How Country Popped Its Way Into the Mainstream

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Post  misery guts on Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:01 am

Focus On... Rascal Flatts
A trio formed in Columbus, Ohio, in 1999, had 25 singles (of which 14 went to #1, presumably in the Country chart), support children's charities, borrowed their name from a garage band, had a video banned because of a brief glimpse of nudity, and this show managed not to play the only hit of theirs I know, What Hurts The Most. Ah well.

Focus On... Billy Currington
At least I'd heard of the above. This guy was born in November 1973 in Georgia and has 4 sisters. He was rejected at an audition for Opryland, had several jobs before he finally got to record a demo in Nashville and signed to Mercury in 2003. He's had run-ins with the law, and his step-father had alcoholism issues. He supports a charity working to help people in Central America. He's a keen surfer in his spare time.
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Post  misery guts on Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:38 am

Focus On... Jason Aldean
He was the guy whose concert was concurrent with the recent tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas. He turned 40 back in February. His father supported his musical journey, and he formed a band at University. Has been twice married, his 2nd wife being an American Idol contestant or something. He owns a 1300 acre ranch near Nashville, and co-owns a hunting company along with other acts like Luke Bryan. He also does duets with surprising people, like Ludacris.

Focus On... Terri Clark
She'll be 50 next August. Born and raised in Canada, had musical grand-parents, but moved to Nashville after graduating. She chanced to meet a record producer whilst waitressing, and was signed to Mercury in 1994. She was influenced by Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn.
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Post  misery guts on Mon Nov 20, 2017 9:27 am

Mel Tillis, Floridian country singer-songwriter, and father of Pam, has died at the age of 85. He'd been unwell since early in 2016. RIP Sad
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Post  misery guts on Mon Nov 27, 2017 8:46 am

Ellen - Blake Shelton
People magazine have voted him Sexiest Man Alive, for which Ellen mocked his "gym socks". He enjoys his friendly rivalry with Adam on The Voice, especially as his album debuted above Maroon 5's. He's going to be touring "Country Music Freaks" with Brett Eldredge, Trace Atkin and Carly Pearce.

Ellen - Garth Brooks
Voted Entertainer of the Year for the 6th time. Has some kind of anthology series out, or rather the 1st in a series of 5. Had to lip-synch at the CMAs because it fell in the middle of a run of 12 tour dates in 10 days. He tours with his wife. He sings "Ask Me How I Know" at the end of the show.

Focus On... Eric Church
He turned 40 back in May, born in North Carolina, has a degree in marketing, and advocates use of cannabis, with several songs about it, eg Smoke A Little Smoke. He married a music publisher in early 2008 and they have 2 sons. Set up his own charity in 2013 which has a global reach.
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Post  misery guts on Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:05 am

Focus On... Sarah Darling
Born in 1982 in Iowa, first found fame on a talent show, did her first LP in 2009, has a British husband, opened for Carrie Underwood and Kacey Musgraves, played the Grand Ole Opry in 2011, and has many songs.

DCX - MMXVI - Dixie Chicks
A gig from LA in 2016, with a bit of chatter to the audience about her dislike for Florida. They did a cover of Nothing Compares 2 U by way of tribute to Prince. I found myself getting ratty with them, a sense that they felt entitled to more respect.
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Post  misery guts on Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:03 am

Focus On... Sam Hunt
Me neither. He was born in December 1984 in Georgia. He had an athletic background, but failed a tryout, so moved to Nashville, and got signed in 2014. He's written songs for Reba McEntire, Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban. He got married last year after a 9 year relationship.

Lady Antebellum - On This Winter's Night
A Christmas collection gig from 2012, at the Schermerhorn Sympthony Centre, Nashville, with chit-chat about Christmas traditions, and choosing some less familiar songs than others. They got the crowd joining in with closer Silent Night.
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Post  misery guts on Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:20 am

Focus On... Dan & Shay
They're an American duo, supposedly massive in the UK, from Pennsylvania and Arkansas respectively, and they met in Nashville. They've supported Blake Shelton and Hunter Hayes, they have tattoos of XIX and there are 2 others in the band.

Focus On... Sara Evans
She was born in Missouri, in 1971, the eldest of 7. She fractured both legs at the age of 8, but recovered, and sang in nightclubs from 16. She moved to Nashville in 1991, then Oregon to get married, then back to Nashville. She's a trad country fan. She was on RCA for a long time, but now has her own label. She has 3 children, been divorced and remarried and now lives in Alabama.
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Post  misery guts on Mon Feb 19, 2018 8:17 am

Hebridean Celtic Festival: Darrell Scott + Danny Thompson
A coming together of a double bass player and a country singer-songwriter, in this short set from the Island Stage in 2013.

