Vocal MasterClass Discussion For American Idol Top 2 Country Finale


Yes siree Bob we are going to have a grand ‘ole hootenanny tonight at the Nokia Theatre.

Scheduled to make appearances are Carrie Underwood (for the umpteenth time), Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, Charice( now there’s a talented teen!), U2 and heaven knows who else.

Well, it seems like they thought of everyone. Wait. I digress. They forgot to include last season’s American Idol winner, the talented Lee DeWyze. Boo Idol. Just boo to you for this callous oversight.

Also, Pia Toscana is scheduled to sing her single and duet with Charice. And Haley will debut her single as well. What happened to James, Stefano and Casey? Hopefully they will be featured as well. Ditto for Jacob and the rest of the Top 13.

But, the question that begs an answer is this: Who will win? Scotty or Lauren? Will they be launched as a duo? Will I have to listen to that “mother” song again?

My prediction? Lauren will win. Doesn’t matter that Scotty is ahead in the voting polls. Lauren. Will. Win. This has been Lauren’s show from Day One.

Now, will I be right or no? Stay tuned and comment like crazy. It’s going to be a fun party.

About Masterclass Lady

Rosanne (Giallonardo) Simunovic began her musical career in Timmins, Ontario. She studied piano with Anne Pizzale and later, at an advanced level, with Soeur Anita Vaugeois (Sister Cecile of Les Soeurs De L’Assomption in Timmins). Her vocal and accompaniment skills were nurtured by her aunt, the late Dorothea Mascioli. When Rosanne graduated from O’Gorman High School, she moved on to the University of Toronto where she continued her piano and vocal studies while attaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She was hired as a piano accompanist for several musical companies, most notably, the National Ballet Of Canada. She presently holds an A.R.C.T. Teacher’s Diploma in Voice from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Rosanne has studied choral conducting with numerous well known Canadian Conductors, including Wayne Riddell of Montreal, Quebec and the internationally renowned Dr. Elmer Iseler. She has been a founding member of numerous community-based arts organizations: the Timmins Arts Council, later known as Arts & Culture Timmins, the Timmins Symphony Orchestra, and, the Timmins Youth Singers…as well as the TYS Alumnus choir, the Timmins Concert Singers. In 1987, she was also selected to be the conductor of the Timmins Board Of Education Choir, comprised of talented students from Grades 5 to 8. In 1988, she was elected to the Board Of Directors of the Ontario Choral Federation (now known as Choirs Ontario), where she served as Chair of the Festivals Committee for six consecutive seasons. In 1996, in honour of the Ontario Choral Federation’s 25th Anniversary, Rosanne was selected as one of 25 recipients of the OCF’s Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contribution to the choral art. The ceremony was presided by Lieutenant Governor, Hal Jackman. In November 1997, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Rotary Club Of Timmins to receive the prestigious Paul Harris Award for her years of dedication to the artistic development of young musical talent in Timmins. In August of 2002, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Board Of Directors of Choirs Ontario to serve as Conductor of both the Provincial Junior and Teen Choir Camps, now renamed in honour of the Camp Benefactors, Don and Lillian Wright. In November 2002, Rosanne was the one of the recipients of the Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, honouring her work in the development of the arts in Timmins. Under Rosanne Simunovic’s direction, the Timmins Youth Singers and the Timmins Concert Singers have been featured in numerous choral festivals and performing opportunities outside of Timmins. In 1985, they were selected to partici

40 Responses to “Vocal MasterClass Discussion For American Idol Top 2 Country Finale”

  1. Ugh! Why are they having all of those artisits???

    We have 10 seasons worth of very talented and just as accomplished entertainers from idol; why not have them on?

    Oh MCL; I hope you are wrong…Scotty’s gotta win!

    I would say if Lauren miraculously pulls out a win…TPTB has had their hands in the cookie jar!

    I don’t know if I can watch!


  2. Vonnie, I really will be shocked if Scotty doesn’t win. Based on dial idol and his voting numbers in past weeks, he has easily been the top vote getter since the first week. From what I see on the blogs, having Lauren sing to her mother and make a big drama about her vocal issue may have backfired. It looked like producer manipulation. Scotty fans were also probably even more fired up because they worried he was in trouble. I even picked up the phone and put in some votes for Scotty. Regardless of who wins, for the first time in my life, I will be buying a country album: Scotty’s.


  3. I agree with Vonnie. I want Scotty to win, and if Lauren does win TPTB definitely had a hand in that! But with the way this season is going and what’s been going on, it would surprise me if Lauren won. Especially after the comments from last night and especially JLo’s comment about Lauren winning it all.


  4. Bizzee – if they pull a Lauren win then it will be the upset of the century. AI will lose credibility,if they haven’t done so already after that schmaltz fest las night


  5. Come on….enough with all these artists – yes they are fantastic, but SHOW ME THE RESULTS!!!

    The good news I can watch the Boston – Tampa Bay (Go Boston!) game for awhile….hehe. 🙂


  6. I’m for Scotty. But, Lauren might win cos of her tribute to mum. AI viewers average age 45 years, if I’m not mistaken. Thus lots of mums and grandmas watching. Their hearts would have melted.


  7. Just announced: The winner is Scotty!


  8. 😀 so happy for him!!!! Awe…he’s so excited!! Congratulations, Scotty!!


  9. Woo! I am eating crow and loving every mouthful!!! Go Scotty!


  10. YEAH!!!!!!! I thought it would be Lauren too, but I’m so happy that I was wrong. He was adorable!!!


  11. Awh! I’m so happy! Congrats to Scotty! ❤

    And it could be just friends, but Scotty and Lauren looked a little friendly. 😉 Haha, if there is anything there, that is beyond precious. They're so adorable!


