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Monthly Archives: November 2008

(Twang Alert!)

gone-country

My af-FECK-shun for good Country Music has been well documented here at Music Maven.  From Twangalicious Brad Paisley to Johnny & June to hot Kenny Chesney, I’ve decried that much of Country Music is the “Pop” of yesteryear.  So much so, that many “established” artists of other genres are crossing over backwards from mainstream Pop to Country.

In 1994, Country great Alan Jackson released a hit called Gone Country that epitomized the shift of some from other genres to Country and that “it ain’t much different than Dylan”. 

  Gone Country, Alan Jackson

This post was really inspired due to hearing Darius Rucker’s song on Top Country radio.  Yes, Hootie has gone Country.   

  Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It, Darius Rucker a/k/a Hootie

I’d heard the song and thought the voice sounded familiar, but simply never would have thought of Rucker on this song.   His Country introduction registered a #1 hit for Rucker who explained that while his Hootie experience was centered around drinking and partying, his music now is more centered around family and kids.  As the father of young daughters, Rucker has basically mellowed into Country.

Most recently, a mash-up of Werewolves of London and Sweet Home Alabama has been filling the Country airwaves via Kid Rock, who has scored a top ten Country hit with All Summer Long:

  All Summer Long, Kid Rock

This isn’t Rock’s first foray into Country.  He scored a hit on both the Top 100 Billboard Pop chart and the Hot Country chart with 2003′s Picture, his duet with fellow rocker, Sheryl Crow:

  Picture, Kid Rock & Sheryl Crow

Perhaps Country is kinder and gentler for those having fought the good fight in the plastic and tortuous world of Pop.  Among the re-treads from the Pop world is Jewel.  In this interview, she discusses the migration “back” to Country.  (WARNING:  Yodel alert)

Despite her “walk 10 miles to school, uphill, both ways” stories of growing up in Alaska, Jewel’s experiences are very similar to many artists who really grew up “Country”, but broke into music via Pop.  Personally, I consider her music more acoustic than Country.

  Perfectly Clear, Jewel

However, the same cannot be said of Bon Jovi’s cross-over effort with Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles last year.  This is pure country, twang, grits and gravy.  I have to say that his tranformation of his Jersey to Atlanta accent grates on my last nerve.

  Who Says You Can’t Go Home Again?

Bon Jovi showed that crossing over to Country isn’t exclusive to relatively new artists.  So too, has the great Bob Seger.  The man who helped to define “classic” 70s Rock, has also tested out Country to wedge his way back into modern day music conciousness.

Bob Seger –   Wait For Me

I have to say that Wait For Me is not what I would consider Country but is rather, the eptiome of Seger music.  Where is this stuff in today’s music.  So good, so easy, so powerful.  **sigh**

Then, there’s just the insipid like Jessica Simpson who will use whatever she can to stay remotely relevant.  She explains here how she found her new BFF, Dolly Parton, by totally screwing up the lyrics to one of Dolly’s songs on national TV.  **roll eyes**

Nevertheless, Dolly forgave and actually wrote a song for Daisy Duke:

  Do You Know, written by Dolly Parton

Unfortunately, those thinking that Country is the big payoff for transitioning careers isn’t limited to singers.  Oddly enough, some actors also think that they can “make it” in Country.  Probably the oddest thing I’ve seen recently is that Kevin Costner is pursuing a Country singing career at the tender age of 53. 

  Long Hot Night

Costner released his new Country CD last week if you feel that you can’t live without it. ;) 

While I’m not particularly fond of his music stylings, he is forever forgiven simply for the fact that he wore a naval uniform in No Way Out

costner-no-way-out

Yeah, I’m shallow like dat.

Lastly, if you can’t get enough of watching washed up celebrities try to get their rural rowdy on, tune into CMT’s Gone Country, hosted by the enormous talent of John Rich of Big & Rich fame.  As an aside, I LOVE their music…here is one of my favorites:

  Comin’ to Your City

…which has been appropriately adapted for my favorite Saturday programming, NCAA COLLEGE FOOTBALL!

…but I digress.

John Rich hosts Gone Country, which will start it’s 3rd season in January.  Celebrity contestants compete to revive their ailing careers as Country music stars, in a format that has become oh so familar and monotonous over the last few years.

