Random Friday Thoughts — September 25, 2015

Fall is here and I hope it’s off to a great start for you.  In the Midwest, it’s starting out very warm and dry — just as summer ended.

I feel inspired to write about a few things that crossed my mind, so here’s a guest appearance of Random Friday Thoughts!


I’m really baffled by the stampede at the annual Hajj pilgrimage outside the Muslim holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.  It’s reported that at least 700 were crushed to death and about 900 were hurt!

I know that about two million people take part in this, but what happened to orderly fashion?

Hundreds were also killed in stampedes in the past and in 1990, 1,426 people died in Mina, which leads to the holy sites.

While I love attending Christmas mass, I’m not going to trample over people to get there!


I’m guilty of it and I bet you are, too.  How many times have you started snacking while waiting for dinner just because you’re hungry?


I’m doing that with “Fear The Walking Dead”.  While I’m enjoying the show, it’s so slow and the fourth episode was so uneventful until the very end of the hour.

I actually got excited when the previews of the next show came on at the end and it said something like “only two episodes left”.

I know the final two shows will likely be great and move faster, but I’m really ready for dinner to be served — the season six premiere of “The Walking Dead” on October 11th.



While we enjoyed the pool this summer, we took it down last weekend.


But, that doesn’t mean we’re ready for winter and snow.  We dived into the biggest project ever and it turned out fantastic.


You’ve heard me talk many times about the fish pond we built back in May 2012.  It held about 250 gallons of water.


Recently, some of our friends gave us three of their goldfish and koi and this fall, we were going to acquire a dozen more that our friends decided not to keep.

So, we expanded the pond last weekend.  It’s now three feet deep and holds almost a thousand gallons of water!

Fish Pond

We now have 33 gorgeous fish and because of my recent mink encounter, the pond has added security!  (If you missed that mink predator ordeal, click here).



Fish Be You


Whether it’s pizza, wedding cakes, or marriage licenses, controversy arises when two sides see things differently when God (or one’s perception of God being judgmental) is involved.

I’ve always been a strong advocate of equal rights for everyone, especially the LGBT community since I’m part of that subculture of humanity.

But, when we advocates raise awareness about people who deny others equal rights, there’s also a backlash.


When marriage equality became the law of the land in the United States, there were many reports of gay bashings the weekend after the Supreme Court of the United States made its ruling.

When a small Indiana pizza joint spoke out against marriage equality and when bakeries refused to make wedding cakes for gay ceremonies, the LGBT community spoke out and the media extensively covered the stories.

Rainbow Cake

The restaurant and some of the cake makers started getting donations in the tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars for taking a stand against the LGBT community.

And, when a county clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky, refused to do her job and issue marriage licenses to gay couples, she became a martyr for standing up for her religious rights.  (No, I’m not posting a picture of her or saying her name.  She’s had enough celebrity and hopefully her fifteen minutes are up soon!)

Now, just in time for Christmas, I read that she’s penning a religious book with an advance of seven figures.  Becoming a millionaire for refusing rights to the LGBT community and standing on the wrong side of history?

A Christmas Carol

I sure hope that when she is confronted with the ghost of Christmas past, it’s less haunting for her than for Scrooge!


But, I’ll still raise awareness for LGBT equality.  I just wish the price wasn’t making celebrities out of people who use God and religion to hate!


Love him or hate him, Justin Bieber is a superstar.


While I’ve never declared myself a member of either camp, I have to admit he is a beautiful (and slightly troubled) young man.

Now, I’m beginning to think I may be a psuedo-Belieber (defined as a HUGE Justin Bieber fan)!

I loved his last song, “Where Are U Now” with Skrillex and Diplo, which hit the Top Ten in America (and #1 on the Billboard Dance Chart).

And, “What Do You Mean?”, the lead single from his upcoming album has already topped the charts and is one of the biggest songs of the year just weeks after its release.