  12. Brittney,
    I was thinking the same thing about Scotty and Lauren. 🙂

    I also really enjoyed seeing the guys together again. I think they get along really well and really enjoy ribbing each other. They’ll probably have a blast this summer on the tour.


  13. I’m so pleased with the result tonight! This is the first time since Season 6 that I voted for the one who ended up winning.
    FINALLY! It’s heartwarming to see just how close Scotty and Lauren have become. It looks even more than just friendship, but who knows. They might only be the very best of friends! God Bless them both!!


  14. It was an excellent Finale – one of the best!! I was happy to see Gladys Knight (Motown) on again with Jacob. Nice job! James was looking like he had a ball – maybe they (Juda Priest) will have him as a Guest Singer sometime in the future? Honored to see Tony Bennett and Tom Jones perform. Loved the boys singing Tom’s songs! Beyonce was great as usual. Lady Gag was unusual. LOL! So many great singers, but I still missed the alumni coming back to sing.

    I loved seeing the friendship that developed between Scotty and Lauren. It’s funny because Lee made the comment about him and Crystal being together from the beginning – just like Scotty said. Oh, you do remember Lee, right? He’s the guy that won last year and was sitting behind Ryan as he spoke of the show. It would have been nice to see Ryan shake hands and ask, “How have you been buddy?” Better yet – let Lee sing!

    My husband made the comment that it looked like Carrie was trying to outsing Lauren. I didn’t notice that, but with Lauren’s vocal problems or not, that would be easy to do.

    Did anyone see other American Idol winners there besides Lee and David Cook? I need to rewatch the show. So much going on – very fast paced!

    I had Scotty third after Pia and James. I think he’s a sweet guy and I wish him well with his career! Congraulations to all the Scotty fans – and Lauren’s fans too!


  15. Woohoooooo!!!!!!! Sorry I’m just now getting to the party, my hubby just peeled me off the ceiling!

    I’m so stinkin’ happy!!! I am in “confetti Bath Bliss”

    Yep! Me thinks Lauren and Scotty are crushin’ on each other a little; too cute!

    And so this leads me to the part of the evening where I give my:

    “Confetti Bath” acceptance speech!

    I would just like to thank all of my lovely friends at MCL’s, thank you for believing in me, when I told you at the beginning of the season that Scotty would win!!! (Not really sure I said that, but it sounds really good now!)

    I would like to thank MCL for providing us the very platform that spins off these prestigious awards and brings friends together.

    I would like to thank the judges for providing us with material to fill our lively debates; like who’s driving the bus that runs over most of these poor kids; however I think this year the judges opted for a steamroller instead of a bus; especially after last night!

    I would like to thank TPTB for providing us with even more fluff for us to blog about.

    I would like to thank the idol contestants; because without you…well, quite frankly there would not be a MCL’s nor a” Confetti Bath Award”.

    But on a more serious note; I would like to thank:

    Gene W
    Jessica T
    Chris Silvester
    Scott (for whatever reason has abandoned us)
    Jeanne(where are you?)
    skid (and you)

    Please forgive me if I have forgotten any one…(you get really nervous when you are standing up here!)

    Each day you all make me smile! I think of you as great friends, I love that you share your time with me! Times have been tough lately, but being able to come here and take my mind off of reality and place it on a “reality” show; well it just means alot. My brother had the most beautiful sense of humor and he loved to laugh and loved to make people laugh, and my promise to him is that I will continue to laugh no matter how much I want to cry! Thank you!


  16. Forgot to say…the duet with Scotty and Tim McGraw;AWESOME!!!


  17. Vonnie,

    BRAVO for your Confetti Bath Speech!! I put out a big cheer when I started reading it. Hooray to you Vonnie! A huge Hooray to Scotty!!! Your speech was very well said, including the joys and frustrations of Season 10. Another A.I. season has come to an end. Wow!!!


  18. Vonnie, you are to funny!!! And I definitely agree, thank you MCL and the entire MCL community for providing great discussion over these past 5 months! It has been a blast and I know I have learned a lot with regards to vocal performances!!


  19. Congratulations to Scotty on his win and Lauren for her second place finish.
    Enjoy the confetti bath Vonnie, you earned it as did Scottie’s other fans here. Vonnie, on behalf of the MCL Institute, I hereby award you your second “Bulls Eye Award” for an early season, spot on pick of the eventual Idol winner. You can hang it on the other side of your horseshoe. The three should look good together. I hope you took my earlier advice to get started on a trophy room.

    The next award I have to present is the coveted “Golden Horseshoe Award,” presented to the person who came closest to predicting the top two finishers, even though the order was reversed. It has been said that close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, so you have the option of a golden hand grenade if that is your preference. The award is presented to none other than MCL herself.

    Finally there is the “Dale Evans’s Cowgirl Boot Award” presented to anyone who started a sentence this season with the words “ I don’t like country music, but…” I know Mindy has already made her confession of being a new fan of country music and has expanded her interest into the Blues as well. Extremely well done Mindy! She is enjoying her new boots already but I’ve lost track of everyone else except for the new member Brittany who I believe uttered the words just in time to qualify for this award. Welcome to you, Brittany. Step up and get your boots along with everyone else, you know who you are. Seriously, I hope Scotty earns your continued support and I hope you will listen to a few other country artists when you get a chance. Wear your new cow girl boots in good health!

    Acceptance speeches from all of tonight’s winners to follow.

    Lauren was clearly short of voice tonight. I din’t think Carrie was trying to out sing her, but rather she was carrying her. Good work Carrie.