Heartworn Highways
A long old effort from 1976, looking at "outlaw country", folks like Townes van Zandt, David Allan Coe, Guy Clark and the Charlie Daniels Band. There were personal vignettes of the stars in various locales, and often a song from each of them, from Waiting Around to Die, to Black Label Blues, to LA Freeway. A quirky piece of nostalgia.

Heartworn Highways Revisited
A follow-up show from 2017, with the crop of today's outlaw country types, some of whom spoke fondly of the above generation, and even one or two survivors from the original show (Guy Clark and Steve Young died after appearing here). Many great acts and great songs to boot.
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Post  misery guts on Fri Feb 23, 2018 9:51 am

Focus On... Lee Ann Womack
Born in August 1966 in Jacksonville, the child of a DJ and a high school principal, went to University in Nashville but left before graduating to raise her kids. She gigged a lot and got signed. She married, divorced and remarried, having 2 daughters along the way. She took a break from touring between 2004-14, but still put out records. Her biggest success was the song I Hope You Dance.

When Patsy Cline Was Crazy
A jovial effort with dozens of contributors from Reba McEntire and LeAnn Rimes, to her 2nd husband Charlie Dick and daughter Julie Fudge. She was born in 1932 and learnt music along the way, but signed to a terrible record deal as she made her name. She helped form the new Nashville Sound which countered the rise of Rock & Roll. She got a better manager, better record contract, and wowed the Grand Ole Opry, even if she wouldn't always dress like they wanted her to. Sadly, despite recovering from a car crash, she met her death in a plane crash in the Spring of 1963, an event never given the equivalence that Buddy Holly gets.
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Post  misery guts on Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:11 am

Trouble for Tim McGraw now:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-43371141
Country star Tim McGraw collapsed on stage during a performance in Dublin on Sunday night.
The singer had just performed his hit single Humble and Kind when he sat down near his keyboard player, then slumped to his knees as he walked off stage.
McGraw's wife, singer Faith Hill, later came out to tell the audience he could not continue with the performance.
"He's been super dehydrated," she said. "I apologise, but I made the decision that he cannot come back out on stage."
Oh dear. Get well soon.
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Post  misery guts on Fri Mar 16, 2018 9:28 am

John ac Alun
A Welsh country duo, with a long track record, this being a short show from 1997. I might have given up on the lack of subtitles had I not realised the closing number was almost certainly Achy Breaky Heart.
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Post  misery guts on Wed Mar 21, 2018 8:10 am

John ac Alun
From 1998 this time, and with subtitles, mercifully. Their guest was Gwenda Owen, and they actually introduced some of the tracks, so that was nice.

Focus On... Merle Haggard
The mercurial legend who did his bird, and took his place among the greats whilst picking up impressions of many of them. He got pardoned by Ronald Reagan, he got many accolades and awards, and part of several Halls of Fame. Many fresh and interesting songs shown.
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Post  misery guts on Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:00 am

John ac Alun
Still in 1998, with special guests Broc Mor, brothers from Anglesey.

Sad news for Kenny Rogers, having to curtail his farewell tour for health reasons Shocked
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Post  misery guts on Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:37 am

John ac Alun
Their guest this time was Tecwyn Ifan, and though they mentioned Elvis, I didn't associate any song they did with any of his.

Focus On... Glen Campbell
The legend got his turn to be focussed on, with respect paid to his musical talent, his early career, his session work, his solo successes, his acting forays, and his final years. Talk of a planned sequel show later. No mention of Jimmy Webb, for one thing.

Big Tom, Irish country singer of note, has died at the age of 81. Gentle Mother was his first big hit. RIP  Sad
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Post  misery guts on Fri May 25, 2018 6:31 am

Focus On... Don Williams
The late legend was born in May 1939, and died last year. He spent time in the army, formed a band, and then went solo. He had a couple of crossover hits, like You're My Best Friend. He was known as the Gentle Giant because he was 6 ft 1, was in a few films with Burt Reynolds, entered the Country HoF in 2010.

Focus On... Ashley Monroe
Born in September 1986 in Tennessee, she won a talent contest at 11, and has links with other acts like the Pistol Annies. Her first album was delayed because the record company weren't sure. But she prevailed.
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Post  misery guts on Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:23 am

Focus On... Chris Stapleton
He was born in Kentucky, but moved to Nashville. He married Morgane, also a songwriter/performer. He's written for many other country acts, even Adele. His collaboration with Justin Timberlake has clearly raised his profile a lot. He's won several Grammys in a short space of time.

