Musing on the Grammys

music musings, beaverdamusa.comWell, the 58th Grammys were on the other night.  Like I did with the CMA Awards a few months ago, I thought I would make notes as I watched the show and include them in this musing.

Taylor – music too loud – does her outfit run on AA or AAA battery?

Loved the comment that LL Cool J made referencing Lionel Richie and Adele.

Best Rap album award – Winner was “To Pimp A Butterfly.”  Really? By the way, where the hell is Compton?

Carrie Underwood and Sam Hunt duet – Good Lord, Carrie is wearing toilet paper.  Why do I have to put up with him to watch, errrr, listen to Carrie?

The Weekend – He can’t feel his face because of that thing on his head – looks like a black Jimmy Neutron.

Loved Lt. Dan’s (Gary Sinise) shout out to the military.

Best Country album – Chris Stapleton – momentum continues.

Lionel Richie tribute and Music Cares award – Always have loved Lionel (shhhh).  John Legend did a great job on Easy.  Should have had Adele sing Hello.  Luke Bryan singing Lionel is like me trying to sing soul.  Don’t try it.  Megan Trainor got a shout out from the dear wife – “she needs a bra”.

Girl Crush by Little Big Town – the strings were nice touch.

Song of the Year – Sadly, I only knew one of the five nominees. Great Braille joke by Stevie.

The Eagles tribute – Nice touch having Jackson Browne sing in Glen Frey’s place considering their history.  Was good to see Bernie Leadon there with them.  Don Felder took to Twitter the next day to complain that he wasn’t invited.  Based on history of The Eagles, if Felder had played, Frey would have shown up and kicked his butt.  Damn allergies were acting up during the song.

Pimp A Butterfly Dude – I’m too old to understand what he is saying. Seemed angry.

Best Rock – I knew two of the five – Most were not rock to me.  Don’t like Alabama Shakes because they have Alabama in their name. Must have been the first Amish guy to win a Grammy.

Adele – yes, the mic fell into the piano and landed on a string.  You would think the engineer could have pulled that out of the mix.  Not an Adele fan, but I felt sorry for her.

Justin Bieber – Trying to pull the tough boy look while singing “my mama don’t like you” really doesn’t work.

Lady Gaga with the David Bowie tribute.  Not a Lady G or Bowie fan, but that was probably the best performance of the night.  She did a great job with costumes, makeup, and songs.

BB King tribute – pretty cool.  Bonnie Raitt proved that she can still play.

Hollywood Vampires – Joe Perry, Alice Cooper and Johnny Depp – loved it. Pretty brave for Depp to get up there and play with Perry.

In memoriam segment – Dang, there was a lot of talent lost in 2015.  Lots of them were young.

Album of year – Glad to see Taylor Swift win. Nice dig on Kayne.  It was also cool to see her be genuinely excited for other winning artists in the categories where she didn’t win.

Closing number – they said it was going to be Taxi.  That’s not Harry’s Chapin’s song that Pitbull and Robin Thicke are singing.  Time for bed.

Even if I didn’t know or like a lot of the songs/artists on the Grammy’s, it exposed me to some different music.  Didn’t like most of it, but at least I was exposed to it.

As always, thanks for reading.


Musing in Music City


Zach’s (Unfiltered) CMAs Review

music musings, beaverdamusa.comGoing in a little different direction with this blog.  While I consider myself a rocker at heart, living in Nashville, I can’t help but be exposed to the country music industry.  I actually like some of the music that is labeled as country today.

Besides snarling traffic all day in downtown, the CMA awards show is a chance for Nashville to shine and an opportunity for this blogger to share his take on the show.  I taped (not really, I DVR’ed) the show and started watching the recording about an hour after the actual show started.  This gave me the opportunity to skip those acts I abhor and those pesky commercials.  I watched it with my lovely bride, so here are my random thoughts (and occasional wife quotes) on the 49th annual CMA awards:

  • Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood host the show and did an opening skit about their Star Wars skit being cancelled.  It was kind of corny, but with Carrie dressed up as Princess Leia, Paisley had the line of the night with “nice buns”.
  • John Mellencamp and Keith Urban performed Mellencamp’s Little Pink Houses.  First, what did Mellencamp do to his hair?  Obviously, Urban won the hair contest.  Urban than sang what I guess is one of his new songs.  It has a line in it with the words “I learned all I know from John Cougar, John Deere, and John 3:16.”  Of course, Mellencamp hates the old John Cougar name.  First zinger from the wife comes from the kitchen during Urban’s song – “Who’s that woman singing?”
  • Paisley and Underwood come back with a parody song where nothing is safe.  Loved the dig on Blake Shelton/Miranda divorce and Ashley Madison reference.  Best line though was Paisley referencing Justin Timberlake and indicating his favorite JT song was a Christmas song about a box.  [If you don’t get it, Google “Timberlake, box”, but not on a company PC].
  • Little Big Town hit it big with their song Girl Crush winning a couple of awards.  The song was a popular, politically correct choice.
  • Paisley paid tribute to his idol Little Jimmy Dickens at one point.  Being the jokster, Paisley indicated that LJD wanted to leave the audience laughing when he went; so Paisley pulled out an urn about the size of a cigarette lighter.
  • Kenny Chesney seems like the proverbial “always a bridesmaid” nominee.  He was nominated for several awards, but took nothing home.  During his performance, it was good to see Kingston Springs’ own Jon Conley playing the acoustic.
  • Chris Stapleton won best new artist and a couple of other awards.  He definitely can’t be considered pretty boy country with that hair and beard.  Duck Dynasty guys are probably envious!  He seemed to be the popular choice this year.  I will admit the couple of numbers he did with Justin Timberlake were entertaining.  While I am not a large JT fan, you can’t deny the guy is a great entertainer.
  • Carrie underwood sang a song.  Couldn’t tell you what it was.  I was thinking “how does she get those boots/leggings on?”  My dear wife continued her admiration of her legs with the line “Look, there’s nothing jiggling on her legs!”  I will just leave it at that.
  • Florida-Georgia Line came on and sang.  Couldn’t find the fast forward quick enough.
  • During the Duo of the Year nominees clip, there was one called Dan + Shay.  It had them in dress clothes running in a creek like they were chasing each other.  Don’t know what they were doing.
  • Eric Church must have pink eye.  Always has the shades on.  Fast Forward worthy.
  • Thomas Rhett and Fall Out Boy played a couple of songs.  Don’t know either one.  They did have some very limber girls dancing/gyrating with them though.  The sweet wife (who knew a FOB song) chimed in on the limber girls with “there’s no way those girls can have bras on under those outfits”
  • My girl Miranda sang and won Female Artist of the Year.  She seemed down.  Great line in her acceptance speech when she said she needs a bright spot this year.
  • Kacey Musgraves – where’s her pants?
  • Hall & Oates, eh I mean Brooks & Dunn sang with Reba.  Reba still has it & I don’t know if B&D ever did. Looks like the tall one (always get them confused) might have had the Liberace done to his face.  I don’t think he blinked.
  • By this point in the show, I was tired and nodding off, so I saw that Male Vocalist went to the popular choice of Chris Stapleton and Luke Bryan won Entertainer of the Year.  Yawn.

I know this ran long, but the show did as well.  Even if you aren’t a country fan, the show gives you a little entertainment.

Until next time…


Two Story Road Takes the Spotlight, two story roadby Erica Bryan

Here at Beaver Dam USA, we are so excited to introduce you all to a band that, if you like country music, you’ve probably already seen before! Two Story Road is a husband-and-wife duo comprised of veteran performers, Brandon and Jamelle Fraley.

Brandon has toured extensively, singing background vocals and/or playing keys for artists such as Gretchen Wilson, Danny Gokey, and Carrie Underwood. Jamelle has also toured extensively, her biggest gig being Carrie Underwood’s background vocalist for five years. Between the two of them, they have appeared on every TV and Awards show imaginable, as well as performed over 1,000 shows (including 100 shows at the Grand Ole Opry!)., two story roadIt’s no surprise that these two decided to join forces and bring their talents to the spotlight. For their debut album release, they are working with Nashville producer, Mark Bright. Mark Bright has made his mark on your radio waves by producing albums for superstars such as Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood, and Sara Evans. With Two Story Road’s considerable experience and the top-notch team surrounding them, there’s no doubt that they will make a big impact in the Country music community.

We were fortunate to get to send over some questions to Brandon and Jamelle. Read their responses below:

Q: First off-we love a good love story- how did you two meet? Was it love at first sight?!

TSR: We met at Belmont University. Love at first sight might sound a little cliche, but there was definitely an immediate attraction. Once we started dating, we both admitted to having an overwhelming sense of “wow” whenever we’d see each other. We knew after just a few weeks of dating that the connection we had with each other was unlike anything either one of us had felt before. 

Q: When you all got married, did you always want to be a duo? Or was it something that happened over time?

TSR: We both moved to Nashville aspiring to be solo artists, that’s for sure. We always loved singing together, but I think the idea of being an actual duo is something that presented itself to us over time. We both agree that singing together is so much more fun than if we were solo artists. Also, being able to share the work load both on and off the stage is a huge perk that we’re thoroughly enjoying. :-)

Q: We’ve heard that you recently went into the studio and recorded your debut release with one of Nashville’s greatest producers, Mark Bright! Tell us about the experience in the studio-was it magical?!