    Even those of you who are new to Country music probably know that Tim McGraw is Faith Hill’s husband, but you may not know that his father was the late great Tug McGraw, the famous baseball pitcher. The song that he and Scotty sang together, “Live Like You Were Dying” is about a conversation that Tim had with his Dad after Tug was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He said he was going to get the most out of the time he had left and that was the inspiration for the song. Real life stories of the people who sing them is a large part of the appeal of country music. It will be Scotty’s challenge to find the stories that he wants to tell, that are both age appropriate and of subjects that represents his core beliefs, and deliver those stories in one of the most powerful mediums on earth; the song.

    One of the reasons that Taylor Swift has risen like a hot air balloon in the dead of winter is that she has reached out to a previously underserved audience, young females from about eight to sixteen, and made them her own by writing songs about their lives and interest. She has worked hard to maintain the image of a clean cut, respectable young woman in a world that pulls her in the opposite direction. The hoard of new fans that she brought to Country music is why she is so popular in the industry. Scotty has demonstrated the same ability to bring new fans into the Country fold. Her music isn’t intended for me so I’m not necessarily a fan, but I am an admirer of her genius. She runs her entire show from top to bottom as well as writing her own songs and songs for other artist. Her model is a good one to follow for these two young performers. I hope they have as clear a vision of where they are headed as she did starting out.

    I was proud of my girls, Pia and Haley, tonight. I had hoped to see more of them though. At least Haley had a cool spot with Tony Bennett.

    Gladys Knight was a nice surprise and Jacob seemed more at home in the gospel environment than in R&B to me. From my perspective, James, Stefano and Jacob sang better tonight than they did most of the season. It’s always better after the pressure is off I guess. I believe Naima is going to shine on the tour. Overall, I would have preferred that they would have had fewer stars peddling their goods and more of the Top 13 and all of the past winners.

    It was dirty the way they treated Lee.


  20. WOW!! WOW!! WOW!! Scotty won! American got it right! TPTB weren’t able to stop that Scotty train!! This is the first time since season two and my wonderful Ruben Studdard, my precious teddy bear, that I have picked the winner! I am just on cloud nine right now!

    Well, the world didn’t end and I fell for a country singer! Who’d a thunk it? Scotty has gotten me to do something that I have never done – listen to country music and buy it, too!

    Scotty’s reaction had me in tears! He may have truly been the overwhelming favorite with an insurmountable lead all along, but from the look on his face, nobody remembered to tell him! I loved seeing him go into the audience and finally have the chance to hug his family. If anyone had any doubts about this humble, decent young man with that amazing voice, then all they had to do is watch him share his moment with his fellow Idol contestants!

    As far as Scotty and Lauren, do we really sense a true teenage romance here? I know she kept kissing him over and over. He said on the show that they were like brother and sister when Ryan was questioning them. Maybe they just developed a really close friendship throughout this long journey.

    Enjoy your moment my Scotty! I love you! You deserved it! I feel like dancing!

    Finally, a heartfelt thank you to MCL for providing this beautiful site where we get to share our joy, excitement, pain and loss and everything that makes up a season of Idol. I don’t know what I would do without every single one of you special people who have touched me with your wisdom, intelligence, generosity, spirit, kindness, friendship, and support. I feel so close to all of you at this moment and I don’t want to let it go.

    Vonnie, girl! I was thinking of you the minute they announced that Scotty won!! I believe that there are things that happen to help up get through the most difficult times of our lives. To read the happiness flowing from you right now, just feels so right and beautiful.

    I am sure that your brother is looking down on you and smiling with pride to see his sister carry on with love in her heart.

    Sorry, I am losing it now. Will have to come back later to try and say more.


  21. Gene,

    I didn’t see your post when I did my last comment! Well, well, well! So I won an award, huh? My very first time! Yes, these cowboy boots were made for walking! Yes, I am a country girl, yessirree! And look what I learned about those blues! Big Mama Thornton, John Lee Hooker and all the rest who were there first.

    I am very happy to accept those wonderful cowboy boots and will wear them proudly! And I did know that Tim McGraw is Faith Hill’s husband, but I did not know that Tug McGraw was this father. I have always been a huge baseball fan, so that is amazing to learn that. To hear the story behind the song “Live Like You Were Dying” is so touching. I watched that performance again and the words are incredible. I can finally see the appeal of country music, because it does tell a great story and they actually have REAL voices! Wow, what a concept! No autotune necessary!

    I have already downloaded about ten Josh Turner songs that I am so loving. Man, he can sing! So there I am in my car singing along to “Long Black Train” and “Your Man” and Firecracker” and “So Not My Baby” and all the others. Great stuff!

    I have always be aware of country music and its artists. It’s not like I was living in a cave. I just didn’t download or buy any of the music, with the two exceptions of Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash. I have even watched country music awards shows. Over the years I have heard many artists, but they weren’t able to make the sale, shall we say? That would be the way my big brother would put it. I do appreciate why Taylor Swift is successful. I don’t like her voice and my ears hurt when she goes off key, but I do respect the image she has tried to project for young girls. It’s very important. I also respect her enormously as a songwriter. I do hope that Scotty can use this opportunity to be a role model for young men in this country. He has conducted himself with class and grace beyond his years, shown poise under pressure and has also been a true southern gentleman. His humility and charm are so appealing.

    So is there a real romance between Scotty and Lauren? Two teenagers in love? Or are they just close friends? People are talking, especially on MJ’s blog. Lauren kept kissing Scotty and that started tongues wagging. By the way, a very sweet thing has happened on that blog site. So many are being gracious, kind, and generous towards Scotty and his win this season. I can’t remember a time when there was this much love on that site. It’s a true testament to the joy and love that Scotty has brought to all of us. If it can conquer the hatespeak, even if it’s only for one night, then that is really something.

    I loved Scotty’s duet with Tim McGraw. He seemed to be so in awe of the fact that he was actually singing with him. I also loved seeing the guys sing – James, Casey and Stefano really had some fun on that stage. Great to see Miss Gladys Knight singing with Jacob and that choir. Gospel really is his thing. He seemed right at home. I loved seeing Tom Jones singing with the guys. Also, the duet with Tony Bennett and Haley was fantastic!

