Concert Review: Blake Shelton “Ten Times Crazier Tour 2014”

Blake Shelton with The Band Perry, Dan + Shay & Neal McCoy
“Ten Times Crazier Tour 2014”
Amway Center
Orlando, FL
August 30th, 2014

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Blake Shelton is no question one of the best thing that country music has going for it in recent years. His music is fun, careless and if you don’t like it you can kiss my country music loving ass. The “Ten Times Crazier Tour 2014” is not your regular concert. It features Blake Shelton along with The Band Perry, Dan + Shay & Neal McCoy (who not plays once but three times).  This is a real party. The event started at 6:45pm and went all the way to just past 11pm. Now if you ask me that is one hell of a concert and these fans are really getting their money worth.

The night kicked off with Neal McCoy, who only took stage for 15 minutes and sang some fun cover songs…but don’t worry we didn’t see the last of him and his band. Next up was Dan + Shay, who I did not get to see due to being backstage  meeting up with Blake Shelton! That’s right baby meet and greet! He is one cool (and tall) dude! What I did hear though, there were really stealing the crowd and getting them warmed up. Neal McCoy came out again after that for another 15 minutes before The Band Perry really stole the show.

I have never seen The Band Perry live and not really a huge mega fan. I know (and like) a bunch of their songs but not really a number #1. Well after this performance, I am now a number #1 fan! The Band Perry took the stage and literally tore the roof off the Amway Center. Kimberly Perry is such an amazing performer and has such presence. She is also quite theatrical and dramatic, which really adds to the performance. Of course they song their classics like If I Die Young and Chainsaw, which really drove the crowd into an all out singing fest.

After The Band Perry, Mr. McCoy took the stage once more again singing some amazing classics and keeping the crowd ready when the stage was being set for the main attraction, Blake Shelton. Having met the man, a mere minutes before, it was surreal when he hit the stage and he was belting out his hits literally six rows from my seat (thanks to his management team for the outstanding seats BTW).  What I love about Shelton is that it just seems so effortless for him and yet at the same time, the guy seems like an average Joe who at points honestly seems nervous. He is just a great performer and keeps his audiences attention from the moment he comes. He is funny and also a great storyteller.

The top selling/Grammy winning country singing artist played his hits like “Kiss My Country Ass”,  “Mine Would Be You”, “Some Beach”, “Hillbilly Bone”, “Sure Be Cool If You Did” and “My Eyes”. Also in one of the coolest things that I have ever been a part of, Blake actually recorded the video to his latest single “Neon Light”, which is set to be released on his new album “Bringing Back the Sunshine”, due out September 30th. It was a blast to get to be a part of such an amazing event.

As the night grew later, Shelton went all Acoustic on us and came up to the front of the stage solo only with a guitar and really poured his out with tracks like “Austin”, “Drink On It” and one of my favorites, “Home”, which is of course a Michael Bublé cover. But the mood didn’t end on a quite not as he closed out the night with his biggest hits “Honey Bee” and “Boys ‘Round Here” and brought in the night with fireworks. I do not think that there was one person not singing or screaming those lyrics.

This was no question of the most fun that I have had at a concert in recent years. When I left the Amway Center, my cheeks were killing me and mine and my wife’s voices were shot due to singing for hours straight. I hope Blake and his team realized that Florida has its share of country fans and knows how to tear it up with the best of them! Till next time Mr. Shelton! Thanks for a great night, you sure know how to throw a great party!

The Band Perry Setlist:
Night Gone Wasted
You Lie
All Your Life
I’m a Keeper
Timber (Pitbull feat. Ke$ha cover)
Fat Bottomed Girls (Queen cover)
Don’t Let Me Be Lonely
If I Die Young
Better Dig Two

Blake Shelton Setlist:
All About Tonight
The More I Drink
She Wouldn’t Be Gone
Doin’ What She Likes
Kiss My Country Ass
Mine Would Be You
Nobody But Me
Some Beach
Ol’ Red (George Jones cover)
Who Are You When I’m Not Looking
Hillbilly Bone
Sure Be Cool If You Did
Neon Light
My Eyes
Over You
Drink On It
Home (Michael Bublé cover)
Honey Bee
Boys ‘Round Here
Footloose (Kenny Loggins cover)
God Gave Me You