I’ve written several times before that I think that country music radio is ageist and sexist.

There are many women’s new music in country that I’d love to hear in heavy rotation on the radio other than Reba, but she ignites that fire for me.

Now, I think it’s more than just sexism and ageism.  I seriously think those elements are still there.  But, I’m now convinced it’s Reba’s affiliation with Cumulus Media, which is a part of her new label, Nash Icon, that is the major problem.

Reba Until They Don't Love You

Case in point is the second single from her #1 country album, “Love Somebody”, “Until They Don’t Love You”.  It’s an incredible song and sounds great live.

It was released to country radio August 7, 2015, and now seven weeks later, it only being played on 61 stations (out of more than 260 reporting country stations) with 879 plays.  (To put that into perspective, the #1 song on the chart was played 13,901 times.)

George Strait

Earlier this week, country legend George Strait released “Cold Beer Conversation”.  It’s now being played on 163 stations and got 830 plays in just two days!.

Yes, George is country music’s “king” to Reba’s “queen”, but obviously royalty isn’t being treated equal.

So, yes, there’s still the sexism thing.  But, moreso, I think Reba made a big mistake by allowing Cumulus Media to play and promote her music, thus shutting out the larger radio groups.

I guess we can listen to “Until They Don’t Love You” and her new music at home because we won’t find a home at country radio or high on the country music charts.


“Communion” by the English trio, Years & Years, is one of my favorite albums of the year.

“Desire” is the new release here in the U.S. and I hope it gets more airplay than their first American hit, “King”.

The band will be in San Francisco at the Fillmore Monday night.  I’ll be there, too, but sadly the concert is sold out and I don’t have tickets. :(

If you missed my album review of “Communion” and you want to know more about the album, here it is again.



One of the best movies I seen lately is out on DVD.  I mention DVD only because it’s late September and I still have not been to the theater this year to see a movie.

Blake Lively (“Gossip Girl” and “Savages”) and Michiel Huisman (“The Game of Thrones” and “Nashville”) star as a couple that falls in love.

The problem is that Adaline is 107 years old, but doesn’t age due to a freak accident.  So, while everyone else in her life, including her daughter, played by Oscar-winning actress Ellen Burstyn, ages and dies, she stays the same.



A movie I’m really looking forward to seeing is the Austrian psychological thriller, “Goodnight Mommy”.  The trailer definitely creeps me out.


Although it’s been a couple of years now since my favorite sexy serial killer signed off Showtime after eight seasons, he’s still alive for me through books.


I’m reading Jeff Lindsay’s eight-book series that the television show was originally based on.  I’m on book six now.

I’ve decided in January, in the heart of winter, that I’m going back and watching all 96 episodes again!

It so interesting to see how much different the television show and the books are with characters that died in one format and are still alive in the other.  Also, the differences in the cases between the book and the show.


Thank you for checking out my Friday Random Thoughts.  Feel free to share your thoughts with me — what you agree with and what you don’t.

Have a great weekend!


Ready For Popcorn & These Fall Movies

I’m craving movie popcorn and I finally have the motivation to head to the theater soon and eat some.


It’s hard to believe that it’s already the middle of September, nine months into year, and I haven’t been to the movies yet in 2015.  The last movie I saw in a theater, “Unbroken”, was back on December 28, 2014.

With fall approaching, here are the movies tickling my fancy and will likely encourage me to cash in the two free movie passes and two generous theater gifts cards that I’ve been waiting to use.


And, many of them will likely get some Oscar love when nominations are announced in early 2016.

Among the movies I want to see, last year’s Best Actress and Best Actor winners, Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne, will possibly be nominated again, along with the Best Actress winner from two years ago, Cate Blanchett.

Also, there’s Best Actress winners Meryl Streep, Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, and Julia Roberts.  Yes, Julia’s back!

So, enjoy these trailers of the movies I want to see before the end of the year.  Chances are that I’ll be seeing some of them when they are released on DVD.