The first season included Carnie Wilson of Wilson Phillips, perpetual loser Bobby Brown, Maureen McCormick (a/k/a Marcia Brady), Julio Iglesias, Jr., Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, Sisqo, and American Idol alum Dianna DeGarmo.  Iglesias prevailed and recorded The Way I Want You:

Season 2 provided the antics of Sebastian Bach of Metallica Skidrow, FAME’s Irene Cara, American Idol over achiever Mikalah Gordon, Jermaine Jackson, Chris Kirkpatrick, Lorenzo Lamas and bad girl Sean Young.  Uber-heavy metaller, Bach, prevailed and has since recorded Battle with the Bottle:

This season promises chills and thrills with contestants Parliament’s George Clinton, Miss USA Tara Conner, 21 Jump Street actor Richard Greico, Micky Dolenz from The Monkees, Sheila E. from Prince, Taylor Dayne and American Idol’s original loser, Justin Guarini. 

Will they coif those curls into a super mullet?   Will Clinton don chaps and spurs?  You’ll have to tune into CMT to find out.

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2008 in Country, TV

 

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Thanks for things BIG and small…

  Thank You for the Music, ABBA

….and thanks to you all for coming here and being such great compadres on the musical road of life.

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into God’s presence with singing!
Know that the Lord is God! It is he that made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him, bless his name!
For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures for ever,
and his faithfulness to all generations. 
– Psalm 100

 HAPPY THANKSGIVING

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2008 in holidays

 

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Colette’s Corner: Money, It’s a Gas…

 money

Recent months have exposed the dire straits that the country’s monetary situation is in.  While we can look back on “irrational exuberance”, gluttonous behavior and irresponsible squandering of cash flow, it doesn’t change the nauseousness of the wild roller coaster ride of down 554, up 890, down 411, up 553, down 427, down 445 and up 494.  Add falling home values, lack of available credit, massive lay-offs, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.  America has faced Recessions and Depressions before, but this one seems particularly heinous due to the advent of 401k plans 25 years ago that wraps many Americans long-term savings into a struggling stock market.  Now, talk about “bottoms” and derivatives, GDP and bailouts are common around the water cooler.

I’ve been assured that this is just a cyclical correction.  Yes, it’s going to be bad before it gets better.  Yes, we should all be thankful for health and family.  No, money is not the real secret to happiness, however it can be the source of real problems.  So, what do we do?  Well, for now, sit tight, don’t panic, have a drink, and listen to some music.  Isn’t that a generally good cure for what ails?

Here’s Colette’s contribution on the necessary evil of MONEY:

In this time of financial meltdown, it’s difficult to stay optimistic about one’s own bank account let alone the entire economy.
 
So what to do?
 
That’s where music comes in.  It won’t pay the rent or keep the wolf from the door.  But when its cool, sly and soulful, music can lift your spirits — even songs about cold, hard cash.
We begin with a classic ode to moolah  from the Holy Grail of Monty Python:
 
– “Money Programme” — Monty Python
 
A similar sentiment, voiced by Liza Minelli and Joel Grey in the Broadway musical “Cabaret”
 
 –  “Money” from the movie of “Cabaret”
 
Elvis weighed in on the subject too, in his sizzling hot 1950s cover of the popular Eddie Cochrane tune:
 
 –  “Money Honey” — Elvis Presley
 
One can get very carried away with the pursuit of the almighty buck, however.  Even when times are tough, let’s not take it extremes like Randy Newman does in one of his classics:
 
 — “It’s Money That I Love” — Randy Newman
 
And money isn’t everything, right?   How about love?  The late, great Ella Fitzgerald reminds us of that in this sterling standard:
 
  – “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” — Ella Fitzgerald
 
And in this great old blues and country standard,   Ben Harper and the fabulous 5 Blind Boys of Alabama make it clear that some things are more precious than gold:
 
   – “Satisfied Mind” — Ben Harper & 5 Blind Boys
 
Of course, there’s always way to get your hands on some cash, but it can be a little shady — as Ricki Lee Jones lays it down in this sultry little jumpin’ blues:
 
– “Easy Money”  — Ricki Lee Jones
 
People singin’ about this subject a long, long time.  Here’s The Boss with a really rousing rendition of an old folk song – performed  here  live and Cajun-style in a really fun house-party-style  record session for The Seeger Sessions, with a lot of voices, accordion, trumpet and other stuff:
 
  – “Pay Me Money Down” — Bruce Springsteen
 
Well, all we can do is hope this economic mess gets straightened out before we’re all out on the streets selling pencils and apples.  Remember that eventually the Great Depression ended, and Hollywood escapism helped:
 
 – “We’re in the Money” — Ginger Rogers, from the movie “Golddiggers of 1933″
Thanks, Colette. 

