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Posts tagged ‘country’

Lady Antebellum: Brightens Up the Bowl

Lady Antebellum in Concert
Saturday, June 3, 2017
Hollywood Bowl

Special guests: Brett Young, Kelsea Ballerini

“You Look Good” World Tour

Merchandise purchased: T-shirt

Songs performed: Downtown , Our Kind of Love, This City, Dancin’ Away with my Heart, Heart Break, Compass, We Owned the Night, American Honey, I Run to You, Good Time to Be Alive, Thy Will, Hello World,You’re Still the One, Just a Kiss, You Look Good, Lookin’ for a Good Time, Something Like That,Crazy in Love,Love Don’t Live Here, Bartender, Need You Now, Allman Bros. cover songIMG_1239

Comments: Grammy-winning country trio Lady Antebellum brought their trademark sound to the Hollywood Bowl last weekend. The “You Look Good” World Tour is in support of their new album “Heart Break” that is due to be released on June 9. The group is composed of Hillary Scott (lead vocals), Charles Kelley (lead vocals) and Dave Haywood (backing vocals, guitar, piano, mandolin). The group was formed back in 2006 in Nashville.

In 2016, the group took on various solo projects including Charles’ solo album “The Driver” and Hillary’s solo album (with the Scott Family) “Love Remains.” The new album is the group’s first since 2014’s “747.”

I have been a big fan of this group since the beginning. I saw them back in 2009 as an opening act for Keith Urban. They were a last-minute replacement for Sugarland, who had to cancel due to illness. I was happy with the change.

After the 2 opening acts, popular dance songs from Bruno Mars, Michael Jackson, Salt N Pepa and Justin Timberlake among others were played. People were shown on the big screens dancing in the audience. It all served as a warm-up to the headliners. In their Hollywood Bowl debut, the group delivered and then some. You got the big hits and album tracks, plus a few surprises too.

The show started with “Downtown” from their “Golden” album. For this tour, the band has added a horn section including a trumpet and a trombone. The horn players were the first band members seen and heard before the group made their entrance at the back of the stage in separate lighted rectangular boxes.

The stage set-up had a large video screen and panels of lights that moved around during the show. They have definitely upped their production values for this tour, which includes stops in Europe and South Africa too. The band utilized the ring around the front seats several times in the night. Charles also made his way out into the audience too for one number. (No where close to me, oh well!)

The 2 trademarks of the group were on full display: the harmonies/vocals plus their hit-making songwriting. This group has 2 excellent vocalists in Hillary and Charles. What is interesting is how often they are flirting with each other in song, and they are both married to other people.

The group did a little unplugged segment in the middle of the show including one of the songs from Hillary’s faith-based solo album, a track called “Thy Will.” No songs from Charles’ album. They also sang Shania Twain’s “You’re Still the One” during the unplugged segment.

For “You Look Good,” they brought out a full horn section to back them up. Is it country? Not sure, it is a very funky horn-filled number. So there were trumpets, trombones, sax, tuba, French horn and more. The show was a good mix of songs from their six studio albums. They are in the enviable position of having too many good songs to fit in one show. I would have liked to have heard more from the “747” album, but that was featured on the last tour.

There were some inspired cover songs during the last few numbers: “Something Like That” had Charles and Brett Young singing on a song originally performed by Tim McGraw. Then for “Crazy in Love,” you had Kelsea Ballerini and Hillary singing on the Beyoncé classic. It was one of the highlights of the night and there were many that night.

Southern California native Brett Young opened the show. He was wearing a gold Laker’s jersey that showed off his tanned and tattooed arms. The crowd responded well to his short set which included the current #1 country song “In Case You Didn’t Know.” For me, he is another good-looking, but forgettable, country boy in a crowded market.

The second opening act was Kelsea Ballerini. She has broken through in the last year or so on the strength of her debut album “The First Time.” She was also nominated for the Best New Artist Grammy in 2017. She is filling the role of the country-pop female that was left by Taylor Swift. She debuted some new songs from her 2nd album that she is currently working on. She has a nice voice and a good personality. I can see her going further.

