Showing posts with label martina mcbride. Show all posts
Showing posts with label martina mcbride. Show all posts

Saturday, November 30, 2019

The Nineties Roll On

If an artist releases one great track in their career, he can hold his head high. He can't necessarily tour on that, but it seems to me that fans remember that one recording because it was superb, yet forget about all the artist's other marvelous music simply because it all pales in comparison. So, yes, at least a half-hour show, I'm calculating.

Country music today is...? I don't know exactly what happened to country; where it went wrong. I know when it went wrong, which precisely matches the time that I gave up on it entirely. I don't think there are any great songs released nowadays. If there were, I would have read about them and checked them out, for curiosity's sake. I saw a clip today of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and some dude I assume is country (because of his over-pronounced drawl) was singing something about "shut up", and I thought, "good advice". Let's just be honest ~ today's country is awful.

In the late eighties and especially the nineties, however, great, great country music was bountiful. I've already featured many of the standouts, but there are many others. They didn't all produce 60 number one hits like George Strait, but who has?

Tonight, I'm featuring some of the "great" songs released in the nineties.

Let's start here:


"Blue" was written by legendary WBAP disc jockey Bill Mack. Bill wrote other songs, too, that became hits. He wrote this one for Patsy Cline, which is evident. It is a throwback for sure, but fans in the nineties were obviously still hankering for good country music. I don't know what happened to LeeAnn Rimes. I sort of know that she became a bikini-clad publicity whore, but as far as music is concerned, I guess she wasn't all that interested. Too bad, because she is a talented singer.

I know, I know ~ Alan Jackson deserves his own post. But much like I've written about Dwight Yoakam and George Strait ad nauseum, I'm not going to rehash all of Jackson's hits here. Again, this is most certainly a throwback; a remake. Jim Ed Brown had a hit with this song sometime around 1968. I'm sensing a theme here, but not purposely. I just love great songs.


I am aware that most everyone disagrees with me on this (most everyone is wrong), but for the best pure country voice since Patsy Cline, one need look no further than Trisha Yearwood. I saw Trisha once in concert. It was one of those expo's that small cities used to sponsor to draw folks in to sample local merchants' goods, who had booths set up around the perimeter to sell modular phones (yes, it was the nineties) and I guess, life insurance. The arena featured various acts on a small stage periodically throughout the day, acts that had to compete with the throng of old ladies carting their plastic "expo bags" from booth to booth, stuffing them with giveaway pens and refrigerator magnets. My friends and I claimed seats up in the balcony and gossiped while awaiting the next act to make her way to the stage. I admit I didn't pay much attention to Trisha at the time. I think she had a song called "X's and O's", which was her only claim to fame at the time. Too, I remember my hairdresser lamenting about a Garth Brooks concert she'd attended, which featured an unknown opening act named "Trisha Yearwood". "What big star goes on tour and brings some unknown girl singer with them?" my hairdresser fumed. "Should have been someone like Reba McEntire; not some girl I never heard of!"

My hairdresser and I were sadly ignorant. Feast your ears upon this:

One of the most bad-ass country songs ever was recorded by Foster and Lloyd. However, that was in 1987, so since I'm dedicating this post to the nineties, I will resist the powerful temptation to include the '87 song. Radney Foster and Bill Lloyd, were, too, a throwback, only updated. For being unrelated, their harmonies were almost as spot-on as the Everly Brothers'. Radney went on to do some solo work, but let's not dismiss Lloyd. It was his telecaster that gave the duo its delicious sound.

