Thursday, October 18, 2018

Chely Wright Readies Holiday Album Santa Will Find You For Late-October Release

Artist: Chely Wright
Album: Santa Will Find You (EP)
Label: Painted Music Group
Release date: October 26, 2018

“I’m the first one in mid-to-late October to be pulling out my holiday records,” Chely Wright says with a chuckle, before naming Christmas albums by Nat King Cole, the Carpenters, Trisha Yearwood and Alan Jackson as favorites. Now the acclaimed singer-songwriter, activist and author has made her own contribution to the holiday shelf with Santa Will Find You (October 26 / Painted Music Group), a new six-track EP of original songs, most of them shaped with friends and collaborators Richard Marx, Jeremy Lister and Mindy Smith.

Befitting an artist whose story is among the most compelling in country music history—from a hit-making Nashville starlet to a trailblazing LGBT advocate and thoughtful musical storyteller—Wright’s Christmas music reflects the fuller sense of humanity behind the holiday season. It’s a celebration of the pals we look forward to seeing each December, and an expression of yearning for the friends we’re missing. Finally, it’s a bittersweet homage to love—whether it’s been found, lost or is just sort of waiting to come around again.

Santa Will Find You finds Wright engaging with the holiday season in an honest and personal way before the first note is heard. When she began to think about possible cover art for the project, Wright saw that she needed to take a step back and process the mission at hand. “What is this music?” she asked herself. “What do I hope it does for people?”

Her answer—to help inspire future memories—called for a detour down memory lane. “I hope this music becomes part of a new emotional landscape for listeners,” she adds. “And that made me revisit why I wanted to make this record, and I was contemplative about my holiday memories.”

“I grew up in a small town in Kansas,” Wright begins, “and we either spent Christmas morning at our house or at my Aunt Char’s house or in Arizona at my grandparents’ house. We would wake up on Christmas morning and it was as magical as you would hope it is.”

The cover art is a childhood photo titled Captured on Christmas Morning of 1973, featuring Wright, age 3, her two siblings and two of her cousins. Tragically, one of the children in the photo, Wright’s cousin David, died in 1981 of complications from diabetes. He would have turned 50 this year. When she called David’s mother, her Aunt Char, to ask if it’d be OK to use the image, the response was instantaneous and effusive. “She said, ‘Oh, I love it, I love it. He was a star,’” Wright recalls brightly. “It’s a neat way to honor the history of our family.”

The leadoff cut, “It Really Is (A Wonderful Life),” was written alone, on a quiet, post-breakup Christmas Eve in 2005, and eventually “took on a life of its own in a really beautiful way,” Wright says, and has been covered by both Mindy Smith and the Indigo Girls.

With the title track, “Santa Will Find You,” Wright honors the family she’s built with wife Lauren Blitzer and their twin boys, George and Everett. “We were visiting our family in Pennsylvania for the holidays,” Chely remembers. “In the weeks leading up to Christmas Day, our boys were totally, 1,000-percent freaked out that Santa would not know where to bring their presents. It’s a real thing that kids are concerned about!”

“Happy New Year, Old Friend” is a torchy, after-hours rumination on that time of year that’s “both the end of something and the beginning of something, which is a really interesting handoff,” Wright says. Perhaps even more interesting is the versatility of the song’s intent, with a message equally applicable to platonic pals or a deeply romantic pair. Marx’s iconic voice sidles up to Wright’s on “Christmas Isn’t Christmas Time,” which, with its “Be My Baby” beat and uplifting orchestral backing, is state-of-the-art pop craftsmanship. Longtime fans will find comfort in “Can’t Believe It’s Christmas,” a Wright/Lister effort whose contemporary Nashville vibe evokes the singer’s hits of the late ’90s and early 2000s.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Saturday, October 13, 2018

That Nashville Sound Saturday Newsbytes: New Music Videos, Opry Expansion & New Albums

Several newsworthy items popped up on the newsfeed yesterday including a couple of new music projects, a historic expansion for the Grand Ole Opry and some new music videos.

~ Seth Ennis premiered a new music video for his debut single "Call Your Mama."

~ Parmalee premiered a new music video for "Down Town" that supports the relief fundraising for victims of the Hurricane Florence.

~ Luke Combs unveiled a new acoustic music video for his song "I Got Away With You."

~ HoneyHoney released a new music video for their song "Arrow of Love."

~ John Prine's Austin City Limits performance of "Everything is Cool" was released on YouTube.

~ The album that started it all for Toby Keith, his self-titled 1993 debut featuring four hit singles, is being celebrated with a special 25th anniversary release titled Should've Been A Cowboy. The album has been remastered from the original analog tapes and includes a commemorative cover, liner notes from Keith and three rare tracks from Keith's personal vault. It will be released on November 30, 2018.

