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May 5

20 Country Songs About Mom

The perfect country song, according to David Allan Coe’s hilarious classic “You Never Even Called Me By My Name,” requires that you refer to trains, trucks, prison, gettin’ drunk and – of course – mama. By those standards, none of these songs are perfect, but they’re all at least very good at paying homage to Mom as we slide into Mother’s Day.

It’s probably not the definitive list – you could argue that others, such as Merle Haggard’s “Mama’s Hungry Eyes” – belong here, but it’s good enough to give you a full-bodied picture of your mom, my mom, somebody’s mom.

In no particular order, here are 20 country songs – and one bonus title – for moms everywhere:

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“Mama’s Song,” Carrie Underwood (2010) – A rolling music bed and Carrie’s own romantic storyline with hockey player Mike Fisher form the backdrop for a song that shows a mother just what a great job she’s done. She parented a daughter who picks the right kind of partner.

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“The Hand That Rocks The Cradle,” Glen Campbell with Steve Wariner (1987) – “There ought to be a hall of fame for mamas.” Well, there’s not, but there is this nifty little duet built around the psychologies of birth, breast feeding and teaching life lessons.

“Mama Don’t Forget To Pray For Me,” Diamond Rio (1991) – In many families, Mom is the one who provides the strongest moral compass. In this case, she gets a phone call from her adult son, looking for advice from his best-loved guidance counselor.

“So Much Like My Dad,” George Strait (1992) – “Mom, can we talk?” George is as good at anyone at delivering a song that’s essentially a conversation set to music. In this case, it’s a mother/son chat as he tries to figure out exactly why his own household is falling apart.

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“Mama Tried,” Merle Haggard (1968) – Perhaps the hardest part of the job for mothers: You can do everything right, and the kid insists on messing up anyway. In this mostly autobiographical account, the adult Merle takes responsibility for ignoring Flossie Haggard’s wisdom and ending up in prison by age 21. Continue Reading


Posted at 8:00 am | Permalink
Dec 31

2010 Rewind: No. 1 — Nashville Floods, And Digs Out

Dierks Bentley photo courtesy of artist.

It rained. And rained. And rained some more.

Nashville took in over 13 inches of water in a 48-hour period in May, and some areas of the region were swamped with as much as 20 inches. It was more than the rivers and streams could handle, and by May 3, the drainage system was overflowing. The stage and much of the floor seating at the Grand Ole Opry House was covered, water seeped into one room at the Country Music Hall of Fame, LP Field — the site of the CMA Music Festival — became a swamp, and an instrument storage unit was drowned, destroying guitars and equipment owned by Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Toby Keith and Vince Gill, among others.

It took a while for people to notice outside of Middle Tennessee. The focus of the major news organizations at the time was on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. So Music City rolled up its sleeves and started digging out on its own.

The Nashville flood is No. 1 on the list as GAC concludes its countdown of the top country news stories of 2010.

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Posted at 5:10 am | Permalink
Dec 30

Brad Paisley Lives Beyond His Dreams

Brad Paisley performs “This is Country Music” at “The 44th Annual CMA Awards,” live from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010, on the ABC Television Network. Photographer: John Russell / CMA

From the day Brad Paisley signed his first recording contract more than 10 years ago, he had a plan. He knew how he wanted his first album to introduce him, the kinds of talents and lyrical themes he wanted to unveil on the second and even a bit of how the third project should go.

Plans change, of course, and Brad’s planned and adjusted repeatedly through the years, finally finding himself at the top of the country music heap in 2010. He won the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year award after being nominated six straight years.

But it wasn’t the only highlight of the last 12 months for Brad. He put out his first greatest-hits album, he was the first musical guest when Jay Leno resumed his place as the host of “The Tonight Show,” and he got a personal phone call from President Barack Obama with words of encouragement for the city of Nashville in the wake of the floods in May. If that weren’t enough, Brad played for an estimated 65,000 people in boats during an AquaPalooza concert at Lake Travis in Texas. And he headlined a sold-out stadium for the first time, playing Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., with Jason Aldean, Darius Rucker, Sara Evans and Easton Corbin.

All of that planning he did in the beginning? Well, Brad’s way beyond any of his expectations.

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Posted at 7:42 am | Permalink
Dec 30

2010 Rewind: No. 2 — Taylor Swift Sells A Million

Taylor Swift photo by Joseph Anthony Baker, courtesy of Big Machine Records.

The recording industry has been in a tailspin for a decade as fans started buying digital singles instead of albums. In the middle of the business’ overall decline, Taylor Swift stepped in went on a one-woman incline, building a career in which she sells digital tracks and full albums by the millions.

So when she got ready to put out her third project, Speak Now, the pre-release debate in Los Angeles, New York and Nashville was not just about whether the album would be any good, but also about how many copies she might sell in the first week. Most guesstimates put it in the range of 750,000-800,000 units as many executives believed the days of the one-million debut were gone.

