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CMA Predictions

October 13, 2014
Country Music Awards

The CMA’s are coming up on November 5th! For the non-country-music fans out there, it’s short for the Country Music Association Awards, which is one of several award ceremonies each year that present country musicians with prizes for their successes. The award categories are: Entertainer, Male Vocalist, Female Vocalist, New Artist, Vocal Group, Vocal Duo, Album, Single, Song, Musical Event, and Music Video. I have broken down the biggest category, Entertainer, to give some predictions of who might win.

Entertainer of the Year

Okay, this is the main award, the most coveted prize for the best overall artist, based on his/her achievements in the past year. The nominees are: Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, and George Strait, of which I think there are three major contenders (Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, and Luke Bryan). Here’s some relevant information on each one, and my general thoughts on who might win.

1.) Miranda Lambert: Miranda has won Best Female Vocalist four years in a row (2010-2013), a huge accomplishment. It’s about time for her to claim the top award. This year Lambert had a huge album, Platinum, which was released in June. The album debuted at No. 1, which gave her the astounding title of being the first artist in history to start his/her career with five No. 1 albums. The album has sixteen tracks, eight of which she helped write, and critics loved it. Platinum got reviews of 86/100, 4/5 stars, 3/4 , and A. Off of that album, she has had two big singles: “Somethin’ Bad,” a duet with Carrie Underwood which became a No. 1 hit (on Billboard’s Country Hot 100), and “Automatic,” which peaked at No. 4 (No. 3 on the Airplay chart). Miranda toured from July - September and will perform again from January - March. I think Lambert is deserving of the prize and might win because she has both hit singles and a fresh, Platinum (hehe) record this year. She is also nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year, which she deserves as well.

2.) Blake Shelton: Blake won this award in 2012 and has won Best Male Vocalist for the past four years, just like his wife Miranda Lambert. He may be the biggest name in country music today, and he deserves to be. Blake holds the record for the most consecutive No. 1 singles (eleven in total), a feat achieved in the past year with his song “Doin’ What She Likes” hitting No. 1 on the Country Airplay chart (No. 3 on the Hot 100). The single “My Eyes” also reached No. 1 (No. 4 on Airplay). His current single, “Neon Light,” has been climbing the charts, and is currently at No. 4 on the Hot 100 (No. 7 on Airplay). His new album, Bringing Back the Sunshine, debuted at No. 1 on both the all-genre Top 200 and the Top Country Albums charts. He just finished a tour that began last year. With him being a country-hit machine and having an all-genre No. 1 album, I think Blake is very deserving of the prize and will probably win. He is also nominated for Male Vocalist of the Year, which he will likely win, though Luke Bryan is a strong challenger.

3.) Luke Bryan: Unlike the first two nominees, Luke has never won Best Entertainer or Vocalist, so his would be a fresh name on the top, at least for the CMA’s. He won Top Country Artist and Top Country Album this year at the Billboard Music Awards and has been nominated for and won several other awards from various sources. In the past year, he has had a few hit singles, including “Drink a Beer,” a hugely popular, yet sorrowful song about remembering a lost loved one, which hit No. 1 on both the Airplay and Hot 100. Others include “Play It Again,” which also reached No. 1 on both charts and “Rollercoaster,” his current single, which is currently No. 1 on the Airplay chart and peaked at No. 5 on Hot 100. Bryan’s most recent album, Crash My Party, came out last year, so he does not have a fresh album, which I think will probably take him out of the running for Entertainer. He was on a big tour the majority of this year though, and given his hit songs and other awards and accomplishments, I think he has a good shot of winning Male Vocalist of the Year, that is if Blake wins Entertainer and they decide to spread the love and give the Vocalist prize to someone else.

