The Last Day of Nashville: Reba

Some people don't need to use the last name.  Cher.  Madonna.  Reba. 

And, major props to her!  It was 7 in the morning and was sooooo cold!  Low 30's maybe?  Do I need to point out the runny-nose kleenex box, the puffy coat or the gloves?  And yet, despite the cold weather and the early hour, Reba sang like she'd been warming up for hours!

Auto-tuner?  Oh not necessary when you have her voice!

I've concluded that I need a hair and make-up person in the morning.  It would make life so much easier!

So, this was the Good Morning America broadcast on ABC last Thursday morning.  You know it's a going to be a good day when it starts with a Starbucks and a live concert!

She don't need no stinkin' auto tuner to sound amazing!  Her teeth may have been chattering and her legs freezing (she even announced when she was able to move them again!), but that didn't stop her from putting on a great show for the 1500 or so that came out in the cold.

I had to include the above shot because it's not often I get blue backlighting on a redhead.  It's the little things in life that make me happy.

Reba may have brought up her new show, Malibu Country.  Actually, she mentioned it a time or ten.  That's ok with me.  I enjoyed her previous show.  After seeing 2 episodes, I like this one, too.  Not sure if the chemistry is as good, but it's still early in the series and I really hope it stays in the line up.

Rock on Reba.  Rock on.

And with more from Nashville.  Here, let me get a Reba kleenex for you to wipe away a tear.  I'm back home and catching the end of football season, Seniors are kicking into high gear and the ever popular family holiday shooting.

If you need me, you will likely find me right here, at my computer, for the next 3 months.  And, I sure do love it!  :)

Street Music

I got used to seeing street performers in New York and in Los Angeles.  I never saw many in Chicago.  Then again, when it's freezing, should I have been surprised by that?

I didn't think so.

Here in Phoenix, I really don't see too many.  In fact, now that I think about it, I could probably count their numbers on 2 hands!  You would think that, with nice weather in the winter, there would be more.

Anyway, I saw so many of them last week and loved that they put themselves out there.  Most were pretty good and I'm guessing that they are struggling musicians looking to make ends meet.  And then my mind gets all fiscal and wonder if they make enough to live on.

I just took a few shots, but it seemed like the tune changed about every 50 feet ranging from country to jazz to the blues to oldies.  I loved it and I hope that dollar that I dropped in their cases helped someone out.  Or, if they are doing well, I hope they pay it forward!

If there's any doubt about how much music is in Nashville, there are signs to remind you.


Welcome to Music City!

Nashville Part IV: Lee Brice on Stage!

I just don't have a lot to say.  Well, I do have a lot to say.  I just can't find the words to say it.  Since I never seem to have nothing to say, I think I can work my way through this!

Lee Brice brought down the house as the finale of Chevy's party.

He sings (Love Like Crazy).  He writes (Crazy Girl).  I think I see a pattern here. 

The guy performs like crazy!


This might be a good place to add that Lady Antelbellum did a spoof of "Love Like Crazy".  It's called "Biscuits and Gravy".  That's some funny stuff right there!  Anyway...

Lee took to the stage with the ballcap backward.  It's his thing, it's what he does.


Sorry, that's a word yelled out many times through the night.  We won't mention that it's also the name of a single on his Hard2Love CD.  Too late, I guess I just mentioned it.


I'll be quiet for a minute and just let you enjoy the show.


BEER! (sorry, I let that one slip out.)

It's too bad the drummer didn't know I was taking his photo.  Oh wait, he did!  As much as I love getting the performance shots, it's fantastic when someone makes eye contact and plays to the camera.

Can't help it.  I like being looked at, too.

And no night would be complete without a little bit of flirtmancing.  Am I right, girls?  

Let's face it.  When a big, burly guy that's half shaven with eyes that will melt you into a puddle of goo says something  like, "Girl, you ain't easy to ignore.", there's only 3 things to do. 

1)  You can go into flirtmance mode because, well...because you can.

2)  You can drink a lot of wine, knowing that the flirtmance will continue...but with song.

