New releases for Aug. 30, 2011: Stoney LaRue releases new album “Velvet”; Ryan Merriman stars in “The 5th Quarter”
Red dirt music star Stoney LaRue, who lives in Edmond, is releasing today his long-awaited new studio album “Velvet,” the follow-up to his debut studio effort, 2005′s “The Red Dirt Album.”
“Everybody wants a reason. I’ve been getting that a lot, like ‘why did it take so long?’ Well, I don’t know, but it’s like so the art doesn’t suffer,” LaRue told me in a recent phone interview from the road in Montana.
“We recorded (2007′s) ‘Live at Billy Bob’s’ two weeks after I put my band together, which is kind of unheard of. So then after that we released the album and it kind of took off from there. And I spend a lot of time touring, and what I mean (by) a lot of time is 262 days … a year, and when you’re traveling that much, it’s hard to find time for other things. It became a priority that I put out another album and that I start writing a lot more. I never stopped writing, but I started collaborating a little bit more and really focusing on it.”
“As far as the reason, I would just say that art kind of produces itself when it’s supposed to. I don’t want to make excuses; I’m no good at it,” he added with a laugh.
Although he has been honing his craft onstage for 12 years, the indie musician considers “Velvet” his first truly professional recording experience, and he was able to line up top-notch talents to help him. Frank Liddell, who has helmed projects by Tishomingo resident Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram and Lee Ann Womack, signed on to produce “Velvet.” Along with connecting him with renowned session musicians and backing vocalists — including Liddell’s wife Womack and Sarah Buxton — the producer also paired LaRue with Nashville, Tenn.-based singer-songwriter Mando Saenz, who co-wrote nine of the album’s 10 tracks.
To read more of my recent interview with Stoney, click here. And look for my review of “Velvet” in the coming days.
Among new DVDs, Choctaw-born and bred actor Ryan Merriman stars in the indie inspirational sports drama “The 5th Quarter.”
“The 5th Quarter” is based on the true story of Wake Forest linebacker Jon Abbate (Merriman), whose younger brother Luke was killed in a February 2006 car accident. After the devastating loss, Jon struggles to cope and ultimately decides to honor his brother’s love for the game by “playing for two” during the 2006 football season. Jon switches his jersey number to Luke’s No. 5, and he and his family begin holding up five fingers during the fourth quarter as a tribute to Luke. Before long, the rest of the crowd and even rival teams adopt the practice.
With Jon and his teammates playing inspired football, the Demon Deacons, predicted to finish last in their division, embark on a record-setting winning season, culminating in an Atlantic Coast Conference championship.
Here is a list of new CDs, DVDs and books out this week, and there’s several promising new albums out for music fans. The list is compiled from Amazon.com and VideoETA.com:
Stoney LaRue, “Velvet.”
Red Hot Chili Peppers, “I’m With You.”
Lil Wayne, “Tha Carter IV.”
Robert Earl Keen, “Ready for Confetti.”
Glen Campbell, “Ghost On The Canvas.”
Lenny Kravitz, “Black and White America.”
Ry Cooder, “Pull Up Some Dust & Sit Down.”
Jake Owen, “Barefoot Blue Jean Night.”
Puddle Of Mudd, “Re:(disc)overed.”
David Guetta, “Nothing But the Beat.”
Edwin McCain, “Mercy Bound.”
The 5th Quarter
Cougar Town: The Complete Second Season
Desperate Housewives: The Complete Seventh Season
Forks Over Knives
House: Season 7
Nikita: The Complete First Season
Sons of Anarchy: Season Three
Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family
The Vampire Diaries: The Complete Second Season
Just My Type: A Book About Fonts by Simon Garfield
Kill Me If You Can by James Patterson, Marshall Karp
The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir by Dick Cheney, Liz Cheney
The Cut by George Pelecanos
The 39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers Book 1: The Medusa Plot by Gordon Korman
Only Time Will Tell (The Clifton Chronicles) by Jeffrey Archer
1105 Yakima Street (Cedar Cove) by Debbie Macomber
A Trick of the Light: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel (Chief Inspector Gamache Novels) by Louise Penny
One Grave at a Time: A Night Huntress Novel by Jeaniene Frost
Today’s featured event:
NORMAN – Go like a “Bat Out of Hell” to hear Meat Loaf at 8 tonight at Riverwind Casino, 1544 W State Highway 9. Information: 322-6464 or www.riverwind.com.
For more events, go to www.wimgo.com.
Teen music sensation Greyson Chance, 14, of Edmond, will perform the National Anthem at 7:30 Eastern/6:30 Central tonight as part of the opening-night festivities of the U.S. Open, the final grand slam tennis tournament of the year. Fans can watch him perform live from Queens, N.Y., on ESPN2.