This is an unfortunate video, an example of the artists letting a dumb-ass producer frame the story. Regardless, this song will keep Foster and Lloyd on tour:

Apparently, 1987 was a landmark year in country. Steve Wariner had "Lynda", which was a track that invariably got people up and dancing in the honky tonks. In 1990, though, he also had this one, which I like. I don't know exactly why I like it; just that I do:

People misconstrue this song. It's certainly not a feminist anthem. To me it's the story of a young girl burdened with a life she never chose, one of whiskey and violence and trying to escape for one brief moment to pretend she was the same as all her friends. Maybe you had to live it to "get it":


There was a triad of superstar country artists in the nineties: George Strait, Alan Jackson, and Vince Gill. It seemed that every minute or so, Vince Gill was releasing a new track. If you have any doubt, take a gander at his discography. It's funny; one minute no one knew the name Vince Gill; the next, he was inescapable. This one is my favorite for sentimental reasons. I assigned myself the task of creating recorded music for my mom and dad's fiftieth wedding anniversary celebration, and this was the very last song on the two-volume cassette:

I haven't forgotten Patty Loveless. She's getting her own post. She deserves her own post.

Joe Diffie, Little Texas, Lorrie Morgan, The Dixie Chicks, Lee Ann Womack...

When folks look back on the nineties, they talk about Garth and Shania; maybe if they aren't brain-dead, they remember to include George Strait.

I remember this:

I don't live in the past, but I dare...nay,'s country artists to match these songs.


Friday, November 22, 2019

"Women of Country" ~ 2019 CMA Awards

I'd read that the Country Music Association had summarily dismissed Brad Paisley from his regular hosting gig in order to "highlight women". While the sentiment may have been laudable, when one thinks about it, it is rather an insult to female country singers. In what alternate universe were women artists not recognized? I've listened to country since sometime around 1967, which is more than fifty years, and I distinctly remember female singers getting tons of exposure, from Patsy to Loretta to Tammy to Lynn to Connie to Dolly; Tanya in the seventies; Reba McEntire, Pam Tillis, Rosanne Cash and Paulette Carlson in the eighties; Mary Chapin Carpenter, Holly Dunn, Shania Twain, The Judds. The Dixie Chicks in the nineties. But somehow women got short shrift?

Regardless, if 2019 wanted to "right wrongs", there are several issues with this performance:

Number one, if you're "celebrating women", you might not want to have your three stars perform a song written by a man. "Those Memories Of You" was written by Alan O'Bryant and originally recorded by Bill Monroe. You know, women have written songs, too ~ take, for instance, Dolly Parton.

My second impression of this opening is that Carrie really needed to let her seamstress finish adding a skirt to that glittery gold blouson.

The harmonies weren't quite pitch-perfect, but since it was a live performance, a little slack should be granted.

Number three:  Is that Angelina Jolie in the audience, and if so, why?

Four:  Dolly Parton is the ultimate performer. She carried this.

Loretta Lynn is an icon. The gals (whoever they were) who sang "You're Lookin' At Country" are not good singers. Don't they make 'em anymore? I guess, nice hair, though. It seemed that Loretta was in the audience as a prop. One of her twins, Patsy or Peggy, had to whisper in her ear and tell her what was happening. That's sort of disrespectful. New gals, you need to thank your lucky stars Loretta Lynn plowed a path for you.

Some indiscriminate bad singers tackled Tammy's "Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad" next ~ poorly. The camera honed in on Natalie Maines in the audience, who could blow all these gals out of the water, even the obviously gay one. I'm not on board with The Dixie Chicks' politics, but talent doesn't belong in the peanut gallery.

Reese Witherspoon? Is this the CMA's or a Hallmark Channel marathon?

Thank goodness for Tanya Tucker. She's younger than me, and showing her age as all of us do, but she can still belt it out. Tanya is an actual star.

Is that goofy Billy Ray Cyrus the camera panned to? If I recall correctly, he hasn't been relevant since 1982, and the mullet, bad as it was, was preferable to...this. And did Billy Ray sire any offspring who aren't crazy?

Pam Tillis is also in the audience, as opposed to on-stage. WTF? Ran out of time?

Gretchen Wilson represented the nineties. Kudos. Not a big splash in the pantheon of country history, but each decade deserves representation.

I'll admit, my curiosity regarding Crystal Gayle was whether she'd kept her freakishly long hair. It seems she has.