Who knows, you may be sitting right next to me in the theater if you like what you see here.



























Any of these look good to you?

Enjoy your fall, your movies, and your popcorn.


Reba’s Obstacles To Another #1 Country Song

It’s no secret that I love Reba McEntire.  I own every album she’s ever released, I’ve seen her in concert thirteen times, and I even got to meet her back in 2005.

Reba Anthony 2005

However, much to my chagrin, she’ll likely never have another #1 song on the Billboard Country charts (unless she duets with a chart-dominating, younger star)!


Reba’s place in country music history is cemented as iconic.  She’s the “Queen of Country Music” and she’s a member of the “Country Music Hall of Fame”.

Reba has more Top Ten hits than any other woman in country music and she’s tied with Dolly Parton for the most #1 songs on the Billboard Country charts by a woman at 25.


So, why did the lead single from her latest #1 album, “Love Somebody”, “Going Out Like That” only peak at #23 on the Billboard Country chart (and #28 on the Country Airplay chart) and why did it take six months to rise and fall at country radio?

Reba Love Somebody

And, why is Reba’s latest single, “Until They Don’t Love You”, only being played at 60-something country stations?  It’s just now cracking the Top 50 country radio airplay list at #48.

Reba Until They Don't Love You

Here are my thoughts and I know this might not set well with some Reba fans.  But, being one myself, I’m being objective.

At this point in her career, Reba may not be concerned about #1 hits at country radio.  As an avid chart watcher and huge Reba fan, the fault might be mine — I care, but Reba may not.

While Reba released her first album in 1977, it wasn’t until she switched labels to MCA that she had her first gold album with 500,000 copies shipped (“My Kind of Country”, 1984).

Her first platinum album (one million copies shipped), “Whoever’s In New England” came out in 1986, and her first multi-platinum album was “Greatest Hits”, which dropped in early 1987 and has sold more than three million copies.

Reba Albums

Reba’s biggest selling album, “Greatest Hits, Volume 2”, has moved more than five million copies and that one came out in 1993.

Since then, her album sales have been dropping.


Her 2010 release, “All The Women I Am”, has not even been certified gold and it featured her last #1 song at country radio, “Turn On The Radio”.

As I mentioned earlier, Reba may not be concerned with how high her singles go on the chart.  She may not lose sleep over how many album she sells because she knows that her concerts are huge draws and they always will be.  Concerts are where artists make their money.

Reba 2011

Reba is not alone.  It’s the same for pop music.  Madonna has dominated pop music for as long as Reba has country music and her tours are some of the biggest money makers and she sells out every show.Madonna MDNA

However, Madonna’s hit singles at Top 40 radio are as infrequent as Reba is at country radio lately.

When Reba followed up the chart topper “Turn On The Radio” with her remake of the Beyonce song, “If I Were A Boy”, that song stalled at #22 and the two other singles released from the album peaked at #40 and #44.

Shortly thereafter I questioned a friend in the radio industry about the cool reception for the final three singles from “All The Women I Am”.  He said he wasn’t surprised “after having ‘If I Were a Boy’ shoved down our throats.”

After that album’s release, Reba devoted more time to her family, her Reba brand at Dillard’s department stores, acting one season on ABC’s “Malibu Country” and touring.

Now that she has a residency in Las Vegas with Brooks & Dunn and she’s touring again supporting the new album, “Love Somebody”, why aren’t the first two singles burning up the charts?

Reba Love Somebody

In one of my first blogs, I brought up the topic of ageism and sexism in the entertainment world.  You can read that blog here:


While that is still blatant, I think the real problem for Reba now is her association with the Nash Icon record label, which is focused on the “biggest country artists of the last two decades, who are still recording and touring but not getting enough exposure today”.

If that wasn’t limiting enough, it’s affiliated with Cumulus Media, the third largest radio group in the business.  And, that is reflecting in the number of stations that played “Going Out Like That” and the new song.

