Monday, June 24, 2013

Worship Music Monday - K-Love Produces A Great Video For "Hello My Name Is"

Is there anything cooler for this week's Worship Music Monday?  K-Love has been asking listeners to send in their photos for a video made to Matthew West's song, "Hello My Name Is".  What did listeners want to put on their name tag?  Lots of great answers and a great video was made out of it.  Here it is.

Monday, June 17, 2013

2013 Superman Celebration - Michael Rosenbaum and Alessando Juliani - Smallville Q&A Recap

The 2013 Superman Celebration this year featured a couple of returns and lots of various guests from the genre of Superman.  For me, the main event was of course the Smallville Q&A which featured Michael Rosenbaum (Lex Luthor - Smallville), and Alessandro Juliani (Dr. Emil Hamilton - Smallville).  To say that this was a very entertaining Q&A would be an understatement.  What might have been the most random and fun Q&A for a Celebration last year with Cassidy Freeman and John Glover was likely topped this year by this duo of Rosenbaum and Juliani.  They were so much fun and just had a lot of fun being a part of it.  The two of them were so gracious all weekend talking and meeting with fans.  Having a great time and they were a great addition to this year's Superman Celebration.  So, what happened at the Q&A?  Well, there really is no way to recap all of it and I'd be doing it a disservice if I did.  I'm going to hit a few of the questions asked at the Q&A and tell some stories of the happenings along the way.  

Question: What was it like joining into Smallville?  Were you welcomed in greatly?

Juliani: They were a finely tuned machine.  I came in during season eight.  It was a great bunch.  A great crew.  I was welcomed into the fold.  They were really happy that I could do all the scientific talk for them.  Allison Mack was very relieved cause I could do all the tech talk now and she could have real storylines. (laughs).

What was it like going back to the show?
Rosenbaum: It was pretty fantastic.  I did seven years.  I wanted to go off and do other things and have fun.  I directed my first movie (titled Old Days).   Everyone needs to see it.  All my Smallville/Superman fans.  Morena Baccarin of V and Homeland is in it.  I came back.  The fans demanded it.  I figured seven years was enough.  I knew I had to go back.  I said I can't shave my head again.  I knew they weren't expecting it and I called them a week before and I go, hey, it's Michael.  I've got next Friday open.  I'm not going to shave my head.  Why would I do that for one episode to have six months of hair growing back?  You've got me on a Friday.  A whole 24 hour day.  Let's do it.  The next thing you know they're frantically writing, fitting me for a bald cap.  I came back.  It was the best thing that I could have done.  I'm glad I did. It was the way to end the series.  Why didn't they do a Smallville movie?  I still think they should. 

Juliani was asked about his music being involved in Smallville and also Battlestar Gallactica. 
Juliani: Music is actually what I am trained to do.  I trained as an opera singer many years ago. Getting to sing in that one Smallville episode was a hoot with Cassidy. 

How does it feel to be the torchbearer of sorts moving from one Superman franchise to the other?
Juliani: Let’s be honest.  This is how the conversation went when my agent called and told me about Man of Steel.  My agent called and said so they want you to be in the new Man of Steel but your role, it’s only four or five days, and your role is kind of like it was in Battlestar.  I was like, I’m in, whatever, whatever.  Just tell me where to show up.  I’d worked with Zack before on Watchmen so I knew it was going to be so much fun and it was.  The difference was that in Man Of Steel that I provide vital exposition in tech talk for the main actors in the film.  Oh no, wait, that’s what I did in Smallville too.  
A fan brought up the very funny story of John Glover from last year talking about some of the stories that he told about Rosenbaum at last year's Celebration. He told the story about how the two of them used to always mess with one another as John would always touch him on the shoulder or face during their scenes together.  It later became a competition of who could touch the other first including them touching shoulder to shoulder immediately on a take and breaking into laughter.  I have heard the stories of this happening on the DVD sets and it is hilarious.  Rosenbaum reenacted it during this Q&A with a fan. 