Terri Clark, who is an actual bad-ass hat-wearing guitar strummer, is next, and aside from the producers making her sing her song in the wrong key, she is a reminder that some country girls at one time had balls.

Next, Sara Evans does "Born To Fly", irritatingly interspersed with some girl in the audience over-emoting for camera time.

Martina McBride appears onstage to sing a bit of "Independence Day". It is, admittedly, nice to see a few artists who actually impacted country.

Yep, there's Trisha Yearwood in the audience, kept under wraps lest she put the prancers on stage to shame. Kathy Mattea, too. Dang, I guess neither of them fit the predetermined song key.

If Patsy were alive today, she'd sit these ladies down and explain to them the facts of life. "Do you want pity or do you want to sing?" she'd ask. Loretta might talk to them about baking bread with one baby on her hip and three more chasing each other around the kitchen table; and then climbing into a '59 Ford with a guitar bigger than she was and driving fifteen miles on rutted roads to belt out two songs in a smoky dive bar. "What, now, are you squawkin' 'bout?" she might ask.

Dolly should know better. Reba should know better. Spare me the self-indulgence. Either you can compete with men for radio play or you can go sob in a corner. Better still, you can stand up on your own two feet and get judged on your merits.

No time in country music were female artists overlooked. It's a 2019 fiction.

It's admittedly nice to see remnants of the past. That's not a gender thing. For all its imperfections, I enjoyed this video. I personally would have nixed the nondescript artists and focused solely on the stars, but...ratings.

Thanks, CMA's. Next, let's do Clint and Travis and Randy and Alan and George.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Essential Country Albums - The Classics

What are "essential" country albums?

"Essential" means different things to different people. If one is a music critic, the list will include the usual suspects ("Red Headed Stranger", "Will The Circle Be Unbroken", anything by Gram Parsons or Johnny Cash; you get my drift).

If one discovered "country music" in the 21st century, the list would be, well, sad. To generalize. Which I'm famous for doing.

In Part One, I kind of sifted through my music collection and made my choices by "feel". Which isn't actually a bad way to go, because what do we do, if not "feel" music?

And, in Part Deux, I'm going to continue along that path. I could intellectualize the whole thing, but what fun is that? Kind of takes the soul right out of the music, doesn't it, music critics?

In the late hour and in my zeal to create List Number One, I realize now that I made a really big gaffe.

And the big gaffe was this:

Down Every Road - Merle Haggard

This FOUR-DISC set is currently selling for only $35.97 on Amazon. That's only $8.99 per disc! A bargain, to be sure.

One could try to isolate the best of the best of Merle Haggard (another actual CD title) by choosing only one of Merle's albums, but why do that, when you can have basically his entire career, all in one inexpensively priced box set?

If a listener is starting out "new" to country music, this is THE place to start. In fact, it kind of starts and ends with this guy.

Highlights? Well, gee, this set contains ONE HUNDRED Haggard recordings, so let's see.....

We can start with the early days and "Sing Me A Song" or "(I'm a Lonesome) Fugitive" or the classic, "Sing Me Back Home".

We can move on to the middle years, with one of the all-time greatest country songs ever, "(Today) I Started Loving You Again", or "Mama Tried" or "Silver Wings" or "Workin' Man Blues" or "If We Make It Through December" or "Always Wanting You" or "Runnin' Kind", or one of my other personal favorites, "Everybody's Had The Blues".

We can move on to the third portion of the trifecta, with "Footlights" or "Misery and Gin" or "Big City", or the Townes Van Zandt song, "Pancho and Lefty".

You see? It's kinda hard to choose.

So, yes, I'm an idiot for leaving this off Part One. I guess, if you don't buy any of my other recommendations, buy this one, and I'll be thrilled for you.

Waylon Jennings - RCA Country Legends

While only a two-disc set, this is a bargain at any cost. And the cost happens to be $24.98 on Amazon (or $12.49 per disc, my calculator tells me).

The original Nashville Rebel, Waylon, from all I read, could be a bit of a hell-raiser and an overall less-than-nice dude. Doesn't matter. In 1967, Waylon hooked me with Love of the Common People (not included in this two-disc set).