I personally bend to Pink Floyd’s Money (click on picture caption above), and might be able to score two tickets to paradise from the great, Eddie Money.

While money does help to make the world go ’round, perhaps we can find solace in a Pocket Full of Rainbows (and maybe a few kittens)?

Love that man.

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2008 in colette's corner, Elvis, that's life

 

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A Brighter Day

xmas_grinch_heart

Ok.  So, Friday I’m pissed and generally surly throughout the day.  I wake up Saturday with a chip the size of Texas on my shoulder and trudge out to Wal-Mart, i.e. Purgatory. 

SUN0730 Walmart 9.jpg

Big mistake.  I needed toilet paper and paper towels and, let’s face it, Wal-Mart has the best prices.  Of course, I’m in uber-saver mode because of the sad state of our economy (see previous post) so I have no other choice but to enter the gates of hell, that is Wal-Mart.

I trudge the store for other items such as wine (I’m on a Gallo Cabernet-Sauvingnon kick) where I can save $2.00 a bottle, egg rolls (there are no good egg rolls at the Winn Dixie near me), and the new People magazine with The Obamas on the cover.  Naturally, I get in line at the check-out (three deep) and just as it’s my turn, realize that I didn’t get Beef Broth.  I need Beef Broth.  It’s one of the things I went to the store for.  I’m making Pot Roast in the Crock Pot, so I’ve got to have Beef Broth.  Crap!

I impatiently turn my cart out of the line, knowing I’d lose my turn in line and have to wait another 20 minutes when I returned.  Feeling utterly defeated, I sulked all the way to Aisle 5 and back to the check out.  I waited (again) for my turn to check out and I must say that the checker lady was very cordial and nice, chatty even.  I manage a polite conversation because, after all, she’s just trying to make a living, right?

Then, I get to my car, unload my loot into the backseat, and go to pull out.  The guy who gathers up all of the loose carts had left a 50 ft. line of carts IN THE MIDDLE OF THE AISLE, causing gridlock among the Saturday errand-runners.  There were raised voices, horns honking and fingers flying, but finally he got his electric mover working and the steel dragon out of the way.

As I pulled out and exited the parking lot, I found myself murmering to myself about stupidity, laziness and inconsiderateness.  To say I was in a bad mood would be the understatement of the year.  I got home, where I was alone as Mr. D was playing golf and Mini-DD was at a friend’s house.  I hauled all of the bags into the house and put it all away and then looked at the war-torn kitchen in disgust. 

“When does it all end?!?  Can’t I get a break?!?  What about ME?!?  What ABOUT me?!?”  My mind raced with these thoughts as I walked to the front porch to get the mail.  A bunch of junk, but then I saw two hand-written envelopes.  My heart always races with handwritten envelopes because it’s generally personal correspondence and someone sending something special to ME.

As I opened the envelope addressed to “Dee Dee & Gramps”, I felt like the Grinch when his heart grew three times to normal size.  For when I opened the card thanking us for the recent gifts, here’s what greeted me:

scan0001

handh

hdd11

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Suddenly, I was gobsmacked.  These wonderful images, provided by my wonderful and talented daughter-in-law, brought everything into sharp focus.  I became starkly aware that, in fact, it is NOT “all about me”, but rather about what I do for others…my family, my friends, total strangers.  I will feel better about me and my situation if I DO for others.

So, today is a brighter day.  Today, I will put ME aside and look outward rather than inward.  The above images will serve as a standard under which I will serve.  I will take my talents and multiply them.  For those of you so inclined to hear a “word” on this, listen to this message from Joyce Meyer:

Joyce has a way of putting practical life situations and challenges into faith messages.  I love her directness and self-depriciating humor.

