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George Strait ’09 – Tour Schedule

Posted on 17 February 2009 by Bill West

Note:  Additional dates will be announced

5/15    Charlotte, NC             Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
Raleigh, NC               Walnut Creek Amphitheatre
Cincinnati, OH           Riverbend Music Center
Pittsburgh, PA            Post-Gazette Pavillion
5/29    Holmdel, NJ               P.N.C. Bank Center
Boston, MA                Tweeter Center
Virginia Beach, VA       Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
Washington, DC           Nissan Pavillion
Cadott, WI*               Country Fest 2009
Milwaukee, WI            Music Fest 2009
Calgary, AB               Calgary Stampede
7/12    Craven, SK                Craven Country Jamboree
Salt Lake City, UT       USANA Amphitheatre
Cheyenne, WY             Cheyenne Frontier Days
Indianapolis, IN         Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
Tinley Park, IL (Chicago) First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre


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Sun City Carnival Kenny Chesney Tour Schedule

Posted on 17 February 2009 by Bill West

2009 Sun City Carnival

April 17-18      Uncasville, CT
April 23          
Albuquerque, NM
April 26          
Indio, CA
May 1             
San Antonio, TX
May 2              Dallas, TX
May 3              Houston, TX
May 7             
Des Moines, IA
May 8             
Omaha, NB
May 9             
Kansas City, MO
May 14           
Birmingham, AL
May 15           
Shreveport, LA
May 16           
Little Rock, AR
May 21           
Greenville, SC
May 22            Baltimore, MD
May 23            Columbus, OH
May 27           
Atlanta, GA
May 30           
Louisville, KY
June 6             
Pittsburgh, PA
June 11           
Moline, IL
June 13           
Chicago, IL
June 19           
Somerset, WI
June 20           
Fargo, ND
June 24           
New York, NY
June 25           
Virginia Beach, VA
June 27           
Philadelphia, PA
July 2              Ft
Wayne, IN
July 10           
Calgary, Alberta
July 11           
Merritt, BC
July 14           
Boise, ID
July 18           
San Francisco, CA
July 23            
Salt Lake City, UT
July 24-25      
Cheyenne, WY
July 29            
Lake Tahoe, NV
Aug 6              
Orange Beach, AL
Aug 7              
Jacksonville, FL
Aug 8             
Tampa, FL
Aug 13           
Hartford, CT
Aug 15           
Boston, MA
Aug 19           
Aug 20           
Aug 22           
Detroit, MI
Aug 29           
Bristow, VA
Aug 20           
Raleigh, NC
Sept. 19        
Indianapolis, IN


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Paisley Party Rolls On – Tour Dates

Posted on 17 February 2009 by Bill West

2009 The Paisley Party tour dates:

2-12      London, ONT                John Labatt Centre
2-13      Hamilton, ONT             Copps Coliseum
Ottawa, ONT                Scotiabank Place
Winnipeg, MAN            MTS Centre
Regina, SK                   Brandt Centre
Saskatoon, SK               Credit Union Centre
Edmonton, ALB            Rexall Place
Calgary, ONT               Penngrowth Saddledome
Vancouver, BC             General Motors Place
Spokane, WA                Spokane Arena
Portland, OR                 Rose Garden
Tacoma, WA                Tacoma Dome
Yakima, WA                 Yakima Valley Sundome
Nashville, TN                Sommet Center
             (Dierks Bentley and Darius Rucker)


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Keith Urban’s New Tour Schedule

