AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS MALE COUNTRY ARTIST OF THE YEAR
COUNTRY MUSIC ASSOCIATION “EVENT OF THE YEAR” WINNER (WITH BRAD PAISLEY FOR “START A BAND”)
Although born in New Zealand and raised in nearby Australia, Keith Urban made his biggest splash in Nashville, where he helped rewrite the rules of contemporary county music. By embracing drum loops and elements of Top 40 pop, Urban wrote songs that appealed to a wide audience, effectively satisfying his Nashville fans without alienating those more accustomed to pop music. He also became a genuine celebrity, known for his good looks, marriage to Nicole Kidman, and outspoken battle with alcoholism. Even so, it was the music that maintained Urban’s career, from his work with the Ranch during the late ’90s to the acclaimed solo albums that followed.
Keith Urban began learning guitar as a six year-old. His father, the owner of a local convenience store, agreed to hang a guitar teacher’s flyer in his shop window in exchange for free lessons. The lessons went to his son, who demonstrated natural talent on the instrument and won several talent competitions while still in elementary school.
Released in 1999, the self-titled Keith Urban spawned four hit singles and helped paved the way for his successful solo career in America. A tour in support of that album saw Keith Urban opening for such major acts as Dwight Yoakam, Faith Hill, and Tim McGraw, as well as headlining his own shows. Urban found increased success with 2002’s Golden Road, which sent three singles to the top of the country charts and went triple platinum in the U.S., as well as 2004’s Be Here, which bested the feats of its predecessor by selling over four million copies. Keith Urban was now a contemporary country superstar, replete with Grammy nominations and paparazzi attention, and his label capitalized on that attention by reissuing the Ranch’s debut album later that year. An anthology of Urban’s work, Days Go By, followed in 2005.
The next year, Urban continued to attract media attention with his highly publicized engagement (and June marriage) to fellow Australian Nicole Kidman, plus his voluntary entry into a rehabilitation center for alcohol abuse. He temporarily postponed all his upcoming promotional appearances, although the album Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing was released that November as scheduled. It failed to produce a number one hit (the first of Urban’s solo albums to do so), but Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing nevertheless went double platinum in America, aided in part by a successful tour with Carrie Underwood. Urban returned to the top of the charts in 2008 with a re-recorded version of “You Look Good in My Shirt,” which had originally appeared on 2002’s Golden Road. The new version appeared on his latest compilation record, Greatest Hits: 18 Kids, and its success helped pave the way for Urban’s next solo album. Released in 2009, Defying Gravity found the artist ruminating on life with Nicole Kidman during chart-topping tracks like “Sweet Thing” and “Kiss a Girl.” ~ Andrew Leahey, All Music Guide
2.1 million drop-side cribs recalled
In the largest crib recall in U.S. history, more than 2.1 million drop-side cribs by Stork Craft Manufacturing are being voluntarily withdrawn because hardware failures have trapped 15 children and suffocated four.
Nearly 150,000 cribs carry the Fisher-Price logo.
The crib sides slide up and down to make it easier to lift infants. Hardware can break, deform or get lost over the years. Some cribs failed because parents did not assemble them properly.
The cribs were sold from January 1993 through last month at major retailers including BJ’s Wholesale Club, J.C. Penney, Kmart, Meijer, Sears, USA Baby and Walmart stores, and online at Amazon.com, Babiesrus.com, Costco.com, Target.com, and Walmart.com. More than 1.2 million cribs were sold in the United States and almost 1 million in Canada, where Stork Craft is based.
The recall does not affect fixed-side cribs.
Read the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s new release for details about the problems, where to call for more information and how to get a free repair kit.
BLACK FRIDAY IS COMING…ARE YOU READY TO SHOP?
Birthdays for Tuesday, 11/24/09
Pete Best 68/drummer, lost his Beatles job to Ringo Starr
Donald “Duck” Dunn 68/bassist, Booker T. & the MG’s
Lee Michaels 64/singer, “Do You Know What I Mean”
Clem Burke 54/drummer, Blondie
Billy Connolly 67/Scottish actor-comedian
Dwight Schultz 62/actor, Murdock on TV’s The A-Team
Denise Crosby 52/actress, TV’s Star Trek: The Next Generation
And the late:
William F. Buckley–1924-2008/author, columnist
THE EUROPEAN UNION HAS ELECTED A NEW PRESIDENT. LISTEN TO HIS ACCEPTANCE SPEECH
Phil Vassar was born on May 28, 1964, in Lynchburg, Va., a picturesque college town that hugs the Blue Ridge Mountains. His mother stayed at home caring for him and his two younger sisters, and his father was a singer who enjoyed local and regional success, performing in a restaurant he owned and at outside venues. Although intrigued by music as a child, Vassar’s interests began leaning more towards playing ball than playing scales. In high school, he began running track, which helped him land an athletic scholarship at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va. To appease his father, who was trying to steer him towards a more conventional career, he majored in business. Ironically, it was in college that he started on a path that mirrored his father’s. Indulging his love for music, he took courses in music theory, history and business.
Vassar arrived in Nashville in 1987. He found a furnished apartment outside of town, got a job bartending at night to pay the rent and began knocking on the doors of Music Row during the day. Digging deep in the discipline and focus he developed playing sports, he learned to play the piano, sang in clubs and focused more on songwriting. He saved his money and, in 1995, bought the restaurant and club where he had been performing. A patron of the club asked Vassar to send him a tape of a couple of his songs. He sent a demo that included “Once in a While,” which he had written with another bartender. The song became his first cut when the patron’s father, Engelbert Humperdinck, recorded it.
Suddenly, things began to surge for Vassar. He wrote a song with noted Nashville writer Skip Ewing (“Mary Go Round”) and began writing with other well-known Nashville songwriters that would frequent his club to perform. That attracted music industry professionals, including publishing executive Greg Hill. Hill eventually signed Vassar to a publishing deal with EMI. Penning hits for Alan Jackson (“Right on the Money”), Collin Raye (“Little Red Rodeo”), Tim McGraw (“For a Little While” and “My Next Thirty Years”) and Jo Dee Messina (“I’m Alright” and “Bye, Bye”), Vassar was named ASCAP’s songwriter of the year in 1999.
After years of honing his energetic act in Nashville nightclubs (including one that he owned), Vassar landed a solo deal with Arista Records and released his self-titled debut album in 2000. The album’s first single, the up-tempo “Carlene,” broke into the Top 5 on the Billboard country singles chart. The follow-up, “Just Another Day in Paradise,“ became Vassar’s first No. 1 hit as a performer. Just three weeks later, McGraw’s “My Next Thirty Years” claimed the top spot. Vassar’s second album, American Child, arrived in 2002. His third, Shaken Not Stirred, led to the No. 1 hit, “In a Real Love,” in 2004.
In 2006, Vassar released Greatest Hits, Vol. 1, which offered his own hits as well as his renditions of hit songs he wrote for other artists. The first single, “Last Day of My Life,” reached No. 2 at country radio.
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