Wednesday 29 February 2012

Artist Spotlight - Pig Earth

Artist Spotlight - Pig Earth

New To You....Pig Earth

Links shown in RED

Fresh from their recent appearance at The International Festival of Country Music Country Routes News Blog shines the spotlight on this UK band and talks to front man Neil Keveren about the experience of playing at the Wembley Arena on 26 Feb 2012.

About Pig Earth

Pig Earth
Myspace Promo photo
They are a 5-piece Acoustic/Alternative Folk/ Americana band having an eclectic stylish acoustic sound and hail from Middlesex in South East England.

They comprise:
Neil Keveren
(acoustic guitar, lead vocals – see photo),

Emma Steele
(piano, melodeon #, vocals – see photophoto photo), 
Craig Stratton (violin, banjo, mandolin – see photo),

Mat Heighway ( double bass – see photo ) and
Dave Rowlands (drums)

# Note - A melodeon is a type of diatonic button accordion used mainly for playing popular music and traditional folk music, and modern offshoots of these genres. (see image)

Pig Earth-Live-Gig In Park
Drummer - Dave Rolands
 The nucleus of the songwriting comes from Neil and Emma who draw on life experiences, travel, love and home. Emma, a multi-instrumentalist, teaches at a primary school in Slough

 “Its music all day and music all evening” she says and modestly claims – “I don’t count myself as a virtuoso on the melodeon, I only started learning it 4 or 5 years ago”. She is a pianist by trade having learnt the piano from early childhood and she also plays the French horn.

Where does the name Pig Earth derive from?

Pig Earth is the name of a novel by London born John Berger and was the first in the Into Their Labours trilogy. Berger went to live in a small village with peasants in the French Alps and it’s about hardships that you have to endure when living a breadline existence.  Pig Earth, describes the traditional life of poor French peasants from the Savoy region. It is a series of stories and poems showing the seasonal routine of labour, the close relationship of other aspects of peasant life to seasonal labours, and relatively closed nature of these communities. (Amazon Link)
For Neil he first read it at Art College when he returned to college as a mature student. When the band first came together they wrote a song called “No Third Runway”. The village where Neil was born was being demolished and he had a photograph of his Grandfather on a tractor, planting leeks (photo) – “Pig Earth is homespun and that is why we made the album the way we did”

About their music
Mini Album Artwork

They currently have a six-song mini album available called 14’ x 12’ which is the dimensions of the lounge where the recording sessions took place. It is not a studio layered approach (see photo) ,with sparse overdubbing, and its concept is that the listener sits at the heart of the performance. They describe the setup on their, website - “This is our humble abode and quite often we have a child passing through between takes to make toast

The opening ‘All Smoke And Mirrors’ track with its Celtic-folk vibe was penned in France which represents an analogy of lost love allowing a pretty lady to slip through the fingers and no magical tricks are going to win her back. Down the road they hope to make a circus-big-top-themed video for it. One can picture a café scene along the Champs-Élysées with playful dancing in the tree lined avenue.

Paint The Town Red’ has been released as a promotional single in February. It debuted at #40 on the Hot Disc Top 40 Chart and currently stands at #36. The song reflects on being complacent with love. Its protagonist makes the effort by buying his girlfriend a new dress and plans a romantic night to hopefully brighten her day and make her smile once more. The skiffle-like track has a beautiful musicality with violin and washboard percussion and reminds me of music sequences in the film soundtrack Fly Away Home.

The autobiographical song ‘Everythingwith its delightful melodies, speaks of two people in love making a home together. In the lyrics it contains the line: “In the box is a tin of old pale green”, which is the colour of their front door. It was composed by Neil and Emma on a late summers evening putting together photo albums at places the band have played whilst observing their kids playing. It’s a song looking back to halcyon days which plays on the simple things in life that bring forth pleasure.

Here With You’ which features Emma on lead vocal tells of being close to someone at a moment in time, be it embracing a lover, partner or parents. It is a particular poignant song to Steele after losing her father in the summer of 2011. He enjoyed the track and was able to hear the final recording. Mickey Burn plays a weeping pedal steel on this engaging loving song and Emma delivers a truly beautiful vocal. It’s a song, which would not have been out of place on the back catalogue from The Carpenters.

Pig Earth their story to date
Pig Earth formed in 2008, their current line-up have been together for 2 years with Mat Heighway joining them at the time of the Americana Festival in Newark in 2010. They first started playing small folk stages but the feedback they received was that they weren’t “very folk”. With Neil attending the country festivals for many years seeing the likes of Don Williams, Charley Pride and Willie Nelson their influences came out in the songwriting – “The country stage is where we feel most at home” Neil relates.
In 2011 Pig Earth played many UK festivals: Wolvestock, Broken Spoke, Norfolk Country Music Festival and Americana International. They recently played at the Southern Country Magazine awards at The Lakeside club in Frimley Green (The home of world darts). They hope to take their brand of country to venues in Southern England and beyond.

Pig Earth at The BCMAwards Oct 2011
In October 2011 they won the Horizon Act Of The Year at The BCMAwards (Sponsored by CMR Nashville). Due to his likeness (hair and build) Neil has twice been confused at the awards for British guitar god Albert Lee! – “They never make that mistake when I have a guitar in my hand and I’m playing” jokes Neil.

