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Mike Sudhalter  |  June 30, 2007

Once again, I'm spending Saturday night listening to the Grand Ole Opry and Jimmy C. Newman is closing with "Jambalaya". Every time I listen to the Opry, it makes me realize that the heart of country music is still beating. We're so lucky to have a venue like it whereas most [...]

Continue reading "Listenin' to the Opry"

Mike Sudhalter  |  June 28, 2007

Yesterday, I pulled into the parking lot at work, and I wasn't quite ready to begin working. So I listened to a few more country songs, mostly by newcomer Granger Smith and legend George Jones. It was pretty loud, and I saw the parking lot attendant come over to me, and I assumed he [...]

Continue reading " Parking Lot"

Mike Sudhalter  |  June 26, 2007

On Sunday morning, I woke up a Kansas Jayhawks fan and went to bed that night, wanting to yell "Gig 'Em Aggies" in my sleep. Why the sudden transformation and the reason for my loyalty defecting from Lawrence to Bryan-College Station? Plain and simple, a song. That's [...]

Continue reading "Texas A&M"

Mike Sudhalter  |  June 26, 2007

I think it's the apolitical people who have the must fun! That's what I gathered from my recent trip to Nashville, and other recent observations. I had so much fun hanging out in all of the Nashville honky-tonks during the festival. A lot of places don't have great live music like [...]

Continue reading "Apolitical honky-tonkers"

Mike Sudhalter  |  June 25, 2007

From one touching story (Kellie Pickler) to another, lesser-known one. Homer Joy, the songwriter for the Dwight Yoakam/Buck Owens hit "Streets of Bakersfield" recently recorded an album called "Someday It'll Be Country". Why's that special, you ask? The album [...]

Continue reading "Joy and July 4th"

Mike Sudhalter  |  June 25, 2007

I've never watched American Idol, but I heard about Kellie Pickler after she was eliminated from the show. It would have been easy to dismiss her as the next bubbly, high-energy singer when she hit the charts with "Red High Heels". Her next single, "I Wonder", shows a [...]

Continue reading "Kellie Pickler"

Mike Sudhalter  |  June 25, 2007

I had so much fun this weekend, hanging out and having a picnic with my wife in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. It's so great to get away from the rigors of daily life for a little while. We brought a small radio player and sat by the lake, but the country station came in crystal clear, [...]

Continue reading "Relaxin' In The Country"

Mike Sudhalter  |  June 22, 2007

Two guys are sitting together at a bar, discussing the state of country radio. The first one laments the loss of any steel guitar, fiddles or "real country music". The second one goes on and on, about annoying twang and how he longs for the late 1990's when Faith Hill and Shania [...]

Continue reading "Country radio - a pendulum?"

Mike Sudhalter  |  June 22, 2007

First albums always tell you a great deal about the artist. The music comes from the heart, and at the time, they don't usually know if it's going to succeed or not. I'm going to say first albums are the best ones, but they're often the most revealing. Take Gretchen [...]

Continue reading "First albums"

Mike Sudhalter  |  June 21, 2007

When I was a kid, I used to buy baseball card sets from the early 1980's. There used to be these cards that featured "stars of tommorow" for each team, with three per squad. The Montreal Expos had Tim Raines plus two guys I'd never heard of. It's funny how some people [...]

Continue reading "Then and Now"

Mike Sudhalter  |  June 21, 2007

Last week, I told y'all that I'd comment on the Brad Paisley album. I would have done it sooner, but I had a bunch of things to take care of earlier this week, chores and all. The album was worth the wait, but some songs still have to grow on me. There's 16 cuts, plus two hidden [...]

Continue reading "Brad Paisley cut-by-cut"

Mike Sudhalter  |  June 21, 2007

You know what I should have said when Rascal Flatts hit the airwaves a few years ago? "Ladies and Gentleman, we're now making our descent into mediocrity. Please turn off your radioes and insert some George Jones, George Strait and Ernest Tubb albums". I got that idea during the [...]

Continue reading "Collin Raye concert"

Mike Sudhalter  |  June 19, 2007

I was just recalling my week in Nashville, walking by all of the honky-tonks one afternoon. Outside one of them, there was a man telling people to come into his honky-tonk because there was "real country music". Mister, you don't have to stand out on the corner to tell me about real [...]

Continue reading "Hear some Real Country, Mister"

Mike Sudhalter  |  June 18, 2007

I've never felt a bigger sense of relief than when I heard "'Fore She Was Mama" come on the radio airwaves. Not because it's the song of the year. I was just glad to see Clayboy back. You see, I once read that Clayboy was the nickname bestowed on Clay Walker by his [...]

Continue reading "Walker, Texas Traditionalist"

Mike Sudhalter  |  June 18, 2007

When you attend an event so jam-packed with country music like the CMA Music Festival, it's an adjustment to get back to everyday life, where not everything revolves around country. Yes, I still wish the festival was going on. As I write this, I'm listening to the archived broadcast of [...]

