The name Miley Cyrus tends to conjure groans and eye rolls from most people these days, and with good reason. Miley has spent her early twenties shocking the world with her outrageous behavior, shockingly sexually explicit performances, and outspoken, in your face politics. To be honest, most people (me included) just couldn’t stand her new persona. We found ourselves asking, “What happen to the sweet girl from Tennessee?”
I was older by the time the Hannah Montana craze hit the scene, but my kid sister absolutely adored the show and her music, and therefore I was forced to sit through several episodes during that time. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing the show, I just wasn’t interested in it because I wasn’t a little girl/preteen. That being said, I had no issue with Miley and she seemed to be on the right track when it came to making her career work. I also didn’t blame her for wanting to break out of the Hannah Montana mold that everyone tried to encase her in and try new things. I actually liked her Can’t Be Tamed record……. But sadly, things took a very drastic, shocking turn. The last few years have found Miley doing or saying one shocking thing after another. She seemed to have spiraled right out of control, but even then, I can’t say that I hated her like some did/do. I felt sorry for her. I can’t imagine dealing with the pressures of fame at such a young age (or really at all!). I believe Miley was desperately trying to find herself and figure out who she truly is. I think she was a very confused person, maybe still is. I don’t know what’s going on in her mind, but I do see this new song and era as a turning point for her.
“Malibu” seems to be marking a shift in Miley’s career. While promoting the new single, Miley has stated that she has been sober for a number of months now and that she wants to reach out to the people who find her a bit scary, particularly the country music crowd. She seems to have found some healing and is in the process of getting her act together. The most asseverating thing about the train wreck that was Miley Cyrus, is the fact that she CAN actually SING. She has a beautiful voice and she’s also a good songwriter in her own right. There was really no need for the drastic tactics Miley resorted to.
Let’s get to the song: “Malibu” is so incredibly refreshing. It’s a simple but unique song that is structured differently than the usual formula. A lot of people are saying this is Miley Cyrus going Country…… Guys, this isn’t a country song. It’s a pop song with a dialed back production featuring an acoustic guitar. Don’t get me wrong, I’d actually be very interested in a country record from Miley, but this isn’t it. There’s something very warm and soothing about this song, much like a lazy day on the beach. I’ve had it on repeat since I downloaded it. “Malibu” is a simple yet beautiful love song. It’s about finding contentment and peace in her relationship, and I think, ultimately her life. She’s growing and maturing.
“Malibu” has made me interested in the full album, which has yet to be named. I look forward to hearing more from this Miley. ;)
I know I’m slow to the bandwagon for Lauren Daigle, having only discovered her music after seeing her perform with Reba McEntire on the ACMs in April. Since then, I’ve learned that Daigle is a Christian singer-songwriter from Louisiana who is signed to the Centricity Music label and has won 2 Billboard Music awards and 6 Dove awards. Daigle released her first full-length record, How Can it Be, in April of 2015, which went on to achieve Gold Record status. Though the album was released in 2015, it took me a year to discover it, but now that I have, I can’t stop listening!
How Can It Be is without a doubt the best contemporary Christian/Worship record I’ve found. Now I’ve been a Christian for years, but never got into Christian music until recently (I was raised on Country music). I’ve been wading through the Christian genre and trying to find great albums that don’t sound/feel cheesy, because let’s just be honest, a great deal of the contemporary Christian music out there is a bit fluffy and cheesy. To me the music just didn’t sound real or substantial… But I’ve been blessed to have found a lot of great gospel records through the country music scene and am now starting finding great Christian records (clearly I just wasn’t looking in the right places!).
Lauren Daigle’s How Can It Be is absolutely top-notch. The production is uplifting and perfectly fits each song, the lyrics are substantial and original, and Lauren’s vocals are beautiful and convincing. This is a record that can stand the test of time. I’ve used it as a sound track for when I’m in the car to when I’m writing to working out. It’s an album that can truly live with you and one that has a permanent place on my “favorite records” playlist. I’m constantly going back to it to the point where it has been pretty much on repeat since I downloaded it a few months ago.
As much as I’d love to go into detail and talk about each song, I’m afraid that that would make this post too long for the average reader… Therefore I will share my five favorite songs on the record. These songs are my “go-to” songs, they speak to me in ways that the others (although great songs in their own right) don’t.