A fan all the way from London asked what their fondest memory from Smallville was?
Juliani: When I got to have an Elvis costume tailored for my body.  The white jumpsuit with the rhinestones.  That's got to the be the highlight....maybe of my life.  Not just of the show.  Without a doubt.
Did you get to keep the suit?
Juliani: No
Rosenbaum: You have to steal them.  I got the white suit.  The president's suit. 
Juliani: I stole my fake leg from Battlestar Gallactica.
Rosenbaum: Fondest memory?  This is a tough one.  When I left season seven, I didn't really get emotional.  It didn't really hit me.  It was bittersweet.  It was nice.  But when I went back for the series finale and I realize that the show is going to be over after this next episode.  And I was fine.  I got the whole cast and crew sushi.  At the end, I went to get the bald cap off and my makeup artist who has been there since season one and she took it off and cleaned my head up. I walked out and I gave her a hug and as I walked out and I just go, oh no, and I don't know why.  I'm not kidding.  I just started crying.  And she goes, 'oh my god, are you crying?' and I'm saying 'I think there is something coming out of my eyes'.  And turned around and hugged her and just cried it out.  That was a great moment.  So, now you know Lex Luthor has a soft side.

There were a lot of other fun moments including the finale with Rosenbaum telling the crowd that if this last question for him was bad to boo him.  LOL.  That got a lot of laughs.  I should also point out that Rosenbaum was working the crowd a bunch roaming around with a wireless mic which has never been done at a Q&A there.  He was having a blast.  He pointed out one kid that was making a noise with something that was just blaring in his ears.  It turned out to be the Q&A host, Steven Kirk's son, which drew a lot of laughter when he said it was his son.  Rosenbaum got a huge laugh out of the odds of this happening.  Awesome singing out of Juliani as he was asked to break into song.  He has an awesome voice!  Rosenbaum teased about wanting to do a Smallville movie saying get a Kickstarter campaign going and make it happen.  They were asked about the Smallville prom which was happening later in the night.  If fans were at the prom, they got a special treat as Rosenbaum and Juliani crashed the Smallville prom giving fans that were there a memory.  I have seen people's pictures from it happening and it looks hilarious.  Just goes to show how much fun that they were having to go and do that.  The two posed in front of the Superman statue and had fun with the fans.  It was just a great day with the two of them and they could not have been nicer to the fans.  A crowd favorite duo for sure.  Thanks to both of those guys for coming out and being a part of the Celebration and having fun with all the fans!  It was a great time!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Carrie Underwood Celebrates Five Years As A Grand Ole Opry Member - June 7, 2013

CMA Week was in full gear on Friday night with plenty of options of places to go see live music.  You could of course be over at LP Field but I was at my place of where I wanted to be and that was at the Grand Ole Opry for Carrie Underwood's five year anniversary of being inducted as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.  Two shows with the 7:00 show being sold out.  I got to attend both shows with being in the second row for the 9:30 show.  A great lineup for both shows which included Carrie, Josh Turner, Lauren Alaina, Bill Anderson, Casey James, Charley Pride, and many more.  Carrie Underwood had the spotlight for the night with her five year Opry anniversary.  She made all of us fans very happy with her performances on both shows.  Before her performance, the Opry showed us a video looking back on her journey at the Opry.  The video just made me smile as we all got to look back on her years there and seeing her career just get bigger and bigger.  The video showed the night that she was asked to become a member of the Opry by Randy Travis and then also the night that she was inducted by Garth Brooks.  The video was so great and thankfully the Opry has posted it online to see.  You can check it out here.
Carrie was presented on stage with a speech and plaque by vice president and general manager of the Grand Ole Opry, Pete Fisher.  Here was his words to Carrie:  "As we were watching that video, we heard her promise that it would be a decision that we would not regret.  When I think of Carrie Underwood, the word regret doesn't even enter my mind.  You have done an extraordinary job as an Opry member.  The Opry has almost an 88 year history and I think folks will look back with very special favor on the years that Carrie Underwood contributed to the Opry.  So, on behalf of the staff and all of the members of the Grand Ole Opry, we want to thank you.  You have far surpassed all of our expectations when we brought you into the family.  We know it's going to continue into the future.  You are not only so good for country music but you are so good for the Grand Ole Opry and you are so good for America and we appreciate all that you do.  You're the All American Girl, aren't you?"  Carrie was then presented with a plaque showing the number five on it with her picture and the date of June 7, 2013 on it to commemorate the night.
For the 7:00 show, her set list opened big with "Cowboy Casanova", followed by "Two Black Cadillacs",  "Jesus Take The Wheel", "All American Girl", and then closed with "Blown Away".  My favorite performance of the night may have been Blown Away.  She just absolutely brought it all night and that sounded great live especially with it being the closer for the 7:00 show.  For 9:30, Carrie opened with "Good Girl" followed by "Wasted", "I Told You So", "Undo It", and closed it with the always crowd pleaser, "Before He Cheats".  Carrie spoke on her five year anniversary during the show saying "It is so hard to believe it has been five years but what an amazing five years it has been.  Just watching that video back, I was getting a little teary eyed thinking about how I felt when all that was happening.  I still feel that blessed and that honored to be on this stage so thank you guys so much for a wonderful five years." Carrie has blessed all of us fans for these five great years at the Opry and she has actually been my introduction to the Grand Ole Opry.  I had never been there until I went to see her there.  Now, Carrie and the Opry has just become one for me.  It was a special night to be a part of and all of us were incredibly thankful to be there to cheer her on.  Here is a video that the Opry has posted of "Two Black Cadillacs" from Friday night.

