Archive | July, 2011

Urban Dreamz the Main Act

31 Jul

After performing a few small gigs around Houston, Urban Dreamz landed its first main act slot on the West Gray Showcase at Hefley’s with The Wild Rabbit Salad Band opening the show. This slot came about after performing at the Hefley’s open mic in May 2011 where we impressed JW Wind, who runs the Showcase.  One evening in July, JW called and said, “Would you guys like to perform as the main act for a 45 minute set?” We accepted and starting building up our set list.

On Tuesday, July 26, we took the stage at 8:30 p.m. We were both a little nervous, but as we went through the set, we interacted with the audience and ended up putting on a great show, performing a variety of  cover songs which included Adelle’s “Rolling In the Deep,” a Tina Turner version of “Proud Mary,” and Pink’s “Perfect.” We finished off the set with a heartfelt rendition of Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now.”

Not only did we debut new cover songs, we also introduced  a few new original songs to the audience. One of them was an uptempo song called “Better Together,” which I wrote in 2010 with Beth Kille, a songwriter from Wisconsin. The song was not originally written as a duet, but once we started Urban Dreamz and were looking for songs it seemed to fit right in with our style and what we were looking for. So we reworked it to where we were singing lines back and forth to each other, sort of like a call and response. We also slowed it down with a passionate ballad written by my duo partner Aurelia Arredondo called “Shiny Weather.”

I think our first show as the main act at The West Gray Showcase turned out to be a success. We’re continuing to add songs to our set list and are working on more originals, so keep an eye out for updates on what’s next for Urban Dreamz as we pursue our musical dreams and do our best to entertain our audiences.

#1 Country Billboard Song for August 6, 2011

28 Jul

Chris Young slid  into the #1 slot this week with his new single “Tomorrow.” The song was written by Chris Young, Frank J. Myers, and Anthony L. Smith and is a traditional sounding country song with a slight contemporary feel. Chris Young has become a staple in the new sound of Country music over the past few years. With his strong deep voice, Chris brings something new to the genre while keeping the familiar country sound many fans have always loved. “Tomorrow” is the first #1 from his new CD, “Neon.” It follows the success of his debut CD, “The Man I Want to Be,” which produced 3 consecutive #1’s.

“Tomorrow’s” lyrics are very clever with lines such as “Tomorrow I’m gonna leave here…..but tonight I’m gonna love you like there’s no tomorrow” as he sings about a relationship that he thinks is not working out, but wants to give one more try before calling it quits. He talks about how they aren’t good for each other using unique phrases such as “We’re like fire and gasoline” as well as really bringing the point home with a simple two line bridge “Baby when we’re good, you know we’re great, but there’s too much bad for us to think, that there’s anything worth trying to save.”

Personally, Chris Young has become one of my favorites ever since he hit country radio in 2009 with “Getting You Home.” But the road to fame for Chris began in 2006, when he was declared the winner of Nashville Star. He released two singles that same year, but both barely got into the top 50. His third single, “Voices” in 2008, peaked at #37. But in 2009, he found his place in country music with #1’s such as “Getting you Home” and “The Man I Want to Be” and re-released “Voices,” which made it up the charts to #1 that time around. “Tomorrow” makes my list of songs to download. Does it make yours?

#1 Country Billboard Song for July 30, 2011

22 Jul

This week’s #1 country song proves that there are no genre distinctions when it comes to today’s popular music. What is it that really classifies a song as country, rock, pop, or even rap these days? Today’s artist are trying to reach out to fans from all genres and are blurring the distinctions that make each genre its own unique style of music that we’ve grown to love. Jason Aldean is doing just that with his current #1 song this week “Dirt Road Anthem,” which was written by Colt Ford and Brantley Gilbert.

I love all of Jason Aldean’s music, such as “The Truth” and the rock anthem “Don’t You Wanna Stay,” but this song has me very torn. In this song about southern pride and country living, Jason throws in raps on the verses and then has very smooth country sound on the chorus. I am huge fan of most music, from rock and pop to country, so when they mix a little pop into country such as Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood I love it, but mixing rap into country is a whole different story. I have nothing against rap, I just think that country and rap should not be mixed.

Matt Bjorke of Roughstock gave “Dirt Road Anthem” a 4.5 star rating, saying “Jason Aldean knows he’s not a rapper and this isn’t a style of music that he’ll continuously do…but as for a new song with a different sound, it certainly works.” (Source: Wikipedia) I sure hope this is not a trend that will catch on. I think people like all types of music and may even like country and rap, but when you are listening to country such as Jason, you want to hear country and when you’re listening to rap, like Kanye West, you want to hear rap. I think it’s a huge mistake to mix the two permanently, but if this is just a one time thing for Jason, maybe it was a good move on his part to bring him a new audience that never would have listened to country before.

Jason is not the first country artist to dabble in adding hip hop influences into country. Toby Keith’s singles “Getcha Some” and “I Wanna Talk about Me” had spoken parts that sounded a lot like rap. Other country artists that have experimented with rap are Trace Adkins and Sugar Land. What are your thoughts on this? I can’t decide if “Dirt Road Anthem”  is worth a download or not. I love Jason’s voice on the country parts, but I’m not too fond of the rap parts and feel like he is just speaking instead of actually singing and, as a result, the song loses all its momentum in my opinion.