More than 100 artists including Garth Brooks, Dierks Bentley, Kid Rock, Megadeth and Brad Paisley took to the stage in Nashville, Tennessee on Friday night (22Nov13) to honour late country legend George Jones. The date at the city's Bridgestone Arena had originally been booked by Jones to host his final show before retirement, but the gig was transformed into a memorial concert following his death in April (13) at the age of 81.
The cream of country music turned out to honour Jones at the event, billed as Playin' Possum: The Final No Show, which was opened by Big & Rich, who sang 1965 hit Love Bug while riding lawn mowers on stage. The duo's act was a reference to the late singer's infamous drunken ride to a liquor store on a lawn mower after his wife took away his car keys.
The sold-out show featured 112 artists over four hours, including George Strait, Martina McBride, Eric Church, Emmylou Harris, Rodney Atkins, Montgomery Gentry, Thompson Square, Vince Gill and duets by married stars Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert, and Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood.
Jamey Johnson also paired with heavy metal band Megadeth to play 1998 single Wild Irish Rose, with Dave Mustaine saying of the band's inclusion in the line-up, "Heavy metal is all about rebellion, and George was definitely a rebel."
The show was closed by Alan Jackson, who performed Jones' hit He Stopped Loving Her Today and branded him "the greatest country singer that ever was".
Country veteran Reba McEntire had been due to take part in the event, but had to withdraw due to illness, and she posted an apology to Jones' widow, Nancy, on her Twitter.com page, writing, "Lost my voice tonight at the George Jones tribute. So sorry Nancy. Sure wanted to be a part of country music history."
Country duo Montgomery Gentry have been forced to cancel their Friday night (31May13) concert in Chicago, Illinois because of construction issues at the venue. The If You Ever Stop Loving Me hitmakers were scheduled to perform at the Congress Theater, but the gig has been called off because the venue does not comply with city building codes.
A post on the band's Twitter.com page on Thursday (30May13) reads, "We are sorry to report that our show in Chicago tomorrow has been canceled."
A concert that was billed as country icon George Jones' last will now be staged as a tribute to the late singer/songwriter. Jones, who died last month (Apr13), had planned to wrap up his final tour with a star-studded concert in November (13) at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, and now the big names who had signed up for the show will take the stage without the headliner.
The late star's widow Nancy says, "Everyone has been asking if we will still do the show. I have asked Garth Brooks, Kid Rock, Travis Tritt, The Oak Ridge Boys, Montgomery Gentry, Sam Moore, Charlie Daniels, Jamey Johnson and others and they all said, 'Yes, I am still going to do it'.
"So, with all the artists still planning on coming, we are going to honour George one final time."
In his last-ever interview, Jones told Country Weekly magazine he was looking forward to the November gig: "Hopefully, we're going to sell out the Bridgestone with the help of Kid Rock and a bunch of others. We're going to have all kinds of music, and I wanted it to be that way, because that's what Nashville is."
There’s a line drawn in the sand for the top 10 contestants on American Idol. On one side, we have a set of singers so perfectly packaged, so talented, so ready for action that picking a favorite is about as easy picking your favorite Internet hedgehog (I’ve tried and it’s impossible. Those suckers are universally adorable). Opposite these fantastic singers are a group of wannabes: people with decent pipes, but no spirit, no direction, and absolutely no ability to compete with the top contestants. The divide has never been more evident and unless a miracle takes place, that’s not going to change. Lucky for the women on the show, they’re all on the more promising side of the competition, especially Miss Candice Glover.
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For the incredibly loosely defined “Idol Songs” week, Candice chose “I (Who Have Nothing)” which was performed by Jordin Sparks on the show, but is actually by Ben E. King (and if we’re splitting hairs, she did the Shirley Bassey version of the song). However, bending of the theme aside, Candice brings her usual brand of unbelievable vocals to the performance, finally finding the right emotional sweet spot for her voice. In a few minutes, she jumps right to the top of heap and brings the entire panel (except Mariah, who’s trapped in a seated position by her impossibly restrictive skirt) to their feet.
