Country Favorites: Summer 2017

Life

Even though it’s technically still spring, summer music is undoubtedly here.

Some of my favorites:

  • Body Like A Back Road (Sam Hunt) Talk about one of those instant feel-good jams. Goin 15 in a 30, I ain’t in no hurry, Imma take it slow just as fast as I can.
  • Craving You (Thomas Rhett & Maren Morris) Two of the top most popular country artists collaborating. What a beautiful thing!
  • Happy People (Little Big Town) This song has the best vibe and super solid lyrics too. Personal favorite line…Happy people don’t fail; happy people just learn.
  • The Fighter (Keith Urban & Carrie Underwood) Am I the only one who has a significant urge to kick-box when I hear this song? I’m still thinking about a full out routine to go with the song…
  • For Her (Chris Lane) Maybe the most adorable song ever-check it out.
  • Greatest Love Story (LANCO) This song is the first LANCO song I ever did hear and let me tell you they just might become a favorite of mine. If you have not yet heard this song, check. it. out.
  • No Such Thing As A Broken Heart (Old Dominion) Another extremely catchy song with excellent lyrics.
  • Round Here Buzz (Eric Church) This is a JAM! I have heard really great things about Eric’s Holding My Own tour and I just just imagine him singing this one live.
  • You Broke Up With Me (Walker Hayes) One of my gym buddies caught me jammmmmmming to this tune last week in my car…I had no idea he was driving in the lane next to me… The tune/lyric combination is on point. Do yourself a favor and listen to this one.

CMA’s 50, Reviewed

Life

Is today Christmas? I woke up with the same giddy excitement for the 50th CMA show!

So it’s not Christmas but I do have TONS of snacks, sparkling grapefruit water (I really went cray-cray on that impulse buy) and not-gonna-lie I’m wearing the same dress I wore to my sister’s wedding. (WHO SAYS YOU WON’T WEAR YOUR BRIDESMAID DRESS AGAIN? I’LL GIVE YOU AN OCCASION.)

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Let me recap for you the first ten solid minutes of the CMAs in one sentence. Basically anyone who has been involved in country music for over 10 years sang a medley of all-time hits, including Reba’s Fancy, Randy Travis’s Forever And Ever, Amen and Alan Jackson’s Don’t Rock The Jukebox.

Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood are singing “the election is lasting, forever and ever.” Clever start to the hosting intro. (And I mean… amen. Pun WAY intended.)

Entertainer of the Year nominees are mentioned, Carrie Underwood’s one of them. Brad proclaims, “#ImWithCarrie.” Love it.

Aweeee you guyssss! Five of our Olympians from this year are giving the first award tonight for single of the year. They look adorable all dressed up. My money was on Chris Stapleton, Nobody To Blame. The adorable Thomas Rhett is the winner, though, and he and his wife both look so happy about it. I’m happy too.

Home girl has taken the stage! (I should specify… this is Kelsea Ballerini.) She’s singing Peter Pan – a slow version with two people dancing in the background. She looks sincere and has such solid stage presence. PS, the people dancing are aerial dancing (is that even a term?) Read… one or both of them are regularly… not on the ground… I love the creativity and level of entertainment I felt from this performance.

Olivia Newton John is part of the group – who knew, she was 1979’s female vocalist of the year? Song of the Year will be announced. Tim McGraw wins with Humble and Kind. The song writer, Lori McKenna, gave the sweetest thank you speech about how this song was a prayer she wrote for her children, and how she writes songs for Tim McGraw because of Faith Hill. Faith is (adorably) crying at her seat. I LOVE MOMENTS LIKE THESE.

Jason Aldean is singing “Brand New Man” with Brooks & Dunn. Jason’s voice sounds great with Ronnie and Kix in this classic performance.

Dierks Bentley and Elle King are singing “It’s Different With Girls.” I love this song and they’re performing a classic, sweet version of this song.

