She is always in the news, it seems…

Taylor Swift, everyone’s sweetheart, will be performing on “Saturday Night Live” this weekend (1/10).  Makes me wonder if she’ll be as creative as she was during the CMA and ACM awards shows.  I have my TiVo timer set!

Fabulous album, by the way!

Fabulous album, by the way!

2008 in Review

Here’s a nice little year-end summary courtesy of

January: Here comes the hurt again: Nielsen SoundScan reports another drop in country album sales — from 75 million units in 2006 to 63 million 2007, a 16.3 percent slide. … Rascal Flatts wins People’s Choice awards for favorite group and favorite country song (“Stand”).

February: Carrie Underwood‘s “Before He Cheats” becomes first country song to earn double-platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for generating 2 million digital downloads. … Rhonda Vincent wins entertainer of the year prize from the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America (SPBGMA). … Vince Gill‘s These Days wins Grammy for best country album.

March: Taylor Swift, Jake Owen, Luke Bryan, Jason Michael Carroll and Bucky Covington perform for radio programmers at the Country Radio Seminar New Faces show. … President George W. Bush treats the annual Gridiron Dinner crowd to a self-mocking parody of “Green, Green Grass of Home.”

April: Taylor Swift and Kellie Pickler are the big winners at the CMT Awards show. … Richard Fagan, co-writer of John Michael Montgomery‘s hit “Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident),” is charged with killing Tommy Oteri, his manager, music publisher and roommate. Oteri was the father of former Saturday Night Live star Cheri Oteri. … In the first of a two-part ceremony, the late Ernest V. Stoneman and Emmylou Harris are inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

May: Carrie Underwood joins the Grand Ole Opry. … Shania Twain and producer Mutt Lange announce their separation after 14 years of marriage. … Kenny Chesney is voted entertainer of the year for the fourth consecutive time by the Academy of Country Music. . . The late Eddy Arnold‘s single, “To Life,” charts in Billboard just days after his death, making him one of the few artists to have charted a record in seven consecutive decades and giving him a grand total of 147 singles charted. … Chris Cagle and his girlfriend are jailed on domestic assault charges. (They are acquitted of the charges in July.)

June: The three founding members of AlabamaRandy Owen, Teddy Gentry and Jeff Cook — sue their long-time drummer, Mark Herndon, to recoup alleged overpayment from merchandise sales. … The CMA Music Festival held in Nashville. … Bonnaroo music festival, which features several country artists, held in Manchester, Tenn. … Loretta Lynn is inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and earns an encore for her performance. … In the second of a two-part ceremony, Tom T. Hall and the Statler Brothers are officially inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

July: Kid Rock fined $1,000 and sentenced to a year of probation on a battery charge growing out of a scuffle at a Waffle House restaurant in Decatur, Ga. … The Black Crowes accuse Gretchen Wilson and co-writers John Rich and Vicky McGehee of copyright infringement, alleging similarities between Wilson’s recording of “Work Hard, Play Harder” and the Crowes’ “Jealous Again.” … Kristen Hall, co-founder of the group Sugarland, sues former bandmates Kristian Bush and Jennifer Nettles for failing to share profits allegedly promised her from the band’s earnings.

August: Brooks & Dunn‘s star added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. … Alan Jackson and the glitterati of Music Row celebrate his career sales of 50 million albums.

September: Billy Joe Shaver indicted for a bar shooting in Texas. … Alison Krauss and Robert Plant win album of the year (for Raising Sand) and duo of the year awards from the Americana Music Association. Levon Helm is named artist of the year, and Hayes Carll and Brian Keane’s “She Left Me for Jesus” is judged song of the year. … The 23rd edition of Farm Aid held at Comcast Center near Boston. … Mindy McCready begins serving a 60-day sentence for probation violation.

