Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Mixed Tape

Sangin' it country-style at the fair.
"And this is my mixed tape for her
It's like I wrote every note
With my own fingers."
-Jack's Mannequin
-The Mixed Tape

Much like little Jean Louise Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird and the case of Tom Robinson, I spent this summer attached to the words of Jeff Ashton, prosecutor for the state of Florida, in the case against Casey Anthony.  It was the summer of babysitting, catching viral infections that small children are only supposed to get, trips to the zoo, blinding people with my paleness, and counting the number of times Jose Baez said "gas can."  Oh yes, a summer completely an uneventful kind-of-way.  To say that I haven't had time to blog would be a lie since I didn't have to attend classes and search as I may, was unable to find a job.  Reading, not writing, got the best of me this summer because I finally had time to browse through something besides a history or sociology book.  Ah, reading, my other obsession besides music.  Since my hour long college commute was absent from my daily routine, I found myself listening to less music.  Rest assured, however, I noticed this absence immensely. 

As is tradition, I make a mix cd each summer with random songs on it to listen to in my car.  Summer of 2007? I will never be able to hear Carly Simon's "You're so Vain" without thinking of getting in my car outside the bank where I worked and cranking it up, relieved that another day of cashing checks was done.  I believe this was also the summer I declared myself a fanilow and memorized all the words of "Copacabana."  Ohhhh, the music choices that I make each year.  Lady Gaga was a constant three years ago, Jessie's Girl and Glee hits the year after.  2010 was old country bliss: Loretta, the Carters, Conway, Johnny, and too many others to name.  This year, though? 

Christina and I braving an almost storm to see The Band Perry.

Not as interesting.

But in typical list-making fashion, I've made my summer listening list and will try my best to justify my erratic choosings. :) In no particular order...except kind of alphabetical at times, here they are!

  • "Am I the Only One?" - Dierks Bentley, this was Bentley's first single release from his sixth album and reached #1 on the Country Billboard chart.  I'm seriously not one to love "new" country but CMT videos sucked me in this summer. Wait, what? Country Music Television actually shows country music on it's station?  Well, now-a-days country music seems to be a relative term, so I'll let you decide that for yourself.  But yes, something beside Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader? actually graced its airwaves.
  • "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not?" - Thompson Square, I'm not feeling their newest single so I'll stick with one from last year.  This song was certified platinum and earned the coveted spot on my phone as a ring tone. I like their voices together, I like the song, I just liked singing it, in all actuality. Sigh.
  • "Crazy Girl" - Eli Young Band,  I wouldn't last a single day// I'd probably just fade away// Without you I'd lose my mind// Before you ever came along// I was living life all wrong// The smartest thing I ever did was make you all mine. Swoon.  Did I also mention it was the summer of love?
  • "Gentle on my Mind" - Glen Campbell, before learning of Campbell's diagnosis with Alzheimer's disease in June, I hadn't even paid much attention to his music.  So I borrowed some cds, made some copies, and became a fan.  This 1968 winner of two Grammy awards to the original singer, John Hardford, was made even more popular by Campbell who makes me love it a little more every time I listen.
  • "Give a Little Love" - The Judds, There is just something about Wynonna's voice that makes me break out my country girl voice and sing at the top of my lungs.  Nuts as she may be, the woman can sing the heck out of any song she's ever done cause Naomi didn't raise no fool.
  • "Hell on Heels" - Pistol Annies, play, repeat, play, repeat. Holyyyyyyyyyy cow these ladies can sing.  This group, assembled by Miranda Lambert, put out their first record on August 23rd and this is, by far, the stand out.  It echos country roots from the past and is quickly climbing the charts on my iPod top 25.
  • "If I didn't Have You" -Randy Travis, this man could sing me the ABCs and I'd drool.
  • "I'm a Stand by my Woman Man," -Ronnie Milsap, this 1976 release earned Milsap his sixth #1 hit and is constantly on my 103.9 country legends station.  This station, which I refer to as the "Crystal T. Ronstadt" station for repeatedly playing Gayle, Tom T. Hall, and Linda, has started blasting this diddy a billion times, as well, and I couldn't help but grow fond of it earlier this year.  Maybe a nickname change is in the future...
  • "In the Mood" -Glenn Miller, no summer would be complete without some instrumental Miller. <3
    Thanks to Rebecca DiBiase who let me
    borrow her much better picture of TBP
    from the Independence Festival.
    "Mule Skinner Blues (Blue Yodel #8)" -Dolly Parton, written by the Singing Brakeman Jimmie Rodgers, Dolly put her own spin on it in 1970 and earned a Grammy nod.  It's fast and upbeat and really shows of Parton's range of singing abilities.
  • "Old Alabama"-Brad Paisley, seventeenth #1 for Paisley and first #1 under Alabama's belt since 1993. Amazing combination, enough said.
  • "Rolling in the Deep" -Adele, there's a reason it was #1 in eleven different countries at the same time.
  • "Waymore's Blues" -Waylon Jennings, I cannot explain my madness in loving this song. Perhaps because it teaches some spelling words (d-i-e, t-i-e, d-o-g, l-o-g...). Kinda like a Fergie song.
  • "You're the Reason God Made Oklahoma" -Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton, Although I like the original by David and Shelly, Miranda and Blake blow this one out of the park.
  • "You Lie" -The Band Perry, love them, love everything they do.  I got to see them this summer in Louisville, Kentucky in an outside concert for the Fourth of July.  They are one of the newer bands that I actually adore so getting to see them, for free no less, was terrific.
  • "You Never Even Called Me by my Name" -David Allen Coe, I could take or leave the whole rest of the song minus the last verse.  A "rewrite" that writer Steve Goodman did in order to make it the "perfect country and western song."   Well, I was drunk the day my mom got out of prison// and I went to pick her up in the rain// but before I could get to the station in my pickup truck// she got runned over by a dam-- old train.
Ohhh ohhh! Also, highlight of my life--Loretta Lynn's 2004 album Van Lear Rose was released to LP by Jack White at his recording studio in Nashville and online during the summer.  The morning that it came out, fans were already waiting outside and lined up down the road.  Truly awesome.  I didn't think the record could sound any more impeccable but I was SO wrong.  Every crackle, every note change on the guitar can be heard.  If I had a photo of myself jumping up and down when I got it in the mail, I'd post it.

