Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Remembering Lee Rogers

Country radio, (heck ALL of radio), lost a legend today.  Former KUPL DJ, and Country Radio Hall of Famer, Lee Rogers has passed from this world.
Lee spent four decades in radio, all over the United States, spending fifteen of those years at KUPL-FM. That's where I heard his somewhat gravelly, gruff voice for the first time.

I'll be honest, Lee wasn't one of my favorite DJ's at KUPL.  I think it's because I was somewhat intimidated by how gruff and blunt he could be at times.  He definitely seemed to be a no nonsense type of guy.

That's not to say I didn't respect the man though; I did then, and I still do.  I mean, you don't do a job for forty years, and be entered into a Hall of Fame for nothing; obviously Lee knew what he was doing.

It also doesn't mean that I didn't like listening to Lee on the air, I definitely did.  In fact, though I'd been listening to KUPL off and on for years, it was about the time Lee Rogers hit the airwaves that I became a loyal listener of the station.

While I didn't always agree with Lee's opinions, one of my favorite things was Lee's Soapbox.  Those were the times Lee would be on the air telling every listener how he felt about whatever topic he had a rant about at that moment.

So many things are going through my head as I write this, and have been since I heard the news of Lee's passing today.  I've written, and rewritten paragraphs of this post, trying to express what I want to say, and get it right; but nothing seems to do justice for how I'm feeling.

I've read many posts from Lee's former colleagues and listeners, telling their stories of interactions with Lee throughout the years.  They're heartwarming to read, because it sheds light on the real person Lee Rogers was.  He wasn't just gruff and grumbly; he was a human being with a true heart. 

I'll take a cue from Lee himself here, and be totally blunt; yes, of course people are going to say lots of nice things about someone when they've died, it's what people do.  The thing is, if Lee Rogers wasn't as nice a person as everyone has said, then there wouldn't be so very, very many posts praising the man for who he was and what he did in life.

There wouldn't be so many former co-workers posting about their time spent working with Lee. And there are A LOT of co-workers in a forty year career!   Heck, I can't even count the number of co-workers Lee interacted with in just his fifteen years with KUPL!

What I'm getting at is, though I may have been intimidated by the man while he was living, those who really knew him have made me come to see just how real he was;  and how he touched so many others' lives in great ways. 

I think that's why I needed to write this post; as a tribute to Lee Rogers' life and legacy, and as a small but truly heartfelt apology for not knowing more about what a great human being he was.

Lee, I really wish *I'd* gotten to know you as well as other KUPL listeners did.  I hope I've done at least a somewhat decent job of paying tribute to you here.

Rest in Peace, Lee Rogers.  Maybe someday I'll meet up with you on the other side, and catch up on all I missed while you were here.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

This Trick Is Definitely A Treat!

Having always been a lover of music, I find myself constantly looking up information, reading about it, etc., trying to keep up on the latest news.  That's why I was stunned by something I just happened to come across today; something that surely has been in the works for awhile, yet I was totally taken by surprise.

Of course this information may not be of any concern to some, but for me, I'm very happy and excited by the news:  Heidi Newfield, Ira Dean, and Keith Burns, known collectively as Trick Pony, have reunited!

I've been a fan of Trick Pony since they first hit radio airwaves with "Pour Me" back in 2001.

I honestly can't think of one song the band put out to radio that I didn't like.  "On A Night Like This", "On A Mission", even their cover version of Bonnie Tyler's "It's A Heartache" was great.  Then came 2006, and Heidi left the group.

Ira and Keith tried to keep the trio going, replacing Newfield with Aubrey Collins; however the band never really got back on track at that point.

By 2007, Dean and Burns disbanded Trick Pony.  Ira went on to write songs for other artists, and Keith joined up with Michelle Poe, (former guitarist for Dierks Bentley), to form the duo, Burns & Poe.

Ira had ample success with songwriting, including the Gary Allan hit, "A Feelin' Like That".

Except for hearing that Keith had joined up with Michelle Poe, I never heard anything more about the duo, whether they actually performed, or recorded together.

Meanwhile, Heidi seemed to be the most visible of the three, releasing her first solo album in 2008, which provided her with the top 10 song, "Johnny & June", and garnered her various music award nominations.