Devour The Day’s Blake Allison talks about album “Good Man” and touring with Hinder

Blake Allison is the lead singer/guitarist for the band Memphis, TN based rock band Devour The Day. The group recently finished up a successful tour run with Hinder and has also re-released their “Good Man” EP which features a brand new set of mixes. Media Mikes spoke with Blake recently about the group’s formation, the bands re-release and their upcoming plans for 2014

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background on the band?
Blake Allison: Joey Chicago and I have been writing songs together for a long time. We got to the point with our old band Egypt Central where Joey and I were writing all the music. When the band started everyone pitched in with the song writing equally. As that band went on and we experienced some member changes it came down to Joey and I putting all the music and lyrics together. We started writing what would have been the third record for that band and during that process our singer left us high and dry. We decided that what we had could be really great material and possibly be used for another band. We loved that band but Devour the Day is really close to our hearts. This music is exactly as we want it. In the previous band we would write the music and other members would perform it. With Devour the Day we can do everything we want and it seems to mess with our musical background better. This music is straight from the heart and for the first time in a long time we can finish a song without outside help as we are creating it.

AL: Can you tell us about the re-release of the bands “Good Man” EP?
BA: We just finished that up pretty recently. We teamed up with Brian Malouf who is legend in the music industry for making great mixes. He helped us take this whole thing on and we actually were working on in while we were still on tour. We started out shooting ideas back and forth over the phone on how we could give the songs a make over. When we signed to Caroline Records we were super excited and we thought that doing this re-release would be a great way to kick things off. Everyone here is super excited about what we have coming up for 2014.

AL: The band recently finished up a tour with Hinder. Can you tell us about that experience?
BA: Those guys are friends of ours from back when we had our first band. They are just nice people. I think a lot of people would assume that people who are famous are jerks but these guys are not. These guys are living out their dreams and are very happy doing that. Those guys have always taken care of us and when we decided we were going to tour Devour the Day I gave the Cody their drummer a call and asked him to put in a good word for us. He did and landed us a tour that has had us on the road for the better half of 2013.

AL: What was the reception like from the fans?
BA: It has been amazing! We kind of share the same audience and can be heard on the same types of radio stations. The crowds may start off looking at us like we are a little bit weird as they have never heard our songs before but by the end of the set they understand what we are about and what we are trying to do. It can be hard to come out of the gat e and connect with a crowd so we get up there and just lose it and act like idiots. (Laughs) The crowds have loved it though and we are excited to get back out there.

AL: Your song “Good Man” is doing really well right now can you tell what made you choose that song to put out first?
BA: When it came time to pick a song to release there really wasn’t much of a dispute when it came to choosing “Good Man”. That song just stood out as something different from the rest of the material. Simply put it was the strongest song on the record. That song really was the catalyst for putting everything in motion. We had a group of songs that we were going to do and once this one was completed and sent out it got a lot of attention.

AL: Can you tell us about the bands Kickstarter campaign that just wrapped up?
BA: We had discussed putting a video together and the first thing that came up was how could we make a video on a small as budget as possible. We started toying with the idea of doing a cheap video, which generally equates to a band playing in an empty warehouse. That’s just not who we are. We wanted to do something different. Joey’s brother Dan handles the non-profit side of a company called Neighborhood Film Company. They put together Kickstarter campaigns for films that help provide jobs to people in need. We thought it would be a good idea to take the same approach and we came up with the idea of doing a video recognizing all of the people who have helped us get to where we are. We are looking forward to starting work on this and the idea is to make people cry and do something different that what a typical rock band would do.

AL: Can you tell us what the band has planned for the rest of this year leading into 2014?
BA: We have some really big shows coming up towards then end of this year. We have some things in the works for 2014 but I can’t really say too much about that just yet. We are really excited though as we will be out with some newer bands that have a similar sound to us. That should be a really great time.