October: Dailey & Vincent win seven International Bluegrass Music Awards, including entertainer of the year. … Stonewall Jackson settles his age discrimination suit against the Grand Ole Opry on terms neither party revealed. … The musical, Conway Twitty: The Man, the Music, the Legend opens in Nashville. … ASCAP names Alan Jackson songwriter-artist of the year, Dave Berg songwriter of the year and Rachel Thibodeaux’s “Good Directions” song of the year. … Matraca Berg, Tom Shapiro and John Hiatt are inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. … Craig Morgan becomes a member of the Grand Ole Opry. … Duane Eddy, the Memphis Horns, the Crickets, the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, Booker T. & the MGs and producer Billy Sherrill are inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame. … The Academy of Country Music proclaims George Strait its artist of the decade.

November: SESAC honors Lady Antebellum‘s Hillary Scott as songwriter of the year, Travis Hill’s “Better as a Memory” as song of the year and Shaw Enuff Songs as publisher of the year. … BMI declares Hank Williams Jr. its 2008 Icon, Casey Beathard songwriter of the year, Taylor Swift’s “Teardrops on My Guitar” song of the year and Sony ATV Tree as publisher of the year. … Kenny Chesney wins CMA entertainer of the year award for fourth time. … John Rich sued for assault and battery by Jerry Montano, former bassist for the rock band Danzig. … Taylor Swift’s sophomore album, Fearless, tops both Billboard’s country and all-genre charts with first-week sales of nearly 600,000 copies.

December: Roy Rogers and Dale Evans‘ 1952 recording of “Happy Trails” selected for the Grammy Hall of Fame. Other recordings induced include Roy Acuff & the Crazy Tennesseans’ “Great Speckled Bird” (1936) and Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys’ “Mule Skinner Blues” (1940) … Natalie Maines, of the Dixie Chicks, sued for defamation by stepfather of boy killed in Arkansas. … Toby Keith donates $500,000 to children’s hospital at Oklahoma University Medical Center. … George Jones presented Kennedy Center Honor. … Mindy McCready was hospitalized in Nashville following an apparent suicide attempt. Police said she severed her wrists and took unspecified pills.

News and Musings 12/9/08

Congratulations to John Rich and his new bride, former model and owner of First Class Models Joan Bush, who tied the knot in Nashville on December 6th after a 5-year courtship.

After Trace Adkins’ earned runner-up status on “Celebrity Apprentice”, Clint Black has decided to join the cast for the next season which begins March 1.

Dixie Chicks’ lead singer Natalie Maines is being sued for defamation by the father of a young child who was murdered in 1993.  Apparently Maines wrote extensively about the ongoing evidence in the case, focusing upon a Terry Hobbs, the plaintiff in the case.  Three others were arrested and convicted; however, the DA is citing the same evidence upon which Maines focused to get his clients’ convictions overturned.

Various CMT contributors have compiled their lists of the top ten albums of 2008.  Check out the picks here.

Taylor Swift (whose name is everywhere lately) has been added to Dick Clark’s “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” show.  Kellie Pickler will be in Times Square with live reports as well.

Toby Keith donated $500,000 to the Oklahoma University’s Children’s Hospital to update an oncology department.  The funds were part of proceeds raised by Ally’s House, a nonprofit organization he founded in memory of a friend’s daughter who lost her battle with kidney cancer. 

*  *  * 

The Grammy nominations are in:

Lady Antebellum was nominated in the Best New Artist category.

Best Female Country Vocal Performance
(For a solo vocal performance. Singles or Tracks only.)

  • For These Times
    Martina McBride
    Track from: Waking Up Laughing
    [RCA Nashville]
  • What I Cannot Change
    LeAnn Rimes
    Track from: Family
    [Curb Records]
  • Last Name
    Carrie Underwood
    Track from: Carnival Ride
    [19/Arista/Arista Nashville]
  • Last Call
    Lee Ann Womack
    [MCA Nashville]
  • This Is Me You’re Talking To
    Trisha Yearwood
    Track from: Heaven, Heartache And The Power Of Love
    [Big Machine] 

Best Male Country Vocal Performance
(For a solo vocal performance. Singles or Tracks only.)

