Posted tagged ‘George Strait’

Year in Review: My Top 50 Country Music Songs of 2014

December 13, 2014

It’s that time of year again. Time to reflect on the year that was. For me, it was a difficult year. I lost my father on August 11, and I am still trying to deal with the loss. One thing that helped me get through the past few, difficult months, is good music.

Now, let me preface this list. I’m not a professional music reviewer. I don’t get paid to promote artists. I don’t go by the Billboard or radio airplay charts. This list consists of the top 50 songs that I wanted to come on my radio while driving to and from work, on a road trip, or when I was just sitting at home.

You probably heard some of these songs every hour (on the hour) on your local country station. Others may not have been played much (if at all) when they should have been, in my own, personal opinion. Also, while some of these songs may have come out in late 2013, they were ones that were predominantly played (if they made the radio) in the 2014 calendar year. Others may be primed for success in early 2015 so keep your ears open!

Either way, I’m sure that I’m going to leave a few songs off this list that could have easily made it. I know this going in and expect each and every one of you to say “hey, what about this song…or that song.” Please do. Fight for the music and artists that YOU love!!!!

Unfortunately, with a list this long, I wasn’t able to go through each entry and provide background on the song, reasons for it’s placement, etc…But, feel free to leave a comment and I’d be happy to respond.

And now, Without further ado, let’s get this party started:

50. Dallas Smith, Wastin’ Gas

49. Chase Bryant, Take it on Back

48. John King, Tonight Tonight

47. Natalie Stovall and the Drive, Mason Jar

46. Maddie & Tae, Girl in a Country Song

45. Casey James, Fall Apart

44. Kip Moore, Dirt Road

43. The Swon Brothers, Later On

42. Canaan Smith, Love You Like That

41. Zac Brown Band, All Alright

40. Billy Currington, We Are Tonight

39. Randy Houser, Goodnight Kiss

38. Brantley Gilbert Featuring Thomas Rhett and Justin Moore, Small Town Throwdown

37. Justin Moore, Lettin’ the Night Roll

36. Ray Scott, Drinkin’ Beer

35. Frankie Ballard, Sunshine and Whiskey

34. Jerrod Niemann, Drink to That All Night

33. JT Hodges, Already High

32. Parmalee, Close Your Eyes

31. Sam Hunt, Leave the Night On

30. Lee Brice, I Don’t Dance

29. Scotty McCreery, See You Tonight

28. Jason Aldean, Burnin’ it Down

27. Luke Bryan, Play it Again

26. Florida Georgia Line Featuring Luke Bryan, This is How We Roll

25. George Strait, I Got a Car

24. Brantley Gilbert, Bottoms Up

23. Randy Houser, Like a Cowboy

22. Love and Theft, Night That You’ll Never Forget

21. Lady Antebellum, Compass

20. John Pardi, Up All Night

19. Cole Swindell, Chillin’ It

18. Craig Campbell, Keep Them Kisses Coming

17. Florida Georgia Line, Dirt

16. Kenny Chesney, American Kids

15. Will Hoge, Middle of America

14. James Wesley, I’m a Lonesome Fugitive

13. Maggie Rose, Looking Back Now

12. Miranda Lambert, Automatic

11. A Thousand Horses, Smoke

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/smoke-single/id952514687

10. Jake Owen, What We Ain’t Got

9. Eric Church, Give Me Back My Hometown

8. Hillbilly Vegas, Long Way Back

7. Cole Swindell, Hope You Get Lonely

6. Dustin Lynch, Where It’s At

5. Eli Young Band, Dust

4. Luke Bryan, Drink a Beer

3. Brett Eldredge, Beat of the Music

2. Dierks Bentley, Drunk on a Plane

1. Dierks Bentley, I Hold On

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Concert Review: “Just Another Day in Paradise” with Phil Vassar and Jaron and the Long Road to Love in San Jose, California

April 18, 2010

When you go into a show with the highest expectations, you typically end up with an enormous letdown. With Phil Vassar, though, this is never the case. Once again, here in San Jose, Vassar lived up to all expectations with 90 minutes of great music and great fun!

The night began with Jaron and the Long Road to Love and don’t let the name fool you, this is a band consisting of just one: Jaron. Although he only played five song, it was a very enjoyable opening act. The song that you’ll probably know him from is a country radio staple these days: “I Pray For You”.

He may not be well known now, but what I loved about his stage presence is that he played with the crowd and had a great time throughout his set. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more of him in the days/weeks/months to come.  I can tell he is a future star rising. Next time, hopefully, we’ll get a little longer set.

