Today’s featured event:
Hear Heart at 8 tonight at Riverwind Casino, 1544 West Hwy 9.
For more information, go to www.riverwind.com.
For more events, go to www.wimgo.com.
The song that has been on my brain the most this week:
- “You,” Collective Soul, from the new album “Collective Soul” (AKA “Rabbit”).
Since I received my advance copy of the new Collective Soul album a week or so ago, I’ve listened to it with the kind of single-mindedness only a diehard fan can embrace.
In my album review, which I posted here earlier today, I praised the Georgia rockers for their incredible track record of producing superb power ballads.
For this week’s FFT, I want to highlight my favorite of these ballads, the gorgeous “You.” This ballad really soars, with frontman/songwriter Ed Roland passionately paying tribute to his lover without ever getting into the soppy cliches that bog down so many love songs.
Interestingly, “You” is the first song that Collective Soul has ever written as a unit, according to press notes for the album.
The song is Collective Soul at its pop finest and ranks up there with “Tremble for My Beloved” and “Under Heaven’s Skies” as the band’s best ballads.
Carrie Underwood sings with Kenedee Rittenhouse, a fifth-grader, at an assembly where Underwood’s C.A.T.S. Foundation donated musical instruments to Checotah Schools this morning. (Photo by Mike Simons/Tulsa World)
NewsOK’s talented host Dave Morris and videographer David Jones traveled to Checotah today to cover Carrie Underwood’s big donation of $117,000 in new instruments for her hometown school district’s music programs.
The donation comes through Underwood’s new Checotah Animal, Town and School Foundation (C.A.T.S.) and the Academy of Country Music’s charitable arm, ACM Lifting Lives.
Check out this NewsOK video of the assembly in which Underwood surprised students with the big news and treated them to a special performance, as well as Morris’ interview with the country music superstar. (Great job to the two Daves for their superb work in Checotah.)
With the runaway success of the title track, the release date for Toby Keith’s upcoming album “American Ride” has moved into the fast track.
The Oklahoma country music star will release the album on his own label, Show Dog Nashville, on Oct. 6, his publicist announced today. That’s one week earlier than the originally planned Oct. 13 launch.
Keith and his label made the decision to move up the album after enthusiastic response to the first single, also titled “American Ride.” The song is the fastest-rising single of Keith’s career since his huge 2002 hit “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American),” according to a news release.
“American Ride” has reached the top 10 on all the major singles charts. It ascended to No. 9 on the Billboard Top Country Songs list after just eight weeks, making it one of the week’s biggest-gaining singles in sales and airplay.
The animated music video for “American Ride” also has fueled the song’s success. The politically-charged video takes hits at President Barack Obama, former President George W. Bush, terrorists, Wall Street, tabloids, Donald Trump, YouTube and more.
The video jumped to No. 2 on the fan-voted “CMT Top 20 Countdown” this week. It also reached No. 1 on CMT.com’s High 5, meaning it is the most clicked-on video on the site.
According to the release, Keith is already the No. 4 album seller of the decade in any genre so far. The Norman resident currently is on his “America’s Toughest Tour” and will play tonight in Kelseyville, Calif., and Saturday in Las Vegas.
Carrie Underwood at the 2009 ACM Awards (Associated Press photo)
As reported earlier this morning, Oklahoma country star Carrie Underwood returned to Checotah today to announce a donation of musical instruments to her hometown school district.
Here’s more information in the form of a news release from the Academy of Country Music, who partnered with Underwood in making the donation:
Carrie Underwood’s new hometown foundation, the Checotah Animal, Town and School Foundation (C.A.T.S.) and the Academy of Country Music’s charitable arm, ACM Lifting Lives partnered to surprise students today in Checotah, Oklahoma with a gift valued at more than $117,000 in new instruments for their music programs-and a special appearance and performance by ACM Entertainer of the Year, Underwood.
Music students district-wide were invited to a special “last-minute” assembly at Checotah High School, with buses bringing Checotah Intermediate School and Checotah Middle School in for the occasion. Students and faculty alike were surprised when Checotah High Principal Brian Terry introduced Underwood to the stage, alongside Erin Spahn, Director of ACM Lifting Lives.
Spahn and Underwood then unveiled the gift, including an electric guitar and amp, electric piano and brass instruments such as saxophones, French horns, tubas and much more. The instruments will be shared throughout the Checotah school district, and were ordered through Yamaha Corporate Artist Affairs at a special philanthropic price.
During the presentation, Underwood asked fifth-grader Kennedee Rittenhouse to join her onstage to perform “So Small,” a performance that brought the house down. Checotah High School senior Brooke Ramsey, student council president, presented Underwood and Spahn with a bouquet of roses to thank the organizations for the gift.
“We are so lucky as a school district and a town to have an ambassador like Carrie,” said Brian Terry, Principal of Checotah High School. “She was Valedictorian here and continues to be an outstanding citizen of Checotah. Today was a very special day for the students and faculty.”