Reba Until They Don't Love You

As of yesterday, “Until They Don’t Love You” is being played on 67 of 262 stations that report to Mediabase.  Of those, many are Cumulus stations.

This is purely speculation, but I feel that other radio groups, such as Clear Channel (#1) and Infinity (#2) don’t want to get into the business of promoting singles that another radio group, Cumulus, is making money off of.

Another example to prove this point is Ronnie Dunn, who is on the Nash Icon label.  His new single, “Ain’t No Trucks In Texas” is faltering at country radio.

When I saw Reba live in early August, she performed both singles from the “Love Somebody” album and they sound great.

I hope that I’m wrong about Reba never topping the country singles charts again without the support of say someone like Luke Bryan or Carrie Underwood.

Country radio, prove me wrong!

Show me that you still love Reba and that there’s room on your playlist for new songs in heavy rotation and not just the occasional classics.


Shooting Changes The Way I See My Profession

By now, many of you have heard the story of the tragic shooting outside Roanoke, Virginia, Wednesday morning.

Alison Adam

24-year-old reporter Alison Parker and her 27-year-old photographer Adam Ward were shot and killed during a live broadcast on WDBJ7 news about tourism.

Vicki Gardner

The woman that was being interviewed, Vicki Gardner, was shot in the back and underwent surgery.  Her condition has stabilized.

The alleged shooter, a former employee at the station with the on-air name of Bryce Williams, was even live tweeting about the shooting and racism while police were looking for him.


Just before his Twitter account was suspended, he disgustingly posted video of the shooting from his point-of-view.  He ended up shooting himself and died at the hospital.

I didn’t know Alison and Adam.  However, they are colleagues and this could happen to any of us in television news or in any profession.  While the live broadcast can be found online, I want to remember Alison and Adam this way – happy.

Alison Adam Fun

As a television reporter, you usually go into work and pitch stories to determine what you’ll be covering for the newscast.

My only close call came in 1997, when I was a reporter for KLBK-13 in Lubbock, Texas.

I was covering a story about a daycare center that was temporarily shut down.  While my photographer was getting video from across the street, a man started yelling and cussing at us.

As he started across the street, I told the photographer to keep rolling on the man approaching.  He continued cussing us and I got between him and the photographer because he was trying to stop us from getting video.  He shoved me against the car and when he failed at knocking the camera to the ground, he walked away still fuming at us.

While the alleged Virginia gunman knew his victims, it doesn’t change the fact that this could have been just a random person with anger issues and wanted to take it out on a television reporter and photographer.

We’ve all seen the people that think it’s funny to stand behind a reporter and wave, make faces, or make rude remarks.  As a journalist, it’s not funny to us when we’re relaying the news on television.  Think about it, we wouldn’t walk into where you work and do the same thing.

And, after this tragedy, I hope it drives home the fact that it can be scary doing these reports when we don’t know what people’s intentions are as they approach us — unless they are ranting at us!  At that point, it’s pretty obvious that they’re not there to say “I love watching you on the news”.


The world of social media has changed the way we do our jobs and how we communicate with our viewers.  People not only watch us on television, but they follow us online and on their phones.

I’m speaking for myself here as a meteorologist and journalist when I say that I have a decent following on Facebook.  While I have a work page where I post just weather, a large portion of my Facebook friends are people that friend me because they know me from television.

Anthony CBS4

Because of that, there isn’t much that they don’t know about my life.

I’m okay with that because I’ve gotten to know many of them on a personal, if only online, basis.  I cherish that relationship and I also hope that people know that I’m approachable as long as it isn’t creepy!

In the wake of this unsettling, senseless tragedy that rocked my profession and took the lives of two of my colleagues who are loved and will be sorely missed by family and friends, it makes me want to take a step back and re-evaluate those I work with, those I correspond with, and those I choose to let into my world.