GUYS MY OTHER FAVE IS PERFORMING! Maren Morris is singing My Church. Her hair is way curly, “fro-ed out” even. She’s got a little church choir behind her, and she’s wearing a trendy black dress. She seems real happy and comfortable rockin’ out to her first hit.

Let me take a minute to say, Carrie Underwood has been dressing to honor each decade. Everyone knows she’s like model-level beautiful so she looks amazing in each dress. #GOALS.

Jennifer Garner is giving the award for New Artist of the Year. Kelsea Ballerini, Brothers Osborne, Maren Morris, Old Dominion, and Cole Swindell are all nominated. We have some great new artists! Side note, she is rocking her outfit. Maren wins! Hooray sista, I am PROUD O YOU. She’s way humbled and emotional. Last year she was watching the CMAs at a bar and here she is today. CRYING up a storm and thanking her favorites. She is a wreck and I absolutely love her perfectly flawed thank you. Maren, you have arrived my friend.

Brad Paisley straight up admitted that Carrie is doing one of her “legendary outfit changes” and I love that.

Garth and Tricia are singing a tribute medley. Watching the crowd react to each song introduced is really fun. Words to explain the way this audience is receiving the performance: giddy excitement, sentimental tears, true appreciation.

Oh snap, Carrie Underwood is looking SASSY singing Dirty Laundry. She literally is crushin it tonight.

Faith Hill is giving out the next award, for Album of the Year. Nominated: Black (Dierks Bentley), Hero (Maren Morris), Mr. Misunderstood (Eric Church), Ripcord (Keith Urban) anddddddd Storyteller (Carrie Underwood). Ok, I am WAY surprised. Eric Church is the winner! Mr. Misunderstood is a solid album though, so I’m happy with him. Eric mentioned that he presented his album last year at his performance at the CMAs and I totally remember that.

Little Big Town is singing their new song, Better Man. Fun fact, Taylor Swift wrote this song! Listen to the lyrics and you will believe it.

Miranda Lambert looks like she 100% knows what she’s doing. She’s singing Vice… acapella for the first several measures and completely on key. I actually love her very simple hairstyle.

Matthew McConaughey has taken the stage! (Alright alright alright!) He’s introducing Tim McGraw who is singing Humble And Kind.

Brad Paisley sang with the Oak Ridge Boys.. until commercial break… It was a nice moment of fame for them.

Cue the happy tears, Alan Jackson is singing Remember When. He looks completely authentic. Clips from CMA shows are being played overhead. Don’t mind me while I sob on my couch. George Straight has entered the stage and he’s singing Troubador, with Alan still on the stage too.

I have no clue who the couple is currently on the stage, announcing the next award. They did give the score to the World Series though (and I must admit I’m pulling for the Cubs, even though I’m a pretty serious Brewers fan). Vocal Duo of the Year goes to Brothers Osborne. I’m shocked because I was expecting Florida Georgia Line to win. Side note, turns out Brothers Osborne are brothers… ūüėČ

Keith Urban is singing Blue Aint Your Color. The performance is very classic. I’ve noticed a theme of authentic, slow, serious songs tonight.

The award for the Vocal Group of the Year is up next.Awe, Little Big Town wins! I love them so I could back this any day.

The time is here. BEYONCE and the Dixie Chicks have taken the stage. They’re singing “Daddy Lessons.” Out loud, I meaningfully said in a confused tone, “I like this.” We have fiddles, a harmonica, your classic guitars and the Dixie Chicks harmonies. This dynamic girl-power collaboration is now singing “Long Time Gone.”¬† My roommates have really good opinions and they say this was the “best. collab. of the night.” They have some credibility and I have to say it was an unforgettable performance.

Kenny Chesney is receiving the third ever Pinnacle Award. I’m so happy for Kenny and proud of all he has done for country music. One of my favorite life moments thus far was watching Kenny perform live at Country Thunder several summers ago. KENNY, U DA MAN.