Continue reading "Festival withdrawal"

Mike Sudhalter  |  June 15, 2007

I was just thinking the CMA Music Festival is a redundant name, the Country Music Association Music Festival. They should just change it to CMA Festival. On a more serious note, the organization donates half of the money it makes from the festival to a Metro Nashville Public Schools program [...]

Continue reading "More goodwill"

Mike Sudhalter  |  June 13, 2007

Last week, I briefly discussed meeting with Ms. Rhonda Ellis, a music education teacher in Searcy, Ark. Ellis started the Liddler Fiddler group at Searcy's Westside Elementary School. The school, and the music program specifically, benefited from Chely Wright's Reading, Writing and Rhythm [...]

Continue reading "Ms. Ellis' Liddler Fiddlers"

Mike Sudhalter  |  June 13, 2007

On the surface, it's great news. The CMA Music Festival finished its four-day event with a record aggregate attendance of 191,154 people. The number indicates that the festival is popular and growing. It certainly means lots of dough for the CMA. But what does it mean for the country fans, [...]

Continue reading "Festival record - a mixed bag?"

Mike Sudhalter  |  June 12, 2007

Leaving Nashville was pretty difficult because it was one of the best trips I've done over the last decade. And I wish the flight home went as smooth as the trip itself. There was a flight delay from Denver to Sacramento, and as a result, we received free television on our last leg of the [...]

Continue reading "Back Home"

Mike Sudhalter  |  June 11, 2007

For four days, I didn't do anything except eat, breathe and sleep country music. The world didn't stop for the CMA Music Festival, but for me it did. I was living in a country music bubble and loving every minute of it. But after Brad Paisley performed "Alcohol" to close out [...]

Continue reading "And that's your festival"

Mike Sudhalter  |  June 10, 2007

Before I embarked on this Nashville Trip, I asked myself a few questions. Would the Music City that I heard about in songs and read about in books over the past 11 years live up to the high expectations I had for it? The answer is a definite yes. Lower Broadway, in my opinion, is probably the [...]

Continue reading "The Opry-Highlight of the Trip"

Mike Sudhalter  |  June 10, 2007

It's not very uncommon, especially at the CMA Music Festival, to walk nearby a stage and wonder who's performing on it. That happened to me yesterday, and it turned out the artist was Connie Smith. I later saw her on the Grand Ole Opry. Check out my next entry to read about that. She [...]

Continue reading "A Country Stroll"

Mike Sudhalter  |  June 9, 2007

Stormy weather headed to Nashville early Friday afternoon, but that didn't stop the fans at the CMA Music Festival from enjoying music on several different stages. In fact, the rain provided a much-needed break from the heat and humidity. I started the day with a trip to the exhibition hall [...]

Continue reading "A little rain? No problem"

Mike Sudhalter  |  June 8, 2007

Nashville is an interesting place. One night, you're out at a honky-tonk with Doug Stone in the crowd, the next you could be running into more great country artists. I was walking on Second Street looking for a country music auction, and I asked a man for directions. He introduced himself [...]

Continue reading "A Country Whirlwind"

Mike Sudhalter  |  June 7, 2007

Have you ever visited a place and felt at home right away? That's how it's been since I arrived in Nashville on Tuesday. I walk through souvenir stores and almost all of the stuff there interests me. There's things that I'd struggle to find at home in California, and [...]

Continue reading "Visiting home"

Mike Sudhalter  |  June 6, 2007

Hello, I'm coming to you this morning from the Vanderbilt University campus in Nashville, and the incoming VU freshman are having their student orientation. Meanwhile, I'm getting a honky-tonk orientation, one that started last night at the Wildhorse Saloon for the Chely Wright [...]

Continue reading "Nashville Orientation"

Mike Sudhalter  |  June 5, 2007

Well, we're 18 hours away from an exciting week in country music. The trip will officially begin with the Brad Paisley Fan Club party at the Ryman Auditorium and a trip to the Country Music Hall of Fame on Wednesday. Paisley is expected to play songs from his upcoming album, 5th Gear. If [...]

Continue reading "Nashville Preview"

Mike Sudhalter  |  June 3, 2007

Hey, I'm listening to "Red Ragtop" by Tim McGraw on my iPod. We've all heard McGraw say that he's interested in pursuing a career in politics. This will be one song that he'll have to answer questions about, because it has to deal with the very controversial topic of [...]

Continue reading "Red Ragtop, AJ and more"

Mike Sudhalter  |  June 3, 2007

Hey, everyone. It's been a long time since my last blog - four days, but you better believe that I have a good reason. And I even have the doctor's note to prove it. I'll spare you the details, but I had a serious stomach virus and had to have IV treatment for an hour Thursday [...]

Continue reading "I'm Back"

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