What is included in this set are songs such as, "The Chokin' Kind", "Only Daddy That'll Walk The Line", the beautiful "Yours Love", the equally beautiful "Dreaming My Dreams (With You)", "Brown Eyed Handsome Man", "Rainy Day Woman", and "Good Hearted Woman" (and that's just disc one).

Disc two has the ever-overplayed "Luckenbach, Texas", "Wurlitzer Prize", "Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies...."......well, you know the rest; the lovely "Amanda", Waylon and Jessi's duet version of "Storms Never Last", and, the never to be forgotten, "Theme From The Dukes of Hazzard" (and if I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: They keep a'showin' my hands, but not my face on TV.)

Seriously, Waylon ranks right up there in the pantheon. Which is kind of a cool word that one doesn't get to use much in everyday conversation. Yes, the pantheon of country music legends.

Don't leave this one off your shopping list.

Patsy Cline - The Definitive Collection

Yes, girls ALSO sing country music!

One can't really call Patsy Cline a "girl", though. It would be more accurate to call her a "dame".

And, well, wow! Since 1963, when Patsy perished in a tragic plane crash, girl singers have been trying to become "dames" like her, and unfortunately, (in my opinion, of course) only one came even slightly close. But they keep trying!

Beginning with the haunting, "Walkin' After Midnight", and continuing on to the soulful "Leavin' On Your Mind" and "I Fall To Pieces", to the unquestionably top twenty (or is it ten?) of all-time best country songs, written by Willie Nelson, "Crazy", this album will introduce novices to the only queen that country music really ever had.

Don't forget Patsy's version of Bob Wills' "Faded Love" (with that cry at the end) or Don Gibson's "Sweet Dreams".

It's sad that we lost Patsy so prematurely. If she were still alive today, she'd be recording "alternative country" albums, which we would have to find in the bargain bins of our independent records stores; and she wouldn't get any press, of course. But at least those who know would still have that voice.

Storms of Life - Randy Travis

$4.97? Really? For Randy Travis's seminal album? Who could afford NOT to buy it?

Released in 1986, this album was a revelation to those who cherished, but dearly missed, real country music.

Here was a guy who obviously loved country, and who had the pipes to pull it off. Not to mention some classic songs.

"On The Other Hand"? Classic.

How about one of my other top twenty country songs of all time, "1982"? That song alone is worth $4.97 in my book. If you care to read a fan's dissertation regarding the genius of "1982", just go here.

Can't say more. Randy Travis is the real deal.

The Essential Marty Robbins

Some people love him; some people don't get him. I am in the camp of "love him". If you want to read my take on Marty Robbins, click here.

I'll admit; I'm puzzled by those who don't get him, because it seems obvious to me. But tastes are tastes.

Maybe it's because he had such an expansive vocal range. Maybe people are used to the monotoned folks of today. I guess it's all conditioning, isn't it?

But if you think that Marty is irrelevant, check this out:

So, if a now, happenin' guy like Keith Urban can get on board with Marty Robbins' music, maybe you should, too.

Missing from Keith's performance is the classic, groundbreaking, Don't Worry. Groundbreaking? Yea. Marty inadvertently gave birth to the fuzz guitar LONG before the Beatles ever did it.

You be the judge:

The Essential Tammy Wynette

There are a lot of pretenders to Patsy Cline's throne. No one comes very close. Tammy Wynette comes the closest.

Donald Eugene Lytle (aka Johnny Paycheck) wrote Tammy's first hit song, "Apartment #9" (and I love that hatchmark for "number", don't you? Gives it sort of a cache all its own).

Tammy, of course, only went on to bigger and more hit-worthy songs from there. We won't really spend any time on "Stand By Your Man". It is what it is. It was good the first 200 times. After that, I was pretty much over it.

But don't forget "Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad" or "My Elusive Dreams" (with David Houston) or "I Don't Wanna Play House", or another of my top twenty of all time, "'Til I Can Make It On My Own".