Newfield went on to have another hit or two, touring extensively as a solo artist, though subsequent releases never quite achieved the success of "Johnny & June".

Though the three kept busy during their time apart, none of them were sailing smoothly in their personal lives.

Burns' daughter was having medical issues, Dean battled a drinking problem, and Newfield went through a divorce.  In fact, Heidi's divorce was the last "big" news that I'd heard about any of the three; until today.

I follow Heidi on Facebook and Twitter, and just happened to see a post she'd made about the "first day of rehearsal".  There was a photo with the post, and it was of her with Ira and Keith.

Of course this got me curious, so I had to go check what was going on.  Sure enough, there's a new website for Trick Pony, with several new photos of the trio, and a write up of how the band reunited.

At this point, there are no tour dates listed for Trick Pony; but I'm sure that will change soon enough; hopefully by the summer concert season.  I, for one hope that when Trick Pony does start touring again, that they make it out here to the Pacific Northwest.

Having been a fan of the band's past success, I can't wait to hear what they have planned for the future!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Of Resolutions & Worries


 Well, it's another new year; a time when people everywhere make resolutions, big and small.

One of the most common resolutions people make is to lose weight and get fit.  It's the same every year, and you'd have to be living under a rock not to notice retailers emphasizing the point.

Myself, I don't make resolutions.  I figure if I don't make them, I won't break them, thus starting my year off with one less thing to worry about.  

Not that I'd notice one less worry among my vast collection of them.  I guess you could call me a chronic worrier; one of those people who worries about everything.  Or, as my mom has always said, "someone who'd worry about not having something to worry about".

It's not that I try to worry, I don't.  For me though, not worrying is like not breathing.

So, what do my worries have to do with New Year resolutions?  After all, I don't make them, so I don't have to worry about breaking them.  Actually, the answer is simple, and very common for me; I worry about others and how they're doing.

What sparked me into writing this post was a post on 98.7 The Bull's website, by one of the morning DJ's, Jake Byron.

I tend to worry about people I know and like, friends, family, etc.; Jake falls into that category.  So, when I read Jake's post, I guess I was kind of reading between the lines of what he'd written.  

I worried, because I read about how he had a bad 2013, for various reasons, and how his confidence had been shaken by some of those reasons.  That's not the Jake I know.  It may be the "real" Jake, I don't know; but it's still not the Jake *I* know.  

Naturally, my worry kicked in.  I emailed Jake, just to check on him and if he was going to be okay.  I told him that I didn't need details of what was wrong; it's not any of my business to know that.  I just wanted to be sure he was going to be okay.  He assured me he would be; so I'm a little less worried than I was before.  

Of course, before I set out to write this post, I asked Jake if it would be okay.  I didn't want to offend him by writing something he may not like.  Again, a worry, again, an assurance that it would be fine.

So there you have it, my post about resolutions and worries. The worry is probably something I should make a resolution about; though if I did, I'd worry about not breaking my resolution, so I think I'll just stick to worrying about those around me, and be there if they need me.    

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I Want, I Want, I Want!!!

Ah, Christmas!  That season when you hear the sounds of "I want", more than any other time of the year. Young and old alike can be seen and heard coveting any number of things they feel are certain "must haves" on that special day. Sadly, it seems Christmas has become more about commercialism, rather than it's intended purpose of celebrating the birth of Christ.

The trend seems to get more out of hand every year that passes.  At some point, I guess, the old adage, "if you can't beat them, join them", comes into play.  With that said, through this post I'm officially "joining" the masses and announcing to one and all what *I* want this Christmas.

There's actually A LOT I want; so much that this post would take the rest of the year to write.  I know that sounds selfish, but if I'm going to be honest, then that's the truth.

For the sake of getting this post written however, I've decided to focus on the three things I want the most this year.  I'm thinking, if I get what I want, then the rest of my wish list will be filled as well.

