Friday, October 31, 2014

People Loving Prizefighters

While country has been a staple of the music industry for eons, the 90's saw the genre take a breath of fresh air with the emergence of Garth Brooks.

Brooks swept on to the scene with his raucously infectious brand of country that had listeners on their feet from the first note of each song.

For a decade, it seemed Brooks could do no wrong, (well, except for his venture into pop as "Chris Gaines"), releasing hit after hit; selling out shows everywhere, and smashing all sorts of records as he went.

Even many who previously had a dislike of country music liked what Garth Brooks was offering to listeners.

Then, in 2000, Brooks announced he was retiring; at least until his youngest daughter was 18. On a side note, it was also the year his 14 year marriage to his wife, Sandy, ended.

Though he'd retired, in 2005 Brooks released a new song, "Good Ride Cowboy".  He wrote the song in honor of one of his idols, bareback rider/singer Chris Ledoux, who had died that year.

A few years later, Garth came out of retirement again, to play a series of intimate, acoustic concerts in Las Vegas, and also released music, (old and new), exclusively through Wal-Mart stores. Regardless of the ventures during this time, Garth's fans proved they hadn't left the singer behind; they were there, waiting for anything new Brooks had to offer.  Even in "retirement", Brooks was still exceeding sales and concert attendance records everywhere.

Now, in 2014, Brooks has officially announced he's coming out of retirement.  He's released a list of tour dates, as well as a new single, "People Loving People".

During Brooks' retirement/divorce period, he got together with long time friend and fellow country singer, Trisha Yearwood.

The two had been friends for many years during their time in Nashville, but had never been an actual couple until after each had been previously married.  Yearwood's first marriage had been to Robert Reynolds, a member of the Mavericks.

During the 90's Yearwood racked up an impressive string of hits of her own, including, "Walk Away Joe", "XX's & OO's", and "She's in Love With the Boy", as well as other tunes.

By the time Trisha and Garth became a couple, Yearwood's musical career had slowed some, and the singer
began branching out in new directions.

She co-wrote a cookbook of down home recipes and had her her own cooking show on the Food Network, "Trisha's Southern Kitchen".

Like Garth, it seemed, Yearwood had "retired" her singing career for one sharing home cooked food with fans.

This year though, like Garth Brooks, Trisha has released new music to country radio.

Yearwood's latest offering, "Prizefighter", features Kelly Clarkson, and proves that, though Yearwood may not have been putting out new music, she hasn't lost any of the talent or energy she was known for with previous hits.

Though it's been quite awhile since either Garth or Trisha has had new music on the radio, it seems that each has hit the jackpot again with their new tunes. Now it's just a matter of who reaches the highest peak on the country radio charts.  Either way, listeners will definitely be the winners.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Country Legend Glen Campbell

Anyone who's listened to music, especially country music, has probably heard of Glen Campbell.  At the very least, they've heard a Glen Campbell song, whether by Glen himself, or a cover by another artist.  

This post is to shine some light on Campbell's career, as well as acknowledge artists who have done cover versions of Campbell's hits.

For myself, it's also a post honoring one of my mom's favorite singers of all-time.  A singer who, unfortunately, she has something in common with, Alzheimer's.

Rather than just run through Campbell's career achievements however, as stated earlier, I'm choosing to also highlight other artist's versions of Glen's hits, as well as more recent news about Campbell's life.

Before having hits as a solo artist, Glen Campbell had been a session musician, recording with some of the biggest names in music, including, Bobby Darin, Ricky Nelson, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, The Monkees, Nancy Sinatra, Merle Haggard, Jan & Dean, Elvis Presley, and Frank Sinatra.  Campbell was also a session musician on The Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds", as well as doing a stint touring with the band, playing bass guitar and providing background harmonies.

As a solo artist, Campbell racked up several hits on the country charts, as well as crossover hits on pop radio.  Even those who don't know Campbell's classics like, "Gentle On My Mind", "Galveston", or "Wichita Lineman", usually have heard the iconic "Rhinestone Cowboy".

Personally, of all Campbell's hits, my favorite has always been one that wasn't as big as Glen's other songs, "Dreams of the Everyday Housewife".

 To this day, I don't know why I love this song so much; I was just a little girl when it was on the radio.  I just know that it's still one of my favorite Glen Campbell songs.

In addition to recording and touring extensively, Campbell also found time for acting, (playing opposite John Wayne in "True Grit"), and hosting his own TV show.  "The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour" aired from 1969 to 1972, featuring guest stars, music and skits.

While Campbell's career was going smoothly, his personal life began to unravel.  One of the most prominent displays of this was Campbell's tumultuous relationship with Tanya Tucker.

Eventually Campbell seemed to get things together, and while not having hits on the radio, still toured extensively over the years, sounding as great as he always had.

2011 brought news that Campbell was suffering from Alzheimer's, but would continue to tour as long as he was able.  And that's exactly what he's been doing until now.  Yes, there were good days and bad days; regardless though, Campbell pressed on giving his fans all he had.

Earlier this year however, Campbell was forced to quit touring; the disease that was robbing his memory was taking it's toll on the legendary singer.

Though he's stopped touring, Campbell has released one last recording, his farewell to fans, friends and family, with the song, "I'm Not Gonna Miss You".  It's a bittersweet tale of how the singer won't miss anyone, not because he doesn't care, but because he's not going to remember them.  The song is even more haunting in the fact that the singer never actually says he won't remember anyone; just how he won't miss them.

While I knew of Glen Campbell's battle with Alzheimer's, and that he'd recorded "I'm Not Gonna Miss You", what got me writing this post was The Band Perry.  Early one morning I was listening to 98.7 The Bull's overnight show, and heard Kimberly Perry's distinctive voice singing a very familiar song, "Gentle On My Mind".

It's the band's current single, and is featured in the movie, "Glen Campbell, I'll Be Me", which is the story of Campbell's life.  Though it's hard for anyone to do a remake of anything that was hugely popular; The Band Perry do an excellent job with "Gentle on My Mind".

The Band Perry's single also had me remembering when 90's country singer, Wade Hayes did a cover of "Wichita Lineman".

I've always felt that Hayes wasn't given his due on this song.  He did a great job of covering the tune, yet, it didn't do very well at radio.

While researching videos for this post, I ran across some information that was new to me.  It seems Collin Raye, another popular country artist from the 90's, has released an entire tribute CD in honor of Glen Campbell.  He's also released his first single from this CD, "Galveston".

It's sad to think that someone who's had such an illustrious career in music, like Glen Campbell, isn't going to be able to remember any of it.  He won't remember how much his songs have contributed to country music, and to the lives of his fans around the world.

For me I guess, it's also sad, because I have some understanding of what's happening to Glen.  Though my mom's Alzheimer's isn't as advanced as Campbell's, I can still identify with what the country music legend is going through, and it makes me sad; not just for him, but for what lies ahead for my mom as well.

So, while Glen Campbell may not remember what he's contributed to the world of music, it's nice to know that other artists who have followed in his footsteps do remember; and are helping to keep Campbell's legacy alive and in everyone's memory.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Paul Revere is (Dough) Nuts!

If you're from the Pacific Northwest and/or a fan of Paul Revere & the Raiders, by now you've heard that band leader, Paul Revere, passed away October 4, 2014.  Since then the internet has been abuzz with news, stories, memories and the like from the media and fans all over the world.

 One of the latest stories related to Revere's death is courtesy of Voodoo Doughnut in Portland, Oregon.  They announced that in honor of Paul they'd be making a special, limited time doughnut.

At the time of the original announcement, no definite decisions had been made as to what the doughnut would look like, what flavor, etc.

As of October 14, 2014 though, the shop revealed what they'd come up with in tribute to the leader of Paul Revere & the Raiders.

A tricorn hat shaped doughnut, (representing the hat Paul sported on stage for 50 years), frosted in chocolate, and covered in red, white and blue sprinkles.  If that weren't enough, the doughnut is filled with butter cream.

The doughnut will be available in all four Voodoo Doughnut locations, (three in Oregon, and one in Colorado), from October 15, 2014, to December 15, 2014.

In addition, a portion of each sale of a Paul Revere doughnut will be donated to the Oregon Music Hall of Fame.

The donations will help the foundationIn raise funds to further music education.

If you live in the area, or plan on visiting between now and December 15th, be sure to make a stop by Voodoo Doughnut, and get yourself a Paul Revere doughnut.  Not only will you be paying your respects to a rock & roll icon, you'll be helping future rock & roll legends as well.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Review--Jason Aldean--"Old Boots New Dirt"

For his sixth studio album, Jason Aldean claims he's branching out a bit from his previous releases.  "Burnin' It Down", the first single from "Old Boots New Dirt", does seem to be a somewhat different approach for Aldean, but not a real stretch.

"Bunin' It Down" is a cross between a ballad and somewhat uptempo tune, telling the story of the love and passion the singer has for his love interest.  Different for Aldean, yes, a bit.  A hit on radio, definitely.

The rest of "Old Boots New Dirt", is pretty much standard Aldean, delivered the same way Jason has always done with his style of vocals.  Yet, while Aldean's latest album may not be too different than his last five, it still seems fresh, rather than the same old thing rehashed the same way a hundred times.

One theme that seems consistent on "Old Boots New Dirt", is of love lost.  Listening to the lyrics of say, "Miss That Girl", or "Don't Change Gone", it makes one wonder if the songs were chosen due to the upheaval Aldean's personal life was going through at the time.  These two songs, and the title track all have the common thread of lamenting love lost; with each song different enough from the others to not become mundane.

A definite stand out on "Old Boots New Dirt" is the song, "If My Truck Could Talk".  The lyrics tell how the truck has been good to the singer, but it knows too much about what he's done.  If the truck could talk, he'd have to pull out all the wires, set it on fire, roll it down a hill, anything to shut it up. 

While, as stated previously, Aldean's latest contribution isn't that much of a departure from his previous releases, Jason still manages to keep things from getting stale.  With fifteen tracks, (eighteen on the Target Exclusive CD), most of which are good songs, "Old Boots New Dirt" is worth buying, or at least giving a listen to.

Friday, October 10, 2014


(My apologies for this posting today; I was editing things, and accidently reposted it.  This is actually from 2 or 3 years ago.)

Since this blog can be about anything, I feel it’s my duty to pass on the following health risk warning:

 I know what you’re thinking, “of course smoked salmon isn’t good for you; it’s really salty, etc.”  Agreed, however, that isn’t the warning I want to pass on here.

What I’m talking about is inhaling smoked salmon.  (On a side note, I wonder if this could be considered “second hand smoked”, since it was bought and not homemade.)

I’m sure everyone knows salmon, of any kind, should not be inhaled.  It’s meant to be eaten.  To be fair, I HAD been eating my smoked salmon; the last tiny bite flaked, (literally), on me and decided it wanted to be inhaled instead.

The risks of inhaling smoked salmon are great.  It can lead to choking; excessive coughing, (which in turn can lead to lack of sleep due to long-term coughing); watery eyes; headache, (from the choking and coughing); and tooth loss. Yes, tooth loss; yours, not the salmon’s…If your salmon still has teeth while you’re eating it, you have a whole other problem to deal with; such as overly fresh sushi!

Back to smoked salmon and tooth loss.  I’ll use myself as an example.

As stated earlier, the last bit of smoked salmon I was eating was accidently inhaled rather than eaten properly.  Immediately all of the symptoms I’ve mentioned kicked in.  My eyes watered and I was choking and coughing.  At one point I thought I had things under control, but I started choking again, only worse.  While this was going on, my mind was trying to figure out how such a small bit of salmon could make me choke and cough so much. 

When the choking finally subsided, I noticed that my mouth felt different for some reason.  A quick look in the mirror revealed why…Somewhere in the midst of choking on smoked salmon, one of my upper teeth decided to bail on me, leaving a nice, very noticeable gap when I open my mouth.  Not a good thing!  To make matters worse, since I can't find the missing tooth anywhere, I'm guessing I swallowed it.  YUCK!!!

In addition, the coughing wouldn’t stop.  Spent most of the rest of the night and today coughing, hard.  This has resulted in a massive headache.  BLEAH!!!

Enough complaining about myself though.  This blog is intended as a health risk warning.  Hopefully it’s done its job and you’re more aware of the dangers of smoked salmon and teeth now.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Remembering Paul Revere--The Last Madman of Rock & Roll

Much like the colonial Paul Revere spread the word about the British invasion, today the internet is spreading the word of the passing of another Paul Revere.  Paul Revere Dick, born in Nebraska, January 7, 1938, passed away October 4, 2014, at his home in Idaho.

For those not familiar with this Paul Revere, he was the founding member of the 60's band, Paul Revere & the Raiders.
 The band got it's start in the late 50's, early 60's in Idaho, and were then known as The Downbeats.  When Paul, and then lead singer, Mark Lindsay, moved to Portland, Oregon, the name was changed to Paul Revere & the Raiders. 

