Country Q&A: Week of October 11, 2006

By Neil Haislop

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Kenny Chesney Photo Courtesy of BNA Records.


Each week country music expert Neil Haislop answers your questions!

Q: "Some People Change," was originally recorded by Kenny Chesney on his When The Sun Goes Down album. Why did Montgomery Gentry re-record it?
(Brenda, Sallisaw, OK)

A: Brenda, after a song appears on an album, it can potentially be re-recorded by anybody. It’s likely that Kenny had the first right of refusal to release the song as a single. But once he’s moved on to another album and will not release any more singles from the old album, it’s fair game for any other act to record and release the song.


Q: I heard a brand new song by Keith Urban played the other day but they didn’t say the name of it. In it, he's singing about marriage and the rest of his life. It's a very romantic song and I was wondering what the title was.
(Kristen, Albuquerque, NM)

A: Kristen, the song you are referring to is Keith Urban’s latest hit single, "Once In a Lifetime." It’s the first single from Keith’s new album, Love, Pain & the whole crazy thing. It’s a great album that Keith says reflects the positive place both his professional and personal lives are these days. "It’s an album about happiness," Keith told us recently. By the way, it bugs me too when radio stations don’t announce the song title and singer. I give them a call and complain when they fail to do that.


Q: What happened to Shania Twain? No new songs, videos or anything?
(Mike, Bellaire, OH)

A: Mike, earlier this year, the word was that Shania was in the studio and might release an album this year. But according to her record company, they have no release from her on their schedule for this year. Shania is one of those artists with the power to release her music when it’s ready and not before. The hope is we’ll have new music from Shania in 2007, maybe.


Q: I am trying to find the CD by Gary Nichols with "Unbroken Ground" on it. Can you help me?
(Rosa, Farmland, IN)

A: Gary Nichols is still an emerging artist, and as far as we know, just the single is available. You can find it at iTunes.com, musicstore.real.com/music_store, or music.msn.com.


Q: I think Alan Jackson’s Like Red on a Rose is a bummer CD. There are no variations of inflection...and melodies are minus. How is it selling? How are the comments? I am an Alan Jackson fan club member, too.
(Mi, Westerville, OH)


A: Gosh Mi, I don’t know where to start. To answer your last question first, the CD, Like Red on a Rose, debuted as the No. 1 selling country album in the nation. Also, it has been almost universally acclaimed by the critics. I think you need to listen to the album again, without comparing it to the honky tonkin’ good ol’ boy performances Alan gives on songs like "Chattahoochie," or, "Summertime Blues."

Alison Krauss, his producer on this one--and considered by many a vocal genius--says, "I learned more about singing (than ever) from working with Alan Jackson." Bottom line is, for me, if you liked Alan's brilliantly understated performance of "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning," you should like Alan’s perfect performance of all the songs on Like Red on a Rose. Listen again with an open mind and appreciate the talent of Alan Jackson.


Q: I am a huge Sammy Kershaw fan. He is a great singer, but his songs are lucky to make it in the Top 10. Why is he having such a hard time getting to the top? He sure deserves to be there.
(Pat, Decatur, IL)

A: I agree that Sammy Kershaw is a fine performer, a soulful country singer. But his last hit on a big label was his No. 2 "Love of My Life," in 1997 on Mercury Records. Since then, like his wife Lorrie Morgan, Sammy has been on independent record companies hoping to get back on the charts. It’s just harder to do without hit songs and a big label to back a singer up. Check in with sammykershaw.com to find out about his latest album and single.


Q: I was recently told by Toby Keith's road manager that Toby meets anywhere between 100-200 people per night, while stars like Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, and Alan Jackson meet about 35-45 people. If this is true, why is there such a great difference in the number of fans they meet?
(Todd, Woodbridge, VA)

A: Todd, 35 to 45 people a night at a meet and greet is probably a rough average. It depends on a number of things such as, the time the singer has available before or after a show, the venue and its capacity to manage people backstage, and the popularity of a star. In Toby's, Tim’s and Kenny’s cases, at a large venue in a big market, 100 to 200 would be just the average.


Q: Is it true that Rascal Flatts have a new CD coming out this spring?
(Jenny, Stanfield, NC)

A: Jenny, it’s possible that Rascal Flatts could release a new album in the spring of 2007, but there hasn’t been any announcement of that. After all, they’re only a couple of songs into the Me and My Gang CD with plenty of single-worthy tunes that could still be released. So, it’s possible that if they release a new album it would be late ’07 or early 2008.


Q: I saw Carrie Underwood with Brad Paisley in Cincinnati this year. Her bus left at about 10:30 p.m. and I noticed she had a show in Massachusetts the next day. Do artists have to ride the bus all night long to get the next show? That must be exhausting.
Bob, Cincinnati, OH)

A: Bob, truth is most touring artists ride on the buses from show to show, especially in the beginning of their careers, sometimes traveling hundreds and even a thousand miles or so to get to the next run of shows. It’s likely that Carrie is still doing that, although she’s sold enough records that she could afford to fly from place to place occasionally.

Superstars like Reba McEntire, Toby Keith and others can afford to fly private jets from show to show. Reba, for instance, made sure she flew back home to be with her son every night while on the road. Her band and crew would move on to the next show, and Reba would fly out the next day to perform.

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