  • You’re Gonna Miss This
    Trace Adkins
    Track from: American Man, Greatest Hits Volume II
    [Capitol Records Nashville]
  • In Color
    Jamey Johnson
    [MCA Nashville]
  • Just Got Started Lovin’ You
    James Otto
    Track from: Sunset Man
  • Letter To Me
    Brad Paisley
    Track from: 5th Gear
    [Arista Nashville]
  • Troubadour
    George Strait
    Track from: Troubadour
    [MCA Nashville]

Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals
(For established duos or groups with vocals. Singles or Tracks only.)

  • God Must Be Busy
    Brooks & Dunn
    Track from: Cowboy Town
    [Arista Nashville] 
  • Love Don’t Live Here
    Lady Antebellum
    Track from: Lady Antebellum
    [Capitol Records Nashville]
  • Every Day
    Rascal Flatts
    Track from: Still Feels Good
    [Lyric Street Records]
  • Blue Side Of The Mountain
    The SteelDrivers
    Track from: The SteelDrivers
  • Stay
    Track from: Enjoy The Ride
    [Mercury Records]

Best Country Collaboration With Vocals
(For a collaborative performance, with vocals, by artists who do not normally perform together. Singles or Tracks only.)

  • Shiftwork
    Kenny Chesney & George Strait
    Track from: Just Who I Am: Poets And Pirates
    [BNA Records]
  • Killing The Blues
    Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
    Track from: Raising Sand
  • House Of Cash
    George Strait & Patty Loveless
    Track from: Troubadour
    [MCA Nashville]
  • Life In A Northern Town
    Sugarland, Jake Owen & Little Big Town
    Track from: Love On The Inside [Deluxe Fan Edition]
    [Mercury Records]
  • Let The Wind Chase You
    Trisha Yearwood & Keith Urban
    Track from: Heaven, Heartache And The Power Of Love
    [Big Machine] 

Best Country Instrumental Performance
(For solo, duo, group or collaborative performances, without vocals. Singles or Tracks only.)

  • Sumatra
    Track from: Cherryholmes III: Don’t Believe
    [Skaggs Family Records]
  • Two Small Cars In Rome
    Jerry Douglas & Lloyd Green
    Track from: Glide
  • Sleigh Ride
    Bla Fleck & The Flecktones
    Track from: Jingle All The Way
  • Is This America? (Katrina 2005)
    Charlie Haden, Pat Metheny, Jerry Douglas & Bruce Hornsby
    Track from: Family & Friends — Rambling Boy
    [Decca Records]
  • Cluster Pluck
    Brad Paisley, James Burton, Vince Gill, John Jorgenson, Albert Lee, Brent Mason, Redd Volkaert & Steve Wariner
    [Arista Nashville] 

Best Country Song
(A Songwriter(s) Award. For Song Eligibility Guidelines see Category #3. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.)

  • Dig Two Graves
    Ashley Gorley & Bob Regan, songwriters (Randy Travis)
    Track from: Around The Bend
    [Warner Bros.; Publishers: Songs of Combustion Music, Music of Windswept/Famous Music, Mt. Tallac Music] 
  • I Saw God Today
    Rodney Clawson, Monty Criswell & Wade Kirby, songwriters (George Strait)
    Track from: Troubadour
    [MCA Nashville; Publishers: Big Red Toe/Extremely Loud Music, Steel Wheels Music, Steel Wheels Music/Blind Mule Music]
  • In Color
    Jamey Johnson, Lee Thomas Miller & James Otto, songwriters (Jamey Johnson)
    Track from: That Lonesome Song
    [Mercury Records; Publishers: EMI Blackwood Music/Big Gassed Hitties, EMI Blackwood Music/New Songs of Sea Gayle/Noah’s Little Boat Music, Eldorotto Music Publishing/Lucky Thumb Music]
  • Stay
    Jennifer Nettles, songwriter (Sugarland)
    Track from: Enjoy The Ride
    [Mercury Records; Publisher: Jennifer Nettles Publishing]
  • You’re Gonna Miss This
    Ashley Gorley & Lee Thomas Miller, songwriters (Trace Adkins)
    Track from: American Man, Greatest Hits Volume II
    [Capitol Records Nashville; Publishers: EMI Blackwood/New Songs of Sea Gayle/Noah’s Little Boat Music/Songs of Combustion Music] 

Best Country Album
(Vocal or Instrumental.)

