering for Rueben the whole way. I thought his first two singles, "I Want to Live" and "Nothing to Lose", were alright but it wasn't until his newest song "Stay With Me" that I fell in love with Josh Gracin, and his music. I have the song downloaded on my computer and I would listen to it all day on repeat if my room mates would let me! After hearing this song, I was converted into an official Josh Gracin fan and I downloaded the rest of his CD. Another one of my favorite songs is "Peace of Mind". Josh has only released one album so far but I can't wait for him to make another one, I am anticipating it to be amazing!

Out of the artists I've written about so far, Josh Gracin is the only one I haven't seen in concert. He is not doing tours yet, but I did find out that he is playing at West Chester University in Pennsylvania on October 21st, if anyone wants to go see him.
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