Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we are going to recap the 2015 CMA awards. The show was full of funny moments, awesome awards, and most of all, great music. Once again Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood did a great job as the show’s hosts, and left us all laughing during their opening monologue. In the monologue they recapped some of the hottest pop culture stories from this year including: Donald Trump, man hair buns, the Ashley Madison scandal, the divorces of Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert, as well as Kermit and Miss Piggy, and a shout out to country music legend Little Jimmy Dickens who passed away earlier this year. The night was definitely filled with unforgettable moments that made this year’s show the best one yet. Now let’s move on to the awards and then the music. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
This song was insanely popular this year, so it’s easy to predict that it would take home this win. This song really shows the progression of Little Big Town as a band and will leave us all exited to see what they do next.
We’ve already covered how amazing this song is so let’s keep going. Ok? Ok.
If you had never heard of Chris Stapleton before the CMAs, then you DEFINTELY know who he is now. Once we got to see Chris perform at the show (which we’ll talk about later), it was easy to see that he definitely deserves this award (if you didn’t see his performance, you HAVE to check it out below, this video only shows one of the songs, but it’s AMAZING!).
If you listened to country music radio this year, then you heard Florida Georgia Line A LOT. The duo has had impressive numbers ever since they first hit the music scene, and that momentum has not stopped. Although this was a tough category, FGL proves time and time again that they deserve this honor.
This was another really tough category, but ‘Traveller’ peaked at #1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 list, and at #2 on the U.S. Billboard Country chart. With all of the extra exposure that Chris got during the CMAs, we can only expect that his next album will do even better.
With such an amazing year and an impressive winning streak at the CMAs this year, it’s easy to see how Little Big Town won this award.
For years now Miranda Lambert has been an unstoppable force in the music world, and this year was no exception. This year Miranda released 2 singles from her 2014 album ‘Platinum’ called: ‘Little Red Wagon’ (which has sold 432,000 downloads in the US) and ‘Smokin’; and Drinkin’ (which features the night’s big winner Little Big Town).
Between his performance at the show, and big win as New Artist of the Year, I don’t think we even need to explain this win.
For the past few years Luke Bryan has been another unstoppable force in country music, and is definitely someone you’ve heard all year long. This year Luke released his newest album ‘Kill the Lights’ (and the 2 singles from ‘Kill the Lights’), which peaked at #1 and #2 on numerous Billboard charts in numerous countries.
Performances: (this was a REALLY tough category because I honestly wanted to write about all of the amazing performances, but I narrowed the list down to 5 so I hope y’all enjoy it):
Because of all of the buzz that this song has gotten in 2015, this was a very highly anticipated performance that definitely lived up to the hype. The performance featured all of the members of the group on stage with soft lighting that went from blue, to gold, to red, etc. The song was amazing and definitely showed off the group’s beautiful vocal skills.
This recap just wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t talk about the amazing performance from one of the night’s hosts Carrie Underwood. The performance was very cool and really raised the energy of the show. Not only did we get to see Carrie’s phenomenal vocal abilities, but we also saw her awesome guitar skills.
We couldn’t finish the recap without discussing one of the night’s most talked about performances. The overall number was very cool and had an interesting pop/soul meets country vibe that made it the most uniquely awesome number of the night. It was cool to see Justin Timberlake at the show because he definitely kept the energy of the night up, and we also got to see what a great showman Chris Stapleton is, so it was a certainly a can’t miss performance.
This was a really fun number that really showed off Brad Paisley’s charisma and natural stage presence. The number included the mascots from numerous colleges, which really hyped up the crowd and made the number truly unforgettable. This performance really showed that not only is Brad an amazing host, but is also an all around phenomenal entertainer.
This was another highly anticipated performance that had the internet buzzing all night. Miranda looked awesome with her new pink hair and matching pink guitar, the number was very energetic and proved that Miranda is an entertainer that we can trust to never disappoint us.
