Monday, March 18, 2019

Brooks & Dunn, Ray Stevens and Jerry Bradley Elected to Country Music Hall of Fame

The Country Music Association held a press conference this morning to announce the 2019 inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame – Jerry Bradley, Brooks & Dunn and Ray Stevens.

Bradley will be inducted in the “Non-Performer” category, which is awarded every third year in rotation with the “Recording and/or Touring Musician” and “Songwriter” categories. Brooks & Dunn will be inducted in the “Modern Era Artist” category, and Stevens will be inducted in the “Veterans Era Artist” category. “One of my favorite days of the year is when I get to tell the new class they are being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame,” said Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “This is the highest achievement in Country Music, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome Jerry, Brooks & Dunn and Ray into the distinguished group and honor this incredible career milestone.”

“It’s really hard to put into words how it feels to hear you’re going into the Country Music Hall of Fame,” said Kix Brooks. “When you’re a huge fan of Country Music, there’s nothing more humbling. My idols are on that wall in there - Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings - so, to think that Ronnie and I are going to be placed beside those guys is probably one of the coolest things I could ever imagine happening. I’m not sure I’ll ever consider myself a peer because it’s not something that you think about…I just never even dreamed quite that big.”

“This means so much to us and I will be honored to accept it, but I still don’t think I’m ever gonna be able to believe it!” added Ronnie Dunn.

“I am surprised and emotional knowing that I’ll be joining my dad and uncle in the Hall,” expressed Bradley. “I was glad that Sarah Trahern and Tom Collins came to my house to bring me the good news.”

“I am seldom at a loss for words but when they told me I was going to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, I was thoroughly caught by surprise,” said Stevens. “What a great honor to be included in the company of the people who are already members. When I heard the news, I was speechless and all I can say is, ‘It don’t get no better than this!’”

A formal induction ceremony for Bradley, Brooks & Dunn and Stevens will take place at the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum in the CMA Theater later this year. Since 2007, the Museum’s Medallion Ceremony, an annual reunion of the Hall of Fame membership, has served as the official rite of induction for new members.

“This year’s class of inductees includes a visionary executive, a remarkable songwriter, producer, performer, and publisher, and the most-successful Country Music duo in history,” said Kyle Young, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum Chief Executive Officer. “Jerry Bradley, Ray Stevens, and Brooks & Dunn have earned Country Music’s highest honor. It has been my privilege to watch and listen as they forged indelible marks.” 

Saturday, March 16, 2019

New Music Video From Josh Groban and Jennifer Nettles - "99 Years"

Write You a Song Podcast Episode IV - An Interview With Songwriter Brice Long

This morning we share another new podcast from host Tom Mailey from Bonneville radio station New Country 105.1 KNCI in Sacramento. Tom is a country radio veteran with over 30 years of experience in Seattle and Sacramento and a key partner in our Golf & Guitars Children's Charity Music Festival, a little event in our twelfth year that has raised well north of a million bucks for kids and individuals with disabilities. It highlights the songwriters in our industry and is entitled Write You a Song.  It's his hope that this podcast will shine a little overdue spotlight on the talented men and women who, mostly behind the scenes, write the songs that become part of our lives. You know their words and music, but maybe not their names: Write You a Song will feature some of country music’s biggest songwriters--like Jeffrey Steele, Brett Warren, Tim Nichols and more.

With huge hits for artists like Jon Pardi, Randy Houser and Gary Allan, you might think a songwriter can sit back a little and enjoy their success. Not so, as Brice Long explains in this episode of Write You A Song. Growing up on a farm in Kentucky--plus years of grinding it out by writing album cuts for artists like George Strait and Randy Travis--gave Brice a work ethic he says is every bit as important as finding that creative spark and fanning it into a flame. 

Signed to Columbia Records in 2005, Long charted one single on the Billboard country chart that year: "Anywhere but Here", which was also released by Chris Cagle a year later. In addition, Long co-wrote Gary Allan's 2004 Number One single "Nothing On but the Radio", Jon Pardi's Number One single "Heartache On The Dance Floor" and Randy Houser's singles "Anything Goes" and "Like a Cowboy".

