By Jeremy Essig
By Jason Robinson
By Hans Morgenstern
By Joseph Hess
By Peter Gilstrap
By Julia Burch
By Jeremy Essig
By Nathan Smith
Breakfast: There was a time when breakfast for George Jones meant a fistful of pills and a tumbler of Rebel Yell. These days the Possum is back on the straight and narrow, helping hungry folks get a start on their day with George Jones Country Style Sausage Patties with "great country taste." We're not sure what "country" tastes like, but if the sausage leaves a bad taste in your mouth, try washing it down with George Jones White Lightning Tennessee Spring Water. Six-packs of the water are available from GeorgeJones.com for only $5 (plus $8 shipping).
Lunch: Smokey Robinson's second album was titled Cookin' with the Miracles, and his latest release is a gospel album called Food for the Spirit, so it's no surprise that Smokey lends his likeness to a line of frozen soul food. Smokey Robinson's "Soul Is in the Bowl" Gumbo is a bit heavy on okra and too light on shrimp, but put "Cruisin'" on the stereo and all is well.
Cocktail Hour: It's no secret that Sammy Hagar is a demigod to many St. Louisans, something the Red Rocker no doubt had in mind when he launched Sammy Hagar's Cabo Wabo Tequila. Cabowabo.com offers a selection of Hagar-approved drink recipes. Try mixing up a "Can't Drive 55" (Cabo Wabo tequila, Southern Comfort, triple sec, Grand Marnier and pineapple juice poured in an old Slurpee cup) -- though you may end up looking like a haggard David Lee Roth after a few.
Appetizers: Jimmy Buffett has been a friend to grocers since he namechecked Heinz 57 in "Cheeseburger in Paradise." But his chain restaurants and drink mixes have given way to Margaritaville Jammin' Jerk Shrimp and other terribly named items. While eating Buffett's easy-to-make shrimp dishes, ponder how a guy with one novelty song has parlayed being a beach bum into a million-dollar enterprise.
Dinner: The late tambourine legend Linda McCartney (who was quietly married to a guy named Paul) may be the first musical icon to create her own line of frozen delicacies, so it's only appropriate to end your day with Linda McCartney's Butternut Squash Ravioli. McCartney's entrées are meat-free, so don't cook these if Ted Nugent is coming over for dinner. -- Christian Schaeffer
On Saturday night, Kelly Clarkson and Gretchen Wilson vie for the St. Louis concertgoer's dollar. Both boast platinum sales, appealing personas, magazine-cover looks and solid voices -- so B-Sides tabulated the intangibles to see which diva is worth the big bucks.
Clarkson: Co-headlined From Justin to Kelly, which The New York Post called "the most insipid movie released so far this century."
Wilson: Appeared as "Herself" on The Ashlee Simpson Show, in the pivotal episode "Ashlee's Notorious Performance."
Score: Wilson +5, because she played a cameo role in another artist's humiliation instead of starring in her own.
Clarkson: Bettered Justin Guarini in the inaugural American Idol competition.
Wilson: Topped Kanye West as Best New Artist at the 2004 American Music Awards.
Score: Wilson +5, owing to degree of difficulty. Music-award shows might be as suspiciously subjective as Olympic figure skating, but winning American Idol is like triple-axeling past ice-cracking gastropods.
Clarkson: Christina Aguilera co-wrote "Miss Independent." Now Clarkson collaborates with Evanescence refugee Ben Moody and adult-contemporary pianist Chantal Kreviazuk.
Wilson: She hangs with hick-hoppers Big & Rich and Cowboy Troy.
Score: Clarkson +1, because Wilson's cohorts have transformed country radio from passively lame to actively annoying.
Clarkson: American Idol voters take responsibility for her success -- a connection that, while technically true, earns them just as many privileges as baggers get at "employee-owned" grocery stores.
Wilson: By getting millions of people to declare themselves defiant redneck women -- though their sociological status suggests they're nothing of the sort -- Wilson has done far more than The Dukes of Hazzard remake to revive rural-rebel chic.
Score: Wilson +5, because assuming an imaginary assertive identity is much healthier than living vicariously through a profoundly distant beneficiary.
Clarkson: In her "Since U Been Gone" video, she sneaks into the apartment of her former boyfriend and his new lover, snips off the woman's dress straps, squeezes toothpaste all over the sink and smashes a glass table.
Wilson: During "Homewrecker" she warns, "Honey, I'm a Christian/But if you keep it up, I'm gonna go to kickin' your pretty little butt."
Points: Wilson +1, because physical violence trumps property damage.
Verdict: Wilson wins by fifteen points. -- Andrew Miller
Omarion -- whose progression from kiddie-band crooner (with B2K) to sex-obsessed solo singer mirrors Christina Aguilera's journey from the Mickey Mouse Club -- was in London on July 7 when terrorist transit-system bombings killed more than 50 people. In a press release that made no mention of the casualties, the uninjured artist allegedly expressed that he "would like his fans to pray that he has a safe trip." This statement turned out to be a hoax engineered by a publicist with whom Omarion was not affiliated. However, a recently uncovered secret tour diary may provide insight into the singer's singular perspective.