10 ALBUMS THAT INFLUENCED ME AS A KID

     As a kid, I thought living in a two story house meant you were rich. So, I'd tell my friends that I lived in one... only, I didn't. But, we did have a 50-Disc CD changer as part of the stereo system and I also thought that meant we were rich... Again, I was GREATLY mistaken. Every summer, I'd wake up and load that sucker up with all of my favorite CDs. I'd stand on the fireplace hearth and sing song after song until I could barely whisper. I'd act out music videos, complete with set & costume changes. I'd turn the lights up and down for drama. Let me tell you, it was a SHOW and I believe those summer days helped me prepare for a career of performing.

     One of greatest gifts my parents have given me didn't come wrapped in paper under a tree. It wasn't on a birthday wish list. They didn't include a card or gift bag with tissue for that matter either. One of the greatest gifts my parents have given me was constantly exposing me to music (and I'm not even sure it was intentional or they even realize). All different types of genres. All day long. On the car radio, on the stereo system in the living room - I even remember my mom pulling out some of her old records and playing them on the hi-fi. If mom was the DJ that day, we listened to all the great female singers: Reba McEntire, Patty Loveless, Linda Ronstadt, Stevie Nicks, Aretha Franklin, Etta James... the list goes on. Dad, on the other hand, his taste consisted of all the songs that made you wanna rock... Stevie Ray Vaughn, Merle Haggard, The Allman Brothers, Jimmy Buffet along with some motown, blues, and R&B artists too such as Muddy Waters and the Four Tops. The music spectrum was vastly covered in our house which explains why I relate to, love, and draw inspiration from many different artists and their sounds. If you've ever seen me perform on stage - and you were shocked to hear me end a Dolly Parton cover and head straight into a Fleetwood Mac classic, well... now you know why.


10 ALBUMS THAT INFLUENCED ME AS A KID

Okay, Can I just say that ONLY choosing 10 was really dang hard? As a matter of fact, this post was originally titled "5 Albums That Influenced Me as A Kid" and I quickly threw that idea out, It's just not possible! Listed in no particular order, here are the albums that really influenced me as a kid and why I loved them then and still do today.

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SHANIA TWAIN | THE WOMAN IN ME

Shania was the first concert that I ever saw. I was 10 years old. In 1998, my Papa & Aunt had taken me on a trip to Charlotte for a trip to Carowinds. The night before, a commercial came on the hotel TV promoting Shania's "Come On Over" tour at the Charlotte Coliseum the next night and instantly I said, "I don't want to go to Carowinds anymore. I'm going to see Shania." We sat in row T and I stood up in the stadium chair the entire show and sang every word - in that moment I knew, I wanted to be on stage.

Watch my version of Shania's "No One Needs to Know", here.

 

GEORGE STRAIT | STRAIT OUT OF THE BOX

George Strait made me fall in love with love songs - "The Chair", "Nobody in His Right Mind Would've Left Her", "If I Know Me", and "I'd Like To Have That One Back" were all on heavy rotation. A few Christmases ago, I wanted to get John concert tickets. George Strait was touring with Reba & Lee Ann Womack. Vince Gill was also out on his own tour that year. I really wanted to see George Strait but I knew John would die to see Vince Gill. So, I set aside my own wants and bought ticket to see Vince. Christmas morning, we both handed each other an envelope. Inside his - Vince Gill tickets. Inside mine - George Strait tickets. He said he had the same idea and really wanted to get Vince Gill tickets but knew I'd die to see George... cue the collective, "Aw."

Watch my version of George Strait's hit, "Carried Away", here.

 

LORRIE MORGAN | GREATEST HITS

Remember those music videos that I said I use to star in on the fire place hearth? Lorrie Morgan's "Something in Red" was always the encore song for my performance. Something about her voice and tone was always so appealing to me as a little girl. I think I also knew how much my Mama loved her which made me love her too. I've seen Lorrie Morgan perform a handful of times and each time she steps out on stage, I'm 7 years old again standing on the fireplace hearth.

 

FAITH HILL | IT MATTERS TO ME

Faith Hill is one of the most beautiful, women I've ever seen. She is just SO country music glamorous to me and as a little girl, I ate that up! She was always dressing so stylishly, changing her hair dramatically - she oozed superstar. This record produced five Top 10 Hits - you couldn't turn the radio on without hearing Faith's voice. I loved how she hit those high notes and I'd play this record over and over trying to mimic and learn her vocal styling... who am i kidding? I still do.

Watch my version of Faith Hill's, "Wild One", here.

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EAGLES | THE VERY BEST OF

I will forever regret that I never had the chance to see the Eagles with Glenn Frey in concert. Everything about the Eagles is cool to me. The harmonies on "One of These Nights"... are you serious? INSANE. As a kid, I didn't know why "Hotel California" was cool but something told me it was and it felt good to me. When I'm having a rough day, I pour a glass of wine, play this album, and instantly I morph into another place and feel so good. 

 

KEITH WHITLEY | 16 BIGGEST HITS

I can thank Dad for this one. My Dad LOVES Keith Whitley. I can remember him sitting in his big easy chair and singing along to "I'm No Stranger to The Rain". My dad dabbled in a little guitar playing and he'd play whatever chords he knew for me to sing along too. I was too young to understand what "Don't Close Your Eyes" meant but I knew it was heartbreaking and I recognized the desperation in the delivery.

Watch my version of Keith Whitley's, "Homecoming '63", here.

 

FLEETWOOD MAC | GREATEST HITS

Everything about Fleetwood Mac is right to me and I LOVE covering any of their songs in my set. "The Chain" is one of my favorites. It isn't included on this album - but it should have been. I have a playlist that I listen to while I'm getting ready for a show and you can believe it is loaded with Fleetwood Mac. Something about them makes me instantly feel like a rockstar just by listening - I've covered "Go Your Own Way" during my live show and singing that song always makes me feel like a legend too.  

 

ERIC CLAPTON | UNPLUGGED

This album made me fall in love with the sound of an acoustic guitar. Listening to this album, I really zoned into and paid attention to songwriting and lyrics/melodies as a skill vs. music that's just fun to listen to. I also love this album because my dad SO loved this album and I can remember him singing Tears In Heaven around that tiny, one bed room apartment.

 

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THE PLATTERS | BEST OF

This album exposed me to the genre of R&B and soul. The Best Of album then opened the door for other artist discoveries like Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, and Sam Cooke. Growing up in NC, Carolina Beach Music was prevalent on our car radio so naturally the sound of The Platters was pleasing to my ear. 

VAN MORRISON | MOONDANCE

Whenever I'm having a bad day, "Into the Mystic" from the Moondance album automatically sends me into another world. When I was little, My mom and I used to take a trip down to Carolina Beach late a night for a Britt's Donut. On the way, we'd have the windows down and this record turned up as loud as the car speakers would go. And those horns will always sound best to me on those car speakers flying down River Road.


What records made you fall in love music? Have a question? COMMENT below.