“When Carrie came to us with this idea, it just seemed a natural fit,” said Erin Spahn, who met with Underwood earlier this summer to plan the gift. “The Board of ACM Lifting Lives liked the concept so well, we’ve decided to build on it. Every year, we will present a matching gift opportunity to the ACM Entertainer of the Year for any endeavor that uplifts through the power of music. Carrie started that ball rolling, and we’re really proud to be a part of this with her today.”
“I am so proud to have come from such a wonderful community that helped shape me as a person,” said Underwood, “and I can think of nothing better than to share the gift of music with the students in my hometown. It’s so great to be able to give back in a way that can truly better the lives of these kids and help create dreams and opportunities. I’d like to give a very special thanks to the Academy of Country Music’s ‘Lifting Lives’ for helping me make this dream come true.”
About the C.A.T.S. Foundation
Carrie Underwood announced just last week the creation of the C.A.T.S Foundation to help causes in her hometown of Checotah, Oklahoma. Privately funded, the C.A.T.S. Foundation will help with needs and services in the area of Checotah to directly impact the community. This is the first donation to the Checotah community from C.A.T.S.
About the Academy of Country Music
Founded in 1964, the Academy of Country Music is an artist- and industry-driven organization, providing the financial resources to ensure the on-going philanthropic work of ACM Lifting Lives, the charitable arm of the Academy which works to improve lives through music. The Academy is comprised of more than 3,800 professional members and more than 180,000 associate members and is headquartered in Encino, Calif. For more information, log onto www.acmliftinglives.org or www.acmcountry.com.
This donation kicks off a new ACM Lifting Lives Entertainer of the Year Matching Gift program, wherein each year the reigning ACM Entertainer of the Year will be invited to impact a community of his/her choice with a special opportunity that uplifts through the power of music, and the Academy will match funds for greater impact.
The venerable children’s TV series “Reading Rainbow” ends its 26-year run today.
The Emmy-winning show and its friendly host Levar Burton (who also starred in the series “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and the miniseries “Roots”) gently encouraged reading in multiple generations of kids over the years.
When I was growing up, it was right up there with “Sesame Street” and “Mr. Rogers” as my favorite shows. NPR.org reports that “Reading Rainbow” ends as the third longest-running PBS children’s series after those favorites.
Click here to read the story.
And sing it with me now, “Butterfly in the sky/I can fly twice as high …”
Carrie Underwood speaks at Checotah High School this morning with some of the instruments that her C.A.T.S. Foundation and ACM Lifting Lives donated to the school. (Photo by Mike Simons/Tulsa World)
Oklahoma country star Carrie Underwood returned to her hometown this morning to present $117,000 worth of musical instruments to Checotah schools.
The gift was the first donation for Underwood’s new Checotah Animal, Town, and School Foundation, which she started to help causes in her hometown. The C.A.T.S. Foundation partnered with the Academy of Country Music’s Lifting Lives program to make the donation.
The “American Idol” winner returned to Checotah High School, where she graduated, to make the announcement this morning in a surprise presentation to the district’s students.
The Oklahoman and Tulsa World partnered to cover the emotional presentation. Click here to read about it.
Carrie Underwood (Associated Press photo)
Oklahoma native Carrie Underwood will help the Grand Ole Opry promote breast cancer awareness this fall, according to the Opry Web site.
In addition to performing two shows on Oct. 2, Checotah’s favorite daughter will flip the switch to turn the Opry’s familiar backdrop pink in support of the groups Women Rock for the Cure and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
The shows also will include performances by Terri Clark and other artists to be announced as well as special activities recognizing breast cancer survivors and the continuing fight against the disease.
Currently, when fans mention “OPRYPINK” when ordering tickets via telephone or online, $5 from the ticket prices to the Oct. 2 shows will be donated to the charitable organizations.
This is just the latest charitable effort the country star has been involved with since winning “American Idol” in 2005. She has worked often on behalf of the Humane Society of the United States. She and several fellow country stars recently performed for soldiers and their families at the big “Salute to the Troops” concert at Fort Campbell, on the Kentucky-Tennessee line. Earlier this summer, she joined the nonprofit organization Teachers Count’s “Behind Every Famous Person Is a Fabulous Teacher” campaign and decorated a guitar for a special auction benefiting the Grand Ole Opry’s Opry Trust Fund.
And last week, Underwood announced the formation of the Checotah Animal, Town, and School Foundation, which will help causes in her hometown.
For more information on the “Opry Goes Pink” shows, go to www.opry.com.
From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
Collective Soul “Collective Soul” (Loud & Proud/Roadrunner Records)
Georgia-based pop-rockers Collective Soul reintroduce themselves with a sound that is both fresh and familiar on their second self-titled album.
The album, nicknamed “Rabbit” because of its cover art, follows 14 years after the band’s first eponymous record came out on Atlantic Records. The second self-named record marks the band’s return to a label after independently releasing three records on its own El Music Group.