See you again sooner rather than later,

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


When did you first start liking country music?  I've always liked country music but the past couple years I've really became interested in the historical aspects of it, too.
Who's your favorite female artist? Loretta Lynn
Who's your favorite male artist? Johnny Cash
Favorite band? Currently it's The Band Perry.
Favorite country duet? Do the Judds count?  Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn.
Where do you come from? Indiana
Can you sing/play an instrument? I can sing...but no one wants to hear me. It's bad times. :)  I can't play an instrument.
What was the first country album you bought? Album, as in LP?  My first LP was Barbara Mandrell: I'll Be Your Jukebox Tonight.  My first country cassette that I remember was sadly Billy Ray Cyrus: Some Gave All (with the infamous Achy Breaky Heart).  My first CD was a country gospel by Barbara Mandrell called He Set My Life to Music.
Favorite country song? This is impossible to narrow down.
Least favorite country artist? Sugarland or Rascal Flatts.
Favorite country album of all time? Van Lear Rose (Lynn).
What kind of country do you like: old, new, poppy, rocky, bluegrassy: Old
Do you know a lot about country music? ....Um. You could say that. ha! I'd like to know more, though.
Do you watch CMT? Sometimes I watch the Top 20 Countdown.
Do your friends know that you like country music? Yes.
How many country concerts have you been to? Quite a few, I couldn't estimate the exact number.
Ever been to the southern states? Yes.
Last country album you got? Roger Miller: All Time Greatest Hits
Would you go live in Nashville just to be close to country? Yes and I have.  I was just in downtown a couple weeks ago.
What is the last country song you listened to? Waymore's Blues (Jennings).
What was the last country concert you went to? Brad Paisley.
Do you have a country ringtone? I have two.  One is Get Rhythm (Cash) and the other is Honey Bee (Shelton).
How many country songs are there on your iPod/Mp3 player? 605/1292.
Have you ever been to a rodeo? Last year at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
Do you consider yourself a country music addict? Not necessarily an addict but I do enjoy it.