Fortunately for us, she’s not the only incredible presence on that stage. Here are my rankings of this week’s Top 10:
1. Candice Glover with “I (Who Have Nothing)” as performed by Jordin Sparks (Duh)
2. Angie Miller with “Surrender” by Celine Dion and as Performed by Kelly Clarkson
While Jimmy Iovine may be concerned that Angie looks too much like a beauty pageant winner, this girl is not slowing down. Performing yet another song that feels like it’s her own, Angie has complete control over the stage, over her vocals, over Dion’s classic ballad. Here’s hoping viewers are on board too.
3. Kree Harrison with “Crying” by Roy Orbison as performed by Carrie Underwood
Again, Kree turns in an incredible performance. It’s so predictable that the lack of drama is almost annoying. Luckily, Nicki made up for the lack of surprise by comparing the happiness she hears while Kree’s singing to her favorite weekend ritual of toasting waffles, melting the butter on top in the microwave, and then covering them with “buttermilk syrup.” I’m not sure what possessed her to use that description, but am I nuts to think it’s actually kind of accurate?
RELATED: Can a Girl Really Win 'Idol'?
4. Burnell Taylor with “Flying Without Wings” by Ruben Studdard
Once again, Burnell is adorable. Incredible. Capable. Wonderful. I do miss his glasses and his goofy little baseball cap, but I can see why the stylists have made him a little more slick. The fog machine, however was cheesy. Burnell is already magical, he doesn’t need a misty lagoon to prove that. But visual annoyances aside, this performance is perfection, as usual. It’s easy for him. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: If a girl doesn’t win this year, let the winner at least be Mr. Burnell Taylor (even if that means we’ll have to watch Randy throw another parade for “the great city of Baton Rouge” — we get it, dawg, you’re from Louisiana).
5. Amber Holcomb with “A Moment Like This” by Kelly Clarkson
I want to say I loved this performance, because once again, we can see Amber’s incredible talent being put to inappropriate use. Jimmy suggested Amber do a more upbeat version of the Kelly Clarkson song, but I think perhaps what he really meant was less Mariah or Whitney Houston in the ‘90s (hey, even Mariah noticed that she stole that fan move from Miss Butterfly herself). Amber continually sings flawless ballads with so little effort it’s infuriating, but she can’t seem to make herself a contemporary artist. Rather than Clarkson’s throwback hit or even Whitney’s hits, Holcomb should try on some Beyonce or even (dare I say it) Adele. She’s wildly talented, but if she doesn’t figure out a way to update her sound, she may slip from voters’ notice.
6. Janelle Arthur with “Gone” by Montgomery Gentry as performed by Scotty McCreery
Janelle tries to follow Jimmy’s good advice and find a way to be unique and sort of succeeds, even if her vocals are slightly spotty. She tries to play a bit of the easy going bad girl, and it mostly works (Idol’s own graphics certainly weren’t helping her to lower the cheese factor though). When she’s done and the judges are confused because the big notes in the song just weren’t there, she explains that her mouth went dry while she was singing. It might be an excuse, but her vocal is a little out of whack this round.
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7. Curtis Finch, Jr. with “I Believe” by Fantasia
Here’s where I draw the line. Despite my overwhelming distaste for Curtis, I can acknowledge that the guy has a good instrument, it’s what he does with it that’s the problem. Jimmy warns him against going too old fashioned, but he can’t seem to change it up too much. He steps onto the stage in a coat made out of a square of the Windsor Castle carpet, with a gospel choir in tow. It’s the same ol’ same ol’ and everyone but Mariah is bored. When Randy comes right out and says it’s boring, it’s usually time to change it up, dawg.
8. Paul Jolley with “Amazed” by Lonestar as performed by Scotty McCreery
Paul tries to heed Jimmy’s advice to ditch the theatrics and oversinging, but he only slightly gets it. He starts off his song a little quieter, sitting at the back of the stage and resisting the urge to get to his favorite spot at the front of the stage, but all he’s really done is make his performance more bland. Again, he’s got great parts of his voice, it’s just not adding up to a potential star when he hits the stage.
