Posted tagged ‘Grammy’

Brandy Clark and Steve Moakler Put Songwriting Talents Front and Center in San Jose, California

August 18, 2016

It’s been quite a whirlwind the past few weeks and my travels have kept me away from the Bay Area for a few weeks now. Unfortunately, this has meant that I haven’t been able to attend any shows at the Rodeo Club for quite some time.

Well, that all changed this week when I found myself in town on a Wednesday night, and wouldn’t you know it, KRTY had two of my up-and-coming favorites on stage on the same night. Ladies and gentleman, if you haven’t been introduced to Brandy Clark and Steve Moakler, you’re about to get a formal introduction.

 

I’ll dive in first with the opening act, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native Steve Moakler. As background, Moakler moved to Nashville back in 2006, honing his craft in a town where the best singers and songwriters go to find their country music dreams. After performing hundreds of live, local performances, Moakler placed a series of songs with several country artists, including Dierks Bentley, Kellie Pickler and Jake Owen. He also released three independent albums, including 2011’s Watching Time Run, which Moakler funded via a Kickstarter campaign.

I talked about how Moakler placed songs for a number of country music artists, but he is well-known, and highly regarded, as one of Nashville’s most respected, up-and-coming songwriters. In fact, Rolling Stone tabbed Moakler as one of “10 New Country Artists You Need to Know”. The magazine called him a “thoughtful singer-songwriter fare in the blue-collar vein of Springsteen, with an Americana bent.”

Did you know that Moakler co-wrote Bentley‘s recent single, “Riser,”  with Travis Meadows? Yep. Naturally, he performed “Riser” during his San Jose set, and was one of the highlights of the performance. However, for me, the highlight of Moakler’s set was a fantastic cover of The Eagles “Take it Easy”. Not only is this one of my all-time favorite songs, Moakler pulled it off in a way that even The Eagles would have been impressed…that is, once we got to hear the third verse. I can neither confirm, nor deny, that the second verse might have been repeated.

Moakler1

Getting back to his own music, for the first single from his new album, Moakler turned to a song that I first heard earlier this year, “Suitcase“. In fact, it landed at #45 in my “Top 50 of 2016…So Far“. The song was crafted with writers including Luke Laird, Barry Dean and Thomas Rhett and, in my opinion, deserves more radio airplay than it’s currently seeing. Stations like KRTY and others have been great in getting this song out there to their listening audience, now the word just needs to be spread even more because it’s a hit in waiting.

I’ve got to admit, Moakler’s performance was exactly what I expected…and more. Stripped down, professional, and a fantastic experience. What I love is that he pours his heart and soul into his music. You can tell that we he plays, he’s playing from the heart. Each and every song tells a story, and that’s something that’s missing in country music today. Moakler isn’t up in your face. Rather, he takes the time to draw you in with lyrical poetry and brings it home with smooth, flawless guitar playing that gets your toes tapping along with the beat.

If you get the chance to catch Steve Moakler when he’s in town, make sure you get there early and grab a spot right up front. You won’t regret it.

Before you do anything else today, make sure to check out Moakler on Facebook and follow him on Twitter at @stevemoakler. Also, don’t forget to check out his music on iTunes.

BrandyClark

Credit: Rudy Sabin (www.rudysabin.com)

Speaking of talented songwriters, they don’t come much better than the headlining act of the evening: Brandy Clark.

With songs recorded by the likes of Billy Currington, Darius Rucker, Miranda Lambert, The Band Perry, Reba McEntire, Sheryl Crow, LeAnn Rimes and Kacey Musgraves, Clark is certainly well-known and well-respected in the industry. In fact, Clark is a four-time Grammy Award nominee, including a nominee for Best New Artist at the 2015 awards.

As a bit of background, Clark hails from Morton, Washington, a logging town of less than 1,000 people, located in the shadow of Mount St. Helens.

Growing up, Clark was influenced by a variety of country music artists including Barbara Mandrell, Ronnie Milsap, Merle Haggard and Loretta Lynn. She first picked up a guitar at the age of nine and made her singing debut in school musicals. When she entered her first year of college, she started to get more serious about music, taking guitar lessons and joining a band along with her mother and a friend. As a teenager, she discovered the music business program at Belmont University, so she enrolled and moved to Nashville in 1998. After graduation, Clark landed a job with Leadership Music, which led to her eventual publishing deal.

Credit: KRTY

Like Moakler, Clark excels at her storytelling through her music. She is far and away one of the greatest songwriters I have ever had the pleasure of listening to and her live performance only extenuates her talent. On this evening, the audience was treated to a mix of tunes she wrote for The Band Perry (Better Dig Two) and Miranda Lambert (Mama’s Broken Heart), as well as a selection of songs both old and new.