After moving to Portland, Paul met up with Roger Hart, a KISN radio DJ at the time, who became the band's manager.  Roger helped get the band exposure outside the region, eventually landing them as the house band on Dick Clark's "Where the Action Is", from 1965 to 1967.  The band was on TV five days a week, in their colonial garb, singing and being crazy. 

 I never had the chance to see Paul Revere & the Raiders when Mark was the lead singer.  My chance to see the band wasn't until 1978, when Louie Fontaine did lead vocals.  By then I'd been a major fan of the group for 10 years, having first seen them at 9 years old on "It's Happening", their afternoon show on ABC television.

Since then, I've seen the band many times, with different lead singers.  Michael Bradley, Carl Driggs, Darrin Medley, and current Raider, Darren Dowler, have all held the position of lead singer of the Raiders over the years.

While there have been many Raiders over the years, Paul Revere was always the guiding force behind the band.  Paul would lead the charge every show, bringing audiences a fast paced set of music and comedy.  No matter how many times one would see a Raider performance, it was still fresh, fun and highly entertaining; or as Paul himself described it, "organized chaos". 

Even well into his 70's Paul Revere still toured extensively with his band, playing casinos, fairs, festivals, cruises, and anywhere else they were invited to play, and Paul would rock just as hard as always, every time. 

At the beginning of 2014 though, Paul announced that he was going to take a break from the road, upon doctor's orders.  He revealed that he'd been told to take a breather much earlier, but had continued touring, despite the fact.  Revere had had a bout with cancer years before; though this time, no real explanation was given, other than he was having health issues.

At the time of the announcement, Revere assured fans, he was going to rest up, so he could get back to doing what he loved.  In the meantime, his current band of Raiders, Darren Dowler, Doug Heath, Ron Foos, Danny Krause and Tom Scheckel, would carry on, fulfilling the tour dates the band was already committed to.

Then came the news on October 4, 2014, Paul Revere had passed away.  "Uncle Paul", "The Last Madman of Rock & Roll",  had died at home in Idaho, having gone full circle from where his band started their musical journey.

Rock & Roll Heaven has just gained another legend and leader in Paul Revere.  I'm sure he's already up there, helping to organize fun music and chaos for the angels.

R.I.P. Paul, you will be missed.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

All in the "Spirit" of the Season

A couple years or so ago, I wrote a post for Halloween about ghosts, spirits and poltergeists.  Rather than rehash that post here, I'll share the link to it, and continue with the content of this current post.

One area I didn't discuss in the previous post is the role psychics have in dealing with these various entities. Since it's Halloween season again, I've decided to tackle the subject now.

Some believe that all psychics are fake; while others believe the opposite.  Then there are those, like me, that feel both beliefs are true.  Since I can't speak for others on the subject, this post will be about what I think and how I feel about it.

First, I should state that I feel everyone has psychic abilities.  Whether it's very little, or very strong, each of us most likely has had at least one experience when we just "knew" what was going to happen in a situation. I know with me, it's been mostly minor things,  like something as simple as a song.

I can't count how many times I've been listening to the radio, heard a song, and thought, "wow, it's been a long time since I've heard that song", only to discover, "oh wait it's NOT the song I thought it was". Then three or four songs later, the song I thought I'd heard actually DOES come on the radio!

I realize most people brush these things off as coincidence.  When it happens often enough though, I feel it has to be more than just a random happening..

There are other instances I've had, some bigger than just music on the radio; for now though, back to the main subject of this post.

It may seem contradictory for me to say I believe everyone has psychic abilities, yet also believe some are fake; so I'll try to explain.

I'll be the first to admit I'm not a trusting person; never have been.  I guess my skepticism of some psychics is because there have been some that have been proven as fakes.  By "fake", I mean that they present themselves as being more intuitive than they really are.  These "psychics" rely more on what's known as "cold reading", than actual spiritual connections.

A "cold read" is when someone picks up on the body language of others, and directs their questions to the person accordingly.  The questions usually start out fairly generic, then become more specific, as the read continues.  From the body language, and the responses of the person being read, these "psychics" tell the person what they're hearing from the spirits around them.

