Posted tagged ‘Music’

The Songs That Shaped Me…

April 1, 2014

All to often, we listen to the music. The beat. The instruments. But do we take the time to listen to it as a whole. The lyrics. What they mean.

Most people will say yes…but do they really?

As I approach my 36th birthday in two days (April 3), I wanted to take a few minutes to share the songs that shaped who I am today…and a little of background on each.

Let’s start with the one that has meant the most. Steve Holy’s “Good Morning Beautiful” is a song I sang to my girlfriend (then fiance and now wife) every morning. It will always hold a special place in my heart.

“Good Morning Beautiful” was released in July of 2001 as the fourth single from the album Blue Moon. The song slowly became a major hit, reaching # 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart on in February of 2002. The song’s five-week reign atop the chart was part of a 41-week chart run.

It’s so simple, but powerful. One listen, and you’ll be hooked.

“Good morning, beautiful, how was your night?
Mine was wonderful with you by my side
And when I open my eyes to see your sweet face
It’s a good morning, beautiful day”

Next up is another ballad (which may be an ongoing theme here). In 1992, John Michael Montgomery recorded “Life’s a Dance”. To this day, it’s one of my favorite songs of all time and probably the most quoted song I use on a daily basis. Montgomery provides listeners with the example of being too scared to ask a girl out when he was 14 years old. The girl ends up moving away and he never had the chance to ask her.

While not necessarily the same experience, we’ve all had those moments where we hesitated and never know what might have been. Thinking of this song always reminds me that we have one life to live and you learn as you go!

“Life’s a dance, you learn as you go.
Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow.
Don’t worry ’bout what you don’t know,
life’s a dance, you learn as you go.”

U2′s “With or Without You” has been my all time favorite song since it came out. The song is the third track from The Joshua Tree and was released as the album’s first single in March of 1987. The song was easily U2′s most successful single at the time, becoming their first number-one hit in both the United States and Canada. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks.

But enough background. The song just makes you think. Ponder your life. Can you live “with or without someone”. Those thoughts ran through my mind for years…you know how tough high school years are :)

“My hands are tied
My body bruised, she’s got me with
Nothing to win and
Nothing left to lose”

There was a time in my life. A time that many go through. When you don’t think you can go on. When you don’t want to go on. You come so close to taking your life, then a song pulls you back out. The funny thing is that the song that pulled me out was a song about suicide.

“Fade to Black” was the first power ballad by Metallica, released as the first promotional single from its second studio album, Ride the Lightning (their best album in my opinion). While I’m sure the band freaked out a bit how their fans would react to a ballad, I’m glad they recorded it.

It saved my life on one summer evening back in 1998.

“No one but me can save myself, but it’s too late
Now I can’t think, think why I should even try
Yesterday seems as though it never existed
Death greets me warm, now I will just say goodbye”

Those are just three of the songs that shaped me. Maybe I’ll post a few more later down the road.

How about you? What are the songs that shaped who you are today? The ones that mean the most to you?

Feel free to leave your thoughts and songs in the comments.

Concert Review: Steve Holy and Dustin Lynch Turn the “Radio Up” in Davis, California

December 20, 2013

Davis, California, may not be the world’s hotbed for country music. But, on the evening of December 19, 2013, the city welcomed two of my favorite live performers in Steve Holy and Dustin Lynch.

Courtesy of 101.9 The Wolf

Courtesy of 101.9 The Wolf

I’ve been lucky enough to catch both of these stars in small venues on multiple occasions, and after last nights show, I’m thinking that it might be my last chance to see them in such an intimate setting. In my opinion, both were tremendous performances once again. I’ll keep this simple: Steve Holy and Dustin Lynch are destined for stardom.

The Davis Graduate was the venue for 101.9 The Wolf’s Country Acoustic Christmas Show, which hardly had the feel of an acoustic show with the energy from the crowd, the radio personalities and the performers. From the moment the doors opened at 7 p.m., until Steve Holy concluded his set at 11:45 p.m., the venue was electric.

