Monday, April 19, 2010

Concerts Anonymous

Ok, if you know me at all, you know that I am a concert junkie. Well, some of you may say I'm addicted to concerts. So here it is, along with the list of artists I've seen, my admission. My name is Jenny, and I am addicted to concerts...

Matchbox Twenty (2) Toby Keith Jessica Andrews Maroon5 Sherrie Austin
Kenny Chesney (4) Rob Thomas Billy Ray Cyrus The Beach Boys The Wreckers
Tim McGraw (5) Gretchen Wilson Phil Vassar Avril Levine Rhet Akins
Faith Hill (3) Bon Jovi Ty Herndon Poison Emmerson Drive
Keith Urban (3) Billy Joel Leann Rhimes Warent Hannah Montana
Reba McEntire (2) The Rolling Stones Lady Antebellum Quiet Riot Kelly Clarkson
The Warren Brothers (5) Sawyer Brown Prince Bret Michaels Josh Groban
Rod Stewart (2) Lonestar Aerosmith John Michael Montgomery Anna Nalick
Collin Raye (2) Hewie Lewis & the News Brad Paisley Darius Rucker Ricochet
Gary Allen (3) Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Miranda Lambert Cher Chris LeDoux
Rascal Flatts (2) Neil Diamond Little Big Town The Eagles JoDee Messina
George Strait (2) Elton John Martina McBride Josh Turner Heidi Newfield
Terri Clark (2) Madonna Sugar Rey The Dixie Chicks Pat Green
Chely Wright (2) Lenny Kravitz Big & Rich Sammy Kershaw Brandon SIllerva
Trick Pony (2) Clay Walker Brooks & Dunn Billy Currington
Sugarland (2) Frankie Valli Garth Brooks Harry Connick, Jr

Sunday, April 18, 2010

2010 ACM Recap

Just a little recap from one of the biggest nights in country music:

Wow, The opening number was awesome! Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood opened the awards show with a great rendition of Credence Clearwater Revival's "Travelin' Band". The ladies, who were soon joined by Brad Paisley, already had the crowd on their feet when they welcomed John Fogerty (lead singing of CCR) and Charlie Daniels to the stage. What a performance!

The host for this years awards was once again the fabulous Reba McEntire. Her witty humor and beautiful wardrobe changes are only part of her charm. Her voice is timeless and she is a class act. She choked up while introducing Brooks & Dunn for the last time. During her performance of her new hit "I Keep on Loving You", she had a picture montage on the video board of several of country music's long-lasting couples: Tim and Faith, George and Norma Strait, Kris and Lisa Kristofferson, Brad and Kimberly Williams-Paisley among them.

While I am not a huge fan of the Zac Brown Band (although I do like "Toes"), I commend them for their involvement with the USO. Several pieces of footage from their tour through the Middle East and interaction with our fighting men and women were featured. One of the things I love about country music is that, no matter one's politics, there is a huge patriotic emphasis and support for our troops. Thanks ZBB for keeping our troops in high spirits and giving them a little taste of home.

After years of being snubbed by the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music, Toby Keith is usually a no-show at awards shows. Tonight, however, Toby, a nominee for Entertainer of the Year, made a rare appearance. Has he gotten over his hurt feelings of being overlooked for his outspokenness? Probably not. I believe his appearance had more to do with honoring his late friend, former NBA player and jazz musician Wayman Tisdale who passed away last year from cancer, with a song that he wrote. His performance was beautifully touching and very atypical for no holds barred, take no prisoners artist.

Um, what's the story with the boots Matthew McConaughey gave Carrie Underwood? I would have appreciated a story about that rather than what led to the birth of his daughter following his last trip to the ACMs.