This has to win the award for most anticipated performance of the night. Reba McEntire and Brooks & Dunn each performed 2 of their big hits, which left the crowd in awe from beginning to end (you can check out a performance of one of these songs below). It’s not often that we get to see two iconic acts perform together, so this number really made this year’s CMAs unforgettable. This was the last performance of the night, and really left the show on a high energy note that was the perfect way to end such an amazing celebration of country music.
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we’re going to talk about an AMAZING Country music band that you just gotta check out. If you’ve never heard of High Valley then please keep reading! These guys will instantly hook you with their incredible vocals, and insanely catchy songs. If you’re already a fan of this band then you know just how awesome they are, if you haven’t heard of them then prepare to be amazed. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
High Valley is a Canadian Country music band that has already made a HUGE splash in the Country Music scene. Because of this, they have already opened up for music legends such as: Little Big Town, Alan Jackson, and Shania Twain. They have also worked with country music stars such as singer/songwriter/producer Paul Bradt (who has won numerous music awards both in the U.S. and Canada, and also co-wrote the song ‘For You’, which was performed by Johnny Cash and Dave Matthews for the soundtrack of the film ‘We Were Soldiers’). Most recently High Valley worked with songwriter/producer Seth Mosley (who won a Grammy Award in 2015, and has worked with Contemporary Christian music superstars such as: Michael W. Smith, Mercy Me, Hawk Nelson who we covered in a previous blog which you can check out here: http://celindareyesblog.com/2015/03/monday-memos-hawk-nelson-your-new-favorite-band-has-arrived/, Jeremy Camp, Newsboys, and many others), and co-wrote songs with Ben Stennis (who has worked with country music superstars such as: Jason Aldean, Chase Rice, Tim Hicks), Fred Wilhelm (who has worked with country music legends such as: Faith Hill, Rascal Flatts, Little Big Town) and award-winning Canadian country music songwriter Deric Ruttan.
Ok, now that you know a little bit about the band, let’s get to the music! Now I really wish that I could talk about all of this music that High Valley has released because it’s AMAZING (if you want me to talk more about this band please leave a comment below), but I choose 3 songs that I feel will really get you excited about High Valley. The first song that we’re going to talk about is High Valley’s cover of Bucky Covington’s 2010 single ‘A Father’s Love (The Only Way He Knew How), which was included on the band’s 2010 self-titled album. I absolutely loved this cover because High Valley slowed the song down just a bit which made it feel fresh, but were also able to keep the vibe of the original version that fans have come to love. Through this cover, High Valley is really able to make you feel the emotion of the lyrics, and you find yourself getting completely lost in the story they tell. The next song that we’re going to talk about is High Valley’s ‘Rescue You’, the 1st single off of their 2014 album ‘Country Line’. This is such a fun, high energy song, that is perfect to sing along to in the car. The message of the song is really sweet, and before you know it you WILL be completely addicted to this song. Ok, the final song that we’re going to talk about today is the band’s latest single off ‘She’s With Me’ (which you can check out the official music video for below).Personally this is one of my favorite High Valley songs, because it’s a really high energy song, with infectious lyrics, and it’s the perfect mix of country with just a touch of indie pop. You will definitely have this song on repeat for a LONG time. After hearing ‘She’s With Me’, I’m really excited to see what this incredible band will do next.
Keep up with everything High Valley is doing:
YouTube: High Valley
ITunes: High Valley
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we are going to talk about the 2015 Grammy Awards (btw we guessed half of the winners correctly this year, yay!). This year the award show was full of unique performances, surprises, and of course, awesome awards. It was truly a night dedicated to music, and all that it represented this past year. The show was once again hosted by rapper/actor LL Cool J, who stated at the top of the show that he wasn’t going to perform an opening monologue so that there would be more time for the music. I thought that it was a really memorable show, and will definitely have us all discussing it the rest of the year. If you missed the show, or just want to relive all the moments again, then please read on as we recap the 2015 Grammy Awards!
Here are the categories we guessed correctly this year:
*If you want to see the full list of Grammy Award winners then please go to GRAMMY.com | The Official Site of Music’s Biggest Night
Now there were a lot of awesome performances this year, but I decided to pick the top 10 must-see performances to discuss with y’all.