~ The historic Grand Ole Opry unveiled plans to start a 12 million dollar renovation of the building.
 "The project features several additions and enhancements, including a larger 5,000-square-foot retail footprint and a new box office, and a new parking area featuring 1,100 surface parking spaces on undeveloped land just north of the Opry House, adding a convenient parking option for Opry guests and the public during peak times. Plans were also revealed for a new, state-of-the-art Opry House backstage tour theater and 100-seat VIP event space to open in Spring 2019, which will feature a new backstage tour film including new Opry member interviews and performances as well as highlights from the Opry’s vast video and audio archives."
- Kip Moore is releasing a new EP on November 16 called Room To Spare: The Acoustic Sessions. Here's the track listing below:

 1. “Plead The Fifth” (Acoustic Version)
(Luke Dick, Josh Kear)
2. “Tennessee Boy”
(Kip Moore, Dan Couch)
3. “Love You To The Moon”
(Charlie Worsham, Luke Dick, Natalie Hemby)
4. “It Ain’t California”
(Kip Moore, Charlie Worsham, Jon Mabe)
5. “Wish It Was Me”
(Kip Moore, Adam Browder, Scott Stepakoff, Dan Couch)
6. “Come Home With You”
(Kip Moore, Troy Verges, Blair Daly)
7. “Part Of Growing Up”
(Kip Moore, Josh Miller, Andrew DeRoberts)

Friday, October 12, 2018

Seven New Music Videos From Jon Pardi, Ashley Monroe, Chuck Wicks, Ben Rector & More

Lots of new music videos and key musical performances came out this week that are worthwhile taking a watch including:

~ Chuck Wicks has a new music video for his new single "Better Than Flowers."

~ William Michael Morgan has a new music video for his new song "Tonight Girl."

~ Jon Pardi has a new music video for his latest single "Night Shift."

~ Drake White performed a cover of "Time Marches On" for The George Jones Sessions.

~ Cody Johnson has a new music video for his new single "On My Way To You."

~ Ashley Monroe performed an acoustic version of "Keys To The Kingdom" for The YouTube Sessions.

~ Ben Rector has a very funny new music video of his new song "Drive."

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Hear It Here: Willie Nelson Sings "Vote 'Em Out"

Country music icon Willie Nelson debuted a surprise political anthem during a rally for Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, the state's Democratic Senate nominee two weeks ago on a Saturday night in Austin.  He finished his headlining set with a premiere of “Vote ‘Em Out,” a rallying cry to get voters to the polls. He has released it as a song and across social media since.
"The biggest gun we got is called the ballot box,” Nelson sang. “If you don't like who's in there, vote 'em out. Election Day is coming ‘round again,” Nelson sings, urging attendees to cast their ballots to vote out this "bunch of clowns you voted in."

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Levi Hummon Sets 10/26 Release Date For Patient

Artist: Levi Hummon
Album: Patient
Label: Iconic Records
Release date: October 26, 2018

On October 26th, rising country star Levi Hummon will release his latest EP, Patient, via Iconic Records. The 6-track EP features some of Hummon’s most personal songs to date, including his recent single “Change My Life,” which has been steadily making its mark in the country community. For Patient, Hummon worked with Matt McVaney (Kane Brown, Lauren Alaina) on EP production and co-wrote all songs with some of Music Row’s best songwriters including Jimmy Robbins (Thomas Rhett, Keith Urban), Lindsay Rimes (The Cadillac Three, Kelsea Ballerini), and Kylie Sackley (Alan Jackson, Lee Brice). Patient is currently available for preorder here and will come with an instant download of the EP’s title track. 

“I have been so patiently waiting for this new music to be in the hands of my fans,” shares Hummon. “I’ve toured like crazy, searching for inspiration, and pushing myself as a writer for the last few years. I’m so proud of this collection of songs and I feel like the wait was worth it.”

Levi Hummon made his imprint on the Nashville community long before he realized the extent of his craft.  Born and raised in Music City and the son of legendary songwriter Marcus Hummon, Levi was surrounded by music greats. A product of his environment, he was named one of Entertainment Weekly’s 5 Artists Breaking Now and Rolling Stone Country’s “One to Watch.” Hummon has shared the stage with the likes of Kelsea Ballerini, Billy Currington, Hunter Hayes, Sam Hunt, Kip More, and Eli Young Band.

2.Change My Life
3.I Still Do
4.Tough Love
6.Songs We Sang

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

New Performances From The Song Suffragettes - September 2018 Edition

The Song Suffragettes are an all-female singer/songwriter round every Monday night at The Listening Room Cafe in Nashville, TN.  Here are a couple of this month's performances from the likes of Mia Morris (cajon/bass), Livy Jeanne, Tiera, Kalie Shorr, Kaitie Forbes, Brianna Alomar, Catie Offerman, Kaitlin Butts, Sarah DeFors, Jenna Paulette and Molly Brown (guitars/vocals).



Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Jimmy Rankin Uses Canadian Maritime Home For Inspiration On New Album, Moving East

Artist: Jimmy Rankin
Album: Moving East
Label: True North Records
Release date: September 28, 2018

We missed the release last week of an album from a key member of Canada's most-awarded roots bands ever, The Rankin Family.  Jimmy Rankin’s new Moving East (out September 28, True North Records) is a homecoming album featuring true stories, tall tales and bittersweet ballads, and the classic folk-rock sound that Rankin helped pioneer in his native Cape Breton home.

Just at a time when people are searching out authentic cultural voices, strong stories and well-crafted songs, Rankin has made an unapologetically folk-rock record, with a raw, unsentimental and current edge. “I’m putting the party back in the kitchen” quips Rankin.

It’s called Moving East because that’s exactly what Jimmy’s done. He’s moved back home to Nova Scotia after seven years living and working in Nashville. Hooking up with fellow Nova Scotian Joel Plaskett as producer, he’s made an album with songs running the gamut from gritty pub tunes to soulful ballads all featuring great storytelling, and fine songwriting.

One of the most famed Canadian songwriters, Jimmy Rankin wrote such classic Rankin hits as “North Country,” “You Feel The Same Way Too,” and the Juno winning single “Fare The Well Love,” voted the #1 East Coast song of all time by CBC listeners across Canada. His own hits include “Followed Her Around,” “Morning Bound Train,” and “Cool Car.” Jimmy’s the guy who wrote “Mull River Shuffle” a Cape Breton anthem with an all-ages cult following, jamming dance floors and mosh pits at parties, weddings and raves as the last big song of the night.

Says Rankin “With Moving East, I was trying to distil the fabric of Maritime culture into a musical collection replete with life’s highs and lows, and breathe life into stories that capture a feeling, a moment in time, live off the floor and organic.” It’s an album full of classic Cape Breton storytelling, unashamedly celebrating his moving back, and making the music he loves.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Ronnie Milsap's Upcoming The Duets Album To Feature Willie, Musgraves, Dolly, Aldean, Strait, Little Big Town & More

Artist: Ronnie Milsap
Album: The Duets
Label: Riser House Records
Release date: January 18, 2019

Ronnie Milsap is using a little help from his friends with a project of duets on some of his biggest hits that will feature duets with Kacey Musgraves, Billy Gibbons, Luke Bryan, Dolly Parton, Steven Curtis Chapman, Jason Aldean, Willie Nelson, Little Big Town and George Strait. In addition, for what are likely their last recordings ever, the project also features the late Leon Russell and Troy Gentry of Montgomery Gentry.

Country legend Ronnie Milsap has updated some of his classics — and has teamed up with one of the genre’s brightest new stars to sing it. The 75-year-old Country Music Hall of Famer released his new rendition of his 1981 hit “No Getting Over Me” featuring Musgraves.

“Singing with Kacey is so much fun. She’s a pure vocalist and knows how to lean into a melody,” Milsap told  PEOPLE about the pair’s collaboration which will be featured on his upcoming album.

“Having her on this gave the song a whole new twist, which is what music is all about. How do you take what you know and make it even more?” he explains.

The project marks his 28th studio album and will feature Luke Bryan on “Stranger in My House” and Jason Aldean “Prisoner of the Highway”.

“My duet with Willie is a new song that Mike Reid wrote called ‘A Woman’s Love’,” says Milsap. “He and I had 12 number one records together in the ‘80s like 'Stranger in My House' and 'Old Folks.' I sent ‘A Woman’s Love’ to Willie. He told me, ‘I love the song.’ So he’s gonna sing on it and play guitar in his home studio."

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Up & Coming New Nashville - Meet Heidi Raye

Harlan Howard Records’ artist Heidi Raye is gearing up to release her sophomore EP Blame It On The Radio this fall. Her debut EP, Worth A Shot, was produced by GRAMMY award-winning producer Chuck Ainlay, and the title track and debut single reached the Top 45 on the Music Row charts. The country riser’s hit track, “Sweat,” has garnered over 150,000 streams on Spotify and is currently spinning on Spotify’s Wild Country playlist.

The talented singer and songwriter is a native of the Western Canadian province of British Columbia and started out working the family farm, proving she earned those hard miles that show the true metal of a songwriter.  She grew up sing in church and performing in front of crowds at a very early age.  At age 13, she was a semi finalist in the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) Talent Search in Vancouver, BC.  At 17, she made it to the top 100 for Canadian Idol (Canada's version of American Idol).  But she visited Nashville early on and knew that would be home.

Heidi’s latest release, “Lay Me On Down,” paints a fun and flirty picture of the quirky art of falling in love and was co-written with Jason Afable, Phil Barton and Johnny Bulford (Lee Brice/Chris Young). Raye recently got engaged to Bulford, making promising songwriting collaborators and a special couple for years to come.

The songstress has shared the stage with country legends Kenny Chesney, Randy Travis, Jason Aldean, Reba McEntire and Terri Clark, and she is currently touring across the US, Canada and Australia.