CD Review: Blake Shelton "Based on a True Story…"

Blake Shelton
“Based on a True Story…”
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Label: Warner Bros.
Tracks: 12
Running Time: 44 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Blake Shelton has been very busy for the last two years.  His last major album was “Red River Blue”, which was easily one of the best of 2011 and last year’s “Cheers, It’s Christmas”, which was also fantastic.  Then there is this little show he is involved with called “The Voice”.  Where does this guy have time to be this busy?  Well “Based on a True Story…” is a fantastic follow-up to “Red River Blue”.  When I found out about the album, I thought it is going to be real hard to top that album. But this album is such a smash hit! Since I received the album it has been a constant loop and I just keep enjoying the songs more and more.  If you love Blake, then you shouldn’t need to even read this, pick this up! If you are new to his music, then this is a great start and also a must have for any country music fan!

“Based On A True Story…” features 12 tracks with each track trumping the next. The first track released as a single, “Sure Be Cool If You Did”, is already a smash hit and debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Country Digital Tracks chart. The great thing about that track is that it is amazing but not even the best track on the album.  So if you love that song, like many do, just think that the best is yet to come.  It is catchy and real draw for the album though. What thing I love about Shelton is that he is country but doesn’t really throw it in your face, if you don’t like the genre there are still some great songs on the album that you would enjoy. I like to say that he has a little bit for everyone on his albums.

My person favorite on the album is “Do You Remember”.  What a beautiful song.  I see this being a very big single for him.  But like I said when you listen to an album like “Based on a True Story…” you literally have the option to release each song as a single that is not always the case. If you like Pistol Annies, who doesn’t, they pop in on the first track “Boys ‘Round Here”.  This song is a great kick off for the album. It has a lot of attitude and gets those toes tapping! Another talent musician to appear on the album is Gwen Sebastian on the track My Eyes”.  Whatever you are doing Blake, keep it up brotha cause it is working well for you!! He should start getting ready to clean up the Grammy awards with this new album for sure! Can’t wait to see what is next!

Track Listing:
1. “Boys ‘Round Here” (featuring Pistol Annies)
2. “Sure Be Cool If You Did”
3. “Do You Remember”
4. “Small Town Big Time”
5. “Country on the Radio”
6. “My Eyes” (featuring Gwen Sebastian)
7. “Doin’ What She Likes”
8. “I Still Got a Finger”
9. “Mine Would Be You”
10. “Lay Low”
11. “Ten Times Crazier”
12. “Grandaddy’s Gun”

CD Review: Blake Shelton “Cheers, it’s Christmas”

Blake Shelton
“Cheers, it’s Christmas”
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Label: Warner Bros.
Running Time: 42 minutes

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

In my early years, I would never be caught dead listening to country music.  In the last five years or so though, I have changed that tune quite a bit. Blake Shelton was one of those reasons. His sound is just so unique, enjoyable and he just has this wonderful presence.  When I heard he is coming out with a Christmas (my favorite time of the year) album, I literally got super excited.  The album itself is not just a bland cookie-cutter release though. It is a really great mix of classic tracks and some really fun new country songs. When I first received this album, I kept it on loop for almost 8 hours. Usually you can tell when an album starts looping, not with this one.  It just blends together so well and continuously entertains throughout the whole album.

Blake Shelton is not alone on this album though he has some really great duets as well.  On “Jingle Bell Rock” he sings along with Miranda Lambert and it is a wonderful collaboration. On “Oklahoma Christmas”, which is a very fun track, it features Reba on the track. “There’s A New Kid In Town” is a really sweet song featuring Blake singing with Kelly Clarkson. “Home” features a duet with Michael Bublé  and it is easily my favorite track on the album.  “Blue Christmas” features Pistol Annies and is a great take on the classic song. “Silver Bells,” features a nice duet between by Blake and Xenia.   Blake really nails the track, “The Very Best Time Of Year” as he debuts with Trypta-Phunk. Blake even has a track debuting with this mom Dorothy Shackleford on “Time For Me To Come Home”, which is very sweet as well.