Thanks to Hillary, Charles and Dave for a great evening of music and artistry. I look forward to many more years of Lady Antebellum. I waited 8 years to see them in concert — and it was definitely worth the wait.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

 

 

Keith Urban: Rockin the Country

Keith Urban in Concert
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Staples Center

Ripcord Tour 2016

Special guests: Maren Morris and Brett Eldredge

Songs performed: Gone Tomorrow (Here Today), Long Hot Summer, Break on Me, Where the Blacktop Ends, Making Memories of Us, Gimme Shelter, Somewhere in My Car, Blue Ain’t Your Color, Gettin’ in the Way, You Gonna Fly, Days Go By, We Were Us (with Maren Morris), Cop Car, Sun Don’t Let Me Down (With Nile Rodgers), The Fighter, You Look Good in My Shirt, Somebody Like You (with Brett Eldredge), John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16 (Jack & Diane, No Woman, No Cry), Wasted Time, But for the Grace of God, Stupid Boy, Raise ‘Em Up

keith-urban-ripcord-2016-tour-dates-tickets-infoComments: Keith Urban brought his Ripcord World Tour to the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The tour is named after his 9th studio album of the same name. He performed 7 songs from that album, plus a lot of his hits from throughout his career.

What’s cool about Keith is what a showman he is. He’s got the rock star good looks and tattoos. He is an excellent guitar player and banjo player too.

The stage had large video screens on the back of the stage. Plus there was a small stage on the other side of the arena that they used for a few numbers also.

He pulled one girl from the audience to duet with him. She had a sign that read “I need to sing with you to pass my final.” Keith asked her what song she wanted to sing and she said the Rolling Stone’s song “Gimme Shelter” (which Keith recorded with Alicia Keys). She was really going for it, even though her voice was just OK.

Both opening acts showed up in the show too. Maren Morris dueted with him on “We Were Us”; and Brett Eldredge came out with Keith on the small stage and sang “Somebody Like You.” Keith and his band actually made their way across the floor to the small stage, shaking hands and hi-fives when they could.

Keith’s music has gotten much more pop leaning in recent years. Not that there is anything wrong with that, cause that’s what’s popular on country radio. One of the highlights of the night was the encore, when Keith came out and did 2 songs with just him and his guitar: But for the Grace of God and Stupid Boy. He should do a whole concert unplugged!

The first opening act of the evening was Maren Morris. She broke through big time this year with her hit “My Church.” She definitely has a good voice. But she hasn’t developed her stage presence yet. I am sure she will develop it with more touring.

The second opening act was Brett Eldredge. I was impressed with him. He is touring behind his 2nd album “Illinois”. The crowd seemed to dig him as much as I do. This is probably the last time he’s an opener. He’s got a nice voice and a bunch of catchy songs — so don’t be surprised to be hearing more from him.

Thanks to Keith and his band for a great evening.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Country Hunks 2

Country music is filled with good-looking men. This is my sequel to my previous post on Country Hunks. A lot of these guys are new to the scene, but I am sure they will be breaking hearts and selling music for years to come.

Brantley Gilbert
This singer-songwriter from Georgia is engaged to country beauty Jana Kramer. He has also written songs for Jason Aldean. Essential songs: “Country Must Be Country Wide” and “You Don’t Know Her Like I Do.”

Hunter Hayes
This cutie from Louisiana, was nominated for the Best New Artist Grammy Award in 2013. His debut album “Hunter Hayes” earned him an opening gig on Carrie Underwood’s tour. Essential songs: “Wanted” and “Somebody’s Heartbreak.”

Jake Owen
This hunk from Florida looks like he could have been a male model. He has toured with Kenny Chesney and has released 3 albums. Essential songs: “Eight Second Ride” and “Alone with You.”

Florida Georgia Line
This country duo get its name from the 2 states the guys are from: Brian Kelley (FL) and Tyler Hubbard (GA). After releasing 2 EPs, the guys finally released their first full-length album in 2012. Essential songs: “Cruise” (remix w/ Nelly) and “Get Your Shine on.”
http://vevo.ly/YrKcCe

Easton Corbin
Another signer-songwriter from Florida, he once worked at a hardware store in Nashville before making some contacts through a cousin. Essential songs: “A Little More Country Than That” and “Lovin’ You Is Fun.”

Love and Theft
They started off as a trio, but they are now a duo made up of Eric Gunderson and Stephen Barker Liles. Stephen even inspired a song on one of Taylor Swift’s albums (“Hey Stephen”). Essential songs: “Runaway” and “Angel Eyes.”

Dustin Lynch
This hunk hails from Tennessee. He is opening for another country hunk, Keith Urban, on tour this summer. Essential songs: “Cowboys and Angels” and “She Cranks My Tractor.”
http://vevo.ly/Uqyqpt

Luke Bryan
This man has been raking in the awards lately, including winning Entertainer of the Year at the ACM Awards. Plus he seems like a nice guy too. Essential songs: “All My Friends Say” and “Country Girl (Shake It for Me).”