For those of you not so inclined, here’s a wonderful ditty from Kevin So, who I had the pleasure of seeing this past year at the Saenger Theatre, here in Mobile.  Hopefully, it’ll make you feel bettah…

  Brighter Day, Kevin So

Perhaps Obama should make THIS his theme song.

 

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Mad as Hell…

Ok, here’s the deal…here’s how I feel today:

  Peter Finch in Network

I’m tired.  Exhausted even.

I’m sick of worry.  I’m sick of people taking advantage of others.  I’m sick of senseless crimes that basically go unpunished.  I’m sick of doing the right thing while others go through this life using and abusing the civility and politeness of others to enrich themselves with little or no regard for the affect on others.  I’m sick of paying the freight for others who choose not to help themselves.  I’m sick of being prudent in my finances by being frugal and others live high on the hog while my “investments” dwindle to nothing, endenturing me into my senior years just to pay the utility bill.

The new President might be the cure, but I’m not going to be patient.  While I know it takes time to right the ship, I want to see progress.  I want to see the stock market going UP each day.  I don’t want to pay additional taxes or more insurance or higher health costs with high fuel costs and lower property values.  Put simply, my pay just doesn’t increase at the rate that all of this is increasing, so I’m basically walking backwards. 

We’ve worked hard.  We’ve sacrificied.  We’ve saved.  We’ve lived by the law.  And, for what?  To sit on the sidelines and watch others who have done none of this walk away scot free with a pile of money with the final insult of us paying the bill for it.  Parents are killing their children and instead of swift and just punishment, we make excuses, protect their rights and create a society of allowance.

I’m nauseous.  Where is the balance?  Where is the moral outrage?  Where is accountability?  Is there simply no more structure in our society?  Everyone just do what you want with little or no consequence?

I’m pissed.

  We’re Not Gonna Take It, The Veronicas

 
 

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26 years…

  Leather & Lace, Stevie Nicks & Don Henley

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2008 in that's life, through the years

 

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Veterans’ Salute

flanders-field-poppies

On this Veterans’ Day, I offer a heart-felt “Thank You” to all of those soldiers who answered the call…reluctantly or enthusiastically…from small towns and city centers…rich and poor…those who returned and those who did not.

  Day After Tomorrow, Joan Baez

Never forget.

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2008 in holidays, inspiration

 

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Happy Birthday, My Friend.

In my thoughts and prayers today.  Dreams can come true…Tink says so.  ;)

  Rosie’s Lullaby, Norah Jones

She walked by the ocean,
And waited for a star,
To carry her away.

Feelin’ so small,
At the bottom of the world,
Lookin’ up to God.

She tries to take deep breaths,
To smell the salty sea,
As it moves over her feet.

The water pulls so strong,
And no-one is around,
And the moon is looking down.

Sayin’,
Rosie – come with me,
Close your eyes – and dream.

The big ships are rollin’,
And lightin’ up the night,
And she calls out, but they just her pass by.

The waves are crashin’,
But not making a sound,
Just mouthing along.

Sayin’,
Rosie – come with me,
Close your eyes and dream,
Close your eyes and dream,
Close your eyes and dream.

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2008 in birthdays, friends, that's life

 

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Over You: Jilted Lover No More

 lover

Last year, during football season, I tried to explain the LSU/Alabama drama, via a post entitled The Jilted Lover.  Imagine my surprise this past week when I opened up the USA Today after a grueling day on the road to find Glenn Guilbeau’s piece entitled, Saban’s Homecoming Inspires Emotion from LSU Faithful.  Here’s the opening paragragh:

Like jilted lovers, LSU fans will be waiting Saturday night at Tiger Stadium for former coach Nick Saban’s arrival. He will have a new love in his arm wearing vivid red and adorned with the No. 1 ranking LSU had in January.

Coincidink?  I doubt it.  I still get a fair number of hits daily on this post and Mr. Guilbeau has evidently been to Music Maven before.  I have to admit, it is a good analogy.  So, I want to roll just a little bit further with it.