Blake Shelton does not take this reign of ACM and CMA Male Vocalist of the year lightly.  You can tell that he is given 100% in this album just like it was a non-holiday release. If you are looking for a way to get in the holiday mood, this album will surely do the trick and kick-start the season early.  I am also very happy that now “Cheers, it’s Christmas” will easily become a must-listen each year during the Christmas season. I look forward to sharing this album with my friends and family as well and hopefully it will have the same effect it does on them as it has me.  Thanks Blake for sharing your heart with us and delivering a wonderful Christmas album!

Track Listing:
1. Jingle Bell Rock (feat. Miranda Lambert)
2. White Christmas
3. Oklahoma Christmas (feat. Reba)
4. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
5. There’s A New Kid In Town (feat. Kelly Clarkson)
6. Santa’s Got A Choo Choo Train
7. Home (feat. Michael Bublé)
8. Winter Wonderland
9. The Christmas Song
10. Blue Christmas (feat. Pistol Annies)
11. I’ll Be Home For Christmas
12. Silver Bells (feat. Xenia)
13. Time For Me To Come Home (feat. Dorothy Shackleford)
14. The Very Best Time Of Year (feat. Trypta-Phunk)

Interview with Blake Neely

Blake Neely is currently scoring two great shows on television “The Mentalist” and newcomer “Pan-Am”. Blake has also scored various shows like “Brothers and Sisters” and “No Ordinary Family”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Blake to chat about comparing his scores and what we can expect from the score on this Fall’s seasons.

Mike Gencarelli: What was your inspiration for the “Pan-Am” score?
Blake Neely: My first reaction was to ask”why they wanted me?” I didn’t really do that type of work and 60’s themed stuff really wasn’t in my skill set. I told them this and they told me that the show was more of an American story with big rich orchestral sounds. Since I started doing music for television, I always tried to make the music more like what you would hear in a feature length film. When you think about it a television series is like a 22 hr. movie spaced out over an entire season. When I watched “Pan-Am”, I thought it was a perfect show to be more bold and cinematic. The show travels around the world and there are multiple story lines going on. The show was an opportunity to start with a big pilot and see what I could get away with.

MG: Were you able to see episodes prior to scoring?
BN: They send me each episode with temp music in it. The temp music might have been idea as to what they are looking for. From there we have a discussion about our ideas and I go from there. I do get to see the show way before its finished.

MG: Do you find the temp tracks helpful in anyway?
BN: They can be helpful if you have never worked with a director or producer. After you work with the same clients a few times you start to develop a language and understanding. If you have never worked with someone the temps can help you gauge what they are thinking. I find it interesting because composers are like actors but they never hire temps for us. (Laughs) The biggest hindrance for me is when a film may have been tested to an audience already with a different score. If the score tests really high it can cause people to not want to change what was done so you end up mimicking what was previously done.

MG: How do you feel working on “Pan-Am” compares to working on “The Mentalist”?
BN: When I take on multiple projects I try to look for ones that are very different from each other. In this case they couldn’t be more different. On “The Mentalist” we are dealing with more electronic sounds and grooves. “Pan-Am” is orchestral and less dark. I can kind of choose which one I want to work on by the mood I am in. It’s a nice balance. I have worked on similar shows at the same time before and it’s difficult to come up with different ideas out of the same brain.

MG: How do you feel the scores for “The Mentalist” have differed from season to season?
BN: I try to keep the sound pretty much the same. I look at the music as part of a set. You aren’t going to repaint the sets or change the characters costumes. There is a familiarity that the audience wants. I tend to get bored with myself very quickly so I try to change things up. When I do make changes I have to make sure that I’m not going out of what works for the show. I have really concentrated on that with the later seasons. With “Pan-Am” I am still honing in and developing a sound for the show that will last just as long as the other.

MG: What do you find is your biggest challenge when approaching a television show?

BN: Time is the biggest challenge. On a good week I have 6 days from start to finish. On these shows there is anywhere from 20-30 minutes per show. It’s all a matter of time in getting that much music written in 6 days. You develop tricks over time that helps speed things up. When you are working on a film you have a lot more time to think about your ideas.

MG: Do you have a specific genre that you are most comfortable with?
BN: Looking back I think I am most comfortable with Americana type music. I’m also comfortable doing comedies and romantic comedies. There are certain styles you can do quickly and well. In this profession you have to be able to do all types of genres.


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