Monday, June 27, 2011

If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away

God love 'em.
"I'd ask Hank why he took those pills back in '53
And Janis to sing the second verse of "Me and Bobby McGee"
Sit on a cloud and visit for a while
It'd do me good just to see them smile
If heaven wasn't so far away."
-Justin Moore
-"If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away"

This past week I was able to visit the graves of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash in Hendersonville, TN. After searching for what seemed like forever in the already humid morning heat, we finally found their markers.  They died four months apart and are laid together at the Hendersonville Memory Gardens Cemetery.  A boot spur had been left on Johnny's marker and several guitar picks were scattered about, also.  Other graves were also located directly near them.  Click the photos to enlarge.

"Rosey" Nix Adams, daughter of June Carter and second husband Edwin Nix.  Found dead in 2003 on a bus from apparent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Dale Maphis, son of guitarist Joe Maphis and singer Rose Lee Maphis.

Joe Maphis, known as the "King of the Strings" and specialized in playing the double-neck guitar.  He greatly admired Mother Maybelle Carter and was himself adored by Johnny and June.  This is the reasoning for him being buried next to them.

Sister of Johnny Cash.

Anita Carter, youngest daughter of Ezra and Maybelle Carter and sister of June and Helen Carter.  Helped write "Ring of Fire" and had the original recording of the song.  When it wasn't a hit for her, Johnny recorded it.  She died at the home of Johnny and June where she was receiving hospice care.

"Mother" Maybelle Carter, mother of Anita, June, and Helen, wife of Ezra.  A member of the original Carter Family.  Died at age sixty-nine due to poor health.  Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame with the Carter Family in 1970.

Ezra Carter, father of June, Anita, and Helen and husband of Mother Maybelle. 

Merle Kilgore, co-wrote "Ring of Fire," "Wolverton Mountain" and "Johnny Reb."  Manager for singer Hank Williams Jr.  Died from congestive heart failure.

And also at the cemetery, although not near the other graves was Ferlin Husky, a singer with over twenty Top-20 Hits.  Died on March 17, 2011 of congestive heart failure.

Scroll down to the next post to see another video!

<3 Kellie

Saturday, June 25, 2011

All Time Favorite

A video I captured at my last Bob Seger concert in Cincinnati, Ohio.  "Night Moves" is the song featured here.  It goes down on my list as my all-time favorite song. :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Murder on Music Row

On Legends Corner on Music Row,

"For the steel guitars no longer cry
And the fiddles barely play
But drums and rock 'n' roll guitars
Are mixed up in your face
Ol' Hank wouldn't have a chance
On today's radio
Since they committed murder
Down on music row."
-George Strait & Alan Jackson
"Murder on Music Row"
(Latest Greatest Straitest Hits, 2000)
Originally released by Larry Cordle
& Lonesome Standard Time

The year is 2011 and Music Row, as the main strip in downtown Nashville is called, has transformed dramatically over the last fifty or sixty years.  The structures are still stable; Tootsie's Orchid Lounge is visited nightly by hopeful singers wishing to be discovered, the Mother Church of Country Music hovers directly behind this honky tonk, and  the Ernest Tubb Record Shop's sign still glows brightly against the Tennessee sky.

A popular musical once sang that "Progress is the root of all evil."  I can't say that I completely agree, but something in that line does strike a chord with me.  With time comes change, this is the inevitable truth of life.  However, sometimes these transitions are not smooth, they are unwanted, unneeded, and they are noticed by all who know and love the things that are changing.  A reminiscent feeling is developed and old times are much longed for. 

Minnie's "Howdy!" no longer echos off the walls of the Ryman and Ernest Tubb's Midnite Jamboree makes its way over the air waves to serve as only a reminder of times when big country acts felt honored to grace it's hardwood floor for the fans after a Saturday night Opry appearance.  It's line up now mainly includes older singers like Jeannie Seely, Jan Howard, and Jack Greene.  It's records have been shoved to a tiny shelf against the wall, replaced by the much more hip CDs.  The Tennessee Plowboy, Eddy Arnold, has long been forgotten about by casual country fans, although he charted ninety-two top-ten hits during his astounding career.  The singing cowboys and their horses are more well-known through the vintage collectible memorabilia items that bear their signature names than as actual frontiers in the industry.  
At Ernest Tubb's in 2010.