Thomas Rhett is singing “Die A Happy Man.” We have another heart-felt performance delivered by Thomas who already won an award tonight for this very song.

Chris Stapleton is performing “Seven Spanish Angels,” which I believe was by Ray Charles. I am remembering my complete confusion last year when he won so many awards. And here we are today with Chris as another household name in country music.

Luke Bryan has taken the stage, and he’s singing Move. I’m honestly thrilled to hear a party song as we have experienced a lot of the sweet-serious songs tonight. Luke Bryan will always come through for a good time.

Lee Greenwood is singing “I’m Proud To Be An American” with Brad and Carrie and absolutely everyone at the CMAs. I LOVE AMERICA, AND I LOVE COUNTRY MUSIC.

Florida Georgia Line is singing “May We All.” I’m looking for you, Tim McGraw. AND THERE HE IS! Tim has joined Tyler and Brian on the stage for the second half of the song, and I loved the solid performance.

Vince Gill is on the stage to present the Female Vocalist of the Year award. He also announced that the Cubs are up 6-3 and I’m gathering that a majority of the crowd is pulling for Chicago tonight. Carrie Underwood is tonight’s winner! I would like to personally congratulate Kacey, Maren, Kelsea and Miranda as they were also nominated for the award. All five of these women are doing amazing things for country music.

Eric Church is singing Kill A Word. Eric is an incredibly talented singer and I will always appreciate his work.

Dolly Parton is now being honored. She is definitely iconic. Jennifer Nettles and Pentatonix are performing Jolene. (CUE ALL THE EXCITED VIBES!!!!!!!!!!!!!). I. loved. their. performance. BOOM. REBA has entered the stage. She’s singing Dolly’s “9 to 5.” Now we have Kacey Musgraves singing “Here You Come.” Kacey is crushing this sweet performance and Dolly appears to be very pleased with the performance. Carrie Underwood and Martina McBride have joined the stage singing “I Will Always Love You.” (Carrie and Martina, would you pleaseeeee collab more often?!). Jennifer, Carrie, Martina, Kacey and Reba are all singing and I am shivering and have tears with all of the emotions. The performance was sweet, special, beautiful, and altogether lovely. The Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award is given to Dolly. “I would’ve cried but I didn’t want to mess up my eyelashes.” Gosh Dolly, some things just never change!

Sharon Stone has taken the stage to award the Male Vocalist of the Year. Nominees are Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Tim McGraw, Chris Stapleton, and Keith Urban. Our winner is Chris Stapleton.  Again, all five nominees are phenomenal, but since I never lie I will admit that Chris would not be in my top four preferences for this award. Nevertheless, Chris is WAY talented and he gave a very nice speech, so kudos to you my friend.

Now it’s Brad Paisley’s turn to perform. He’s wearing jeans and a cowboy hat, and he’s singing Today. Country history clips are being showed on screens behind Brad, which contributes to the sentimental touch of this year’s show.

Taylor Swift is back at the CMAs! She is presenting the award for Entertainer of the Year! Nominated: Garth, Keith Luke, Chris, Carrie. The 2016 Entertainer of the Year is awarded to Garth Brooks. Garth is our winner and he gave a very classy and heart-filled thank you acceptance speech.

Carrie, wearing a beautiful black dress, and Brad, wished our viewers a final good night.

The current score of the World Series is 6-6 so while the CMAs are over, American TV has more history to be made tonight! Goodnight all and thanks for reading the post!

Were you surprised by the performances and award winners? I’d love to hear in the comments.

Jam Sesh : What I’m Listening To

Life

We have made it to November and I’ve found myself enjoying some new songs in this small window of November where I’m not allowed to listen to Christmas music just yet. Click on the links to listen to some GOOD MUSIC.

Top Favorite Song Of The Week:
HOUSEFIRES II: Good Good Father. If you can only listen to one song on this post, make this be your choice. Talk about a beautiful, true, wonderful song!

