Faith Hill was the featured guest artist of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra Friday and Saturday nights. Saturday evening, Conductor, David Campbell, told the audience that it has been an honor to arrange music for several Hill recordings before he opened the evening conducting the orchestral performances from the sound tracks from Hollywood Films like "Spiderman," to works by Giovani Rabici (ra-bee-see). THEN FAITH ENTERED dressed in a long gown, making you think perhaps she was ready to sing a lot of great pop stuff, movie and show tunes, etc. But, no, because entering with Faith was her country band and backup singers...in turn, they were backed up by a 100 classically trained musicians playing violins, not fiddles, a row of acoustic basses, not electric bass, etc. It amounted to Country Diva, Faith Hill, delivering her greatest hits with the biggest sound you can imagine for songs like "Wild One," "Breathe," "Cry," "The Way You Love Me," "Let Me Let Go," plus, "There You'll Be," from the movie "Pearl Harbor," and more. The meld of a country diva and her country band and a world-class symphonic orchestra was a little like having barbecue ribs with escargot, but it worked.
Faith had the grace and presence of a country Queen, and the crowd loved it, including a couple that flew all the way from Canada to be present for the show. (Note: The last time we saw Faith at The Bowl was a couple of years back when Tim McGraw rocked the venue with his full-blown country show, with Faith appearing briefly to sing along with their great duet hits. Tim was said to be present backstage, but did not appear on stage).
SUNDAY NIGHT IT WAS KEITH URBAN'S TURN
Keith Urban rocked Staples Arena in Los Angeles so hard last year, they wanted him back again this year. SUGARLAND was scheduled to be the huge opening act for Keith, but, when Jennifer Nettles came down with a vocal ailment, country's hottest rising group, LADY ANTEBELLUM, was called in to pinch hit. And, hit they did...this group has been impressive from the beginning, scoring big hits with long shelf-life tunes and handling whatever big opportunity that comes their way, as they did last night in L.A.
According to Go Country L.A.'s, Shawn Parr, fans showed up early to make sure they saw Lady A fill the Sugarland opening slot, since the announcement that Sugarland would not be performing due to Jennifer's vocal problems had been made early in the day. "You could feel their energy," says Parr, "they lit up the place they really did and it was a high energy show...to hear Charles scream into the microphone saying how honored they were to be in Los Angeles to fill in for Sugarland. And when they broke into their #1 song "I Run To You," it brought the house down."
REGARDING URBAN'S PERFORMANCE...Parr noted, "I didn't think it was possible for Keith to go to another level...and I'm not sure if it was the stage (expanded and more up close and personal to the fans), the production, or just the fact that Keith is even more comfortable with who he is and what he does, it was unbelievable," concludes Parr.
More Monday morning NASHVILLE IQ...
ALAN JACKSON HASN'T LOST CONTACT FROM WHERE HE COMES
Alan Jackson grew up in a converted tool shed and slept in a hallway because there wasn't enough room in the family home for him to have a bedroom. His music has always reflected his humble, but loving upbringing in small town, Georgia. And his latest is another anthem to growing up in small-town, rural America. "I Still Like Bologna."
NEW MUSIC FROM JAMEY JOHNSON A FREE DOWNLOAD TO FANS
The debut single from Jamey Johnson's forthcoming album is entitled "My Way To You." The song, co-written by Johnson and Charlie Midnight, was made available to radio stations across the country yesterday at 1:00PM/CT via PLAY MPE.
FOR HIS FANS, On August 3, "My Way To You" will be available as a FREE download at www.jameyjohnson.com. On August 11, the digital e-single will be available for download at iTunes and all other digital partners.
The follow-up album to Johnson's critically acclaimed That Lonesome Song will hit stores this fall and will also be released on vinyl. "Man, that's how I listen to music. It's my favorite, number-one preference at home, to go put a vinyl record on my great grandmother's old record player. Which reminds me, I need to get somebody to do some maintenance on it. It needs a new needle."