Friday, April 29, 2016

~ New Music Monday ~ May 2nd ~ Fans, Frans, & The Others ~

Insta Ad from several months ago.
Reposting b/c Merle & Willie that's why.

I feel like we have missed so much in our time apart. Sturgill Simpson gave us "A Sailors Guide to Earth", Blake Shelton got all spiritual with "Shadow of My Savior" (super good song, but I am pretty sure EVERYONE was surprised that he released a gospel song), Dierk's has turned out the lights with the release of "Black", Thomas Rett and Nick Jonas taped their episode of Crossroads for CMT, Kip Moore and the Slow Hearts took over the UK (I'm pretty sure they have all been knighted or something after their killer performances) and Beyoncé spilled some "Lemonade". I mean.....folks have been busy and that's just the beginning. It was a wonderful two weeks away doing some road tripping, catching up with a few of my beautiful, generous, kind friends that are more like my family, squeezing some babies, celebrating a wedding, having a few appointments/meetings and just regrouping a little bit. I learned several things in my time away and one was to ALWAYS have my blog/idea notebook with me. You would think I would already know that, but my mindset when packing was do not take "work" with you so you can actually turn off your brain and rest some. Well, notebook or no notebook my brain never rests, or so it would seem. I have all sorts of tunes I wanna share with you. Some I am sure that by the time I post you may have already heard and others maybe not. Before I get into the actual music of #NewMusicMonday I wanted to share some thoughts that have been swirling around in my mind for quite a while now. Let me start with the Webster's Dictionary definition of the word "Fanatic", the word from which we get the word "fan".

"Fan" derived from the word "Fanatic" meaning: marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion <they're fanatic about politics - per Webster's Dictionary Online

Fandom. Fanatics. Fans. Frans (the folks that meet each other and become real life friends due to a mutual admiration, fascination, or obsession for something/someone). 'Frans' is the first set of 'fans' that I want to touch on. One of my besties is a huge fan of a television show. She is such a fan that she went on a cruise themed for this t.v. show. A cruise that ALL its passengers bought tickets for just because it was themed for this t.v. show. She had a wonderful time. Met some of the actors of the show, got to sit in on Q & A's with the shows stars, made new friends who are also faithful "watchers" (see what I did there?!), and the experience only grew her love and loyalty to the program. Fans exists in all genres of art. They even exist in politics. Really just about anybody who is in the public eye is capable of having a "fan base" or groupies.

With the addition of 'New Music Monday' to 'The Faith Journals' and my health inflicted down time I feel as though I have become a tried and true fan of some of my favorite music artists. More so than ever before. Perhaps I feel that way because of social media and the somewhat immediate access one can have to a artist, their work and other fans. The ability to interact fan-to-fan about the music, the writing, the performances, etc. has given artists the opportunity to make a virtual environment that will grow their fan base with deep roots.  I am not the kind of fan that you will find writing about an artists tooshie or arms or if someone looked fat in their dress or whatever. Don't get me wrong, I love me some fashion and will discuss a red carpet look all the live long day, but believe it or not, that is the least of my interests when it comes to music. Imagine that, the way an artist LOOKS is the least of my interest when LISTENING to their music. Makes sense to me, but I am also use to being the only one who thinks like I do. So, if you disagree or roll differently in your criticisms, "that's alright with me.". <---If you don't know what song this is from......we can't be friends. It's like you don't know me at all.

Pic from KipDieHardFans Fan Ran Instagram
(rhyming unintentional, but I love it when it works out)
Kip wrote an excuse for a young
fans to miss school b/c they attended a late performance.

In becoming more active on social media via artists pages as well as fan run pages my eyes have been opened to so many things. Fandom has hit some new lows, but also some new highs. Some of the highs of fandom would be, "Frans". Finding someone who is equally obsessed with whatever you are obsessed with and bonding over it. Bonding so much that your actual life apart from the obsession becomes topics of discussion. Traveling together to support the artists, writer, actor, t.v. show, movie, etc. Staying up late together to get a CD or tickets as soon as they're available. Sharing the heart break of tickets that are too frakin' expensive for real people to purchase them and devising a way to somehow sneak in or catch the show from somewhere inside the venues rafters. I'm not saying I've ever done that, I'm just saying ya know, some people might. The list goes on and on. I am impressed and even moved by the artists that are at the center of this kind of fandom. These artists in my opinion tend to be the personable kind. The "just like us" type of folk. The if I didn't know better I would never know you are "famous", I.E. Willie Nelson. I just read an article, because Willie's birthday was this weekend, about how Willie carries himself with fans. It said that one sure fire way to make Willie angry was to interrupt a conversation he is having with a fan. He decides when he doesn't have time to talk. Not his team. It is this kind of artist that cultivates the 'Fran'. It is a one big happy family kind of vibe.  The kind of fans produced from that kind of nurturing isn't just about who the artist "is",  how they look or how popular their music is at the moment. They are about the art and the craft of the music, how the artists music makes you feel, how their concert allows you a two hour break from real life and with your favorite people none the less. You see these fans/frans not only posting their concert road trip shenanigans, but also about how the lyrics, performance, etc. has moved them emotionally, personally, etc. ya know?! In a real life way.

