New CMT Examiner


I’ve returned to Examiner.com, which seems to be doing good things these days after a rocky patch a coupleĀ  of years ago, and happy to have come on board as their National CMT Examiner. At the moment, I’m mostly covering their original TV series, “Sweet Home Alabama,” Bayou Billionaires,” “Swanderosa,” and “My Big Redneck Vacation,” but hope to be adding some interviews and really cool features soon, once I get properly settled in. Below are a few links to read up on the shows, as they have some good ones over there at CMT. And family-friendly, for those where that is a concern.

Sweet Home Alabama

Bayou Billionaires

My Big Redneck Vacation

Swanderosa

 

“She’s Lipstick on Fire!”


My interview with Beverly McClellan, a Season 1 finalist for “The Voice,” is up at Yahoo!TV. Ms. Beverly is quite a character, and was bursting with great quotes — as I was transcribing the interview, I noticed I spent more time laughing than asking questions. Please check out the interview here, as well as one I did with semi-finalist Casey Weston.

If I seem to be stalking former contestants for the show, there’s a reason: I am covering “The Voice” for Yahoo!TV and wholeheartedly admit to being a huge fan of the show, which is much more surprising if you know I am a music snob and normally loathe music contests — I personally hold “American Idol” and Simon Cowell responsible for a great deal of the downfall of good music in general.

This is going to sound crazy, but “The Voice” is one of the things that have recently made me really re-discover my love of music, after serious burnout covering the music industry for several years. I highly recommend you check out the archives of Season 1 before season 2 launches after the Super Bowl. Click here for the Season 1 archives at NBC.com.

Interview with Casey Weston up at Yahoo!

I got to sit down and chat via phone with one my favorite contestants from Season 1 of “The Voice” and the interview is posted now here.

Casey was somehow passed over on the initial auditions, which was definitely a mistake. Her rendition of Keith Urban’s “Stupid Boy” earned a her a chance to move on, going all the way to the semi-finals. One of the highlights was her battle duet singing “Leather and Lace” — there was no denying the comparisons to Stevie Nicks, herself.

Casey Weston epitomizes the girl next door, and with her country-influenced musical roots — and her affinity for writing her own songs — one could start making comparisons to that other country-girl-next-door sensation. You know…what’s-her-name? But Weston’s rise to fame is going a bit slower, despite a huge boost as one of the eight semi-finalists on the inaugural season of “The Voice.”

In the Company of Women

I was thinking I was having trouble getting motivated to write during the Yahoo holiday because I’m spoiled by almost instant approval and pay, plus some extra hours I picked up at the day job…but I’m realizing as I sit down tonight working on my interview with The Voice finalist Beverley McClellan, who I interviewed only a couple of days before my phone interview with Grammy nominee Linda Chorney, that talking to two such extraordinary women artists who have carved their own path for so long (aged 42 and 51 respectively) and gone through the adversity of sticking it out as artists without compromising themselves…has completely blown a fuse. Serious overload. In a good way, but…overload. But I’ve flipped the breaker switch and getting back on track now, albeit a bit slowly.

It’s also got me thinking a lot about the importance of the “Hail Mary,” as both sort of did their own versions of them, with last ditch efforts that paid off. I think there is definitely a story in there beyond an interview with one or the other, but about being women who have sacrificed any kind of conventional life to live as an artist, and not giving in to that pressure we all get – but especially women – to settle down and raise a family and give up our “silly dreams.” The key phrase in that sentence being “give up.”

Luckily, for those of us of a certain age, my independent poll conducted that week of exactly three women over 40 shows that 3 out of 3 of those women really don’t give a shit what other people think. The one good thing about getting old.

And speaking of extraordinary women artists of a certain age: