Many of you were wondering last night about the young woman who livened up Carrie Underwood’s performance of "Last Name" with a face-melting guitar solo. Who was that righteous axe warrior, anyway? Question answered: Her name is Orianthi, she’s a 24-year-old Aussie, and guitar heroes including Carlos Santana, Prince, and Steve Vai reportedly agree that she rocks. Check out Orianthi’s MySpace here, relive last night’s "Last Name" below (skip to around 1:50 for the serious shredding), and get ready: Orianthi is signed to 19 Recordings/Geffen Records, with a debut album in the works. Anyone else psyched to hear it?
Tag: Country Y'all! (91-100 of 176)
First off, let me report that Lil’ Wayne — who was previously not seen in my last Grammy rehearsal post — did in fact show up on Thursday, and his tardiness was apparently due less to him being on hip-hop time and more to L.A. traffic. (It’s been raining pretty steadily here, and everyone gets all confused when that happens.) Due to a variety of scheduling conflicts of my own, I was only at Staples for a couple hours on Friday, but that was enough time to catch a few run-throughs of Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” production number, a Sapphic, dancey thing that comes complete with YouTube videos of fans singing along (in a twist on the “My Grammy Moment” contest), and one big reveal that I’ll not spoil, though it’s something she’s done at least once before. I also picked up some gossip on the shattering, explosive F/X involved in what the always post-apocalyptic Rihanna’s got planned. But the real reason I was there can be seen below: A chance to talk to country superstar Kenny Chesney, who’ll be performing a simple and lovely version of “Better as a Memory” on the broadcast. Fun fact about that song: It was pseudonymically written by his publicist, Holly Gleason, who you’ll see at the very start of the video. That’s a good publicist. Roll tape!
As previously mentioned, my friend and yours, Whitney Pastorek, is all up in the Staples Center this weekend chillaxin’. And by "chillaxin’" (her word!), she meant "shooting awesome backstage videos." Below, check out what Whitney got to see last night at country trio Sugarland and Brit crooner Adele’s rehearsal together. Pretty cool! Looks like this year’s show is shaping up nicely, no?
More on the Grammys:
Gallery: Who will win the Grammys? Who should?
Katie Couric’s All-Access Grammy Special: 10 things we learned
Grammy Rehearsals, Day One: Sugarland, Smokey Robinson… and a tardy Lil’ Wayne
The Grammys are selling. Are you buying?
Country singer Dierks Bentley is a man known for hitting the road hard, so it’s appropriate that when PopWatch met him Wednesday night in New York City, where he’s been promoting his new album, Feel That Fire, he had just returned from a day trip to Philadelphia. After signing 700 autographs in three hours at a Pennsylvania Dave & Buster’s, he needed alcohol. So first, he captured our toast for the Flip videos he shoots and edits for his website. “The best location I’ve ever had an interview in: Irish Pub,” he said, holding a Guinness he was forced to drink. (Mindful of his deal with Bud Light, he quickly added, “This is a Bud Light. This is Bud Light.”) Then, he submitted to an EW Pop Culture Personality Test, which eventually spread to the next table…
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The best concert you’ve ever seen?
Dierks Bentley: It would definitely be U2. Would it be their final show, Dec. 9, 2006 in Hawaii, or would it be here in New York on Nov. 22, 2005, or would it be May 9, 2005 in Chicago, where they actually shot their Vertigo DVD? I would probably say here. My wife and I came up for my 30th birthday, we had a great dinner, we were in the circle at the Garden, we went to some club afterward and Usher was there, so I got a picture with Usher. That was a momentous trip.
The band you’ve seen most often in concert?
The Sidemen. They play at a little bar called The Station Inn in Nashville. When I was growing up — musically growing up, I moved to Nashville when I was 19 — I’d go watch this bluegrass band play every Tuesday night and just absorb banjo, mandolin, upright bass, acoustic guitar, harmony singing. The cover charge was $5. It was definitely the best music lessons I ever got, and I ended up getting extremely hammered. I probably saw them play 50 times a year for about five years.
Your position on karaoke?
I love it. I carry a Jeep behind the tour bus, because it’s fun to go out in the festival campgrounds at 1 a.m., and hang out for as long as we can before it gets crazy. One time, we pulled up and these guys had a karaoke machine set up in the back of their truck bed. And I’d had just enough drinks where I thought it’d be funny if I got up there and sang “What Was I Thinkin’”, one of my own songs that I’d just got done singing in front of 30-40,000 people, and now I’m singing my hit for a gathering of 20 to 30 from the back of a truck bed. But it was fun at the time. I wish I’d had my camera. That would’ve been good footage to capture.
