Imagine you're hosting a radio talk show and nobody's calling in.
That's kind of how I felt in the early days of the Country Mike blog, but luckily I've received a few e-mails from folks, who have shared information regarding country music.
I heard from Leon of Missouri, who wanted to let me know about a traditonal country singer in the Ozarks named
And I was very impressed with her sound, which could be described in the Patsy Cline/early 1960's style.
Turner of Springfield, Mo., describes her music as country, western swing and Americana, and the music will automatically take you back to another time and place. Four of her songs are posted on the myspace page, and they're all excellent. The ballad, "Staring at the Moon", stands out with its heavy emphasis on fiddle and steel guitar.
Thanks for letting me know about this great country artist, Leon!
Next, Wendy of Ottawa, Ontario e-mailed me about an upcoming country legend visiting her area. I wish I could make plans to visit the Canadian capital, so I could attend an Ottawa Senators playoff hockey game and see George Hamilton IV.
Hamilton will be playing at the Rideau Carlton Speedway (Winner's Club Circle) in Ottawa on Sunday, June 10. The concert is a fundraising event for the South Gloucester United Church.
Last but not least, I heard from P.J., a huge Alabama fan living in Jackson, Miss.
P.J., I love a lot of Alabama's new stuff, but remember when they sang "God Must Have Spent A Little More Time With You" with N'Sync. Come on, they were practically screaming 'we want a crossover hit'
And I didn't like it when Randy Owen was a host on Nashville Star last season. I thought he was condescending, especially to contestant Meg Allison, who sang a bluesy/folk song "Oh Atlanta" and Owen said you need to sing songs that people know to be successful. Just because being mainstream worked for him doesn't mean it has to be everybody else's rout.
Other than that, I like Alabama's stuff, and I have much respect for the Bama Fanatics, and hope you'll still read my blog, despite the aforementioned criticism of your boys.
Now, on to a couple of new albums that were released today, by Miranda Lambert and
Blake Shelton. In a nutshell, Lambert's career will take off and Shelton's will level off.
Usually, the sophomore album is make or break, and I think that Lambert's will send her into stardom. That song, "Famous in a Small Town", is one that many people can relate to and she does such a good job on it vocally.
Apparently, Lambert also wants to be the leader in country's new 'angry at my boyfriend' subgenre. With Carrie Underwood singing "Before He Cheats", it's not believable because Underwood seems to have such a sweet personality. Lambert seems sweet too, but she also has a mean streak - at least according to her music videos. First, "Kerosene", now "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" takes it to another level.
Lambert really impressed me with "Dry Town". What's a better topic for a country song than being in a town where you can't get any alcohol?
On to Shelton. He's been a mid-level star since the beginning of the decade, but when will he be ready to go to the next level? My guess is that he felt that veering towards pop would take him there. I think he'll lose that bet, because he's one of a handful in Nashville who rely on a traditional sound as their calling card. He's not going to out-pop Rascal Flatts and Tim McGraw, so why not just stick to country and be in the Alan Jackson/George Strait vein?
The first single, "Don't Make Me" puts him in the pop direction, but other tracks are more traditional. What he releases as singles may be telling about the future of his career. None of the songs on the album struck me like the first time I heard "Austin", "The Baby" or to a lesser extent, "Nobody But Me".
I could be wrong because many of Shelton's songs have grown on me, among them "Ol' Red" and "Goodbye Time".
Also, I was thinking about country music-themed movies and how there's not that many of them. Although I admit the plot is corny, I definitely enjoy watching George Strait's film "Pure Country" on DVD or whenever its on CMT. Then, there's "Coal Miner's Daughter", which is a great one, and more recently, Toby Keith's "Broken Bridges" and the Johnny Cash biopic "Walk the Line".
I can't wait to see the movie about Charlie Pride and hope they make movies about Marty Robbins, Roy Acuff, Hank Williams and Keith Whitley.
E-mail me with some of the country movies you've liked and which ideas for country movies you'd like to see.
If anyone wants to write a movie script with Country Mike, I'm definitely up for it