Dustin Lynch took the stage first and played a mix of his own music featuring “Cowboys and Angels” and “She Cranks My Tractor” as well as a great selection of cover songs including “Wagon Wheel”, “Callin’ Baton Rouge”, “Dust on the Bottle” and “Friends in Low Places”. How can you go wrong with any of those songs?

Lynch

Not only is Lynch a great live performer, you can tell that he loves what he’s doing and appreciates his fans. Great interaction throughout the show with the audience, who were pretty much eating out of his hand from the first note. Just like Steve Holy and other artists including James Wesley, Phil Vassar and Chris Cagle, he’s genuine. You know that he actually wants to be there, playing music for the people. Taking requests, taking photos (and photo-bombing a few being taken in the front row) and just having a good time.

If you haven’t seen a live Dustin Lynch show, you’re missing out. Check him out next time he’s in town.

Around 10:15 p.m., Steve Holy took to the stage. I’ve seen him in concert three times before, with the most recent concert being a “Songwriter’s Night” in San Jose, hosted by KRTY 95.3, along with Troy Olsen, Brian McComas, Aaron Benward and Jason Jones.

Holy

What must be said first and foremost is that Holy brings a passion to his music that is unmatched in the industry. All of his songs are written from the heart (whether serious in nature or in fun) and this comes through in his live performances.

He played all of his hits including “Good Morning Beautiful”, “Love Don’t Run”, “Hauled Off and Kissed Me” and the crowd favorite “Brand New Girlfriend.” He also threw in a great cover of “Easy” and his current single “Radio Up” which is a standard on my playlist these days. If you haven’t heard it yet, what are you waiting for??? The song is a hit waiting to happen.

I always find it hard to choose a favorite moment. On this night, I’d have to go with the few moments we got to catch up after the show in the parking lot, talking about the show and plans for 2014. Spending time with your fans, even when you’re running late and in a big hurry, is important and what sets the good artists from the great artists.

Holy

Steve Holy is a genuine, all around great guy who doesn’t get the recognition that he deserves. This is something that needs to change and it really needs to change starting in 2014. There needs to be a movement and I’ll take the charge holding the flag if need be. We need to bring Steve’s name and songs to the top of the charts. Call, email and Tweet your local radio stations and tell them that you want Steve Holy played. Tell your friends to check out his music and videos…and tell them today! Country music needs more of the likes of Steve Holy, James Wesley and others who “get it”. We need to stand up and do what we can to get their names out there!

The future is bright for both of these artists, and I can’t see what’s in store for the year to come.

Have you seen either in concert before? What was your experience? Feel free to leave your thoughts and comments below. I’d love to hear them!

‘American Bandstand’ Host Dick Clark Dies

April 18, 2012

Dick Clark, who changed the way people listened to pop music with “American Bandstand,” and whose annual “Rockin’ Eve” became a fixture of New Year’s celebrations, died today at the age of 82.

I have many a New Year’s memory staying up late on New Year’s Eve to countdown to midnight and watch the latest (and greatest) musicians take the stage on “Rockin’ Eve”. Over the past couple years since his stroke, Dick Clark has played a minimal role on the show, giving way to Ryan Seacrest. But, he was still there this past New Year’s, counting down to the ball drop.

One of my favorite quotes from Dick Clark came just before the 2010 New Year’s celebration:

“I do the best I can and have been encouraged to continue because I hear it serves to inspire many others.”

RIP Dick Clark!

From The New York Times:

The television legend Dick Clark, who originated “American Bandstand” and the perennial New Year’s Eve celebration on ABC, died Wednesday morning, his representative Paul Shefrin said.

Mr. Shefrin said that Mr. Clark, 82, had suffered a heart attack.

Mr. Clark “had entered St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica last night for an outpatient procedure,” Mr. Shefrin said in a statement. “Attempts to resuscitate were unsuccessful. He is survived by his wife, Kari, and his three children, RAC, Duane and Cindy.”

Whitney Houston Dead at Age 48

February 11, 2012

Whitney Houston, who was probably regarded as one of the greatest pop singers of all time until drug use and erratic behavior led to a decline in her career, has died at the age of 48.

Anyone my age grew up with Whitney Houston. I may not have been her biggest fan, but her music was a part of my adolescence. School dances…etc. I mean “The Bodyguard” and her remake of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You”. What a talent who will be surely be missed!