Saturday, March 9, 2019

That Nashville Sound Saturday Newsbytes: New Albums, New Garth & A New Music Video From A Movie Star

Despite this week being National Procastinator's Week (really, it's true), TNS has lots of new music news to share with you on this Saturday. We'd love to hear from you on what you're looking forward to the most.

John Anderson quietly released 40 Years and Still Swingin’ yesterday. It's a two-disc album that covers the songs over his career as well as a number of songs never released.  The 40-song album includes several previously unreleased tracks as well as fresh new takes of his biggest hits, including “Seminole Wind,” “Black Sheep,” “Money in the Bank,” “Straight Tequila Night,” “Swingin,'” and “Wild and Blue.”

“This year has started out on fire for us and no sign of slowing down… I feel great and am enjoying this part of my 40-year career more than any other time I remember,” says Anderson. “This two-disc set was long overdue and has the hits you’d expect, but also includes a few previously unreleased songs that didn’t make it onto past albums for one reason or another, but I felt they deserved a chance to be heard. It’s always nice to walk down memory lane, but we aren’t resting either!”

Justin Moore has announced that his next album, Late Nights and Longnecks, will be released on April 26th next month. His comments on the project:
"Late Nights and Longnecks is my most traditional-sounding collection to date. I am honored to have worked with such great musicians who’ve played on some of my favorite albums of all times. We recorded the whole thing at The Castle, this historic studio just south of Nashville where a lot of those legendary hit records were made."

Late Nights and Longnecks Track List
1. “Why We Drink” | Justin Moore, Casey Beathard, David Lee Murphy, Jeremy Stover
2. “That’s My Boy” | Justin Moore, Casey Beathard, Jeremy Stover
3. “The Ones That Didn’t Make It Back Home” | Justin Moore, Paul DiGiovanni, Chase McGill, Jeremy Stover
4. “Jesus And Jack Daniels” | Justin Moore, Paul DiGiovanni, Chase McGill, Jeremy Stover
5. “Airport Bar” | Justin Moore, Casey Beathard, Paul DiGiovanni, Jeremy Stover
6. “Small Town Street Cred” | Justin Moore, Paul DiGiovanni, Chase McGill, Jeremy Stover
7. “Never Gonna Drink Again” | Justin Moore, Rhett Akins, Paul DiGiovanni, Jeremy Stover
8. “On The Rocks” | Justin Moore, Paul DiGiovanni, Chase McGill, Jeremy Stover
9. “Someday I Gotta Quit” | Justin Moore, Casey Beathard, Paul DiGiovanni, Jeremy Stover
10. “Good Times Don’t” | Justin Moore, Paul DiGiovanni, Chase McGill, Jeremy Stover

Sara Evans has a new solo album is in the works for 2019 however she was inspired to go in the studio earlier this year with her own family, daughter Olivia Barker (16) and son Avery Barker (19), to record a small side-project after fan reaction to acoustic renditions of “Dreams” and “Born To Fly” posted to Instagram. The result: a 6-song EP — The Barker Family Band.

“Family is everything to me and making a record like this has been a dream for me since my kids were little,” said Sara. “They were literally raised on a tour bus around music and this is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I’m honored that I get to make this music with them before they embark on their own careers as musicians.”

As Olivia, a powerhouse vocalist and songwriter, and Avery, a singer/songwriter, guitar player and multi-instrumentalist, embark on their own solo music careers, Evans is thrilled to share The Barker Family Band EP on April 12 as a snapshot of this moment in time for the family. Mesmerizing harmonies are showcased on covers including Beyonce’s “XO” and Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams,” along with an original song, “The View,” written by Olivia and Avery. Sara and Olivia trade off lead vocals and harmonies while Avery co-produced the project, along with Sara and Ben Fowler, and played acoustic and electric guitar on the tracks.