The Opry show kicked off with Lauren Alaina getting to do a couple of songs which included her new single and also an awesome cover of "I Hope You Dance".  During the second show, Bill Anderson came out and talked to Lauren about how she had just graduated from high school.  He asked her how she managed to keep up her school work while also managing a busy schedule.  She laughed in a "wasn't easy" kind of reaction while also adding she graduated with all A's saying "I may be blond but I do have some brains".  LOL.  Loved it.  She talked in the first show about how far she had come here at the Opry with Carrie introducing her to the Opry crowd a couple of years ago and now she is on the same lineup as her performing.  I was already thinking about that very thing as I was in attendance at the Opry that night that Carrie brought out Lauren and Scotty McCreery.  Josh Turner was a lot of fun as well and the ladies love that guy.  He went through "Long Black Train", and "Why Don't We Just Dance", and more.  His performance was a lot of fun on both shows. Bill Anderson was his usual crowd favorite entertaining the crowd with music and his fun personality too.  This wasn't all of it though as there were many other great performances through the night including Charley Pride, The Whites, Casey James, Mel Tillis, Bobby Osbourne & The Rocky Top X-Press, Jeannie Seely, Jan Howard, and Jim Ed Brown. 

In attendance and seen by many fans including myself was Two Story Road.  They were there to support Carrie and see the show.  They had been busy themselves earlier in the day with their first ever fan club party.  I got to meet Two Story Road and they could not have been nicer.  I just wish them all kinds of success and know that great things are ahead for them. 

A really fun night at the Opry as always.  I actually took in three Opry shows during CMA Fest including the two Friday night and then also the Tuesday Night Opry.  Fun at all three and it is such a great and relaxing atmosphere there.  Looking forward to being there again soon.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Grand Ole Opry Kicks Off CMA Week With The Tuesday Night Opry - June 4, 2013

CMA Week got another big start on Tuesday night with the first Opry show of the week.  The Grand Ole Opry had an awesome lineup for the night and a packed house.  This was a great crowd too that was having a lot of fun.  The show kicked off with Kellie Pickler.  Funny moment from the crowd when a bunch held up signs that said "10" on them as she finished her first song.  Completely unexpected moment for her and she laughed big at it.  She closed her set with her first single, "Red High Heels".  Next up was Diamond Rio who played several of their hit songs including "One More Day" which was my favorite of their set.  Bill Anderson was the next to hit the Opry stage.  I have become a fan of his by seeing him at the Opry.  I am admittedly a "new" country fan so I might take some boos for that from the hardcores.  LOL.  So, I have gotten familiar with Bill Anderson through my Opry visits over the last few years.  I always enjoy his performance and such a nice guy up there.  Next up was an act that just absolutely won over the Opry.  Lennon and Maisy.  If the name doesn't sound familiar, think of the show Nashville.  They play the daughters of Rayna James.  Sisters in real life too.  They went through three songs and we just all loved them.  They were so good.  They closed with a cover of "Ho Hey" by the Lumineers.  Loved it and loved them.  Ricky Skaggs had the middle part of the Opry lineup singing three of his songs.  His wife came up and sang with him as well on one of the songs.  Rascal Flatts is a band that I have never seen live so I was interested to hear them.  The crowd was into them immediately.  They got the crowd rocking quick and then toned it right down into an amazing performance of their song, "Changed".  Great stuff there.

