Monday, March 21, 2011

Jason Michael Carroll: Impressions from a Small Local Show.

Friday night, March 18th, Jason Michael Carroll, our local country music star, appeared at Crossroads Entertainment Complex in Wake Forest, NC.  Mary Selvidge and Will Guyton, two emerging local singers, opened for him.

There was not a huge crowd on Friday to see JMC, but the ladies were enthusiastic. Jason Michael Carroll is the handsome hometown hero with bambi eyes, a big white smile, and a deep manly voice that can send shivers right down to the knees, so who can blame them (us)? The enamored women, ranging in age from 12 to 120 and of all shapes and sizes, crowded around the stage, passed him notes, money with requests on it, and had him sign autographs. In return they received friendly and occasionally intense eye contact, handshakes and the occasional hug or kiss. He is a very energetic performer and as much as I'm sure the admiring eyes of all those women must feed his ego, he gives back to his audience.

The two hour performance was wonderful. He sang his hits, some new material, and a few covers. Any criticism that comes later in the article should be read in the context that I really like Jason Michael Carroll. When he sang "Where I'm From" and "Alyssa Lies" it drew a tear. When he sang "I Can Sleep When I'm Dead" we all laughed, shouted out the lyrics and jumped up and down with him (this is silly but rather fun). He did a memorable cover of Garth Brooks "Much to Young to Feel this Damn Old". He is talented and I'm looking forward to seeing him again at Rapids Jam (Roanoke Rapids, NC) in June.
Video for "I Can Sleep When I'm Dead"
 He said (maybe as a joke) when he started the show that he'd take requests on $20 bills. I didn't see any $20s go up there, but I sent up a request on a $5 for "Meet Me in the Barn" a perhaps cliche but rather sexy song he had intended to release as his first single from the new album. According to a blog post by Billy Dukes, a DJ at 94.7 WQDR, Carroll saw that Trace Atkins was releasing a barn related song at the same time, "Brown Chicken, Brown Cow", and didn't want to compete with the blond powerhouse for the attentions of country radio. As anyone who is paying attention knows, "Brown Chicken, Brown Cow" is a huge flop, Trace Atkins actually apologized to fans for it and lamely blames the songwriters for telling him it is a surefire hit. I can't predict whether "Meet Me in the Barn" would have been a hit, but it would not have been an embarrassing flop. My friend and I saw him perform "Meet Me" at the Country for Kids concert in November and enjoyed it. When he played it again on Friday, we remembered the words from November. It's a very catchy song. I hope it's at least on the new album.

Carroll singing "Meet Me in the Barn". All videos I found were fan recorded from shows. This one captures his energy and had the best sound of those available.

Carroll sang his newly released single "Numbers" and there were already people singing along. I know many JMC fans will strongly disagree, but I don't like the song "Numbers". It is pleasant to the ear, but don't find anything to connect to among all of those numbers in the lyrics. Is it a love song? He gives a girl a ring. Is it a Christian song? It has references to the Book of John and the Second Coming. Is it about Kabbalah? (Just kidding.) I do hope that Jason Michael Carroll becomes famous enough sometime soon to be Elmo's guest on Sesame Street. The chorus of this song is only a few word changes away from being a perfect children's song. This may seem like a mean thing to write, but you never know. Maybe Carroll will make a wildly successful children's album all inspired by what seemed at the time to be a snarky comment by a nobody blogger.

In addition to songs we already know, he sang a couple songs that are in the works for the new album.  I thought the one called "My Favorite" was too sappy, but the song he sang before "My Favorite" was interesting. He didn't give us the name of this song. He said that he is debating whether or not to include this title unknown song on the new album. I gave a resounding hoot when he asked the crowd to weigh in. I liked this song because it is a little more sophisticated than the other three songs I've heard from the upcoming album. The only thing, apart from the words George St. and New York, that I remember about this title unknown song is that I want to hear it again.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Either Dierks Bentley or Billy Currington Needs to get a Brazilian Blowout.

Billy Currington

Dierks Bentley

I know I've hit that age where even the most sighted of us take a trip to the optometrist, but Dierks Bentley and Billy Currington really look alike. Last night I was watching the Kenny Rogers special on GAC and Billy Currington came on. He was talking and I said to myself, "What's up with Dierks Bentley's suddenly strong Southern accent?" It took me longer than I care to admit to realize my mistake.

I'm a bigger Dierks Bentley fan so when I see either one, I automatically think it's Bentley. They don't sound alike, but my eyes take over for my ears when there is visual information. So I did a google search expecting to find many references to the curly doppelgangers. I did find a few, but the most ridiculous (before I wrote this post) is the FB group Billy Currington and Dierks Bentley are both DEAD Sexy with it's odd spelling of "gurls", use of lowercase letters and combining of the sacred and profane?

While perusing images on Google of the two singers, I learned another way to tell them apart. If the Currington/Bentley character is shirtless and pumped, it's Currington. I didn't find a Bentley photo with more than two buttons worth of chest. Currington does usually wear a shirt though, so this test only works if the subject is shirtless.
Don't bother ordering the back issue if you missed it. Apparently Currington kept his shorts on.
What would really be helpful is if one of these guys (preferably Currington) got a Brazilian blowout, but then we may confuse him with Keith Urban or one of the guys in Rascal Flatts.

When you see Dierks Bentley or Billy Currington, which do you think it is?

Kenny Rogers: 1st 50 Years

I was watching GAC's Kenny Rogers: 1st 50 Years special last night with a big grin on my face. I laughed, I cried, I got goosebumps, but mostly I went down memory lane. I am not a Kenny Rogers "fan" in that I don't own any albums, nor have I attended any concerts, but I've always liked Kenny Rogers' music. What I didn't realize is that I love it. Quite a few of the songs that I heard as a child and set me on the path to a country music obsession some 30 years later are Kenny Rogers songs. The Gambler has been one of my favorite songs since it came out in 1978.

I'm not sure I'd even heard all of these important old songs in their entirety until last night.  Some of the songs that crossed over to onto pop stations I know well, but I remember a few from clips on those TV advertisements for "Country Hits" albums in the 1970s and early 80s, the ones with the still shots of the artists and the song titles rolling down the screen. One song that I thought I knew, but really didn't is "Lucille". Billy Currington sang this during the TV special. I am not ashamed to admit that I had no idea what "Lucille" is about until last night. No wonder they only played a short clip of it on those commercials. Here is a recording of Billy Currington singing "Lucille", with lyrics.

There were a lot of excellent performances in this concert, but the ones that stuck with me were Kenny Rogers and Lionel Richie singing "Lady", Kenny Rogers singing "The Gambler", Billy Currington's "Lucille", and Tim McGraw singing "She Believes in Me". Dolly Parton sang quite a bit in the beginning of the show. She was fabulous. She's always fabulous. has articles about the concert, a trailer, and an old Gambler video for you to enjoy.  If you missed the concert, be sure to scroll through the photo gallery. Dolly is wearing purple lame'.

I'll search through youtube and keep an eye on GAC's website. If they make videos from the concert available I'll add the links.