Clark has a new album out, “Big Day in a Small Town“, which tells the stories of the football star, the father, the homecoming queen and the hairdresser. Why? Because those are the stories and people that Clark grew up knowing in her “small town”.

Check out the tracklist below, which includes a who’s who in songwriting credits:

1. “Soap Opera” – Brandy Clark/Bryan Simpson

2. “Girl Next Door” – Brandy Clark/Jessie Jo Dillon/Shane McAnally

3. “Homecoming Queen” – Brandy Clark/Luke Laird/Shane McAnally

4. “Broke” – Brandy Clark/Shane McAnally/Josh Osborne

5. “You Can Come Over” – Brandy Clark/Jessie Jo Dillon/Mark Narmore

6. “Love Can Go to Hell” – Brandy Clark/Scott Stepakoff

7. “Big Day in a Small Town” – Brandy Clark/Shane McAnally/Mark D. Sanders

8. “Three Kids No Husband” – Brandy Clark/Lori McKenna

9. “Daughter” – Brandy Clark/Jessie Jo Dillon/Jeremy Spillman

10. “Drinkin’ Smokin’ Cheatin'” – Brandy Clark

11. “Since You’ve Gone to Heaven” – Brandy Clark/Shane McAnally

There were a few highlights of the evening for me, but one that stood out for me was her performance of “Daughter“, which could be due to the fact that I relate to the lyrics, having two daughters of my own. In fact, one is only a couple years from dating age. Also, I’ve always loved “Stripes” so I was glad that this song found its way on the setlist.

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Another highlight would be the live performance of “Girl Next Door“, a song which goes back to the roots of country music and also landed at #18 in my “Top 50 of 2016…So Far“. This song, like all of Clark’s music, is what country music needs today..a swift kick in the ass!

I’ve said this before, and will say it again, too much of today’s music is lacking substance. Many of the artists, and songs, are cookie cutter. For the most part, there’s no real feeling. No emotion. Yes, there are some great songs being written, but they’re being buried and that’s a damn shame.

Artists like Brandy Clark are what country music needs. I can’t stress her songwriting talents enough. I could never do justice. Don’t believe me, go take a listen. I guaranteed you’ll be hooked right away.

Clark is active on social media so make sure to check her out on Facebook and follow her on Twitter at@TheBrandyClark. You can also pick up her new album on iTunes. Don’t delay. Go out do it now!

As I sit here reminiscing on another great night of country music, I have to give thanks to KRTY. As always, thank you to Nate Deaton, Julie Stevens, Tina Ferguson, Gary Scott Thomas, Randy Jones, Indiana Al, etc…for once again bringing the best in up-and-coming talent to the South Bay.

I also have to give thanks to one of the best photographers out there…Rudy Sabin (see his photo above). The guy is incredible. Be sure to check out his website for some samples of his work and follow him on Twitter at @rudyphoto.

Were you at the show? Have you seen Steve Moakler or Brandy Clark live? Let me know your thoughts on these talented, talented musicians in the comments section below.

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Classless Kanye West Ruins Taylor Swift’s VMA Victory

September 13, 2009

Kanye West was asked to leave Radio City Music Hall not long after he interrupted, and then ruined Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for Best Female Video.

Why am I not surprised. Kanye is a baby. He throws temper tantrums like he is a 5 year old. He has done it before, and will do it again. Way to embarrass a 19 year old girl. You’ve got no class Kanye and you proved it tonight on live television. I saw that you issued an apology but that doesn’t make up the stupidity you showed this evening.

Big props to Beyonce for inviting Taylor Swift up later to finish her acceptance speech during her own award acceptance. Now that is class, something Kanye West would know nothing about.

From MTV:

The rapper rushed onto the stage and immediately protested Swift’s win, saying Beyoncé instead deserved the honor.

“I’m sorry, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time,” ‘Ye proclaimed after he pulled the microphone out of the country star’s hands. B looked stunned as she sat by in the audience.

West, of course, has a history of awards-show tirades, beginning in 2004 at the American Music Awards when he bolted during the show after losing out on Best New Artist and later telling reporters, “I felt like I was definitely robbed, and I refused to give any politically correct bullsh—ass comment … I was the best new artist this year.”

Two years later at the 2006 MTV Europe Music Awards, West took his complaints to the stage in a similar fashion to tonight’s rant.

Image of Beaten Rihanna Released

February 20, 2009

A photo capturing a bruised and bloodied Rihanna surfaced last night on TMZ sparking outrage and, for the LAPD, an internal investigation.

