I've not watched The Voice this season, but tuned in tonight in time to hear finalist Danielle Bradbury sing the Pam Tillis song, "Maybe It Was Memphis." She did an amazing job, and I have no doubt she will be a big star, but more than anything her song reminded me how incredible Pam Tillis is. For all the country fans of the Taylor Swift, Hunter Hayes generation, if you aren't familiar with the great Pam Tillis, please treat yourself to some of her music. I listened to her CD Sweetheart's Dance until I wore it out -- especially the song, "Calico Plains," which I don't think was ever released as a single. I promise if you love country music, you'll thank me.
I love watching Celebrity Apprentice, partially because Donald Trump is so entertaining (in a train wreck kind of way), but if he tries to take credit for Trace Adkins' success one more time I am gonna scream. Evidently The Donald does not realize how ignorant it makes him sound every time he tries to claim credit for the popularity of Trace Adkins. He has done it numerous times. In the Celebrity Apprentice finale when Trace Adkins sang his song, "You're Gonna Miss This," Trump claimed credit for the song going to #1. Tonight when Adkins showed up as part of a country music artist task, Trump made another reference to himself as the reason Adkins is such a big country music star.
I realize that there are many people who don't follow country music who didn't know Adkins before Apprentice, and were introduced to him and his music through the show. But for goodness sakes, Adkins has a been a huge country star for quite a few years. Believe it or not, his huge hit Honkey Tonk, Badonka Donk had nothing to do with The Donald and there were a whole lot of people singing that song who didn't follow country music or watch Apprentice. Speaking of reaching a non-country audience, Adkins has been appearing on Bill Maher's show since way back when Maher was on ABC. Sorry Donald, but you probably owe as much to Trace Adkins for him introducing his fans to Apprentice as you do for introducing him to your fans.
UPDATE: Spoiler Alert!! Don't read further unless you have watched the episode.
A few thoughts about tonight's board room... Donald Trump fired project manager Goldberg. Last week he fired Selena because she didn't do enough and didn't have enough fire. He could have fired the project manager, Holly, who clearly targeted the wrong consumers (moms) and did not focus on the endurance aspect of the product as they had been instructed. Instead he fired the person who had the least to do with the task. Tonight he could have fired Brett, who did the most on the task. I don't think he should have done that because Brett did a really good job. His only limitation was the singer who refused to be made over to much extent. He could have fired Curtis, who said he was managing time for the task. Curtis did not manage time well, spending the majority of the photo shoot time sitting in traffic with the singer's wardrobe. If Brett had more time to focus on styling the singer for the shoot he might have gotten him to try more new things. Instead they were rushed to do the majority of the shoot in about 20 minutes. Instead he fired Goldberg, saying he should not have volunteered to be project manager since he was not the one with knowledge of the task. I just thought it was interesting to see how different the criteria for firing was this week from last week. I think it all comes down to who Trump wants to fire. It is his show and that is part of what does make it so interesting. You never really know who is safe and who isn't. I guess that is one of the reasons I never miss an episode.
I am a huge country music fan. I absolutely love it and listen all the time. I am also a huge Carrie Underwood fan. I have been impressed not only by her voice, but by how much she has accomplished over the past year and how well she has carried herself. She always appears beautiful, but more importantly she always acts beautiful, always coming across as gracious and sincere and genuinely humble and appreciative of her success.
I watched the CMT special that followed Underwood through the making of her debut album (CD for the kiddies). It is amazing what she accomplished in record short time. The producers and other professionals she worked with were impressed not only with her talent, but by her attitude and how hard she worked and how well she dealt with the stress of the situation. They started out skeptical that this American Idol winner was the real deal, but they were completely convinced by the timet he album was cut. My daughter received Underwood's CD for Christmas last year and we have listened to it over and over and over again. It is an excellent album. I can imagine almost any of the individual songs as hit singles.
I did not see the portion of the CMA awards that has been so controversial, but have since watched it several times on You Tube. I bought Faith Hill's excuse that she was joking until I read Leann Rimes' defense of her, which was anything but joking, and made me wonder. Here is the best report I have seen of the controversy. Here is Rimes' defense of Hill, which she has since pulled from her website.
"Okay, I usually keep quiet on topics like this but I feel I need to stand up for my friend, Faith. She was just being honest and emotional like every other person sitting at home with an opinion. These awards shows are SO political and we all get fed up with them. We all work very hard and have for many years so to see someone come in and win Female Vocalist that has been here for a VERY short time, is a little disheartening."
She went on to say, "That is why we have the Horizon award and Carrie had an incredible year, enough to sweep that one. I don't think Faith was angry about her loss, she probably felt, as I did that Carrie has not paid her dues long enough to fully deserve that award. As artists and public figures, we have to keep our feelings so repressed so we don't get called ungrateful as Faith has on this board many times now. She is a very sweet and gracious woman, whom I adore. Please cut her some slack!"
