Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Today in Country Music History...February 21, 2018 (Thomas Rhett 'triple-platinum')

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Thomas Rhett earns a triple-platinum single from the RIAA for "Die A Happy Man" and a gold one for "Vacation"

Florida Georgia Line performs during the Daytona 500 pre-race show at the Daytona Motor Speedway in Florida. "Confession" is televised on FOX. The set also includes "Cruise," "Anything Goes" and "This Is How We Roll"

Maddie & Tae's "Fly" video premieres on CMT

"American Soldier" conquers the #1 position in Billboard for Toby Keith

Faith Hill's "Breathe" album propels her to three trophies during the 43rd annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The CD takes Best Country Album, the title track wins Best Female Country Vocal Performance, and she shares Best Country Collaboration with Vocals with Tim McGraw, for "Let's Make Love"

Garth Brooks' album "Fresh Horses" is certified gold, platinum and triple-platinum

Zach Swon is born in Muskogee, Oklahoma. He sings lead in the duo The Swon Brothers, who parlay their run on NBC's "The Voice" into an Arista recording deal. They nab a hit with their debut single, "Later On," in 2014

Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson share the top spot on the Billboard country chart with "Good Hearted Woman"

Mary Chapin Carpenter is born in Princeton, New Jersey. Her folk-tinged brand of country makes her one of the most thoughtful artists of the 1990s while she garners hits with "Down At The Twist & Shout," "I Feel Lucky" and "Shut Up And Kiss Me"

The late Hank Williams registers a #1 country single in Billboard with "Kaw-Liga"

Daily Inspiration for Today... February 21, 2018...(Food for Thought)

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Inspiration for Today


 Today's Verse:

               ( Isaiah 12:1 )

Hymn of Thanksgiving

      A day is coming when people will sing, "I praise you Lord! You were angry with me, but now you comfort me and are angry no longer.

Visit "Country Chapel Service" for a
spiritual experience every Sunday

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Country in the NEWS: Where New Country meets Old Country....February 20, 2018 (Vince Gill - Grammy Awards)

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Vince Gill Defends Grammys on Female Representation

Vince Gill

Vince Gill defended the Recording Academy over the criticism that female artists were underrepresented at this year’s Grammy Awards.
Gill said it is “impossible” to not leave someone off the list in a given year.
“I look at it kind of trying to see the whole field, you know. And I think the Grammys will go on and the country artists will feel slighted. Or maybe the classical people will feel slighted,” Gill said. “It’s impossible to pull something off like that and not leave a few people by the wayside.”
The country star spoke before a benefit concert for the Country Music Hall of Fame on Tuesday in New York where he shared the stage with Emmylou Harris, Maren Morris, and Kesha.
Sitting with Harris and Morris before the concert, the 21-time Grammy winner said all that matters is that musical people are “conscious of what’s great at the end of the day.”
“You’re looking at three really ope- minded musical people. We don’t care about genres, of color of skin, or gender, or anything. We just love playing music with great people and that’s all,” he said.
Morris, who won her first Grammy last year, agreed, saying that the Grammys history backs it up.
“I think the person that’s won the most Grammys is Alison Krauss so I don’t know. I mean, there’s obviously some things that need to be looked at, I think, and maybe it’s just voting members. Maybe we need to like expand on that,” Morris said.
Krauss has won 27 Grammys, and nominated 44 times. Krauss is actually tied for second place with Quincy Jones for most Grammy wins. Hungarian conductor Georg Solti holds the record with 31 wins.
Morris also cited another Grammy winner.
“I was really proud of Alessia Cara that she won best new artist. I think she really deserved that,” Morris said. “But I think there’s always improvement that needs to be had.”
Harris admitted she was aware of the problems facing women in the recording industry, from sexual misconduct to unfair treatment, but doesn’t count herself among those affected.
“I haven’t run into a lot of the problems that I know are out there. But my path has been pretty unfettered with those kinds of things,” Harris said.
The Recording Academy drew criticism for a variety of issues, including not having album of the year nominee Lorde perform on the live telecast last month. Also, of the awards shown on the broadcast, only two winners were women -- Cara and Rihanna (for a collaboration with Kendrick Lamar).
Recording Academy CEO Neil Portnow intensified the situation, saying that women need to “step up” when asked about the lack of female winners backstage. He later said he misspoke.

Country in the NEWS: Where New Country meets Old Country....February 20, 2018 Whitney Rose - You Don't Own Me)

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Whitney Rose Delivers Honky-Tonk Take on Lesley Gore's 'You Don't Own Me': Premiere

  Whitney Rose

Valentine's Day is a wonderful holiday for many, but whether you're happily coupled or pleasantly solo, sometimes you need to stand up and roar your independence. Originally made famous by Lesley Gore in 1963 (and made doubly famous thanks to First Wives Club in 1996), "You Don't Own me" is a perennial pop anthem of freedom and feminist resolve, and today Billboard is sharing a wonderful new entry in the "You Don't Own Me" covers canon courtesy of Whitney Rose. Mixing outlaw country with '60s girl group flavor, Rose gives a spirited honky-tonk take on the classic.