Like Patsy, we lost Tammy too soon. Someone may come along one day like Patsy or Tammy. It could happen. I'm just not holding my breath.

Burning Memories - Ray Price

Chet Atkins (God rest his soul) takes a lot of heat, to this day, for the Countrypolitan sound that he made famous.

Sure, sometimes it worked; sometimes it didn't.

Here, it worked.

Maybe it took a class act to pull it off. Ray Price is a class act.

At the age of 83, Ray is still touring, and still sounds good! What the heck more can you ask of someone who's 83?

My mom really loved Ray Price; and I think my parents owned maybe two LP's in the early years. One was by Buck Owens. The other was "Burning Memories". Thus, I pretty much have this album memorized, track order and all. But aside from sentimental reasons, you should listen to this album, if for no other reason, than to hear "Here Comes My Baby Back Again", a song written by Dottie West, and done superbly here by Ray Price.

After my dad passed away, I sat in my room and listened to Ray sing "Soft Rain" over and over. "Soft rain was falling when you said goodbye". Actually, rather than being sad, this is a happy memory for me. I think my dad was there listening with me.

Put this CD on your player and sit back and reflect. Really, there are no clunkers here. Every track is a gem.

Buck Owens - Together Again/My Heart Skips A Beat

Okay, if I'm going to talk about "Burning Memories", I have to also talk about this album.

Where do you think Dwight Yoakam got his mojo? Well, it started here, with this album from 1964.

"Close Up The Honky Tonks" - sorry, but two-steppin' heart-breakin' country music just doesn't get any better than this.

And, of course, there's "Together Again", featuring the timeless steel guitar virtuosity of Tom Brumley.

A couple of relatively unknown tracks that I highly recommend on this album are "Over and Over" and "Getting Used To Losing You".

If you like your country real and raw, check out this album.

Faron Young - Golden Hits

I don't know about you, but I like my country with a shuffle beat and a couple of twin fiddles. Call me crazy.

Faron Young initially made his splash recording for Capitol Records. His early recording years produced songs such as, Alone With You and If You Ain't Lovin' (You Ain't Livin'), later covered by George Strait.

And, of course, there was Hello Walls.

But it was in his Mercury Records years that Faron, to me, really hit his stride.

Classic tracks, such as "Wine Me Up" and "Step Aside" co-mingled with Kris Kristofferson's "Your Time's Comin'". My sentimental favorite here is a song written by Tom T. Hall, called, "If I Ever Fall In Love (With A Honky Tonk Girl)".

And let's not forget, "It's Four In The Morning".

If you've forgotten, or don't even know Faron Young, you're forgetting the history of country music. Faron was relevant in the fifties, and he became even more relevant in the seventies. Faron was a contemporary (and friend) of Hank Williams, and he was a friend to songwriters throughout his many decades of recording.


Martina McBride - Timeless

Surprise! An artist NOT from the fifties, sixties, seventies, or even the eighties!

Why did I include this?

Well, because it's TIMELESS.

Martina normally may be kind of boxed into recording songs that will get radio play, but obviously, her heart is with TRUE country music.

Seems to me that this is a real labor of love, because Martina includes many songs here that made my personal list of the twenty all-time best country songs. So, I guess she has good taste! Songs like, "Love's Gonna Live Here" and "'Til I Can Make It On My Own". And she even dusted off that seventies Lynn Anderson chestnut, "Rose Garden", and it actually sounds kinda cool!

My favorites on this album, however, are lesser-known (or more accurately, forgotten) hits, such as "Pick Me Up On Your Way Down" and "I Don't Hurt Anymore".

And she does a killer version of Buddy Holly's "True Love Ways".

If you think you might, sorta, like older country music, but you like it jazzed up a bit with a more modern sound, buy this! You'll get a crash course in country music history, and you will love it!

So, there you go. My list of essential CLASSIC country albums.

I think it's important to not forget. Most of these guys (and gals) are the reason there even IS something called country music (although it would be a stretch to even remotely connect the two now).

