Friday, August 29, 2008

Country Sure Looks Good To Me: Faith Hill

Ok, this is it. My last (for now) in the country series. If the four preceding ladies didn't do it for you, it just means that this here's my final chance. Should Faith Hill not do it for you, then I would have failed miserably. It would all have been in vain. You'll notice that Faith is also my Hottie for this week. Am I being sneaky in having her double as a hottie to win you over to country? Nah. At least not intentionally. But if you don't think Hill's deserving of a hottie notch, then for the first time we just have to agree to disagree. It's that simple. Hill is hot! Yes she is. Is Faith Hill country? You bet she is. Is Hill talented? You bet your Lifesavers. Is Hill Sexy? You bet. Is Hill hot? You bet your ass she is! Those long perfectly shaped legs *sigh*. And she's got very nice eyes *more sighs*. How am I going to manage with this blog? Heaven help me because there's no separating her hotness from her career. I can't help it; she's a hot country singer. If you haven't noticed the trend already, women of country are trailblazers. They make and break records. Faith Hill is no exception. They start singing at an early age. Most come up in the church and participate at local functions, rodeos, form their own bands in their teens, etc. Hill made her first public appearance at age seven. She had a hard time breaking into the music business and after a series of odd jobs here and there, they landed a job working at a music publishing firm as a secretary. A co-worker heard her singing to herself one day and that's where it all began. She became a demo singer for the firm and also backup singer to Gary Burr. It was during one of her performances with Burr that she was discovered by a representative of Warner Bros. Records. Hill's first album Take Me As I Am (1993) brought her her first 'first' (as in first set record). With the single Wild One she became the first female country singer in 30 years to cop Billboard's number 1 position for four consecutive weeks! Gotta love these women of country. Just got to! She had surgery to remove a ruptured blood vessel from her vocal cords and this delayed the release of her second album It Matters to Me. The title track off this album became her fourth #1 single. Hill then took a three year break to recuperate from a series of tours as well as to start a family with her new husband Tim McGraw. They are the proud parents of three girls. She ha sold over 35 million records to date and have had 11 number on singles on the country charts. Her Soul2Soul II Tour of 2006 with hubby McGraw was the highest-grossing country tour of all time. They tour netted a whopping 90 million dollars. Her accumulation of awards over the span of her career so far include but is not limited to 9 Academy of Country Music Awards, 5 Grammy Awards, 4 Country Music Association Awards, 1 American Music Award, 5 TNN/Music City News Awards, 1 Country Weekly's TNN Award and 1 People's Choice Award. Ladies Home Journal named her one of the 30 Most Powerful Women in America back in 2001. Faith is also one of those women of country who has successfully crossed over into the pop genre and made and left her mark there. Her first crossover album Faith (1998) made quite an impression and her follow-up Breathe (1999) cemented her place in the pop genre. Breathe debuted at #1 not only Billboard's Country but also in all other genre charts! She upstaged Mariah Carey and Savage Garden with that album! The single The Way You Love Me became one of the longest running singles in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 by staying on the charts for some 57 weeks! Breathe earned Hill 3 of her 5 Grammy Awards - Best Country Album, Best Country Collaboration With Vocals (for her duet with hubby Tim - Let's Make Love) and Best Country Female Vocal Performance. The videos for songs off this album was of the chain! Hill began to shake the simple girl image and began to embracethe sexy in her. Uh huh; yes she did and was that ever a happy day. In 2005 Hill went back to her roots when she released Fireflies. The debut was a repeat of Breathe's debut. It topped all of the charts not just Billboard placing Faith in the elite group of having three consecutive albums debuting at #1! Don't you just love women of country? Dammit you just got to! They work so hard and accomplish so much! I'm not reaching here, it's the truth. And most of them do while building and maintaining families and by golly don't they make it seem easy! So to just recap a bit. Faith started in country, ruled country, crossed over to pop and made her mark there, then went back to country to prove that country never left. Damn girl! You rock! You're da shit. When you've got it; you've got. Hill is also a philanthropist. Yet another reason you just gotta love this woman. She does charitable events to aid children's hospitals, schools, daycare centers and libraries within the U.S. Hill and McGraw help to distribute supplies to victims of Hurricane Katrina as well as hosted benefit concerts to aid those who were displaced. The McGraws further established the Neighbor's Keeper Foundation. This organization assists community charities with funding to ensure that in the event of a natural disaster or for desperate personal circumstances, aid is available to help to supply basic humanitarian services. In 2007 Hill collaborated with Annie Lennox and 22 other female artists and produced Sing. All proceeds were donated to raising the awareness of the transmission of HIV to unborn children in Africa. Sing was released on World Aids Day on December 1st 2007. Faith Hill is country, she's pop, she's gorgeous, she's a humanitarian. She's got a raspy soulful voice that move you emotionally. She's a wife, she's a mother. She's one of the most successful country artists in the world. Oh yeah, she's hot too. (How many times have I stated that in this blog?) Let's just wrap this thing of properly now. What you now need to do is start from Monday (just skimming thru the face of country) thru to today and go ahead and answer me this. How is country looking to you? Faith Hill + Highlights in her hair = Breathtaking!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Country Sure Looks Good To Me: Reba McEntire