    I would have loved to see more of the other Idol contestants, but what I saw I loved. The overall consensus on MJ’s blog is that this was one of the better finales. However, the one sour note that is being mentioned online, is the disgraceful treatment of Lee Dewyze. He was sitting in the audience, for heaven’s sake and Ryan didn’t take a second to even acknowledge him. That must hurt. People keep saying that the music business is harsh and cruel. That was never more evident than the way Lee was discarded like yesterday’s trash. Just a shame.


  22. Yep – Lee was disrespected – I wonder who in TPTB he angered? I smell a BIG rat on this one? Will they DARE do this to Scotty next year? I DOUBT it!


    Gene – You said it better that I –
    “…would have preferred that they would have had fewer stars peddling their goods and more of the Top 13 and all of the past winners.”

    On a Tenth Anniversary show, it would have made sense to have any available contestants on stage …


  23. OBTW – I am going to see the tour – I want to support the the lucky thirteen.


  24. Gene W,

    I need to build on a new room to fit all of my awards…I am honored; thank you!

    Bulls Eye Award; this one is easy to write an acceptance speech for…I fell in love with a beautiful young man with an equally beautiful voice! He was my winner from the beginning, even if he didn’t win! So thank you Scotty for making this an easy award to win!

    I would also like to throw my name in for the “Dale Evans’s Cowgirl Boot Award”

    I too have changed my radio station; funny after last night listening to GaGa, I realize changing stations wasn’t a hard thing to do!

    Gene, I do have one of Tim’s CD’s, I love the song Where the green grass grows and the duet he and Faith did together! He is AWESOME!

    I liked Haley and Tony Bennet together too! WOW! that girl can sing anything!

    Casey, James, and Stephan were hilarious in the little skits they were doing last night; do I sense some acting careers coming their way?

    Yeah, I wasn’t sure what was going on with Lauren and Carrie, but it didn’t seem as relaxed as Tim and Scotty’s…but they sounded great together!

    Poor Lee…what was that all about? Why go stand in front of the poor boy and try your hardest to block him from the camera view…then diss him and not say something to him!!!


    I thought of you too last night…I was so happy!

    Thank you for the beautiful words about my brother…I miss him terribly!


  25. Good morning everyone!

    What a happy morning it is! Vonnie, thanks for the mention! So glad we saw things the same way this season! MCL, thanks for a great site! I always learn so much from reading your thoughtful, professional advice for each contestant!! I thoroughly enjoyed last night, with so many great moments. I thought Scotty really shined with is Tim M duet. He really held his own and looked SO happy! I also loved seeing Jacob and James so happy! The guy’s Tom Jones medley was top notch for me! Like others, the only bummer for me was seeing Lee in the audience with no acknowledgment whatsoever. SHAME RYAN and AI!!!!!! Looking forward to the VOICE going to live votes! So much talent on that show!!!


  26. I wish Tom Jones swiveled his hips! Maybe Lee did not want to sing his year…who knows. I wish Tom Jones sang “She’s a Lady” Lady GaGa was not a lady !!! gosh, was she doing the dry hump on that man up there? Ewww. Puh-leeeze. I love it last night, reminds me of the well…the old days when we had variety shows. Reality TV OUT! and replace it with variety shows. I cannot take one more phoney reality show. I love best was Casey and Jack Black…it stood out in my mind today. I say kudos to Haley because u know she was not accepted into AI last year, is she ever determined! Oh! I do like the J-Lo and husband…wow…Spanish music is cool! so dynamic. I love James, he looked like he owned it!! I hope there is a platform for him. Hope 2 c him on TV..can’t afford concerts. Well, my age, yanno. I used to! Beatles, Led Zepplin, Black Oak Arkasar, Janis Joplin, ..can’t remember anyone else off top of my head now. I like everyone of the 13. Enjoyed all of it. Thanks MasterLady 4 your comments.


  27. Gene- thank you for the momentous award. I shall treasure it always. But, even more, I shall treasure you and all the wonderful people here in the MCL Community.

    Thank you so much for your love and support. I hope to see all of you back often.

    There are new shows in the horizon: America’s Got Talent debuts May 31st on NBC followed by The Voice, then, of course, So You Think You Can Dance (not certain of the start date) plus X-Factor in the Fall. Exciting!!


  28. MCL
    Wow! I just got my award too. I’m going to print that and put it with my trophies. Seriously. Thank you so much Rosanne.

    You are a real sweetheart and the reason that nice people gather here. I’m what is known as the exception that proves the rule!

    You are very generous to put up with me and to host all of us. I have made many friends here and enjoy spending time with each of you. Rosanne, it’s been my great pleasure to have made your acquaintance, even if it’s only in cyberspace. You have no idea how out of place I feel here, yet you and the others have made me feel welcome. For that I am humbled and grateful.

    We have fun, don’t we?


  29. I went to a friend’s house last night and didn’t get to actually type up (besides my excitement for Scotty) how awesome I thought the finale was! Nigel really pulled it together and, as MJ was talking about over at her blog, created a very well-paced and fun event! Never once did I wish it was over, and I was actually surprised when I saw how quickly it was going by!

    First, can I just say how wonderful it was to have James back and performing. He was my favorite all season, and I thought he had a really good chance of going all the way to the finale with Scotty, and I was devastated to see him eliminated. It was so refreshing to see him performing again, and having fun like his usual James self! Made me really happy. Also, the “duet” between Casey and Jack Black had me in stitches. It was hilarious, and their ending pose? Beautiful! Haha.