9. Devin Velez with “Temporary Home” by Carrie Underwood
Jimmy tells Devin to stop aiming for old fashioned styles like those of Josh Groban and Michael Buble and unfortunately, that’s exactly what he does with this Carrie Underwood song. The most exciting thing about this performance is the new special effect the Idol set department seems to have discovered this year (where are we? A bubble galaxy? Is Devin still singing?).
10. Lazaro Arbos singing “Breakaway” by Kelly Clarkson
Once again, Lazaro proves his biggest weakness is his inability to recognize the great parts of his voice. Since this competition began, he’s never been able to pick a song that really highlights who he is. Jimmy warns him about this, but he still sings Clarkson’s hit and to uncomfortable effect. He doesn’t have the range or the connection to the song. It simply doesn’t work. I want to like Lazaro because he’s adorable and has a great backstory, but the vocals just haven’t been cutting it.
Who do you think will go home?
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler
[Photo Credit: Fox]
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Easy Rider star Peter Fonda and Terminator 2 villain Robert Patrick are to hit the open road for the 28th annual Love Ride on 23 October (11). The stars will lead the bike event from Glendale, California to Castaic Lake, where Montgomery Gentry will perform. This year's Love Ride will benefit children's charity Autism Speaks.
At some point in the early years of the 21st century a bunch of Hollywood executives must have gotten together and decided that animated films should be made for all audiences. The goal was perhaps to make movies that are simultaneously accessible to the older and younger sets with colorful imagery that one expects from children’s films and two levels of humor: one that’s quite literal and harmless and another that’s somewhat subversive. The criteria has resulted in cross-generational hits like Wall-E and Madagascar and though it’s nice to be able to take my nephew to the movies and be as entertained by cartoon characters as he is I can’t help but wonder what happened to unabashedly innocent animated classics like A Goofy Movie and The Land Before Time?
Disney’s Winnie The Pooh is the answer to the Shrek’s and Hoodwinked!’s of the world: a short sweet simple and lighthearted tale of friendship that doesn’t need pop-culture references or snarky dialogue to put a smile on your face. Directors Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall found some fresh ways to deliver adorable animation while keeping the carefree spirit of A.A. Milne’s source material in tact. Their story isn’t the most original; the first part of the film finds Pooh Piglet Tigger and Owl searching for Eeyore’s tail (a common plot point in the books and past Pooh films) and hits all the predictable notes but the second half mixes things up a bit as the crew searches for a missing Christopher Robin whom they believe has been kidnapped by a forest creature known as the “Backson” (it’s really just the result of the illiterate Owl or is it?).
The beauty of hand-drawn animation all but forgotten until recently is what makes Winnie the Pooh so incredibly magnetic. There’s an inexplicable crispness to the colors and characters that CG just can’t duplicate. It’s a more personal practice for the filmmakers and should provide a refreshing experience for audiences who have become jaded with the pristine presentation of computerized imagery. The film is bookended by brief live-action shots from inside Robin’s room an interesting dynamic that plays up the simplicity of youth ties it to these beloved characters and brings you right back to memories of your own childhood.
With a just-over-an-hour run time Winnie the Pooh is short enough to hold the attention of children but won’t bore the parents who will love the film mainly for nostalgic musings. Still it’s the young’uns who will most enjoy this breezy bright and enchanting film that proves old-school characters can appeal to new moviegoers.
The Meet Mr. McNulty star passed away on 19 May (11) after suffering heart failure, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Avery's career spanned more than 50 years and one of her first major roles was playing Charlton Heston's onscreen wife in 1952 movie Ruby Gentry.
She is best remembered for starring opposite Ray Milland in hit sitcom Meet Mr. McNulty, while her other roles have included parts in Rawhide, Charlie's Angels and Perry Mason.
