Country Music, Computer Scams, and Baseball

November 12, 2009

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The CMAs

Last night was the Country Music Association’s awards show (also know as The CMAs).  I’m not much of a fan of award shows in general, but I like country music, so it served as a good soundtrack for the evenings work (which, unfortunately, consisted of battling some annoying technical problems with the web site).

The star of the evening, to no great surprise, was Taylor Swift (see Cheri’s Nobel’s August article about Taylor here).  Taylor has been the talk of country music since bursting onto the scene as a sixteen year old in 2006.  Swift is now a veteran in the business and is rapidly approaching the advanced age of 20.  Last night was her coronation as the new queen of country music.  Not only did she nab trophies for female vocalist of the year, album of the year, and video of the year she also snatched Kenny Chesney’s crown and was named the entertainer of the year – the most prestigious honor the CMA bestows each year.  She became the youngest performer to win the award and was also the first female to win since Shania Twain a decade ago.

The show also featured a farewell performance by legendary duo Brooks and Dunn, who will hang up their guitars later this year.  Incredibly, it has been eighteen years since their debut album.  I’m really not sue what it says about me that See Jane Dance is my favorite B&D song.

Rock musicians were popping up all over the place during the show.  Darius Rucker (of Hootie and the Blowfish fame) nabbed the trophy for new artist of the year.  [Note to self – pick up a copy of Rucker’s album, Learn to Live.]  There was also a trio of duets featuring rock artists.  Kid Rock, who has also charted with country songs, performed with country newcomer Jamey Johnson.  Dave Matthews sang with Kenny Chesney, and Daughtry partnered up with Vince Gill.

Blue Hippo

Blue Hippo, which advertises computers “with no credit check”, is in trouble with the FTC.  The first time I saw a Blue Hippo commercial, my eyes popped out of my head when I calculated the amount of revenue they were raking in for each computer sold.  The Blue Hippo financing plan features a down payment and 52 weekly payments.  After 13 weeks, they send you the computer and you then continue to make the remaining 39  payments.  One problem is that for the amount you pay in those first 14 payments (down payment + 13 weekly payments) you could make a substantial dent in the cost of a new computer.

The second problem is that Blue Hippo is not actually delivering the computers as promised.  The FTC has filed complaints about Blue Hippo regarding its business practices in the past.  The FTC says that those business practices have continued, and today asked a federal court to  issue a contempt order against Blue Hippo.

It seemed to me that Blue Hippo could have scored sizable profits by simply delivering as promised.  Instead, they chose the cross swords with the FTC?  If there was ever a case of a company killing the goose that laid the golden egg, this would be it.

Baseball Free Agents

Baseball free agency is upon us!  While the rest of the world has been going about their business in the past week, I have been assembling a panel of baseball fans to weigh in and make prediction on where the top free agents will land.  Swing by on Saturday to check out the predictions.

Country Corral

August 22, 2009

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Taylor Swift

When Taylor Swift first burst onto the country music scene as a 16 year old in 2006 she appeared, at first glance, to be nothing more than the latest in a string of young girls trying to make a name for themselves in country music, following the path of LeeAnn Rimes and Jessica Andrews. Her first song, Tim McGraw, peaked at #6 on the country charts. I can still remember an early radio interview when she explained that the song referred to a fascination with the Tim McGraw song, rather than Mr. McGraw himself (so that Tim wouldn’t see her as a stalker).

Taylor’s self-titled debut album has sold three million copies, and had five singles crack the country top 10, including #1 hits Our Song (my personal favorite from the album) and Picture to Burn.

Taylor’s second album, Fearless, hit shelves in November 2008 and became the first million selling album of 2009. Three singles have been released from that album – Love Story, White Horse, and You Belong to Me. Of those three singles, my favorite is probably White Horse – the only one of the three that hasn’t hit #1 on the country chart (it peaked at #2).

The cool thing about Taylor is that she is not just a singer. She is also a writer. She won a national poetry contest in fourth grade, and writes many of her own songs. She also seems to be a very fun loving person, and shares interesting details about her life and career through her Facebook page (as opposed to some stars who just use it to tell people when their new perfume is hitting store shelves).

Taylor has been in the media a lot, so it’s difficult to imagine that too many people are unaware of her – but if you’re one of the people who have been hiding under a rock, grab one of her albums and give it a listen. Guys – now that she broke up with the Jonas brother, she’s single again!

Runaway

Sometimes a song gets lodged in your brain and you just can’t get it out. Lately, the song that keeps running through my head is Runaway by the new group Love and Theft. I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but the group actually has a tie to Taylor Swift – as an opening act for her Fearless tour. In additional, group member Stephen Barker Liles is the subject of Swift’s song, Hey Stephen. Love and Theft’s debut album, World Wide Open, will be released on August 26.

Brooks & Dunn

Sometimes, it’s just time to hang it up. Country duo Brooks & Dunn are calling it quits. After nearly twenty incredibly successful years together, they have announced the end of their career – at least as a group. They will release the album #1s and Then Some on September 8th and will tour one last time in 2010. It’s been a good ride, guys – thanks for all the memories.


Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift
Fearless

Love and Theft
World Wide Open

Brooks & Dunn
#1s and Then Some