    I thought the Top 13 girls were a little off their games, but Karen and Pia sounded good! Though, when it comes to the guys, their performance was hilarious, well put together, it sounded great, and it just… I can’t say anything else besides it made me really happy! I’m running out of adjectives. Being out of school for the summer is really taking a toll on my vocabulary. 😛

    Another couple of moments that I thought brought the show together were Haley and her jazzy duet. I would have liked her if she sang like that all the time! I’m not a fan of her growl/way upper register (to me it sounds like she’s shouting at me, which may seem like a contradiction because I like James, but I have my reasons! 😉 ), so the absence of that made her performance brilliant for me. Also, Lady Gaga. I love when she just sings. She has a beautiful voice, and I don’t like when she compromises it with excessive and extreme dance moves. I was concerned because of the giant boulder on stage, but I’m a fan. Plus, there was a feature with Mark from SYTYCD! Happy to see him. And the little clips of everyone poking fun at each other? Hilarious. The one about who had the most shocking elimination was fantastic, and I loved how everyone was making fun of how young the two are! (“They’re CHILDREN!”) Oh man. 🙂

    And to wrap this up, Scotty’s reaction to him winning? Love it! And Lauren’s composure on stage? Love it x2! They both seemed genuinely happy for one another, and even though I speculated romance, both have been insisting all day on being just friends, so I’m going to believe it for now! But they would be adorable together. Him singing, hugging his family, denying Jack Black a hug, trying to catch confetti on his tongue and everyone being completely and totally supportive was just the icing on the cake. This was a fantastic finale to say the least. I cannot wait to meet these guys and watch them perform on tour! 😀


  30. Julia,

    Where are you going to attend the concert? We are going to Nashville to see them, which is about half way through the tour. I hope they are not worn out or burned out by then.

    Maybe they could add Gladys Knight, Tony Bennett and Tom Jones to the lineup.

    I’m looking forward to it.


  31. Mindy,
    Being a baseball fan you will understand exactly what I mean when I say that I believe one of the reasons that Scotty is so remarkably calm under pressure is the fact that he is a relief pitcher. They are like place kickers in football; they only play when the pressure is on. The baseball connection was one of the reasons that I thought “Live Like You Were Doing.”

    I’m proud of you Sis. It’s not easy for grownups to take a second look at something that they have decided against a long time ago. You have chosen wisely Weed Hopper. Wear your boots with pride. BTW, I didn’t like Country music very much for a long time, but like you, I couldn’t avoid it. I wrote a long post explaining how that happened but there was no end in sight, so I abandoned it.

    You mentioned liking Johnny Cash. I like the San Quentin album best because of song selection and it’s not over produced like his typical studio albums were. Have you ever listened to his daughter Rosanne Cash? (Homework) She and her Dad butted heads for most of her life and when she was 18 he gave her a list that he compiled of the 100 greatest country songs and told her that she needed to study those songs and understand why they were important if she was going to be a country singer. She ignored it for years and finally decided to record 12 of the songs. The recording is excellent and there are several gems on this album.

    I would also recommend Vince Gill to you. He’s a good guy with a unique voice. I looked over his song list on iTunes to make a few suggestions and I was able to narrow it down to the top 50 on the list (!) or the album “These Days.”

    Alan Jackson has a nice deep voice that you may like and if you would like to dig around in the roots a little, well not really the roots but more like the tree trunk, you have to start with George Jones. Half of the country singers on the planet imatate elements of his singing style. One of his latest albums has a great title and some great classic country sounds. It’s called “Hit’s I missed, and One I Didn’t” The hits he missed are all covers of songs that he passed on when they were pitched to him and the artists who recorded them made a fortune from. The one he didn’t is the greatest country song of all time; “he Stopped Loving Her Today.” Be sure to listen to that one until you understand the story.I must admit to having heard the song many times before I gave any thought to what it was saying.

    I fully understand what you mean about Taylor’s singing. The thing that amazes me the most about her is that she does it all. At the age of 19 she planned her world tour by herself down to the last detail, including everything from the budget down to the smallest details of the set design. She even designed the logos and paint schemes for the tour trucks and buses. She auditioned and hired her musical director and choreographer along with all of the musicians, backing vocalist and dancers. It’s not like she’s a demanding spoiled brat on a rampage. To the contrary; these long time professionals say that she knows what she’s doing, is very considerate, polite and respectful, but she knows what she is doing and has earned their full respect. She seems to have a similar plan for her career. It apears to me that she is allowing herself to grow up in the eyes of her fans on a schedule. It seems that way in the progression of most of her songs anyway. She’s a phenom, a self made woman like a few of the greats before her. Big Machine records only manage three acts and she was the first. How is that for good luck?

    I’ve always liked Scotty the young man. He’s everything that you say. I think he needs a little refinement as a singer and performer but I have no doubt at all that he can accomplish what he needs to do. Carrie Underwood needed more work and development when she left Idol too. I don’t know who coached her to the level she is at now, but there has been a big improvement. The talk was that she always showed up early for recording sessions, fully prepared to go to work and frequently laid down the finished track on the first take. I wish she would work on her mic handling technique. It drives me crazy to watch her. I think Scotty is in a good position to influence young people, which is why the hate speech will likely return.

    The celebrity duets were very good. Of course my favorite part of the show was Haley singing with Tony Bennett. That was a great pairing. He was enjoying himself and you could tell that she fully appreciated the unique opportunity that she had. I watched it several times and it just gets better and better. It’s so cool when someone that age “gets it.” I also enjoyed Scotty’s duet with Tim. He’s a good man and I have often joked that his feet should never touch the floor before his knees do in the morning, to thank God for making him the luckiest man on earth. I love it when the Idol contestants are awestruck by their duet partner. Last year Crystal fully understood how cool it was to get to sing with Joe Cocker but the fact seemed wasted on Lee.