Brooks & Dunn's final performance on the ACMs. Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn, who have been the top-ranking country duo for the better part of twenty years, is calling it quits. They are getting ready to begin their final tour later this month. It's the end of an era. I still remember the first interview I saw with them, Ronnie said that the ad campaign for their first tour was going to be "Not Garth Brooks and not Holly Dunn (these were two very popular country artists on the charts in the early '90's). Now their name is synonymous with Duo of the Year. During the performance, the cameras went to stars like Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Troy Gentry, Joe Nichols singing along to in the audience to "My Maria". And as a fitting farewell, they took home the award that should be named after them, Duo of the Year. During their acceptance speech, joked that they are in therapy with Bret Farve, trying to figure out how to capitalize on this... will there be a reunion in their future? Fans can only hope!

Congratulations to one of my favorite artist, Lady Antebellum on winning Song of the Year, Single of the Year, Vocal Group of the Year. They are absolutely awesome to watch and sound just as great live as recorded, which is more than I can say about some artists. And did I mention how fabulous Hilary Scott looked? How can anyone not love this trio? I can't wait to see them perform again with Tim McGraw here in Fresno next month!

Some of my favorite performances of the night: Blake Shelton w/Trace Atkins, Kenny Chesney (ok, he's always my favorite!), Laura Bell Bundy (yes, I know she was very Brittney-esque, but her voice reminds me of Dolly and I loved her in Wicked.), Toby Keith, Miranda Lambert, Lady Antebellum, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Brooks & Dunn, Reba, Keith Urban, Darius Rucker.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Jackie Robinson Day

It's been 63 years since Jackie Robinson made his major league debut, breaking the color barrier that had existed in major league baseball. To commemorate this important day in history, MLB has named today (and every April 15 for that matter) Jackie Robinson Day.

It was on this date in 1947 that Robinson donned his now famous number 42 and trotted out to second base for the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the first African American to play in the majors. For the next ten seasons Robinson would continue to man second base for the Dodgers, named 1947 Rookie of the Year and 1949 National League MVP, making a total of six All-Star appearances, and compiling Hall of Fame statistics: .311 career batting average, 1,518 total base hits, 137 home runs, 734 runs batted in (RBI), and 197 stolen bases. These accomplishments alone earned him a place in baseball's Hall of Fame. What is really incredible is the fact that he managed to put up these hall of fame numbers while have to endure slurs, racial epitaphs, separation from teammates on the road, and even death threats in segregated America.

It was on this date in 1997 that Commissioner Bud Selig retired Robinson's number 42 throughout Major League Baseball and named April 15 "Jackie Robinson Day". The only number to be retired by all 30 teams, never again to be worn by another baseball player. (Today the only player allowed to wear this cherished number is Yankees' pitcher Mariano Rivera, due to the fact that it was the number that he wore when it was retired.) Never, that is, with the exception of every April 15.

It was on this date in 2004 that Selig added another element to Jackie Robinson Day. He had received a call from Cincinnati Reds' center fielder Ken Griffey, Jr. requesting permission to wear number 42 on this day in honor of Robinson. Selig took Griffey's request one step further by suggesting that ALL major league players wear Robinson's number for "Jackie Robinson Day".

This has since become a tradition. Every April 15, every major league baseball player, whether white or black, Latin or Asian, American or otherwise, dons the number 42. For many African American players, this is especially poignant. They understand that, if not for the trials that Robinson endured, they themselves may never have had the chance to be where they are today.

As I turn on my television this evening and settle in to watch an evening baseball game, I get chills when I see every player wearing that sacred number, the banners hanging from the outfield wall, and the opening acknowledgements of the significance of this day. I am proud to be a baseball fan.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Randomness of it All

Ok, friends, I have finally given in and decided to start my very own blog. Now if you are hoping to find something profound, you are in the wrong blog. This will be a very eclectic smattering of rants, observations, thoughts and experiences, perhaps with a few concert, movie, tv show and book reviews thrown in (Aw, who am I kidding, with MANY concert reviews!). I am not out to convince or persuade anyone to think any one particular way or believe one particular thing. I just want to express myself, so enjoy!