Credit: TMZ

Credit: TMZ

From Rolling Stone:

Rihanna’s wounds were described as “horrific” soon after the February 8th incident, which forced both the Barbadian star and boyfriend Chris Brown to cancel their Grammy appearances.

While the camera’s flash bleaches out the precise severity of the injuries, the photo depicts contusions and swelling on Rihanna’s lips and cheeks, protrusions on both sides of her forehead (”It looked like she was growing devil horns,” a source told TMZ early in the investigation) and what could be a black eye. A source close to the situation confirmed that the photo is of Rihanna, and the Roman numeral tattoo on her neck matches one that has appeared in recent photographs of the singer. The photos surfaced the night before Rihanna’s 21st birthday.

Singer Chris Brown is being investigated for a variety of felonies; the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office is reportedly considering charges of domestic violence, assault resulting in great bodily injury and, according to E!, attempted murder.

Last weekend, Brown released a carefully worded statement expressing regret over the altercation. “Words cannot begin to express how sorry and saddened I am over what transpired.” The 19-year-old star added, “I am committed, with God’s help, to emerging a better person.” Rihanna’s camp has still not issued an official statement.

Wrigley Suspends R&B Star Chris Brown

February 10, 2009

Wrigley has suspended a commercial featuring Chris Brown after the popular R&B singer was arrested on suspicion of attacking a woman widely reported to be his singer girlfriend Rihanna.

From Reuters:

The clean-cut Brown, 19, one of the fastest-rising stars of the last two years, was free on $50,000 bail, a day after the couple hurriedly canceled separate performances at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.

Both the Brown and Rihanna camps were silent on Monday. Police sources told the Los Angeles Times and celebrity Web site TMZ.com that the woman who reported she had been attacked by Brown in the early hours of Sunday was 20-year-old Rihanna, singer of hits “Umbrella” and “Disturbia.”

Wrigley said in a statement it was “concerned by the serious allegations” made against Brown, who was booked by police on suspicion of making a felony criminal threat.

The company said that while Brown should be afforded due legal process “we have made the decision to suspend the current advertising featuring Brown…until the matter is resolved.”

Brown, who was competing against Rihanna in a Grammy category, was a spokesman for Doublemint gum and his hit song “Forever” was part of that advertising campaign.

Blink 182 to Reunite

February 9, 2009

A statement released last night reads, “Hi. We’re blink-182. This past week there’ve been a lot of questions about the current status of the band, and we wanted you to hear it straight from us. To put it simply, We’re back. We mean, really back. Picking up where we left off and then some. In the studio writing and recording a new album. Preparing to tour the world yet again. Friendships reformed. 17 years deep in our legacy.”

Sweet! A new album and a tour! Should be a fun summer!

It’s amazing to think that the group’s founding members Travis Barker, Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge last appeared together onstage in December 2004. We saw them that year on tour and thought that there was no way the band would ever break up.

It appears that time has healed old wounds, and Barker’s plane crash this summer may have sped along the process. You realize how precious life really is and to do the things you love while you still can!

Heroin Overdose Killed Dr. Dre’s Son

January 2, 2009

According to the Los Angeles County coroner’s office, the 20-year-old son of rapper Dr. Dre died from an overdose of heroin and morphine in August.

From Reuters:

Andre Young Jr. was found dead by his mother at his Los Angeles home after spending a night out with friends.

After toxicology and other tests, the coroner ruled his death as accidental and says the case is closed, spokesman Larry Dietz said on Friday.

Dietz said the tests showed Young died of morphine and heroin intoxication.

Dr. Dre, 43, whose real name is Andre Young, rose to stardom in the 1980s as a member of the “gangsta” rap group N.W.A. He embarked on a successful solo career, winning the first of four Grammys in 1994 for a tune from his chart-topping debut “The Chronic.”

He founded the rap labels Death Row Records and Aftermath Entertainment, and made stars out of such proteges as Snoop Dogg and Eminem.

Joe Satriani Files Plagiarism Lawsuit Against Coldplay

December 5, 2008

Joe Satriani has filed a lawsuit against Coldplay, accusing the  band of plagiarising one of his songs on their latest album.

From AFP:

Joe Satriani, known for his instrumental compositions, alleges Coldplay’s song “Viva la Vida” had “copied and incorporated substantial original portions” from his own track “If I Could Fly” recorded on an album released in 2004.

Satriani’s lawsuit demands damages and “any and all profits” related to the alleged copyright infringement.

A representative for the band was not immediately available for comment.

Coldplay’s latest album “Viva la vida,” released in June, has topped the charts in Europe and the United States. The recording helped Coldplay win seven nominations for the 2009 Grammy Awards.