    I can’t believe that they didn’t at least interview Lee from the cheap seats. That was really bad. I’m not a big fan of Lee’s but I would have cut Gaga to include him in some way.


  32. Gene,

    It has been quite a journey. I always had an awareness of country music. I have heard of all the artists you mentioned. I did take a listen on itunes to Roseanne Cash. I found her album, “The List” and was surprised to see “500 Miles” there. I remember it from Peter, Paul and Mary and have their version downloaded. I also saw “She’s Got You”. Now that one I know from Patsy Cline. Once she sang a song, it was sung! I am fascinated by this list, because I don’t know most of them. Johnny Cash knows his songs, so I will have to take some time and listen to all of them. What a lovely gift to his daughter. I know of their complicated relationship. I remember watching interviews with Roseanne Cash in the past. Do you happen to know where the complete list of the 100 songs may be? I also loved Johnny Cash’s San Quentin album. One of my favorites!

    I know Alan Jackson from the song “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning”. I heard it when it came out after 9/11 and it made me cry. I cried again when Scotty sang it on Idol. I will have to check out his other songs.

    I listened to Vince Gill. I vaguely know the name, but not his songs. “These Days” is a phenomenal compilation of just about every facet of country music. I have only listened to about a half dozen so far. There are some country music songs that I will never embrace, but that’s true of any genre of music. He did a duet with Michael McDonald, “How Lonely Looks” that is amazing. Also, “Take This Country Back”, “Cowboy Up”, “Which Way Will You Go”, “Sweet Thing”, “If I Can Make Mississippi”, “Little Brother”, “Some Things Never Get Old” and “I Bet It All On You”.

    Of course I know George Jones! He was the blueprint. I did take a listen to his songs and found his voice different and interesting. It has an unusual tone to it that takes a little getting used to for me. I listened to that song “He Stopped Loving Her Today”. That seems to be very well known. But I don’t understand the words yet. This man stops loving a woman, puts a wreath on his door, gets all dressed up to be taken away? What am I missing here? Do I need to listen to it more to figure it out?

    As far as Taylor Swift, I don’t relate to her music probably because it wasn’t written for me. I do admire her work ethic and business sense. She is one smart cookie! I really do love her image and how conscious she is of being a role model for young girls.

    Well, I have gotten myself into country now for sure! I do think that Scotty needs some refinement and will do what it takes to reach his potential. I really do think the sky’s the limit with this kid. I can hear it in his voice. Once he really gets truly comfortable singing in his upper register and can transition smoothly from the deep baritone to the higher notes, he could be just unbelievable. I am pleased that his first single isn’t anything like Josh Turner. Some people mentioned that it was good that he avoided anything that might make him seem to be an imitation of his Idol. He needs to carve out his own place. He can use that beautiful baritone, but do it his way.

    I am still wondering about that quiet confidence. I am not the only one who has noticed it. Some reviewers online have commented on it, too. So now you tell me that he is a relief pitcher on his baseball team! Well, that makes so much sense. You need nerves of steel to be one.

    I saw an online interview in which he said that before the show he didn’t have the girls coming after him, but now it’s all different! He’s so cute. Now he just has to find someone who loves him for who he is and not for being the American Idol. He insists that Lauren is just a close friend, but online there is a good deal of speculation after Lauren planted all those kisses on him!

    I was thrilled to see Haley get to do a duet with the great Tony Bennett. She was so classy and gave him all the respect he deserves. She seemed to be having so much fun. And has this girl ever sounded better? She has really come into her own. I also loved the duet with Tim and Scotty. Scotty said in another interview that Tim was so helpful in their rehearsals and was very supportive. He was really filled with awe when he spoke of him.

    I just had a great feeling when the finale was over! The right person won and it was a great show with some outstanding performances and the time just seemed to fly by.

    There is more controversy about Lee and the finale. I don’t know if you have read any of it. Nigel is now saying that he asked Lee to give the Idol trophy to Scotty. Lee countered by saying that he was asked at the very last minute to go up there and he didn’t feel it was right to take away from Scotty’s moment. What a big mess!


  33. Mindy,

    George Jones is talking about his passing away in the Song “He stopped loving her today”.

    I guess the jest of ths song is that he would love her till the day he passed away!

    Also, want to add my reasoning for Scotty’s quiet confidence…there is a peace that surpasses all understanding when you are serving the Lord!

    I too am learning who alot of the new country music singers are…the old one’s I know, I grew up on a country radio station.

    My mamma couldn’t sing, but she loved to sing along with the radio, (some days you just turned the radio up a little louder). My memories of summers hanging out in the house with the radio on, mamma ironing and singing!!!

    Some of the one’s I remember off the top of my head are: Hank Williams (Love Him), Charlie Pride, Patsy Cline, Conway Twitty (you need to listen to him, awesome) Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynnet (?), Crystal Gayle, George Jones, and the list goes on!

    Gene W, What was the names of the ladies who sang “Funny Face” and “Satin Sheets” ? I can’t remember their names but they were favorites of my mamma’s back then too!


  34. Mindy and Vonnie,

    You are correct on both counts, Vonnie. That’s why I said that “one” of the reasons that he was so calm… you named the main one.
    The answer to the George Jones song is in the first line “He said I’ll love you till I die” and then the climax, “He stopped loving her today.” I don’t know if I just wasn’t listening to what he was saying all those years, I could sing along, but one day it just occurred to me what he was saying. Duh!
    Donna Fargo sang Funny Face. Did your Granddaddy call you that?