This Christmas I want:

 Gold.  Any gold is fine, white gold, black gold, yellow gold, all of the above. In fact, the more gold, and the more varied kinds, the better.  My ultimate gold want though is this:

  I want at least two things that are rarities.  I'm hoping these rarities are something I can share with others, who in turn can share them with more people; then maybe they'll become more common.  In this case, common is better than rare.  My two ultimate rarity wants are:

  I want the magic of this season to last year 'round.  Every second, minute, hour, day, week and month of  every year.  This is my third want, only because if I get #2 on my list, I'm pretty sure this third want will also  come to fruition.  This is the magic I want:

And there you have it, my "I want", "must haves" for Christmas 2013.  Even if I only get one of these precious items, I'll feel like the luckiest person ever!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

"Tate Stevens"--Tate Stevens

To be honest, I've never watched a single minute of "The X Factor"; so I had no idea who Tate Stevens was, or that he'd won the second season.

My introduction to Stevens, and his music, came via the Bull's overnight show, where I heard his debut single, "The Power of a Love Song" for the first time.  I liked what I heard, but still just kind of had it in the back of my mind. 

It was actually one of my own little quirks that got me to buy Stevens' self-titled debut CD.  I have a favorite songwriter, and when anyone records one of this writer's songs, I'll buy the CD. In this case the songwriter has two songs on Stevens' CD; so off I went in search of another addition to my collection.

It's funny, because I almost passed by the CD in the store.  I saw it, however, before reading the title, I saw the photo and thought the person was Chris Cagle.  Not an exact match, but at a glance, it was close.  I then realized it was Tate Stevens, so I bought it, and popped it into my CD player as soon as I got in my car.

From the first track, to the last, Stevens is definitely a country singer.  It's as though old school, 90's and new country were all tossed into a blender and pureed into what Stevens delivers to listeners.

Several times while the tracks played, I was reminded of other artists and songs.  For instance, "That's Where We Live" had me thinking of similar Craig Morgan tunes.  It speaks of small towns, families, and other staples of the country way of life.

 "The Last Thing I Do", is a song I've heard before, first by Brooks & Dunn; then James Otto, and also Montgomery Gentry.  Stevens' rendition of this tune is almost spot on as good as B&D, yet still different enough to stand on it's own as one of his songs.   

There's also humor in some of the tracks; subtle little things, like describing the car in "El Camino" as a "car with a bed".  Or "Sweet", where the singer is telling his mama about the girl he found.  He compares his love interest to being "sweet like a Cadillac, sweet like a stack of cold hard cash," and "sweet like a diamond bling dangling down from a belly button ring".  Honestly, how many songs can say that and still convey how much the guy really does love the girl?!

While I truly like every song on this CD, my favorite has to be the true country ballad, "Ordinary Angels".  Again, it reminds me of other songs and artists I've heard, yet is still totally unique to Stevens and his style of singing.

Though as I stated at the beginning of this post, I'd never heard of Tate Stevens until recently; though from the sound of his debut CD, I'm pretty sure this isn't the last any one has heard from this man.  "Tate Stevens" is definitely a CD worth buying!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Brett Eldredge @ The Bing Lounge-3-21-13

Brett Eldredge.

You may not know the name now; however, in time that's bound to change.

As far as music careers go, singer/songwriter Eldredge's time in the spotlight has been short, compared to most; garnering him attention in just three years.

On March 21, 2013, Eldredge was the most recent visitor to the Bing Lounge, courtesy of 98.7 The Bull.

In addition to telling the audience about his experiences in the business, Eldredge also told the stories behind the songs he sang that day; two which he's recorded himself.

"Raymond" was Eldredge's first song out to radio, in 2010.  It's the story of a woman with Alzheimer's who thinks one of the caretakers is her son, Raymond.  It's a haunting, touching tale, told in Eldredge's deep, unique voice and tone.  He explained the song was close to his heart, and was written for his grandma, who suffers from Alzheimer's.  There *is* a video of Eldredge's performance in the Bing Lounge, however I couldn't get it to work here, so I've put the official video in it's place.  Go to 987TheBull on YouTube for the live performance.

Eldredge currently has a song on radio titled "Don't Ya".  He joked that doing the video for the song was "difficult" and he "had" to keep doing the kissing scene over and over, to get it right.