Box office report for Aug. 29, 2011: “The Help” stays afloat in top spot as Hurricane Irene blows through
“The Help” swept to the top of the box-office charts for the second weekend in a row, even as many remaining East Coast theaters closed as Hurricane Irene blew through, reports the Associated Press. The movie adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s best-selling novel needed just $14.5 million to retain the top spot, even with the opening of three new movies – the Sony actioner “Columbiana,” FilmDistrict’s horror remake “Don’t be Afraid of the Dark” and the Weinstein Co. comedy “Our Idiot Brother.”
Business was strong Friday night for “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” in the New York City area, but as the storm crept closer Saturday, theaters either closed or became ghost towns, Bob Berney, FilmDistrict’s Oklahoma City-born head of distribution, told the AP.
Berney said he stopped by a theater complex in suburban Westchester County Saturday night and only about 25 people had turned out for 7:30 p.m. shows.
“It was just dead,” Berney said. “They were open but no one was there, whereas in Manhattan, I think all the theaters were closed.”
Here are the top 10 movies over the weekend, from the AP:
1. “The Help,” Disney, $14,536,118, 2,778 locations, $5,233 average, $96,833,423, three weeks.
2. “Colombiana,” Sony, $10,408,176, 2,614 locations, $3,982 average, $10,408,176, one week.
3. “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” Fox, $8,867,741, 3,346 locations, $2,650 average, $148,674,018, four weeks.
4. “Don’t be Afraid of the Dark,” FilmDistrict, $8,525,728, 2,760 locations, $3,089 average, $8,525,728, one week.
5. “Our Idiot Brother,” Weinstein Co., $7,011,631, 2,555 locations, $2,744 average, $7,011,631, one week.
6. “Spy Kids: All the Time in the World,” Weinstein Co., $6,007,180, 3,305 locations, $1,818 average, $21,990,229, two weeks.
7. “The Smurfs,” Sony, $4,754,766, 2,861 locations, $1,662 average, $125,948,234, five weeks.
8. “Conan the Barbarian,” Lionsgate, $3,185,094, 3,015 locations, $1,056 average, $16,660,669, two weeks.
9. “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” Warner Bros., $3,108,178, 1,577 locations, $1,971 average, $69,732,502, five weeks.
10. “Fright Night,” Disney, $3,103,227, 3,114 locations, $997 average, $14,281,778, two weeks.
EW.com has a free stream available today of “More Than You’ll Ever Know,” the new single from R&B vocal group Boyz II Men featuring Tulsa-bred four-time Grammy-nominated singer Charlie Wilson of GAP Band fame.
“More Than You’ll Ever Know” will be released Tuesday on iTunes. It will be featured on Boyz II Men’s upcoming album “Twenty,” a celebration of their two decades in the business that features both new songs and reworkings of their hits.
Known for their four-part harmonies, Boyz II Men became the most commercially successful R&B group of all time in the 1990s. On “Twenty,” the quartet will have become a trio, having bid farewell to original member Michael McCary.
Click here to listen to “More Than You’ll Ever Know.”
For the second consecutive year, Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland will host “CMA Country Christmas.” The television special, which is produced by the Country Music Association, will feature many of today’s top country artists and will air on the ABC Television Network later this year during the holiday season.
“CMA Country Christmas” will tape in front of a live audience on Thursday, Nov. 10 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. Performers, television airdate, and ticket information will be announced soon.
“I love holiday traditions and am so excited to add hosting ‘CMA Country Christmas’ to my new list of traditions now!” said Nettles in a news release. “I’m gonna have to up my game this second time around, so I’m putting Brad and Carrie on speed dial for hosting emergency consulting services!”
“We are excited to welcome Jennifer back as host for ‘CMA Country Christmas’ again this year,” said Steve Moore, CMA Chief Executive Officer, in the release. “In addition to her vast musical talent, Jennifer is also a charming and engaging television personality. We know our fans and viewers will be excited to watch Jennifer host our holiday special again this year.”
The “CMA Country Christmas” taping will follow the 45th Annual CMA Awards, hosted by Brad Paisley and Checotah native Carrie Underwood, which airs live from the Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 9 on the ABC Television Network.
The first “CMA Country Christmas” featured Oklahoma native Reba McEntire, Rascal Flatts (which includes Picher-bred guitarist Joe Don Rooney), Sheryl Crow, Little Big Town, Martina McBride, Brad Paisley, LeAnn Rimes, Darius Rucker and Sugarland performing classic Christmas songs. In 2010, the special built sharply on its lead-in (+22%) and drew an average audience of 7.3 million viewers in its first airing on Nov. 30, 2010, topping original competition on NBC and FOX by wide margins. It improved its time period for ABC over the same night in 2009 by 1.0 million viewers (7.3 million vs. 6.3 million). The special re-aired a second time on Dec. 22, 2010, reaching 4.25 million viewers. With its combined airings, “CMA Country Christmas” was seen by more than 11.5 million viewers in 2010.
The return of the holiday special is surely welcome good news for Sugarland, whose planned performance earlier this month at the Indiana State Fair turned into a tragedy when strong winds and stormy weather toppled the stage rigging, killing seven fans and injuring many more.