The Carters with their ever present guitars and harpsichords would no doubt frown upon the rock-and-roll sounds ringing from the instruments of today's artists.  Would Jimmie Rodgers, who recorded most of his albums in a studio while so sick from tuberculosis he had to sit between takes, approve of singers sloppily doing a track in one take and altering their mistakes and disguising their lack of talent with computer programs?  I'm sure the "Hillbilly Shakespeare" Hank Sr. would have spit upon the person who wrote a song as dumb as "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy" and maybe even do a double spit on the person who penned Trace Adkins "Brown Chicken Brown Cow" a play on words for the punch line of "bow chicka bow wow."

This past week was the CMT Awards hosted by Kid  He walked out on stage to his 2000 hit "Bawitdaba" which is just as horrible as the title sounds.  The very fact that he was chosen to host these awards is a degradation to the very establishment of country music, I'll make no apologies in saying this.  He's a relatively good singer, but I'm far past tired of the hard rock to country to pop to rap crossovers.  My beloved Band Perry have decided to rerecord some of their songs to give them more of a pop feel and draw in more of an audience; this breaks my heart to no end.  In their very first CMT Awards performance they began their song "You Lie" with lyrics from "Love the Way Your Lie" by Eminem and Rihanna.  Next it was time for Jason Aldean to rap/sing some down home country while some half-dressed women danced around him.  The final straw for me came when Justin Bieber, as country as can be now, ya'll, was up for an award with Rascal Flatts...who ended up beating Ms. Loretta Lynn.  That is when I frantically searched for my remote and turned the station.  Tons of teenie-boppers got on the Internet and clicked until their fingers fell off, I understand, it's fan voted.  That fact is also what makes it even more sad for me.

If you've ever read my blog before you know I love the tradition, but I'm not dead set against new acts; just making that disclaimer. I'm trying not to be too critical of the new stuff.  My iPod is a wide array of tunes, stuff you wouldn't even think I'd listen to.  However, when the tradition I love is disgraced, it makes me want to bang my head against the wall.



Scroll down to see a video I posted. :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

What a Welcome!

No, folks, this isn't Reba or Miranda they're waiting to see exit their bus; It's Miss Loretta!  A woman who's been in the industry for over fifty years and she's still being welcomed in such a way.  It's a short video, it's shaky, so sue me, I was excited.

Renfro Valley Concert, Kentucky.  10/9/10

I finally learned how to upload videos onto my posts so watch out, here they come!  I'll upload one in between each written blog so when you come to read, scroll down below to see one of my videos. :)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Wildwood Flower

The lovely JCC.

"Oh I'll twine with my mingles and raven black hair
With the roses so red and the lilies so fair
And the mirtles so bright with the emerald dew
The pale and the leader and eyes look like blue."
-The Carter Family
-"Wildwood Flower"
Original lyrics by Maud Irving (1860)

"In Mom's eyes there are two kinds of people," Roseanne Cash once stated, "those she knew and loved, and those she didn't know, and loved.  She looked for the best in everyone; it was a way of life for her (pg. 189)."

Admiring traits? June possessed a whole bushel full.  Born into country music royalty, she spent her entire existence in the spotlight.  On or off stage, her uncanny sense of humor and bravery got her through many trying events during her lifetime.  John Carter Cash, the son who sprung from the love story of Johnny and June, discusses his mother in a way like never before in his 2007 book An Intimate Portrait of June Carter Cash, Anchored in Love.  This 201 page tell-all gives an inside view at the woman who was married to the Man in Black.

"June did not exhibit the same natural musical abilities as her two sisters...She learned to sing anyway, compensating for her lack of musical ability by making audiences laugh with her down-home enthusiasm and cornpone jokes.  She put her heart into any performance and drew laughs with her quick wit (pg. 18)."

