Webcasts were all the rage over the last two months. Kix Brooks & Ronnie Dunn held a Listening Party, live from the BMG theatre on historic Music Row in Nashville. It was staged on the eve of the release of their new album 'Tight Rope'. Hosted by U.S. television and radio celebrity Katie Haas, the hour-and-a-half live broadcast featured several songs from 'Tight Rope', which were heard for the first time. There was also an intimate question and answer session with a live audience, comprised mostly of International media representatives. Brooks & Dunn, the top-selling country duo of all time, clowned their way through the session. At one point Kix quipped, "I cast out on the Web for a whole afternoon once, and never caught a thing!" They also had the audience laughing at their attempts to give out their Web site address in a Southern drawl. Fans also had the chance to ask questions by phone or by E-mail .You can catch the archived version of the Brooks and Dunn Cybercast at the Twang This! Web site.
The very next day, the CMA Awards BACKSTAGE PASS Event took place. A day before the prestigious awards show, they presented a Webcast like no other. In association with their pay-per-view television special, CountryCool.com took viewers on an all-access trek through the pre-awards show excitement, with a LIVE webcast of the event, leading up to the CMA Awards. Interviews were conducted with many of the stars of the Awards show, including The Wilkinsons, SHeDAISY, Terri Clark, Alabama and 'N SYNC, plus the elusive George Strait. Interviews held backstage at the rehearsals include Jo Dee Messina, who mentioned visiting Australia, and Lonestar, who were prompted by the mention of the first Entertainer of the Year winner, Eddy Arnold, to launch into an impromptu yodel from "Cattle Call". Two Webcams were also keeping a constant eye on the proceedings. One camera was on the balcony of the stage at the Opry House, while the other was in the Acuff Theatre. If all this live activity wasn't enough, in the Video Gallery you could see archived video of Brenda Lee, Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley and Sherrié Austin announcing and discussing the nominations.
The following day, while the CMA Awards were being broadcast, the Webcast gave a unique and different perspective to the action. Ever wondered where the stars disappear to after they are presented with their trophies? Well, first call is the Press Room, and a Webcam was there to capture the winners talking to the International media. Winner of the Female Vocalist Award, and soon to be visiting Australia on a promo tour, Martina McBride explained how she felt happiest for her husband. In previous years, he was apparently more disappointed than Martina was herself, that she didn't win. Jo Dee Messina was as excited to have met Dolly Parton as she was to be taking home the Horizon Award. There was much talk of the need for acceptance of 'new' and 'old' style Country Music, with Shania Twain defending her position, and Vince Gill playing the diplomat. If he ever stopped singing, Vince could run for office! Here in Australia it was pleasing to see that the mainstream media carried news reports of Shania's win, and the Sunday papers had pictures in their social pages of Shania, The Dixie Chicks, and Vince Gill at the awards. Coupled with Faith Hill's recent chart success 'This Kiss' and Martina McBride's hit 'I Love You' from the 'Runaway Bride' movie, there must be an improvement of the perception of the broadness of Country Music in the eyes of the Australian public and media. If only we can use that power for good, instead of evil! Back in the CMA Chat Room fans were being less than tolerant, buzzing backwards and forwards with less than flattering opinions about each others favourite stars, and explaining to newcomers the significance of Alan Jackson's protest against the CMA's treatment of George Jones.
Classic country was well served the following week when the sound of Merle Haggard came booming across the Net. To celebrate Haggard's accomplishments, TBA TV produced 'Merle Haggard for the Record.' This three hour 'docu-concert' chronicled Merle's legendary career and featured more than 30 of his number one hits. The famous Las Vegas Hilton served as setting for this historic event, and The Hag's story was told by guest hosts Dick Clark, Ralph Emery, Willie Nelson and others. Special musical guests included pop sensation Jewel, Dwight Yoakam and Connie Smith. My favourite bit was Merle pretending to introduce the band to each other, and explaining to Biff Adams, his drummer of many years, how the beat to one of the hit songs was supposed to go. The sound was relayed by Live On The Net who Webcast many great shows.
The good news is that most of the webcasts mentioned above have been archived, and can still be viewed and heard on the World Wide Web.
Don't forget to listen out for Cowboys in Cybersp@ce
each month on the radio waves with Belinda Miller of
Murri Country , 4AAA –FM (98.9 in Brisbane).
If you want to share the location of an interesting site you’ve seen or request a topic for discussion in future columns, why not E-mail me. Until next month, happy surfing.
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© 1999 Bob Howe Productions - ShowNet