NEW BLOG

To all my trusty followers:

I am beginning a new blog this Friday, Aug. 16. Please check it out and subscribe to it! This blog will no longer be active and updated.

http://delonganddeshortofit.blogspot.com/

Thanks!

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Country is back in the Big Apple

Hey folks, things are working again on here and just in time too. If you live on the east coast and frequent New York City, you might have noticed a new radio station on the dial. Country is finally back in NYC!

NASH-FM 94.7 hit the airwaves last month and is making big moves in the country world already by holding the first-ever #NashBash, a three-day concert held at the historic Roseland Ball Room. Fans can only win tickets to the show by entering on their website. Big names like Blake Shelton, Lady Antebellum, Sara Evans and Gary Allan are set to perform, plus many more.

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Check out NASH-FM on Facebook and follow them on Twitter!

Country Music Awards Predictions

I picked up the Taylor Swift “Red” album last week, and as I continue to evaluate and work on my album review I decided to share my predictions for tomorrow’s Country Music Awards. The show airs tomorrow night at 8PM on ABC…check it out!

Musician of the Year goes to the top instrument performer and past nominee Mac McAnally is pretty consistent in the win category. Dan Huff plays on top albums by country artists like Taylor Swift and Reba McEntire and others such as Michael Jackson and Celine Dion…a definite contender. Other nominees include Sam Bush, Paul Franklin and Brent Mason. I don’t know enough about any of these nominees and each are tremendously skilled musicians, therefore, I can’t make an educated guess on a winner. Watch the show to see who takes home the trophy.

Music Video of the Year:
“Come Over” – Kenny Chesney
“Over You” – Miranda Lambert
“Pontoon” – Little Big Town
“Red Solo Cup” – Toby Keith
“Springsteen” – Eric Church

I really think this is Little Big Town’s year, even though they weren’t nominated for Album of the Year…this song is going to do wonders for this groups career. I think they definitely deserve this award, but they are up against tough competition with Toby Keith’s drinking anthem. Miranda has a solid video as does Eric, but I really hope LBT walks away with this one.

Musical Event of the Year:
“Dixie Highway” – Alan Jackson/Zac Brown Band
“Feel Like A Rockstar” – Kenny Chesney/Tim McGraw
“Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die” – Willie Nelson/Snoop Dogg/Kris Kristofferson/Jamey Johnson
“Safe & Sound” – Taylor Swift/The Civil Wars
“Stuck On You” – Lionel Richie/Darius Rucker

I’m excited to see Willie Nelson on this years telecast, with a special duet set for Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, but I don’t think he’ll be getting this trophy. What was very exciting this summer was to finally hear a tune by Tim and Kenny…it was a great summer song and was perfect to go along with their combo tour. I am partial to a Taylor Swift song and I liked the Hunger Games-inspired song, but I am a bigger fan of her duets from her new album. In terms of the performances that Lionel Richie pulled together for his Tuskegee album, I’m a little shocked at the one that made it in this list. I’m a Darius Rucker fan, but it’s not my favorite song from the album. I’m going to go with the ZBB/AJ tune for the win. I’m ZBB all the way!

Song of the Year:
“Even If It Breaks Your Heart” – Will Hoge and Eric Paslay
“God Gave Me You” – Dave Barnes
“Home” – Dan Wilson, Brett Beavers and Dierks Bentley
“Over You” – Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton
“Springsteen” – Eric Church, Ryan Tyndell and Jeff Hyde

*Goes to artist and songwriter

Some of these songs come off of some of the best albums of 2012. Eric, Miranda and Dierks all had tremendous releases with several radio hits. “Springsteen” became a summer time hit and was fitting for this Philly/NJ area blogger that grew up on New Jersey rockers like Bruce Springsteen. Plus, if you aren’t listening to Dierks Bentley…shame on you. And of course, Miranda is completely consistent and it’s no surprise to find the personal tune that her and Blake wrote about his brother that passed away. Now if you haven’t heard of Dave Barnes, check him out. He’s released his own music, but you’ll find “Over You” on Blake’s latest album. Lastly, I came across the Eli Young Band over four years ago and was hooked by their first album. Now on their second and they finally are getting noticed with tunes like “Crazy Girl” and the nominated song, “Even If It Breaks  Your Heart.” I’m liking the Eric Church song this year, his album Chief is off the chains.