Providing stories and examples of her crazy antics, John Carter Cash, draws from special stories that June had told him growing up and also gives quotes directly from her book Among My Klediments. As a child, June traveled around with her famous family as they performed and did radio shows.  Their musical dreams led them to move from the Appalachian Mountains to Texas and was a bit of a culture shock for little June, indeed.  Although it gave her a whole new look of the world on the other side of the mountains, she never got above her raisin' in her heart, despite developing a great love for fine, expensive things later on in life.  The reader gets tales from behind the harpsichord and guitar of the Carter Family and their quest of fame and continuing on the country tradition.

"Sometimes when she went out on the road, the touring group included another dark-haired, good-looking man who was also attracted to her.  In fact, he had admired her since childhood when he had listened to her singing with her mother and sisters on the radio.  She had met him backstage at the Opry in the mid-fifties and, even though they were both married to other people then, he had reportedly told her he was going to marry her someday (pg. 45)."

Her relationship with John was rarely easy.  He was the party-hearty, loud-mouthed, pill-taking country boy and she was the miss-clean and ever-sharp-witted daughter of the first family of country music, who prided themselves on Christian values.  John Carter Cash gives an in-depth account of the love story of Johnny and June.  Those who have romanticized their years together, beware! Son, John, reveals details of his parents life together that, at times, are heart-breaking, to say the least.

"In recalling her favorite memories of Mom, Roseanne described the week-long birthday celebration at the Virginia house...when we were floating the Holston, Mom had waited at the last bend on the river, calling merrily to us and waving her scarf as we floated past.  She closed her eulogy with these beautiful words: So, today, from a bereft husband, seven grieving children, sixteen grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren, we wave to her from this shore as she drifts out of our lives.  What a legacy she leaves, what a mother she was.  I know she has gone ahead of us to the far-side bank.  I have faith that when we all round the last bend in the river, she will be standing there on the shore in her big flowered hat and long white skirt, under a June-blue sky, waving her scarf to greet us (pg. 189-190)."

Loved the book, love the woman, admire her never-failing faith in God. A true inspiration.

I'm a quotes maniac.  Here are some of my favorites.

''Our lives are entwined with the people over the footlights. We are a part of them.'' - June, speaking of the audience she and Johnny performed to.

"I think he knew even then that his days were numbered. He knew his health was not good. And I think he missed that dear woman. I think he died of a broken heart." - Larry Gatlin on Johnny Cash's death.
"We're soulmates, friends and lovers and everything else that makes a happy marriage. Our hearts are attuned to each other, and we're very close. I'll get up every morning at five o'clock and make the coffee, then start pacing the floor, wanting her to get up. But I'll let her sleep for a couple of more hours. If she smells the coffee, she's up."- Johnny Cash about June Carter

"Wilbur, there, is wearing a new aftershave.  It's called, Come and Get It.  And I'm wearing some new perfume called, I Wouldn't Know What I'd Do With it if I Got It."
-June during on of her sketches.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

This is Country Music: Brad Paisley

Singin' for the folks in the poor seats.
"So turn it on, turn it up, and sing along
This is real; this is your life in a song
Just like a road that takes you home
Yeah this is right where you belong
This is country music."
-Brad Paisley
-"This is Country Music" (2011)

It's been a big year for Brad Paisley, who hosted the 44th annual CMA Awards in November of 2010 and later that night was awarded as Entertainer of the Year.  In just a couple weeks he will release the tenth album of his career titled This is Country Music.  This anticipated record features a song of the same name that pays tribute to some of the finest aspects of country music and the artists who have influenced it over the years.  Co-written by Paisley, this medley makes it obvious that although he is considered a new age country singer, he still holds tradition close to his heart. 

This love was on display in August when he was given the amazing privilege, along with Little Jimmy Dickens, of laying down the refurnished wooden circle in the center of the stage that had been destroyed by the Nashville floods months prior.  In 1974 the six-foot circle of wood was cut from the stage of the original Opry, Ryman Auditorium, and moved to the current Grand Ole Opry house.  Legends such as Patsy Cline, Hank Williams Sr., and countless others, belted out their tunes while standing on this famous piece of oak.  The awe of standing on the same flooring where so many before them stood, is an honor that doesn't go unappreciated by many who are able to do so.  For Paisley, who has only been an Opry member since 2001, being asked to be part of the celebration speaks volumes for what the country community thinks of his work.  The circle miraculously escaped the waters practically unscathed despite being submerged under forty-six inches of water for days.  Upon it's placement, Dickens and Paisley sang--what else--but "Will the Circle Be Unbroken." With only a guitar and the legendary WSM microphone to guide their words, the duo gave a performance guaranteed to bring tears to the eyes of any true country fan.

