Small Texas Town Catches Gabe Fever; John Rich Salivates

Brody Vercher | July 14th, 2008

  • Nashville Star‘s Gabe Garcia scored a couple of articles in San Antonio’s Express News, which reports that his hometown of Lytle, TX has Gabe fever. Tonight’s show is devoted to love songs and Gabe will be singing Billy Currington’s “Must Be Doing Something Right.”
  • Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban bought an 1878 two-story Georgian mansion in New South Wales without ever having visited the property themselves. Nice looking place, too.
  • Hayes Carll weighs in on his success thus far, the pros and cons of signing with a major label, and picking a producer. He insists that he’s pretty much the same guy he’s always been, except he bought his first Playgirl magazine the other day.

    “It was at a Barnes & Noble in Philadelphia or somewhere. They told me I had a write-up in the magazine, so I had to go buy it.”

    Asked about his technique for making the purchase, Carll says, “Well, I bought a bunch of books on war and put the Playgirl on the bottom. I just wanted to let them know I was a balanced guy. But when I got it, it was the country issue, so there were, like, Keith Urban, Darryl Worley. All these guys were basically naked in this magazine, and I was like, ‘Wow! They just reviewed my record and didn’t ask me to take off my clothes.”

    After you read that, watch a very well done live video of “It’s A Shame” from a 2006 performance at the Saxon Pub. (via Twangville)

  • Jewel welcomes Jessica Simpson to country music: “I really like Jessica. She’s always been such a sweet, sweet person. If I were going to give her any advice, I would say work hard and be authentic. Be true to who you are.” Does anyone else find it ironic that one crossover artist, who’s made one country album, is welcoming another?
  • Taylor Swift added a song sample, “I Heart Question Mark,” to her MySpace from her pending Wal-Mart exclusive album.
  • Dolly Parton‘s “9 to 5″ got butchered remixed.
  • On the topic of remixes, the Johnny Cash Remixed project has been getting a lot of attention lately. The project features Snoop Dogg and some of the top dance mixers and producers offering bold interpretations on Cash’s music.

    “My father made his stead by defying the expected and accepted way of things,” said John Carter Cash, who serves as an executive producer of Remixed. “He set the standard at the same time. He would have loved this remix record. While it stays true to the original recordings, this CD touches on undiscovered ground. This is what my father was about: staying true to tradition while creating groundbreaking new music.”

  • The readers of submitted questions for Joe Nick Patoski, the author of Willie Nelson: An Epic Life, and the answers were posted yesterday. One reader asked whether Willie and Waylon were estranged towards the end of Waylon’s life, to which Patoski responded, “he kind of off-handedly dodged weighing in, beyond saying Waylon was his friend.” It was also interesting to discover that Willie’s wife, Annie, doesn’t like the book.
  • In the first of a trio of articles, Ken Tucker dishes on the new Sugarland album, Love on the Inside. Jennifer Nettles calls it the purest Sugarland album yet, opting to scale things down and avoid the super-slick in favor of the raw.
  • After independently releasing That Lonesome Song, Jamey Johnson drew the attention of Mercury. Before signing, Johnson remained skeptical, but was pleasantly surprised to find out that Universal Music Group Nashville chairman Luke Lewis promised not to interfere with the creative process.

    “He looked at me and said, ‘I don’t know what y’all are doing in that studio and I don’t even care, (but) don’t mess with that sound,”‘ Johnson recalls. “I was shocked.”

    Ex-Marine Johnson had a reputation for hard drinking and getting into trouble, but “all the bad stuff was actually attractive to me,” Lewis, a Waylon Jennings fan, says with a laugh. “One of the reasons I wanted to sign him was because he did have that bad-ass reputation. I’m tired of that soccer mom sh-t.”

  • Following in the Jamey Johnson vein, Craig Shelburne relays a story about Johnson’s recent trip back to Mongtomery, Alabama where fans and TV crews flocked to him at the Hank Williams museum despite looking like a “bag of death.”
  • And in the last of the trio of articles, Ken Tucker introduces aspiring country artist Crystal Shawanda, who you might remember from Jim’s Artists to Watch series at the beginning of the year.
  • Watch Emily West‘s stellar performance of “Blue Sky” on Opry Live a couple of months ago.

  1. Stormy
    July 14, 2008 at 10:46 am

    Jeers to the person at Playgirl who decided not to have Hayes Carll take off his clothes.
    Also to Jewel who seems hell bent on ruining a perfectly healthy 10+ year relationship by making me hate her now.
    And, here’s to hoping that this isn’t one of those special, drug resistant strains of Gabe Fever.

  2. Jim Malec
    July 14, 2008 at 11:17 am

    I don’t know how anyone can listen Emily’s performance, as noted above, and not get goosebumps. That’s a country singer, right there, and that performance is dripping with passion.

  3. Matt B.
    July 14, 2008 at 11:22 am


    Listening to the samples, “I Heart Question Mark” sounds melodically similar to “Picture To Burn” while her other new song (“Beautiful Eyes,” the new title track/single) sounds like a radio hit…

  4. Matt C
    July 14, 2008 at 11:36 am

    How much do you want to bet that “I Heart Question Mark” will be written out in emoticons on the back of Taylor’s next CD?

  5. Kelly
    July 14, 2008 at 11:41 am

    I’m confused, maybe some smarter people can clue me in. When I listen to “All I Want to Do”, by Sugarland, “raw” and “stripped down” isnt what comes to my mind…thats like Julianne Hough calling her sound “organic” a few months back, isnt it??