Maren Morris performs "My Church" fr "Hero"
on GMA April 2016
I love 'Frans'!!! I have been so touched at seeing how some of them keep up with one another even if they only see each other once a year or whenever at an annual show. I love the fan run sites that interact with the 'frans' regularly. They answer questions or pursue information that the average fan isn't able too. It is a real community and isn't that what most folks are looking for? A place to fit in?! A place where others feel passionately about the same things? Now, not all fan sites are equal so, I would warn you and encourage you to be aware, research through past posts, etc. to be sure you are dealing with a legit person doing legit fan "work" for an artist. Some folks create "fan" pages just to be tools and I'll get to them later. Back to the 'frans', I like to think that this week I made a few virtual 'frans' through my following of Kip Moore and The Slow Hearts on their UK leg of the Wild Ones tour as well as from following Maren Morris' performance on GMA and appearances in NYC, all via social media. Once again, the FOMO was real, but thanks to the wonderful, yet sometimes ridiculous, invention of the internet I had the opportunity to feel like I wasn't missing out so much. Some fans live streamed from the concerts, some posted you tube videos from the now "epic" post show, alley way, acoustic performances through the streets of Dublin by Kip, pictures of course and concert reviews by online magazines, UK Radio, etc. Maren did a live stream Q & A from Facebook head quarters that was amazing and really gave the fans a glance into her personality. She also posted her performance from GMA to her fb later that day. I have to say, it was beautiful. In that kind of setting, that early in the morning with that kind of time limit a lot of artists get nervous and it shows with overly pitchy or flat vocals. Maren was on point from the first note. It was an amazing performance!!! You need to check it out if you haven't seen it yet, click the above link to watch.

 I had once suffered from a commenting phobia. IDK that's a real thing, but I vote we can say that it is. I'll explain my fear with my next type of 'fan'. Anyway, I HAD to overcome my commenting fears or suffer forever from FOMO, and now that I have concurred that fear, I feel like I've met a few really cool 'frans'. We now follow one another on insta and have shared some back and forth on our love for the out of this world music of The Slow Hearts and my jealousy of their getting to experience this UK tour live. This is just a example of one place 'frans' exist. A lot of artists have fan run social media pages like Miranda, Kip, Dierks, Cam, etc. where fans share their stories, excitement, and just chat back and forth about music in general. It is really cool to see, but then.....BUT THEN...........
There is this other kind of "fan". They aren't a real fan and they are the kind of person that gives fandom a horrible name. These are the folks that make it difficult for true fans to feel that they can communicate with one another, artists, etc. with out being tagged as "crazy" or a "troll" themselves. These "trolls" disguise themselves as a fan, and truth be told they are jealous haters. I get that Wiki is a some what debatable source, but I think they hit this one on the head.

"In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[2] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion,[3] often for their own amusement." - Wikipedia

Pic fr Wikipedia
I have seen the "troll" in its virtual environment make fake accounts of people who have access to an artist. They make fake accounts of just random people who have zero association with an artist and post completely inappropriate comments on all variety of social media. They attack true fans by going through their social media postings, reposting or retweeting them, taking their pics and making mean comments, they have even gone as far as to take a fans page, use their pics and create a fake fan accounts in attempts to confuse and mislead. I REPEAT, it is these folks that give fandom a bad name. It is these folks that kept me and I am CONFIDENT keep others from feeling like they can interact via social media with an artist or other fans. It took me contacting a fan run social media page about one of these fake accounts and learning that it is something they've been dealing with for awhile for me to feel comfortable posting comments, liking, etc. on artists and other fans pages. I found myself telling that fan to not let these haters get them down or keep them from doing what they love in support of an artist they respect. In typing it all out I felt like I may have needed to read it just as much as they might have. I am NOT gonna let a hater troll keep me from sharing my love of music, movies, art, etc. with other fans. I am NOT gonna let a hater troll keep me from supporting or encouraging artists whose work I believe in. I am NOT gonna let a hater troll bully, harass, or stalk a fellow fan if I can at all help it.

It is unrealistic to virtually exterminate all the trolls. But if you spend any amount of time online you can be wise in learning "troll" vocabulary and habits so that you do not fall prey to their attempts at starting a virtual war. True fans are about the tunes. True fans are NOT competitive with one another. True fans are about the artist. True fans are not exclusive. True fans support ANYTHING that promotes the artist, music, acting, writing, etc. in a positive way. True fans do NOT hate on one another. True fans do NOT spread hate or gossip about an artist, the people they surround themselves with or their work. Please note that in the above definition by Webster's of "fan" it includes the words "uncritical devotion". UNCRITICAL. While this is just some blog post from some blog and some fan and it probably will not reach the people it needs to (not that trolls are logical or reasonable to begin with), I feel it is my responsibility as a true fan to share these thoughts of mine. It is my responsibility as on online presence to possibly encourage other fans who have similar fears as I did when it comes to virtual communication and support of an artist. It is my responsibility as, ya know.....a human, to say bullying in any of its forms, virtual or otherwise, is NOT acceptable. It is my responsibility to let the trolls know that if they continue to post hateful, untruthful, slanderous comments on my social media they will ALWAYS be deleted, reported (to the social media admin as well as to the artist) and blocked ASAP. My blog and my other social media pages are non-hater zones. That is in general much less when I am posting about an artist, music, book or movie. Don't get it twisted, we can disagree on preferences, but you can not spew slander or assassinate someone's character via my pages.
Screen Grab fr
Taylor Swifts Insta
Lastly, in this longer than I planned post to fans and frans, I wanna encourage you and remind you that you have power. When a fan calls into a radio station to make a request or vote on a countdown it makes a difference for that artist. When a fran votes online for video countdowns, it makes a difference, not just for the artist, but for the director, co-stars, etc. Some songs do not get off the ground until people see the video. You never know what it is that is gonna get and keep a listener/video watchers attention. The above is a screen grab from Taylor Swifts instagram. Now, it is months old, but I was waiting for the proper post to share it. Y'all know it took me a second to get on the TayTay Train, but I am on it and may be an official conductor at this point. And honestly, hand over heart, girl scouts honor, right after I "followed" Tay on Insta she hit her 60 mil mark and sent out this thank you insta. I am not saying I alone am the follow that sent the counter to 60 mil, but I sure did help. You, little ol' you, have POWER!!!! Be a fan that not only listens to the music, but participates in it by voting, sharing, following, etc. You never know when your presence may be the very presence to get a song, band, artist, etc. to their next goal.
With that in mind, keep calling in, snail mailing, tweeting, texting, instagramming, and fb-ing your radio and video requests to local stations and online. Follow the hosts of the countdowns on social media, send a thank you tweet or fb post to the stations that play your requests, post a insta shout out of your car radio to the station that randomly, with out request, played your favorite tune. I have programed local radio stations into my cell so that when I am in line somewhere or stuck in traffic or am riding shot gun I can call in a request. I follow my local radio stations and the national video channels on social media so that I don't miss out on special events they host. I.E. Cam at WIVK fund raiser a few months back, it was fb live streamed and I didn't have to miss a minute just because I was sick. Really and truly social media communication can be a wonderful thing. It doesn't have to be ridiculous or annoying. It's all up to us, the users, the communicators, the posters, the tweeters....ahahaha tweeters, anyway, it's up to you!!!

GAC Top 20 Countdown w Nan Kelley - Vote HERE

For past #NewMusicMonday posts or other Faith Journal Posts feel free to scroll through the archive or type a key word into the blog pages search board. Also, feel free to PM me with any questions you may have or to share an artist you think the world needs to hear about. Follow me on Instagram @StacieTennessee for updates, random FYI's, sale alerts and just general fun.

~ Girl Defined ~ Book Launch ~ Coming Soon ~

Girl Defined Book Trailer
I hope that you all are having a beautiful day. #NewMusicMonday & other #RegularlyScheduled posts at #TheFaithJournals will return this coming Monday, May 2nd. However, I am very excited and couldn't wait to announce that myself along with 'The Faith Journals' will be apart of the 'Girl Defined' launch team for their FIRST BOOK!!!!! I have so been looking forward to announcing this that it has been difficult to focus on much else. I have been on the road for the last week, but as I settle back into my version of "normal" I have begun posting how/when/where you can get your copy of the 'Girl Defined' book. As apart of the launch team I will be reading 'Girl Defined - Gods Design for Beauty, Femininity, and Identity' and sharing my thoughts, insights, feelings, etc. with you as I go along.
I received my 'Girl Defined' book several days ago & the authors sent along with it a sweet hand written note and flower seeds. It is thoughtful, kind, & personal touches like these little ones that only amp up my excitement for promoting this book, ministry and its authors. I came across Girl Defined (The Baird sisters) through instagram. I follow several ministry oriented feeds and you know how it goes. You click one link and then before you know it you are five links in. I also follow 'Girl Defined' little sister 'Hello Modesty'. 'Hello Modesty' is a feed dedicated to female fashion, hair styling, make-up, etc. all while trying to keep with the idea and conviction of modesty. I must say I was immediately impressed with both ministries the further I looked into them. I keep thinking, where was this when I was in full time women's ministry???!!! Girl Defined the Blog has only existed for two years so, it comforts me to know that it wasn't even out there back then. Helps me feel like I wasn't missing something. LOL!!! With that said, having experienced women's ministry on the front line and having many friends that are 1. still in ministry or are 2. raising females, I now feel it is my responsibility as a sister in Christ to pass along such amazing and biblically based finds. They say it takes a tribe and I wanna do my part. You know, aside from feeding the children loads of candy and sending them back to their parents. LOL!!! #AuntStacie
As I said before, I will be letting you know how/when/where you can 1. Order/Purchase a copy of #GirlDefined. 2. Be posting links for free downloadables from @girldefined (can be found on instagram, fb & twitter by this handle) and much more!!! This week along with the announcement of #TheFaithJournals joining in on the launch we wanna share how/where/when you can make a #PREorder. By following this link Girl Defined PreOrder, when Pre-ordering 'Girl Defined' by May 17th you will get several amazing FREE bonuses!

Free Bonus' such as......
12 Custom Designed Bible Verse Memory Cards
Exclusive Girl Defined Coloring Book
Guaranteed Admission to the LIVE Summer Webinar Study
Inspiring Computer Background Wallpaper
Beautiful Phone Wallpaper
4 Part Quick Start Audio Training Guide & Access to Private Insider Videos
These pre-order bonuses are only available until May 17th!!!! I am so very excited to read this book and be apart of this team. In the next few days I'll be sharing more about the Summer webinar Bible Study put together by 'Girl Defined'. ~ Stay Tuned ~ More to Come ~ Until then, here is a word on the Summer webinar from Kristen and Bethany, the authors of 'Girl Defined'.
Authors of 'Girl Defined'
Summer Webinar Invitation

Friday, April 15, 2016

#NewMusicMonday ~ April 18 & 25th ~ Spring Break ~

It has been a crazy week or so and there are a few exciting possibilities up ahead. In preparation and with a desire to remain focused New Music Monday & The Faith Journals will be taking a two week "Spring break". We will return May 2nd with more tunes, reviews, & clever thoughts. Coincidently we return the same day Dierks Bentleys' new album #Black drops. Truthfully I am so nervous about it I needed time to prepare, especially after hearing his newest clip this morning from the tune #WhatTheHellDidISay!!!! But fo' reals tho....

Kip Moore - "Running for You"
fr "Wild Ones"
.....before we hit the chill mode I want to alert you to several things. Kip Moore and The Slow Hearts are  back up from #6 to #3 on GAC TVs Top 20 Country Countdown with Nan Kelly!!! I think that we can all agree that "Running For You" by Kip Moore and directed by Life in Rewinddeserves to see #1 and I really think y'all can help get it there!!! Kip has such a fiercely loyal and charismatic group of fans that it is not a far reach to believe that we can move this tune/vid three spots in one week.  Remember you can vote up to 10x's a day by following this link to GAC VOTING PAGE. Up to 10 VOTES A DAY on the GAC countdown!!!!! It truly only takes a few seconds and each set of votes makes a difference. Lets see about getting "Running for You" to #1!!!

Secondly, I wanna remind you that Sturgill Simpson released his newest album, "A Sailors Guide to Earth", today. You can click on THIS LINK to read last weeks #NewMusicMonday which highlighted Simpson's cover of "In Bloom", originally by Nirvana. You can also CLICK HERE to get to the NPR link that offers a sample listen of "A Sailors Guide....". Sturgill is someone that seems to be totally unimpressed and unchanged by what is trendy, popular, and radio friendly. I mean that in the VERY BEST way. He has old school vocals and a awesome creative sound instrumentally. "In Bloom" with a horn section is kinda amazing. A brass addition in this arrangement causes me to question why no one thought of this before?! Below I'll post Nirvana's version of "In Bloom" just to remind you of what its original sound was, as well as Simpsons version. Both are epic and ipod worthy. Head over to iTunes, amazon, etc. and download your copy now. It was also announced today that Sturgill Simpson will be performing at The Ryman Auditorium in October. Tickets go on sale the 22nd of this month. He along with his band will be performing next week on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, check your local listings.