"I've been singing this song live only for years. With every album I've made I've thought about including it, it's such a strong song and it's really empowering to perform," Rose tells Billboard. "Then there's the fact that you can't turn on the news these days without seeing that it’s just as relevant now as it was when Lesley Gore released it in 1963. I want everyone in the world to know this song and I want everyone to believe the words. I may not have that kind of reach but I wanted to do my part."
Born in Canada, Rose moved to Texas because, as she puts it, it's a "damn special place. What I love about it most is how so many people who are extremely different can coexist. Texans have a very deep sense of pride and are actually really welcoming to people who move here, it's like a 'Of course you wanted to move here. Texas is the best place in the world! You're smart to move here. You're a Texan now' kind of thing. It's a red state, obviously, but I've never found that people talk about that too much outside of their own homes. They'd rather be two-stepping. I dig that."
Inspired by Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Keith Whitley, Linda Ronstadt, Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton, Rose says she appreciates contemporary artists who "take country and offer up ways that it can evolve differently than it has in mainstream country radio. Sturgill Simpson is a stunning example of that. As is Margo Price, Jason Isbell, Angaleena Presley and Linda Ortega."
As for her songwriting process, she says the stories are out there if you're willing to listen. "It's all about the people," Rose says. "To be a great storyteller you gotta be a great listener, I think. The day I die I'll still be learning how to be a better listener but I find that the older I get, the better at it I get. I'm really lucky because I get to travel a lot with my job and I meet new people every single day that I'm on the road. They all have stories. Some of them are too good not to share."
Of course, it's not all documentary-style songwriting. "I also make a lot of shit up," she says. "My love of make-believe did not leave me when I entered adulthood."

Country in the NEWS: Where New Country meets Old Country....February 20, 2018 (Country Music Hall of Fame - All for the Hall)

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All for the Hall Benefit: 5 Standout Moments From Kesha, Maren Morris, Vince Gill & Emmylou Harris

  Maren Morris, Emmylou Harris and Kesha

Ten years ago, Vince Gill co-founded the All for the Hall benefit concert for the Country Music Hall of Fame, and Tuesday (Feb. 13) night in Manhattan's Playstation Theater, the annual fete brought together Gill, Emmylou Harris, Maren Morris and Kesha for a one-of-a-kind performance to raise money for the museum's music education programs. One of those programs, Words & Music, was spotlighted when Carly Pearce, Liz Rose and Phil Barton took the stage with a cadre of Bronx 5th graders to perform "We Are the Song," an inspirational sing-along that the students themselves wrote with some help from the aforementioned pros.
Aside from the kids, here are five standout moments from what is undoubtedly the only Guitar Pull (an acoustic evening where country artists play songs and share stories) you'll see in Times Square until... well, probably until the All for the Hall concert rolls back into New York City. 

Maren Morris Pays Tribute to Route 91 Victims
Morris recounted the long gestation of her song "Dear Hate" for the crowd, explaining that it was written immediately after the Charleston shooting but put aside because she was "not sure what to do with" it for a while. Eventually, she turned to Vince Gill for a little help, and he was so taken by the song that he not only added guitars to the demo but recorded himself singing the second verse. After another tragic shooting, the one in Las Vegas at Route 91 Festival in 2017, Morris decided it was finally time to share the song with the world, with some of the proceeds going to the victims. Gill joined her on the song and by the end, both of them -- not to mention the audience -- were choking back tears.

Emmylou Harris Avoids the Blues
When you think Emmylou Harris, you think of that achingly gorgeous voice -- and some seriously sad songs. But to start the night out, the country/folk/Americana icon put melancholy aside for a second to sing "one of my happier, non-tragic songs," which she dedicated to her grown-up children: "We still love 'em even though they're not cute anymore," she laughed. The song? "Love and Happiness" from her Mark Knopfler collaborative album All the Roadrunning, which proves she can sing about nice things just as effectively as she can chill the bone with time-honored tales of tragedy.
Vince Gill Sings About Abuse Victims
While most of the songs performed Tuesday night were familiar ones, Gill sang a new one he recently composed after watching the #MeToo movement unfold. Entitled "Forever Changed," the song was a quiet, heartbreaking account of a woman's sexual abuse. "Too afraid to tell someone, might as well just use the gun," he sang. "She cries to Jesus to ease the pain / it's because of you she’s forever changed." After he finished, Harris lauded him. "Good for you," she said. "I do think that music can change hearts and minds with lyrics like that. With all the hysteria going on, sometimes you just need some simple words to make a point, so thank you."
Kesha Makes Country Pop
With a country songwriter for a mother and a few honky-tonk-flavored songs on her last album Rainbow, Kesha has some Nashville bona fides -- and plenty of fans in Music City. When she closed the night with an acoustic take on her Hot 100 top 5 hit "Your Love Is My Drug," Maren Morris gleefully joined her voice with Kesha's to sing backup -- and toward the end, even Vince and Emmylou were singing along with the chorus.
Maren's Church of Crow
For an acoustic night of music preceded by a sit-down dinner, the All for the Hall benefit was beautiful, but not exactly raucous. But when Morris busted out "My Church," people were stomping along and even dancing, as if suddenly seized by the Holy Spirit of music. Fascinatingly, Morris explained that song was born out of a conversation with her co-writers about how much they loved the drums on Sheryl Crow's early recordings -- something you can't not hear in "My Church" after knowing that.

