Posts Tagged ‘Sugarland’

Reba’s Return To Country Music

When a singer is forty years into a musical career that has produced more top ten hits than any other woman on the country chart and she’s tied with Dolly Parton for the most #1 singles by a woman, it’s hard for songs to sound original.

But, on her 27th studio album, “Love Somebody”, Reba McEntire sounds original and familiar at the same time.

Reba Love Somebody

In its first week, “Love Somebody”, Reba’s first new album since late 2010’s “All The Women I Am”, debut at the top of the Country Album chart and at #3 on the Billboard 200 (a ranking of all musical genres) selling 62,000 copies.

This is her 12th number one country album and her ninth Top Ten album on the Billboard 200.

The first single, “Going Out Like That”, is now up to #25 on the Billboard Country Singles chart.

“Love Somebody” comes in two versions:  a standard 12-song album and a deluxe Target exclusive that features two additional songs.

Hopefully when you bought the album or you buy it, you give yourself time to listen to it without interruptions.

When I listened to it for the first time, I was driving and got only two or three songs into the album before real life forced me to start listening to it again later.

That was a disservice to Reba’s efforts on the album and for my listening pleasure.  Because of that, at first listen, I thought the album felt disjointed.  That is far from the truth.

Upon devoting proper time to my idol’s heartfelt gift to her fans, I realized how much the album is classic Reba and how much I’ve missed hearing new music from her.

While the first single, “Going Out Like That”, which kicks off the album, was released four months ago and is slowly gaining traction at country radio, there’s no talk publicly of the second single.

As you explore the album for possibilities, the clear cut winner would be, “Enough”, the second cut on the album, which is a duet with Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland.

This song tells the story of a married woman hoping her man finds enough about her to stay while “the other woman” is hoping for the same thing.

Earlier when I said the album sounds original and “familiar” at the same time, “Enough” will have you flashing back to Reba’s Grammy Award-winning, #1 smash duet, “Does He Love You”, with Linda Davis, from 1994.

Reba has always had her finger on the pulse of people (mostly women) going through breakups and dealing with heartbreak, people hoping to find love, and for people finding that love.

“She Got Drunk Last Night” and “I’ll Go On” both satisfy the breakup and moving on theme.  “I’ll Go On” reminds me a lot of one of my favorite Reba songs that was never released as a single, “He Wants To Get Married” from 1992’s “It’s Your Call”.

In 1991, following a very dark time for Reba, she released a very personal album, “For My Broken Heart”.  The title track and first single and the last song on the album, “If I Had Only Known” are alive in this album’s “Just Like Them Horses”.

The beautiful song is stunning.  It’s about one person facing the reality that their time on Earth is over and they convince a survivor that they’re ready to go and that have to say goodbye.  They do it with grace, dignity, and respect.

When Reba got the song, she thought of her father, Clark, who wasn’t doing well.  When he passed away last October, Reba sang it at his funeral.

Reba 2011

Finding love against all odds is a strong point for Reba and through my 25 years of being a fan, she’s given me hope when I didn’t think there was any.

On this album, “That’s When I Knew” would give any man or woman faith that love is right around the corner and it’s my favorite song on “Love Somebody”.

Reba excels at upbeat anthems, too, and there are many on “Love Somebody”.

“Livin’ Ain’t Killed Me Yet” and “Until They Don’t Love You” are great, and then there’s the simplistic beauty of the mid-tempo, “Promise Me Love”.

When there’s a new Reba album, I admit that I’d be disappointed if there wasn’t a song that doesn’t truly rip your heart out and bring you to tears.

On her recent efforts, “Moving Oleta” (from “Room To Breathe”) and “Roses” (from “So Good Together”) come to mind.

On “Love Somebody”, that song is “Love Land”.  After I got over the mindset that the mother didn’t want her daughter to have a child outside of marriage, the message song brought me to tears — first, of sadness and then, happiness.

Reba Love Somebody

“Love Somebody” is a solid album and it makes you realize how much Reba has brought to country music over the past forty years.  It also makes it clear how much she could offer country music radio if it looked beyond ageism.

This is Reba’s best album since 2004’s “Room To Breathe”.

GRADE:  B+

My favorite tracks:  “That’s When I Knew”, “Just Like Them Horses”, “Promise Me Love”, “Until They Don’t Love You”, “Going Out Like That”, and  “Enough”.

Here’s a Reba bonus.

Last summer, before it was announced that Reba was working on “Love Somebody”, she released “Pray For Peace”, featuring her good friend, Ronnie Dunn, of Brooks & Dunn, and her daughter-in-law, Kelly Clarkson.

It’s featured on the new album.

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Random Friday Thoughts — February 21, 2014

My favorite two days of the week are upon us — the weekend.  Okay, technically, those aren’t “days”.  But, I’m sure you get the point.

