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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.

ACM Performance Recap

If you like country music then you probably caught the Academy of Country Music Awards last night…if not, I’ll sum up my favorite part of the show…THE PERFORMANCES. Many artists debuted new music, whether new singles or music from new albums. I think the music this year was very fresh and wasn’t repetitive from many of the last award shows.

Carrie Underwood opened the show with a performance of her new song, “Good Girl,” from her upcoming album Blown Away. Carrie’s fourth album hits shelves on May 1. There hasn’t been a tour announced for this summer yet, but the iHeartRadio Music Festival organizers told the media today that there would be another event this September and hopefully Carrie will be reprising her performance again. Check out Carrie’s performance below…I wasn’t too impressed by this one, she still blows away a lot of the other vocalists even for a “bad” performance, but she seemed winded at times. She makes up for it by her stunning looks and awesome stage presence…decide for yourself and leave a comment below.

Another great performance of a new song is Eric Church’s “Springsteen” off his amazing record Chief. If you’re not a fan of Eric’s yet, you need to start listening to him NOW. I think this song will be a summer hit, people just need to give him a listen and they’ll be hooked. Eric took part in the annual pre-ACM tradition of playing to hundreds of fans at the Fremont Street fan concert this year. The video below is from that show, but he also sang the song during the award show telecast. Take a listen and see how much he interacts with his audience…once you see how fun his show are, download or buy his album, you won’t regret it.

One of my favorite performances of the evening was with Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney. By now everyone knows they are touring together this summer, but it was news to me (until last night) that they recorded a song together. “Feel Like A Rockstar” is off Kenny’s upcoming album Welcome To The Fishbowl. It’s definitely a departure from Kenny’s laid-back, beach approach to music…which he’s successfully taken advantage of in the last decade, but certainly didn’t upset any fans who most likely enjoyed the performance last night. It’s clear Tim and Kenny will be having one helluva good time this summer and for those of you who have a ticket to any of those shows you are in for a good time. Watch the video below and let me know what your think.

The last of the performances that I’m highlighting is Rascal Flatts. Their new single, “Bango,” hit the radio a few weeks ago and the group sang a great rendition of the tune with banjo-afficionado, comedian Steve Martin. The band’s new album called Changed features the new hit, but minus any Steve Martin banjo playing. It’s a good tune but nothing spectacular. The group has been over-shadowed the last few years by Lady Antebellum and this song isn’t going to make a run good enough to pass them. I think people will like it because it’s catchy but if you want to win back any old Flatts fans that have become Lady A fans…they’re going to need to try a little harder. Judge for yourself and leave a comment below.

Other notable performances:
-Chris Young was on par with his performance of “Save Water, Drink Beer.” It’s a departure from his last few singles…”Voices,” “Tomorrow,” or “You”…but definitely still connects with fans.
-Zac Brown Band hit the stage to sing “Whiskey’s Gone” and was joined by Brad Paisley in a great guitar matchup that made for a great unexpected collaboration.
-Miranda Lambert pulled on the heartstrings with the Blake Shelton-penned tune “Over You.”
-I loved, loved, loved the new song from The Band Perry…”Postcard From Paris”…if you haven’t gotten their album, go get it!
-Jason Aldean (who was robbed of the Best Album) performed “Fly Over States.”
-A Bono-endorsement for Dierks Bentley was well-deserved for his tune “Home.” Another great album, if you don’t already have it.
-I don’t need an excuse to watch Luke Bryan…ever. Even though “I Don’t Want This Night To End” has been out for a while now, I still thoroughly enjoyed the performance. I think he sounded great, maybe even the best sounding artist of the night.
-Lady Antebellum also sang my favorite song of theirs…”Dancing Away With My Heart.” This trio is the best around and whether they are singing the alphabet or one of their hit songs, I will still be listening.

There were other great performances but I think I summed up the best-of-the-best. I was a little bummed we didn’t hear Taylor Swift or Sugarland or even co-host Reba McEntire…but the on-stage wedding with Martina McBride and Train’s Pat Monahan or the country take-over of Lionel Richie or the odd appearance of rock legends KISS…there was certainly something for everyone.

BEST OF 2011: Country Songs

Along with the top country albums this year comes top country songs.  My list is clearly personal and by no means is determined like lists posted through Billboard.com or any other year-end lists…but I’d like to think that my choices are some of the songs that you liked listening to this year too.  So check out what songs I appreciated this year and let me know your thoughts.


