- 2009, Arista releases Carrie Underwood’s album “Play On”
– 2002, Bob Dylan (“To Make You Feel My Love”), Shel Silverstein (“A Boy Named Sue”) and Dean Dillon (“Ocean Front Property”) enter the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame during ceremonies at Loews Vanderbilt Plaza
– 1984, Willie Nelson’s remake of “City Of New Orleans” chugs to #1 on the Billboard country chart
– 1964, Roger Miller records “King Of The Road” in Nashville
- 2012, ABC launches the sitcom “Malibu Country,” with Reba McEntire portraying a country star attempting to reboot her life in California. McEntire also sings the theme song
– 2006, Brad Paisley’s “She’s Everything” video makes its TV world premiere on CMT
– 2005, Big & Rich’s Big Kenny Alphin and his wife, Christiev Carothers, have a son, Lincoln William Holiday Alphin
– 1999, DreamWorks releases Toby Keith’s album “How Do You Like Me Now?!”
- 2012, Blake Shelton wins three trophies during the 46th annual Country Music Association awards, broadcast on ABC from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. He takes Entertainer of the Year and Male Vocalist and shares Song of the Year with Miranda Lambert, for “Over You”
– 2003, Garth Brooks’ “Friends In Low Places” takes the top spot in the CMT special “40 Greatest Drinking Songs”
– 1980, Waylon Jennings goes to #1 in Billboard with “Theme From The Dukes Of Hazzard (Good Ol’ Boys)”
– 1963, Kenny Alphin is born at the Culpeper County Hospital in Culpeper, Virginia. As Big Kenny, he co-founds Big & Rich, a boundary-pushing duo that nets hits with “Lost In This Moment,” “Comin’ To Your City” and “Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy)”
- 2012, Little Big Town’s “Tornado” video debuts on CMT
– 2011, MCA releases George Strait’s single “Love’s Gonna Make It Alright” to radio
– 2006, BNA releases Kellie Pickler’s debut album, “Small Town Girl”
– 1998, Shania Twain’s “Honey, I’m Home” resides at #1 on the Billboard country chart
- 2013, Eric Church is invited to the Boston Red Sox clubhouse at Fenway Park before Game 6 of the World Series. The team plays his song “The Outsiders” to get keyed up for the game, then beats the St. Louis Cardinals, 6-1, to claim the world championship
– 2008, Alan Jackson is honored as “CMT Giants” is shot at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. Aiding in the tribute are George Strait, Miranda Lambert, Dierks Bentley, Brad Paisley and Lee Ann Womack
– 1995, Diamond Rio’s Jimmy Olander marries Claudia Fontenot
– 1984, Gary Morris opens in the New York production of the opera “La Boheme,” with co-star Linda Ronstadt at the Anspacher Theater
I’ve always loved Lee Ann Womack’s attitude, and I admire it even more because of one sentence from a feature story in the latest issue of the Nashville Scene.
In describing the music on her new album The Way I’m Livin’, she said, “I don’t drink out of Solo cups, I guess, is what I’m saying.”
I get that, and I’m right there with her. When I want a drink, I want a drink. In a glass.
And while I know Womack was probably using the Solo cup reference semi-metaphorically, to make the point that she’s grown up since her debut single “Never Again, Again” in 1997, I still think she’s on to something.
“It’s not kids’ music, you know? And it’s not me trying to be a kid, either. It’s me dealing with issues grownups deal with. I don’t drink out of paper cups anymore. I used to. I had my share of that. But not anymore,” she added.
Then again, it sounds like Womack knows she’s never been the kind of singer who leans on Friday night party anthems anyway.
“From the time I was a little girl, I was drawn to Vern Gosdin over what my friends were listening to or even Tammy Wynette,” she explains. “I heard something in their voices and in their lyrics and in steel guitar and fiddles that resonated with me.”
Throughout her career, though, Womack has done sassy (“I’ll Think of a Reason Later”), boozy (“I May Hate Myself in the Morning”), lonesome drinking (“Solitary Thinkin'”) and booty calls (“Last Call”). But she’s always done it her way.
So when you listen to Womack’s albums — all the great old ones or this great new one — it’s probably a good idea to make yourself a drink. But just make sure you swap out your red Solo cup for a double old-fashioned.
- 2012, Republic Nashville releases The Band Perry single “Better Dig Two” to radio
– 2002, Lyric Street releases Rascal Flatts’ “Melt” album
– 1996, Charlie Daniels holds Volunteer Jam XVI at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville. The unplugged affair features Lorrie Morgan, David Ball, Billy Ray Cyrus, Tracy Byrd, Tray Lawrence, John Berry, Randy Scruggs and BlackHawk
– 1990, Vince Gill takes home his first gold album, for “When I Call Your Name”
Just when you think you know a guy. From listening to four minutes of Carrie Underwood’s new “Something in the Water,” then talking with Chris DeStefano for about a half-hour, I thought I knew this songwriter pretty well.