Phil Mack visits with Emi Sunshine
Unsure of her age, but she's a child whizz of some degree, who became a viral sensation for her singing, and was brought onto the Today Show. Her family are her backing band, called The Rain at some point. Phil managed to interview her, and raved about her to a frankly unhealthy degree. She hadn't been out of the USA, but when she comes to the UK and Ireland, Phil will be right there (I bet). Time might tell.
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Post  misery guts on Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:16 am

Focus On... Kenny Rogers
The legend hopefully turns 80 in August, but here was a fairly rounded look at his musical highlights, although it neither mentioned the Restaurants, or his evident weight loss. He started recording back in 1957, worked with First Edition in the late 60s and early 70s, but went solo in 1976 and never looked back. 2 US #1 singles, 2 (different) UK #1 singles, the movies, the duets, and finally retirement.

Focus On... Jenn Bostic
A peculiarity as Jenn herself co-hosted this with Phil (sort of). Her dad died in a car accident when she was 10 and she had a hit song about it. She was born in Philadelphia and raised in Minnesota, got married there but now lives in Nashville. She rates Bonnie Raitt and Sara Bareilles. She held a High Jump record at one stage, and she did a couple of live numbers in the studio.
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Post  misery guts on Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:32 am

noisey - Nashville
Zach's on a 2nd series, here looking at country rap, whether the affable ex-con Jelly Roll, or the unpleasant ex-con Mikel Knight and his gang of MDRST hard-sellers. Zach did also speak to rising star Margo Price, and Ke$ha leaning on her country roots for a way forward from unpleasant times. Bubba Mathis, fka Bubba Sparxxx, was also around and using country to remake his image.

Live With... Whitney Rose
A rising Canadian singer-songwriter with country overtones, she had plenty of good songs like Wake Me In Wyoming and The Devil Borrowed My Boots too.
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Post  misery guts on Fri Jul 06, 2018 7:56 am

Focus On... Frank Ifield
Surprisingly, another star actually present to tell their own story, this filmed with Frank over here on tour. He started young at singing, before going to Australia at 10. Was on a talent show at 14, when he also made his first record. After national service, he got his own telly show. Then came back to the UK, swapping with Tommy Steele. He got a 2 year contract with EMI, and at the last moment came up with I Remember You. Matt Monro suggested his follow-up, Lovesick Blues, and then he kept the Beatles off the top with Wayward Wind. He had health problems, and recovered back in Australia. He tours the UK annually, and might be back in September 2019. Nice guy.
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Post  misery guts on Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:55 am

Focus On... Old Dominion
A new-ish act to me, a 5-piece band of blokes who met at University and take their name from a nickname for Virginia (apparently). They've written for Kenny Chesney, Kelsea Ballerini, Blake Shelton and more. Their material was OK, but I wouldn't say they were pulling up any trees.
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Post  misery guts on Fri Aug 31, 2018 8:36 am

Hairy Bikers' Mississippi Adventure: Country
I previously thought this was a 3-part series, turns out it was 6. Here Si & Dave went to Nashville to visit Arnold's, the Grand Ole Opry, the Loveless Cage, and Studio B in Music Row to do their own song. Along the way they did recipes for meat load, pulled pork, and biscuits & gravy, which they shared in the final skit with the duo Sweethearts of the Rodeo.
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Post  misery guts on Fri Oct 05, 2018 7:21 am

My Story - The Official Bestselling Autobiography, by Daniel O'Donnell
Irish crooner who's nearer Country than any other genre. He married in his 40s, began to make waves in the 1980s, and didn't break the UK singles chart until 1992. It's a bit "oh gosh" at times, but he's a likeable guy and he tells his story well.
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Post  misery guts on Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:55 am

Live From Abbey Road - Classics - Sheryl Crow
The tiresome singer-songwriter detested 80s acts like Lisa Lisa and Paula Abdul. She's happier now she's not in the commercial rat race. She was pushing her Detours album during this 2008 visit. She was followed by Rascal Flatts, who felt honoured to play in such a "holy church", also in 2008. They see all ages at their concerts.
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Post  misery guts on Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:24 am

Our Musical History - Country & Beyond, with The Shires
Over-hyped Brit duo get to run through some predictable and otherwise choices (yes to Fleetwood Mac and Ronan Keating, no to Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash).
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Post  misery guts on Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:48 am

The Golden Hour - Travis Tritt
Dunno if this is a one-off or a series or just a mistake, but an affable use of time since "Focus On" appears to have withered on the vine. A mix of videos and live performances.
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