Album of the Year:
Chief – Eric Church
Four The Record – Miranda Lambert
Home – Dierks Bentley
Own The Night – Lady Antebellum
Tailgates & Tanlines – Luke Bryan

In my mind, in order for an artist to win the Album trophy there needs to be multiple songs that reach the top of the charts or are radio hits. All these albums reach my criteria, however, a few stand out a little bit more than others. Luke has been on fire and this album puts him into the game with the big boys. Lady A had four radio releases, but only “Just A Kiss” and “We Owned The Night” reach number one and the remaining singles fizzled. “5-1-5-0” is one of my favorite songs on the radio right now. Also, I love “Home” and “Am I The Only One” from Dierks latest album. All three songs reached number one. What’s even better is his latest single “Tip It On Back” is climbing the charts and is as catchy and creatively written as any song you’d expect from Dierks. One of the biggest letdowns for me is not seeing “Baggage Claim” make it to number one. Miranda did reach the top with “Over You” but that’s the only song that probably got enough radio play to succeed. “Fastest Girl In Town” is growing in presence on the air waves but it’s too little too soon. I’m putting my money on Eric this year, simple as that. If you don’t have Chief, go get it.

Single of the Year:
“Dirt Road Anthem” – Jason Aldean
“God Gave Me You” – Blake Shelton
“Home” – Dierks Bentley
“Pontoon” – Little Big Town
“Springsteen” – Eric Church

The fact that Little Big Town hasn’t seen number one before “Pontoon” reached that mark is amazing. The song came out at the perfect time, in the midst of the summer months and captured people with its catchy and memorable chorus. If this song doesn’t win, nothing is right in the world.

Vocal Duo of the Year:
Big & Rich
Love and Theft
Sugarland
The Civil Wars
Thompson Square

Love and Theft had a breakout year with their self-titled album, even though they are minus a member. The album spawned their first number one with “Angel Eyes.” And Thompson Square had a very successful first album that gave us “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not” and “I Got You.” The duo released a new song recently, coming off an upcoming, yet-to-be-determined album. These are both very promising duos that are certainly giving Big & Rich and Sugarland a run for their money. I’m going with Thompson Square this go-round.

Vocal Group of the Year:
Eli Young Band
Lady Antebellum
Little Big Town
The Band Perry
Zac Brown Band

I see this category as the most difficult to predict. I can’t even conceive that Rascal Flatts isn’t even nominated and how many “newer” groups were considered. Lady A will probably end up winning, but they just might not be the most deserving. LBT has been nominated six times in this category and never won. ZBB is one of the best shows I’ve ever seen live and they deserve everything they are nominated for. Plus, The Band Perry is creeping right up and stealing people’s hearts with tremendous song writing and talent. Lastly, Eli Young Band have been around longer than people probably realize and have certainly put in years of hard work to get to this point in their career.

New Artist of the Year:
Lee Brice
Brantley Gilbert
Hunter Hayes
Love and Theft
Thompson Square

It’s no doubt that every single one of these singers will have long and successful careers. I’ve been a Love and Theft fan since they were a trio and been a fan of Lee Brice since I heard his tune “More Than A Memory” that Garth Brooks recorded nearly five years ago. It’s hard to see how Thompson Square is even in this category, considering they’ve won Duo of the Year at this year’s ACM’s and been nominated for the New Artist award before. I saw Hunter Hayes out on tour with Carrie Underwood earlier this fall and that kid can definitely put on a show. I think Brantley Gilbert should get this trophy, he’s country and he’s got a great album on his hands, plus he’s working with one of the best labels in Nashville…Big Machine Record Group.

Male Vocalist of the Year:
Jason Aldean
Luke Bryan
Eric Church
Blake Shelton
Keith Urban

As a fan of all these fancy men, it’s hard for me to choose. I saw the Jason/Luke concert this summer and I saw one of the best shows of the year. Keith puts on one hell of a show and is tremendously consistent with his music. Blake is Blake and is a true showman, what you see is what you get. I’d love to see Eric win, but I can totally someone like Luke come in and steal it.

Female Vocalist of the Year:
Kelly Clarkson
Miranda Lambert
Martina McBride
Taylor Swift
Carrie Underwood

Much like the men that are nominated, I am huge fan of all theses talented ladies as well. I’ve seen all of the nominees in concert the last couple of years and certainly wasn’t let down by any of the performances. The trophy will probably go to Miranda, maybe Carrie, but I don’t see Taylor getting it this time. I’m sure Kelly appreciates the nomination but I don’t see her winning any country awards with her most recent album. Martina it’s probably the biggest female voice of my lifetime and I would love to see her win.