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Bog Seger

If you're like me, you often wonder why certain artists and their respective genres of music are so consistently popular. What is that special something that unites fans? Here are a few of my theories concerning Bob Seger and the like:

1.) ‘Merica – Artists like Bob Seger, Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, and Tom Petty have long played the nationalism card when it comes to fame. “Heartland Rock” is the official label of their genre of music, characterized by simple melodies and lyrical concern for the average, blue-collar American. They have become more or less equated with the U.S. of A. But do they all deserve such a distinction? John Mellencamp certainly earned it with Farm Aid, his political protests, and all the charitable work he’s done. But what has Bob Seger really done for the People? Nothing, according to his Wikipedia page, besides autographing a guitar here and there, and it doesn’t matter because we just assume he’s a folk hero since he's associated with the rest of them. (We all know what happens when you assume…)

2.) “I was THERE” – Parents love to talk about their concert nostalgia, especially since they saw these guys in their prime. But part of why these artists are still touring is for that very reason – middle-aged dads are their primary audience. Hell, if Radiohead is still playing when I’m 40, I’ll probably go too. But it detracts from the music. Even though Bob Seger is promoting a new album, that’s not why the majority of his fans are attending his concerts. They want to hear the classics. They want to be “taken back.” They could care less about new material, but will suffer through it just to see “Old Time Rock & Roll” live one more time.

3.) Everyman Image – It’s not a coincidence that these rockers tend to perform in ripped jeans, an unbuttoned flannel, and a red, white, and blue bandana. They want you to think, “Gee, they’re just like us.” But are they really? Of course not. They’re millionaires with tropical vacation homes, and they’ve definitely never worked in coal mines or workhouses. By establishing that discourse with the audience from the start, heartland rock stars pull a smooth marketing move. How can you NOT like someone who looks just like you?

4.) Fan Culture – Bog Seger fans may not be as intense as Springsteen fans, but you get the idea. Heartland rockers incite passion. Bruce has become the face of New Jersey simply because he was born there. Their raspy voices somehow authenticate the struggles of which they sing, and naïve fans eat this up. Everyone wants to belong, and a lot of people identify themselves via music, especially older generations who only felt understood by songs about hard labor and missed connections.

5.) Universal Themes – Besides the working-man-blues, heartland rockers often romanticize other popular subjects that everyone can relate to, like love, high school, smoking in the boy’s room. In “Night Moves,” perhaps Bob Seger’s biggest hit, he sings, “We were just young and restless and bored.” Who hasn’t been? We all reflect on those times when we made out in the back of cars, and artists like Bob Seger capitalize on our attachment to idyllic romantic memories. This is a great strategy, but it in no way makes him a lyrical genius.

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The Who Turns 50

This morning arrived with a big announcement – the Who finally released dates for their 2015 tour, and it may be the last chance to see them live. Roger Daltrey recently told Rolling Stone, “[It] will be the last big tour…We intend to go on doing music until we drop, but we have to be realistic about our age. The touring is incredibly grinding on the body and we have to draw a line in the sand somewhere. This will be the last old-fashioned, big tour.”

Even more good news for some fans (possibly bad news for the die-hards) is that they’ll be playing solely greatest hits. Daltrey admitted to Rolling Stone, “People don't want new stuff.” He explains that the economics of the road simply don’t allow for fresh material, deep cuts, rarities, and B-sides. We’re a culture of comfort, and we like what is familiar, especially if it’s the opening chords to “Pinball Wizard.”

This point could be contested, but it’s the Who and they do what they want. It’s better to go out with a bang than in obscurity, so the revival of classics like “Baba O’Reilly,” “Love Reign O'er Me,” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again” is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Even though Pete Townshend is partially deaf and Roger Daltrey suffers from vocal chord dysplasia, I can tell you from personal experience that they still know how to rock. Obviously short two members (R.I.P. Keith Moon and John Entwistle), Townshend and Daltrey still perform under the name the Who though they tour with several other musicians, including: Zak Starkey (Ringo Starr’s son), Simon Townshend (Pete Townshend’s brother), Pino Palladino (formerly of the John Mayer Trio), John Corey, Loren Gold, J. Gregory Miller, Reggie Grisham, and Frank Simes.

The Who celebrated their 50th anniversary last year (October 2013), and despite the tour being labeled “The Who Hits 50!”, Daltrey maintains that it’s unrelated to their anniversary. However, fifty years is no easy feat. Most bands can’t make it ten. They should be celebrating their half-century of success, but perhaps they’ll leave that to the fans. Coinciding with their tour, the Who will release a new Greatest Hits album and play venues that they’ve overlooked in the past.

So, break out your old concert tees because this may very well be the last chance to see Pete Townshend's famous windmill. They’re not getting any younger, neither are you, and the eternal question still remains, “Who are you?”

