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Concerts I am Looking Forward to in 2018

As a live music fan, one of my favorite things is looking to see who is coming in concert in the new year. Will an old favorite be coming to town, or is it my chance to see someone new? I was excited that I got to see 3 artists I had never seen before in 2017. Here is my list of the artists I am looking forward to in concert this year:

Pink
I saw her early in her career on the Mizunderstood tour, plus when she opened for Justin Timberlake too. She will be touring behind her recent #1 album “Beautiful Trauma.” Plus she is known for doing acrobats in her shows now too. It should be awesome!

Ed Sheeran
I tried to get tickets to see him in 2017 — but he sold out very fast. For 2018, he is going on a stadium tour that will take him to Pasadena at the Rose Bowl. I may finally get to his show! He is one of the most exciting singers of the last 10 years, and he can command a stage with just his voice and his guitar.

Bananarama
The girl group from England is back! I got to see them back in 1989, and it was not the original 3 girls, just 2 of the originals plus another girl. But now the original lineup (Sara, Keren, Siobhan) has reunited and toured the UK, but they are coming to the US for a few shows too. Bring back the 80’s!

Naill Horan
Yet another successful solo artist from One Direction. With “Slow Hands,” Naill has shown the world what he can do on his own. He is a singer-songwriter with heart. Plus he is bringing along country upstart — Maren Morris — on his “Flicker” World Tour.

Miranda Lambert
She is one of the reigning queens of country in a genre dominated by men. She is going out on her “Livin’ Like Hippies” tour for 2018 with special guests Jon Pardi and Lucie Silvas. She is sure to include songs from her 2017 album “The Weight of These Wings” — her most personal album yet. A second leg of the tour will add Little Big Town as her co-headliner.

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill
They have finally have released their duet album — “The Rest of Our Lives.” This is the latest iteration of their Soul 2 Soul Tour which I saw back in 2006. Tim has continued to be a big draw on his own, while Faith has been home raising the kids. It is time that she is back in the limelight.

Sam Smith
The male Adele, as he has been called, is back with his second album “The Thrill of It All.” It includes the hit single “Too Good at Goodbyes.” What I have found interesting about the album is the intersection of faith and sexuality that he writes about in some of the new songs. I am sure he will be moving people with his voice on tour.

Maroon 5
One of my favorite groups of the last decade, Maroon 5, is heading out on the Red Pill Blues Tour. Special guest is Julia Michaels, a Grammy nominee for Best New Artist. They definitely have a deep song catalog at this point, and Adam is always nice to look at too.

Demi Lovato/DJ Khalid
Former Disney girl Demi finally has an album worthy of her voice on “Tell Me You Love Me,” her recent album. It includes her biggest hit “Sorry Not Sorry.” Joining her is superstar producer/DJ — DJ Khalid. He notched a few hits on the charts the past year with “Wild Thoughts” and “I’m the One.” You wonder who will show up on tour during his set (Rihanna, Justin Beiber?). It should be a cool show.

Taylor Swift
Taylor is heading out on the Reputation World Tour this year, and she is playing stadiums. She’s got quite the song catalog at this point. Even if I am not too crazy about the new material, I am sure I would enjoy myself.

Lara Fabian
Who remembers “I Will Love Again” from the year 2000? I guess somebody does, as the singer is going on tour in the US to promote her new album “Camouflage.” Definitely a curiosity.

Sugarland
The award-winning country duo of Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush is finally getting back together. A single came out at the end of last year, and a summer tour is on the way. Let’s hope they make this a permanent thing.

Justin Timberlake
He’s headlining the Super Bowl halftime show this year and releasing his new album “Man of the Woods” the same weekend. The first single “Filthy” is just OK to me. It will be interesting to see what the rest of the album brings.

Rod Stewart/Cyndi Lauper
Two icons are joining forces for a summer tour that includes a stop at the Hollywood Bowl. Here’s hoping that they do a few songs together. I also hope that Cyndi sings some songs from “Kinky Boots.”

Lady Antebellum/Darius Rucker
Two titans of country music are also banding together for a summer tour. Pop-country trio Lady Antebellum and former Hootie singer Darius Rucker. They have toured together before, but Darius was an opening act for them. Now they are both superstars in the genre.

That’s it for my wish list! I hope I can see a few of these shows. Please sound off in the comments about which ones you are looking forward to.

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.

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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.

Concerts I Am Looking Forward To In 2012

In no particular order, the 10 shows I am looking forward to in 2012:

Lady AntebellumLady Antebellum They have arrived at headliner status. Following their breakthrough with “Need You Now” and their wins at the Grammy and other award shows, this country-pop trio is heading out on the road to promote their latest CD “Own the Night.” Support acts include Darius Rucker and Thompson Square. Dates are already on sale.

Kelly Clarkson
The first American Idol winner’s career is still holding strong. Or should I say “Stronger”? After 5 albums, Kelly has a good body of work to pull from as she heads out on the road to promote her latest CD “Stronger.” I’ve seen her twice before and she is a great live performer, I can’t wait for this new tour. Dates are already on sale.

Tim McGraw/Kenny Chesney
Two country hunks on one big stadium tour, count me in. Both big ticket draws on their own, together this is one to not miss. The “Brothers of the Sun” tour promises to be one of the biggest tours of the year. With support from Grace Potter and the Nocturnals as well as Jake Owen. And maybe a Faith Hill appearance too. Dates are set and on sale soon.

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