Following his set, it was finally time for the moment we had all been waiting for: Phil Vassar’s return to San Jose! The crowd was electric as KRTY DJ Randy Jones took the stage and got everyone on their feet, screaming at the top of their lungs. A moment later, Vassar took the stage.

If you haven’t seen a Phil Vassar show, you are missing out on one of country musics best. I’ve seen the best of the best: George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Toby Keith, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood, Brooks & Dunn, Garth Brooks and more. But, while Vassar isn’t seen in the upper echelon of country music performers, and on an international stage such as these performers, he really should be!

Vassar is well known in the industry as a great songwriter and over the past 8-10 years, has been very well received playing his own music. Songs such as “Carlene”, “Bye Bye”, “I’m Alright”, “In a Real Love”, “Last Day of My Life”, “Six Pack Summer”, “Little Red Rodeo”, “Love is a Beautiful Thing”, “Just Another Day in Paradise”, “American Child” and “My Next Thirty Years” filled the setlist. Vassar didn’t miss a beat as he had the audience in his hand, singing along to every word.

Another great aspect of a Vassar stage show is how he brings in other songs that are not his own that continue to keep the crowd asking for more. One of these would have to be “Summer Nights” from the Grease soundtrack:

But what I have always enjoyed most of the Phil Vassar shows I’ve been to (6 in total), is how he incorporates a Billy Joel staple, “Piano Man”, into his encore to conclude the show. What else would you expect from a great piano player such as Vassar:

As always, the show exceeded my expectations and I can safely say that everyone who was in attendance left feeling satisfied. My wife got to meet Vassar and got the autograph that she wanted 🙂 A great evening all around!

Whether you’re a fan of country music or not, I highly recommend that you check out a performance by Phil Vassar. You won’t be disappointed.

Taylor Swift Takes Top Honors at CMA Awards

November 12, 2009

It was a big night in Country Music last night as Taylor Swift walked away with four Country Music Association Awards, including the top prize of Entertainer of the Year, over longtime favorites Kenny Chesney, George Strait, Keith Urban and Brad Paisley.

Other CMA Award winners for 2009 included Best New Artist Darius Rucker, Best Duo Sugarland and Best Group Lady Antebellum. I thought that there were some great moments during the show including both Swift and Rucker’s wins but one performance that should not be overlooked was the Zac Brown Band’s rendition of The Devil Went Down to Georgia by Charlie Daniels. It was my favorite moment of the night!

What was yours? Did you agree with Taylor Swift winning Entertainer of the Year? What about Sugarland taking Best Duo from Brooks & Dunn and how about Lady Antebellum dethroning Rascal Flatts? Great night!

From the Los Angeles Times:

Taylor Swift made history at Wednesday night’s Country Music Assn. Awards by becoming the youngest person, at only 19, to win the coveted entertainer of the year title. Only five women —  Loretta Lynn (1972), Dolly Parton (1978), Barbara Mandrell (1980, 1981), Reba McEntire (1986) and Shania Twain (1999) — as well as one female group, the Dixie Chicks (2000), have received this honor in the 43-year history of the CMAs.

Swift — who just two years ago was named best new artist by the CMA — also won album of the year for her top-selling disc “Fearless,” video of the year for “Love Story” and female vocalist. Among those she edged out for that last award was show co-host Carrie Underwood, who had taken this prize the last three years running.

Her co-host on the ABC kudocast, Brad Paisley — who led with half a dozen nominations — was just one of three of last year’s champs to repeat with his third-in-a-row male vocalist win. Paisley also shared the trophy for musical event with Keith Urban for their duet “Start a Band.”

Sugarland won its third consecutive duo award despite the impending breakup of sentimental favorites Brooks & Dunn, who dominated this category every year but one from 1992 to 2006 (Montgomery Gentry bested them in 2000). Musician of the year was once again all-rounder Mac McAnally.

From Newsday:

Darius Rucker became the first black singer to win new artist of the year at the Country Music Association Awards, joining Charley Pride as the only African-American to win a major individual award, while Taylor Swift won two awards, including album of the year.

“First of all, to the fans, thank y’all for accepting me,” the jubilant Rucker said. “And I think most importantly, to country radio, you took a chance on a pop singer from Charleston, S.C. Thank you so much for that!”

Swift, who won the top prize of entertainer of the year, thanked the fans for their support of “Fearless,” the top-selling album of the year. She also won video of the year for “Love Story.”