©The Who 1998, Polydor Ltd.
Events On Sale 10-9-14

Here's a list of the hottest events with dates going on sale this week. Our featured event of the week is Neil Diamond. Neil will be kicking off his world tour early 2015 in support of his new album, Melody Road. Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett are making waves too with their recent collaboration, and their duet is sure to be a hit! You can start preparing for the holiday season with Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical tickets, which go on sale Monday. Country fans are still in luck as Hunter Hayes, Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, and Garth Brooks are playing shows across the country. For tickets to these events and more, head over to Ticket Liquidator.

Concerts

Event

Date

Cities

Andrea Bocelli Friday, 10/10/14 Hollywood, FL
Bob Seger Thursday, 10/9/14 Halifax, NS; Saint John, NB
Dierks Bentley Friday, 10/10/14 Baltimore, MD
Garth Brooks Friday, 10/17/14 Greensboro, NC
Hunter Hayes Friday, 10/10/14 Grand Prairie, TX
Jack White Friday, 10/10/14 New York, NY; Nashville, TN
Jason Aldean Friday, 10/10/14 Greenville, SC
Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett Friday, 10/10/14 Las Vegas, NV
Maroon 5 Saturday, 10/11/14 Las Vegas, NV
Miranda Lambert with Justin Moore Friday, 10/10/14 Worcester, MA; Evansville, IN; Peoria, IL; Manchester, NH; Eugene, OR
Neil Diamond Monday, 10/13/14 Providence, RI; Boston, MA; Pittsburgh, PA; Indianapolis, IN; Columbus, OH; Philadelphia, PA; Allentown, PA; Providence, RI; Uncasville, CT; Columbus, OH; Auburn Hills, MI; Boston, MA; Brooklyn, NY; Washington, DC; Pittsburgh, PA; Indianapolis, IN; Austin, TX; Houston, TX; Milwaukee, WI; Saint Paul, MN; Chicago, IL; Dallas, TX
Nick Jonas Thursday, 10/9/14 New York, NY; Brooklyn, NY; Los Angeles, CA
Trey Anastasio Friday, 10/17/14 Upper Darby, PA; Richmond, VA; Portland, ME; Pittsburgh, PA; Boston, MA; New York, NY; Binghamton, NY
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Broadway

Broadway has a great season in store for us. Packed with a host of celebrities and talent, the Great White Way is making it hard to decide which play to see. Luckily, I’ve got a cheat sheet to help you pick based on personality type. (Hint: Broadway tickets make great Christmas presents, too!)

1.) History Buff – The Elephant Man

Based on the historical figure Joseph Merrick, Bernard Pomerance's The Elephant Man seeks to encapsulate his life – living with enormous deformities, stuck in workhouses and freak shows, and trying to carry on a normal routine despite his failing health. It is a portrait of the late 1880s Victorian society and the dichotomy of human nature. Bradley Cooper (maybe you know him from The Hangover, American Hustle, and Silver Linings Playbook) stars as Merrick, which is no easy feat. The interesting twist to the play is that no prosthetic makeup is used on the actor; instead, he must assume Merrick’s deformities through physicality – facial expressions, movement, and posture – and let the audience imagine what he really looked like. Cooper will undoubtedly be excellent, and from personal experience I can say the play is deeply rewarding. It is both a study in American culture around the Gilded Age and a lesson on perseverance and strength. It is the perfect gift for the family historian or the casual surveyor of things past.

2.) Pop Culture Junkie – This is Our Youth

Michael Cera?! Kieran Culkin?! OMG. It’s a match made it awkwardly adorable theater heaven. Kenneth Lonergan’s This Is Our Youth tells the story of three young friends in the Reagan Era of the 1980s trying to be independent, but nevertheless succumbing to the pressures of their age – sex, money, drugs, etc. Set in Manhattan, the audience can no doubt relate to the materialist culture that comes with living in the Big Apple, and even though it is rooted in a specific generation, This Is Our Youth could easily take place now – the comedy and heartbreak of late teens transcends time and place. If you find comfort in 80s style comic books, portable TVs, and fashion, you’ll love this play even more. If you simply have a crush on Juno's Michael Cera and want to see him live, we won't judge you. Tickets to This Is Our Youth are a great idea for a date night.

