Friday, July 24, 2015

I Bleed Country Music

I've loved country music since I was at least 12. That's when John Denver was very popular. His songs Take Me Home Country Roads and Rocky Mountain High were on the radio, and my mother had an 8-track of of one of his albums. I remember when I turned 16 I loved buying albums and I bought two of his, including his Greatest Hits. And we used to sing Sunshine on My Shoulders at church, during the folk mass.

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy
Sunshine on my shoulders makes me cry
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely
Sunshine almost always makes me high

That was the same time that Glen Campbell was making guest appearances on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour on television. After a year, he got his own show, the Glen Campbell show. At school, we had the Scholastic Book of the Month club, and in 8th grade, I remember I bought Glen Campbell's biography. Oh how I cried when he hit rock bottom in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and sold his guitar for $25.

Around the same time, we had this neighbor Frank who was a truck driver, and he had about 30 or 40 country albums, what he called "truck-driving music," guys like Red Sovine, and I used to love to listen to it. Sometimes, I would go over there when his daughters, my friends Ronnie and Eva, weren't home. I would say, "Frank, can I listen to your records?" and he'd let me in. I'd sit on the floor of his living room and play record after record, while he was downstairs in the basement with his tools and his workbench.

I don't remember any of the songs or the singers now, except for ol' Red, but I remember they really captured my heart.

As I got older, I continued to enjoy country music. In the 90s I was very into the women of country -- Faith Hill, Martina McBride, Leann Womack, Jo Dee Messina, Leanne Rhimes, the Dixie Chicks.

The first time I ever got up and sang in public was at my Aunt Maymee's nursing home -- I sang Crazy by Patsy Cline. A few years later when I started going around the karaoke circuit, Crazy was part of my repertoire.

Today, I'm privileged to enjoy country radio over the Internet. I can listen to our local Nash FM, 94.7, out of Newark, or I can listen to the Big 98, WSIX, out of Nashville, or even Camel Country 108 out of Phoenix. I fell in love with Camel Country 108 when my mom was sick. One day I was driving her car to the hospital when I turned on the radio and was surprised to hear that my mother had the dial tuned to a country station. I listened for several months after I got home before I discovered WSIX in Nashville, the heart of country music, with Bobby Bones and Amy Page. I hope to meet them one day!

And of course, I can't forget CMT, and YouTube, with all the videos I could ever want.

It's amazing how country music has changed. Some of the songs on the radio, like Dan and Shea's Nothing Like You and (hottie) Michael Ray's Kiss You in the Morning don't sound like country to me at all. But then I hear people like Darius Rucker, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Carrie Underwood and Florida Georgia Line, and I feel good about where country music is going.

You'd think that someone who bleeds country music has been to Nashville six times over. Ironically. I've never been any farther than waiting at the airport for a connection flight. But visiting Nashville is definitely my dream and I hope to get their soon.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Congratulations to Country Singer Brantley Gilbert and His New Bride

Brantley Gilbert probably woke up on his wedding day last week and immediately thought, "bring it on!" In case you are a reader who is not 'countrified', those three words are pivotal to Gilbert's current smash hit, 'One Hell of an Amen.'

Gilbert, who has a voice I like to call Southern Whisper, married Amy Cochran, his long-time girlfriend at his Georgia home, according to E! online. Cochran inspired many of Gilbert's songs, including "More Than Miles" and "You Don't Know Her Like I Do."

The relationship hasn't always been upbeat, Gilbert recalled. In a previous interview with E, Gilbert said he met Cochran 10 years ago in church, but the relationship was on and off for five years. "I made some poor decisions which led to break up," he told E. They broke up for five years, but then they got back together.

"She's been in my soul since the day I met her...she has and will continue to inspire song after song in my life," Gilbert according to E.

Gilbert's newest album, Halfway to Heaven, has launched three hits so far: Bottom's Up, Small Town Throwdown and his latest single, One Hell of an Amen.

The latter song, a very catchy tune, is a story about 'fighting the good fight', Gilbert said in a video on his website. "Any time you go out fighting for your life or fighting for your country, that's one hell of an amen."

Gilbert will be touring throughout the U.S. during summer, then steps down in Canada in September and October.

Connect with Gilbert on Facebook and Twitter.

My congratulations go out to the happy couple.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.