“You guys, this album is my diary and so to all the people who voted for me for this, thank you for saying you love my diary because that’s the nicest compliment,” Swift told the audience.

George Jones Calls Out Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift

November 3, 2009

Seems like George Jones still fears change. The country music legend is speaking out against up and coming stars such as Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift and others, saying that they need to leave country music and find a genre that better suits them.

Yes, today’s country music isn’t the same as traditional country music, but what “The Possum” needs to learn is that people change, styles change and music changes.

Sorry George. I’ve been a fan of both traditional and modern country music and if it reverts back, I think you’ll lose at least one fan (me). I enjoy a lot of the country songs on the radio today, but when I hear new music by George Strait, and even Alan Jackson lately, I have to turn the station. Their songs just don’t do anything for me anymore.

These days, I’m more of a fan of singers such as Kenny Chesney, Billy Currington, Toby Keith and Brad Paisley and bands like Trailer Choir and Montgomery Gentry. These are artists who can reach across different genres of music and reach a larger audience. In Jones interview, he said that he had no intention of collaborating with any musician of another genre.

We’ll see what happens! I have a lot of respect for Jones, but right now, he’s coming off like a grumpy old man.

From The Boot:

George Jones says he’s been robbed. Not of his personal belongings, but of something perhaps even more valuable: his role as a country singer.

Referring to some of today’s biggest stars, including Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift, the country legend tells the Associated Press, “they’ve stolen our identity.” And, he maintains, they need to give it back and move on to another genre. “They had to use something that was established already, and that’s traditional country music. So what they need to do really, I think, is find their own title, because they’re definitely not traditional country music.”

Brooks & Dunn to Break Up

August 10, 2009

Wow! I’m shocked!

Country music duo Brooks & Dunn announced today that they will break up after a farewell tour next year.

From Reuters:

Singer/guitarists Kix Brooks, 54, and Ronnie Dunn, 56, said in a statement that “it’s just time” for the split, which surprised music industry observers.

“After 20 years of making music and riding this trail together, we have agreed as a duo that it’s time call it a day,” they said.

“This ride has been everything and more than we could ever have dreamed…. We owe it all to you, the fans. If you hear rumors, don’t believe them, it’s just time.”

Dates have yet to be announced for next year’s concert outing, dubbed The Last Rodeo Tour. It will be preceded next month by a hits record, “#1 … and then some.”

Brooks & Dunn first hit the charts in 1991, and went on to become the biggest-selling duo in country music history. They sold 22.3 million albums in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, which tracks retail sales.

CD Review: Trailer Choir “Off The Hillbilly Hook”

June 18, 2009

If you haven’t heard of Trailer Choir yet, get ready, you soon will.

Signed by Toby Keith’s Show Dog Nashville in 2007, the band consists of three members: Butter, Crystal and Big Vinnie.

From their Web site:

Trailer Choir started as a loose association of musicians and singers, usually including Butter and Big Vinny, traveling the Southeast playing private parties and frat houses.

Not long after they began performing together, Crystal jumped on stage adding the finishing harmonies to the group. Soon they were having so much fun that folks started to notice. Quotable lines and good time songs only touch on the Trailer Choir experience.

Full effects can only be felt live and in-person, where we find master of ceremonies, comic ringleader and front man Butter, smooth and soulful Louisiana girl Crystal and worm popping small town big boy Big Vinny. Because you just haven’t lived until you’ve seen a 400-pound man do the pop worm in the middle of a country show.

On June 9, Trailer Choir released their new album “Off the Hillbilly Hook.” The CD features the radio favorite ballad “What Would You Say” the title track, “Off the Hillbilly Hook” (which was featured in Toby Keith’s movie “Beer For My Horses) and what is sure to be a highly requested summer anthem, “Rockin’ the Beer Gut”.

From beginning to end, the 6 song album is a crowd pleaser. There is a little something for everyone on this album, and I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

“Rockin’ the Beer Gut” is an ode to those ladies at the bar who might not always get the attention they deserve. With lines such as “The first thing that caught my eye…she was rockin’ the beer gut” and “it’s just some extra love around her waist” well, you know how this one will turn out.

“Rollin’ Through the Sunshine” is a fun, happy song, that just makes you feel good. This tune brings me back to my early college days when Len had their own hit “Steal My Sunshine”. While the two songs are completely different, you still get that “life is good” feeling listening to them.

“In My Next Five Beers” demonstrates that you don’t need to think about the future, where you’re going, or where you need to be in the next five years. What you need to do is think about where you’re going to be five beers from now, whether it’s out and about, or sitting right there in the same chair you’re already in.