But at least we have it on record.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Artist of the Decade

I just watched the ACM Artist of the Decade show today. Yes, I DVR'd it (I have no patience for commercials).

Wow - what an entertaining show!

Why don't they have stuff like THIS on TV more often? As in, ever.

I won't even quibble that they waited until George's THIRD decade before giving him the honor. Hey, a decade is a decade. Who wouldn't like to have a whole decade devoted to them?

Surprisingly (to me), the performances that I enjoyed the most didn't come from the "icons" of the industry, for the most part.

Here are some of my favorites:

Blake Shelton & Miranda Lambert - IT AIN'T COOL TO BE CRAZY ABOUT YOU

What George said to Blake: "I thought you were standing on a step."
What Blake thought George said to him: "Get your ass out of here!" (ha ha - priceless!)

Jamey Johnson ("I don't even think you like me very much") & Lee Ann Womack - GIVE IT AWAY

Dierks Bentley giving George a CD of one of his songs (another stellar moment!) - BLUE CLEAR SKY


Brooks & Dunn "I have every George Strait album ever made" - THE COWBOY RIDES AWAY

Alan Jackson

I don't know if Alan ever gets comfortable on the stage, even after all these years, but hey, who better to do THE FIREMAN?

Sugarland - ADALIDA (although it was a bit odd for Jennifer to be singing a love song to a gal, but whatever; it's still a good song and a good performance).

There were four tributes to the previous "artist of the decade" winners. One of those performances was good, two of them were AWESOME. The other one I'm not going to even bother to include, because this gal (who shall remain nameless) is more wooden than the ash tree in my front yard.

Here's the good one:

Mongtomery Gentry - tribute to ALABAMA - MOUNTAIN MUSIC

Martina McBride's AWESOME tribute to GARTH BROOKS - THE DANCE (and this made me cry)

***Keith Urban's*** AWESOME AWESOME tribute to Marty Robbins - MEDLEY OF HITS (Wow, Keith - I had no idea you were such a great singer!) HANDS DOWN my favorite performance of the night.

Worst performances of the night? Taylor Swift, with her thin, reedy voice. Jamie Foxx (whatever), that wooden gal singer with her tribute to Loretta Lynn (I think she was thrown off by her hair falling in her eyes). The wooden gal's husband. Conspicuously absent were a couple of the so-called biggest acts in country music. Karma will get you, boys.

Garth Brooks (gotta love him) presenting the award to George:


I love the look on Garth's face. He isn't even singing along. It's just a look of pure joy. The same look that we have when we hear a George Strait song.

All hail The King.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Blast From The Past - Top Country Hits Of 1994

1994 was an interesting year for country music. By 1994, country music was starting to teeter on the brink. The brink between good music and pap (or a word that rhymes with "pap").

I was still very much into country music at that time, but the warning signs were starting to appear.

Nevertheless, there were some great songs that year.

Here's one that I loved to torment my kids with. I really, really like this song, but when he gets to the "Ad-MIT" part, I used to turn the volume up really high on the radio. My kids hated country music, and this, to them, was the ultimate in corn. I happen to think it's great.

"Thinkin' Problem" is my favorite song from 1994. Cool video, too.


Speaking of cool videos, here's another of my faves. This group, unfortunately, was sort of a one-hit wonder. Speaking of wonder, I wonder whatever happened to:


What an entertaining video! Excellent!

Say what you will about Garth Brooks, but he respects his fans. He always strived to keep ticket prices low, and he's not stingy about sharing his videos on YouTube, the way some paranoid artists are.

I saw Garth Brooks in concert, and while I wasn't one of his rabid fans, I must say, he put on a great show. He put his all into his performances. I went with my mom - the last concert she and I ever attended together. I have fond memories of that.