Country in the NEWS: Where New Country meets Old Country....February 20, 2018 (The 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards)

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Thomas Rhett, Lee Brice, Ashley Gorley & More Slated for ACM's Stories, Songs & Stars

Thomas Rhett performs onstage at the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards

Two days prior to the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards, the ACMs will host Stories, Songs & Stars on April 13 at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas as part of the sixth annual ACM Party for a Cause.
Lee Brice, Ashley Gorley, Shane McAnally, Lori McKenna and Thomas Rhett are the initial performers slated for the event, which will feature the participants in a  songwriter-in-the round format, as they tell the stories behind some of country’s biggest hits.
Additional acts, including ACM songwriter of the year nominees, will be announced in the coming weeks. A portion of the event’s proceeds will benefit ACM Lifting Lives, which works to improve lives by funding music-related therapy and education programs that aid students, those with disabilities, veterans and wounded warriors. 
This year’s ACM Awards nominees will be announced in March. The ACMs are also set to announce new hosts as Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley are stepping down after hosting together for two years. 
The ACMs will air April 15 on CBS live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.


Jack Blanchard's Column February 20, 2018 A Visit To Disney World

(From my Orlando newspaper column, 1971.
That was Walt Disney World's first year.)

Saturday afternoon, through no fault of my own,
I found myself being patted on the butt by the Disney turnstile.
I had already been forced to memorize "Goofy 746-118B"
under threat of never seeing my car again.

I tried to get back out through the turnstile,
but Misty and our guest took me by the ears,
and dragged me, sobbing, into The Magic Kingdom.
The music of a 200 piece rock band
was being magically forced through a 3-inch loudspeaker.

At a lunch counter we stood in line for a while,
and we were abruptly awakened by a teenage counter girl.
She glared at us silently, waiting for our order.

They must have been out of Mouseburgers,
because all she gave us was a small cardboard box
containing three small cardboard hamburgers.
"The one on top is 'without sauce'", she said.
That was true. None of them had sauce.
I was startled to find she could talk.

At the first big show,
there were several hundred of us waiting in the theater lobby
We were jockeying for position.

A young hostess with the microphone had been waiting for this.
she screamed into the P.A. system, which was set at number ten.
A lady in front of me rolled her eyes and collapsed to the floor.
To my left, a businessman clutched his chest
and flung himself over the railing.
A child's voice cried, "I didn't know the Lord was a lady!"

so you might just as well stand there and listen to what I have to say!"
The meek dropped like flies all around us.

"When I see fit to open the doors you will quickly move into the theater
and hurry to the opposite end of the room,
dragging your dead and wounded!
There will be no eating, drinking, smoking...
no talking, no flash cameras, no holding hands, and no giggling!
All right! You may now march into the auditorium
in a quiet orderly manner.
We hope you enjoy our presentation."

Inside, another starlet took over.
She was good, but she couldn't top her ugly sister out front.
She sort of sang her speech:
"Immediately upon the conclusion of our presentation
you will exit swiftly to the left of the herd.
Do not touch or lean on the railings!
They were only constructed to maintain discipline...
blah blah blah oral hygiene and regular dental care."

After the show I said:
"How 'bout a nice relaxing boat ride back to the parking lot?
Fun's fun, but I'm worn out!"

The ferry captain waited till we were away from shore
to do his number on us.
He never once stopped mumbling over the mike,
which sounded like a giant toilet paper tube.
Not one word was in any known language.
It sounded like a Winston Churchill speech played backwards.
His volume was a couple of decibels above the point of pain,
and passengers were leaping ecstatically overboard.

At the main exit we were divided into squares,
and loaded onto people movers.
The conductress of the tram was armed with a microphone.
A man behind me said:
"We just got here and they're threatening us already!"
I said; "Yes. Isn't it great?"

I got off Misty's lap.

"If you drop a package, a baby, or if your hat blows off
we are NOT allowed to stop!"
The tram began to move.

"We will pass throught the Happy, Dopey, Grumpy,
and Freaky sections of the parking area!
We have twelve thousand cars parked here,
and if you miss your section we can NOT take you back!
So, Lots o' luck. Ha ha."

"This is our first stop.
Grumpy people exit quickly to the driver's right!
Goofy people exit to the left!"

We exited to the right.
We were grumpy people.

Jack Blanchard

Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan...
Home Page:
Billboard Duet of the Year, Grammy and CMA Finalists. 

© Jack Blanchard, 2018.