If you are an American Idol fan, you know this name.  Kree Harrison.  Her debut at the Opry and she had so much support there.  Keith Urban had asked to introduce her and he got the honor of it.  She was in such awe up there and you could just see the amazement in her eyes of being on the Opry stage.  She at one point asked if it would be a bad thing if she just leaned down and kissed the Opry circle.  LOL.  She went into her new single of "All Cried Out".  After singing "In The Garden" and followed by another song with Keith joining her on stage to play guitar, she just brought the house down.  Huge standing ovation for her and it was the first of the night.  She was so emotional up there watching the standing ovation.  Kree made a big fan out of me that night.  The show closed with Keith Urban.  My first time to see him as well and he finished big.  Great performance by him as well and he got the second standing ovation of the night as he closed.  A great night at the Opry and a lot of great performances.  Here are a few extra pics from the night.

Carrie Underwood Fan Club Party 2013 - Nashville, TN - June 4, 2013

The Country Music Hall of Fame has definitely been a big place for Carrie Underwood fans this week.  Not only is the Blown Away tour exhibit open but this was the location for her annual Fan Club Party.  A special treat this year for fans as this was a very different feeling party with a songwriters roundtable concert in the Ford Theater.  It is funny cause recently I was watching one of these that Carrie was involved in on You Tube in recent months thinking that would be something fun to see.  Then, Carrie delivers one for the fan club party.  I feel so bad as I wish I knew everyone's names up there on the stage but there was Josh Kear and also Hilary Lindsey among others.  I remember Hilary from the roundtable that I did watch.  All of them were so great and talented.  It worked like a roundtable with them doing songs.  Lot of fun moments including Carrie going into "Undo It" and mixing it up for a second.  She sang a tiny bit of "What I Am" by Edie Brickell and then went into Undo It.  However, she got mixed up on her own lyrics for a second.  It was a funny moment.  Carrie and Hilary teamed up on Jesus Take The Wheel.  Lots of fun stories from this group telling how the songs came about and just having fun in general.  Very funny when Josh sang "Before He Cheats" and adding lyrics to it at the end that got cut from the song.  The event also featured a very cool moment with getting to be a part of a number one party for "Two Black Cadillacs".  Lots of industry people in the theater as they announced the news on "Two Black Cadillacs".  The plaques were given out along with awards and a medal.  It was a really unique thing to be a part of and that was something that Carrie wanted for the fan club to get to see.  It felt like we were suddenly at this huge press event. Carrie, Josh Kear, and Hilary Lindsey all were recognized for the song and each spoke.  After this, the fans got to ask a few questions.  The event was hosted by CMT's Bill Cody.  Several fans presented Carrie with gifts.  To close out, Carrie took a group photo with the room.  It was a very unique and special fan club party this year and very fun.

Carrie Underwood's Blown Away Exhibit Now Open At The Country Music Hall of Fame
CMA Fest week is underway in Nashville for another year.  Country music fans are coming in from all corners of the globe to check out CMA Fest week.  I have already thankfully gotten to be a part of it and have some fun in the city.  Tuesday was a full day of activity among Carrie Underwood fans for the 2013 Fan Club Party and also the opening of her new Blown Away exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame. Fans were abuzz over the news a few months ago that she would be having an exhibit opening up there.  Let me tell you.  The exhibit does not disappoint.

Carrie gave a gift to her fan club this week by letting the members see the exhibit a day before it was opened to the general public.  Each group went in with groups of ten and it was really fun to see.  On display were a lot of her outfits from the tour.  I should also point out that I love how the exhibit was laid out.  It was put in order of the acts of the show so just like in concert, you saw it right from the beginning.  With each outfit was a picture of her wearing it.  It wasn't just outfits though that you were seeing as there was all sorts of things to see such as mics that were used, jewelry, drum kit, and more.  There were also a lot of huge size pictures taken at various concerts from over the run of the tour which looked great.  The end of the exhibit features a thank you to the fans. Signs that fans had at shows and were kept.  Gifts that she was given as well.  Also, there is a thank you note from her to the fans for coming out and seeing the sold out Blown Away tour.  The exhibit is a lot of fun.  I have been to the Country Music Hall of Fame twice now and I highly recommend it.  Very friendly staff and it is just a beautiful building.  The Carrie Underwood Blown Away exhibit runs from June 5-November 10, 2013.  Go check it out! To find out more on the Country Music Hall of Fame, go to their website at

Monday, June 3, 2013

Worship Music Monday - Looking at the K-LOVE Fan Awards Weekend

Welcome back to this week's Worship Music Monday.  Is there any better topic this week than the first ever K-LOVE Fan Awards that were held in Nashville this past weekend?  If you weren't able to be there like myself, you had a great option and that was to listen to K-LOVE as they broadcast all the events this weekend.  That included the Songwriter's Showcase on Friday night, the awards on Saturday night, and then the worship service on Sunday morning. 