The Barker Family Band track listing:
“Born To Fly Intro” – lead vocals Sara Evans
“Dreams” – lead vocals Sara Evans
“XO” – lead vocals Olivia Barker
“(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” – lead vocals Sara Evans
“The View” – lead vocals Olivia Barker
“Somewhere Over The Rainbow” – lead vocals Olivia Barker

The California-bred Fairground Saints trio, comprised of Elijah Edwards, Meg McAllister, and Mason Van Valin, have this week released their new EP, Magic, via Sony Music Nashville/The Orchard. Produced by Marshall Altman (Natasha Bedingfield, Walker Hayes, Frankie Ballard, Amy Grant, Eric Paslay) and mixed by Ryan Hewitt (The Lumineers, Brandi Carlile, Dixie Chicks), the EP showcases the bands' breezy, California-country sound and their signature breathtaking three-part harmonies.

"We are so excited to finally share our new EP Magic! It captures a momentous period of time that brought us from California to Nashville," says the band. "It's our truest expression to date of who we are & we are so grateful for the incredible team that helped us bring it all together."

Somewhere Down the Line
Never Gonna Let You Go
How It Rolls

Garth Brooks new album, FUN, now has a release date. Preorders on Amazon and his website on the new project have June 19th as the release date.

“It’s just the ‘Fun‘ album,” Brooks said during one of his video podcasts. “It’s just been a fun process to go through, especially being off from touring where you don’t have to worry if your voice is gonna be able to go in for sessions or not.”

The project doesn't have a full track listing, but the Amazon preorder does have four tracks listed thus far:

1. All Day Long
2. The Road I'm On
3. Courage of Love
4. Stronger Than Me

Eight years after his last project, Darryl Worley’s new project will be called Second Wind: Latest and Greatest and will include several of his previous hits reimagined and will be released by Bob Frank's BFD via The Orchard. The album was co-produced with guitarist Billy Lawson, and Worley says fans can expect updated versions of “Tennessee River Run” and his first No. 1 “I Miss My Friend.” Other fan favorites include “Awful Beautiful Life” and “Have You Forgotten.” He adds that the songs came out exactly how they sound when his band plays them live. The project will be released on April 26th.

“Making this music was a dream come true. I was surrounded by people that totally get who I am, and we laughed our way through the whole process. Working with Billy Lawson was a blessing,” he adds.

Second Wind: Latest & Greatest track list
When You Need My Love (Darryl Worley, Wynn Varble)
Good Day To Run (Darryl Worley, Bobby Tomberlin)
Second Wind (Darryl Worley, Steve Leslie)
Family Tree (Darrel Scott)
Tennessee River Run (Darryl Worley, Steve Leslie)
I Miss My Friend (Tony Martin, Tom Shapiro, Mark Nessler)
Awful Beautiful Life (Darryl Worley, Harley Allen)
Have You Forgotten (Darryl Worley, Wynn Varble)
Lonely Alone (Darryl Worley, Billy Larson)
Whiskey Makes Me Think About You (Darryl Worley, Billy Lawson, Ed Hill)
The Night (Sure Looks Good On You) (Darryl Worley, Billy Lawson, Ed Hill)
It's Good To Be Me (Darryl Worley, Billy Lawson, Ed Hill)
Do Something Good (Darryl Worley, Jim “Moose” Brown)
Running (Darryl Worley, Billy Lawson, Ed Hill)
Working On A Love Song (Darryl Worley, Jim “Moose” Brown)

Kiefer Sutherland has a new music video for his new single, "This Is How It's Done."

Friday, March 8, 2019

Up & Coming New Nashville - Meet The Record Company

I love music for its rabbit holes.

It's profound for its discoveries, even if you're late to the party. When you find a new musical act that moves you, it's like a new novel full of chapters- or discographies, in this case. I had one of those moments this last week. Out on his last tour, Bob Seger made a stop through our hometown and delivered a terrific performance for the ages. Opening for him was a relatively new band - and all new to this listener. Full of blues, rock and roll, roots and southern rock influences, The Record Company made a terrific first impression and a delve through that rabbit hole of additional music has provided equal intriguing use of free time. Now it's your turn...

