It Begins With A Bang!!!!
May 23, 2014
Jimmy Carter in his homebase Nashville.
The hottest weekend of 2014 is underway in Baton Rouge at LSU's Tiger Stadium! One of the final George Strait shows with Reba as his opening act. The Bro Country boys headline the other two nights. Huge three-day event and the Summer of 2014 is hot and sweaty already.
A few miles up the Mississippi in Southaven, outside Memphis, another big festival weekend with Keith Urban and more Bro Country folks. Other artists are spread around the country, with the arenas done for now and the outdoor stages where the action is. Bugs in your teeth and more beer than anyone could ever imagine -- unless you run the places. They can imagine a lot of beer and the profit that goes with it.
Later in the summer when upstate New York and Wisconsin thaw out, the festivals begin all over and hopefully the mosquitoes won't be as big as birds ... and that is always possible.
Country USA in Oshkosh is one of my favorites ... well run ... clean ... and the night air is usually cool. Big Valley in Camrose, Alberta, south of Edmonton, is another classic show, but now the sheer number of ambitious, outdoor, multi-night extravaganzas are off the scale ... From a pair in Oregon to the Columbia River Gorge at Watershed and on and on. Country stars fill the summer nights at these often-remote concert villages with multi-million dollar budgets. Watershed with the mini-Grand Canyon backstage has to be the most spectacular event.
Summer at the beach in Panama City will close out the summer when Blake and Carrie, among others, wash up on shore. Huge money and big risks for some in the concert business. Most seem to be doing great and with many years experience to make the event run smooth.
As the U.S./Canada festivals get going, Europe and Asia will be in the spotlight. Taylor Swift in the Far East and Garth Brooks in Ireland. Both will get headlines and a lot of press interest.
Paul McCartney among the pop tours this Summer. He is sick in Japan; at last check canceling shows. May 28th he is supposed to be on stage in Seoul, South Korea, then onto Nashville June 25th. I hope this is just a minor thing. Publicist Perri Cohen said in a statement Thursday that McCartney received treatment at a hospital in Tokyo. Cohen adds that McCartney is expected to make a complete recovery and will be taking time to rest.
The end of Spring means the end of the talent shows. "Idol" is like an aging showgirl. More makeup but hard to deal with the facts of life. The show is getting tired. Maybe it lives forever. I would rather it be here than not here, but "The Voice" really has stolen the thunder. "The Voice" stole the big final night concept and does it well. "Idol" just seemed over-handled this year. The talent that ended in the final two was good but hard to see any of those folks retracing the paths of Carrie or Kelly. "The Voice," with all its good qualities, just can't seem to find a star. Good folks ... nice winners ... but nothing out-of-the-box on fire anyway. This year may even be less successful from a winner and hit record basis. Nice folks and technically good singers. BUT the magic ingredient just doesn't seem to be there. I hope I am very wrong on this. Nothing would make me happier than see that 38-year-old dude make a hit record!
Caleb over at "Idol" should get Gene Simmons have him join the group. Trouble is that guy thinks he can do it solo with original material. Any wagers on that? Anything is possible in Hollywood.
Love the Keith Uban energy on "Idol." He seems like he is having a great time and it shows. Those Home Shopping Network Urban guitar packages are genius ... 22,000 sold May 18th ... at around 200 bucks, a great deal ... Keith is like an apostle for getting more guitar players in the world. He is doing holy work!
And how about Dolly Parton making it #6 on the pop chart ... #2 Country with her Blue Smoke CD ... 68 years old ... 42 studio albums. The artists of today sweat and nearly die to have five or six studio CDs over nearly 10 years. She remains amazing!
Off to the beach for Memorial Day ... That means lots of time behind the wheel. Time to listen to the radio. What will I hear? Will the music mix adjust for summer ... wall-to-wall Summer Bro Country music? When the fall rolls in, will Bro Country start to throttle down and the turn gets back to more traditional? Hard to say. Will Country format fragment? Something's gotta adjust ... too much good music getting left behind in order to program party music. Life is not one big party -- despite common 2014 Country music playlist wisdom. Will substance become more stylish? To be seen. For now, pop a top and let's cruise!