And here's a (really grainy, too dark) picture to prove it:

Bad picture aside, here is Garth Brooks:

I kept saying to people, when this single came out, somebody else recorded this song! Everyone looked at me like I was nuts (although that does tend to happen a lot), but I was right! New Grass Revival did this song first. Turns out, Garth reunited this band when he did the recording. Good job, Garth. Good job, Wayne (oops, I got my pop culture mixed up there for a second).

Well, you well know how I feel about Dwight Yoakam. I guess I rank him right up there with the very best that country has to offer.

And this video is no exception. I remember, he was on David Letterman's show, and David was making fun of what Dwight says at the end of this song. I guess it's, "Ahhhhh, SUKI". Whatever that means. Not that it matters. This is a song that'll get you dancing, believe me.


How about that??

This seems like an opportune time to note that, while George Strait had three hit singles in 1994, NONE OF THEM are available for embedding. Hmmm, did I mention "paranoid" earlier? Thanks, MCA. Because, you know, heaven forbid that we might want to WATCH a George Strait video, or add it to our blog.

This doesn't negate the high esteem in which I hold George. It's not his fault. It's the stupid record label. But, geez, c'mon.

For the record, George's hit songs from 1994 were, "Love Bug" (a remake of an old George Jones song ~ NOT a Buck Owens song, as the press wrongly noted), "I'd Like To Have That One Back", and my favorite, "The Big One".

And now Alan Jackson. No embeddable videos. MCA again. Alan had a hit single in 1994, "Livin' On Love". LUCKILY, I found the version that was created for the hearing-impaired. I guess MCA relented and decided that hearing-impaired people could embed this video. The corporate mind works in mysterious ways.


Not to leave out the females, but again, I'm having issues finding embeddable videos.

Luckily, I found this live performance by Patty Loveless of:


Patty is one of the best country singers of the modern age. I don't know what happened to her career of late. I guess she's been usurped by the new, plastic versions. They're the newest models in the showroom.


I like Sean Hannity as much as the next Republican, but I really hate that he uses this song as his theme song. Does he get what this song is about? It's not a patriotic song. I think he should actually listen to it. Then he'd be kind of embarrassed, I would think.

That aside, I was glad to find this version.

Now, for something a bit more mellow. Here's another artist who is grossly underrated:


Remember Collin Raye? He was really big in the nineties. Especially with that song, "In This Life". Don't you think that was, at one time, the number one wedding song? I always thought it would be a perfect funeral song. Not to be maudlin. But I love that song, and, I guess, if they played that at my funeral, I wouldn't complain (ha!)

But Collin had more than one good song, and this is a really good one. I always thought, whenever I heard this on the radio, that if I could write a song this good, I could die happy (oh, here we go with the "funeral" stuff again). But, honestly, this is a great song. I guess the writer was Tom Douglas. And I'll admit, I don't know anything about him. But, like I said, he wrote a great one.


Here's a group that I love. Diamond Rio. Marty Roe. What a singer.

I saw this group in concert, too. I saw them at a casino, in an intimate setting. I loved that show.

Before the show, my then-husband and I were having dinner in the dining room, and I noticed Gene Johnson, the mandolin player, trying to eat his dinner. People kept coming up to him, interrupting his meal. And he was really nice. I thought, geez, what a bummer. He can't even eat his steak. How can people be so rude? I was (am) a big admirer of Gene, but I would never, NEVER, go up to him while he's trying to eat his dinner, and bother him. But I guess that's just me.



This is another underrated singer/songwriter. Again, I can't help but wonder whatever happened to Lari White. She was big in the nineties. Rightfully so. I was a big Lari White fan. I had a couple of her CD's. I imagine she's writing now. Sorry, but I can't keep track of everybody.

Here's a good one! Remember the Mavericks? Oh, c'mon. Yes, you do!
Raul Malo? This guy had (has) quite the voice.

The name, "The Mavericks", has a sentimental meaning to me. Because my friend, Alice's band, originally was called The Mavericks, until somebody complained that the name was already in use, and they got one of those "cease and desist" orders, so Alice's band became "Rocky Top".