  • That Lonesome Song
    Jamey Johnson
    [Mercury Records]
  • Sleepless Nights
    Patty Loveless
    [Saguaro Road]
  • Troubadour
    George Strait
    [MCA Nashville]
  • Around The Bend
    Randy Travis
    [Warner Bros.]
  • Heaven, Heartache And The Power Of Love
    Trisha Yearwood
    [Big Machine] 

Best Bluegrass Album
(Vocal or Instrumental.)

  • Cherryholmes III: Don’t Believe
    [Skaggs Family Records]
  • Del McCoury Band — Live At The 2008 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
    Del McCoury Band
  • The Ultimate Collection / Live At The Ryman
    Earl Scruggs With Family & Friends
    [Rounder Records]
  • Honoring The Fathers Of Bluegrass: Tribute To 1946 And 1947
    Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder
    [Skaggs Family Records]
  • Wheels
    Dan Tyminski

Good luck to all the nominees!


Pre-Thanksgiving News and Musings

On Nov. 27th, CMT’s Katie Cook will be interviewing Taylor Swift on CMT Insider (10:30 am ET/PT). 

Nov. 23rd’s American Music Awards’ country winners included Carrie Underwood (album), Brad Paisley (male artist), Taylor Swift (female artist), and Rascal Flatts (group).  Congratulations to you all!!

Congratulations to Emerson Drive’s fiddler David Pichette, whose wife Jill delivered their first child on Nov. 21st. Emma Victoria weighed in at 5 lbs, 14 oz. and the family doing well and happy.

Superwoman Julianne Hough will be taking a year off Dancing With the Stars next season to pursue her musical career and, in her words, “be taken seriously a little bit.” 

Kevin Costner’s band Modern West just released their first album, “Modern Truths”; a blend of country and roots rock and quite good, in fact.

While Tim McGraw said he enjoyed hosting “Saturday Night Live” last weekend, despite being nervous, rumor has it that he did the best he could with the subpar material he had to work with.  I TiVo’d the show, but have not had a chance to watch it yet.  Once I do, I will be back with my oh-so-opinionated opinion; however, as big a fan as I am of his, he could stand there, drool, and twiddle his thumbs and I would probably be enamored.  As a long-time SNL fan, I’m sure the material is better than that possibility.

That’s about it for now, fans.  Have a Happy and safe Thanksgiving!!


CMA Wrap Up

Now, I’m not going to bore you with who-won-what, since the results will be quite easy to locate.  Instead, I will offer my unique take on everything from apparel to presenters to performers.

I have to start with Taylor Swift, whom I love.  The world was buzzing with anticipation over how she would top herself after her drenched performance of “Should’ve Said No” at the ACMs.  For “Love Story”, she had a Romeo and Juliet-esque set complete with dancers.  Clad in a beautiful purple gown, she slowly ascended the stairs throughout the song until, ta-da a costume change on set mid-song.  Needless to say, she was great!  I’d also like to know who the hunky Romeo at the end was.

Speaking of costume changes, by the end of the first hour, I was wondering whether it was truly necessary for Carrie Underwood to change her outfit so many times.  Thankfully, by the end of the show, she slowed it down.

Julianne Hough as a presenter was just adorable.  She was obviously very excited to be on stage and looked beautiful.  Reese Witherspoon, presenting Male Vocalist of the Year, was equally vivacious.