I think this was the moment that I fell in love with the man who is Brad Douglas Paisley.  The youngest member ever inducted into the Opry, the sincerity in his voice while singing with pal, Dickens, made me absolutely delighted to be a fan of this institution.  

"It would be enough to stand in the presence of people like Jimmy out on this stage, but there’s something about having a physical piece of the old place, of the floor that Hank Williams stood on, of the people over the years from Loretta Lynn to Ernest Tubb to you name it who have performed on this stage. I think keeping physically and metaphysically this bond of the past is something that separates the Opry from almost all other musical institutions.” -Brad Paisley

I usually stick to the classics, have I made that too awful obvious?  That's why it surprised me so much when I started listening to Brad Paisley and discovered how much I loved practically every song he's released.  He's not one to be overlooked, and regardless of having a little southern rock in his swagger at times, the man writes and sings about things that are important to him.  Isn't this what country music was originally established to do in the first place anyway?  His songs make me sit back and think, 'Oh, that's so simple, everyone can relate...why didn't I think of that?'

Being a concert junkie, I receive emails every day from venues telling me who's coming near my home town.

Who: Brad Paisley
What: H2O Frozen Over Tour
Where: Louisville, Kentucky
When: February 29th

I'm so there.

Ole Hootie.
In front of a sold-out crowd, the opening acts came out front and center.  Newcomer Jerrod Niemann, best known for his songs "Lover, Lover" and "What Do You Want," appeared first and rocked the house will his soulfulness.  Darius Rucker, who's traded in his Hootie and the Blowfish gig and now thinks he's country, came out next and performed old hits and some newer ones for a full hour before it was Paisley's turn to step out of the wings.  The wait was well worth it as the hat wearing and guitar toting sensation came out and played for a whopping hour and a half.

A lighthearted and humorous man, the videos playing on the screen behind him during songs were no different.  During "Waiting on a Woman," the original music video featuring Andy Griffith added a nice touch to the sweet melody.  Later in the night, Paisley made the security guards work for the money as he traveled through the crowd to a stage resembling a pool that sat behind the floor seats.  He explained to the audience that when he was a kid he'd go to concerts at an arena near his house but could only afford the cheap seats. By coming closer to the less expensive seats to sing a few songs, he provided a better view for those who weren't fortunate enough to be by the stage.

He sang a full set of country tunes and proved that although his style may not be similar to the likes of Williams, Cash, or Jennings, he is one singer who is going to try to carry on their legacy and make sure no one forgets the roots of the music that lives on.  From their music to his, country music is a tradition unlike any other. Indeed, the circle has not been broken, cannot be broken, and will not be broken.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Are the Good Times Really Over?

Painted on the window at Legend's Corner in Nashville.
Click to make it bigger, it's a pretty cool picture.
The other day I was driving down the road when I came to the realization that I have been in school for seventeen of my twenty-two years alive on this earth.  Seventeen years...and this semester has been one of the hardest for me in terms of efforts put forth studying, writing papers, and doing other homework assignments.  I haven't really--and still don't really-- have the time to blog like I would wish to.  I've got some concert reviews, a few country music book reviews, and just general rantings that I am bursting to type out here when school is out.  In the mean time I'll just get back to writing my three papers I have due in the next two weeks that total a whopping forty pages. Whoo-hooo!

Recently I purchased a CD by ole Hag that had this song on it.  I couldn't help but think that the lyrics still apply to some things in today's society. Give them a look and the song a listen if you feel like moseying over to YouTube. :)

I wish a buck was still silver.
It was back when the country was strong.
Back before Elvis; before the Vietnam war came along.
Before The Beatles and "Yesterday",
When a man could still work, and still would.
Is the best of the free life behind us now?
Are the good times really over for good?
Are we rolling down hill like a snowball headed for hell?
With no kind of chance for the Flag or the Liberty bell.
Wish a Ford and a Chevy,
Could still last ten years, like they should.
Is the best of the free life behind us now?
Are the good times really over for good?