That's neither here nor there. Here are The Mavericks (Miami version) doing:


Here's another nineties kind of guy, Clay Walker. I had a friend back then who was a HUGE Clay Walker fan. And I liked him, too. Here's his big song from 1994:


We started out with my favorite song from 1994; "Thinkin' Problem". Well, here's my SECOND favorite. I love this song, and I couldn't tell you why. I just do.


I guess 1994 wasn't so bad after all. And I left out a bunch of stuff. Because I couldn't find videos. Joe Diffie. He was a big star in 1994. Vince Gill. It's not my fault that none of his stuff is available for embedding.

I still say, however, that 1994 was a watershed year in country music. It's sort of when the music died, and "something else on the horizon" took its place. Pity. I really miss it. Cuz it was REALLY GOOD while it lasted.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Music That I Like

(originally posted 06-02-06)

Everybody wants to recommend music to everybody else. It’s a primal instinct, I guess.

I’ll grant you, I’m somewhat stuck in the ’80’s, as far as country music is concerned. But that’s not a bad thing. Think about the so-called “country music” that’s being played on the radio now. On second thought, don’t think about it. It’s too horrific to think about.

The ’80’s were a prime time for country. We had people like: George Strait, Alan Jackson, Dwight Yoakam, Randy Travis; people like that whom no one has ever heard of. Let’s see: Who do we have now? Milque-toast Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, some other generic interchangeable singers. Sad.

But the tide is getting ready to turn. It’s usually a 20-year cycle. It’s about time for times to change.

In the meantime, while we’re watching the clock and tearing off pages on our calendars, I’ll recommend some GOOD music. Some is new, some isn’t. All are available on or wherever you choose to purchase your music.

So, here are six:

The Seeger Sessions - Bruce Springsteen: Any time an artist does something that you wouldn’t expect them to do, that is a revelation. Bruce went into the studio with an all-newly assembled band and recorded traditional folk songs. But don’t be deceived. These songs were recorded with attitude. Driving drumbeats, horns. Listen to “Mary, Don’t You Weep”. You’ll be hooked.

Timeless - Martina McBride: Who knew? I thought she just specialized in overwrought pop-country songs. This woman has GREAT taste in music! She’s redone some classic, and dare I say, “timeless” country songs. And she stayed true to the original recordings! Check out “Rose Garden”. Ah, memories.

Highway 101’s Greatest Hits
: Okay, I like my country upfront and not timid. This band didn’t hold back. Paulette Carlson is a Minnesota native! These guys were HUGE in their time, and their songs stand up today. And talk about good taste! They recorded songs written by the likes of Rodney Crowell and Roger Miller. How cool is that? These folks had taste. I recommend “Cry Cry Cry” and “Somewhere Tonight”.

The Essential Foster & Lloyd
: “Crazy Over You” is a song that will always make my top 20 of the best country songs of all time. Like Highway 101, these guys put it all out there. Driving guitars. That “hillbilly-rock” sort of thing. Love them.

Speaking of hillbilly rock, the man himself, Marty Stuart: Country Music is the title of this CD. Oh, what talent. He plays everything - mandolin, guitar; he surrounds himself with the best players any musician could pray for. He has impeccable taste in music. He is one of my musical heroes. You will NOT be disappointed by this CD. Choice cut: “Sundown In Nashville”.

Dwight Yoakam: The MAN. His latest CD, Blame The Vain. I want to write songs like Dwight writes. Alas, it’s only something to aspire to, at this point. On this CD, he’s without his former right-hand man and producer, Pete Anderson, but he still made a helluva of an album. I’m partial to “Intentional Heartache”, but it’s very, very tough to pick the best song.

So, as you can see, I’m somewhat passionate about GOOD music. If you hate country music, you’ll hate these recommendations. If you hate folk music, you may not like Bruce Springsteen’s CD - but you should give it a chance anyway. You might well be surprised.

This music is not “synthesized”. If you like that kind of stuff, okay. If you like real music played by real musicians, give these CD’s a shot.

I never know how to end these blogs, so I’ll just say goodnight.