TSR: It’s hard to put into words the excitement we’ve been having while recording with Mark. This is literally what we’ve dreamed about doing since moving to Nashville. You have to understand that after all of the touring and recording we’ve done for other people over the years  there’s now this unbelievable feeling of accomplishment to be doing this AS THE ARTIST! For example, just the other day we were pulling up to Ocean Way Studio on Music Row to record some more vocals. Granted, we’ve both been there many times for other artists. However, when you’re there as a band member, you’re on your own to find parking. There are only 6 parking spots at Ocean Way and they’re all assigned: Studio A Artist & Producer, Studio B Artist & Producer, and Studio C Artist & Producer. We noticed that one of the artist spots was open, and thought about pulling in. We can honestly say that we both hesitated for just a moment & asked ourselves, “you think we can park here & not get towed?” before realizing that we WERE the artist and were supposed to park there! We are beyond blessed to not only be recording with one of Nashville’s greatest producers, but we’re also able to call Mark one of our closest friends. He has been on board, 110%, since day one, and we will never be able to fully thank him for the confidence boost that has given us. We’re so excited for all of our fans to hear this labor of love once it’s finished. We are doing everything we can to make as much of an impact with this first project as possible and we’re optimistic that it will do just that. 

Q: Who are your greatest musical influences?

Jamelle – I grew up listening to a bunch of different music, but there were definitely a few standouts that got a LOT more rotation than the others: Mariah Carey, Martina McBride, Celine Dion, & Whitney Houston. I mean, in my day if you loved to sing and wanted a challenging song to sing, that’s who you listened to! :-)

Brandon – I listened to a wide range of musical genres and was also drawn towards amazing singers. Brian McKnight and Vince Gill were huge influences and always a challenge to sing along with. I feel like I’m constantly borrowing from their vocal prowess whenever I sing a note. 

Q: Jamelle, we know you toured a while with Carrie Underwood. What was the greatest thing you learned from this Superstar? And same question for you, Brandon, about touring with Gretchen Wilson?

Jamelle – The only thing better than being able to sing with her night after night, was having a front row seat to watch Carrie off stage. Let me tell you what, this girl is a hard worker! Her work ethic is just as impressive as her singing voice. It was such an amazing opportunity to see firsthand what it takes to maintain the kind of career she’s having. I feel so much more well prepared for my journey as TSR knowing what I learned from Carrie all those years.

Brandon – One thing that Gretchen did that had a profound impact on me was the attention she gave to her entire crew. Band, lighting, audio, truck drivers, etc… She knew everyone’s name out there and said hello to everyone who walked by. Gretchen worked so hard to making everyone feel appreciated. The few times I’ve toured with Carrie, I’ve seen how close everyone is on that tour as well. Think about this, when Jamelle left Carrie’s band to do TSR, she had been with her for 5 years and she was still the “newest” band member.  It’s simple. When people feel valued, they’ll most likely stick around.

Q: When you’re not recording or touring, what are some things you both like to do for fun?

TSR: Well, we do our best to stay in shape, and luckily we’ve found ways of exercising that don’t feel like exercise. Brandon plays tennis, very competitively I might add, at least 3 times a week & I (Jamelle) go to a hip-hop dance class 3-4 times a week as well. Unfortunately, downtime is becoming harder & harder to find, so we jump at the chance to hang out with our friends whenever we can. We’re actually having a few close friends over tonight to watch a movie and maybe even have a Mario Kart tournament! :-)

Q. What is your favorite movie of all time?

Brandon – I love all the X-Men movies. Jamelle will most likely say “me too!” but since I’m the one who introduced her to them, it gets to be my answer.

Jamelle – Brandon knows that if we’re channel surfing and “A League Of Their Own,” “Dirty Dancing,” “The Princess Bride,” or “That Thing You Do” is on, no matter where it’s at in the movie, we’re watching it.

Q: What was the last song played on your iTunes or Spotify?

Brandon – I finished my drive home from tennis last night with Sara Bareilles’ “Gravity.”  

Jamelle – Alison Krauss, “Maybe.”  Remember that song? It’s so cool!

Q: As veteran performers, is there any advice you would give to young aspiring artists who are trying to follow in your footsteps?

TSR: This may not really be about performing, but here’s some general advice for any job in the music industry. Most likely, you have a vision in your head of where you are and where you want to be. You can try your best to assume the path of how you’ll get from point A to point B. However, be open to the fact that there’s a good chance that you’ll get to point B by a road you never saw coming and maybe, never knew existed. We all know that the interstate is the fastest way to travel from one state to the next. However, there are infinite back roads that will take longer, but can do the same thing. Take it from us, don’t discount the back roads. They’ll give you the time you’ll need to learn about yourself. It’s also where you’ll gain so much experience. In the end, it will make the journey so much more rewarding and when you finally reach the finish line, you’ll be that much more prepared.

Get updates on Two Story Road’s album release and tour by following them on FacebookTwitter, and by visiting their official website.

While you eagerly anticipate the debut album, check out Two Story Road’s latest lyric video of their song, “Fit In.” Finest Craft Beers from America’s Best Micro Breweries- 728x90 banner