That is a story those guys will be telling for the rest of their lives.
And no one will believe. “Dude, he was singin’.” “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let me guess, he was singing ‘What Was I Thinkin’”. “Yeah, he was!”
Do you have a fallback karaoke song that’s not your own?
It would probably be a poor rendition of “My Way,” “I’ve Got the World on a String,” “I’m Walking Behind You,” “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning,” “South of the Border,” “Learnin’ the Blues.” I always go for Frank. Have the drink in one hand, the mic in the other…. The last time I karaoked was in a private room in Japan. I did Billy Idol’s “White Wedding.” I’m a huge fan of Billy Idol. I spiked my hair every day like him in 7th and 8th grade. My autograph, to this day, is based off of his. I signed Billy Idol’s name so much, my autograph has the same sharp edges that he did.
Your pop culture blind spot?
I’ve very intrigued by the Jonas Brothers. I’ve gone online and had a listen and watched some stuff. What am I missing here?
And what did you think?
It’s good music. I actually downloaded a tune… [Looks at tape recorder] I hate to have that on tape.
The line that stuck out was something about “you can take this, you can take that, you can take this awesome scarf my grandma made for me.” Do you know what song I’m talking about? ["Girl of My Dreams"] I loved it. They’re singing it all punk. [Scrunches up his face and sings] “You can take this awesome scarf my grandma made for me.” It’s lyrics for a younger audience, but they really perform with a lot of bravado and they have a lot of great moves. When I was 13, I was just figuring out how to play “Eruption,” poorly, by Eddie Van Halen.
What song do you wish you’d written?
“Don’t Close Your Eyes” by Keith Whitley. [Sings] You ever heard that?
Maybe. Keep singing.
[Laughs] She’s got her eyes closed because she’s thinkin’ of someone else. That’s a good country song. I’m a huge Keith Whitley fan. He would’ve been the greatest country singer of all time, but he drank himself to death at 33.
You have a great song on your new album called “I Wanna Make You Close Your Eyes.”
So yeah, I flipped it around. I wanna make you close your eyes. I thought about it. And I thought about calling it “Close Your Eyes.” It’s a little different sentiment, a little happier song than Keith’s.
And then you had that hit “Come A Little Closer.” You’re like Conway Twitty, always trying to find creative ways to say, “I want to have sex with you.”
Yes. Yes. I think “I Wanna Make You Close Your Eyes” is a little more blatant. Some of those lines in the second verse: “If you need a little bit of help from me/Babe, there’s not a button that I can’t reach.” I think the parents will pick up on that one; hopefully the kids won’t. We have fun with that. Seeing how far you can take it.
Has your label ever had to rein you in on a song?
I’ve never taken it too far on anything I’ve turned in to the label. I wrote a song for my 4-month-old daughter: “I love boobs, boobs, boobs. Boobs. Boobs. Boobs.” ‘Cause she does, she loves boobs. I thought I was a big fan of boobs, but she really likes boobs. But that’s never gonna be released on an album.
She’s been at the top of Billboard‘s all-genre album chart for two months and was 2008′s top-selling artist, so it’s no surprise that Taylor Swift has plans to headline her own tour in 2009. Her 50-city Fearless Tour officially kicks off April 23 in Evansville, Ind., with special guest and BFF Kellie Pickler. (Click here for dates.) "My favorite thing when Igo to a concert is having lots of changing things to look at, so I’vebeen working really hard to make this show as multi-dimensional aspossible," Swift says in the announcement. According to the release, it will "feature anincredibly theatrical presentation of graphics, sets and visualelements designed by Taylor herself. During each show, Taylor will playfive different guitars, as well as the piano. Multiple costume changesand a fairy-tale castle illuminated by more than a million lumens oflight are just some of the highlights of the three-act show."
What do you folks think? One on hand, I love to see a young woman take that kind of creative control, on the other, the phrase "designed by Taylor herself" makes me nervous. I don’t expect her to just stand there and tap her right foot like George Strait, but I do want to know that her focus is on singing and not changing costumes mid-song (which she loves to do). Not that spectacle and sound quality have to be mutually exclusive — see Keith Urban, who combines them perfectly — but what’s more important to you?P.S. The castle does sound dreamy. I just hope it’s not like a strand of Christmas lights. If one bulb breaks….P.P.S. Anyone else teetering on Taylor overload? I love the album. I just don’t need to see her everywhere: New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. SNL. An upcoming episode of CSI (at least, she’s a fan).