  6. Jim Malec
    July 14, 2008 at 11:52 am

    I disagree with you here, Kelly. “All I Want To Do” may have a poppy tint because of the confectionery lyrics, but the record is actually quite sparse.

    There’s a million miles between Julianne Hough and “All I Want To Do,” musically speaking. In my opinion, the later is pop country done very well, with more emphasis on the “country” than on the pop, whereas Hough’s production is tarnished by expectations of what sounds good on radio.

    It’s easy to get lost in the all the vocal nonsense of the song, but when you really listen to the record, it’s more acoustically-based than most of what’s on country radio right now.

    I know I’m a bit of a dissenting voice on this particular topic.

  7. Kelly
    July 14, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    That makes sense to me, and upon listening to it again, I see what you are explaining. I didnt mean to compare hough and sugarland’s works in general, i just was comparing comments that the artists made about their work and how its “raw” and/or “organic”, when I view both as too slick for those types of terms.

  8. B. Jonathan
    July 14, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    Although “Rocks in Your Shoes” never quite captured me, I am incredibly impressed with this clip and Emily in general. She deserves widespread success.

    Also, from what I’ve heard of the Sugarland record, the instrumentation is not overabundant, at least through the lens of commercial country music.

    I love that Hayes Carll fella. I really do.

  9. M.C.
    July 14, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    I’m not sure why Jewel’s comments on Jessica Simpson would be considered ironic. In the context of the “People” article, it’s obvious the interviewer was talking to Jewel about singers who had been marketed as pop that are now being sold as country. Jewel doesn’t “welcome” Simpson so much as comment that she has responded warmly to her personality when meeting her and then suggests that she work hard and be authentic in what she does, because country fans respond to that. What’ wrong with that?

    I like what I’ve heard Jewel do more than what I’ve heard Simpson do, so far at least, but that’s just me. I say anyone who feels compelled to sing a country song ought to be able to do it. Maybe another Conway Twitty will emerge from the pack.

  10. Brody Vercher
    July 14, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    Matt B: I didn’t see “Beautiful Eyes” on her MySpace player, good catch.

    Kelly: I definitely feel you on that particular song, at least according to what my reactionary definition of raw is, but I see what Jim means, too. From the samples I’ve heard though, that song isn’t indicative of the rest of the album.

    M.C.: I never implied there was anything wrong with the things you mentioned, but in hindsight, I can see that in my haste to get the news up I probably took the title of the People article a little too literally. And I agree that anyone who wants to sing a country song ought to be able to do it, only I think that most crossover acts these days aren’t trying particularly hard to sing a country song.

  11. M.C.
    July 14, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    I understand, Brody, thanks for clarifying. The People story also uses the word “welcome in talking about Jewel’s comments about Simpson, but I didn’t think that was what she was doing in her comments.

    As for the crossover acts, I do think Jewel’s song “Anyone But You” is as country as most anything released on a Music Row record this year, at least this side of Ashton Shepherd and Jamey Johnson. And the other song from her album I like, “Till It Feels Like Cheating,” is pretty good contemporary country.

  12. Rick
    July 14, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    I just hope the Nashville Star viewers / voters also catch Gabe Fever in the final few installments. He is at least a competent singer, which gives him a leg up on most of the remaining competitors….

    I watched that performance of Emily West again when Opry Live replayed that episode a week ago and her vocals are like a work of fine art. Full of emotion and yet technically flawless as well. I could listen to Emily sing ballads all day…..

    Thanks for the link to the article on Crystal Shawanda. She is really a sweet gal with a lot of unique talent and I hope she succeeds here in the US as well as her native Canada. Even though her CD is scheduled for release here in the US on August 19th, its nice to know its available in Canada already in case her label pulls a “Jypsi” or “Ashley Monroe” type stunt…….

    I agree with Luke Lewis in that I too an tired of all that airhead country soccer mom sh*t! Unfortunately Top 40 radio programmers feel just the opposite….

  13. Julia
    July 14, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    The Taylor Swift songs, “Beautiful Eyes” and “I Heart Question Mark” are tracks from an upcoming Walmart Exclusive CD/DVD to keep the tweens happy in between albums, not for the sophomore record. The two tracks were supposedly written when she was thirteen and have nothing to do with the new material going on album number two.

  14. Mike Wimmer
    July 14, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    Jamey Johnson’s album will be the best album to come out from any major label this year.

    I love Luke Lewis’ comment about “the Soccer Mom Sh*t” come out of Nashville. Though, really, it’s kinda funny he says that and yet the label is the home to Sugarland, Julliane Hough, Billy Currington, Josh Turner, Reba, and other artists who dont exactly sing “Outlaw” songs.

  15. Stormy
    July 14, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    Also, Luke has nothing but raves for Shania.

  16. Matt B.
    July 14, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    Well Luke Lewis also wasn’t very fond of Toby Keith (who’s not fond of Luke Lewis either).

  17. Stormy
    July 14, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    A lot of people aren’t fans of Toby’s.

  18. leeann
    July 15, 2008 at 6:43 am

    I think one can be a fan without being fond of someone. I would consider myself a very moderate fan of Toby’s, but I’m certainly not fond of him. I’m even a very moderate fan of John Rich, but definitely not fond of him either.

  19. Brroy
    July 15, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    I saw Emily West’s Opry debut in April. She is amazing. I would much rather listen to her than Underwood or Swift (Both are totally worthless). There’s no contest, she’s real country. Not something made up to sell records to people who don’t have a clue about country music.

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