Favorite Song On A New Album:
CARRIE UNDERWOOD: Dirty Laundry. Everybody knows Carrie is one of my all-time favorites and this song on her newest album does not disappoint! I love how this song is catchy, sassy, clever AND a great showcase for Carrie’s talent.

Favorite Pop Song:
ADELE: Hello. I’ve always appreciated Adele but this one has spoken to me louder than Adele’s own voice in the chorus. As an added bonus, it’s hilarious at work trying to answer the phone in the same tone as the song. #iDareYou. I know I’m not the only person who’s fanatic about this song; I’ve caught other people jammin to this hit (no judgment)!

Favorite Country Song:
THOMAS RHETT: Die A Happy Man. Two of my favorite friends are serious Thomas Rhett fans so they knew about this song ASAP. They shared it with me and I, too, can feel the love. What a good one!

Favorite Guilty Pleasure:
THE WEEKEND: Can’t Feel My Face. Because every time this one comes on I just want to sing and dance and my mood shifts to a happy-funky vibe. #SorryNotSorry

Favorite Christmas Song:
PENTATONIX: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. Guysssss I’m sorry; I cannot resist a little Yuletide spirit! And what’s more cheerful than an acapella holiday fave?

CMAs 2015 Reviewed

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CMA 2015 awards have begun!

The opening sketch is a tribute to Star Wars and they just made a joke about Garth Vader. This. Is. Awesome.

Hank Jr. is singing with Eric Church. #HankAndEric is literally hashtagged on Hank’s guitar. Love it! Visualize: a bunch of old guys in aviators, with the American flag in the background; this looks real fitting to kick off this year’s country awards show.

John Mellencamp is singing “Ain’t That America” with Keith Urban. My roommate wants to know who did John’s hair. I want to know how Keith is so PERFECT all the time. As an obviously perfect segue, Keith has busted into “John Cougar, John Wayne, John 3:16.” Keith’s wing-man’s harmony is not quite on point though. On another note, Megan is sue she has the same outfit Keith is currently wearing – a scoop neck white tank top, a black blazer, and black skinny jeans. Classic for either gender, I guess.

Carrie and Brad are back on stage. THEY JUST SAID CRAY-CRAY and NAY-NAY! And threw Josh Duggar under the bus. I love when Carrie and Brad sing little jingles together. I had to hold my breath when they talked about Blake and Miranda (Love you both #4eva) but we are off to a good start.

Single of the Year goes to: Girl Crush! Little Big Town wins a big award and I am so happy and proud of them! The band looks awesome and they are so happy. Other thoughts on this moment: I’m not surprised this song won, Karen gave a great speech, and Kimberly has a very muscular back (YOU GO GIRL).

Next up is a performance by Zac Brown Band. ZAC BROWN IS NOT WEARING A HAT! Zac and his bald head are on center stage singing a song I don’t know- Beautiful Drug. I am liking what I’m hearing.

Kenny Chesney’s performance is next. He has a beach vibe on stage which is so perfect for him, the King of Summer. Kenny’s wearing a classic outfit of gray pants, a black polo and a standard Kenny cowboy hat. He’s singing “Save It For A Rainy Day” and it sounds good. I am convinced that Kenny’s having the time of his life on stage right now.

Sign me up for #SamHunting. I have such a real crush on him. He’s wearing a black shirt with a white collar, though, and it kind of looks like one of those priest outfits. Even so, Sam, you are rocking the priest look. I swear he knows he is adorable; he has this smile between phrases. You can “Take My Time” any time.

Song of the Year: Girl Crush wins again. This time we are honoring Liz Rose, Lori McKenna, and Hillary Lindsey.

Quick shout-out to my favorite so far of Carrie’s outfits. Her dress is beautiful. It’s long, flowy, and a very dainty light purple color. Carrie tweeted earlier today that she has TWELVE outfits for the day.