Lastly, on the #NewMusicMonday topic, both Brandy Clark and Dierks Bentley have albums heading our way. Both albums can be pre-ordered by heading to their websites (click on their highlighted name above) or iTunes and in pre-ordering you will receive several immediate downloads from the albums.

Now, while we take a moment to chill and dream, we hope you keep jammin' to sweet tunes, rockin' out at killer shows, and supporting great artists/music. Keep makin' those requests to radio AND gettin' in those votes for video!!!!! Just takes a sec. Here is the link to CMT Hot 20 Voting Page so that you can vote "Running for You" up that countdown as well. CMT has no voting limit per day so, if you have time to vote more than once, twice or ten times, then please do!!!! You can google your local radio to find links to their social media pages, request hotlines and voting hotlines. I follow all available local radio social media as well as have their numbers saved in my celly so that I can request a variety of ways and at a variety of times. Traffic Jam = Phone Call. Standing in line at grocery = mobile FB request. So on and so forth. Find me on Instagram and follow @StacieTennessee for #NewMusicMonday and #TheFaithJournals updates and generally entertaining, comical or FYI postings.

Lastly, you are invited to take this "Spring break" to catch up on past New Music Monday posts by typing "New Music Monday" into the blog search bar top left and a list of past posts will be pulled up for you to check out. Happy Reading and Happy Listening Y'all!!! See you May 2nd.

Nirvana - "In Bloom"
fr "Nirvana"
Sturgill Simpson - "In Bloom"
fr "A Sailors Guide to Earth"

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

~ Insta Blog ~ "Let God Work" ~

fr Toby Macs' Insta

In the midst of a battle it is sometimes impossible to fathom the why. I have found myself, as of late, in a constant state of inquisitiveness. Why? How? Why? When? Why? Where? Why? Sensing a pattern?! I KNOW that for at least the last seven days, probably longer had I made better mental note of it, but for at LEAST the last seven days ALL of my statements to God have begun with "why?". "Why is this happening? Why now? Why here? Why does no one in a position of aid seem to feel as seriously as I do? Why am I going through this? Why is pain the only avenue in which You can teach me whatever it is You're trying to teach me? Why one more thing? One person can only carry so many things.". So, that last one didn't begin with "why", but you catch my drift. I feel as though the more answers I receive from this world the more questions I have for my Savior. Not one drop of it makes sense to me right now. Not. One. Drop. And I'll be honest in saying it is dragging me further down than I've ever been and in EVERY. SINGLE. WAY. God is known for taking His time while teaching a life lesson, making a point or leaving a mark - Joeseph, David, Rachel, Mary, His own Son!!!!! The list is as endless as my "whys". But, But! But. I hold on. If even by the tiniest of threads, I hold on. Because I believe that the God I ask my "why" to is a God of purpose. Because I believe the God that has me waiting has further vision for and of my life than I do. Because I believe the God I serve desires and plans only the best for His children. I may not "feel" it now or have ANY of the answers I think I need, but He is still in control and He still has the answers. I'll get them in time, I suppose. I hope. Hope. Hang on. If even by the tiniest of threads or the smallest glimpses of light. Hope. Hold on. Just wanted to share a little real life with ya today. With all that said......

......I share my journey because I do not want one piece of me to feel as though any piece of me was wasted. I also strongly believe that sharing in our highs and lows doesn't just minister to our hearts and situations, but to others as well. Isolation is the devils go-to for so many of us. Not sharing would only please the enemy. It is because of those two beliefs in particular that I am so grateful for others who also share their walk and the things they are currently gleaning from it and from their relationship with Him. Today I want to share a video from  Autumn Miles founder of The Blush Network and a ol' LU friend. I came across Autumn's post for today shortly after I posted the above paragraph to intstagram. It was very much something I needed to hear today. I've been hearing a lot of other peoples thoughts, suggestions and discouragement and I needed this reminder that when you are a path ordained by God, people are going to have some discouraging things to say. It is a attack from the enemy. He wants nothing more than to get you off track. Anyway, I needed this and I thought one of you might too! "Let God work", so powerful!!!!!

Autumn Miles founder of The Blush Network


Sunday, April 10, 2016

~ New Music Monday ~ New Kids on the Block.....Sorda ~ April 12th ~

So, this weekend both Loretta Lynn and Dierks Bentley were a hop, skip, and a jump away and I could not attend, per usual. Needless to say, I am curled into the fetal, rocking back and forth while switching between singing "Coal Miners Daughter", "You Ain't Woman Enough", and the Maren Morris part of "I'll Be the Moon". I rarely suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out), but a good concert/performance will do it to me every time.

I feel you will all be glad to know that I have finally started to simmer after my post ACM stew and am slowly getting over it. LOL!!! I mean, we'll see. I'll be curious to see what goes down in 2017. Anyway, onto more important and present things, like new music!!!!! None of these artists are what would be considered brand spakin' new, but none of them have had the success just yet that would make them a house hold name. I've had the first two #NewMusicMonday shares in notebook for several weeks, but because of the ACM's, etc. have had to put them off until now. I suppose I have a certain rules of order in my mind when it comes to #NewMusicMonday. I appreciate you hanging with it. These first two fellas' may be new names/faces to you. Neither have had a ton, if any, popularity with radio. One of them I am unsure ever will. Assuming that he sticks to his current style and vibe. I am actually saying that with a great deal of respect and not hate. It is NOT because his music isn't wonderful, but because radio is trendy. They do not have the concern of music being actual good music or meaning something. They are simply concerned with numbers. I suppose that makes sense, but it also makes me violent mad at the same time. I do NOT understand why some tunes get little to no air time, but I digress.