Whatever you have planned, make the best of it and enjoy.  Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

FIVE YEARS!  HERE’S TO FIVE MORE…

Saturday marks the fifth year that Ray and I met in person for the first time.  While we chatted before then, we had drinks for the first time on February 22, 2009.   It was champagne and we hit it off rather well and after he left, Miss ABBA, the golden, and I talked and agreed that he was worth a second date.

That came a couple of days later with lunch at Exotic Thai in Moline and the rest is history, as they say.

Here’s one of our first pictures together from the spring of 2009!

Ray Anthony Spring 2009

To mark five years together, we’ll have champagne this weekend and go have lunch at Exotic Thai Monday.  We do that each year to mark those dates and Miss ABBA is still with us — in our hearts.

“LOOKING”

The eight episode, HBO series, “Looking”, is about three gay friends in San Francisco looking to find themselves and love.

Looking

It stars Jonathan Groff, who is best known for his Tony Award-nominated and Grammy Award winning role on Broadway in “Spring Awakening” and on “Glee” as Jesse St. James.  He also voices the character of Kristoff in the worldwide Disney smash, “Frozen”.

Frozen

“Looking” has been criticized as “boring” and lacking diversity, even with one of the leads and a major recurring character being Hispanic.

I love the show.  It’s funny and it’s sexy.  My only gripe is that there’s only eight episodes and they’re only 30 minutes long!

Here’s the trailer and remember that it’s HBO, so there are so are some adult themes.

I have to admit that I have a crush on Patrick, Groff’s character.  Or, maybe I just have a crush on Groff?

JENNIFER NETTLES IS AN ALLY

Jennifer Nettles, the leader singer of the country duo Sugarland and a married mother of a one-year-old boy, is a friend of the LGBT community.

jennifer-nettles

Nettles tells PrideSource that country music is slowly evolving and becoming more accepting.  “It’s exciting to see within the country genre, yet at the same time, for me in terms of social motivation and evolution and moving forward, I always feel — be it within a music genre or a religious movement or whatever — like, ‘OK, come on, let’s move faster. Let’s get there faster. Let’s get it done.”

She adds, “This should have already been behind us. So I am excited about it, but I want it to continue and be more.”

Sugarland, featuring former member Kristen Hall, who is a lesbian, took “Something More” to #2 on the Billboard Country chart in 2005, from their debut album, “Twice The Speed of Life”.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Sarah Palin Olympics Shoveling SnowSummer Hot

ONE FOR THE RECORD BOOKS

We’ve had a lot of snow this winter.  We’re now up to 54.3″ in the Quad Cities.

21714 Snow Update

That makes this the 5th snowiest winter on record (and the snowiest since I moved to the Quad Cities in November 2005)!

However, there’s some confusion.  A local newspaper and some local television meteorologists are reporting it as the “snowiest winter” on record.  What they are referring to is the snowiest “meteorological winter” on record.   “Meteorological winter” is the months of December, January, and February.

But, if you use that analogy, do you magically just forget about the snow that falls in October, November, March, and April?  That’s why when we list the snowiest winters on record, the National Weather Service runs the snow totals from summer to summer to cover all the snows from the first to the last.

One thing that isn’t confusing.  It’s the snowiest February on record in the Quad Cities with 21.8″!

Here’s a cool shot of the solar lights around our fish ponds trying to shine through the snow.

Snow globes

Gretel is definitely making the most of the snowy winter.

Gretel Snow HillGretel in Snow

At this point last winter, we had only picked up 14.5″ of snow in the Quad Cities!

“MOST UNPLEASANT CITY RIVALING SOCHI”

How would you like to win that honor?  Russia’s blantant homophobia aside, we’ve heard the less than desirable reports of hotel and facility issues with the 2014 Winter Olympics hosting city.

Now, MissTravel.com, a travel dating site, recently polled more than 3,000 people and asked what the “most unpleasant city rivaling Sochi” is and the winner (or loser) was Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.

In second place was New Delhi, the capital of India.  Also ranking high on the list was Rio de Janerio, the site of the 2016 Summer Olympics!

Two American cities also made the list, Detroit, Michigan and Youngstown, Ohio.

I lived and worked in Youngstown for years from the late 1990s until the summer of 2002 and met some really nice people there.  I hope I don’t lose friends over what I’m going to say.  And, to put a positive spin on the dubious “honor”, I’ll start with a nice photo of Youngstown.

Youngstown 2

When I talk to people about all the places I’ve lived (there have been ten), I refer to the former booming steel town as “the most deplorable city I’ve ever lived.”

I know the loss of the steel mills and jobs, rampant crime, and mob activity took its toll.  From 1930-1960, more than 165,000 people called Youngstown home.  In 2012, the population is down almost 100,000 people to just around 65,000!

Youngstown 1

Sorry, Youngstown.  I guess I’m not alone.

SERIOUSLY, BILLY RAY CYRUS IS BACK ON THE CHART AGAIN!

I was still living in Kentucky, in 1992, when “Achy Breaky Heart, by Billy Ray Cyrus was so popular.  It spent five weeks at #1 on the Billboard Country chart and reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100.