“What Would You Say” hit the radio a few months back and has been a mainstay since, at least on KRTY in the Bay Area and other stations that frequently play the amazingly well written song. A tribute to those men lost in the West Virginia mine tragedy a few years back, this song makes you truly think about your life, if you have lived it to the fullest, and if you only had a few minutes left, and just a pad of paper, what would you say.

The title track to the CD, “Off The Hillbilly Hook”, is the first Trailer Choir song I ever heard. I first heard the tune at a concert at the Shoreline Ampitheater in the Bay Area when the band opened for Montgomery Gentry and Toby Keith. Rumor has it that KRTY’s own Indiana Al is the man behind the title to this country/rap hit and if you don’t think that these two genres of music can mix, then you must listen to this song. You’ll be “Hillbilly Hooked!”

Overall, “Off the Hillbilly Hook” is an album for everyone. It has a great mix of country, rap, ballads and more. You can listen to the tracks on the bands Web site or MySpace page but I recommend shelling out the money and buying the album as soon as you can. These guys may not be big just yet, but they have the talent to make it in the business and you better get on the bandwagon before it’s too late!

My only hope is that the band will come out with a Live CD/DVD soon. The music on the CD is good, but it’s the stage show that truly makes the band who they are. If Trailer Choir comes to your town, be sure to check out the show. You’ll have a set list which includes Trailer Choir material as well as songs by the Steve Miller Band, John Mellencamp, Sublime and more! Do I need to add a country version of “Baby Got Back”? It’s true!

Buy the album, check out a show. You won’t regret either!

Kenny Chesney, George Strait Win Big at 2008 CMA Awards

November 13, 2008

It was a great night of music and awards last night on ABC. Country music once again brought together the top superstars (minus one of the greatest, Toby Keith) for the annual CMA Awards. Awards were handed out in all categories all night but to complete the evening, Kenny Chesney won his fourth entertainer of the year award, a feat which ties Garth Brooks for most Entertainer of the Year awards.

George Strait took home both single and album of the year, Sugarland won for Best Duo, Rascal Flatts took home the honor for Best Group and Lady Antebellum was named the Best New Artist.

Near the close of the show, Kenny Chesney did a great live version of “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven” with The Wailers. Other top artists performed on the show including Kid Rock “All Summer Long” and James Otto “Just Got Started Lovin’ You”.

Otto will be performing at Club Rodeo in San Jose, California on Thursday, November 20. Tickets can be bought in advance at the KRTY studios for just $10. Tickets will be $20 at the door.

From the Associated Press:

After winning the evening’s top award, Chesney said: “As much as tonight is about awards, I really believe that being able to stand up here is more about great songs, more about the fans, more about being on stage every night in front of a lot of people that really make it happen for me and the band out there.”

“This is my fourth time standing up here, and I’m really humbled and I really appreciate it,” added Chesney.

The award — his third straight win in the category — helped Chesney avoid a shutout. He was the night’s lead nominee with seven but did not pick up a trophy in the other categories.

George Strait won single and album of the year. Strait thanked the songwriters for “letting me sing such a beautiful song” after the poignant “I Saw God Today” won single of the year. He later won album of the year for “Troubadour.”

“Everybody says they’ve got the greatest fans. Well, I’ve really got the greatest fans,” Strait said in accepting the album award.

Also winning two awards was Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland. Sugarland won the award for duo of the year, and earlier, Nettles won song of the year for Sugarland’s hit “Stay.”

“It’s just been a gift from the beginning and been a gift to write and I hope it’s been a gift and touched your heart,” she said in accepting the award.

Carrie Underwood, who co-hosted the show with Brad Paisley, won her third consecutive female vocalist award.

“I just want to say Mom, it’s real hard to sing when you’re in the second row crying,” a teary-eyed Underwood told her mother during her speech. It came after her performance of her No. 1 hit “Just a Dream,” about a woman who lost her loved one in war. The song was introduced by Leslie Ponder who lost her husband in Afghanistan.

The former “American Idol” champ also thanked country fans. “I got here in an unconventional way, and you guys didn’t have to accept me at all.

Paisley, who won video of the year earlier, hugged Keith Urban and kissed the stomach of his pregnant wife, actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley, as he went up to collect his award.

Rascal Flatts won their sixth straight vocal group of the year award, beating out the Eagles, Emerson Drive, Lady Antebellum and Little Big Town for the honor.