Josh Kelley - "It's Your Move"
fr upcoming album
"New Lane Road"

First this week I wanna share Josh Kelleys' newest song, "It's Your Move", from his upcoming album "New Lane Road". You may recognize the lead female in this video as Kelley's wife, Katherine Heigle formerly from Grey's Anatomy. Not only is she the female lead in his newest video, but she directed it too. I think she did a beautiful job in both roles. I believe that I saw the video before I heard the music it was so gorgeous, but once I heard the lyrics, really heard them, I was hooked. I think this is a beautiful offering for the first release off of this album. Give it a watch and listen and share your thoughts.

Second on this #NewMusicMonday is an artist that I doubt you have heard of yet, Sturgill Simpson. I wanna say that my first exposure to him was in an article posted on Facebook by a music/magazine-esq page. They wrote enough to get me curious and then Simpson went and covered Nirvana's, "In Bloom" and I just HAD to check out even more of his tunes. Sturgill. Sturgill? Sturgill! old school vocals and refreshing beauty to my ears. I will be honest and say at first listen, literally the very first few notes, I was all, "uhhhhh IIIIIIIIIIIIII donnnn't knnnnooowwww". However, I kept listening and then I needed to listen again and again. The cover of "In Bloom" is such a perfectly opposite end of the Nirvana spectrum that I don't know how you can't love it and still feel like you are listening to and showing respect to Kurt Cobaine and his genius. There were a lot of "and"s in that sentence, but I do feel like a little kid showing their friends a new discovery they made. So, appropriate it is. Great, now I sound like Yoda. ANYWAY, I think he (Kurt) would've given his hole hearted approval. "Hole" pun, unintended. If you wanna listen to some of the tunes off of a "Sailors Guide...", Simpsons current album, NPR has a link you can access HERE to give it all a listen. Tell me you don't become a addict as well. I dare you. Simpson has a hurt in his voice that translates so well through all his lyrics. It's so reminiscent. I truly can't wait to listen to even more of his tunes and learn more about him as an artist. On my McKays list he goes!!!!

Sturgill Simpson - "In Bloom"
fr "A Sailors Guide to the Earth"
Maren Morris - "Drunk Girls Don't Cry"
fr current EP Self Titled and
upcoming Album "Hero"
Yes, I have shared Maren Morris with you via #NewMusicMonday Past Post , but she qualifies for this weeks "New Kids" theme so, I will take the opportunity to share yet another fab Morris tune with you. But first, can I just say how grateful I am to music magazines and other outlets who Periscope, Facebook Live, and Insta Vid shows for those of us that can't make it out to the shows?! This weekend while I was suffering from Loretta and Dierks FOMO I was also aching because of the broke down beauty that is Tin Pan South, a writer/performer series of shows that happen in Nashville. It is a artist/writer with their acoustic and fellow writers/singers telling stories of how they met, first time seeing them perform, and the stories behind the songs and relationships that have been built through it all. It's kinda magical. This weekend not all the venues allowed live streaming, but LUCKILY last night The Listening Room allowed media outlets to live stream and I was able to watch Maren Morris and Kacey Musgrave perform several of their tunes. I was giddy as a gal can be!!!!! This music lover does not take for granted the wonder and gift that live stream is. I may be making that sound like a bigger deal than it is to you, but to me.....its a BIG OL' DEAL!!!!!!
Now, onto Maren, this tune is from her current and self titled EP. It will also be on her upcoming full album, titled "Hero". There will be several songs added to it that are obviously not on the EP. One of which she performed last night called, "Rich". I SO wish that I could find a recording to share with you, but soon enough, soon enough. It's a great, truthful, fun tune that I personally related too. You'll see. For now, listen to this amazing tune, "Drunk Girls Don't Cry", it is EPICCCCCCCCCCC!!!!!!! or maybe I just love it that much ??!!! I dunno. You decide.
Lastly, I share RaeLynn. Yes, RaeLynn. I have shared the official vid for this tune before, but again, she fits the "New Kids" theme and is someone I felt should've played even the tiniest role in the Dolly tribute at last weeks ACMs. RaeLynn was introduced to us by NBCs The Voice by becoming a member of Team Blake. She didn't win, but she did earn her way into Shelton's camp and has done BGVs for he and Miranda. This past fall she toured with Maren Morris, Clare Dunn, Ashley Monroe and several other up and coming females on Miranda Lamberts, "Roadside Bars and Pink Guitars" tour. It was a all girl set of dates and yet another show I suffered FOMO over. #StoryOfMyLife!!! I have been following RaeLynn on social media as well as listening to her songs on youtube for about a year now and I am a bit smitten with her. I imagine it is not easy to be a young girl in Nashville and of course social media is what you make it, but I am prepared to say I am impressed with her so far. I have high hopes for her as an artist, writer and just flat out personality in the country community. Not all artist have personality that is as outgoing and personable as RaeLynns so, I add it to her list of talents and gifts. Now y'all know I love me some behind the music so, I thought this youtube clip of the story behind "For a Boy" along with a performance was perfect for sharing on this "New Kids on the Block" themed #NewMusicMonday.