But Taylor did reach that plateau, selling 1.047 million copies the first week out. The accomplishment ranks No. 2 as GAC continues its countdown of the one dozen top stories in country music for 2010.

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Posted at 5:18 am | Permalink
Dec 29

Jo Dee Messina, Luke Bryan: Stars Inaugurate 2011

Luke Bryan photo courtesy of Capitol Nashville.

A new year is around the corner, and so are new administrations in many of the nation’s states. Not to mention a few new folks occupying seats in Congress.

That means parties, and that also means an opportunity for country stars to show off their wares. Jo Dee Messina, Luke Bryan, John Michael Montgomery and LeAnn Rimes have all been enlisted to help usher the politicians into their new positions in four different locales.

Here’s what’s on tap in 2011’s inaugural month:

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Posted at 7:34 am | Permalink
Dec 29

2010 Rewind: No. 3 — Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Country’s “It” Couple

Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton on the Black Carpet at the 44th Annual CMA Awards on Nov. 10, 2010 in Nashville. Photo by Brian Kaplan Photography.

Next year is a decade since Blake Shelton released his first album, and there were years of grinding it out in Nashville even before that moment arrived.

This year was seven years since Miranda Lambert first popped on the national radar in the TV contest “Nashville Star,” and while she was able to work as a developing and mid-level artist with her first two albums, it seemed as if she might never meld her critical acclaim with a similar level of commercial appreciation.

All of that changed over the last 12 months for Blake and Miranda, who got engaged in May, then became the first couple in a decade to win Male and Female Vocalist of the Year in the same evening at the Country Music Association Awards in November.

Blake and Miranda’s arrival as country’s “it” couple makes them the No. 3 entry as GAC counts down the one dozen biggest stories in country music from 2010.

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Posted at 5:37 am | Permalink
Dec 28

The Judds: Yes To Oprah, No To VH1

The Judds photo courtesy of Webster PR.

Their life is kind of a crazy train, so when Wynonna and Naomi Judd launch a reality series on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network in 2011, will it be a new version of “The Osbournes”?

Probably not. But they could have done that if they wanted.

“We were offered the VH1 slot after ‘The Osbournes,’” Wynonna remembers. “I was like, ‘I’d rather have a lobotomy.’”

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Posted at 8:45 am | Permalink
Dec 28

2010 Rewind: No. 4 — Lady Antebellum Blows Up Big

Lady Antebellum photo courtesy of Capitol Nashville.

When Lady Antebellum wrote “Need You Now” in 2009, the band had no idea that the song was going to vault them into the same pop world inhabited by the other lady — Lady Gaga — in 2010.

In fact, a lot of songwriters in Nashville thought “Need You Now” was a bold song — it was built around a drunken booty call, and since country radio stations are very attuned to offering family-friendly material, many Music Row writers were a bit shocked when the song caught on. And it caught on very quickly. Not only was it a multi-week No. 1 single at the end of ‘09, it also got picked up by pop stations who played it frequently throughout 2010, aiding a jump for the oddly-named trio into music’s big leagues.

Lady Antebellum’s ascent ranks at No. 4 as GAC counts down the dozen biggest stories of country music from 2010.

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Posted at 6:34 am | Permalink
Dec 27

2010 Rewind: No. 5 — Brooks & Dunn Break Up

Brooks & Dunn photo courtesy of Sony Music Nashville.

When they first came to national attention with “Brand New Man” in 1991, Brooks & Dunn were an unlikely combo — a couple of guys who moved to Nashville with dreams of becoming solo performers who were sort of glued together by a Music Row executive.

By the time Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn wound it down with the Last Rodeo Tour in 2010, they had become the most commercially successful duo in country music history — better known than Country Music Hall of Famers the Louvin Brothers with more hits than Hall of Famers the Everly Brothers.

The Brooks & Dunn breakup ranks No. 5 as GAC counts down the dozen top stories of the past year.

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Posted at 4:50 am | Permalink
Dec 27

Merle Haggard Stands Up For Willie Nelson

Merle Haggard joins several other entertainment giants in the spotlight on Tuesday’s CBS special “The Kennedy Center Honors,” an event that’s carried enormous weight ever since it was established in 1978.

Mixing celebrities and politicians, this year’s edition was shot earlier this month in Washington, D.C., with Oprah Winfrey, Paul McCartney, Broadway lyricist Jerry Herman and choreographer Bill T. Jones joining Merle among the honorees.

Merle, meanwhile, is frustrated with the treatment of another former Kennedy Center Honors recipient, Willie Nelson. Willie was arrested in El Paso over Thanksgiving weekend for possession of pot. It led to a lot of headlines, but Merle believes the laws surrounding weed are unfair, particularly in light of the way Americans abuse prescriptions.

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Posted at 3:49 am | Permalink