10) Eric Church: Eric performed his hit single ‘Give Me Back My Hometown’, which is a fun song that brings out the nostalgia in us all. As always, Eric captivated his audience and never lost their attention. The backdrop of the stage had scenes of a town in a Sepia effect, which just added an air of coolness to the number.
9) Ariana Grande: One number that was really interesting was Ariana Grande’s emotional performance of her song ‘Just a Little Bit of Your Heart’. The emotional ballad had a very intimate vibe that definitely captivated fans. The staging consisted of really dim lighting, purple stage lights, and really cool white smoke that appeared half way through the performance.
8) Pharrell Williams: Pharrell began his number with a spoken word performance of the beginning of his hit song ‘Happy’. The number then changed back to the original arrangement, and included dancers in bright colored clothing & choir robes. Towards the end of the number, the attention shifted over to the small stage in the center of the auditorium, where Hans Zimmermann was showing off his out of this world piano skills. Definitely a number we’d all be happy to see again.
7) Ed Sheeran feat. John Mayer & Questlove/Ed Sheeran & ELO: Ed performed a sweet rendition of his new single ‘Thinking Out Loud’, and was accompanied by John Mayer’s EPIC guitar playing, and Questlove (the drummer of the band The Roots, who are Jimmy Fallon’s house band) on the drums. This was such an awesome pairing that I know we all have our fingers crossed for these artists to collab again soon. After ‘Thinking Out Loud’, Ed switched over to another stage and performed ‘Mr. Blue Sky’ with British rock group, Electric Light Orchestra (aka ELO). This was another unexpected, yet really awesome collab that left us wondering who Ed will work with next (because obviously he can work with anyone and it will sound awesome).
6) Miranda Lambert: Miranda performed her song ‘Little Red Wagon’, and definitely showed that country music can rock. She was in full rock star mode, with a performance that included lots of cool smoke and explosion effects, an interesting red sun decoration in the background, and lots of flashing red lights that definitely raised the energy of the room to full blast.
5) Hosier & Anne Lennox: Hosier started the performance with their hit single ‘Take Me To Church’ & was later joined by Anne Lennox, who also performed her rendition of ‘I Put A Spell on You’ (which was originally by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins). This was another high energy performance that had the audience captivated throughout the number…what can we say, they put a spell on us!
4) Katy Perry: Katy performed a truly angelic rendition of her song ‘By The Grace of God’, complete with a beautiful white gown. The performance followed a PSA by President Barack Obama, and a speech by domestic abuse survivor Brooke Axtell (the PSA and speech were in support of a new program called #ItsOnUs, which is an initiative to end violence against women & girls). This was truly a strong way to deliver this powerful message.
3) Paul McCartney, Rihanna, & Kanye West: The legendary Beatle joined Pop star Rihanna, & Rap star Kanye West for a performance of the trio’s song ‘Four Five Seconds’. This was such an amazing number, that really brought out the true talent of all three artists, and showed the magic that can happen when artists of different genres come together to create something spectacular.
2) Sam Smith & Mary J. Blige: Sam & Mary J. Blige left the room completely speechless with their duet of Sam’s hit song ‘Stay With Me’. The two artists used their amazing vocal talents to deliver a breathtaking performance that was one of the highlights of the night. What made this performance extra cool was the old school soul flair that the artists added to the overall vibe of the show; it definitely left us hoping that they will work together again in the future.
1) Sia feat. Maddie Ziegler & Kristen Wiig: The top spot of the night has to go to Sia for her beautiful performance of her hit single Chandelier. The number took place in a destroyed, dirty room, and showed comedic actress Kristen Wiig & Dance Moms star Maddie Ziegler performing the choreography from the song’s music video together. Although Sia & Kristen were INCREDIBLE, the star of the show was definitely Maddie. Seriously, she’s 12 years old and has already performed at the Grammys, how do you possibly top that!?! With such a HUGE start to 2015, I’m excited to see what this rising star does next.