The Record Company’s story is a typical band story: a trio of musicians grit it out on their own for years in bars and clubs, join forces in LA, set up some microphones in a living room, and cut an album that turns their world upside down. Released in 2016, Give It Back To You spawned three Top Ten hits at Triple-A radio (including the #1 smash “Off The Ground”), earned the band a slew of festival appearances and sold-out headline dates around the world, and garnered a GRAMMY nomination. The group made the rounds on late night TV, shared bills with John Mayer, Zac Brown Band, My Morning Jacket and Nathaniel Rateliff among others, and racked up more than ten million streams on Spotify. The critical response was just as ecstatic, with Rolling Stone raving that the band “kick[s] up a raw, rootsy racket” and Entertainment Weekly calling the album a “soul scorcher.”

Far from altering The Record Company’s DNA, success only served to enhance it, strengthening the band’s bonds and elevating the intangible chemistry that ignited their breakout. At its core, the group is a pure democracy: all the work, all the rewards, all the happiness and heartache and joy and pain are split evenly. Each member brings their own unique strengths to the table, and the three fit together seamlessly, filling in each other’s gaps like pieces of a puzzle.

“We’re a true band in that we all elevate each other,” explains Vos. “Our individual strengths cover each other’s individual weaknesses, so there’s no way to replace any one of us. We’d all played in bands before, but none of us found what we were looking for until we got together.”

Even at their first jam session, it was clear that the trio was on to something special. With a sound that blended the biting blues of John Lee Hooker with the charismatic swagger of the Rolling Stones, the band went from releasing their home-recorded debut to taking the stage at Madison Square Garden in the span of just 18 months. As the group’s audience grew, so did their artistry, and when it came time to record All Of This Life, it was clear that their approach in the studio would have to take a big step up to reflect the maturation they’d undergone on the road.

“What we did making that first record by ourselves in my living room, we wore that like a badge of pride,” says bassist Alex Stiff. “But we evolved so much as a band after that and our songwriting grew so much that we knew we had to take it out of the living room this time around.”

While the group still worked up the core of most songs at home and produced themselves like the old days, they headed to nearby Boulevard Recording in Hollywood on a quest to break new sonic ground. The eclectic array of analog gear in the studio, which had previously hosted everyone from Pink Floyd to Fleetwood Mac to The War on Drugs, enabled the band to push the limits of their productions and arrangements while still capturing all the scintillating power and spontaneity of their live show.

“We want to be known as the best live band on Earth,” says drummer Marc Cazorla, “and the only way to do that is to believe it. We were an opening band for five years, and we made it our goal every night when we took the stage to be remembered.”

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Kelsea Ballerini Asked To Become Newest Member of Grand Ole Opry

Kelsea Ballerini was asked yesterday to be an official member of the Grand Ole Opry. It's an interesting choice- with an obvious reach to get younger and more connected with the millennial crowd and what's currently playing at radio. What is extremely heartwarming is the way she was asked. Little Big Town changed the lyrics of a stage collaboration to ask her mid-song. It's worth the watch below.

Monday, March 4, 2019

An Underwhelming List of Country Music Releases For Record Store Day 2019

C'mon, Nashville... Where are you, Texas? With a phenomenally underwhelming list of roots-related music releases in the upcoming Record Store Day, country music fans should be left wondering if those in charge are asleep at the wheel. If you haven't heard, vinyl is back- generating more dollars in sales in 2018 than CD sales. And fervent music fans are packing record stores in record numbers on this special day in April each year, buying up special releases by the handful. And yet, the only current major playlist artist doing any release is Kip Moore. Where oh where are all the major and mid-major labels and players in these releases?  Don't they recognize this as an incredible opportunity to build anticipation with their fanbase and release something special for superfans?

