Must Have List – September 2011
Now that school has started, summer vacations have wrapped up and the fall television schedule has begun, Taste of Country is bringing you a list of must haves for the month of September. There's plenty to look forward to as fall and the holidays approach, and country artists are once again in the thick of the excitement.
Nine new albums hit stores this month from big name artists like George Strait, Lady Antebellum and Brantley Gilbert. Fall tours begin, and major motion picture soundtracks star country artists like Blake Shelton and the Zac Brown Band. We've also got our eye on a new artist that seems on the cusp of stardom, and a cheeky new song from Scotty McCreery that promises to be his first No. 1 hit. Enjoy this list of 10 must haves for September 2011.
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill Barbie Dolls
They got the outfits right, but some have expressed that they're not sure these Tim McGraw and Faith Hill-approved dolls are spot-on duplications of the country superstars. Either way, it's a great gift idea for the Barbie collector in your life -- but maybe not such a good Christmas present for the 5-years-old and under crowd. At $69.95 a set, it'd be a shame to watch your little sweetie rip open the box and pop off their heads as little kids are prone to do with Barbies. Although it sure would be funny if they put them back on the wrong bodies.
Little Big Town's 'Shut Up Train' Video
There hasn't been a video this vulnerable since Sugarland released 'Stay' in 2007. Karen Fairchild finds the darkest corners of her soul and hides there during this gut-punching performance. The song is a beautiful metaphor for a memory that just won't go away, and the band and video's director do a great job of not washing away the simplicity with overly dramatic footage. Fairchild carries the on-screen load here, with only cameo appearances from her bandmates.
George Strait's 'Drinkin' Man' (From His 'Here For a Good Time' Album)
'Drinkin' Man' is the darkest George Strait song in recent memory, and it carries the most memorable lyric from his new album. "I fought it like the devil but you know that you’re in trouble / When you’re 14 and drunk by 10AM,” Strait sings in this song about an alcoholic's struggle. The expected redemption never comes; this Strait song is just gut-wrenching from start to finish.
Lauren Alaina is far from the only teenager crushing on Hunter Hayes right now. The 19-year-old musical prodigy is preparing to release an album on which he wrote and played every single note. Drums, bass, keyboard and guitar ... Hayes has mastered them all before he can legally order up a Budweiser. His song 'Storm Warning' is an instant earworm, but sources say it's only the beginning og what he has in store for fans when his full album drops in October.
Scotty McCreery's 'The Trouble With Girls'
The 'American Idol' winner's second single throws a wink to his zealous female fanbase. Although McCreery's debut album isn't in stores until early October, the most committed of his followers already know the words to at least four of his songs, as he's been quite the chatty Kathy lately. Expect to see McCreery a little higher up on October's list of must haves, and expect to see him on just about every television and radio show imaginable.
Tickets for Zac Brown Band's Fall 2011 Tour
The tour begins on September 15, but after three shows the band takes a break until mid-October. The highlight has to be the Southern Ground Music and Food Festival in Charleston, S.C. on October 21-23. In addition to regular openers Sonia Leigh and Nic Cowan, ZBB have tapped stars like Eric Church, Train and My Morning Jacket for the festival. Can't make it to sample Brown's good cooking in South Carolina? Don't worry, each show on the tour offers a chance to sample his recipes, which we hear are as good as the band's music.
Brantley Gilbert's 'Halfway to Heaven (Deluxe Edition)' Album
This is Gilbert's first major label album, but it's actually a re-release of the project he put out in 2010. He adds three new songs for his early supporters, but most new believers in the Gilbert gospel will fall for the original 12, including his version of 'Dirt Road Anthem.' Gilbert wrote the song with Colt Ford -- who does the rap parts here -- before letting Jason Aldean make it famous. Other highlights include 'Kick It in the Sticks' and the title track, which tells the story of a car wreck that changed his life for the better.
The movie doesn't hit theaters until October 14, but you can get the soundtrack as early as September 27. It's loaded with country talent, most notably Blake Shelton, who tackles the theme song. He's not the only country artist to retool an iconic song from the original 1984 movie, however. 'One Tree Hill' actress turned country artist Jana Kramer sings 'Let's Hear It for the Boy.' Other country talent on the album includes newbie Hunter Hayes, singer/'Survivor' contestant Whitney Duncan, the Zac Brown Band, Big and Rich and Gretchen Wilson.
'The X Factor'
Simon Cowell's new reality show debuts on September 21, and we're crossing our fingers that the judges will discover a talented country singer like 'American Idol' found Scotty McCreery this spring. There's no age limit for this show, meaning contestants could have a little experience to draw upon during the competition. The performances promise to be wilder and, given the large scope of talent, better than those we've seen on 'Idol.'
Lady Antebellum's 'Own the Night' Album
Lady Antebellum's third album is going to be the No. 1 album in the country next week; it's just a matter of if they'll 200, 300, or maybe even 500,000 copies. 'Need You Now' sold almost that many when it debuted in early 2010, and that was after a money-sucking holiday season. Now the band has more hits -- including 'Just a Kiss' and their new single, 'We Owned the Night' -- so expect to see a big number. We certainly don't suggest buying it just because everyone else is, however. Almost every review has been positive for the Nashville trio.