I wish coke was still cola,
And a joint was a bad place to be.
And it was back before Nixon lied to us all on TV.
Before microwave ovens,
When a girl could still cook and still would.
Is the best of the free life behind us now?
Are the good times really over for good?

Are we rolling down hill like a snowball headed for hell?
With no kind of chance for the Flag or the Liberty bell.
Wish a Ford and a Chevy,
Could still last ten years, like they should.
Is the best of the free life behind us now?
Are the good times really over for good?

Stop rolling down hill like a snowball headed for hell.
Stand up for the Flag and let's all ring the Liberty bell.
Let's make a Ford and a Chevy,
Still last ten years, like they should.
The best of the free life is still yet to come,
The good times ain't over for good.

Monday, February 28, 2011


Nice venue, although no one would
even know since there are no photos allowed.

"They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world's a sunny day
I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So mama don't take my Kodachrome away."
-Paul Simon
(There Goes Rhymin' Simon, 1973)

I love taking photographs.  More importantly, I love taking photographs at concerts.  I always have to make sure my memory card has lots of room and I have plenty of extra batteries in my purse.  I turn the flash off because the artist and band who are among the fog and flashing lights can't quite be seen in all their glory when that flash of light escapes the tiny device that's in my hands.  I hold my breath, although I am dying of excitement and itching to sing along, and steady my arm on the rest beside me and wait for just the right moment to snap away.  If I'm lucky I manage to capture a picture that tells just the right story; a picture that one can almost hear the music escaping from when they view it; a picture that says: I was a part of this moment, I saw this legend with my own eyes, I was here.

I hadn't ever really given this much thought until I went to the Louisville Palace to see Miss Loretta Lynn--what? Kellie went to see Loretta? No way! (I know you're shocked.)  At the door they had the usual checking of coats and purses...only they seemed to be more concerned about her getting shot by a camera than they were a gun.  Now, I don't know why the Palace doesn't allow photographs inside, I haven't done my research and I apologize.  That's not really the point I am trying to make anyway.  I was kind of okay with no cameras for this particular show as I've got plenty of photos of her from previous concerts to sit and gawk at.  What I wasn't okay with was what happened once the concert actually began: every time a sneaky audience member got trigger happy with their little digital weapons they were scolded by flashlight-armed, angry, distracting little ushers who ran up and down the aisles and caused more of a scene than any camera could possibly have done.  I was so annoyed during the first few songs that it made me start thinking about the other aspects of concerts that irk me.

Seger: the Ramblin' Gamblin' Man.

The Excessive Screamer
Shows really pump me up.  When one of my favorites walks onto the stage I jump up and down and holler just as much as the next person.  Quiet and calm little Kellie becomes excited, singing, and yelling Kellie.  Cheering and shows go hand-in-hand, it's just part of it.  However, when a show is silent except for the music playing but the one idiot that the Concert Gods decided to bless you with and put in your section is screaming their heads off just to hear their own voice, it kinda makes me wanna lose religion.

I paid $65 to hear you talk?
What makes me see red even more than the person who screams minutes after everyone else has stopped is the person who comes to concerts with their pals and just feels the urge to talk the entire time. Not just kinda-sorta talk, but talk to beat the band--literally.  If you weren't going to pay attention to the concert then you might as well have sat at home and turned on their CD.  That's also pretty much how I feel about people who come to concerts just to get drunk.  Tomorrow you're not going to remember a thing about the show and you're going to be out the money you spent on your ticket.  Hostile much? Yeah, I get fired up. :)
The Red Headed Stranger

"Excuse me, excuse me."...again
The final thing that really aggravates me is constantly having to stand up so that people can get out and in.  I understand, if you gotta go, you gotta go, but some people take it to a whole other level.  At the last concert I attended a woman next to me had already guzzled a good three beers and was heading out for another, no doubt, when I stood up to let her by.  In her drunken stupor, she decided to take a little tumble on top of me.  Bright side: at least that's all she did on me.  My very favorite is whenever someone comes in late, after the lights are down, and insists I am in their seat. There is simply no way they could be mistaken in the pitch black darkness, I'm just going to have to move. No, ma'am. 