Friday night kicked off with the Songwriter's Showcase which was hosted by Steven Curtis Chapman and Matthew West.  How much fun were these two?  I laughed so much at them.  They played really well off of each other.  Lots of great acts on this show.  I absolutely loved these acoustic versions of so many of the songs that we are used to hearing on K-Love.  It just kept getting better and better with the songs and talent that kept getting up there and performing.  I laughed so hard at the moment where Matthew West told MIKESCHAIR that they had to follow Amy Grant and Vince Gill.  They found humor in the moment by getting on stage and saying "I'd like to thank Vince and Amy for opening for us".  That was a great line!!!  As you can see this was such a fun and laid back atmosphere for this showcase.  Fun with a lot of great music and worship.  If you got the pleasure of listening to this live, you got a big blessing from it.  I loved it!

The Awards themselves were a lot of fun.  Fun to see who would win what award.  How the fan voting would go.  The performances were amazing.  Countless great performances through the night.  Things really picked up with Natalie Grant and Kari Jobe singing together!!  How awesome was that??!!  That kicked the worship into big time overdrive and set the stage for the rest of the night.  Tenth Avenue North was amazing as well!  That was one of my favorites. 
So, what were the award winner results?  Well, here you go.
Artist of the Year: TobyMac
Song of the Year: "Redeemed" by Big Daddy Weave
Male Artist of the Year: Chris Tomlin
Female Artist of the Year: Kari Jobe
Group/Duo of the Year: Casting Crowns
Breakthrough Artist of the Year: For King & Country
Book Impact of the Year: The Love Dare by Alex and Stephen Kendrick
Sports Impact of the Year: Mike Fisher
Movie Impact of the Year: Courageous

These categories were so packed with such amazing talent and regardless of who won, it was a celebration of all these great and talented performers.  TobyMac as artist of the year did not surprise me at all.  He has had an amazing year.  Kari Jobe posted this on Twitter following her win: "LOOK what you guys did!!  I have the best fans!! I love loving Jesus with U all! Thank you! ahh!!!!" For King and Country had an amazing speech that summarized the whole weekend.  They talked about a testimony they had heard with their music.  A fan told them a story of a friend who was already in the motions of taking their life.  The fan listened to the song on the radio and had this urge through that song that they needed to call their friend and check on them.  They were able to get help for the friend before it was too late.  This was such a powerful speech with them saying "what we're doing here is impacting lives, and it's got power".  It goes to show the strength of these songs.  How God can use these songs to that person out there that is listening.  It might have the most perfect lyrics for them that can help them through a situation.  That song might be the understanding for them that they aren't feeling like they are getting anywhere else.  How many times do you hear that perfect song come on at the most perfect time?  God uses this music and uses K-LOVE. 

There was also a special award presented at the K-LOVE Awards with the Unsung Hero award. It was for the Cochran family.  You can see more with this video of their story with this brother and sister combo that will inspire a lot of people!

Sunday morning had me excited to get the radio turned on and listen to the worship service which was being led by Meredith Andrews and Matt Maher.  Big fan of Meredith Andrews so it was great to turn the radio on first thing and hear an interview with her.  Her and Matt did such a great job of leading the service. I knew we were in big time business when it opened with Meredith's "Open Up The Heavens" as I've said that is such a great song to open up her new album.  It gets you praising immediately and it did during this service as well.  Then, we had them combining together on Matt's great song, "Your Grace Is Enough", which sounded great.  I loved Meredith's quote during this service where she said "God needs us to be right where we are".  That is such a true statement and one that puts a lot of perspective on everyone.  God has a purpose and has all of us right where we are supposed to be.

So to summarize the weekend, just amazing.  I wasn't even there and I felt like I had such an incredible K-LOVE Fan Awards experience.  I can't even imagine what it must have been like there in person.  I know I got spoiled with all the great music and worship this weekend so it will be hard to be back to normal this week.  It definitely felt like a revival event and I can't wait to see what they put together for next year.  Thank you to K-Love, all the artists, fans, and just everyone who had any part in this amazing weekend.  Thank you for all of your hard work that you do every single day.  If you want to see a highlight reel of this amazing weekend, here you go.  Have a great rest of the day!  Take care and God bless!!

Carrie Underwood's Cry Pretty Album Released

Album release day today for Carrie Underwood's new album, Cry Pretty! I love album release days! So much scrambling around trying to mak...