    I haven’t seen a copy of the complete list that Johnny gave Rosanne. He had a lot of musical influences having started as a rocker. So did Conway Twitty that Vonnie mentioned. “Conway Twitty and the Twitty Birds.” Pretty funny, huh? I recall 500 miles as a Peter, Paul and Mary song as well. Johnny was probably thinking of Bobby Bare’s version when he added it to the list. A lot of people recorded it during the period that folk was so popular. I think John Phillips wrote it but I don’t recall the Mamas and the Papas ever recording it. “She’s Got You” yep, that’s Patsy. As good as she was, I still like to hear other people do the songs she made famous. Willie does a nice job of his own song that she made famous first, Crazy. He is almost more of a jazz singer than a country singer. More so today than ever. His phrasing is so far behind the melody that it is almost irritating for old fans that want to hear a familiar song the way they remember it. He is another artist whose use of his instrument is as unique and immediately recognizable as his voice. Nobody plays guitar like Willie. James Taylor, Jim Croce, Carole King, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and Stevie Ray Vaughn all have that in common.

    I like George Jones better as an old man with the road wear on his voice. That, and the fact that he is singing all of those classic country songs, better than the originals in many cases, is why I recommended “Hits I Missed, and One I Didn’t” Plus the twist in the album title is so indicative of lyrics of any good country song and it has sort of a baseball connotation.

    Vince Gill started out as a folk rocker with a group called Pure Prairie League. Besides his unique voice and very good song selections, Vince is also renowned as a musician. “Go Rest High on the Mountain” is his very best work in my opinion. It was written for him to sing at his brother’s funeral and never intended to be recorded or released as a commercial venture. His friends and family members kept asking him for a copy of the song he did for his brother so he recorded a version for them. As more people heard it and reported the impact that the song had on them in their time of loss, he was persueded to record it. I think it set a lot of sales records but I haven’t checked.

    Be sure to listen to the Alan Jackson and George Jones duet on the barn sessions album called “A Good Year For the Roses.” It’s a Jones classic but I like this version better than the others. You can also hear the Jones influence in Alan’s singing style. I heard a new girl in a video this morning that was called “Look it Up.” She was getting her Jones on too. In his early days he was certainly no role model. He and Tammy got along about like Ike and Tina Turner. Tammy was a hair dresser her in Birmingham before she hit the road to superstardom.

    There is so much more here to talk about. I haven’t even gotton to Scotty yet, but my little Grandson is here so I need to spend some time with him. More latter.


  35. Gene W,

    Hehe! No my Granddaddy didn’t call me that, usually troublemaker or something close to that came out when he was referring to me!!!

    Yep! Donna Fargo…! Now, who sang Satin Sheets and Top of the World!!!

    I love talking about all of these “old” songs and singers!!! Brings back tons of memories!

    While I wasn’t a big fan of Willie Nelsons, I was a fan of Waylon and Merele Haggard! Loved Merele’s song “first time we met” great song! Pretty much liked anything Waylon sang!

    Have fun with the little grandson!

    So Mindy,

    Have you bought cowboy boots and a hat yet? LOL

    Also someone for you to listen too, and you may already know his music is one of my all time favorites and he is a country singer “Dwight Yoakam” he has a distinct voice and if you listen to some of his Elvis covers, like “Suspicious Minds” and he does Queens “Crazy little thing called love” and I must say he does a great job! Both of those songs can be found on his, “Last Chance For A Thousand Years” CD. Also, “Ain’t that Lonely yet” from that CD is very good! He has a bluegrassy vibe to him! I hope you like him; don’t feel bad though if you don’t…the hubby don’t like him either!

    Also, Garth Brooks, I’m sure that you have heard his music, but he is really great. The song from the movie “Hope Floats” , “To Make You Feel My Love” AWESOME Song!

    Are you guys watching the Voice?


  36. Vonnie,

    You said what I was thinking, but I had to listen to it a few more times as Gene recommended. I should have waited before I asked the question, because I got my answer after just sitting there and hearing it. What a beautiful song! I can’t get it out of my mind now.

    I know all the names you mentioned. As I said, I always had an awareness of country singers, but just didn’t find a connection. I well remember Conway Twitty! Crystal Gayle -“Don’t it Make Your Brown Eyes Blue”! Now that was one song that I absolutely loved. I found myself singing it all the time. There were always a few songs that I liked, but as a whole I could not embrace country music.

    I never loved Willie Nelson’s voice, so it was hard to me to enjoy his singing. I always appreciated his talent as a great songwriter and musician and respected him tremendously. I also remember Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard.

    I also wanted to say that I have felt for a while now that Scotty got his strength, calm and composure from his deep faith in the Lord. He said it himself!


  37. Gene,

    I do remember a lot about George Jones and Tammy Wynette! A lot of drama going on there. George Jones was far from a saint. It’s amazing that he has survived to live into old age.

    I remember Willie Nelson saying in an interview that Patsy Cline’s version of his song “Crazy” was his favorite. I know his version of the song and it’s very different. Of course, I love Patsy’s best. I love everything that woman sang. The one thing I learned in my life is to try to keep an open mind. When I discovered Patsy Cline decades after her death, that was when the realization hit me that my aversion to country music deprived me of the pleasure of hearing her songs for too long. I always heard country singers talk about her with so much awe and respect, but I never knew why. I was watching the Biography channel or one of those cable stations and they showed a documentary of her life. Once I heard that voice, I was transformed. Then I had to find out everything about her and listen to her songs. She was someone who was born with a God given gift, a voice unlike anything I have ever heard. She seemed to be transitioning to pop music before her death. It was a staggering loss, only I didn’t know about it until years after it happened.

    I am going to check out all the songs you mentioned. I have my cowboy boots and hat and I am now an official country girl. However, I will always love pop/r&b soul. I am proud that I have been able to finally enjoy country music. It’s true that it is not easy to change one’s opinions, especially as you get older. Listening to this music, I can hear real voices singing songs that tell a story. In this age of autotune and digitally synthesized music and overproduced junk, I am grateful for the simplicity and beauty in country music.