So here we are into day 4. I have to admit that I've been kinda slightly agonizing over sitting down and preparing this one. One reason is that I'm kinda not feeling the 'blogging/writing' thing today. I'm feeling kinda out of sync. I think Shania's partly to blamed for some of this; after all that excitement, some of my energy has been drained. Another reason is that Reba fits into a lot of categories that I can think of, so to place her in just one poses a bit of a challenge. And since I'm not in a particular frame of mind, the last thing I need is a challenge no matter how minor. You'll notice that although this is my country's looking good theme that I've also added the Timeless Thursday label as well. Reba certainly fits the bill. She's been in the country music business for some 33 years. There's one thing I want to just throw in here, something that became quite clear since embarking on this country quest. And that is: if you're looking for some of the most amazing and hard-working women in the world, then country is where they're at. Seriously. I'm not kidding. I'd be quite surprised and disappointed if anyone were to tell me that this week's blogs have not made you go 'wow, or damn,or that's amazing, or that's great...'. Women in the country music industry work hard as hell. Her early life reads very much like that of most other women of country. She grew up on a farm, comes from a familiar of ropers, ranchers, etc, etc. Oh yeah, she also comes from a family with a musical background. She and two of her siblings (a brother and sister) formed The Singing McEntires in their early years. Reba Nell McEntire is a country singer, she's an awesome performer and she's also an actress. She's a native of McAlester, Oklahoma. Reba's often referred to as the 'Queen of Country' and for one thing it's quite a fitting title to bestow upon her. She has paid her dues; she's earned it. Here's proof that I'm not just pouring it all on because of favoritism. Of 31 albums so far, she's sold over 55 million copies worldwide. She's now tied with Dolly Parton for a record of having of 24 number 1 hits! McEntire was the first woman to have the highest grossing concert tour in country music. In 1995 she was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Of her 40 albums (inclusive of 3 Holiday, 2 Live and 11 compilations albums) she's got 5 gold, 6 platinum, 2 double-platinum, 4 triple-platinum, 1 quadruple-platinum and 1 quintuple-platinum certified albums. To date, Reba's the recipient of 74 music awards. Yes, seventy-four and you know she's not done yet! Included in the 74 are 2 Grammys, 6 Country Music, 13 Academy of Country Music, 16 American Music and 10 People's Choice Awards. Some of my favorite quotes from Reba are: "You don't waste your entire life waiting to go back to dust." "Being a strong woman is very important to me. But doing it all on my own is not." "To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone." "Be different, stand out, and work your butt off." Her latest album Duets was released on September 18, 2007 and is a compilation of duets performed with some of the major names in the business. Faith Hill, LeAnn Rimes and Carole King are some of the verterans in the business who sing along with Reba. Some up and coming newer artists are featured as well - Justin Timberlake and Kelly Clarkson. Her duet with Clarkson Because of You (a remake of Clarkson's song) gave her her 24th single which brought her levelled with Parton for the singles record. Country really rocks! And go ahead and admit it. You are feeling country aren't you? You know you are. Did I mention that this woman's 53 years old? Fabulous!