Posted on 17 February 2009 by Bill West


Date              Venue/City                  On Sale         With
May 7th           
Uncasville, CT          2/14              Sugarland
May 8th          
Uncasville, CT          2/14               Sugarland
May 9th          
State College, PA       2/13               Sugarland
May 15th          
Chicago, IL              2/14          Zac Brown Band
May 28th          
Charleston, WV          2/13       Zac Brown Band
May 29th          
Roanoke, VA              2/13        Dierks Bentley
May 30th           
Huntsville, AL          2/13          Dierks  Bentley
June 5th          
Cincinnati, OH          2/13              Taylor Swift
June 6th          
Detroit, MI                   3/7   Taylor Swift
June 7th          Ft.
Wayne, IN          2/13               Taylor Swift
June 11th           
St. Louis, MO          2/13               Sugarland
June 13th           
Atlanta, GA                 2/13    Taylor Swift
June 17th           
Greenville, SC          2/13               Sugarland
June 18th           
Charlotte, NC          2/14               Sugarland
June 19th          
Raleigh, NC                2/14   Sugarland
June 27th           
Des Moines, IA          2/13      Taylor  Swift
June 28th          
Moline, IL                   2/14     Taylor Swift
July 9th           
Omaha, NE                2/13       Jason  Aldean
July 10th          
Wichita, KS                 2/13    Jason  Aldean
July 11th           
Dallas, TX                   2/13        Jason Aldean
July 15th          
Denver, CO                 3/14         Sugarland
July 19th          
Los Angeles, CA         2/15              Sugarland
July 25th           
Glendale, AZ              2/13   Sugarland
July 31st           
Boston, MA                 2/13     Taylor Swift
August 1st           
Philadelphia, PA         2/13      Taylor  Swift
August 8th         
Kansas City, MO         2/13     Taylor Swift
August 13th         
Pittsburgh, PA          3/20      Jason  Aldean
August 14th        
Columbus, OH          2/13               Jason Aldean
August 18th          Hershey PA                2/14        Jason  Aldean
August 21st        
Cleveland, OH          2/21                   Sugarland
August 27th        
Charlottsville, VA         2/1

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Number One Record For Dierks Bentley

Posted on 17 February 2009 by Bill West

Nashville, TN – February 11, 2009 – The charts collided this week for multi-platinum country music star Dierks Bentley as his fourth studio album FEEL THAT FIRE topped Billboard’s country albums chart, and the lead single and title track also landed in the number one spot on both country singles charts.

The first week sales debut of over 71,000 units is also strong enough to wrangle the number three spot on the all genre Billboard Top 200 chart. This is the singer/songwriter’s sixth number one hit.

Music critics are praising Bentley for his consistent and engaging songwriting skills and FEEL THAT FIRE for its undeniable energy, garnering three stars from USA Today, while Billboard hailed the new project “exceptional.”

“Bentley is more progressively modern and more grounded in tradition than most of his young peers; it’s why “Feel That Fire” will continue to make him one of the few country performers who score well with both fans and critics.” Associated Press

“Dierks Bentley is the epitome of the modern country star, and his star is on the rise.” Billboard

“His most complete album yet.” Entertainment Weekly (A-)

“On his fourth album, the Arizona-born artist continues to impress on one well-written song after another.” Boston Globe

“Bentley has crafted this whole album the way he crafts each song–carefully, deeply and with conviction.” Chicago Tribune

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Taylor Swift CD Review – Fearless

Posted on 12 November 2008 by Bill West

Apple iTunes

You can think of Taylor Swift like the next Garth Brooks… only Garth as a cute blond teen that is a master of new media. In fact a lot of people are comparing her people skills to Garth’s lately. She’s incredibly charming and it’s something that you just can’t fake.

This week Swift release her sophomore cd release (no – not sophomore as in College or High school project). Fearless will surely find a big audience in a world of decreasing physical CD sales. The CD is a good mix of Swifts signature pop leaning girly – crush on boys that breakup up with you -themed writing. Props to Swift for again writing everything on the disk.

The single “Love Story” has done it’s job of ringing the #1 radio bell and laying the groundwork for an incredible launch week. Other highlights so fa include yesterday’s appearance on the Ellen show where she sang TWO great songs and then dished on her Jonas Brother’s breakup via cell phone. “27 seconds That has to be some kind of record.” She said. It’s appearances like that pours gasoline on the fire that is her showbiz status. She doesn’t belong to just country anymore… I bet Disney wants a piece of her.

Swift says check out the song “Forever and Always” for insight on the Jonas situation. She says she wrote it last minute as the relationship was melting down and got it added to Fearless just before release. No doubt the girls will eat it up.

In the event of unimpressive first week cart numbers don’t be fooled… the biz is changing. She owns Myspace this week and her power fans have iPods (but do the crave physical liner notes – and that brilliant Mosaic poster!) Unlike in the Garth era of 90’s the sales success for Swift’s Fearless will likely be proven in the online sales arena.

Hear more Taylor on Taylor Swift - Fearless.

OVERALL GRADE: B (A+ for marketing)
DON’T MISS: The Best Day -a love letter to her Mom. Inspiring to see such a successful kid paying such respect to her parents.