Record Store Day was conceived in 2007 at a gathering of independent record store owners and employees as a way to celebrate and spread the word about the unique culture surrounding nearly 1400 independently owned record stores in the US and thousands of similar stores internationally. Today there are Record Store Day participating stores on every continent except Antarctica.

This is a day for the people who make up the world of the record store—the staff, the customers, and the artists—to come together and celebrate the unique culture of a record store and the special role these independently owned stores play in their communities. Special vinyl and CD releases and various promotional products are made exclusively for the day. Festivities include performances, cook-outs, body painting, meet & greets with artists, parades, DJs spinning records, and on and on. In 2008 a small list of titles was released on Record Store Day and that list has grown to include artists and labels both large and small, in every genre and price point. The list continues to include a wide range of artists, covering the diverse taste of record stores and their customers.

While there’s only one Record Store Day a year, the organization works with both independent and and major labels throughout the year to create contests, special releases and promotions in order to spotlight the benefits of supporting these independent, locally owned stores with music purchases throughout the year. This year, the event will be held on April 13, 2019 and there are a number of country music releases including the following:

Title – Artist – Label – Format – Release Type - Quantity
Anderson East – Alive in Tennessee – New Elektra – 2xLP- RSD exclusive - 1500
Kip Moore – Room To Spare – MCA Nashville – LP – 1500
Emmylou Harris – The Studio Albums – 1980-1983 – 5xLP – 1000
Mumford & Sons – Delta Acoustic Sessions/Live From Electric Lady – Glassnote – 10” Picture Disc -RSD Exclusive – 3500
LeAnn Rimes – Live From Gruene Hall – Everle Records – LP – RSD First – 1000
Marty Stuart – ICON – Mercury Nashville – LP – RSD First – 1500
Tedeschi Trucks Band – High and Mighty – Mercury Nashville – LP – RSD First – 1000
Jeff Tweedy – Warmer – dBpm Records – LP – RSD Exclusive – 5000
Townes Van Zandt – Best of Townes Van Zandt – Fat Possum Records – 2xLP – RSD First - 2000

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Write You a Song Podcast Episode III - An Interview With Songwriter Tim Nichols

This morning we share another new podcast from host Tom Mailey from Bonneville radio station New Country 105.1 KNCI in Sacramento. Tom is a country radio veteran with over 30 years of experience in Seattle and Sacramento and a key partner in our Golf & Guitars Children's Charity Music Festival, a little event in our twelfth year that has raised well north of a million bucks for kids and individuals with disabilities. It highlights the songwriters in our industry and is entitled Write You a Song.

It's his hope that this podcast will shine a little overdue spotlight on the talented men and women who, mostly behind the scenes, write the songs that become part of our lives. You know their words and music, but maybe not their names: Write You a Song will feature some of country music’s biggest songwriters--like Jeffrey Steele, Brett Warren, Tim Nichols and more.

So you think songwriting sounds like a pretty great gig, eh? It is, but are you up for the challenges? Songwriter Hall of Famer Tim Nichols shares the joys and the challenges of songwriting, and why your previous success does not necessarily guarantee success in the future.

With nearly two dozen smash hits, multiple BMI songwriting awards, a Grammy for Best Country Song, as well as recently being a 2017 Nashville Songwriter Hall of Fame inductee, Tim Nichols has earned his place among Nashville's most elite and respected tunesmiths.

In 2004, Nichols co-wrote Tim McGraw's "Live Like You Were Dying," which stayed at #1 for ten consecutive weeks. In addition to breaking a 30 year record, "Live Like You Were Dying" won the Grammy award for Best Country Song in 2005. It also won the Song of the Year award from the Country Music Association, Academy of Country Music, BMI Country Awards, ASCAP Country Awards, Billboard and the Nashville Songwriters Association International. It is the only song to have won every major song award that is presented for country music.

Nichols has also written huge hits for the likes of Jo Dee Messina, Dustin Lynch, Chris Young, Jana Kramer and many others.