–Brad Paisley/Carrie Underwood “Remind Me”
When this song came out I got very excited when I found out Carrie was on it.  She doesn’t sing on the song right away so you wouldn’t know it until the chorus comes around.  The song received more hype when the video came out.  It featured Carrie and Brad on the desert.  Knowing their comedic relationship, it was weird seeing them singing a romantic song…with Carrie’s dress practically blowing off her body and Brad looking good strumming his guitar…but the two made it work.  It got even better seeing them perform it live on this year’s CMA Awards.

–Luke Bryan “Country Girl (Shake It For Me)”
This song became a favorite of mine really quickly and it even convinced me to buy the album.  I can proudly say that I’m am hooked on Luke and will listen to him constantly.  I first starting liking him with “All My Friends Say” and I completely fell in love after his hot performance on this year’s CMT Awards.  There are a couple other songs off Tailgates & Tanlines…but this song sets the tone and has really catapulted Luke’s career.

–Thompson Square “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not”
The husband and wife duo really took off running with their debut single.  The song picked up a few trophies at this year’s ACA’s and the they are also up for two Grammy Awards for the song.  It’s a great tune that peaked at number one and is a great starting point.  I think their voices mesh really well together and they have a style and swagger that is very appealing.  Other songs from Thompson Square include one of my favorites “I Got You” and I look foward to seeing what this duo does in 2012.

–Blake Shelton “Honeybee”
If you didn’t know who Blake was before 2011, you sure do now…he’s everywhere.  Considering he is very blunt and sarcastic, it’s very refreshing to hear him sing a song like “Honeybee.”  I don’t see many other artists getting away with singing a song about flowers and sunshine.  However, he does so magnificently and everytime I heard the song on the radio I turned it up.  The number one song boosted the album to number one and ended 2011 for Blake on a high note.

–Jake Owen “Barefoot Bluejean Night”
The song became Jake’s first number one.  He’s had a lot of great hits in the past few years, but this certainly is one of those songs that will age with him…a true career song.  It was released at the right time…over the summer…and was very relatable.  There’s nothing better than a fun, upbeat song to get you through the hot summer months.  His heartthrob status was confirmed in a great video that captured his personality perfectly.

–Kenny Chesney/Grace Potter “You And Tequila”
One of my favorite Kenny songs came in this tune.  His move to include a female voice on this song was genius and even moreso when he chose Grace.  The song didn’t reach number one on the charts, but it’s a number one song in my books.  The CMA’s agreed too, because the song was awarded Best Music Video Of The Year.  It captured Kenny’s beach mentality and will forever be one of my go-to songs.

–Eli Young Band “Crazy Girl”
This band has been around for a couple years and caught my attention with their album Jet Black & Jealous…but didn’t start getting attention until this year.  With the release of Life At Best, the band is finally getting recognized especially with the number one song “Crazy Girl” which helped the album to Platinum status.  I suggest checking them out because big things are going to happen for the Eli Young Band in the future.

–David Nail “Let It Rain”
I don’t think I spent a single commute to and from work without hearing this song the last couple months.  He has a very distinct voice and no matter what he sings, I am mesmerized.  I loved “Red Light,” “I’m About To Come Alive,” and “Turning Home” from his previous album so I was excited when we started hearing new stuff on the radio.  This song hasn’t charted higher than number four or earned any award nominations but I really think this song is guiding him in the right direction.  Keep it up!

–Taylor Swift “Mean”
This is the third single from Speak Now and is definitely a departure from her usual fluffy, love songs.  I definitely wasn’t in love with this song off the bat, but I have become much more appreciative of it over time.  Her ode to those who have criticized her is refreshing and is a lot more pleasant to hearing in song than in verbal complaints.  The song itself has two nominations at the Grammy Awards…plus the record has one.  She also cleaned up at the award shows this year…highlighted by being named Entertainer of the Year at the CMA’s and ACM’s.  Not a bad year…

–The Band Perry “If I Die Young”
We found out this year that Kimberly Perry is a fantastic songwriter after winning both Single and Song of the Year for “If I Die Young” at the CMA Awards.  She penned the number one tune and opened our eyes to the new side of country music.  The newcomers also earned their first Grammy nomination.  After being out on tour all year, part of the year with Tim McGraw, they are set to start 2012 on the road with Brad Paisley…but not before appearing on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.  The band has been making appearances on many talk shows and holiday specials, so I’m sure we’ll be seeing even more of this sibling band in 2012.

Kenny & Tim To Hit The Road Together In 2012

The CMA’s are in the past and with the show last week there were lots of rumors of a reuniting of Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney out on the road together.  Well rumors have been put to rest…Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw will reunite for the musical event of 2012, the ‘Brothers of the Sun’ Tour. 