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we are going to talk about last week’s 2014 CMAs (Country Music Awards). This year’s show was once again co hosted by country music superstars Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley, and featured really cool musical performances. Once again, Carrie and Brad were able to use their combination of witty banter, musical talents, and comic timing to poke fun at some of this year’s most highly profiled current events. They also performed a very funny song about George Strait not being at the show this year, and then later when they “discover” that he is at the show, they make comments about why he hasn’t gone anywhere (which is a joke about the tour that George Strait just completed, which was called ‘The Cowboy Rides Away’). The hosts opening monologue was definitely a fun way to kick off such an exciting, high energy show. So now let’s move on to the awards and musical performances!
Single of the Year:
‘Automatic’ by Miranda Lambert
Now if you were listening to country radio this year, you definitely heard this song (this single even reached #3 on the Billboard US Country AirPlay chart). Of course no one should be surprised at this win, because Miranda co-wrote the song and we all know that right now Miranda Lambert truly has the Midas touch.
Song of The Year:
‘Follow Your Arrow’ by Kacey Musgraves
This is another song that you’ve definitely heard all year long. This song was certainly a big hit as the 3rd single off of Kacey’s debut big label album, and its success is definitely evidence that we haven’t heard the last of this rising star.
New Artist of The Year:
Brett Eldredge first made his impact on the country music scene in 2012 when his single ‘Don’t Ya’ (which was certified Platinum in the U.S.) was released to country music radio and reached #1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart. This single was followed up with the similarity successful single ‘Beat of The Music’ (was certified Gold in the U.S.) in 2013. With such a strong show on his debut album, it’s not a surprise that Brett won this honor.
Vocal Duo of The Year:
Florida Georgia Line
Ok everyone who was surprised by this please raise your hands. Let me guess, there are no hands raised right? Yeah, if you’ve listened to the radio AT ALL this past year (country and pop radio), then you’ve heard of the country power duo Florida Georgia Line. These rising stars have also had cross-over remixes of two of their hit singles (Cruise & This Is How We Roll) with features from r&b/pop/rap stars Nelly and Jason Derulo. With their iron grip on both country and pop radio, I foresee 2015 to be an even BIGGER year for Florida Georgia line.
Album of The Year:
‘Platinum’ by Miranda Lambert
Midas strikes again! With her success from the singles ‘Automatic’ & ‘Somethin’ Bad’ (which features fellow superstar Carrie Underwood, and has been certified Gold, as well as peaking at #1 on the Billboard U.S. Hot Country Songs), this was definitely a hard album to beat.
Vocal Group of The Year:
Little Big Town
With a new album which made its’ debut at #3 on the Billboard U.S. Top Country Albums, and a lead single (entitled ‘Day Drinkin’), which peaked at #4 on the Billboard U.S. Country Airplay, this was certainly Little Big Town’s year to win this top honor.
Irving Waugh Award of Excellence:
With highly successful careers as the front man of the country rock band ‘Pure Prairie League’ and as a solo artist, Vince Gill is the definition of a country music icon. As a solo artist, Vince Gill has won every country music award (multiple times), has won 20 Grammy awards, was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame (in 2005), and was awarded with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (2012). Honestly I could sit here and list all of Vince Gill’s INCREDIBLE accomplishments but that would take pages and pages. To make a long story short, if you listen to any one of Vince Gill’s records, you will definitely see why he deserves this award.
Male Vocalist of The Year:
This year Blake has certainly used his voice to prove why he deserves this top honor. This year, Blake released his latest album ‘Bringing back the Sunshine’, which peaked at #1 on the Billboard U.S. 200 chart(which counts albums of all genres) & #1 on the Billboard U.S. Top Country Albums chart. The album also produced a single that peaked at #3 on the U.S. Country chart.
Female Vocalist of The Year:
Midas is here y’all…Midas is here! I don’t think I need to tell y’all why Miranda deserves this award, but in case you forget…listen to her latest album ‘Platinum’, and you’ll remember why she is so awesome.