Chris Young
A winner on the reality show Nashville Star, he recently released his 4th album “Neon.” Essential songs: “Tomorrow” and “You.”

As long as there is country music, there will be good looking men in cowboy hats and jeans singing the songs. So did I leave any one out? I would love to hear from you.

Spice69man is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and  Rock the Kilt lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

When Pop Goes Country

Here’s the sequel to my previous post “When Country Goes Pop.” I will highlight artists whose careers have followed more the pop/rock vein and then ventured into country occasionally.

Darius Rucker

Darius Rucker
Lead singer of 90’s hitmakers Hootie and the Blowfish, he’s found a second act in his career as a country crooner. He even toured with Lady Antebellum. Essential songs: “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It,” “Alright” and “This.”

Kid Rock
Notorious rap-rocker Kid Rock has been able to capitalize on country’s love of classic rock and come up with a few hits on the country chart. Essential songs: “Picture” (with Sheryl Crow), “Cowboy” and “All Summer Long.”

Kelly Clarkson
She is from Texas after all, so this is not surprising. She’s got love for Reba (one of her idols) and is friends with Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert. Essential songs: “Don’t You Wanna Stay (with Jason Aldean), “Because of You (duet version with Reba) and “Mr. Know It All” (country version).

Aaron Lewis (Staind)
Lead singer for rock band Staind, he has recorded a few albums in the country genre. Essential songs: “Country Boy” (w/ George Jones and Charlie Daniels) and “Forever.”

Tommy Shaw (Styx)
One of the founding members of 70-80’s hitmakers Styx, he has also shown a love for country music too recording a country album between touring dates with Styx. Essential songs: “The Next Right Thing” and “Boat on a River.”

(more…)

When Country Goes Pop

It may be criticized by critics and genre-purists, but when country artists go pop they often hit gold (as in gold records). Some have been more successful than others, but as long as people have varied influences and backgrounds, it will continue to happen. For some reason, women have been more successful at it than the men. So here’s my list of artists who have straddled the lines between country and pop:

Taylor SwiftTaylor Swift
She’s had her foot in both genres from the beginning of her career. She has won MTV awards and country music awards too. Her latest CD “Red” is pure pop. Essential songs: “You Belong to Me,” “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “Teardrops on My Guitar.”

Shania Twain
When she hooked up with producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange, she went from nobody to country pop diva. He brought his wall-of sound production skills that he used for Def Leppard and Foreigner and took her to the next level. Essential songs: “Still the One,” “Up,” and “Man! I Feel like a Woman!”

Faith Hill
Another pretty lady who can sing, she has had big hits on both the pop and country charts. Plus she’s married to country hunk Tim McGraw too. She’s done some acting too, but at heart she’s still a ‘Mississippi Girl.’ Essential songs: “This Kiss,” “Breathe” and “The Way You Love Me.”

Lady Antebellum
Their first CD had more of a country feel, but when they went more pop they got more popular and won a few Grammys too. This trio with their great vocal blend has had major success in the last few years. Essential songs: “Need You Now,” “Just a Kiss” and “Run to You.”

LeAnn Rimes
Dianne Warren is a great songwriter. She has written for tons of great female vocalists over the years. When LeAnn sang some of her songs for the movie “Coyote Ugly”, the result was a hit record and a sort of coming out for the ground-up more mature LeAnn. Essential songs: “Can’t Fight the Moonlight,” “How Do I Live” and “I Need You.”

Keith Urban
Described as country for people that don’t like county music, this wonder from down under is one of the new judges on “American Idol” this season. He’s obviously been influenced by a lot of rock musicians. Essential songs: “Making Memories of Us,” “Once in a Lifetime” and “You’ll Think of Me.”

Tim McGraw
More country than pop, he had had some success crossing over. He’s done duets with Def Leppard and Nelly, plus is married to Faith Hill. He’s also dabbled in acting. Essential songs: “Over and Over,” “Live Like We’re Dyin” and “Real Good Man.”

Kenny Rogers
Back in the 80’s, he had an incredible run of hit singles on both the country and pop charts. Plus one of his biggest hits was written by Lionel Richie. Essential songs: “Lady,” “The Gambler” and “Islands in the Stream.”

Dolly Parton
Sure she had humble beginnings, but Dolly has also made her mark in Hollywood too, with her outrageous clothes and wigs and self-deprecating humor. She dueted with Kenny Rogers on one of country-pop’s biggest hits (written by the Bee Gees by the way). Essentials songs: “9 to 5,” “Here You Come Again” and “I Will Always Love You.”