Little Big Town takes the stage, this time to perform. They’re singing “Girl Crush” and their outfits are weird. Picture a lot of shiny silver and black sparkles and that’s their outfits. Their harmonies are on point, though, and that’s what we’re here to care about.

New Artist of the Year: Chris Stapleton. I WANT A RE-COUNT! Literally my last choice AND I don’t even know who he is. What does he sing? And that is a terrible hat. I would have preferred any of the others (Sam Hunt, Maddie & Tae, Kelsea Ballerini, Thomas Rhett).

I have been waiting for this moment! Carrie Underwood is performing “Smoke Break.” She is wearing fringe and over-the-heel boots, which is so 2015. She blows me away every time she performs. Talk about a girl crush. Per usual, Carrie looks AND sounds flawless.

Mystery Man/New Winner Chris Stapleton is singing “Tennessee Whiskey” with JT himself. Didn’t see that one coming. You know what, though? They rocked it, so good for them. Our featured unlikely duo is now singing “Drink You Away.” The performance is heating up and everybody’s loving it.

Florida Georgia Line is performing “Confession.” The song is new to me and I like it. The stage is set up like a dusty old church; their outfits look like they just walk of¬†The Hunger Games which even includes Brian rocking a feather necklace (?). Shout out to Tyler for rocking the man bun though (side note, I googled to see if “man bun” was supposed to by hyphenated).

Dynamic Duo Of The Year goes to FGL and I am a happy girl. Way to go!

Eric Church is singing a brand new one-Mr. Misunderstood. I think this song is perfect for this rebellious rockstar. Eric’s wearing a leather jacket, aviators and jeans-staying true to his classic look.

Thomas Rhett is playing “Crash and Burn.” He has a cool back and white stairwell vibe going on complete with dancers and HEY WAIT Fall Out Boy is totally dueting this up with Thomas right now. The duet has shifted to Uma Thurman.

You have got to be freaking kidding me; Album of the Year goes to Chris Stapleton. But who is Chris Stapleton?

Kelsea Ballereini gets a quick second on stage. I can’t tell if she’s wearing a romper or a dress but it’s a high-low ensemble, and she’s singing “Love Me Like You Mean It.” She looks beautiful and so natural on stage.

Brad Paisley is rocking “Country Nation” as his voice sounds perfect and a set of bleachers behind him are filled with college mascots. In typical Brad form there is a lot of guitar playing. Brad is wearing a football jersey himself.

Blake Shelton is singing “Gonna” and he’s all dressed up in a white shirt, black vest and black tie. He cleans up NICE. Not to be critical, but Blake’s performance was very nice without any WOW factors.

We are graced with an excerpt from Maddie and Tae’s “Girl In A Country Song.” I can’t believe how confident these ladies are looking on stage. I’m also laughing at Tae’s name embroidered on her guitar strap.

Can I be honest? I miss the OLD Luke. Tonight he is singing “Strip It Down” and his hair has gel in it and he’s wearing a collared shirt and dress pants. LUKE BRYAN, I MISS YOUR BASEBALL HAT AND JEANS AND ORIGINAL SONGS. I mean I’m not hating what I’m seeing/hearing but I truly miss the old you.

The Vocal Group of the Year award goes to Little Big Town! I am so proud of them as a dedicated fan from the beginning.

My home girl is performing! Miranda has a blonde-pink ombre hair style with a jean jacket and black skinny jeans. Her guitar is pink, too! She’s singing “Bathroom Sink.” I am surprised by the song choice but Miranda can seriously do no wrong.

Jason Aldean is wearing his typical cowboy hat and short-sleeved plaid button down. He’s singing “Gonna Know We Were Here.”