Entertainer of The Year:
Well now we’ve reached the final award, and although the competition was extremely fierce, it is clear why Luke Bryan walked away with this award. His 2013 album ‘Crash My Party’ was SUCH a huge album for the country music superstar that it peaked at #1 on both the Billboard U.S. 200 & Top Country Albums, as well as producing 3 consecutive #1 singles, and two more singles that peaked at #2 and #5 respectively. If these statistics don’t convince you that Luke Bryan IS the country music entertainer of the year, then take a listen to his album ‘Crash My Party’ and you’ll see how his ability to entertain translates through the album so effortlessly.
Kenny Chesney kicked off the show with his performance of his 1st single ‘American Kids’ off of his latest album ‘The Big Revival’. The number consisted of a very hippie/bohemian theme, complete with fun multicolored lights, and a multicolored bus in the background, complete with an American flag. Kenny’s dancers were also dressed to match the theme, and made the audience feel as if they were invited to an awesome party.
Miranda Lambert & Meghan Trainor:
Next up we had a fun performance by two of music’s sassiest performers Miranda Lambert & Meghan Trainor! They performed a fun and unique performance of Meghan’s hit ‘All About That Bass’. The backdrop of the stage flashed the word ‘Bass’ in different colors throughout the number, and Miranda and Meghan both let their sassiness fly and because of this ha the audience hanging on their every word.
Lady Antebellum stepped up next with their infectious hit single ‘Bartender’. The performance was even more fun to watch with the addition of white, blue, purple, and red lights that kept the “party vibe” of the show going. There were also A LOT of small lights that went all around the stage, that made the stage look as if it were surrounded by stars, and this added the perfect finishing touch to a great performance.
Florida Georgia Line:
Next up we had an AMAZING performance of Florida Georgia Line’s single ‘Dirt’. Usually Florida Georgia Line tends to move around a lot during big award show performances, so I thought that it was a really cool change of pace to see them both sitting down and accompanying themselves on guitar. This performance also showed that these talented guys are able to not only draw in an audience through their stage presence, but simply through their musical skills. The backboard of the stage had cool revolving images of houses, roads, and fences in yellow and orange colors that made the images look as if they would explode at any second.
Keith Urban was next with his performance of his hit single ‘Somewhere In My Car’. The staging was cool with strobe lights that flashed all over the stage, but as always; it was Keith’s voice and unnatural guitar skills that stole the show. It honestly would not be a Keith Urban show without an EPIC guitar solo and he certainly did not fail.
The Band Perry:
The Band Perry was up next, with their performance of ‘Gentle In My Mind’, in honor of the great Glen Campbell. I really loved that the staging for this song was very simple, so the attention of the performance was on the song itself. The Band Perry added their own twist to the hit by changing the arrangement slightly, which brought a fresh vibe to the classic tune.
Kacey Musgraves & Loretta Lynn:
One of country music’s newest rising star Kacey Musgraves, performed the hit ‘You’re Lookin at Country’ with the iconic Loretta Lynn (who made the song famous in 1971). The backdrop of the stage has a very classic country look with a barn that said ‘Grand Old Opry’ on it. This was a really awesome performance that brought together the worlds of classic and modern country into a performance that was one of the standout numbers of the night.
Jason Aldean rocked the stage next with a performance of his single ‘Burning It Down’. The performance had a very country meets rock vibe, complete with cool red and white lights, and lots of energy that just made you want to get up and dance.
Little Big Town & Ariana Grande:
Next we had another “mash of the genres”, when Little Big Town performed with special guest Ariana Grande. First Little Big Town came onstage to perform their latest hit ‘Daydrinkin’. This had to be my favorite performance of the night because of all of the cool visual aspects of the number. The board consisted of two levels of drummers with black suits that had red lights. You could really only see the red lights, so this made the drummers look EXTREMELY cool (I honestly can’t even express just how cool this looked)! Little Big Town had similar outfits on, which added such a cool futuristic feel to their performance that said it apart from the all of the other performances. As always their vocals were VERY on point and near perfect (which is HARD to do in a group). Once ‘Daydrinkin’ was over, the lights instantly switched from red to blue, and Ariana Grande came out to sing a snippet of her hit collaboration ‘Bang Bang’. Little Big Town joined her, and in doing so added a fun country meets r&b flair to the song that was very cool.