More on Taylor Swift:
2009 Grammy Nominations Concert: Non-nominees perform old songs!
On a scale of 1 to 10: Taylor Swift + Def Leppard = ?
Crushing on Taylor Swift’s "Love Story" video
Taylor Swift: A Date With Grammy?
Getting to Know Taylor Swift
“I’ve been on vacation since, like, the first week in December. Somebody’s gotta pull me off this vacation,” Billy Currington told us Monday, phoning PopWatch from the Dry Tortugas, a cluster of seven islands 70 miles west of Key West. If the man behind the R&B-flavored country hit “Don’t” wants to
put thoughts of his steamy “Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right” video in our heads spend some time promoting his third album, Little Bit of Everything, we’re happy to oblige. After we confirmed that he’s sailing with the proper provisions — bottled water, “lots of wine,” rum, coconuts, and blackfin tuna — we kept the conversation appropriately breezy with an EW Pop Culture Personality Test. At least until he mentioned that he doesn’t own a TV…
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: In your “Don’t” video, you slide across the hood of a car Luke Duke-style. The first time you’ve ever done that, or just the most recent?
Billy Currington: I’d never done it before. Here’s how that shot made it into the video. We were just standing there, we were pretty much done, and a guy’s like, “Why don’t you just take off runnin’ and slide across that car.” I was like, “Okay.” I just did it one time. I jumped a little too high, and when I landed and hit the hood, it didn’t feel good, you know what I mean? It kinda hurt a little bit.
CMT has resurrected the old MTV show Cribs.
You’ve never seen Cribs?
I’ve never seen Cribs, but you know, you’re talkin’ to a guy who does stuff like what I’m doin’ now. I’m always outdoors somewhere. I never, ever see the TV. Tell me about it. I’ll do it. Don’t think I won’t do it! I’ll do the show!
They bring cameras to your home, and you give them a tour. My question is, when the crew arrives at your house, what’s the first thing you hide?
Ooh, my dope, my pot. No. I’m just kiddin’. [Laughs] Let’s see… dirty clothes. Everybody wants to hide those.
What song do you have to dance to anytime you hear it?
Anything Marvin Gaye. A good ol’ groove type song.
What song is your ringtone?
You know what, I want to have a song for my ringtone, but I can’t figure it out. If I could figure that out, Ray Charles’ “Georgia” would be on there today. [Currington is from Rincon, Ga., outside Savannah.]
If you could have written any song, what would it be?
“Candle in the Wind” [by Elton John and Bernie Taupin]. Every time I hear that song, I’m just like, Wow. What a great poet.
You said you don’t watch a lot of TV, but is there a movie you do have to watch every time you spot it on cable?
Really, I don’t even own a TV anymore. [Laughs]
[Not laughing] You don’t own a TV?
No. I don’t own a TV. I did a long time ago, but I gave it away. I bought it at a pawn shop that I used to work in, and it wasn’t that good anyway, so I gave it away, and I’ve never bought one since then.
How many years ago was that?
That was before I got a record deal, and that happened in 2001… I know I seem kinda behind the times, but I don’t pay it no attention anyway. It just makes noise for me.
Okay, let’s try movies. Is there a chick flick you’ll admit to liking?
I got you a good one on that. I like that movie where the two old people, at the end of the movie, die lying in the same bed together.
Yeah, I love The Notebook. I’ve mentioned that before, and you wouldn’t believe how people have gotten on me for saying that. Like it was girlie, or somethin’. I mean, who wouldn’t like The Notebook? [Laughs] I mean, seriously, that’s a heartfelt, make you cry, make you feel somethin’ kind of a movie. I’m afraid to mention that again, but I just did, right?