Or, 3)  You can write the lyrics to a hard hitting country honky tonkin' sort of song that I can hear in my head, even if I have no musical talents.

Standing in the dark, cotton dress that's glowing white,
I knew right from the start that this would be my kind of night.
She's got the kind of moves to make a grown man go insane,
Didn't know just where I am or even know her name.

Blue eyes lookin' back at me
Seeing what I want to see
Knowing it will never be but from this stage down to that floor
Oh baby got those moves and they ain't easy to ignore.

I may not be able to sing, but I have moments of brilliance in writing.  I'll let you know when I have one.  (A moment of brilliance, that is.)
So Lee, when you read this blog (because I know it's high on your list of priorities), feel free to get in touch with me for the rest of the lyrics to "Ain't Easy to Ignore".  I'm sure it will be your next chart topper.

You're welcome.

You know how I just said I hear music in my own mind?  Right now, I'm hearing laughter.  I'm seriously a legend in my own mind!

Nashville Part III: The Farm

Cuz there ain't no party like a farm party.

Those aren't just lyrics...they are for real!  As much as I love their music (I was familiar with a couple of songs before seeing them perform), you have to experience them to truly appreciate them.  They don't just play instruments and sing (with amazing voices), they know how to put on a show.  The Farm draws in the audience, large or small, and gets the party started!

Oh yeaaaaaa, a Farm Party!

These guys (and this girl) have amazing chemistry, both on and off the stage.  I've been fortunate enough to meet a number of acts.  Most are pretty down to earth.  A few of them I won't comment on.  But this group are genuinely nice.  Really awesome to talk to, to watch and to be around!

Talented and's a good thing.

Possibly one of my favorite things about them is their diversity.  You just don't see a lot of that in country music and honestly, this just moves them up a few rungs.  It just does.

So, let's meet the players in this eclectic ensemble.

We have Krista.  She has the voice of an angel with a bit of the devil in her soul.  She whips out opera like it's second nature and then turns around and rocks it with the best of them!

Yea, we won't even mention how gorgeous she is.  Something for the guys?  Check.

Then we have Damien.  *say this outloud all sing-songy*  Awwwweeeeesommmmeeee!  This guy brings hip-hop into the country scene in a way that makes you want to jump up and dance.  No, not just stand and tap your HAVE to dance!  Unless you're photographing him.  Then you just stare for a minute.

Now, you might be saying to yourself, "Self?  How is he bringing hip-hop to country?"  Well, other than the obvious musical part, there's the flip.


Yes.  Damien flips.  He checks for his clear spot, goes into launch mode and then...

Uh huh...feet over the head in a full on flip.  He sticks the landing.  I give him a 10.

*the crowd goes wild*

Last, but definately not least,  is Nick.  He's the fiddle-playing gel of the group.  I can assure you, Charlie Daniels has nothing on this guy.

Nick played and played hard.  He went through two bows with his fiddling.  There was horse hair flying all over the place!

And, on top of that, he's the third part of their harmony and rocks it with the best of them!

The Farm will not be that group that sits in the background waiting for their big break.  They are going go after it with a running charge...and they should.  Chevy did it again.  They've nailed it on the future of country music!

Just check out Home Sweet Home if you want to know what kind of harmony they bring to the mix! 

Enjoy, and I'm looking forward to Part IV tomorrow.  I think I left a bit of my heart in Nashville this time around!

Nashville Part II: Thomas Rhett

I know I can't be the only one that appreciates the arts or loves music...all music.  By far, though, my favorite is and has been country music.

I appreciate that the lyrics are stories unfolding with instrumentals behind them.  They convey emotion at every level and they tell a story.  In fact, there are very few country songs that I can think of that don't lay out an event or a time in someone's life.  Song writing in country music seems to go from one generation to the next, which is something that I find very unique.

Thomas Rhett is no exception.  His father, Rhett Akins, is sharing the song writing, singing and performing baton with his kid...and has taught him well!