At the time, I was appalled by the song and the fact that we were both from Kentucky.  I was okay with the down home country image that Loretta Lynn portrayed to the world about the Bluegrass state, but not with Cyrus!

Then, when Reba appeared on “TV Guide” with him, I just about died.

Reba Billy Ray Cyrus

Now, I have to admit that I took a chance and listened to the new Buck 22 song, “Achy Break 2”, which features Miley’s dad!  And, Billy, you rock now.

“Achy Breaky 2” is at #80 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is up to #11 on the Hot Rap songs chart!

So, to make amends, here’s a more recent picture of Reba and Billy Ray.

More recent Reba BRC

Billy Ray, this is my sincerest apologies for disliking you so much more than twenty years ago!

One final note is that Buck 22 is Damon Elliott, a well-respected music producer and the son of singer Dionne Warwick!

“ENOUGH SAID”

This little romantic comedy that made $21.8 million at the box office was one of the last roles for the late “The Sopranos” star James Gandolfini.

Enough Said

He and Julia Louis-Dreyfus play a couple of divorcees, Albert and Eve, who meet at a party and start dating.  The only problem is that Eve is the masseuse of Albert’s ex-wife and she starts filling Eve’s head with all of Albert’s faults.

The movie is very touching and very funny.  It’s hilarious to watch these two awkward adults fall for each other.

GRADE:  B+

“CARRIE”

I absolutely love the 1976 original with Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie.

Carrie

So, I didn’t have an opinion one way or the other when I heard that a remake was coming out.  I love director Kimberly Peirce’s “Boys Don’t Cry”, so having her behind the movie helped.  It was also a positive that stars Chloe Grace Moretz (“Let Me In”) and Julianne Moore are incredible.

Carrie

While some of the special effects were awesome, the high school drama seemed very Disney and silly.  Maybe it’s because the original was so creepy that the suspense never built up for me in this one.

For a dollar in Redbox, you might enjoy it.  Otherwise, watch the original.

GRADE:  C

“SURE OF YOU”

I finished reading my eighth book of 2014 this week, “Sure of You”, which is the sixth book in Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of The City” series.

Sure of You

While you may not have read them, you’ve likely been following along with me about the book series in my blog.

It’s now 1988, twelve years after the first book and three years after the last book, “Significant Others”.   While the book had some fun parts, this was my least favorite of the series, so far, because there wasn’t much happiness to be found.

Like real life, friends drift apart over the years and that takes place here with some of Barbary Lane’s favorite tenants.

One chance meeting in the last book leads to love in this book and that is a happy point.  However, one person becomes very successful and leaves San Fransisco and their family for fame in the “Big Apple”.

“DJANGO UNCHAINED”

I finally got around to seeing my first Quentin Tarantino movie, “Django Unchained”.

Dja

The lengthy, Oscar-winning movie for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Christop Waltz was entertaining and fun.  However, it too long and too much of a joke.

Maybe that was the intent — to make you laugh through the horror that was slavery in America.  Even the shoot outs were jokey and fake with the overkill of blood.  Don’t get me wrong, I love “The Walking Dead”, “Dexter”, “Hannibal”, and “American Horror Story”.  So, I can handle the blood.

After seeing this, I’m really ready to see this subject matter handled accurately with “12 Years A Slave”!

GRADE:  B-

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

In 2014, I’m taking a break from the 1980s music and featuring some of the country songs I loved growing up and when I listened to more country before going pop!

I remember a couple of my favorites from Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers Band.

Gatlin Brothers

From 1973 until their last hit in 1989, the trio reached the Top 40 on the Billboard Country chart 34 times.  Of those, 17 made the Top Ten and 3 topped the chart.

My favorites were “Broken Lady” (#5, 1976) and “All The Gold In California” (#1, 1979).

When researching Larry Gatlin for the chart information, I was surprised to see that he’s very conservative (not a problem) and a regular contributor for Fox News (less comfortable).  So, I was concerned about featuring the song because I didn’t want to promote him if he was anti-gay.  But, I haven’t come across anything to point to that.  Hopefully that proves that you can be a “Christian” and not be anti-gay!

Granted, if I learn otherwise about Gatlin, I’ll come in and delete this and that will be another blog topic altogether!

THAT’S IT FOR THIS WEEK

I hope you have a fantastic weekend.  Other than the plans I mentioned earlier, I’m having lunch with Ray and my sister, Tammy, Saturday and enjoying a blizzard tonight!

No, you didn’t miss a weather report.  I’m talking about a Red Velvet Cake Blizzard, silly!

Red Velvet Blizzard

After posting this blog early Friday morning, I added this line Friday afternoon because my local Dairy Queen was out of Red Velvet Cake blizzard!

That might be a good thing because I’m getting mixed reviews about them.  Some say they weren’t good, but I also heard that they excellent.  Oh well, better luck with the next blizzard, Peeps!

Anthony