Entertainer of the Year:
Jason Aldean
Kenny Chesney
Brad Paisley
Blake Shelton
Taylor Swift

One of the coolest things I’ve seen this year was the Kenny Chesney concert from Wildwood NJ. I didn’t get to be down the shore but I watched it online and it was pretty spectacular. Even thinking back to the concert now after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the Jersey Shore makes the show even more special. There’s no doubt Kenny can put on a show just about anywhere. Another guy who rocks the stage is Jason. If loud and a guitar-laced show is what you’re looking for, then check him out. I love Brad in concert too, he puts on a great show mixed in with creatively written songs. I haven’t seen Blake live, but I’ve been a fan for years and would love to see him win just to hear what he has to say. Lastly, Taylor is a creative mastermind and puts on one heck of a live show and is a record label’s best friend. She is deserving but I don’t know if it’s her year.

Make sure to tune in tomorrow at 8PM on ABC. I’ll be live tweeting, follow me @DandD_Of_It.

Concert Recap: Carrie Underwood

A week or so ago I went to the Carrie Underwood show in Reading, PA. This might have been my sixth or seventh time seeing her and every time she gets better and better. She added new high-tech and moving giant video screens, plus a stage that floated above the crowd so she could get super close to her fans.

Check out my video recap:

Nashville Trip: Backstage Opry

I spent last week in my favorite city…Nashville!! Saw a lot of great local singers and did some sightseeing. Today I’ll share some pictures from a night at the Grand Ole Opry. I did the backstage tour and saw a lot of cool stuff. The dressing rooms and seeing where celebs hang before hitting the stage was really neat.

While backstage I saw a bunch of the dressing rooms…

Plus, I got to step on the famous stage…

And, above is the wooden circle from the Ryman Auditorium.

Tomorrow I’ll post pictures and a recap from the Opry show I saw.

Concert Recap: Zac Brown Band

If you’ve been thinking about seeing Zac Brown Band live…stop thinking about it and go already. On the stereo the group sounds great and they sound even better live. This past weekend I caught their show at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, NJ.

Check out my video recap.

Also, here are some pictures…

Summer Is Here: Kenny Chesney LIVE in Wildwood

After a mini hiatus, things are up and running…and SUMMER IS HERE!

To kick off the warm months, Kenny Chesney lit up Wildwood last night with a free show on the beach. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it down there but I did catch the live stream. It looked awesome. It’s no doubt that Kenny puts on a great show. If you missed it, you can catch rebroadcasts of it on YouTube HERE.

VIDEO OF THE DAY: Eric Church “Springsteen”

If you’re the type of person who likes to create the ultimate playlist each summer to capture the energy and fun times that summer is…then you need to add Eric Church’s “Springsteen” to your list. I’m very partial to anything off Eric’s album Chief, but this song has the power to really strike a chord with people this summer. Take a look at the video then go download or buy the song!

Lady Antebellum’s Dave Haywood Married

Congrats to Lady Antebellum’s Dave Haywood. He and his fiance, Kelli Cashiola married this past Saturday evening on a farm outside of Nashville. According to People.com, guests including bandmates Hillary Scott and Charles Kelley, were shuttled to the private location for the ceremony, dinner, and dancing.

The couple announced their engagement in December.

Congrats to the happy couple!

American Idol’s Country Sensation: Skylar Laine

Are you watching this season of American Idol? Country is being represented this time around by Skylar Laine. Self-proclaimed #1 fan of Miranda Lambert, the southern beauty sang the hit tune “Hell On Heels,” by Miranda’s all-girl group the Pistol Annies. Then the contestants got to perform a song by the artist who influences them the most and of course she chose Miranda. Skylar chose “Gunpowder And Lead.” She sounded great but didn’t really impress too much…a different Miranda song might have been better. Regardless what I think, she was still voted back again.

This week she switched things up and sang a Kellie Pickler song. It’s actually one of my favorites of hers…”Didn’t You Know How Much I Loved You” from her debut album.

Girl has some pipes and was even told by one of the judges that there isn’t anyone in country music right now singing like her. Even if she doesn’t win this thing, I think she will definitely find her niche in country music and have a thriving career. Skylar also sang a great country song with fellow Idol show contestant, Colton Dixon. The two performed the duet by Kelly Clarkson and Jason Aldean.

So if you like what you see, consider checking out American Idol next week and vote…Skylar was safe tonight and will be performing again next Wednesday night.