Quick note: All the links in this post are to other posts I’ve written, take a look!
This past weekend I went to an Elvis festival in Nashville. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved his music. Being among all those Elvis fans reminded me of my nieces. The oldest is 16 and the youngest is 5 or 6. But when they were younger and Elvis came on the radio, most of them wanted us to change the station fast! For whatever reason they didn’t like Elvis music. Well, come to find out they didn’t like any music that wasn’t Justin Bieber or whatever played on Radio Disney.
I never really thought about it much but their constant disdain for what is widely considered good music (Elvis is just one example), I began to appreciate the music I was “forced” to listen to when I was growing up. This isn’t a condemnation of how my nieces and nephew are being raised at all (I would never tell someone how to parent! Actually, I take that back, I wouldn’t tell my siblings how to parent!), but while my parents were kind and would leave the radio on a certain song we liked only sometimes, most of the time we listened to music they liked.
As I grew into an adult, I became more and more thankful for the music I had already heard before. Because of this, I really, really want the kids in our family to be exposed to that kind of music. Elvis, the Beach Boys, U2, Led Zepelin, Billy Joel, this singer (who was my first crush), Bob Marley, Alan Jackson, wait wait… I can’t do this. The post would be 5 days long. To be fair, there are a lot of current bands that are making good music, too… that list would also be 5 days long but bands like The Head and The Heart (I wrote about their show in Nashville here), OneRepublic, Zac Brown Band, Josh Ritter, Jack White, Lumineers, and again, I won’t keep going.
I keep thinking about the youngsters my family, “They have no idea what they’re missing. There is SO. MUCH. MORE.”
Well, last week something huge happened. Something monumental. I was hanging out with a few of the kids and I’d almost successfully drowned out the music that was playing when a Randy Travis song came on. My ears perked up and I asked, “Who picked this song?” My oldest niece (the 16 yr old) said she did because she likes it.
A friend of mine asked me a tough question the other day. “If you could only listen to one artist’s entire catalog, who would it be?” Elvis Presley… was my first answer. It’s impossible to only have one answer. Come on. So for current artists, easily my answer is Zac Brown Band. The more I listen to them, the more I appreciate their creativity, their depth, and heck if I don’t say it, they can sing! They’re easily my favorite band and this same friend enlightened me with another great performance from ZBB… their song “Free” combined with Van Morrison’s “Into The Mystic.” Enjoy (plus watch a random family’s vacation photos)!
If you know me at all, you know I really, really love music. The songs that seem to stick with me and have a lasting impression offer something more than a nice melody. It’s about the lyrics, but it’s also about the whole presentation. But mostly, it’s the lyrics. Two bands at the top of my list have been there for a while, it’s Muse and Zac Brown Band. Couldn’t be more different in their styles, but it’s the words that stop me in my tracks; they write songs I wish I wrote. If breakups are a black cloud, songs like these are the silver lining. Here’s “Goodbye In Her Eyes” from Zac Brown Band and “Madness” from Muse. Be sure to check out the Misa Digital Kitara, which is the instrument making the synth sound in Muse’s video. It’s kinda awesome.
9:26 Jason isn’t the first to perform with a rapper. Recall Tim McGraw and Nelly. Anyway, Jason rapped the first verse.
9:24 Kid Rock introduces Jason Aldean and Ludacris… performing “Dirt Road Anthem.”
9:24 are those the numbers from ‘Lost’ on her arm?
9:23 and the buckle goes to… Taylor Swift…. who’s in Milwaukee???????
9:22 Kid Rock and his tall trucker hat replay the Video of the Year nominees.
9:20 fill in the blank at home… the performance will be [awesome/good/ok/not good/terrible/oh my goodness].
9:16 commercial break and another mention of Jason Aldean performing with Ludacris. Will that be a show stopper? My guess is they’re going to sing “Dirt Road Anthem” because the verses are more ‘rappy’ than a country song. Those parts, I can only assume, will go to Ludacris. Jason will sing the choruses.
