WELL, WE MADE IT THROUGH NOVEMBER…THANKSGIVING, FIREARM DEER SEASON, BLACK FRIDAY & CYBER MONDAY…NOW ONLY 24 SHOPPING DAYS TILL CHRISTMAS AND COUNTING….I LIKE GIFTS TOO, BUT WHEN DID IT BECOME ALL ABOUT HOW MUCH YOU SPEND?….BUT IF YOU ARE GONNA SPEND BIG, I’LL TAKE A USED HARLEY FATBOY!
ALL THE KIDS WILL LOVE THE NEWEST TOY FOR CHRISTMAS
Taylor Swift will be a guest on The Jay Leno Show on Friday (Dec. 4). The episode will air at 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC. In related news, the episode of Saturday Night Live featuring Swift as host and musical guest will re-air on Dec. 26 on NBC.
Taylor Swift became one of country-pop’s brightest (and youngest) faces in 2006, when the 16-year-old vocalist released her first album. Although new to the American public, Swift had been performing since early childhood, taking inspiration and encouragement from her opera-singing grandmother. She sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” before a Philadelphia 76ers game at the age of 11; the following year, she began practicing her guitar skills for several hours each day, only stopping when her fingers began to bleed. Swift’s parents realized their child’s dedication and began making regular visits to Nashville, TN, where Swift would perform casually and meet with songwriters in the area. The family then decided to move from their native Pennsylvania to an outlying Nashville suburb, which accelerated Swift’s career.
While performing at the intimate Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, Swift caught the eye of music industry veteran Scott Borchetta, who signed her to his newly formed label. Swift joined the roster at Big Machine Records and released her debut single, “Tim McGraw,” in August 2006. The song drew upon her experience as a lovelorn high-school student, a theme that Swift revisited throughout her self-titled debut album. Released in late 2008, Taylor Swift catapulted the young songwriter to stardom, spawning a handful of hits (five consecutive Top Ten singles, a new record for a female solo artist) while earning multi-platinum sales. Swift also received a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist, an award she ultimately lost to Amy Winehouse. Two subsequent EPs — Sounds of the Season: The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection and Beautiful Eyes — helped maintain Swift’s popularity while whetting public demand for her sophomore release, Fearless, which arrived in November 2008. ~ Andrew Leahey & Megan Frye, All Music Guide
SEEMS LIKE EVERYONE IS CRASHING WHITE HOUSE PARTIES NOWADAYS
When John Rich met Big Kenny in 1998, both had been through the record industry wringer. Rich had been in the country band Lonestar before launching a brief solo career. Big Kenny (whose real name is Kenny Alphin) didn’t become a full-time musician until he was in his 30s, but a big record deal and the ensuing album went nowhere, so he launched a wild outfit called luvjOi.
A friend tried to drag Rich to one of Big Kenny’s shows at a Nashville club; Rich’s response, he says, was “Big what? I don’t think I want to see anybody named that.” But he went anyway — whereupon he was whacked in face by one of the many pieces of bubblegum thrown from the stage into the audience. The two men met after the show and made tentative arrangements to write songs together. Then one or the other of them blew off the first three appointments.
When they finally did get together, they liked the first song they wrote and loved the second, “I Pray for You.” They weren’t ready to record together quite yet, so the song became Rich’s first single as a solo artist but the record label dropped him via e-mail before they put the album out.
Rich and Big Kenny became friends and writing partners, and they kept jamming at each other’s shows and clambering onstage with singer-songwriter pals like James Otto and Jon Nicholson. The casual sessions soon turned into a weekly Tuesday night gig — known as the MuzikMafia — at a small Nashville establishment called the Pub of Love.
In 2003, Martina McBride recorded Rich and Big Kenny’s song “She’s a Butterfly” for her self-titled effort and the duo landed a record deal of their own with Warner Bros. Nashville. Big & Rich debuted in February 2004 with “Wild West Show,” a bold and modern country-rocker that displayed their high-low harmony vocals. When the Horse of a Different Color album arrived later that spring, its Nashville polish was salted with MuzikMafia irreverence.
Different Color eventually topped the Billboard country chart, thanks to the breakout single, “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy.” Big & Rich returned in late 2005 with Comin’ to Your City. The music video for one of the album’s singles, “8th of November,” received a CMA nomination in 2006.
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