Tag Archives: out of my hands

Amy’s Favorite Things, Vol. 2

9 Dec

Since Oprah dropped the ball on her favorite things this year, it looks like I’m going to have to take up the slack (incidentally, I’ll also be taking over for Oprah when the daytime talk show queen turns in her microphone).  I’m sorry I won’t be able to send Backseat Writers a crap load of cool stuff to celebrate “Amy’s Favorite Things” (AFT) but you do have a chance to win an AFT Prize Pack, which includes an Oh Deer Super Dooper Pocket Pooper Keychain, a stuffed cow I got for free at Chick-Fil-A, an unopened package of Ice Breakers Ice Cube Gum I found on my desk, a beautiful star ornament created with my very own hands, and a personalized Christmas card with a holiday picture of my dogs inside (actually, anyone can get one of those, just e-mail me your mailing address).  Who needs fancy schmancy items like digital cameras and expensive make-up when you get can win stuff like this?

Without further ado, I present you with my favorite things of 2009.

AMAZON’S 50 ALBUMS FOR $5 (OR LESS)

Every month the world’s largest online retailer picks 50 albums that cost only $5 to download (but they picked 100 for December).  And every-so-often they slash prices even more—to a mere $2.99.  Over the year, I’ve been able to snag the latest from Sherwood, Owl City, Mat Kearny, and others.  Right now (12/09), you can get Green River Ordinance’s Out of My Hands (read interview), Switchfoot’s Hello Hurricane,  Relient K’s Let it Snow Baby…Let It Reindeer, The Almost’s Monster Monster, Beach Boys’ Pet SoundsThe Turtles’ Greatest Hits and The Elf Soundtrack –all for only $5.

TWITTER

Yes, people, I’ve joined the Twitter revolution!  It’s oh-so-fun to exchange silly banter—all in 140 characters or less. (Incidentally, that gushing statement about Twitter is only 119 characters!)

KRISTIN CHENOWETH

OK, while Kristin Chenoweth isn’t a thing; she’s a person and I’ve written about her before (“Snooked on Pushing Daisies“), but there’s more Cheno love to share.  Last spring, Kristin released her authobiography, A Little Bit Wicked, this fall she starred on one of my favorite shows, “Glee” (also performing a rousing duet of “Alone” with Matthew Morrison aka “Mr. Shue”) and she just made a Lifetime movie, The Twelve Men of Christmas.  Plus,  she’s the voice of Rosetta the fairy in the Tinkerbell movies.  There there’s Maddie’s Corner, an organization started by Kristin to help people and animals.  Yes, Kristin has a dog named Maddie and I have a dog named Maddy (Madalyne)!  Who knew? Suffice to say, Kristin Chenoweth is still smokin’ hot and undoubtedly one of my favorite things, er, people.

HOLIDAY ANIMAL CANDY POOPERS

I’ve known about these things for a while, but they never fail to crack me up.  Maybe I’m just immature, but a reindeer with a cranky face pooping brown candies out of his butt is really funny to me.  Plus, the candy-filled key chains and toys have all sorts of hilarious names like Poo-lar Bear (The Sub-Zero Poopin’ Hero), Baa Humbug Sheep (The Grumpy Party Pooper), and Oh Deer! (The Super Duper Reindeer Pooper). Because I love these things so much, I’m offering one of these little guys in my Prize Pack.  It’s a keychain version of Oh Deer for Pooper lovers on the go.

“GLEE”

Is this show great or what?  Singing, dancing, high school drama, a hot Spanish teacher—it’s all the stuff that I wish I had in high school (minus the drama—no one wants that!)  Plus, the cast on “Glee” can really sing.  I’m especially impressed with Lea Michele who plays young starlet Rachel Berry (my fave character) and Matthew Morrison’s vocals have really grown on me (especially during his “Alone” duet with Kristin Chenoweth as well as his mash-up of “Young Girl” and “Don’t Stand So Close to Me”).  Jane Lynch is also notable as the gym teacher everyone loves to hate—Sue Slyvester.  And that’s how Amy sees it.  Hmm, sounds better when Sue says it.

TINYPIC.COM

What a storage site!  Not only can TinyPic be integrated into your social networks like Twitter and Facebook, but it also offers dandy photo editing tools to touch up digital photographs in a hurry.  No need to use Photoshop for minor edits and TinyPic offers a ton of storage, as well as printing options (which I have yet to use).