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Pop Goes The Country: Darius, Kid Rock, Jessica Simpson and Jewel CD Releases

Posted on 15 September 2008 by Bill West

Looks like there is a cross over class of 2008 brewing in country music. Unlike more recent years the flow is coming over to country instead of the other way around (ala Rascal Flatts, Taylor Swift, and Carrie Underwood). Seems four former pop chart toppers are trying to break into the country set. Jewel, Jessica Simpson, Darius Rucker and Kid Rock have all released singles to radio’s number one format. Each with differing levels of success.

Country radio has always been fickle to pop. On one hand they love being associated with the hip and now. On the other hand what the audience tends to really embrace is the traditional hat acts.

History has allowed a few special songs to sneak through and blossom in country. In 1974 Olivia Newton John broke through with a string of top tens including “I Honestly Love You” and “Have You Never Been Mellow.” Ray Charles leveraged great songs and duets with country stars for a few hits in 1985. And The Bellamy Brothers started with a pop number one in 1976 (Let Your Love Flow) before putting out ten Billboard country number ones. In more recent years the pop invasion has been in the form of duets (‘NSync with Alabama in 1999) with “God Must Have Spent A Little More Time On You, and Jennifer Nettles with Bon Jovi with the number one “Who Says You Can’t Go Home.”

However few artists, if any, that have been able to maintain much of a streak. However in the last few months it looks like there’s a couple of rockers that may have a shot. A few other pop beauties are hitting and missing.

Jewel released her debut country single to critical success but radio was relatively cautious with the song “Stronger Woman” on the album “Perfectly Clear.” The album debuted at #1 on the Country Album charts and the single stalled out at #13.

Jessica Simpson is facing a similar response, Although first week sales have yet to be released for her country album “Do You Know” the lead single has also stalled in the teens. To make things more difficult there are disputed reports of her being booed by country fans in Wisconsin and rumors of a show business feud with country music’s darling Carrie Underwood.

Amazingly there are two artists breaking through the noise with pure hit songs. Kid Rock finds himself with the 2008 song of the summer and country radio has jumped on the bandwagon for the ride on a heavily sampled homage to Skynyrd and Warren Zevon with “All Summer Long.” Most country programmers will admit the song if far from traditional country but is so fun it gets a pass. It doesn’t hurt that Kid Rock already has 2003’s hit “Picture” in rotation on many stations. That song (with Sheryl Crow) was a major pop smash that only charted at 21 in Billboard and ended up having much more longevity than ever expected. Don’t expect another country song any time soon from Rock but he’s now chalked up two biggies.

Now comes a country debut from Hootie and The Blowfish front man Darius Rucker. “Learn to Live” is a fantastic, mainstream country sounding, batch of solid music. The project (he swears this is not just a “project” but a “career change”) has not been over sold. “The label and I agreed we were not going to over hype this we were just going to put it out there.” He says. The lead single “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It” is now on the cusp of becoming an unlikely number one that should stick around after it’s peak. Almost all of the album’s 12 tracks are co-written by Rucker and some of Nashville’s finest. Seven of the cuts could easily become top hits on the radio where playlists are often cherry picked by middle aged dudes that probably were into The Blowfish to begin with.

Expect the single “All I Want” to follow “Don’t Think” and have similar success. The fun song wisely features Brad Paisley’s picking and screams the answer to the question “can he have more than one?” Yes! It will be interesting to hear that song when Rucker join’s Paisley on Tour in the coming months.

Other potential number ones include “It Won’t be Like This For Long” (a “daddy” song that’s already getting some prerelease tributes on YouTube), the inspirational singalong “While I Still Have The Time” and a new twist on the country drinkin’ song called “Drinkin’ and Dialin’.” Rucker has a strong break through and it’s all on the merits of getting it all right: great vocals, solid country production, and hit song writing. All that and it’s nice to note he’s breaking through as the first African American to crack country’s top ten since Charley Pride in the 80’s.

My Grades:
Rucker: A Country with potential longevity
Simpson: C- Country’s core wants something real.
Jewel: C OK, but not embraced.
Kid Rock: B+ for the Big hit.
Don’t Miss: “ I Hope They Get To Me In Time” a brilliantly written (the only track on the CD not penned by Rucker) life flashes before your eyes surprise that will be a dark favorite for some.

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