2) “How Can It Be” is an absolutely stunning praise song, one that will make you want to lift your hands up high and sing from your heart. The song opens with “I am guilty/ Ashamed of what I’ve done, what I’ve become/ These hands are dirty/ I dare not lift them up to the Holy one” and then goes into the truly beautiful truths, “You plead my cause/ You right my wrongs/ You break my chains/ You overcome/ You gave your life/ To give me mine/ You say that I am free/ How can it be”. There’s a reason this song won 2 Dove awards.
3) “Here’s My Heart” could be used as a prayer, and I admit to using lines from the song in my own prayers. This song is such a simple but beautiful and powerful song, one that you sing deep from your soul.
4) “O’ Lord” is another uplifting praise song that’ll get your hands in the air. This song pumps up your heart and soul with the truth of God’s love and faithfulness. The verses “I will stand my ground where hope can be found”, and the chorus, “O'Lord, O'Lord I know You hear my cry/ Your love is lifting me above all the lies/ No matter what I face this I know in time/ You'll take all that is wrong and make it right”, are particularly uplifting and soul soothing.
5) “I Am Yours” is my favorite song on the record. Its truth just speaks to my soul. I had a rough last few years and the song’s chorus, “So let the waters rise/ I will stand as the oceans roar/ Let the earth shake beneath me/ Let the mountains fall/ You are God over the storm/ And I am Yours”, acts as a warm balm to a banged up soul.
I HIGHLY recommend this record. Grab it here https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/how-can-it-be/id971504391
In honor of Shania Twain's announcement that she'll be releasing new music soon (a single in June and an album in the Fall) and the fact that she will be headlining the Stagecoach Festival this weekend, I've compiled a list of Shania's 10 Best Music Videos. Take a look and see if I got it right ;)
Honorable Mention: Man! I Feel Like A Woman! (Live in Vegas)
This is such a fun video and it also gives those of us fans that didn't get a chance to see Shania's residency in Vegas a glimpse into the show. ;)
10) Forever and For Always
This is just a beautiful video and a fan favorite (y'all voted for it in my poll).
9) No One Needs To Know
The video for "No One Needs To Know" finds Shania in her element. She's dressed comfortably and playing the guitar. It's a simple but fun video, and another fan favorite.
8) God Bless The Child
One reason I love this video is the fact that it's the only full version of this song. A clip of the song was featured on Shania's The Woman in Me album, but a full studio version was never released. This is such a beautiful song with a beautiful message to match.
7) You Win My Love
This is one of my absolute favorites from Shania, both song and video. I love the vintage vibes and the peppy/sassy lyrics. It's such a fun video.
6) Still The One
This song happens to be a big fan favorite AND Shania used the title for her Vegas show. It's simple, black and white, and sexy in a classy way.
5) Today Is Your Day
I personally love this song, it's such a great pep-talk and the back story to this song is inspiring. I also love that she shares a bit of her personal life with photos and footage throughout the video.
4) Any Man of Mine
Ah, the navel that was seen around the world! ;) Any Man of Mine is an excellent song in its own right and the video is wonderfully simple and fun, but what catapulted this video to its fame was the fact that Shania showed off her midriff in it..... which shocked Nashville to its core. ;)
3) Man! I Feel Like A Woman!
This song is arguably Shania's most iconic song to date, and its accompanying music video helped further cement its iconic status. The video features Shania wearing a masculine outfit (with a sexy twist to it), while the "band" is all dolled up and wearing skin tight clothes, essentially turning the tables on a formula that usually has the females being the "window dressing".
2) That Don't Impress Me Much
This is one of Shania's most iconic videos, and her favorite song to perform live. The video features Shania hitch-hiking around the desert in a leopard print outfit and red wig, looking for a man who does impress her ;) This song is fun and sassy, all the while acting as am empowerment song for females everywhere.