Though the set was short, Brett Eldredge showed those in the Bing Lounge why his star has been steadily rising.  Here's hoping to a long climb.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Buttons' Big Adventure


It's been awhile since my mommy, Nola, has written anything on her blog; so I decided *I'm* going to write something for her.  Since it is my post though, I've taken the liberty of changing the title of her blog to one that suits me better.

As the title of my post states, I had a big adventure the other day.  Usually my mommy goes to work and leaves me home. Yesterday though, she took time off, but still went to work; and took me with her!

We got up really early and got ready, then mommy put me in the car and we left.  Down hills, and on straight roads mommy drove while I rode in the seat next to her.  We were going along quite nicely, when all of a sudden mommy had to stop.  Lots and lots of other cars were stopped too.  Mommy said there was something called a "wreck" and we were stuck for awhile.  I knew then I should have went potty before we left, like mommy said.  I was a good boy though, and didn't have any accidents.

Once we got past the traffic, mommy drove the rest of the way to a place she said was called "Gateway".  I don't know what that is, I just know we got out of mommy's car, then got on something even bigger that also moved; mommy said it was a train.  I got to sit next to the window and watch out the window.  It was definitely faster than sitting like we had earlier.

We rode on the train until mommy said it was time to get off.  That's when I finally got a chance to really stretch my legs and walk.  It was kind of scary though, because it was dark, and there was lots of noise and things.  I was brave though, for mommy; I didn't want her to be afraid, so I pretended I wasn't.

During our walk, we met lots of nice people, including a man who had a really cool squeaky toy.  He talked to me and told me I was cute.  I heard that a lot throughout the rest of the day; not that I didn't already know I was, of course.  It was nice hearing it from other than family though.

When we got to mommy's work, she picked me up again and carried me; I guess it's frowned on to let puppies walk around in the building; oh well.

We visited a nice man named Earl, and made him happy because we stopped by.  Then we went to mommy's department and waited for the rest of her team to show up.  I got to meet everyone, and though I was a bit shy, really I was having a lot of fun. Who wouldn't love getting lots of attention from everyone they meet?!  One of mommy's co-workers even shared his water with me, because I was thirsty; that was so nice of him.

After a little bit, mommy took me outside, but I was too excited to take care of business; there was just so much to see and do, I didn't want to miss any of it!  We met a lot more friendly people while we were outside; I think mommy must have told them my name, because they all seemed to know it.

We went back to mommy's department, met some more people, then took a walk to another building downtown.  That was a little scary, because there were so many more cars than earlier, and lots more people.  Again though, I was brave, for mommy.  I pretended to play, so mommy wouldn't know I was afraid.

In the new building, we met mommy's friend, Patty.  Again, I was shy around her, but I didn't bark or growl at her, and eventually I did let her pet me.

When we left, mommy and I went back to where we'd gotten off the train earlier, to catch one back to mommy's car.  On our way, we saw the same man that had the squeaky toy, and he remembered me!  He even called me by name; it made me happy and I wagged my tail at him.

On the train, instead of setting on my own seat, mommy let me sit in her lap.  I tried to stay awake and look out the window, but a couple of times I did doze off; but not for too long.

When we got back to mommy's car, she said we were going home, but first she had to get gas for the car, and food for me.  I really didn't care what gasoline was, but I definitely wanted to be sure mommy got my food!

Mommy got my food at this store that lets you bring puppies in, and mommy doesn't have to carry me; I love that store!  Mommy got my food, and on the way out, she said I'd been such a good boy that I could get a new toy; YAY, I love toys!

This is the toy mommy bought me; his name is Moo Cow.  I love Moo Cow, because he squeaks a lot.  He's my new favorite toy and he's all mine!

When we got home, I wanted to play some more, so mommy played with me, and then mommy's "Josh", (that's what mommy calls him), came home and he played with me too.  Lots and lots of play for me yesterday!

Then all of a sudden, I woke up.  I don't remember going to sleep, but when mommy noticed I was awake, she called me "Sleepyhead", and asked if I'd enjoyed my long nap; as a matter of fact, I did!

I got to play with Moo Cow some more; then I took another nap, this time in mommy's lap.  I was such a sleepy puppy, but oh what fun I had on my adventure that day!