Kellie Pickler has come quite a long way since her American Idol experience and also looked amazing as she performed her new hit “Best Days of Your Life.”

Does anyone else think that Brad Paisley just looks too perfect?  Not once have I ever seen that man with a hair out of place, crooked hat, ill-fitting jeans, or dirty boots.  Nevertheless, he is a great host – funny, personable, and can read cue cards without vocalized pauses or mispronounciations.  Plus, when he won Male Vocalist of the Year, he was so darned cute running down the stage steps to plant a kiss on his gorgeous wife Kimberly and her very-pregnant-with-baby-#2 belly.

In addition to Taylor Swift, I’d have to say the best performances of the evening were from Sugarland and Trace Adkins, who both project amazing emotion and stage presence every single time they perform, and Kellie Pickler.

All in all, for being such a widely-hyped show, it was a bit boring.  Some performances were entertaining, others not as uch.  Since I have undertaken this blog (and am trying to get some interviews), I will exercise my better judgment and end this sentence now.

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners and keep up the good work!


(2008 CMA Entertainer of the Year)

CMA Awards Countdown

Just 5 more days until the highly-anticipated CMA Awards Extravaganza, hosted by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood.

Nominees include:

Entertainer of the Year

Kenny Chesney Brad Paisley George Strait Sugarland Keith Urban
Kenny Chesney Brad Paisley George Strait Sugarland Keith Urban

Male Vocalist of the Year

Kenny Chesney Alan Jackson Brad Paisley George Strait Keith Urban
Kenny Chesney Alan Jackson Brad Paisley George Strait Keith Urban

Female Vocalist of the Year

Alison Krauss Miranda Lambert Martina McBride Taylor Swift Carrie Underwood
Alison Krauss Miranda Lambert Martina McBride Taylor Swift Carrie Underwood

New Artist of the Year

Jason Aldean Rodney Atkins Lady Antebellum James Otto Kellie Pickler
Jason Aldean Rodney Atkins Lady Antebellum James Otto Kellie Pickler

Vocal Group of the Year

Eagles Emerson Drive Lady Antebellum Little Big Town Rascal Flatts
Eagles Emerson Drive Lady Antebellum Little Big Town Rascal Flatts

Vocal Duo of the Year

Big & Rich Brooks & Dunn Montgomery Gentry Sugarland The Wreckers
Big & Rich Brooks & Dunn Montgomery Gentry Sugarland The Wreckers

Single of the Year

Don't Blink - Kenny Chesney Gunpowder & Lead - Miranda Lambert I Saw God Today - George Strait Stay - Sugarland You're Gonna Miss This - Trace Adkins
“Don’t Blink”
Kenny Chesney
“Gunpowder & Lead”
Miranda Lambert
“I Saw God Today”
George Strait
“You’re Gonna Miss This”
Trace Adkins

Album of the Year

Carnival Ride- Carrie Underwood Cowboy Town - Brooks & Dunn Good Time - Alan Jackson Poets & Pirates - Kenny Chesney Troubadour - George Strait
Carnival Ride
Carrie Underwood
Cowboy Town
Brooks & Dunn
Good Time
Alan Jackson
Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates
Kenny Chesney
George Strait

Song of the Year

Good Time - Alan Jackson I Saw Go Today - Rodney Clawson, Monty Criswell and Wade Kirby Letter To Me - Brad Paisley Stay - Jennifer Nettles You're Gonna Miss This - Ashley Gorley and Lee Thomas Miller
“Good Time”
Alan Jackson
“I Saw God Today”
Rodney Clawson, Monty Criswell and Wade Kirby
“Letter To Me”
Brad Paisley
Jennifer Nettles
“You’re Gonna Miss This”
Ashley Gorley and Lee Thomas Miller

Musical Event of the Year

“Another Try”
Josh Turner and Trisha Yearwood
“Every Other Weekend”
Reba McEntire and Kenny Chesney
“Gone, Gone, Gone”
Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
“Life in a Northern Town”
Sugarland, Little Big Town and Jake Owen
Kenny Chesney and George Strait