‘Brothers of the Sun’ will be the first time in 10 years that Kenny and Tim have hit the road together.  The reunion will kick off June 2 in Tampa, FL and will feature stadium shows on weekend dates at venues across the country, including Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field, Dallas’ Cowboys Stadium, Detroit’s Ford Field, and New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium. ‘Brothers of the Sun’ will also feature special guests Grace Potter & The Nocturnals and Jake Owen.

Sounds pretty exciting, definitely something to look forward to next summer!

CMA’s Countdown: 1 day

Leading up to tomorrow’s CMA’s, some of the biggest country singers got stars on the Music City Walk of Fame.  Alan Jackson and Kix Brooks were among the recipients and Reba McEntire was on hand to share the moment with Kix.

Also, Robin Roberts’ special In The Spotlight aired tonight…she chatted with Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, Faith Hill and Sugarland.  Here’s a bit of Sugarland’s piece as they discuss the stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair.

Check back in tomorrow…I’ll be live tweeting during the show so make sure to follow @mDELONG11 for all the Country Music Award details!

iHeart Radio Music Festival Recap

Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney and Rascal Flatts represented country music at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas over the weekend.  The two day event that quite possibly be the greatest idea ever for  music buffs went down at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.  Artists such as Black Eyed Peas, Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Nicki Minaj, Coldplay, Bruno Mars, Kelly Clarkson and many others.  The full lineup included acts from all different genres and considering tickets went at around $45 just about anybody could have snagged a ticket, of course before they sold out in a matter of minutes.  Radio giant, Clear Channel, definitely scored with this hopefully annual festival and maybe there will be a chance to actually get to the show instead of relying on either listening online or through a gaming device.

Here’s some video of Carrie performing:

She also met up with Joe Jonas, but she was plastered all over gossip websites for her new hairstyle, bangs included…what do you think?

   

Rascal Flatts also hit the stage, performing their recent hit “Easy” with Natasha Bedingfield.

Plus, the trio performed one of my favorites “Fast Cars & Freedom”:

And Day Two of the festival included Kenny Chesney. 

He performed hits such as “Beer In Mexico” and “Living In Fast Forward.”  Check out the performance below:

Kenny Changes Date For Foxboro Show

It looks like a lot of being are having to deal with the bad weather associated with Hurricane Irene. 

Kenny Chesney has rescheduled his Sunday night Foxboro concert for Friday, August 26 due to the impending storm.  All tickets for Sunday will be honored at the gate.  Fans who can’t attend Friday’s show will be offered a refund.

Here’s what Kenny had to say:

“I want the last weekend of the Goin’ Coastal tour to be a great experience for everybody.  But I also want it to be the safest experience for everyone.  I’ve always said Foxboro is a highlight of our tour, because the fans are ready for a great night of music and fun no matter what night it is!”

Start making changes to your plans if you are heading to that show!

Tid-Bit Tuesday

*Opry Comes Home to the Grand Ole Opry House tonight.  For those of you who have GAC can watch it live, those of us who don’t will have to catch it online.  The star-studded homecoming event, hosting its first concert since flooding devastated Nashville in May and inundated the world’s most famous country-music venue, will feature artists like Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Martina McBride, Blake Shelton, Dierks Bentley, Josh Turner and Jason Aldean.  You can catch Country Comes Home: An Opry Celebration when it airs live at 9 p.m. on GAC, Opry.com and GACTV.com.

*Taylor Swift has won every trophy out there, but this year she will get her name on a building.  Yes you heard me correctly.  The Sumner County School Board of Henderson High School, where she went during her freshman and sophomore years before the release of her debut album in 2006, voted unanimously in favor of the name change.  Swift donated $75,000 to the school in 2009 so they could update the sound and lighting systems in the auditorium.

*Kenny Chesney’s much anticipated album, Hemingway’s  Whiskey, is in stores today.  Kenny has said this album is much deeper and different for him.  He recently told Lon Helton, that there’s more than the party songs people are used to hearing during his live shows.  The first single off the album, “The Boys of Fall,” just became Kenny’s 20th number one single.