The cable channel GAC, Great American Country, will count down its 20 Top Love Songs on Feb. 11 in a special hosted by PopWatch fave Blake Shelton. You can vote for your 10 favorites on gactv.com through Feb. 1. Your initial response when browsing the list of 150-plus options might be, What the —? The selections (or, rather, obvious omissions) are puzzling. But that’s what makes it interesting in the end. It’s an actual competition. My list:
1. Alison Krauss & Union Station’s "When You Say Nothing At All"
2. Randy Travis’ "Forever And Ever, Amen"
3. Garth Brooks’ "To Make You Feel My Love"
4. Keith Urban’s "Raining on Sunday"
5. George Strait’s "Carrying Your Love With Me"
6. Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s "It’s Your Love"
7. Shania Twain’s "From This Moment On" (but only if we’re talking about the version featuring Bryan White)
8. Josh Turner’s "Your Man"
9. Jason Michael Carroll’s "Livin’ Our Love Song"
10. Clint Black and Lisa Hartman Black’s "When I Said I Do," below (picked over Reba McEntire and Vince Gill’s "The Heart Won’t Lie," even though that video is genius)
I’ll admit it: Even now that I’ve seen the video for Brad Paisley’s "Start a Band," featuring Keith Urban, like 20 times, I watch it and still only think about how hot they look playing each other’s guitars. That’s at 4:47 in the video below. At 5:01, Urban blows in Paisley’s ear, which, I believe, confirms that I’m not the only one sensing some homoeroticism in the moment. Presumably, men do know that playing six-strings side-by-side is sexy — ditto sharing a mic. I’m a big fan of when Duran Duran’s John Taylor and Simon LeBon do the latter. What are your favorite homoerotic musical pairings (and moments)?
More on Brad Paisley and Keith Urban:
Q&A with Brad Paisley
Brad Paisley on marrying into Hollywood
Q&A with Keith Urban
How Keith Urban became a star
Keith Urban vs. Kenny Chesney: You may choose only one!
Of all the names on Grammy’s list this year, perhaps the most confusing–for non-country fans, at least– was Lady Antebellum, up for Best New Artist. Time for learning: They’re not a dance act, and this nom’s not so out of left field, either. The Nashville-based threesome of Charles Kelley (blond guy), Dave Haywood (brown-haired guy), and Hillary Scott (chick) are your reigning ACM and CMA new artists of the year, due largely to the strength of "Love Don’t Live Here," the first single off their self-titled debut. To assist in the information disseminating process, we got Kelley on the phone from Las Vegas, where the group played the Fremont Street Experience last night. They found out about their two nominations — they’re also up for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group — between sets. And they are now staying a well deserved extra night in Vegas.
Well, I think the biggest question is, Who the hell are Lady Antebellum?
Oh my gosh! Well, certainly not Duffy or Adele!
What’s the easiest way to tell the difference?
They’re famous, and we are not?
What made you ripe for the nomination?
I don’t know. I hope there’s some kind of artistic cred there that people are seeing, because as far as our careers, we’re not there yet. Even the ACM and CMA wins—I feel like these things are coming before we deserve them. I guess people are hoping for big things. We’re out here at the shows, and they’re connecting, but it’s not like we’re on Perez Hilton.
That may be a good thing.
Until Perez Hilton blogs about you, I guess you’re not famous yet.
[After the jump, more about their music, the shocking truth about who Dave Haywood is most looking forward to meeting on Grammy night, and their CMA performance of "Love Don't Live Here."]
Some country music fans consider Brad Paisley the king of comedy, but that could just be because they haven’t yet sat down for a drink with Blake Shelton, or heard about "Bare Skin Rug," the duet he sings with girlfriend Miranda Lambert on his new album, Startin’ Fires. "We’d been gettin’ some pressure to do a big ballady cheesy thing, and we decided that if we’re gonna do a duet, it’s gonna be on our terms," Shelton told us last week, ordering another Diet Coke and Bacardi at the midtown Manhattan dive Jimmy’s Corner
and asking us if we needed a nipple for the bottle we were nursin’. "So we wrote this song that’s basically about two hillbillies that meet up out in the middle of nowhere, and they’re attracted to each other, and the thing that they’re really excited about is that they’re not related to each other, so they end up hookin’ up. We recorded the song the same way that we wrote it, which was just sittin’ around a campfire behind my house. If people ever cared about what it was like being around us at the house, that’s it. That’s what happens when we’re at the house, alone, and we’re not makin’ out or somethin’." (If people have ever wondered what happens when Shelton and Lambert hit NYC in late November: he ends up in the bar in the basement of Macy’s, and plans the date — dinner and a show, Jersey Boys — that will have to last her until deer season is over back home in Oklahoma.)
After the jump, Shelton, People magazine’s reigning Sexiest Country Singer, shares even more intimate details about his life in our Pop Culture Personality Test. Note: There really is nothing sexier than a straight man expressing love for The Golden Girls…
- 'Idol': Candice Glover album out July 16
- 'Criminal Minds' season finale peek
- Kardashians, the Wanted on E!: New clips
- Billy Crystal comedy in works at FX
- 'Bad Teacher' going to series at CBS
- 'DWTS': Kellie and Derek win season 16
- Kellie Pickler: 'I want to hug this room'
- 'DWTS' finale ratings dive in 18-49 demo