My response to that is bull. The award is for female vocalist of the YEAR, not for lifetime achievement. That is why we have living legend awards and other hall of fame type honors. Carrie Underwood has to date had three number one country singles from her debut album. (I don't think that even includes her first single, which was the American Idol pop hit.) It has been almost impossible to listen to country music radio over the past year for more than an hour without hearing a Carrie Underwood song. And the songs are really good. I love Martina McBride and Sara Evans and Gretchen Wilson, but even as successful as they have been, none of them have had the year Carrie Underwood has. The fact that this is her first album, in my mind, only makes her all the more deserving of the honor.
As for Faith Hill, she fell out of favor with many in the country audience when she went pop and did the acting thing. She attempted to come back to her country roots this past year with a song addressing what some fans think, titled Mississippi Girl, and it was well received. The song was great. She released at least one other single from the CD that I did not care for. If she had won the award I would not have said that she did not deserve it, but I would have thought she did not deserve it any more than Carrie Underwood or some of the others. Carrie had a bigger year than any of the others and in my mind was a very deserving winner. Congrats Carrie!
Update:This post and the fact that Hill made the gesture in a place she knew people would see her, has me convinced that Hill was almost certainly joking, but evidently her friend Leann Rimes wasn't.
On CMT I am watching, for about the third time, Greatest Southern Rock Songs. Marshall Tucker Band, Charlie Daniels, The Allman Brothers, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Georgia Satellites, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hank, Jr., and more are featured. For me, it doesn't get much better than this. If one of your favorite lyrics is "a southern man don't need him around, anyhow," this is the show for you. If you don't know whether or not this is your kind of music, the CMT site has some clips. One of my favorites, Gimme Three Steps, is number 14, but Skynyrd makes the list a couple more times at the top.
The comments in the special not to be missed are Trace Adkins' ax murderer comment in the Molly Hatchet segment, and also in the Hatchet segment, the observation about the relationship between Hatchet tee shirt art and middle school tests.
For those not familiar with country music, I am going to give you a little introduction. Those who listen to country music regularly will recognize the song below. It is by South Carolina's Aaron Tippin. The song is called "Where the Stars and Stripes and Eagle Fly." It was a hit song for Tippin several years ago, but still gets played a good bit. I heard it twice on the radio today. This is one of those songs that helped earn country music its reputation for patriotic songs. The lyrics below were found at Cowboy Lyrics.
Well if you ask me where I come from Here's what I tell everyone I was born by God's dear grace In an extraordinary place Where the stars and stripes and the eagle fly
It's a big 'ol land with countless dreams Happiness ain't out of reach Hard work pays off the way it should Yeah, I've seen enough to know that we've got it good Where the stars and stripes and the eagle fly
There's a lady that stands in a harbor For what we believe And there's a bell that still echoes The price that it cost to be free
I pledge allegiance to this flag And if that bothers you, well that's too bad But if you got pride and you're proud you do Hey, we could use some more like me and you Where the stars and stripes and the eagle fly
Yes there's a lady that stands in a harbor For what we believe And there's a bell that still echoes The price that it cost to be free
No, it ain't the only place on earth But it's the only place that I prefer To love my wife and raise my kids Hey, the same way that my daddy did Where the stars and stripes and the eagle fly
Where the stars and stripes and the eagle...fly Where the stars and stripes and the eagle fly
I know there are some extremely serious stories in the news this week, but Kim, Jay, Paul and Kevin already have them covered, so I couldn't resist the story of the first Presidential visit to Graceland.
My mom was (and still is) a big Elvis fan. She took me to an Elvis concert when I a little kid in Charlotte and I knew all the words to every Elvis album she owned. She didn't stop at making me an Elvis fan, though. If you ask my five year old who Elvis is she will tell you that "Elvis is the king." I am not sure whether or not my daughter knows he is no longer living, but she knows his songs from watching Disney's Lilo and Stitch. Anyway, considering all that, how could anyone expect me to resist?
Evidently the visiting Japanese Prime Minister is a huge Elvis fan and will be treated to a guided tour:
The Memphis, Tenn., home of the King of Rock and Roll will host a summit of sorts Friday when President George W. Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi travel to Graceland for a personal tour of one of America's wackiest -- and some may argue tackiest -- tourist attractions.
When Bush and Koizumi enter Graceland's musically noted gates, they will be at the mercy of the King's court. Elvis' ex-wife, Priscilla Presley, and his daughter, Lisa Marie, will give a personal tour of the house, Morgan said.
There's no word yet on whether they'll get to see the very private inner sanctum -- the second-floor bedrooms -- or if they'll linger at the display case of law-enforcement badges, including the one given to Elvis in 1970 when he met Nixon at the White House.
And Graceland is gearing up for Koizumi's trip as if it were a visit, well, from the King himself. "We're really looking forward to getting to thank him in person for all the wonderful things he's said about Elvis over the years," Morgan said.
President Bush, not Clinton, will be the first president to visit Graceland. Who would've guessed that?