Tammy Wynette
Her left-field collaboration with the British electronica group The KLF “Justifed and Ancient” earns her a spot here. Nobody could have predicted the “Stand By Your Man” singer would have a hit with this strange, but entertaining song.

Rascal Flatts
Another county trio, this one made up of 3 guys. They have also been influenced by classic rock. Jay DeMarcus even produced an album for the band Chicago. Plus they have covered AC/DC and Bon Jovi in their concerts. Essential songs: “God Bless the Broken Road,” “What Hurts the Most” and “Life Is a Highway.”

Carrie Underwood
The biggest star to emerge from “American Idol,” she had found great success straddling the line between the 2 genres. She even famously performed with Aerosmith at the Grammys. Essentials songs: “Before He Cheats,” “Last Name” and “Jesus Take the Wheel.”

Spice69man is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and  Rock the Kilt lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Country Hunks

I am a country music fan. I started out liking the women first: the Judds, Dolly Parton. But as I heard more and more from the guys, I got into them too. The things I like about country music, are the stories they tell, the way the melodies get stuck in your head, and how relatable the songs are to so many people. Not to mention the fact that a lot of the hottest stars in country are pretty darn good–looking. Here is a list of my favorite country hunks and their essential albums/singles:

Keith Urban
I first heard him described as country music for people that don’t like country. His music is very rock oriented. And the songs are so catchy, you will be singing along to them after the first listen. Essential albums: “Be Here” and “Golden Road.” Songs: “Once in a Lifetime” and “Making Memories of Us.”

Dierks Bentley
The frat boy from Arizona has hit the big time. He’s got beautiful curly hair, but he looks good with it cut too. When he sings “Come a Little Closer,” you can feel the sexual tension. Essential albums: “Modern Day Drifter” and “Long Trip Alone.” Songs: “So So Long” and “Sideways.”

Kenny Chesney
OK, so he was married to Rene Zellweger for like 15 minutes. And he is hiding a bald head under his cowboy hat. He still has a hot body and puts on a great live show. Essential albums: “When the Sun Goes Down” and “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service.” Songs: “Live Those Songs Again” and “The Good Stuff.”

Tim McGraw
Mr. Faith Hill is a superstar in his own right. More often seen with his hat on, he is a real man who treats his lady well. I can see why some girl grabbed his crotch in concert. Essential albums: “Set This Circus Down” and “Let It Go.” Songs: “Live Like You Were Dying” and “Over and Over.”

Josh Turner
Before Scotty McCreery made us fall in love with him singing “Your Man,” the song belonged to this hunk with the beautiful bass voice. Plus he also includes one spiritually themed song per CD. Essential albums: “Your Man” and “Everything is Fine.” Songs: “Would You Go with Me” and “Why Don’t We Just Dance.”

Big & Rich
Country never met a duo like Big & Rich. They love to mix up genres, and add rock, funk and hip hop to their sound. Essential albums: “Horse of a Different Color” and “Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace.” Songs: “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)” and “Lost in This Moment.”

Darius Rucker
The former lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish has made a name for himself in the country world. He brings soul and rock n’ roll to his songs. He has a great duet with Jill Scott on her “Collaborations” CD. Essential albums: “Learn to Live” and “Charleston, SC 1966.” Songs: “Alright” and “This.”

Billy Currington
One of the hottest bodies in country music (See the video for “Why, Why Why”), and another hunk with beautiful curly brown hair. Essential albums: “Doin’ Something Right” and “Little Bit of Everything.” Songs: “Good Directions” and “Don’t.”

Blake Shelton
Now mentoring new singers on “The Voice,” this hunk is married to tough country chick Miranda Lambert. I became a fan when I saw him open for Rascal Flatts: Essential albums: “Barn and Grill” and “Pure BS.” Songs: “Cotton Pickin Time” and “Honey Bee.”

Charles Kelley (Lady Antebellum)
The key to this group’s popularity is in the vocal interplay between Charles and Hilary Scott. They are not a couple, but they sure sound like one. Charles is tall, handsome and bearded. Essential albums: “Lady Antebellum” and “Need You Now.” Songs: “Lookin’ for a Good Time” and “Just a Kiss.”

So who are your favorite country hunks? I hope you check out their music… they don’t just look good, they sound good too.

Spice69man is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including the Real Men Wear Kilts line. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

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