Avery was married to actor Don Taylor until their divorce in 1955. She is survived by two daughters.
The two musical movie stars play country singers in the film and one duet scene had to be filmed on a big stage - so director Scott Cooper booked them in for a slot between Montgomery Gentry and Keith on the country star's tour.
He reveals, "We had 10 minutes to shoot it. We asked Toby Keith and Montgomery Gentry, who were playing at the Journal Pavilion in Albuquerque if I could piggy back in between their shows.
"We had five cameras and 12,000 people there who were coming to see the Toby Keith show, because I felt if I didn't have real people in the audience it would never have that vitality or that electricity. We didn't tell the audience, so once they came out on stage people went nuts.
"We thought it would be a great surprise if people discovered Colin in the role because he's a big star and, with that, comes a lot of publicity, so we wanted to keep it a secret but they had their phones taping it and it was on YouTube that night."
The 34th Annual Country Music Association (CMA) Awards were deep in the land of Dixie --Dixie Chicks, that is.
The Dixie Chicks took home four awards including the top prize, Entertainer of the Year, at the 34th annual Country Music Association (CMA) Awards show on Wednesday night, October 4th. In addition, they won best vocal group for the third straight year, and their newest release, "Fly", ended up winning the award for best album. The Dixie Chicks, Natalie Maines, Emily Robison and Martie Siedel, have now scored nine CMA wins since their debut blockbuster album, "Wide Open Spaces", became the biggest-selling record ever by a country group.
The Chicks weren’t the only big winners of the night, though. The super couple of Tim McGraw and Faith Hill both won big, with McGraw being crowned Male Vocalist of the Year and Hill winning Female Vocalist of the Year. Lee Ann Womack and the group Sons of the Desert shared the award for Single of the Year, with their song, "I Hope You Dance," which also helped its writers, Mark Sanders and Tia Sillers, win the award for Song of the Year. Montgomery Gentry won for Vocal Duo of the Year.
Other big wins went to the titanic team-up of George Strait and Alan Jackson, as their duet, "Murder on Music Row," a tune that slams the country music industry for its pop-oriented productions, was named the Vocal Event of the Year. Brad Paisley, a new face on the scene, won the Horizon Award for his debut album. Finally, Hargus Pig Robbins was named Musician of the Year. Congratulations to all of the winners!
Remember when going to an awards show was exciting, when winning one of them fancy paperweights was kinda cheesy cool? No? Then you must be Shania Twain. The country-pop diva sat out her third consecutive envelope-opening show Wednesday night, skipping the 35th Annual Academy of County Music Awards, even as she won the top prize -- named Entertainer of the Year.
The Dixie Chicks, Faith Hill and Lonestar were the night's multiple winners, taking home two trophies each. In a twist, all managed to show up and accept their ACM hats in person.
As for Twain? She was said to be living the life of good country people, albeit from her home in, um, Switzerland. (Little known fact: "Shania" is a name of Native American origins, meaning: "Let them eat cake.") This year, Twain previously was a no-show at the Grammys and the American Music Awards.
In lieu of Twain, cute couples were the order of the night. Hill was named best female singer; husband Tim McGraw, best male singer. Clint Black and acting spouse Lisa Hartman Black were honored for their collaboration, "When I Said I Do."
Dolly Parton hosted the CBS-televised ceremony, held at that mecca of twang otherwise known as Los Angeles' Universal Ampitheatre.
Here's a look at the night's big winners:
Entertainer of the year: Shania Twain Male vocalist: Tim McGraw Female vocalist: Faith Hill Duet or group: Dixie Chicks Album: ''Fly,'' Dixie Chicks Song: ''Amazed,'' Lonestar Single: ''Amazed,'' Lonestar New male vocalist: Brad Paisley New female vocalist: Jessica Andrews New group or duet: Montgomery Gentry Vocal event of the year: ''When I Said I Do,'' Clint Black and Lisa Hartman Video: ''Breathe,'' Faith Hill Pioneer award: Tammy Wynette