But he’s not all songwriting cabins and Christian country.
If you look back at DeStefano’s writing credits, it kind of reads like one of the most diverse playlists you’ve ever seen. He can be the songwriter who the traditionalists love to hate, for helping pen lighthearted party tunes like Jason Aldean’s new one “Just Gettin’ Started,” Chase Rice’s “Ready Set Roll,” Chris Young’s “Aw Naw” and Luke Bryan’s “That’s My Kind of Night.”
Then he can do the girl-you’re-awesome songs, like Brett Eldredge’s “Don’t Ya,” Rascal Flatts’ “Rewind” and Billy Currington’s “Hey Girl.”
But put DeStefano in a room with Underwood, and something really special happens.
“Ever since 2011, when we first wrote together, she’s always been a great songwriter,” he told me about how her talent has always been there. “It’s just effortless with Carrie. We’re always on the same page musically and energetically. We love the same things, so we gravitate toward the same things. I’ve had nothing but great experiences with her.”
When DeStefano wrote with Underwood that year (a session that ultimately produced “Good Girl” in 2012), it was also the year he had his first country cut, with the Eli Young Band’s “Every Other Memory.”
“That song was my first country cut, but more than that, it was a turning point for me,” DeStefano said. “Now I’m living here, I found a wife here and Nashville has become such an incredible home for me. I feel like the luckiest man on the planet.”
As for his continued diversity within the country genre, DeStefano is all about that life.
“I love it all. I love being able to be energetically and emotionally diverse like that,” he said. “Sometimes people want to go out and have a good time, and sometimes it’s about digging a little deeper and finding something really meaningful that everyone can relate to, hopefully.”
- 2010, Lady Antebellum sings the national anthem at San Francisco’s AT&T Park, where the Giants beat the Texas Rangers, 9-0, in a World Series game
– 2004, Big & Rich receive their first gold single, for “Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy)”
– 1995, David Lee Murphy’s “Dust On The Bottle” turns up at #1 on the Billboard country chart
– 1972, Brad Paisley is born in Glen Dale, West Virginia. A singer, songwriter and guitarist, he blends humor and sensitivity in a career that leads to Grand Ole Opry membership and the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year award
Pack a solid pair of headphones, a menagerie of long movies and one of those cushy neck pillows. It’s gonna be a long but worthwhile flight to Australia, buddy.
But Young is already aware of this fact. His newly-announced A.M. World Tour, which will include stops in Sydney and Ipswich for the CMC Rocks the Hunter Festival next year, won’t be his first visit there, but it will mark his first visit to the fantastic city of Melbourne.
And as a fairly recent visitor to Melbourne, I’m giddy to share a few tourist tips with him.
Earlier this year, I took a lust-for-life “self-discovery” holiday to Victoria’s capital city, and it’s a million wonders I managed to find my way back to the States, honestly.
From the thriving and eclectic music scene to the insanely divine international cuisine to the incredibly warm and open people, it was truly the trip of a lifetime.
And yes, Chris, I know this is a work trip for you, and you will be focused on bringing your Aussie fans the best show you can deliver. But if you can, try not to miss out on the opportunity to experience the following:
City Arcades: In the heart of downtown Melbourne are outdoor shops, restaurants and street vendors housed on stone streets and in narrow alleyways that are absolutely charming. Grab lunch on a second floor cafe patio, and watch the street musicians and pedestrians bustling below you. And pick up some whiskey-infused chocolate from Koko Black while you are there. A taste of home!
Coffee: Aussies take their coffee very seriously … and for good reason. It may be the best coffee in the world. And everyone is a connoisseur. Whether you’re an investment banker or a Bohemian musician, you’ve got a full-blown espresso machine in your Melbourne home and know how to use it. If you’re a bean enthusiast, Chris, and are out and about, stop a local and ask them where they go and how they take their cup of Joe. And if you aren’t into coffee, there’s always the beer.
Cuisine: Two words — meat pie. An Aussie staple and a must-try. And they’re everywhere, so pop in to any shop and order one upon arrival. Authentic Thai, Vietnamese, Greek … you can eat your way through this city without blinking.
Local Music: The Melbourne music scene is so diverse and thriving. And they love country music, too. Each record store I visited boasted a well-rounded sampling of our finest artists. From Steve Earle and Emmylou Harris to Dolly Parton and Blake Shelton, everyone was represented.
The Locals: It’s true. Aussies are the greatest people on the planet. A prime example is Keith Urban. Heck, they’re so lovable, my best friend here in Nashville married one. (Smart girl!) You will not find a more openhearted, warm, laid-back and inviting culture. Do yourself a favor and make a new friend while you’re there. They’ll be a friend for life.
As he globe-trots, Young will also hit London and Dublin for the second time while also hitting a two-night run in Switzerland and making inaugural stops in Germany for dates in Munich, Cologne and Berlin.