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Week 5 in the NFL is in the books, which means the fourth week of Ticket Liquidator's fantasy football is in the books as well. Congratulations to the Dinkonator, whose 99.22 points in Week 5 slightly edged out Gudy2Shoes' 98.72 -- and as such, winning a $25 discount code to Ticket Liquidator!

Make your Week 6 Fantasy Football picks for free and win HERE

Dinkonator's big decision to start Russell Wilson paid off, as the Seahawks star quarterback had the highest point total of the week, at 30.22. Amazingly, nobody selected neither Peyton Manning nor Demaryius Thomas, who would have potentially won the week for somebody.

Despite finishing in second place, Gudy2Shoes is our monthly winner -- and will receive a $100 discount code to Ticket Liquidator! Fueled by a season-high 126.40 points in Week 4, Gudy2Shoes overcame a six-point deficit in Week 5 en route to capturing the monthly crown. Gudy2Shoes finished the four weeks with 353.52 points, defeating Eli's Sad Face (340.2) by 13 points, and the Dinkonator (339.06) by 14.

Now starting in Week 6, our monthly contest resets -- so in another four weeks, we'll give away a $100 discount code to the player with the highest score between Weeks 6-9! Our yearly contest is still running as well, with Gudy2Shoes in the driver's seat right now for a $200 discount code!

Snake Levine (86.4) finished in third place in Week 5, and was followed by The Dynasty (82.36) and Luckness Monster (81.34), rounding out the top five.

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The Harlem Globetrotters

Taking your family to see the Harlem Globetrotters is the perfect way to spend a day off - it's entertainment for kids and adults alike! Here are three reasons why you should go to a Globetrotters game this year:

1. You’ll be witnessing a tradition with a great history - The Globetrotters has been a display of incredible athleticism since its inception in the 1920s, two decades before the NBA was created. The team began on the south side of Chicago, where all of the original players grew up. In its early years, the team was touring Illinois and Iowa under the name “The New York Harlem Globe Trotters.” Harlem was chosen for their title because the city was the center of African-American culture at the time, not because of the team's actual location. In fact, the team didn’t play their first “home” game in Harlem until 1968! During the height of the Cold War, the Globetrotters played/performed in Moscow and helped to improve US-Soviet relations. They met Nikita Khrushchev, were welcomed by spectators and authorities, and collectively received the Athletic Order of Lenin medal. Some great NBA players have gone on to play for the Globetrotters, including Wilt "The Stilt" Chamberlain, Connie "The Hawk" Hawkins, and Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton. The team has even signed female players, including Olympic gold medalist Lynette Woodard, and Joyce Walker, both in 1985.

2. You’ll be seeing both a theatrical performance and an athletic competition - After the rise of the NBA in the 1950s, in order to stay different and interesting the Globetrotters gradually worked comedic acts into their routine, becoming a mixture of both entertainment and sport. The team became known for their outstanding coordination in handling basketballs, including passing and juggling balls between players, balancing and spinning balls on their fingertips, and making unusual, difficult shots. Each game kicks off with the “magic circle” where each player shows off his best basketball-handling tricks to the tune of the team’s signature song, “Sweet Georgia Brown.” But their tricks aren’t just for show — there’s another team competing for a reason. These are high-caliber athletes having played college basketball and even in the NBA, including Hi-Lite Bruton who was drafted by the Chicago Bulls in 1994, but endured career-ending injuries. Over the past 20 years, the Globetrotters have made a tradition of playing competitive games against NCAA teams. Throughout their history, the team has had a winning percentage of .985.

3. They are great with their fans, especially the young ones - The team tends to give kids the opportunity to see their magic happen, like when star “Handles” Franklin spoke at the Allentown, PA, Boys and Girls Club and gave its members tickets to both the Globetrotters show and an NBA preseason game. In addition to just watching the Globetrotters do their thing, fans can get a “magic pass” which allows them to come to the arena early and spend a half hour on the court with the team, trying out ball tricks and getting autographs and photos. And it’s not just those lucky kids that can get time with the stars — after every game the Globetrotters sign autographs and take photos with fans!