RaeLynn - "For a Boy"
I hate to be continually repeating myself, but if ever there were a time I think #NewKidOnTheBlock #NewMusicMonday is a good one. DON'T FORGET to be calling in, texting, tweeting, facebook-ing, instagram-ing, e-mailing and snail mailing in your requests to your local radio. IT DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!!!!!! As does your online votes for country video stations. It only takes a moment and leaves a lasting impression for a song/artist/band. So, as soon as you finish reading this....VOTE AND REQUEST!!!!!!!!!!!!
Happy Listening and Happy Voting!!!! If anyone needs me I'll be listening to NPRs preview of Sturgill's album. See ya next #NewMusicMonday !!!!!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

~ New Music Monday ~ On Thursday ~ ACM Recap 2016 ~

I have had a lot to say on my social media pages concerning the 2016 ACM's. So, for those of you that follow those I apologize if anything is repetitious. While most of my social media dialog has been about the things I didn't care for I want to start this post out with what I did. Out of 23 performances I believe that my top three will be no surprise to you. First, I feel that Queen Ran brought her break up A game to this years ACMs'. Her fashion, hair and make up were on point and the media wanted to focus on this being her first red carpet appearance with new bf Anderson East, but I can't stop replaying her performance with Keith Urban and Billy Gibbons from ZZTop. I mean, when Keith and Gibbons are the lead guitarists in your band how exactly can you not have a phenomenal performance ?!!! I apologize in advance, but I cannot for the life of me find a better quality video. My hope is that eventually the ACMs will post some of the performances themselves. Until then, this will have to do. Miranda threw down in this performance. I don't know who was on BGV (back ground vocals), but they were perfectly on point with Miranda's performance that night. I feel that those bgvs' along with what Miranda was giving us made the performance. I also think that being able to have Keith Urban and Billy Gibbons on either side of you, must give you a confidence that is hard to contain. I vote this as my #1 performance of the night. As expected Queen Ran rocked and owned that stage. She also won Best Female making it a pretty winning evening for Ms. Lambert.

Miranda Lambert ft. Keith Urban & Billy Gibbons
"Tush" fr 2016 ACMs

Chris Stapleton "Nobody to Blame"
fr "Traveller"
My second place goes to Chris Stapleton. Again, I can't find a good video of his performance, but I thought the audio of another song might due until I can. Stapleton walked away from the ACM's with Best New Male, Best Male, Best Album, Song of the Year, two of these he also received producer credit so, in total he left with SIX trophy's. He is only the third person in  the 51 year ACM history to do this. Garth Brooks and Faith Hill being the others. I think that is quality company to be in. Chris and his wife Morgan had the honor of closing the show with their performance and it was a splendid way to close. Especially when I consider some of the in between. After all the acclaim that Chris and Traveller have received this year I fear the sophomore slump. Not because I expect Chris to put out anything but quality tunes, but because the industry can be fickle like that. In my dream world this would only be the beginning for the Stapletons and that we will have their amazing tunes for many, many, many years to come. I mean, Miranda just got her SEVENTH Best Female trophy from the ACMs' so it is possible to stay on top and by pass those industry politics/drama/favoritism. 

My third place performance goes to Little Big Town with Trombone Shorty on brass for "Stay All Night" off of "Pain Killer". Some on social media gave hate to this performance because another band in a past performance used him at an award show before. In this instance I do not see a problem with Shorty occasionally showing up to aid in a bands already established awesomeness. His is a pure instrumentalist and brass isn't a normal addition to country tunes, but in this performance it worked and it added to their performance. I thought that Jimmys' vocals for this performance were so perfect it is almost as if they'd been recorded and replayed, but they weren't. Little Big Town received Group of the Year, Vocal Event of the Year with Miranda Lambert for "Smokin' and Drinkin' which was handed out pre-show and is one of my FAVORITE songs off of "Platinum", Lamberts most recent album. It is a song that instantly takes me back to high school and post college memories. It's amazing.

Miranda Lambert w Little Big Town
"Smokin' and Drinkin'" fr "Platinum"
You can check my pre-show predictions by checking out the #NewMusicMonday post from two weeks ago HERE . Out of 14 categories, 8 handed out at the actual show, 6 handed out pre-show, 5 of my forecasts were accurate. So, basically, when I say it's gonna rain, go get a umbrella.

Now, onto the things that made me a bit ranty and ravey. The following paragraphs are apart of my social media ranting post ACM. I do not "WANT" to be a hater. I do not "WANT" to be the award show Debbie Downer, but I cannot keep certain things to myself. Especially things that I feel are simply politics, manipulations or flat out bad judgment. This years ACMs came in rather low on the TV ratings scale. Now, keep in mind that The Walking Dead's season finale as well as the iheartradio awards both aired simultaneously with this years ACMs. So, that alone was solid enough to keep the "normal" viewers flipping between channels or not watching at all. The iheartradio awards aired once at 8pm live and again at 11pm pre-recorded. So, there was a opportunity for the viewers of that program to watch both the ACM and iheart awards. But I truly think that the attempts to draw a younger or more hip demographic backfired and only annoyed its true viewers. I believe those things for sure had a large part to play in the ratings, but I also believe that 1. Handing out highly anticipated awards such as Best New Female, Male, Group/Duo, Best Overall Duo, etc. pre-show to make room for more performances was what I suppose a solid idea on the table, didn't work in real life. Fans want to see the artist they have been supporting win their much deserved awards. The fans want to see their reaction in real time and hear their thank you speech. To the fans, the actual awards are just as important as the performances. It takes a equal amount of both to make the show in my opinion.

Kelsea Ballerini ft Nick Jonas
"Love Me Like You Mean It"
"Peter Pan" fr "The First Time

Brad Paisley performed at the ‪#‎i‬Radio awards and Nick Jonas performed at the ‪#‎ACMs‬. I feel like perhaps their invites got mixed up in the mail or something. While I am all about country artists representing in all genre awards/concerts/festivals, I feel it does not work the other way around. Just because Justin Timberlake nailed it at the ‪#‎CMAs‬ with Stapleton doesn't mean that is the new "it" formula. Jonas' presence simply as another member of the band did not help ratings as I am confident was the purpose of his invitation. Jonas also had technical difficulties in his solo. The later in the show performers didn't seem to have the same problems sound wise. Now, to give a benefit of the doubt the entire first half of the ACMs did seem to have sound problems. Most of the beginning performances sounded either extremely flat or extremely sharp. This can be chalked up to nerves, because I mean, you are performing in a room full of your peers, competition, and idols. It would be so very nerve racking all by itself. Then you have the added knowledge that so many million will be watching live at home and later in rerun/ondemand/DVR. It's enough to make a person pull out their in ears (technology used by artists performing live to better and more properly hear the band as well as themselves) and run panicked from the stage. But still, Dear ACMs - Lets make note. Your audience. Your true audience, not your gimmick flip between commercials audience, would have rather seen Paisley in that performance with Ballerini than Jonas. I'm just annoyed by what feels like obvious poor choices and attempts to draw a demographic that has no real interest in country music and won't be tricked into it by Nick Jonas accompanying a performance one night out of 365. Maybe I'm just speaking for me, but anyway, that's my thoughts. Just a little something to put in the notes.