HOODED SCARVES WITH POCKETS

Hooded scarves with pockets (HSwP) are a fashion must (guys, feel free to tune out).  It’s a hat!  It’s a scarf!  And it’s got pockets for storage!  I’ve only seen two of these out in the great wide yonder—there was a beautiful cream-colored HSwP at Target for around $17, but the knitting was shabby and coming undone—pass!  I found another HSwP online at Bath & Body Works of all places—a pink, gray, and white patterned beauty that cost $20 on clearance; it has since disappeared.  Sadly, the HSwP pictured on the left is $200, and even though it has faux fur and button—that is still way too pricey.  Even this amazing brown Fair Isle knit is $50, but I can’t figure out how it looks when worn.  If any of you know of any hot deals on HSwP (buttons preferred), let me know!

Well, that wraps up another year of Amy’s Favorite Things !  Now I suppose you want to know how to win AFT Prize Pack.  It is *so* easy.  All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me (and the world) about one of your favorite things!  If you Tweet or write a Facebook status note about the contest, you get an extra entry (one for Twitter, and one for Facebook for a grand total of three entries!)  Hint: if you follow @amysondova or @backseatwriter on Twitter, you can RT (reTweet) what I say.  I only wish I was eligible to win this contest.  The contest ends on 12/16 at 12 PM EST. Oh, and don’t forget to re-visit all my favorite things from last year!

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Green River Ordinance: A Beloved and Bedazzling Band

7 Dec

In a sea of pop-rock bands, Green River Ordinance (GRO) could easily be swallowed up in the tempest that is the music industry.  Yet the group of twenty-something guys are carving out a niche based on something very familiar—late 90’s pop rock.  And they’re very intentional about it, too, citing Third Eye Blind and Matchbox 20 as major musical influences (along with a wide array of jazz artists, country crooners, and rock legends).

Their goal is simple—to create and play music that is both real and hopeful.

Guitarist Joshua Wilkerson muses, “You can write a depressing song that would connect with people, but when it comes down to it; we’re hopeful guys.  If there’s a downside to a situation, then there’s also an upside.  And that’s what we write about.”

Built on a foundation of hope, the band was formed by brothers Jamey (guitar) and Geoff Ice (bass) while the brothers were still in their teens, later Josh Jenkins (guitar), Denton Hunker (drums), and Wilkerson entered the line-up.  After recording their first album in their church’s basement, GRO was soon opening for Bon Jovi in Houston and playing gigs every weekend. Then in early 2009 the band released their first major label debut on Virgin Records.  Since its release, Out of My Hands has earned GRO coveted spots on tours with the likes of Collective Soul, Gavin DeGraw, NeedtoBreathe, and David Cook.  Plus, the band’s song “Outside” was heard on MTV’s “The Hills” and “On Your Own” was used as the men’s sign-off song for the hit show, “So You Think You Can Dance.”

While GRO could easily lap up the luxury of the rock star life style, the band members have a reputation for being a clean, fun loving group that adores their fans.  Looking to each other and to God for solidarity, the band is able to stay away from temptation, “We’re Christian guys that play rock music—that’s what we do,” shares Wilkerson.  He elaborates, “When we started as a band, we were trying to figure out if we were going to be a Christian band or a rock band.”  In the end the band decided to take their faith with them into the secular music scene without compromising their integrity.

It was this integrity that took root in the members of GRO as they grew up in music and around music being exposed to a variety of styles.  Despite their backgrounds, the GRO guys all have one thing in common.  Wilkerson elaborates, “One common denominator is that we all grew up in the 90’s.  So when we were writing for the album that just became the sound.  We all bring different things to the table musically, but we always come back to 90’s rock because that’s what we love.”  While sifting through the 70 or so tracks, the band wrote for Out of My Hands, GRO was intentional about picking songs that would craft a catchy album—that fans would want to listen to in its entirety over and over again.

The album’s title track, “Out of My Hands,” is an autobiographical song that owes the band’s success to forces outside of their control.  “When we were trying to finish up the album, we ended up writing ‘Out of My Hands’ in the studio,” says Wilkerson, who prefers to craft songs in the studio.  “When you write outside the studio, you’re throwing around ideas with your acoustic guitar.  But in the studio, you have the whole band together with the producer and all these instruments and sounds at your disposal.  You can record an idea and then experiment with it.”  Unfortunately, due to time and financial constraints, most bands cannot afford to write this way.