9:15 Blake is on the set of “The Voice” in L.A. and gives his acceptance speech. He thanks so many people, and the fans.
9:14 and the buckle goes to… Blake Shelton. Good year for him. He’s not there either, surprise surprise.
9:12 after a major fall (see pictures above), Shania gathers herself and walks on stage. She’s introducing Male Video of the Year.
9:12 Kid Rock is bantering about the next artist up, and some girl throws her panties on stage. I assume it was a girl. He introduces Shania Twain.
9:11 Charles Kelley starts the process to a long and drawn out lawsuit by throwing his sticks into the crowd.
9:10 no time to think about that as Charles Kelley takes to the drums. They perform “Kiss” by Prince. you know… “you don’t have to be rich to be my girl…”
9:09 wait, isn’t this the same group that sang “Need You Now”? Wasn’t that about a late night booty call?
9:07 they introduce Lady Antebellum who will perform “Just A Kiss.” Listen to to the lyrics, finally a song about living with morals!
9:06 Sara Evans and Sheryl Crow are on the stage now.
9:01 at this point I rather see a commercial about cicadas than the Huggies denim diaper one, or the annoying Bing Facebook commercial. Once is enough, bro’s!
9:00 performance finishes. On the Nationwide stage, Lee Brice takes us to another commercial break.
8:58 I heard he wrote this whilst sitting under an oak tree in Centennial Park. I think the third verse mentions cicadas.
8:56 Little Big Town introduces Keith Urban who is performing “Long Hot Summer.” He must live in Nashville.
8:52 Fructis… it’s kinda like ‘frook-teece’. Actually, that’s exactly how to say it. They make shampoo and other stuff you’ll find in the hygiene section of Wal-Mart. Ok, next word to learn is ‘hygiene’… practice on your own, I think you can do it!
8:51 during this commercial break, I’ll teach you how to say Garnier Fructis. First, start with Garnier. Say ‘car’ but with a g and not a c. Next, ‘n’ and ‘yay!’ in one syllable.
8:50 is it weird if they don’t get a standing ovation after a song called “Stand Up”? I think I saw people standing as they clapped. Nevermind. Commercial break.
8:48 white flags are waved all over the arena.
8:46 Jennifer writes Love on a flag and hands it to 2 girls from Joplin, MO. The girls wave the flag as Sugarland perform “Stand Up.”
8:45 next up is Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina introduce Sugarland, again, should be a great performance.
8:45 actually I’m not a gigantic fan of their music, but I like them and I’m glad they won. They thank Roman White, the video director.
8:44 and the buckle goes to… Lady Antebellum. Awesome!
8:42 LBB goes on a rant about how to be a country star. She’s awesome. They announce the nominees for Group Video of the Year.
8:41 Ricky Schroder and Laura Bell Bundy take the stage next to which LBB says he’s a great kisser.
8:35 ZBB, probably my favorite band right now, doesn’t disappoint. Commercial break as The JaneDear Girls sing one of their songs, “Shotgun Girl.”
8:33 their set looks like a comic strip of an ocean, with the band appearing to play on top of the water.
8:32 he introduces Zac Brown Band, guaranteed to put on a good performance.
8:31 the show returns with Kid Rock saying “that’s right Detroit.” Okkkkk…..
8:30 between cicadas and camel crickets, I must say I’m not that hungry anymore.
8:29 I still haven’t eaten dessert.
8:25 Dale Earnhardt, Jr commercial for Nationwide. Grrrrrrrr. Jimmie Johnson is gonna win it all!
8:24 I love that song “Picture”. Wait, it was called “Collide”? Commercial break as Hunter Hayes plays and sings. I actually kinda like this performance.
8:23 they dance a little… the music stops… Kid Rocks tells the band to keep playing. They oblige and he and Sheryl keep dancing.