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On-Sales 10/2/14

Here's a list of the hottest events with dates going on sale this week. Our featured event of the week is the Harlem Globetrotters. This fun group of athletes has been entertaining the world for almost a century, playing over 20,000 games in over 100 countries. Harlem Globetrotters tickets are an excellent gift for anyone, appealing to theatre-lovers and sport-enthusiasts alike. Neil Diamond also has big on-sale dates this week, playing in cities across the country early next year (a great present for parents this holiday season). One of the Jonas brothers, Nick Jonas, is getting back out there this month with key performances in Hollywood and Boston. Jason Aldean and Maroon 5 continue to be hot sellers, and Andrea Bocelli prepares for his round of opera concerts this fall and winter. The Lion King is always popular, so get your tickets soon to see this one-of-a-kind portrayal of Simba's tale. For tickets to these events and more, head over to Ticket Liquidator.

Concerts

Event

Date

Cities

Andrea Bocelli Friday, 10/10/14 Hollywood, FL
Jason Aldean Friday, 10/10/14 Greenville, SC
Maroon 5 Saturday, 10/11/14 Las Vegas, NV
Neil Diamond Monday, 10/13/14 Boston, MA; Indianapolis, IN; Pittsburgh, PA; Providence, RI; Columbus, OH; Philadelphia, PA; Allentown, PA; Auburn Hills, MI; Brooklyn, NY; Uncasville, CT; Washington, DC; Austin, TX; Houston, TX; Milwaukee, WI; Austin, TX; Chicago, IL; Dallas, TX; Milwaukee, WI; Saint Paul, MN; Denver, CO; Hollywood, CA; San Jose, CA; Seattle, WA
Nick Jonas Thursday, 10/9/14 New York, NY; Brooklyn, NY; Los Angeles, CA
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Austin City Limits

The 2014 Austin City Limits Festival has an incredible line-up featuring artists like Eminem, OutKast, Lana del Rey, Skrillex, Beck, and The Avett Brothers. However, sometimes it’s hard to see all of the bands on the bill. Here are a few of my recommendations from personal experience:

Pearl Jam

With the help of my awesome father, I’ve seen Pearl Jam at least five times, and so I am confident in saying that they are one of the last true rock bands. Though I prefer their older material (not because it’s hip to say that), Pearl Jam’s set lists are often well-rounded and always packed with energy. Eddie Vedder is the ideal frontman – confident without being arrogant, a good showman with good musicianship, and a music veteran with close friends like The Who’s Pete Townshend, Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell, and the late Johnny Ramone. Though his stage antics have died down with age, Vedder still knows how to woo a crowd. Stage diving isn’t a stunt he pulls much anymore, but holding the mic out to a stadium full of people and hearing them sing the closing lines to “Black” is more powerful than all his crowdsurfing and stage climbing could ever be. He’s become less testosterone-fueled and more soulful, which landed him at the No. 7 spot on Rolling Stone’s list of the “Best Lead Singers of All Time”. Pearl Jam has released a total of ten studio albums and nine live albums, having sold over 60 million records worldwide. They will be playing Austin City Limits this Sunday, October 5th from 8:00 - 10:00 PM on the Samsung Galaxy Stage and the following Sunday, October 12th, same time and place.

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Gudy2Shoes had a week for the record books in Week 4, winning with ease over the Dinkantor and Luckness Monster, who finished second and third, respectively.

Make your Week 5 TL Fantasy Football Picks

Amazingly, Gudy2Shoes selected Larry Donnell (23.4 points) as his tight end -- and Donnell did not disappoint, scoring 3 times on Thursday Night Football. Gudy2Shoes also wisely selected DeMarco Murray (27.5) and Jordy Nelson (22.8), en route to scoring 126.40 points, and a runaway victory in Week 4.

The Dinkantor (102.16) would have won in any other week, with 102.16 points. Led by Andrew Luck (29.76 points), the Dinkantor eclipsed 100 points, but was ultimately let down by Jeremy Maclin (6.8) and CJ Spiller (6.4).

Eli's Sad Face (87.7) and Rally Monkey (74.6), the previous two weeks winners, just didn't have enough this week to begin a dynastic run.

There's just one week remaining in our FIRST $100 gift code giveaway. Remember, the weekly winner gets $25, and the cumulative four week winner gets a $100 coupon code!

Here's the top five standings for the cumulative four-week code -- it should come right down to the wire next week.

  • Eli's Sad Face -- 260.14
  • Gudy2Shoes -- 254.80
  • Rally Monkey -- 254.34
  • Luckness Monster -- 250.64
  • Dinkantor -- 239.84

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