Other songs like “On Your Own” took unexpected twists during the recording process. Originally a piano-laden ballad, GRO became nervous when their producer wanted to take the song in a new direction, “He wanted to make it a full-on rock ballad and we were shaking our heads saying that would ruin the song,” reminisces Wilkerson.  “We tried it and it was awesome.”  So awesome, in fact, that it was chosen as one of the sign-off songs for “So You Think You Can Dance.”  Sadly, Wilkerson admits that none of the members of GRO can dance, so they would be promptly kicked off the show.

But that didn’t keep GRO’s drummer Denton Hunker from dancing onstage in a monkey suit during the of the band’s summer tour with David Cook.  It’s OK, though, because Cook’s band danced in a Green Man suit (re: “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) during GRO’s set.  The prank war between the bands made GRO’s live show even more impressive.

David Cook sang “Goodbye L.A.” with GRO’s Josh Jenkins…off-key and another time pelted the band with a barrage of guitar picks.  As the final tour date loomed, Wilkerson and the rest of the band knew their final trick had to be good.  “We knew they were going to prank us, so both bands went all out,” laughs Wilkerson.  “When we started playing, David Cook and his band brought a table out on stage and started playing poker using their guitar picks as poker chips.  They just sat there playing poker during an entire song!”

No good deed goes unpunished, so when it came Cook’s time to take the stage, the guys in GRO were ready.  “All the David Cook fans are really awesome fans.  Really supportive fans.  They have these glittery shirts that say, ‘David Cook is my American Idol’,” says Wilkerson brightly, without a hint of sarcasm.  “So we decided to make a t-shirt for each member of the band.  We went to Hobby Lobby and bought all this glittery stuff and a Bedazzler.  We each wore a personalized fan shirt for each band member.”  GRO just finished up their prank, err, make that fall tour with David Cook.

Great pranksters and even better musicians, Green River Ordinance is a band that is making its mark—on stage and off through lives well lived, song well written, and an audience well loved.  And they’re doing it with honest, catchy, pop-rock songs that touch the chord of not only the 90’s generation, but the next generation as well. Rock on, boys, rock on.

News:: Green River Ordinance Playing at Chameleon Club on Oct. 10

7 Oct

Rock is just tastier when it’s made down south. Just ask everyone that’s seen Green River Ordinance sizzle at each and every show that they’ve played this past year in support of their Virgin Records debut, Out Of My Hands. If you haven’t caught the pop rock phenomenon yet, you’ll have a chance to see them this fall with “One Tree Hill” star Kate Voegele. Hot off highly successful runs with American Idol winner David Cook, Collective Soul, and Gavin DeGraw, Green River Ordinance will traverse the states alongside Miss Voegele this fall.

“Outside” fueled some highly memorable moments on MTV’s massively successful show’s The Hills and “On Your Own” was used repeatedly as the sign off song on ABC’s So You Think You Can Dance. CNN.com recently featured the rising talent in a segment that brings audiences closer to the band as they gun towards stardom (watch segment).  In addition, their album sales keep growing. Every week more fans experience Out Of My Hands in all its glory, recently the band broke the record for most CDs sold at a performance at the Nokia Theater, in New York City.

Green River Ordinance will appear with Kate Vogele this Saturday, October 10 at the Chameleon Club in Lancaster, PA.  For a full list of tour dates be sure the visit GRO online. Also, check for a Backseat Writer feature interview with lead singer JoshJenkins coming later this month!

All Tour Dates::

Oct 7 Cleveland, OH-House Of Blues

Oct 8 Norfolk, VA-The Norva

Oct 9 Asbury Park, NJ-The Wonderbar

Oct 10 Lancaster, PA-Chameleon

Oct 11 Hartford, CT-Webster Underground

Oct 13 Troy, NY-Revolution Hall

Oct 14 Boston, MA-Paradise Rock Club

Oct 16 Washington, DC-Rock and Roll Hotel

Oct 18 Louisville, KY-Headliners Music Hall

Oct 19 Murray, KY-Curris Center at Murray State University

Oct 20 Memphis, TN-Hi Tone Café

Oct 21 Little Rock, AR-Juanita’s Cantina Ballroom

Oct 22 Oklahoma City, OK-Diamond Ballroom

Oct 23 San Antonio, TX-White Rabbit

Oct 24 McAllen, TX-Buddha Mansion

Oct 26 Austin, TX-Stubb’s Bar-B-Q

Oct 28 El Paso, TX-Take 2

Oct 29 Albuquerque, NM-Launchpad

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