I hope that what was learned is that the audience cares about the awards just as much as the performances and getting to see their fave artist win and accept is a big deal to the audience.  And to no ones surprise, I must ask, where the H was Kip Moore??!!! Dude is selling out shows consistently here and abroad, has a solid audience outside the MGM at the same time the show is airing, that are there for him specifically at #PartyForACause and still he has no real stage time at the show????!!!! I am baffled. Can adding him be put in the notes for next year??!!! Cause I am confident that shortly you will be kicking yourself for not having invited him sooner. Just a #DieHards and all around music lovers opinion. I also wonder where The Cadillac Three, Brantley Gilbert, Brandy Clark, Jennifer Nettles, Justin Moore, RaeLynn, Brothers Osbourn, Clare Dunn, etc. were at ? Kacey Musgraves introduced Katy Perry for the Dolly Parton tribute, but was not a performer herself. I know that Musgraves has performed with Loretta Lynn at a past awards show so, having her perform with Dolly may have been repetitious, but I think that brining in Katy Perry was also another tactic at drawing viewers away from the iheartradio awards and it didn't work. I love me some Katy Perry do not get me wrong. Her CrossRoads performance with Kacey is one of my FAVORITE EVER, but.....BUT, I didn't feel she fit for this tribute. I would have much rather seen either some current Women in Country or a up and coming Woman in Country present this award and get that performance slot. There are so many to have chosen from and yet they sat in the non televised section of the theatre watching like everyone else.

Brandy Clark "Stripes"
Should've been a performer.

I'm not going into the performances I would've rather not seen, weren't as expected or were exactly what we expected, and met our expectations.....sadly and I won't mention the winners that I disagree with. All that to say, I think I was more disappointed that anything in this years ACMs. I hope that some notes are taken and some changes made before the 2017 show. I LOVE award shows. I LOVE country music. So, I HATE feeling negative about either. But, I think as a fan and music lover it is my right to share what did and didn't work for me. I mean, with out the fans/viewers who exactly would watch the show anyway ?! Isn't at least half of it for the fans ?! Just wondering.

To see my predictions post or my CMA posts feel free to search them in the blog search bar.
Also, let me know if you agree or disagree and why with my predictions, post review, etc. See you next Monday with the next #NewMusicMonday post.

Monday, April 4, 2016

~ New Music Monday ~ Who Run the World? Girls. ~ April 4th ~

Just a FYI that I am writing this post pre-ACM airing and setting it to automatically post at a particular time. So, if it a little bit seems odd that I do not reference something that happened at the ACM's in correlation with the #NewMusicMonday artists of this week, that is what's up. Never fear fellow music and award show lovers, I will be posting my ACM recap in just a few days. If ever you are interested in my play by play thoughts on a award show head over to facebook and ask to be a "friend" or "follow" me. Yes, I know that is something most people do on Twitter, but I am just not ready to add another social media account to my virtual socialness. I can only pretend to care about so many things social media wise, and I have chosen Instagram (because there is room for creativity), Facebook (because more friends from afar and fam use it for keeping up) and The Faith Journals. So, until I can decide if Twitter is worth the work I shall live "tweet" from my facebook.

Now, while we wait for the ACM recap let's discuss some #WomenOfCountry. I am severely suffering from ACM FOMO (Fear of Missing Out Academy of Country Music Awards Style) right now. Thursday kicked off the weekend events surrounding the ACM awards with the "Guitar Pull" concert benefiting St. Jude's Children's Hospital. Kelsea Ballerini, Charles Kelly, and Kip Moore are just a few of the performers from the concert and Friday began the ACM Party for a Cause Concert Weekend. First up for the musical weekend was a major dose of Women of Country. Martina McBride, Cam, Kelsea Ballerini, Maddie & Tae, and many more will be performing all afternoon well into the evening when headliner Carrie Underwood will close the day out.

Speaking of Carrie Underwood, she is our first share on this #NewMusicMonday with the announcement that "Church Bells" will be her third single off of "Storytellers". This week Carrie shared with her social media followers that "Church Bells" will be the next upcoming single from "Storytellers" and that she was so excited that the fans are already responding to the song so powerfully. The official vid isn't out just yet so, I'm going to share the audio. Underwood has referred to it as the sister to Rebas' , "Fancy". I LOVE this song and there are such visuals that naturally happen when you listen to it. I think it is a real country song and is a tune that deserves to be on a album titled, "Storytellers". I am looking forward to what the video will end up looking like. I think there are a variety of ways to go, but I am hoping that they somewhat follow what I think would be the "natural" visuals that come with the lyrics. Carrie is rumored to be performing "Church Bells" at the April 3rd Academy of Country Music Awards show and I am excited to hear it live and see what kind of mood she puts into it fashion and stage presence wise. Here is the audio for "Church Bells", what do you think ?

Carrie Underwood - "Church Bells"
fr "Storyteller"
Loretta Lynn ft Willie Nelson
"Lay Me Down" fr Lynn's album
"Full Circle"
I shared in The Faith Journals #NewMusicMonday post titled, "Lorettas's 70th" that I was anxious to hear what song would be the first released from Loretta Lynn's newest album , 70th album drop of her career. 70th!!!!! I am not disappointed, as if that was even an option with Loretta. Her first single is "Lay Me Down" a duet with Willie Nelson. Loretta in her signature ball gown and Willie in his signature braids, this is a beautiful collaboration. This isn't the first time the two have sang together, but I think that it is kinda special considering this is her 70th album. Lynn and Nelsons vocals compliment one another so well on this track that it is impossible to imagine anyone else singing on it. Nelson tends to have a natural vibrato when he sings. It is just apart of his vocal style and makes him stand out rather distinctly when you hear him through your speakers. You don't have to look to a title or written out credits to know it is him. And on this song I think that Loretta works her voice to have a similar vibrato. It isn't what I consider her normal singing style, but it is just as beautiful and totally works. I think it just shows her talent and her organic way of hearing other artists. Give it a listen and decide for yourself.