1) The Woman in Me
This is unarguably Shania's most stunning videos AND it happens to be Shania's personal favorite as well. Filmed in Egypt, The Woman is Me is a visual masterpiece. The contrast of the large pyramids and historical buildings versus Shania herself works well with the song's vulnerable lyrics. (It's also my personal favorite). :)
Fresh off being recognized on nearly every “One to Watch” list for 2017 including Rolling Stone’s “10 New Country Artists You need To Know,” Runaway June is without a doubt the most important new group to hit country music. At a time when the “Group” section in the genre’s award shows is… well… meager, it’s refreshing to know that there is at least one new group making headway in the genre. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Runaway June, the trio is comprised of three talented women: Lead singer/guitarist Naomi Cooke, singer/mandolin picker Hannah Mulholland, and singer/guitarist Jennifer Wayne. The trio couples their beautiful three-part harmonies with a very organic country sound (you won’t hear synthesizers here) and original lyrics with modern themes.
Runaway June just recently released a brand new song, “Wild West”, which is presumed to be their next single. “Wild West” is a sweet and slow love song that uses imagery from the Wild West, such as Jesse James, Outlaws, the prairie, and a pearl-handled .45. The female narrator is asking for a man who will ride onto the scene, steal her heart and save the day like in the Wild West. The song opens with, “Baby you could steal my heart like Jesse James/ or come in guns blazing just like ol’ John Wayne”, and continues with the western theme with verses like, “hold me tight like a pearl-handled .45” and “I wanna feel like we jumped a train to Santa Fe/ like we’re desperados makin’ our getaway”. The chorus rounds out the continuing theme with, “Love me like the wild, wild, wild west/ Ride me off in the sunset/ Outlaws makin’ a run for it/ Come on boy, be my cowboy.”
I have to say, I really love this song and no, not just because it references the Duke…. Though that does help! ;) But in all seriousness, there have been plenty of songs that have referenced John Wayne in which I didn’t like, simply because I either felt the song wasn’t good enough to reference him or because it referenced him in the wrong way. As a huge Duke fan and someone who has studied the legend for years, I’m always tickled when I hear the legend referenced in a good song, and quite frankly I can’t think of a more fitting song than “Wild West”. For one, the song is all about western imagery and well known western figures, which fit John Wayne’s own imagine, as he is best known for his westerns and cowboy imagine. The other and probably most interesting reason it’s so fitting that “Wild West” references the legend’s name is the fact that Jennifer Wayne is actually the legendary actor’s granddaughter! ***Let’s all take a minute to be jealous***
John Wayne reference aside, “Wild West” is a really great song. It touches on age old themes all the while keeping the sound and lyrics fresh and organic. You’ll definitely want to put this one your playlist. ;) I look forward to hearing a full album from Runaway June.
Welcome to The Music Vagabond blog. This blog will cover songs/albums/artists that span over several different genres, though admittedly, it’ll probably be about 90% (or more) Country, because that is the genre I’m most at home with. I feel like the creation of this blog has been a long time coming. I’ve written for several other country music blogs, including Country Music Matters and For The Country Record, and really enjoyed it. I’m a writer by nature and write about all different kinds of things (if you check the pages on this site you’ll find three blogs!), and for the most part I really enjoy it. I never thought I’d start my own music blog because I was quite content writing for others and let’s be real, do we really need ANOTHER music blog?! I felt like there were plenty of blogs around and therefore never felt the need to start one myself…. That all changed recently.
I tend to be a bit wordier than the average Joe and as a result, I feel most at home on platforms that allow more content, rather than word count gouging and less content. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t be starting this blog had For The Country Record not shut down, as it allowed me to write as much as I wanted without constantly worrying about maximum word counts, but alas, it did and here we are. Of course, I understand that it’s incredibly hard to get people to read more than 100 words these days (I find that incredibly sad) and that the smaller blogs have to lessen their word volume in order to compete with the larger blogs, but I also believe that if a person cares about the subject on which you’re writing, they’ll read the whole thing no matter how long it is. The good thing about this blog is that I don’t plan on trying to compete with anyone else and I don’t really care if only a few or even just one person reads this. I write because I enjoy it, plain and simple. I have no fantasies about making money doing it. So let’s just have fun, shall we?
This blog will include reviews (on songs/singles/albums), features on artists and videos, probably some opinion posts, and just some fun features, mainly on Country music, but will also include a few other genres. I’ll pretty much cover whatever takes my fancy in the music world. ;) I hope you join me for the fun!
**** Fun fact: The name of this blog was inspired by a Miranda Lambert song, “Highway Vagabond”, from her latest record The Weight of These Wings. ****