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.   -Aldous Huxley, "Music at Night" (1931)

For every negative I pointed out,
I could state five positives.
Maybe someday I will.

<3 Kellie

Sunday, January 9, 2011

And the Bands Played On

Nashville, TN. Honky Tonk Heroes.

"See the people, feel the power
There was sixty thousand there
Just like thunder the crowds began to roar
Were you there, did ya know, did ya see all the show
There was magic in the air
We sat in the sun woah-oh-oh
And the bands played on."
-"And the Bands Played On" (1981)

Looking back on the year of twenty-ten I can't help but smile.  God has blessed me with so many things, people, and opportunities.  To begin the year I turned twenty-one and without one drop of liquor or a bar, had the best birthday I've ever celebrated just by inviting all my friends and people who are important to me, to my house to eat, talk, and play games.  The high school basketball team I've written articles for in our local paper for four years won the school's first ever state championship and photos that I took and words that I wrote were featured front page.  I survived one more semester of French class with my friend, Christina, who keeps me sane throughout the school-year by letting me rant, be silly, and allows us to sneak off for the occasional lunch at Panera. There were birthday parties, a wedding, night hikes, drive-in movies, sleepovers, convertible cruises, and carnival rides.  I was able to take a trip with Tinisha and her family to New York City and Washington D.C. where we went to a Yankees game, stood in Times Square, rode a train out of Grand Central Station, bought a purse from Chinatown, gazed at NYC from the top of the Empire State Building, and visited all the monuments in D.C. 

Happy? Yes, that's one word for it.

I visited Tennessee two times over the summer and had the amazing privilege of seeing Loretta Lynn at the historic Ryman Auditorium, viewing incredible artifacts such as Johnny Cash's suit and Hank's guitar at the Country Music Hall of Fame, took a cruise aboard the General Jackson, visited the famous Tootsie's honky-tonk, saw Elvis' jungle room, stood in awe in the Ernest Tubb Record Shop at all the talent who have graced its walls, stood in Miss Lynn's living room and also saw the handwritten lyrics to "Coal Miner's Daughter", and got lost and ended up in Minnie's little Grinder's Switch.

Listing these opportunities out in such a way is by no means a way of bragging.  It is, however, a way for me to look back on all the things and people in my life that I have been blessed with.  I thank God for allowing me to have the means to have done all this.

Oh! And my year in review wouldn't be complete without mentioning the few little artists I've been allowed to see and hear.  Twenty-nine artists to be exact (not triple counting Miss Lo, whom I've been fortunate enough to see a whopping three show-stopping times in 2010).  Each year I try to beat my previous years record of concerts, I somehow think that this one will never be topped. :)

How-deeeee, I'm jes so proud to be here!

The Grand Ole Opry:
The Whites
Connie Smith
Jeannie Seely
Stonewall Jackson
Jack Greene
Sara Jorosz
Jim Ed Brown
Jan Howard
Steel Magnolia
Whisperin' Bill Anderson
Bobby Osborne and the Rocky Top Express
Loretta Lynn


Were we pumped that we didn't get lost on our way to
Lexington to see Reba? Yes.

Kentucky Shows:
John Mayer
Michael Franti and Spearhead
The Judds
LeeAnn Womack
Reba McEntire
George Strait
Renfro Valley
Loretta Lynn :)

I like to tell myself she was looking
at me here. haha.
Hullabalou Music Fest (Louisville, Ky):
Dwight Yoakam
Olivia Henken
Justin Moore
The Lynns
Andrea Davidson
Stealing Angels
The Black Crowes
Terry Adams Rock and Roll Quartet
Loretta Lynn
The Steve Miller Band

The Little River Band

Also a little added Happy 76th Birthday to Mr. Elvis Aron Presley yesterday. :)  Which, too, means a Happy 22nd one to me...who would have been named Aaron after him had I been a boy. Great music has been in my blood since before I was born, my passion for it as an adult was inevitable. :)

<3 Kellie