Not sure what else there is to say…I’ll leave you with probably the greatest National Anthem of all time at the Super Bowl:

From CBS News:

Houston’s publicist, Kristen Foster, said Saturday that the singer had died, but the cause and the location of her death were unknown.

News of Houston’s death came on the eve of music’s biggest night — the Grammy Awards. It’s a showcase where she once reigned, and her death was sure to case a heavy pall on Sunday’s ceremony. Houston’s longtime mentor Clive Davis was to hold his annual concert and dinner Saturday; it was unclear if it was going to go forward.

Keyboardist for Charlie Daniels Band Dies

October 14, 2011

Sad news in the world of country music as Joel “Taz” DiGregorio, legendary keyboardist for the Charlie Daniels Band,  has died at the age of 67.

Taz was on his way to meet the band’s tour bus when his car crashed near Nashville, Tennessee. RIP Taz!

From CNN:

“I am in shock now, Taz was one of my best friends,” Charlie Daniels said in a statement. “The CDB family has lost a great friend and musician.”

DiGregorio was a member of the band for more than 40 years and co-wrote its signature song,”The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”

Funeral arrangements are pending.

The Big Show Presents: Billy the Greek Goes to San Francisco

July 26, 2011

Yet another episode of “The Big Show” with the college crew from back in 2001.

This segment once again features one of my favorite characters that I ever created…Billy the Greek…who once again demonstrates his over exaggerated Male Chauvenism.

Once again…none of our content should ever be considered PG so enter at your own risk :)

Can Justin Timberlake Bring Sexy Back to Myspace? Maybe…

July 1, 2011

Like most of us these days, I consider myself a member of Team Facebook. To be honest, the thought of Myspace still being around hadn’t even crossed my mind until it was announced this week that News Corp. had sold its struggling social network to Irvine-based Specific Media for $35 million. Obviously, this is a huge financial hit for News Corp. after paying $580 million for the social networking site back in 2005.

According to their press release, former N’Sync star Justin Timberlake will also take an ownership stake and play a major role in developing the creative direction and strategy for the company moving forward.  I have to imagine that it was Timberlake’s popularity, and his involvement in the music industry, that were the key draws to Specific Media. With Timberlake’s help, the new owners will look to rejuvenate MySpace and transform it into a destination for original shows, as well as bolster its already available video content and music.

So, does anybody else find it ironic that Timberlake starred as Facebook investor Sean Parker in the critically acclaimed Hollywood hit The Social Network last year? Equally as ironic is that Parker recently sat down with Jimmy Fallon at the NExTWORK Conference where he explained why Myspace surrendered to Facebook. You can read about it, and see video of the interview here.

Anyways, it’s hard to look back now and imagine that MySpace had been the most popular social network until it said “Bye, Bye, Bye” two years ago when it was passed in popularity by Facebook. But, according to comScore, the network still has approximately 35 million visitors in the United States per month, compared with more than 157 million for Facebook, and that’s still a decent user base to build on.

So the question remains: will Timberlake bring sexy back to Myspace or will he be left crying a river in the near future? In a statement, Timberlake stated: “There’s a need for a place where fans can go to interact with their favorite entertainers, listen to music, watch videos, share and discover cool stuff and just connect. Myspace has the potential to be that place.”

A USA Today article stated that Myspace Music has a catalog of 38 million songs and 700,000 musicians. That’s definitely a good start! I have to admit, the one aspect of Myspace that I enjoyed was how I was able to easily connect with bands on their site. Many of my favorite bands even ditched their traditional websites for Myspace pages.

Specific Media will also leverage the Myspace infrastructure to deploy socially-activated advertising campaigns, enabling brands to turn their campaigns viral by allowing users to share their favorite ads with friends. This isn’t surprising as Specific Media was founded back in 1999 to address the needs of the growing online advertising space. Over the past decade, the company has developed into one of the world’s largest online advertising companies, with capabilities spanning original programming, addressable advertising, and cross-media distribution.

But is Myspace still relevant and can Timberlake bring the star power needed to revive the struggling social network?