*It seems Alan Jackson is taking cues from Tim McGraw.  Alan is launching a tour down-under in Australia in March and he’s taking Miranda Lambert with him.  Tickets go on sale to the general public Friday, October 8th, and fanclub presales start this Friday. 
The dates are:
March 4, 2011 Melbourne – Rod Laver Arena
March 7, 2011 Sydney – Acer Arena
March 10, 2011 Brisbane – Brisbane Entertainment Centre
March 11, 2011 Brisbane – Brisbane Entertainment Centre

*CMT jumps into fall with the world premiere of eight all-new music videos when CMT Big New Music Weekend returns to the network beginning at 6:00 a.m., Friday, October 1 through Sunday, October 3.  New exclusive world premieres from Jason Aldean, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Blake Shelton, Sara Evans, Jerrod Niemann, Jaron and The Long Road to Love and Christian Kane will take over CMT music hours as the only videos featured throughout the weekend, with taped introductions by each artist prior to their video.  In addition, America’s #1 country music website, CMT.com, will highlight each of the videos on the homepage of CMT.com, and fans will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite new video at the video voting page on CMT.com.

*While Reba’s upcoming album is entitled All the Women I Am, she’s been tackling the opposite sex’s perspective with a cover of Beyoncé’s “If I Were a Boy.” Reba’s countrified version of the hit song will appear on her new CD, due in stores November 9.  This isn’t the first time a Beyoncé-penned tune has become a country crossover. Sugarland covered her infectious hit, “Irreplaceable,” on their Live on the Inside album, and Beyoncé even performed the song with the duo on the 2007 American Music Awards.

*Country Strong, the upcoming feature film starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Tim McGraw, will have a star-studded soundtrack.   All four of the movie’s main stars — Gwyneth, Tim, Leighton Meester and Garrett Hedlund — will be included, as well as some of country music’s most famous voices.  Trace Adkins, Ronnie Dunn, Sara Evans, Faith Hill, Patty Loveless, Hank Williams, Jr., Lee Ann Womack and Chris Young, with Tim McGraw serving as executive producer.  Gwyneth sings four songs on the soundtrack, including the title track and a duet with Tim called “Me and Tennessee,” which was written by her husband, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin.  Country Strong hits movie theaters in Los Angeles and Nashville on December 22, 2010, and nationwide on January 7, 2011.

VIDEO OF THE DAY: Country boys at Country Thunder

I’m back and at it after a long vacation!!  Check out some video of Billy Currington, Luke Bryan and Kenny Chesney singing a little bit of “The Joker” last night at Country Thunder in Wisconsin.  Billy looks a little lost and Luke just can’t find the words.  I wish the video was longer, but it looks like they are enjoying themselves.

Tid-Bit Tuesday

*Kellie Pickler is set to head overseas again for another USO Tour.  Right now she’s in the middle of a busy schedule, but that doesn’ t mean she won’t make time in the near future to re-visit the troops.  She’s already been over there three times and she is known for her star tattoos on her arm to designate how many trips she’s made.  However, she’s been quoted saying that the tradition may not continue on as planned.   In an interview with the Boot, she said, “I don’t know if I’ll keep doing it because I might have the whole flag on my arm.  That wouldn’t be a bad thing, but I don’t know that I would look very good with a sleeve. I just kind of play it by ear. My first three trips were very memorable, and even if I don’t add a star, I’m not going to forget that I went.”

*Newcomer Colt Ford’s new music video takes on the Twilight movies for his song “Chicken And Biscuits.”  He is a fan of the Twilight movies and his parody in the video is pretty comical.  Check it out!

*Friday night, July 9, CMT premieres their latest Crossroads featuring Kenny Chesney and the Steve Miller Band. CMT Crossroads airs at 9:00 p.m. so tune in!

*Carrie Underwood had the most-played song of any American Idol alumnus last week, according to Mediabase.  After several weeks beneath Adam Lambert’s “Whataya Want From Me” on the American Idol airplay chart, Carrie’s “Undo It” moves into the top slot.  Carrie has other big news this week as rumors speculate that this Saturday, July 10th will be her and Mike Fisher’s big wedding day.

*Over the weekend, Reba McEntire became a godmother…of a ship that is.   She led the christening ceremony in New York for the new ship called the Norwegian Epic and was asked to be its godmother.  Check out the video of the christening ceremony, Reba is a little more than half way through.

*Lilith Fair has canceled more dates.  The reason…lots and lots of unsold tickets.  Just this past week, eleven dates were canceled.  However, concert organizers promised no more dates will be canceled.  The Court Yard Hounds have revised their touring schedule to hit more dates since most of their originally scheduled dates have been canceled.  Plus, Miranda Lambert will still be at most of the remaining dates.

*Lastly, in honor of the Fourth of July…I picked one of my favorite songs that embodies the holiday, it’s Tim McGraw’s “If You’re Reading This.”