So yesterday, the ex-girlfriend (Saban) came back to the hometown with slick, Big Al on her arm.  I have to admit that I still can’t stand either of them, but I’m pretty content with my own big wedding last year (National Championship) and my own new beau (Les Miles).  While I’d still like to be Belle of the Ball and in the spotlight right now, I know that my new marriage is just going through the growing pains of starting out a life together (and an inexperienced Redshirt Freshman QB).

Does it hurt to see them together?  Yes.  Do I wish that both would fall flat on their faces?  Yes.  But all I can control is my situation and I have to admit, it’s a pretty good one.  As we came face to face on Saturday, I felt mocked and put down.  I felt the anger rise and I wanted nothing more than to see them both humiliated and knocked off their perch.  And then, after a while it began not to matter.  I felt very disconnected from this person who I was once at one with.  This Ex was but a stranger to me now and my affection for my new love deepened.  Through good times and tough times, she’s been loyal, loving and committed to our relationship, constantly trying to please me.  We are now, truly, like peas and carrots.

So, Big Al and the Ex may be on to their own “big dance” and I wish them well.  Our meeting proved that I’m not the pushover they thought I was.  Even though I didn’t win the fight, I gave them a run for their money, showing that I’ve still got what it takes. 

Secretly, I think he, uh she, still loves me….

  Over You, Daughtry

 
 

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Sea of Humanity

rally

On Tuesday, America once again showed its true colors.  For the first time in our history, a man who is half African and half Anglo-Saxon was elected by the populus to steer the helm of the most powerful democracy in the world.  For me, Barack Obama is much like Tiger Woods in that he comes from a varied background that provides for an open mind from all groups of people.  While I do not agree with the fiscal policies of “spreading the wealth” and “universal health care”, I find myself slightly excited about the possibilities and infusion of youth into our government.

As I traveled among the unwashed masses on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, I couldn’t help but be struck by all of the different people that touch elbows through our airports each day.  It really is a microcosm of the world and for the most part runs very smoothly.  Just like society as a whole, there are people of every walk of life, nationality, religon and color traveling on business and for pleasure.  There are the young, the old, the very thin and the overly large, men and women.  While for the most part politeness and tolerance paves the way, there are also the occaisional assholes.

I have to say that in my travels, I have been met by multi-cultural politeness and respect.  People generally want to help each other — lift bags into the overhead, share a newspaper, open a door, say thank you, etc.  All of this strikes me as very much in line with the new “change” for our country.  First, Mr. Obama will soon be President Obama — President of the United States and therefore, everyone under that banner.  The electorate spoke and now it is time for us to unify to support our President and work to improve our economy, hold off our enemies and create a better place for our children and grandchildren.  Time will be the ultimate judge of success in policies or not and for now, collaboration will be key.

Conversely, the example of the heinousness of McCain aides who are now throwing Sarah Palin to the wolves should NOT be the standard.  While Sarah Palin could certaintly be accused of lack of experience and ultra-conservativeness, I find the back-biting by these men to cover their own ineptness appalling.  While Sarah Paling may not be the ideal for all women to support (just as Hillary was not), these men are damaging the possibilities for other women to step up and become a larger part of the governmental process at the highest levels.  I mean, who wants to be persecuted in such a way as this woman has been? 

I’ve been watching Mad Men and have had a few good laughs about the treatment of women and how much things have changed in the last 45 years.  But, as I sit writing this waiting to present to a room full of 50 year old white men in top positions at a large corporation, I’m wondering just how low the glass ceiling really is.  Are we let in just enough to get the work done, yet become the scapegoat when things go wrong? Barack Obama was carried into office by those who wanted to see change and embrace a chance for something new.  Perhaps women can join together to support each other for the same type of change.

I sincerely hope that Mr. Obama incorporates all tides from the sea of humanity.  As his crowd in Grant Park reflected on Tuesday night, we are a diverse group with all kinds of experience and ideas that can be brought to the table.  I’m hopeful that we will see a spirit of cooperation and inclusion and that perhaps we will have a day when there are no ceilings for anyone.  As long as I’m not over-taxed or my freedoms restricted or my opportunities limited or we don’t cower against terror, President Obama will have my full support.

  Everyday People, Sly & The Family Stone

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2008 in sarah palin, that's life

 

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