I hope you realize that we’re human just like you, even if it may come across that we’re “celebrities”.  I understand why the word is used, but I don’t buy into it.  My job is no different than yours.  Mine just happens to be more public.

Vicki Gardner, I hope you fully recover.  Alison and Adam, rest in peace and I hope your loved ones find solace one day.

Peace and love,


Movies on DVD You Must See

It’s still summer and there’s still some blockbusters showing at the theaters.

However, as the days get shorter and you start to spend more time indoors, here are some movies I caught on DVD recently that I recommend for your viewing pleasure.


While it brought in $55 million at the worldwide box office, this movie based on a true life story of one woman’s fight to get back her family’s art that was stolen when Germany invaded Europe in World War 2.

Oscar winner Helen Mirren is amazing as always.  It also stars Ryan Reynolds as her young lawyer fighting his first big case that became an international fight with Vienna, Austria.

“Orphan Black” star Tatiana Maslany plays Mirren’s character as a young woman.



I moved on from “The Hunger Games” after the second movie.  I don’t care to see either of the “Mockingjay” movies.  Katniss, I wish you the best against President Snow.

I’m on “Team Divergent”.

I just saw the second movie in the series, “Insurgent” and it was just as enjoyable as the first one, “Divergent”.  Both movies have made almost $300 million each.

This one picks up just after Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James), and few others escape evil Jeanine (Kate Winslet).

“The Divergent Series – Allegiant – Part One” hits theaters in March 2016 and the final movie in the series, “The Divergent Series – Allegiant – Part Two” comes out March 2017.



While this Oscar and Golden Globes-nominated animated feature came out in theaters last fall, I finally got around to seeing it and it was highly enjoyable.

It’s about Eggs, a human boy who thinks he’s a box-wearing troll.  His father sent him to safety to live with the trash-collecting trolls to save the baby from the evil pest exterminator.

That exterminator wants to eliminate all the Box Trolls to get into a secret society called the “White Hats”, which is run by the Mayor.

And, they love cheese!  You’ll want a cheese tray after seeing this movie — if you’re not allergic to it, as the exterminator is. :)

People in town fear the Boxtrolls because they’ve come to believe (falsely) that they kidnap and kill children.



If you’ve seen many LGBT films over the past years, you may have come across “Is It Just Me?” and “eCupid” by writer/director JC Calciano.

His latest is a romantic comedy starring the charming Jack Turner and Michael Adam Hamilton as best friends Myles and Brody.

They live in West Hollywood and are complete opposites.

Myles is a hopeless romantic that sees his next husband in all of the guys he dates (don’t worry, Myles, we’ve all been there!  Okay, at the time, I didn’t have the internet!).  Brody doesn’t want love, he just wants to have a good time and he does.

One night they make an agreement that if they’re still single in ten years, they’ll become a couple forever.

Ten years later, they’re still single and Brody is freaking out and starts working feverishly on finding someone for Myles to love — but, has he been there all along?



My First Hand Encounter with a Predator

Adrenaline is such a rush.  In retrospective, a dramatic encounter last Thursday could have sent me to the hospital!  Let me fill you in and set up the story.

Do you take risks?  I’m pretty much a planner, so I don’t consider myself a risk taker.

With that being said, I’ve ridden on two roller coasters over the past few years including a wooden structure one in Arnolds Park, Iowa, that probably was more of risk than this larger one in Branson, Missouri, last summer.

Roller Coaster

“Wildire” is 120 feet high, covers more than 3,000 feet of track, features five upside down turns and loops, and reaches a top speed of 66 miles-per-hour.

But, as I share the story of what happened last week, it has nothing to do with roller coasters and there was nothing fun about it.

As you know, Ray and I love to work out in the yard and three years ago, we built a fish pond next to the patio in the backyard.

With the fish, the fountain, and the solar lamps changing colors at night, it’s very relaxing.