In an interview with AdAge, Specific Media CEO Tim Vanderhook stated that “The one thing we were looking for immediately was bringing Justin Timberlake in — we were looking for someone to drive creative strategy.” Vanderhook also noted that “Justin is a very busy person with many careers. He will have an office in MySpace, and he’ll have a team there. Probably not going to be there every day.”

His own office at Myspace’s Beverly Hills headquarters? Not bad…I hope his deal comes with “No Strings Attached”.

Specific Media and Timberlake are planning a press conference later this summer where they are expected to reveal their vision for Myspace. I’m sure at that time we’ll learn more about their future plans, but for now, I’m at least a little bit interested. I can’t say that I’ll go back and update my Myspace page right away (if I even still have one), but I won’t rule out the possibility.

With Facebook being the dominant social networking site today, do you expect to see users jumping ship? Will the addition of Justin Timberlake make you say “I Want You Back” to Myspace? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

‘Poetry Man’ Singer/Songwriter Dies

April 26, 2011

Singer-songwriter Phoebe Snow died in New York today at the age of 58 due to complications of a massive hemorrhagic stroke she suffered last year.

From CNN:

Snow “fought for almost a year-and-a-half to come back, enduring bouts of blood clots, pneumonia, and congestive heart failure, each time coming out of it, until her body finally could take it no more,” manager Sue Cameron said.

She suffered the stroke in January 2010, just after she completed recording new songs and as she was rehearsing with her band for a series of weekly shows in New York, Cameron said.

CD Review: Trailer Choir, Tailgate

September 3, 2010

What can I say about Trailer Choir that I haven’t said before. You can go back to the very first time I ever mentioned this talented trio back in July of 2008 and my last concert review of their show in San Jose, California, at the Rodeo Club.

Their new album, Tailgate, came out earlier this summer and I can guarantee that I was one of the first people to pick it up (my local Wal-Mart of course). At a more than reasonable $10, this is one of the top CD’s that I’ve purchased in recent memory. Yes, I still buy CD’s!

The track list is a mix of new music and familiar favorites. If you don’t have the album in front of you, and you should, here’s what you’ll find on the CD:

1. Shakin’ That Tailgate

2. Rollin’ Through the Sunshine

3. Can’t Drink All Day

4. Last Man Standing

5. Homemade Mexico

6. Wal-Mart Flowers

7. In My Next 5 Beers

8. Girls Love to Go Dancin’

9. Rockin’ the Beer Gut

10. Off the Hillbilly Hook

In the maybe 75-80 times I’ve listened to the CD already, I can tell you that there are already some instant classics on this CD. From the energetic “Shakin’ That Tailgate”, which you currently hear on country music stations across the country, to classics such as “Off the Hillbilly Hook” and “Rollin’ Through the Sunshine”, the CD has a perfect mix of fun and sun!

My own personal favorite new song on the CD is “Can’t Drink All Day”. If I had to make a recommendation for their next single, this would have to be it. Nothing sums it up better than the lyrics “you can’t drink all day, if you don’t start early.”

Of course, it wouldn’t be a party without “Rockin’ the Beer Gut.” This was the first song that I ever heard the band play and it was the song that got me hooked. To this day, my son STILL requests that I play this every time we get in the car and my daughter pretty much knows all of the lyrics by heart. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing, or a bad thing :)

So in summary, Tailgate is one of those ‘must have’ albums that’s in stores today. From top to bottom, there isn’t a song that I find myself needing to hit the “next” button on. I was a little surprised that “What Would You Say” didn’t make it on the album, but if that’s my only complaint, we’re doing pretty good!

4 1/2 stars out of 5 on Tailgate…

If you’ve got the album, please feel free to share your comments below.

If you love the band, please feel free to share your comments below.

If you’re with the band, please feel free to come back to San Jose soon (and share your comments below).

Do You Know Trailer Choir?

May 12, 2010

If you don’t, you should!

It’s a Wednesday morning and I just feel the need for playing some Trailer Choir.

One of my all time favorite bands and they’ll be within two hours of here this weekend! King City, California!!!

Be sure to check them out on Twitter at @TrailerChoir


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