  38. Nap time; let me see if I can catch up a little bit.

    Vonnie, your boots are in the mail.
    I’ve been wondering about Jeanne as well.

    Mindy, I’m upgrading yours from the Dale Evans model to the knee high Emmylou Harris model.

    I probably should dig out my long post that covers some of the major transitions in country music but I’ll try for a synopsis.
    The Nashville Sound. Best described as sanitising a natural object or over production to the max. This was a new approach from the traditional standards, gospel, blue grass and mountain music that had dominated country music. The proponents of the Nashville Sound sought to make traditional country music into something more palatable and marketable to the larger pop audience of the day, probably late fifties to the early sixties. They substituted strings and even brass instruments (Danny Davis and The Nashville Brass) for the traditional acoustic instruments of the day. Electric guitars replaced acoustic, drums were added, what had been a rare honky-tonk piano (a holdover from the blues) became eloquent grand pianos (Floyd Crammer) and electric pedal steel guitars replaced bottle neck slide guitars (again, a holdover from the blues and the style that Bonnie Raitt plays today) It was led, surprisingly, by Chet Atkins. George and Tammy and Porter and Dolly and Patsy and Loreta and most of the time, Johnny and June were in this group. “That’s when Johnny met June is a good song, BTW. Tell me what it’s about for bonus points. After the Nashville sound began to dominate and control country music, they also controlled the “Grand Old Opry” and the awards shows.

    Anytime there is that much change, there will be a backlash.

    The Bakersfield Sound. This sprang up in Bakersfield California, the hometown of Buck Owens. (Look up his chart stats) when he became disgusted with the “do it our way” of the new Nashville. Several artist followed him there and there was also a fusion with some of the local pop / rock / folk people who leaned toward country, such as, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris (also from here) The Eagles, Joe Walsh, Poco, Pure Prairie League and so on.

    Outlaw Country. There was a second branch of this backlash that went to various places in Texas, most notably Austin. Waylon, Willie, Haggard and Jesse Coulter. Cash played both sides of the fence. There was another round of infusing local styles like Texas swing, and the Texas Blues styles of people like Delbert McClinton and latter Stevie Ray Vaughn.) Delbert can be anything from Chicago Blues Through Delta blues or Texas Blues / Swing to early rock or pure country. Just give him five minutes to change his shirt.) It was sort of like a big pot of Texas stew. There were influences and crossovers but a new style emerged from that area as well. The funny thing is that all of the older guys were slicked back hair and rhinestone suit types before they left Nashville and became “Outlaws.” Willie was a Sunday school teacher at his Southern Baptist church. Being an Outlaw also meant you were an outcast. Willie’s landmark album “Red Headed Stranger” was another influence that drew me into country music a little bit more. The “Outlaws” album was another. Then “The Band” who were oddly a Canadian group.

    These backlash movements became too successful for Nashville to continue ignoring and turning a cold shoulder to for awards shows, and radio play on the mainstream “Countrypolitan” stations where the Nashville Sound artist were played, so they kissed and made up and let Willie back into the house.

    So hopefully that gives you some idea of how the different styles that you hear today developed and where they came from if you didn’t know already. It’s also a background to consider when you think about young people like Scotty entering the music business.

    Today, there is yet another backlash movement against the pop / rock style that dominates today’s country music. Many new singers, bands or other combinations are embracing their roots and going back to simpler sounds, authentic instruments and the times those things came from. That is my preferences lie in today’s country music.

    I didn’t mention that I didn’t care for country music except as an occasional novelty until maybe ten years ago. I’m still pretty picky. I find qualities in some of the older artist that attract me to them. Sometimes if you like an artist on a personal level or there is something about their life that attracts you to them or more than anything, the message they have to offer, you tend to overlook some of their imperfections in pure singing technique.
    Country was among the music types that my Mom and Dad listened to as sources for the pop music of their day dried up. I couldn’t help but hear it and learn by osmosis about it. I also had a good friend growing up who was into trains, big trucks and country music, a natural trio. Then the Beatles did a cover of Buck Owens “Act Naturally” and Leon Russell first album after the Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour with Cocker was a very cool album of country covers called “Hank Wilson’s Back.” The inference of course was Hank Wiliams and the album cover was a picture of Leon in western singer’s cloths complete with hat, viewed from the back on stage. So, in the best country tradition, the album title had double meaning and it sent us all scurrying to learn more about Hank Williams. (Also from just down the road a bit) Then Linda Ronstadt hit the scenes and was introduced as a country singer for many of her early national appearances and it was love at first sight. Then there was Emmylou Harris, who also did the whole folk rock country fusion thing, and being a local girl, we had to give her a chance. Those two paired up with Dolly to do the Trio album, which I still love today, and this whole country music thing was starting to look pretty cool. So that’s how I found country music for myself, even though I had known it very well, but didn’t like it, when i was growing up. I listened to everything from R&B, pop, hard rock, some jazz, some clasical and the blues, and everything in between as my own choices in those days. Having two older brothers and one younger, plus my parents influence from Big Band to country, increased my span of interest and knowledge of music considerably. Plus where I live is very diverse musically. So you could say that the Beatles are the reason I know a lot about country music.


  39. Gene and Mindy,

    I went to my niece’s dance recital last night, the theme was “Seasons”. For Spring they played BJ Thomas’ “Rain Drops Keep Fallin On my Head” as the opening song!

    Where does he fit in the music industry? I remember him being played on country and rock stations.

    Boy did I ever crush on him back in the day! Love his voice!


  40. Okay Guys, you two are going to have to hold down the fort for a couple of weeks…graduation is upon me…the next two weeks are going to be crazy!

    Carry on!!! 🙂


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