For a year-and-a-half, we had no problems with predators from the ravine.  However, on Thanksgiving 2013, tragedy struck when I discovered that nine-and-a-half of our eleven fish were missing!  It was the one-half of a missing fish that alerted me there was a problem!

There was only one survivor.

Lone Survivor From June 2013

It saddened and made me angry.  I blamed the massacre on raccoons and I hated them, even though it could have been owls, hawks, or other predators.

So, we beefed up our security by putting fence over the pond and replenished the fish.

We now have 18 counting our two new large additions that I named “Snowflake” and “Pumpkin Pie” given to us by our friends Thomas and Mike.

Snowflake Pumpkie Pie

I even started training them to come to the sound of my voice and “Pumpkin Pie”, the orange-spotted black one, will even take food from my hand!

It’s been almost two years since the massacre and we’ve had no trouble with creatures wanting our fish — until Wednesday.

I got home from work around 10 a.m. and was changing clothes and looked down at the pond from the bedroom window.  I saw a dark-colored “squirrel” walking along the foundation of the fish pond.  I didn’t think too much about it since I’ve seen chipmunks and squirrels walking around the pond and birds sitting on the fence.

I knocked on the window to scare it away, but it didn’t budge.  I went out on the patio and it scurried away and I thought, “that wasn’t a squirrel”.  Moments later, it came back across the yard and I scared it into our neighbor’s yard.

At that point, I realized it looked more like a ferret.  However, a quick Google search confirmed to me that it was a mink — just not this one!


Convinced it was gone, I was sitting at the computer by the open window looking at images and reading about minks.  All of a sudden, I heard a splash and I frantically ran down the stairs to the basement, stormed out onto the patio, and jumped across the fish pond!

I dropped to my knees on the foundation of the pond and the decorative rocks.  I didn’t care that I scraped my knee.  Without thinking, I plunged my hands underneath the dark water and I couldn’t see what I was grabbing for, but I saw a reflection of orange in the sunlight.

I grabbed the mink out of the water and flung it into the air.  It landed with a thud and ran away.  At that moment, I was afraid of what I’d find.

I know that if it had grabbed a fish, it likely would’ve been one of the two larger fish and since I had seen orange in the sunlight, I feared for “Pumpkin Pie”.

I didn’t know if she was dead or injured?  If alive, I didn’t know if it grabbed her face, her tail, or ripped open her body.

I grabbed food and fed them to get them to come to the surface.  They all came, including “Pumpkin Pie” and then I saw the injury.  It had grabbed her right above the tail and there was a flesh wound where it attacked her.

Pumpkin Pie Injury

Luckily, it wasn’t a complete gash, just a bite.

“Pumpkin Pie” is now timid and shy after Thursday’s attack, but she’ll reluctantly come up to eat.  I don’t know what will happen to her wound, but I’m hoping she’ll just have a scar and that it’ll heal without an infection.

I’m optimistic because we use a product in the pond that boasts healing ingredients for wounds.

Pond Care

I know if I had not seen the mink when I first did and scared it away, it would have jumped in the pond right then and there would have been another massacre.  Or, what if the air conditioning was on and the windows were closed?  I would have never heard the splash.

In retrospective, I had the instinct of a parent protecting its young.  I know it’s just a pond fish, but it’s mine and I’ve bonded with the fish.

Now that I now that minks are found in all of Illinois’ counties, that they attack animals larger than them, and how scary they look, I now realize that it could have attack me when I grabbed it!  Look at this thing. (Again, not the one from our pond!)

Mink Mouth

Had I know then what I know now, how would I have reacted?  I hope the same way.  It totally freaks me out now to know what a mink’s mouth looks like!  In retrospective, I’m thinking that it may not have been a raccoon the last time.  Who knows?

On a lighter note, the fortified vault building at Fort Knox in Kentucky is protecting about $337 billion worth of gold.

While our eighteen multi-colored goldfish, including newly acquired “Snowflake” and “Pumpkin Pie”, may not be worth much in monetary value, we’ve fortified the fish pond to protect the babies after last week’s attack.

Fort Fish Pond

I know that a mink is a predator and that’s what it does and I don’t condone hunting just to have an animal head on the wall, if I see that mink back again, I’ll be wearing a pair of new mink gloves this winter.

Sorry, PETA!


Michael Ray Could Bring Me Back To Country Music

Growing up in Kentucky, I was raised on country music — Tanya Tucker, Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton.

In the 1980s when I went away to college, it was all about pop and dance music (Madonna, Janet Jackson, Taylor Dayne), and the second “British Invasion” (Erasure, Duran Duran, Culture Club).

While I stuck with dance and pop music in the 1990s, I also started listening to Reba McEntire and Patty Loveless and they brought country music back into my life.

I’ve always been more of a fan of female singers.  However, I’ll admit that in the music video age, a good-looking singer in a cowboy hat could grab my attention long enough for me to listen to the music.

That turned me on to Clay Walker’s music.

Clay Walker

From his debut hit, “What’s It To You” in 1993 that topped the chart to his last Top 40 country hit, “Where Do I Go From You” in 2010, he’s scored 29 Top 40 hits.

Of those, 17 made the Top Ten and six topped the country charts.  As a matter of fact, five of his first six were #1 hits.

“This Woman and This Man” is still my all-time favorite Clay Walker song.

It topped the chart for two weeks in early 1995.

Once country radio started cutting back on airplay for Reba, Patty, Pam Tillis, Lorrie Morgan, Martina McBride, and females no longer in the younger demographics, I lost interest in the format.

In the past fifteen years, the only male country singer I became a fan of was Keith Urban.


However, with the recent crossover of Sam Hunt’s “Take Your Time” and the anticipation of Reba’s concert last week in the Quad Cities, I glanced at the country chart.

I watched a few videos and I liked “Make Me Wanna” by Thomas Rhett (I actually interviewed his father, Rhett Akins, back in 1997).


I also came across Michael Ray’s “Kiss You in the Morning” video.

Being honest, his striking good looks and tattoos caught my eye.  So, I took a listen and the song was upbeat and fun.  It’s also the most played country song in the U.S.

“Kiss” was a strong enough song to make me take a listen to more of his music and I ended up buying his self-titled debut album that came out last week and I’m so glad I did.


This is definitely one of the most solid debut albums I can recall.

Michael has been working on his craft professionally since appearing on The CW’s reality series/singing competition show, “The Next:  Fame Is at Your Doorstep” in 2012.

The Florida native won that completion performing songs by Luke Bryan, Eric Church, and Jake Owen and now he’s competing against those same men for radio airplay and I know he’ll do just fine.

Now that “Kiss You in the Morning” has topped the country airplay charts, Michael already has his second single, “Real Men Love Jesus”, ready to go out to radio in mid-September.

It’s a mid-tempo song that touches on some of the core elements of country music: fishing, fast cars, football, sexy women, Mama, and Jesus.

One thing that Michael excels at is slower and mid-tempo songs.

My choice for the third single is “Run Away With You”, one of my favorite songs on the album.

Other slower choice cuts are “Everything In Between”, “Wish I Was Here”, and “Think A Little Less”.

And, when he’s ready to rock, he brings life to the party.

If I worked for his label, I’ve already got the fourth single picked out.  “Livin’ It Up” is a fun upbeat song that will be on “repeat” once you get the album.

I mentioned a third and fourth single, but I’m being modest.

This album is solid enough that it could go five or six singles deep for country radio.

If you’re a country music fan, you’re going to love this album.  If, like me, you’ve been away from the genre for some time, this is a breath of fresh air.


“Michael Ray” is a fun album that isn’t too heavy on the current country rage, “bro-country”.





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