Nettles has won four CMA Awards as one-half of Sugarland (CMA Vocal Duo of the Year 2007-2010). She won an additional award on her own when she received the CMA Song of the Year Award for writing the duo’s hit single “Stay” in 2008. As part of Sugarland, she has sold more than nine million albums. The duo’s current album is “The Incredible Machine.”
Country superstar Brad Paisley’s duet “Remind Me,” with fellow country superstar and Checotah native Carrie Underwood has hit the No. 1 spot on both the Billboard and Country Aircheck country airplay charts this week.
“Remind Me” becomes Paisley’s 20th No. 1 single and Underwood’s 14th No. 1 single, according to a news release.
Written by Paisley, Chris DuBois and Kelley Lovelace, “Remind Me” is Paisley’s third single from his gold-certified album, This Is Country Music. In addition to hitting the top of the airplay charts, the single was certified gold earlier this month by the RIAA for sales exceeding 500,000 downloads. “Remind Me” has already surpassed 750,000 digital downloads.
Paisley and Underwood will team up once again on Nov. 9 when they co-host “The 45th Annual CMA Awards” live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on ABC. This year’s show marks the fourth year that the duo has co-hosted the show together.
Red dirt music star Stoney LaRue, who lives in Edmond, is heralding the arrival of his long-awaited new studio album “Velvet” with a CD release show tonight at the Wormy Dog Saloon, 311 E Sheridan.
In a recent phone interview, the singer/songwriter/musician said he is as excited to get the album into fans’ hands as they are to finally hear it. “Velvet” is the follow-up to his debut studio effort, 2005′s “The Red Dirt Album.”
“I’m very excited about that. You know, I’m tired of fielding questions like ‘When you gonna do another album, dude?’ I’m tired of fielding that, but I understand what people are saying. And I understand that being a musician that makes money on the road, the fans are the people that are listening, and God bless ‘em they’re truly my bread and butter. I have a direct connection with ‘em and I like to see ‘em happy,” LaRue said.
Although he has been honing his craft onstage for 12 years, the indie musician considers “Velvet” is first truly professional recording experience, and he was able to line up top-notch talents to help him. Frank Liddell, who has helmed projects by Tishomingo resident Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram and Lee Ann Womack, signed on to produce “Velvet.” Along with connecting him with renowned session musicians and backing vocalists — including Liddell’s wife Womack and Sarah Buxton — the producer also paired LaRue with Nashville, Tenn.-based singer-songwriter Mando Saenz, who co-wrote nine of the album’s 10 tracks.
“The writing is a direct reflection of what I’m feeling and every emotion that is involved with that,” he said.
The tone, sound and content of the new album all reflect LaRue’s life right now – and his life has changed a lot since 2005.
“There’s a lot of layers to it, and so it’s really cool to see what people kind of hit on,” LaRue added. “I do enjoy writing and playing music and to be quite honest — I don’t want this to sound the wrong way — I don’t write for other people. Writing is just something that’s necessary; it’s just part of my genome, if you will. At the end of the day, of course, I want it to sound good … but I want it to sound good for me. I do play music for me and I play music for you, but when I’m writing it, I’m not thinking, ‘I wonder what Sally Johnson is gonna think about this.’”
To read more of my recent interview with Stoney, click here. And look for my review of “Velvet” in the coming days.
Stoney LaRue “Velvet” CD release show
When: 8 p.m. Monday.
Where: Wormy Dog Saloon, 311 E Sheridan.
Cost: Free. CDs will be available at the door. First come, first served.
Information: 601-6276 or www.wormydog.com.
Tulsa-born singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist St. Vincent will be the musical guest tonight on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” which begins at 10:35 p.m. on CBS (KWTV-9 here in Oklahoma City).
St. Vincent will perform music from her upcoming album “Strange Mercy,” due out Sept. 13. “Strange Mercy” will be the follow-up to her 2009 sophomore effort “Actor,” which made my top 10 list for that year.
She released last week her new music video, “Cruel,” in which she is kidnapped, held at gunpoint and eventually buried alive but manages to sound downright ethereally beautiful doing it:
Country music power couple Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert, who live in Tishomingo, share a notoriously sly sense of humor, and they use it to its full effect in this video announcement.
Shelton indicates that he and his wife have finally decided to bow to fan pressure and work on an album together. But before fans can even get out the first squeal of delight, country standout Neal McCoy wheels in to announce that the couple is working together on his new album.
McCoy and the couple are good friends; he even performed at their star-studded wedding in May.
The new album will be the follow-up to McCoy’s 2005 release “That’s Life,” and with those three collaborating on it, the record seems sure to be both tuneful and hilarious.
Don’t forget, Lambert will be featured on a special edition of “Dateline” airing at 9 tonight on NBC. For more information on tonight’s interview between Lambert and Hoda Kotb, click here.