BTS of the making of "Peter Pan" official video
courtesy of Entertainment Tonight
Kelsea Ballerini - "Peter Pan"
fr "For the First Time
So, ok, I am down with the lyrics and even the sound of this tune. I actually love both quite a bit and I have been a fan of both ‪#‎LoveMeLikeYouMeanIt‬ as well as ‪#‎Dibs‬. So, mental note that before you accuse me of hating. I am a Kelsea Ballerini fan!!!! Deal with it. Being a fan of an artist doesn't mean that you are going to or that you have to like & approve of every single move they make. They're human, as are you, and no one can 100% please 100% of the population 100% of the time.  That said, I like that Kelsea has a part in writing her music as well as playing it, but.....BUT, I do think she is very much being marketed as a Taylor Swift replacement for the country music industry and its working. And I suppose there is nothing really all that wrong with that. Perhaps a natural reaction by the industry when "losing" an artist to another genre. Kelsea has even been inducted into Swifts "Girl Squad" by T.Swizzle herself (see also: Instagram photo's/vids) and all on its own that doesn't a Taylor replacement make. But I think that seemingly, normally, some of the "Taylor" esq qualities that Ballerini has are just how Ballerini is. We haven't hung out, so I mean, who knows. I am just taking a guess and having some hope that she is as lovely on the inside as she appears on the outside. Again, all on its' own none of this is a real "issue".....UNTIL I see the desert scene of Ballerinis' newest video for "Peter Pan". It is a GORGEOUS video. Do NOT get it twisted. Absolutely beautiful, but as the voice over begins and the lens starts closing in on a desert scene, the first place my mind goes is to the Taylor Swift video for her single, "Trouble" as well as her video for "Out of the Woods". Both have voice overs in the intro and outro of the vid contemplating the true heart of a particular man. I think that had another artist done a similar video my mind wouldn't have necessarily associate the two as much. I also get a little Carrie Underwood in the Brad Paisley video for "Remind Me". I imagine it would be extremely difficult to deny the idea of wearing beautiful dresses, amazing make up while dramatically walking in the desert with the wind perfectly, dramatically, and romantically blowing your dress into the sky. I doubt I'd be able to resist the opportunity myself. I am just saying that with such strong comparisons and the potentially, uncontrollable on the artists behalf, intentional marketing in the direction of being someone's replacement I would want to do things as different as possible so there could be no comparison. Does any of that make sense ?! Again, I LOVE THE SONG!!!! Also, I think that we have all had a "Peter Pan" relationship at some point in our lives and can relate very easily to these lyrics. Decide for yourself......
Kelsea Ballerini - "Peter Pan"
fr "The First Time"

Last, but not least is Dierks Bentleys' , "I'll Be the Moon". I know what you are thinking, Dierks is not a woman of country, but the female vocals he has collaborating on this tune, are. Maren Morris is the female you hear on this track. When I heard Dierks first single off of his upcoming album, "Black", I was honestly kinda disappointed. I do love a musical sequel, which is what "Somewhere on a Beach" is, it is the part two of "Drunk on a Plane". However, it just wasn't what I expect from someone with as much talent as Dierks. Yes, every artist has their right to expand and explore and even show their humor via music. I mean, hello, Brad Paisley is a PERFECT example of such, but that is something he has been doing since the very beginning of this career and so ,it is something we expect. We do not feel he is veering from his "roots" when he writes a cheeky tune. But for whatever reason with Dierks I felt a little like he was swaying to the "popular" or trend of the moment. I think it was more of a fear than anything. After the popularity of certain songs/artists that tend to make my ears bleed, I just feel like it is hard to know who to trust anymore. LOL!!! But for real. As you know I LOVE Maren Morris and think she is going to make a impact on country music, especially women in country music. So, when I heard that she and Elle King had collaborated on the "Black" album with Bentley I got giddy and oh so hopeful. Hearing this song I can see that I am right in feeling hopeful. Give it a listen and I dare you to try and tell me it isn't amazing. Dierks upcoming album, "Black" is set to release early May. If you head over to Dierks website and pre order the album you also get exclusive pre release tracks, first to know info, your official "Black Card" and more.


Dierks Bentley fr Maren Morris
"I'll Be the Moon" fr "Black"
Coming Soon
Happy Listening Y'all !!!! 

Friday, April 1, 2016

~ Quick Fix ~ Fresh Strawberries & Frozen Greek Yogurt ~

Seeing as it is technically, officially Spring, then it is technically, officially, time for frozen treats. Quick & Yummy: frozen vanilla greek yogurt by #HealthyChoice w fresh strawberries that had been mixed w just a bit of sugar, refrigerated long enough for that yummy juice to happen, then juice and berries poured on top. Yuuuummmmeeerrssss!!!! 🍓🍦While I love me some fro-yo this was a healthier, move convenient choice so, I thought I'd share. Happy Spring Treating Y'all!!! #TheFaithJournals #PastPost 

To see my Apple Pie #QuickFix click HERE .

~ Insta Blog ~ He Hasn't Abandon You ~

"Broken crayons still color." - Never allow yourself to accept the idea that just because this or that have happened to you, that because you feel less like yourself than ever before, or are so very overwhelmed by (insert here) that you have some how become useless. I keep having to remind myself that even the darkness has purpose, without it we wouldn't be able to see the stars. So, whatever has happened, is happening or has yet to happen, good or bad, know that He is for you. He is with you. He has a purpose and a plan. And just as importantly that you are not alone. If even by a thread, keep hanging on.