It's funny, because this kid looks just like his dad!  Cute as can be with a twinkle in his eye.  OK, so enough history.  Let's talk about Thomas Rhett and the amazing accoustic set that he performed at the Chevy party the night before the CMA's!  (Chevy knows how to pick 'em!)

It was just Thomas.  No band.  No backup singers.  He was flying solo on the stage and was A.W.E.S.O.M.E.  There was a great video set up going on at the same time.  You know, in case anyone wants to watch him again.  Which they will...over and over and over again.  He was that good!

Thomas (yes, I'll call him that because when I call him Rhett, I think of his dad.  Not a bad thought, but not the point right now) doesn't even have his first CD out.  He has a handful of songs recorded with a couple working their way up the charts.

How's this for a story?

If I could have a beer with Jesus
Heaven knows I’d sip it nice and slow
I’d try to pick a place that ain’t too crowded
Or gladly go wherever he wants to go.
You can bet I’d order up a couple tall ones
Tell the waitress put ‘em on my tab
I’d be sure to let him do the talkin’
Careful when I got the chance to ask.

Think about it!  What would you ask if you could have a beer with Jesus?  Well, that's kind of what the song is about.  Check it out, look it up and just enjoy the music!

Would this be a bad time to mention again what a cutie this kid is?  (He's 22...yes, he's a kid.)  But, a kid with some serious talent.

Let's kick back and just enjoy the view for a minute.

Go ahead.  Stand up and go grab a nice cool drink while we keep looking.

Hmmmmm, one more.  Seriously, I appreciate the arts.  That's the only reason for all these photos.  Really.

Now, in contrast to "If I Could Have a Beer With Jesus", we have the next song that should be on the radio soon.  (And it will be played a lot!)  Uh huh..."Something To Do With My Hands".  There may have been a female or 2 at the concert with a suggestion on what he could do with his hands.

Tsk, tsk, tsk girls.  He's taken.  *sigh*  A 22-year old newlywed.  Oh well, I guess that will give him more wholesome opportunities for lyrics.  Or not.

And, just in case you want to know Thomas Rhett's ideas on what to do with his hands, here you go.

You're welcome.

CMA Week in Nashville Part 1

I have photos.  Actually, I have too many photos from CMA week in Nashville.  So, I think I'll just break this into multiple entries.

Besides, it's more fun that way.  You never know what might be talked about tomorrow!  *slyly looking around*

First, let's just take a mini-tour of the downtown area.  I'll's pretty awesome in a party-til-you-drop kind of way.  It seems like every other door is a bar, a restaurant or a boot store. 

Since I like all 3, I was ok with that.

So, let's start with the places that serve adult beverages with a side of music.  They seem to go hand-in-hand around here!

There's karaoke bars.  They seem to be busier later in the evening.  There's some liquid courage behind these doors.

How could I pass this place without stopping in!  It encompasses every stereotype of the south that you could imagine!  Paradise?  Check.  Trailor Resort?  Check.  Eat? Drink?  Rock?  Check, check and check.

You can wander down Printers Alley, which I did.  I was expecting magazine stands or printing facilities or something really cool and historic.  Instead, I found bars (because there aren't enough on the main streets), karaoke and strip clubs.  Well, I never!

As I was strolling past these places, I stopped to photograph this really awesome wall.  I absolutely loved how it was painted.  Then, these 2 guys come up and want their picture taken.  I wasn't going to tell them no because, well, they kind of scared me.  Not in an "oooh, they're gonna get me" way.  More like a "why in the world does he have 2 different shoes on" way.  Yes, it's footwear that scares me the very most in life.

I know, I know.  I keep calling these places bars.  I'm mistaken.  When in Nashville, call them as you see them...Honky Tonks.

And, no city would be complete without your typical chain-type of bar honky tonk.

I wonder if all Hard Rock guitars are Gibsons, or if that's just a Nashville thing.  I may have to go downtown and see if the one in Phoenix is the same.  Or, I could Google it.  Naw, it would be more fun to make the drive down there!

Maybe tomorrow we should explore the other buildings and churches.  Or maybe, CMA night or the night before that.  So many possibilities!  Check back tomorrow!