Sometimes there aren't any spirits involved at all.  These are the times when a "psychic" will focus on a person, ask the same questions, and answer accordingly.  To me, these people are fakes, because they're charging others to basically tell them things they've learned from talking to the person.  I've also experienced this first hand. Long story short on that, a friend of mine, (who gave more information to the "psychic" than necessary), had a great reading, and came away having heard everything she'd hoped to hear.  Her sister wasn't so forthcoming with answers, but did give a few here and there.  Her body language was also a bit tense and defensive.  This person's reading wasn't quite as detailed as her sister's, and wasn't nearly as positive.

My skepticism got the better of me at that point, so I caved and let the "psychic" read me.  Unlike my friends, I was very vague with my answers, and didn't volunteer any information beyond that.  My reading took less than 5 minutes, and I was told I wasn't "readable"; that I had to believe to be read.  To me, there's the proof this person was a fake.  Just my opinion though.

Even well known psychics have been scrutinized, and accused of being fakes. One name that comes to mind is John Edward.

Edward is a psychic who became best known through his TV show, "Crossing Over".

I watched this show often, and loved hearing the positive messages John gave to those in the studio audience, and at other readings.

At the same time, I kept thinking that something was just "off" about how the readings happened. It wasn't that I disliked Edward, but for some reason I didn't have a good vibe about him.  No matter how nice he seemed on the show, I just kept feeling like he might be a bit arrogant and insincere.  I continued to watch "Crossing Over" though, because of the general positiveness of the show.

Whether my feeling about John Edward was true or not, I don't know.  I do know that he was eventually called out publicly and accused of being fake; that he relied on cold reading to do his job.  Again, whether it's true or not, I can't say; it did seem to hurt his reputation though.  While he's still around, his popularity took a major dip after the accusations were made.

Another psychic who's gained celebrity status in the past few years is Kim Russo.

Russo is currently on the TV show, "The Haunting Of...", on the LMN Network.  The show features Russo meeting up with celebrities who first appeared on "Celebrity Ghost Stories", telling of their personal encounters with ghosts.

Russo's job on "The Haunting Of...", is to meet up with one of these celebrities, at the site of the person's experience.  From there, Russo and that week's celebrity go back through what happened to the person, with Russo picking up on, and feeling the energy of the place.  Sometimes the energy is good, and sometimes it's not.

For the most part I think Russo does her job well, though, again, my skepticism has me questioning some things.

For instance, Russo claims to not know anymore than basic details about each guest, yet some of these people, (though maybe not as popular now as in the past), are well known enough, one would have to be living under a rock not to know the details of their lives.

Also, during the shows, Russo will caution the celebrity to not give too many details on a situation.  Yet at the same time, she'll ask questions, and let the person give a detailed explanation.

Of course, I'm not even close to being a professional in the field of psychics, so maybe there's something I'm not aware of that would explain this.  Also, it is television, so some of the perception could be in the editing of the show.

Currently the most popular psychic on TV is Theresa Caputo, "The Long Island Medium", who's show airs on TLC.

While I still cling defiantly to a shred of skepticism about psychics, if I had to say real or fake, I would say Theresa Caputo is the real deal.

Caputo just seems to be herself, regardless of the situation she may be in. She can be loud, funny, apprehensive, adamant, you name it, that's Theresa. She's not just a person on TV doing her job as a psychic; she lets viewers see into her personal life, which includes her family, friends, pets, etc. Or as Caputo herself once said, (to paraphrase), there's more to her than just her nails and hair.

"Long Island Medium" is different also in how episodes are done.  While most shows, especially in this genre, are taped, produced and aired, Caputo's show has, a couple times, been aired live; has gone behind the scenes; and has aired special episodes showing reads that didn't make original airings of the show. Combined, it makes for a fun, entertaining program.

For some, I suppose, this would be a reason to think "Long Island Medium" isn't real.  That's okay, because, to paraphrase Caputo again, she doesn't try to make believers out of anyone.  She's there simply to relay messages from our loved ones that have passed on.

Like Kim Russo's "The Haunting Of...",  the vibe of Caputo's show may be in the editing.  Even if that is the case though, "Long Island Medium" still seems more believable over all.  And like John Edward's "Crossing Over", Caputo always has positive messages for those she reads; messages that viewers can relate to and embrace as well.

So, there you have my take on the psychic world.  I'm no expert, though I've had my own experiences over the years. And I have my doubts about some who profess to being true psychics.  Over all though, I'm entertained by what I've seen so far, and I often find comfort in the messages that are given.