Along with a loyal core following, the band has earned new fans the past few years as its songs have been included in the film “Twilight” and on “American Idol.” With its debut release on Loud & Proud/Roadrunner Records, Collective Soul crafts an album that both longtime and more recent followers will relish. “Rabbit” features the band’s trademark hooky songs, huge, inventive guitar riffs and singer-songwriter Ed Roland’s usually soaring but occasionally biting vocals.
The record opens appropriately with “Welcome All Again,” a driving burst of rock energy. The band switches to a glammier sound on “Fuzzy” before making another sonic shift with the post-grungy commentary of “Dig,” which resembles the hit single “Gel,” from the group’s first self-titled record.
The moody “Understanding” has the quintet playing with pop-punk flourishes and abrupt tempo changes.
“Rabbit” again proves that few pop-rock bands can top Collective Soul’s skill at producing exquisite power ballads, with Roland expressing heartfelt love without the usual clichés on “You,” “Staring Down” and “She Does.”
The album closes with the beautiful simplicity of “Hymn for My Father,” Roland’s fervent piano tribute to Ed Roland Sr., who died in 2004.
Lee Ann Womack
From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
Tulsa casino show to feature country singer Lee Ann Womack
Country singer Lee Ann Womack knows her 2000 single “I Hope You Dance,” one of the biggest country crossover hits of recent memory, continues to define her career for many people.
“It’s a curse and a blessing,” Womack said in a recent phone interview from Malibu, Calif. “Mainly it’s a blessing because … I can have a career off that one song; well, I have had a certain career off that one song. But the good thing about it is it enables me to be able to go and do what I want to do, and that’s play real traditional country music.”
The Texas native also knows that some concert-goers who come to her show Saturday at Tulsa’s Osage Million Dollar Elm Casino will be surprised to hear her honky-tonk songs and old-school ballads.
“You look out and you see a lot of kids,” she said of her shows. “But they really enjoy it. … If you play good music then that’s what really matters. While I think they may be surprised to hear (the Bob Wills’ classic) ‘San Antonio Rose’ and stuff like that, they really enjoy it.”
Traditional country songs about love, heartache and hard drinking make up much of her widely praised 2008 album “Call Me Crazy,” including the first two singles, “Last Call” and “Solitary Thinkin’.” Her seventh record puts her firmly in the same camp as like-minded neo-traditionalist George Strait: Tony Brown, Strait’s longtime producer, helmed the project, she recorded the duet “Everything But Quits” with the King of Country, and she covered “The King of Broken Hearts,” from his “Pure Country” soundtrack.
“When I was in high school, he was coming up really strong in the ’80s, you know. I just went to his shows quite a bit, listened to his records, and he was a big influence on me,” she said.
And call her crazy, but she also references late country greats such as Keith Whitley, Hank Williams and Johnny Cash on “I Think I Know” and blends love and entomology (the study of insects) on the enigmatic “The Bees,” which features Keith Urban on backing vocals.
“I think my career’s really kind of been a history of risks. I mean, for my very first single I played a song called ‘Never Again, Again,’ which was just so, so country that … some radio stations wouldn’t even play it ’cause they said, ‘You know, this is too country for today’s market.’ So, even just starting with the very first single that’s kind of what I do,” she said with a laugh.
“Sometimes I think maybe I should be more safe, but you know, I just really feel like when it comes down to choosing songs or writing songs or making decisions about my career, there’s only one thing I really know how to do and that’s not to pick the song that I think’ll have the most mass appeal but to pick the song I think is best. And that’s just how I try to make music.”
The singer-songwriter feels she is known not for as much for her commercial appeal as for her heartfelt music. Before making “Call Me Crazy,” she scrapped a planned album after she “thought the heart and soul out of it.”
“I love all kinds of music. I just happen to think that traditional country music, I just think it’s beautiful. You know, it’s American; it’s something that we can claim as our own. And I just I love the stories that country music tells; you know, it’s about real life. And I’m a fan of all those traditional country artists,” said Womack, who counts George Jones and Tammy Wynette among her influences.
As for her signature song, she said “I Hope You Dance” has given her a chance to become part of people’s real-life stories. The song is a favorite at weddings, proms, graduations, first birthdays and even funerals.
“That’s really a blessing. I mean, I get to be a part of people’s lives forever,” she said. “If I hadn’t had that song, the next generation might not even know who I was. You know, so it is a blessing and it is great to be a part of people’s lives in those great ways.
“Of course, they also use it for funerals and things like that. So, I get a lot of sad, sad stories. And that’s painful sometimes, you know, right before you walk onstage.”
Womack got to make her own family memories on her latest album with “The Story of My Life,” which features her teenage daughter Aubrie on vocals.
“I love to take her in studio. It’s great to watch your kid and think, “Gol, I can’t believe she can open her mouth and do that.’ She’s a great singer,” she said.
Lee Ann Womack with Steel Magnolia
When: 7 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Osage Million Dollar Elm Casino’s Osage Event Center, 951 W 36 Street North, Tulsa.
Information: (918) 699-7667 or www.milliondollarelm.com/event-center.