Tim McGraw was up next with his song ‘Shotgun Rider’, which brought the classic Tim McGraw vine that fans have grown to love. The staging was very simple with cool blue lights circling the stage, and the confidence and energy that are now a Tim McGraw staple.
Cole Swindell: Cole Swindell performed a snippet of his song ‘Chillin It’, before announcing the winners of the award for ‘Radio Stations of The Year’. Even though Cole only performed a snippet of his song, he was still able to command the stage and grab the crowd in such a way that makes me very excited to see what his future holds.
Dierks Bentley was up next with his party anthem single ‘Drunk on A Plane’. The backboard of the stage had a picture of a plane on a runway, and alternating names of “destination sites”. This performance definitely kept the show’s energy up, and made the show feel less like an award show, and more like an epic concert.
Co-host Brad Paisley performed next with his latest hit ‘Perfect Storm’. The number had an AWESOME Brad Paisley style guitar solo (which the crowd went wild for), and an energy and likability that showed why Brad’s career is steadily on the rise with no sign of slowing down.
Blake Shelton & Ashley Monroe:
Blake Shelton & Ashley Monroe were up next with their emotional duet ‘Lonely Tonight’, which had the crowd captivated from the first note, to the last. The staging for this number was very simple and stripped down, which perfectly brought out the intimate feel of the song, and really made you feel every word.
Co-host Carrie Underwood performed her latest hit ‘Something In The Water’. The backboard had REALLY cool blue lights that floated around and made it look like there was a giant waterfall behind Carrie, that later changed to multicolored lights. Later in the performance a choir of people walked on to accompany Carrie, and added a cool twist to the performance that matched the song perfectly. As always, Carrie’s show-stopping vocals took center stage during this number, and perform that she still has a HUGE presence in country music (BRAVO CARRIE UNDERWOOD!!!).
Next up we had the Entertainer of The Year himself, Mr. Luke Bryan. He performed his newest hit ‘Rollercoaster’, and had very simple staging. The backboard was grey with clouds and occasional thunder. Luke allowed his natural charisma to take center stage, and the crowd completely loved it (and they were even singing back to him at one part of the song).
Miranda Lambert & Little Big Town:
Miranda Lambert & Little Big Town took the stage once more to perform their duet ‘Smokin and Drinkin’ (off of Miranda’s latest album). The staging consisted of a lot of cool smoke and lights, which helped add a cool vibe to the performer that perfectly matched the chilled vibe of the song, Miranda & Little Big Town’s vocals went together perfectly, and made it clear that these two acts NEED to release more tracks together.
George Strait & Eric Church:
King George Strait returned to the CMA stage once more with his performance of his 2003 hit ‘Cowboys Like Us’. The backdrop had a lot of cool pictures of George Strait throughout his career, and added a very classic country feel to the performance. Eric Church added a little rock to George Strait’s classic country vibe, and brought another great example of what happens when modern and classic country merge.
Thomas Rhett performed a snippet of his hit song ‘Get Me Some of That’, while he announced the winners of the CMA ‘Personalities of The Year’ awards. Although his performer was short, Thomas certainly held his audience’s attention the entire time, and showed why he is a rising star to watch.
The Doobie Brothers, Jennifer Nettles, Hillary Scott, & Hunter Hayes:
The Doobie Brothers, Jennifer Nettles, Hillary Scott, & Hunter Hayes were up next with their performance of The Doobie Brothers hit ‘Listen To The Music’. The high energy performance was EXTREMELY fun to watch, and brought musicians from the whole spectrum of country music, to bring a fresh sound to this awesome song. The Doobie Brothers, Jennifer Nettles, and Hillary Scott killed their vocal performances, and Hunter Hayes had an AMAZING guitar solo that the crowd went crazy for. What I loved most about this performance was the fact that it felt less like a calculated award show performance, and more like a bunch of musicians jamming out.
The Doobie Brothers closed the show with their song ‘Takin it To The Streets’, (with some help from Jennifer Nettles, Hillary Scott, Hunter Hayes, & Brad Paisley). The number included an AWESOME keyboard solo, and had a very old school feel and energy that made the performance feel like an AMAZING concert.