Music Video of the Year

Don't Blink - Kenny Chesney Good Time - Alan Jackson Stay - Sugarland Waitin' On a Woman - Brad Paisley You're Gonna Miss This - Trace Adkins
“Don’t Blink”
Kenny Chesney and Shaun Silva
“Good Time”
Alan Jackson and Trey Fanjoy
Sugarland and Shaun Silva
“Waitin’ On a Woman”
Brad Paisley and Jim Shea
“You’re Gonna Miss This”
Trace Adkins and Peter Zavadil

Musician of the Year

Jerry Douglas Paul Franklin Dann Huff Brent Mason Mac McAnally

 *   *   *

I’ll make a few predictions here for the world to see, and we’ll see how I do next week.  (Please feel free to comment and offer your opinions!)

Entertainer – How about Sugarland, since Urban and Chesney seem to always win it

Male vocalist – Hmm, George Strait

Female vocalist – I love Taylor Swift!

New artist – Am a HUGE fan of Rodney Atkins

Vocal group – Rascal Flatts

Vocal duo – Again, going against B&D and tradition, how about Montgomery Gentry

Single – I love “You’re Gonna Miss This”

Album – Carnival Ride

Song – “You’re Gonna Miss This”

Taylor Swift & Tim McGraw at the World Series

Prior to game 3 of the Series between the Phillies and the Devil Rays Saturday night in Philadelphia, CMA female vocalist of the year nominee Taylor Swift (a native Pennsylvanian) sang the national anthem and superstar Tim McGraw threw out the first pitch, honoring his father, the late Tug McGraw who pitched for the Phillies in 1980 when they won the World Series. 

Controversy over McGraw’s ‘Greatest Hits 3’

Rumor has it that Tim McGraw’s ‘Greatest Hits 3’ album, debuted at #1 this week but with much controversy. Selling only 44,000 copies, McGraw himself, in a press conference, claimed that Curb records released the album without his involvement in lieu of an album of new material he had recorded earlier this year.  Allegations that the release was to extend McGraw’s contract with Curb, obviously, angered the superstar and his manager.  With the decision to release ‘GH3’, Curb can delay release of McGraw’s new material.

You can read the rest of the story here.



New Releases and Coming Soon…

Tim McGraw’s Greatest Hits 3 was released 10/7/08, a mere 2 years after his Greatest Hits 2 and contains several of my personal songs (“Unbroken”, “Can’t Be Really Gone”, “Angry All The Ttime” as well as the immensely popular “If You’re Reading This” and a live recording of “Real Good Man.”

Also released 10/7 was George Strait’s Christmas album, Classic Christmas, a reissue of the previously exclusive-to-Hallmark Fresh Cut Christmas.

*     *     *

Coming soon:

10/14:  Kenny Chesney, Lucky Old Sun (deluxe edition); Billy Currington, Little Bit of Everything; Little Big Town, A Place to Land (re-release with 4 new tracks); and John Michael Montgomery, Time Flies.

10/21:  Kenny Chesney, Lucky Old Sun (standard edition); Craig Morgan, That’s Why; Lee Ann Womack, Call Me Crazy

10/28:  Toby Keith, That Don’t Make Me a Bad Guy; Rascall Flatts, Greatest Hits, Volume 1 (it’s about time!)

11/4:  Randy Owen, One on One; Brad Paisley, Play

11/11:  Taylor Swift, Fearless

Howdy y’all!!

Welcome to the brand spanking new Country Music blog here on  I will have some interesting tidbits, news, and (hopefully) inside information from new and exciting artists for you soon.  Please check back, and thanks for stopping by!!

And yes, I do love Tim McGraw.  In fact, I took this pic in Glendale, AZ during Tim & Faith’s Soul 2 Soul II Tour, August, 2007.