8:22 I might throw away my Lance Armstrong bracelet. What a dweeb for mistreating Sheryl.
8:19 Sugarland introduces the next performers, Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow that perform “Picture (the 2011 version)”… oh it’s called “Collide.”
8:19 Miranda’s not there, she’s either out on tour or still honeymooning with Blake Shelton.
8:18 and the buckle goes to… Miranda Lambert for The House That Built Me.
8:17 they introduce the nominees for Female Video of the Year.
8:16 the show returns with Jason Aldean and Kristin Chenoweth. She comments that he’s a verrrry handsome man. Something else about his blue or green eyes, and her short height.
8:13 I found my dog. She’s got a weird cough going on right now. Cecadas? probably. I don’t know why she eats them… uncooked.
8:09 Kid Rock has a slight wardrobe change. He introduces Colt Ford who takes us into a commercial break.
8:09 they each speak. Nice work trio!
8:08 and the buckle goes to… The Band Perry. Let’s see if she lets her brothers speak.
8:06 performance finishes with Big & Rich saying “the boys are back in town!” Luke Bryan takes the stage to present the next award, it’s for Breakthrough Video of the Year.
8:05 something about fake id’s, money, oh and Gretchen Wilson makes an appearance. Be on the lookout for Lil John.
8:03 their first performance together on tv in 3 years sounds a lot like Roy Orbison.
8:02 everyone’s (including you Merilee) favorite woman, Mary Steenburgen who introduces Big & Rich.
7:59 Ok, I didn’t want to go here, but if I see another denim diaper commercial that says “I poo in blue” I’m gonna…. I’m gonna…. ok, fine. I’ll just keep watching.
7:57 commercial break. ok, I really gotta find my dog.
7:53 Rascal Flatts perform “I Won’t Let Go.” I swear this song reminds me of another but I can’t put a finger on it. In my head I’m seeing Olympics, Whitney Houston, slow motion people running… can’t… quite… place…. it… but I want to go outside and run.
7:52 Ron White and Justin Bieber take the stage, not to perform, but to introduce Rascal Flatts.
7:50 Kid Rock talks about CMT One Country and their contribution to the USO and soldiers all over.
7:47 the last 2 contestants on CMT’s Next Superstar take us into a commercial break. I need to go find my dog and get some dessert, not in that order.
7:46 ZBB accepts but no sign of Jimmy Buffett. He must be in Margaritaville. Afterall, it’s 5:00 somewhere.
7:45 and the buckle goes to… Jimmy Buffett and Zac Brown Band.
7:43 Hines Ward challenges Clay Matthews to a dance off, who defers to the after party. They introduce the nominees for Performance of the Year.
7:42 football music!!! Ahhh the Fall is coming soon. Maybe no NFL, but at least there’s college football. Go Seminoles!
7:42 fire and explosions as the song finishes.
7:40 I like Luke Bryan. I like the girls dancing too. The color black is in tonight.
7:38 Luke Bryan turned his hat backwards = gametime. He performs “Country Girl (Shake It For Me)”.
7:37 Melissa Peterman and Cheryl Hines talk about how great Nashville is. The cowboys that live here. Cheryl mentioned hand cuffs and lost Melissa, who is worried about her. They introduce Luke Bryan.
7:32 commercial break. Kia. Acuvue. Super 8 movie. Old Navy. Zegerid. Cotton. Huggies. PC computer. ChristianMingle.com. Taco Bell. Thank you for paying my salary, by the way.
7:31 confetti from the ceiling. The show isn’t over, though. Hmmm.
7:29 lyrically, not the best from The Band Perry, but hey, they’re doing well with their first full length performance at the CMT Awards. Kimberly takes to the piano, standing up Lady Gaga style.
7:27 The Band Perry start their song “You Lie” with a quick line from Rihanna’s “Love the Way You Lie.” Nice!