I love Kacey Musgraves. She is singing “Dime Store Cowgirl.” A daring and unique performance, Kacey has a cartoon vibe of a slideshow background. She’s wearing a sparkle leotard and white cowboy boots. Her voice sounds like honey and her stage presence is nothing short of lovely. She has five men in her band, all wearing pink suits with sparkle collars. I’m serious, though, it WORKS.

Dierks Bently is singing “Riser” with Lindsey Stirling (my roommate had to introduce Lindsey to me; sorry I’m not extremely rounded when it comes to violinists).

Female Vocalists of the Year Nominees: Kelsea Ballerini, Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves, Carrie Underwood, and Le Ann Womack. Tonight’s winner is Miranda Lambert! MY GURL! “Little Red Wagon” is playing in the background and Miranda’s wearing a casual outfit. She gives a really simple and humble thank you speech.

Brooks and Dunn and Reba are performing together. They’re performing “Why Haven’t I Heard From You.” Reba is truly adorable, for a lady I can’t stand! Looks like we have a mash-up because now Brooks and Dunn have taken the lead with “Play Something Country.”

Male Vocalist of the Year Nominees: Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Blake Shelton, Chris Stapleton. Chris Stapleton won and he might be as dumbfounded as the rest of us. I’m not sure at this point, if I’m more angry or confused by the way Chris is sweeping up these awards. I mean good for him but this is seriously not right.

Entertainer of the Year Nominees: Eric, Kenny, Miranda, Garth. The winner is Luke Bryan. Awe, he seems so very happy so I’m happy too.

Closing thoughts: I enjoyed the show minus a few unexpected award winners. And that’s a wrap!

My Summer Country Favorites

Life

Summertime never lets me down in the country music world. This season a lot of good songs have been playing on the radio. Here are a few of my favorites:

  1. Sam Hunt, House Party. When you think about it, this is really a re-make of Shania Twain’s classic Party For Two. And I’m OK with that.
  2. Kelsea Ballerini, Dibs. I am being a little before-the-times with this one but it’s just adorable. If you’ve got a Friday night free and a shot-gun seat, well I’m just sayin I ain’t got nowhere to be.
  3. Thomas Rhett, Crash and Burn. Truly this is a sweet song but it’s the catchy beat that gets me jammin.
  4. Jake Owen, Real Life.But that waitress, she’s real rude. She’s got real problems but we do too so we tip her anyway.” JUST YES.
  5. Carrie Underwood, Smoke Break. I love Carrie and I’m just glad she’s back with new stuff on the radio.
  6. Eric Church, Like a Wrecking Ball. Does this count as a guilty pleasure? Admit it, you love it too.
  7. Florida Georgia Line, Anything Goes. Because FGL is such a summer band and this song simply does not disappoint.
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I thought this was a perfect opportunity to share this picture of Kara and I with a “taller and better looking Jason Aldean” at Country Thunder.

Summertime: Let The Jams Begin

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Summer means concerts, people, and I’ve got a good feeling about this year’s lineup. I hope to hit up a few county fairs that haven’t yet posted their entertainment. Here’s some good stuff I know of so far:

Summerfest: True life on-the-blog confession- never have I ever attended Summerrfest. I hope I can change that in 2014:

  • Kip Moore (because somethin-bout-a-truck makes me want to see him live)
  • Scotty McCreery AKA Scotty McHottie
  • David Nail (I don’t know a lot of his songs, but I love what I know)
  • The Head And The Heart (I’m branching out, people!)
  • A Great Big World (I volunteer to sing the female part of Say Something)

And then there’s Country Thunder. I missed it when I didn’t go last year! This year’s lineup includes:

  • Thompson Square and Gary Allen on Thursday¬†
  • Eli Young Band and Miranda Lambert on Friday (eeeeeeeee!)
  • Randy Houser and Brantley Gilbert on Saturday
  • Colt Ford, Thomas Rhett and Jason Aldean on Sunday

The Wisconsin State Fair would also be a new experience for me; I’d love to see Lady Antebellum there.