What can you say about a #1 country single with the word chassis in the first verse?
This is the only song from her last three studio albums that Twain didn’t have a hand in writing. That’s not a total surprise, as the “my love is like a car” metaphor is very “Mutt” Lange. It could’ve been recorded by Def Leppard or Bryan Adams just as easily.
But Twain’s sheer enthusiasm elevates it, and while it was easily the most pop-flavored hit from The Woman in Me, it might be a little too country for even Brad Paisley in 2011.
I blame Adam Lambert for what I am about to reveal to you all: I’m headed to a Taylor Swift concert tonight. That’s right, Taylor Swift. Insidious curiosity got the better of me.
But why do I blame Lambert, you ask? Because I haven’t been listening to a whole lot of country music recently. Instead, thanks to my new, bizarre obsession with Lambert, in the past month I’ve pulled out old Queen, Bowie, Michael Jackson and Led Zeppelin. And I’ve listened to more My Chemical Romance, Pink and even Def Leppard than anything resembling country. So, of course I thought of Swift. Because, when you think of hard rock, isn’t Swift the first person who comes to mind?
(Save your ears, don’t listen)
I’ve also been tuning into rock radio, a rarity for me, to see what’s popular these days. Lo and behold, wouldn’t you know, Taylor Swift is also a rock artist (in addition to being a country, pop and heavy metal artist). She’s regularly squeezed in between All American Rejects and Green Day on my local station. And let me tell you, nothing sounds more rock than a re-mix of Love Story. Don’t you agree?
But you have to give credit where credit is due. This girl has everyone fooled. Re-mix, re-package, throw in a few guest appearances with John Mayer and Def Leppard, form a friendship with Miley Cyrus, and suddenly, wow, you appeal to every demographic (under the age of 20). I gotta admit, I’m impressed. I’m also curious how a tall, gangly misfit, with a precocious attitude, who can’t sing, has made it work. So, I’m headed to a concert tonight and will report back here because I actually know that many of you consider Swift a guilty pleasure. Wish me luck.
But no worries. I also have a number of saner concerts scheduled later this summer. I’ve already got tickets to see Patty Griffin, Emmylou Harris, Nanci Griffith and Buddy Miller; as well as tickets to see Gary Allan and LeAnn Rimes (if she doesn’t cancel, which she’s done on me twice). I’m also still holding out for Bob Dylan/Willie Nelson tickets, but I’m sure that one is going to work out.
Summer concert season is around the corner.
Who are you planning on seeing in concert this summer?
On the eve of Thanksgiving, it’s a good time to say what we’re thankful for. Keeping the focus on country music, here are some things that are inspiring gratitude on my part:
New Channels of Distribution
The days of wandering around in the wilderness after you’re dropped from a major label are long gone. Today, even superstars like Toby Keith and icons like Dolly Parton are selling their music directly to the people. The great talents don’t need middlemen.
Great Singers on the Radio
Carrie Underwood. Toby Keith. Jennifer Nettles. Gary Allan. They’re plain great singers, making even ordinary material sound better than it is. Thankfully, they’re often working with excellent material, with powerful results.
There’s simply no way to navigate CMT and GAC anymore without having your mute button handy. The good shows can be recorded automatically (I’m looking at you, GAC’s Master Series) and the bad ones dodged. I’d make a snarky comment about CMT’s lack of music programming, but the reality is that I’ll take Nanny 911 and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition over Crossroads: Def Leppard/Taylor Swift any day.
What are some country music miscellanea that you’re thankful for this year?
Last night, the CMA stamped its approval on the leading contemporary country stars of today. Congratulations to Kevin for commandeering the most popular live blog in Country Universe history. Here is a series of highlights (according to me) from an otherwise staid ceremony:
Best performance: “More Like Her,” Miranda Lambert; “Just a Dream,” Carrie Underwood. With understated brilliance, Lambert shifted gears by offering her Texas twang on the stripped-down ballad, while Underwood hit all the glory notes on her dramatic tearjerker with style and grace. Often pitted as rivals and polar opposites, the two proved that country music holds plenty of room for these two prodigious talents. Although Underwood ended Lambert’s faint hopes of claiming the Female Vocalist prize, bet on Lambert winning her fair share of CMAs in the near future.
Sound off: Repeatedly an issue, the Sommet Center’s sound system had problems again this year. Also, Nashville is a town of songwriters, but L.A. is a town of scriptwriters, and some intelligent, humorous ones would be welcome at next year’s ceremony.
Nashville’s full of musicians, too: Let’s tip our hats to first-time CMA award winner, Musician of the Year, Mac McAnally.