7:27 Paramore (I thought they broke up?) introduce The Band Perry.
7:26 Justin with his backwards hat, speaks first. He is honored to be there. he thanks his Mom, his family, and Rascal Flatts. He lets them talk. They thank Justin, the record label, William Morris, etc. Oh and they said thanks to God. Joe Don said they have Bieber fever.
7:25 the winner is… Justin Bieber and Rascal Flatts for “That Should Be Me.”
7:23 Martina McBride and lead singer of Train Patrick Monohan introduce the nominees for Collaborative Video of the Year.
7:22 the final nominees for video of the year are announced, Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, Sugarland, Taylor Swift.
7:21 Kid Rock asks an audience member to take their shirt off. A sign he’s had his first drink? We’ll see.
7:16:30 me finding the mute button. If I see another Olive Garden telling me I’m their family, I’m gonna go there and order something. But I won’t be happy about it.
7:16 Thompson Square perform a shortened version of “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not.” Is it weird for them to perform after they just lost the previous award? Anyway, commercial break now.
7:14 Jennifer says this is the most fun awards show. They both thank the fans. Thanks to Declan Whitebloom, video director. Fans cheer and the duo walk off stage as Kid Rock introduces the Nationwide Insurance Stage.
7:13 Best Duo Video of the Year goes to: Sugarland. Good! All the nominees were good. Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush are cool people.
7:11 John Rich and Gary Busey and the winner of the Indy 500 are bantering back and forth now.
7:10 Gotta give credit to artists like Toby Keith (and Tim McGraw) who have a tons of fans and can perform without playing an instrument. Oh, and Ludacris was clapping in the audience.
7:09 if Toby has a girl bust up on stage pretending she’s a crazy fan then starts dancing, I’m shutting my tv off!
7:08 Toby Keith begins his performance of his brand new song: “Made In America.”
7:07 Wynona eyes Kid Rocks pants because they are redder than her hair.
7:06 Wynona and her ultra red hair belt out some lines, then Kid Rock interrupts her back, he’s wearing an outfit he probably found in the Country Music Hall of Fame. They finish the song as a duet.
7:05 Wynona Judd steps in and stops Kid Rock in his performance of “I’m A Cowboy”.
7:03 they stop and pick up Kid Rock. He enters the Bridgestone Arena where he’ll be hosting the CMT Awards.
7:02 guest appearances from Ron White, Donald Trump and some “good-looking” gas attendant, who calls them Cougars.
7:00 Taylor Swift opens the show by breaking up with someone on the phone. She calls on Shania Twain for help. Thelma & Louise sequence!
6:59 Katie Cook wrapped up her interview with Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman. Evan Farmer joined her and introduced the show…
“You’re a rambling man, you ain’t never gonna change. You’ve got a gypsy soul to blame and you were born for leaving.”
-Colder Weather by Zac Brown Band (download “Colder Weather” here)
One of my favorite songs right now is “Colder Weather” by Zac Brown Band. If you haven’t seen the performance with Amos Lee, click here and be moved. It’s one of those rare performances that happen at the lowest of expected moments, yet become the most memorable. The lyrics have power, relevance, and are so personal that sometimes I think it’s written about me. And therein lies the only problem I have with the song. When I begin to believe the song is truth, I’m tricking myself into thinking I can’t change. But I believe the way a person starts doesn’t have to be the way they finish. People can change. You may have been born a leaver, but you don’t always have to be a leaver. Your dad may have left you and your mom, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to follow those footsteps. I might blame myself, claiming that I was born with a soul bent on leaving, hurting others, and being alone. But even if that’s the way my life started, it does not have to be the way it ends. There is power, no, there is a power out there that can change a gypsy soul, can change a rambling man into a family man, take a hurt soul and mend the wounds. Please listen to the song. But when you’re finished, know that it’s not the total truth. You can be changed. Seek the power that makes tomorrow better. Hopefully you can start at your local christian church and go from there.