Category Archives: Review

Song Review: Forever Country

What do you get when you mash together three iconic country music songs and have it sung by 30 of the biggest country stars from yesterday and today?  You get “Forever Country”.

The “Forever Country” collaboration was put together to celebrate the 50th Annual Country Music Association Awards and to promote the show November 2nd on ABC.

This song works on so many levels.  First, it mashes together three very recognizable country songs: John Denver’s “Country Roads, Take Me Home,” Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” and Willie Nelson’s “On The Road Again”.

The mashup works so well that it could be used in Pitch Perfect 3.

Once you get past the melding of the songs you have one incredible list of vocal contributors: Alabama, Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Brooks & Dunn, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Brett Eldredge, Vince Gill, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Martina McBride, Tim McGraw, Ronnie Milsap, Kacey Musgraves, Willie Nelson, Brad Paisley, Dolly Parton, Charley Pride, Rascal Flatts, Reba, Darius Rucker, Blake Shelton, George Strait, Randy Travis, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban and Trisha Yearwood.

forever-country-artists
Courtesy: Country Music Association

These artist’s voices blend together perfectly… but when each is given a solo line to sing their individual sound stands out.  Hats off to producer Shane McAnally for that.

Then there’s the video.  Watching it for the first time I was amazed.  I think you will be too.  Even if you’re not a country music fan I think you can appreciate it.

What do you love most about the Forever Country song & video?

 

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Recipe Review: VELVEETA One-Pan Chicken & Spinach Pasta

Disclaimer: I am a paid brand ambassador for Velveeta Mini Blocks. All opinions expressed are my own.

“What a fantastic idea!”  That was my first thought when I learned about Velveeta Mini Blocks… individually wrapped 4oz. packages of Velveeta .

They’re the perfect size for most recipes and perfect for using fresh Velveeta every time you cook.

After getting my hands on some Velveeta Mini Blocks I went to Velveeta.com to get some “Endless Gold” recipe ideas.  There were plenty of delicious looking recipes but the Velveeta One-Pan Chicken and Spinach Pasta recipe really caught my eye.

Probably for three reasons.  First, it’s a great looking dish.  Second, I knew there were plenty of grape tomatoes in my garden that I could use.  Lastly, my family loves spinach and this would be another way to cook with it.

I decided I’d try the Velveeta One-Pan Chicken and Spinach Pasta recipe the first time I used the Velveeta Mini Blocks and save the remaining blocks to use later in my own kitchen creations.

I followed the recipe as written but made a double batch… so there would be plenty for dinner with some leftovers to warm up for lunch this week at work.

VELVEETA One-Pan Chicken & Spinach Pasta ingredients

This is a really easy recipe that even an inexperienced cook could make in less than a half hour.

The time while the pasta is cooking is the perfect amount to wash and cut the tomatoes and to also cube the Velveeta Mini Block.

If you have young kids there are several places you could get them involved in making this dish. They could help stir the chicken in the pan and they could also open and cube the Velveeta.

Opening VELVEETA Miniblocks

The easy open tear strip really is easy.  It’s perfect for little hands to open and the Velveeta is soft enough that budding chefs can easily cut and cube it with a butter knife.

You may need to add the spinach a little bit at a time.  It might seem like a lot at first but it really cooks down.  The red of the tomatoes and the green of the spinach combine to make this a great looking and nutritious dish.

Cooking VELVEETA One-Pan Chicken & Spinach Pasta My family agreed that that it tasted as great as it looks!

Plated VELVEETA One-Pan Chicken & Spinach Pasta

One thing I’d do different for next time is to serve it with bread sticks.  They’d be great for dipping in and wiping the delicious sauce off the plate.

As we ate we started talking about how we could take the idea of the Velveeta One-Pan Chicken and Spinach Pasta recipe and tweak it to make a different recipe.

One idea was to swap out the garlic, tomatoes, and spinach with green onions, chopped broccoli, mushrooms, and bacon crumbles.

This was a great first recipe for trying out Velveeta Mini Blocks! They really are very convenient to use… especially when you’re short on time and only need just a little bit of Velveeta.

The good news is I still have 3 more Mini Blocks in the cupboard.  I’m not sure what they’ll be used for but the possibilities are endless… Endless gold, that is.

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Album Review: Mr. Misunderstood by Eric Church

Let me start by saying upfront that I’m an Eric Church fan.  I’ve always enjoyed his music… and caught a fantastic performance of his at the 2012 Guthrie’s River Ruckus.

Eric Church concert shot from Guthrie's River Ruckus Show

Even though I consider myself an Eric Church fan I’ll admit that it took me awhile before I spent the time to listen through his entire Mr. Misunderstood album.  Now that I have, the album has been stuck on repeat… in both my head and my speakers.

In the off chance that you’re like me… and late to the Mr. Misunderstood album party… I thought I’d share my review.

Album Review: Mr. Misunderstood

This is a great album from start to finish!  Musically, I feel it builds on Church’s previous albums.  You hear hints of past albums as he continues to push his music forward.

One of the things I appreciate most about this album is the different layers.  Every time I listen to it I’ll hear something new and different. It might be a guitar riff, tambourine, or background vocal… but they are all layered to perfection.

Eric Church carries the “country” label but I’d say this album is more of a country flavored rock album.  I could easily hear pop/rock standouts like Bob Seger, John Mellencamp, and Billy Joel doing versions of the songs found on the Mr. Misunderstood album.

There are even a few brief moments on the album that bring flashes of the Bee Gees and Michael Jackson to my mind.

Of the 10 tracks on the album, here are a few of the standouts for me:

Mr. Misunderstood – The title track speaks to the awkward teen in all of us.

Mistress Named Music – The lyrics start in church and it ends full circle with a gospel choir.

Mixed Drinks About Feelings – There’s a subtly to this song that really highlights Eric Church’s vocals… and the piano.  Susan Tedeschi’s part brings a nice female touch to the song.

Kill A Word – I love the premise and message of this song.  There are plenty of words I’d love to get rid of.

Record Year – This is an interesting play on words and a twist on the traditional “I’ve been dumped and I’m lonely” song.

3 Year Old – This ranks close to the top as one of my favorite songs on the album.  It walks the line between funny, thoughtful, and insightful.  It also makes me remember when my daughters were younger.  There’s certainly something in this song that any parent can relate to.

What’s your favorite song on Eric Church’s Mr. Misunderstood album?

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