In February after an invitation Pig Earth found themselves on the line up for The International Festival of Country Music at Wembley Arena – “I’m sure some people will be a bit surprised but we were in the right place at the right time, it’s an opportunity that can’t be missed “Neil shared with CMR Nashville listeners.
It’s an event Neil attended with his parents in his childhood seeing stars like Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn. 

Their Wembley Dream

CountryRoutesNews Blog conducted this interview with Neil Keveren (email communication, 28 Feb 2012)

How long was your Wembley set and which songs did you perform?
We played 15 minutes, four songs; "All Smoke And Mirrors" is our usual opening song so we went with this first. Then with minimal chat we played "Paint The Town Red", the Hot Disc track. Emma then took over the vocals and we played "1800 Miles, On A Very Slow Train". Final song before being able to say "Good night Wembley", every musicians dream, was "Big American Cars".
Mervyn Conn [Wembley Festival promoter] came round and personally thanked us for playing and also found us afterwards to say he enjoyed it. Whilst chatting he said that the reduced length arena, big black curtains hung 2 thirds back, had 5000 seated.

What was the experience and crowd reaction like, did you do a meet and greet and do well with merchandise sales?
The crowd were very receptive and appreciative; we sold a good few CD's so we were pleased. Many said they would go to our site and play the samples before buying on line and we signed so many programmes, we were made to feel very much at home. During the day we often found ourselves waiting for sound checks etc with George Hamilton the IV and Narvel Felts, both are true gents and I told George that I had seen him there as a boy in 1969. In the morning we had to put our gear in office 3. This then became the rehearsal venue for many of the solo acts with a common backing band. This meant our gear was trapped and we had to crash their rehearsal to get it back. Quite embarrassing but they were all very

How did your Wembley invite come about?
A series of events, ask any promoter Mt Allan, Jim Duncan, Chris and Bev Jackson, Adge Appleton etc I am very persistent. If I ever got a "no" from them I will call again later with another bit of good news. Things like, being on the cover of a magazine, or getting a live session at BBC Radio Cambridge [Sue Marchant Show] etc. Eventually they allowed me to showcase. This way we have played many of the major festivals in Britain. Then amazingly we won the BCMAward for best Horizon Act. Looking back at our reviews and C.V last year Pig Earth looked pretty good I am pleased to say. The Hotdisc timing and getting airplay on CMR Nashville all contributed to making us look like we were an act that could please a crowd.

Were you pleased with your stage sound and did you get to see any of the other acts perform?
Yes, we were pretty pleased. The sound crews have a nightmare of a job and are up all of the previous night getting things up and running. There will always be surprises and having played a good number of big stages now we are getting much better at coping with minor technical failure or imbalances. If I were being modest I would say we did good! For me personally, and I know Emma would agree, it felt brilliant. We certainly rose to the occasion and left the crowd happy. Many kind folk came to tell us as much, and this was much appreciated. The day was truly a fantastic experience and one I pray I can repeat in years to come. I don't know about in financial terms for Mervyn, but this gig will be confirmed I am sure as a great success. Those unfortunate folk not able to attend missed a great day. I could not see all of the other acts as I was trying to spread the 'Pig Earth' word in the exhibition area. The acts I did see though and thought were brilliant were Will Banister, Jo-el Sonnier and Lonestar.

Wembley Photos  
Emma Steele playing @ The Wembley Festival
( Photo courtesy of )
Check out these superb images taken by XTF ( ) who photographed the landmark event at Wembley.

They relished the opportunity to capture the acts performing at their very best for their good friends down at

A selection of the event’s photos are on the XTF Facebook page

Neil Keveren - Photo
Emma Steele - Photo  - Photo2
Craig Stratton (banjo) - Photo
Mat Heighway - Photo

Pig Earth - Listen / Watch
Need some rootsy homespun love? "Put the kettle on and pull up a chair." 
Take a listen to a 2min sample of “Paint The Town Red”

WATCH - A compilation of Pig Earth song extracts recorded live in concert (Sept 2009) – YouTube

Pig Earth – 2012 Live Events 
[ For full details check out - ]

Acoustic Festival of Britain
When - Saturday 26th May 2012 - Four stages of unplugged and acoustic music covering live folk, rock, blues, guitar, country, bluegrass and a few legends. Unplugged & Acoustic music at its very best.

Cut Theatre, Norfolk
When - Saturday 16th June 2012 - An evening with Pig Earth and THE DIABLOS

Wolvestock 18
When - Sunday 22nd June 2012 - Pig Earth once again play in Wolverhampton's famous free festival

Norfolk Country Music Festival
When - Friday 27th July 2012 - Pig Earth again join the line up for this festival at the Royal Norfolk Showground

Radio Live
Pig Earth will be on BBC Radio Cambridge and simultaneous links Friday June 16th around 9pm

Saturday 25 February 2012

Country Bites News snippets Feb 20 - Feb 24, 2012

Country Bites News snippets Feb 20 - Feb 24, 2012

Links / SOURCES show in RED

John Logan photography
Facebook Image

Raintown featuring special guest Gary Quinn play Cardiff Fri 27th Apr “The Gate” and the rescheduled Stockport “The Plaza” on Sat 28th Apr 2012. (the tickets bought last year are still valid) Tickets are £7.50  + £1.50 admin cost.

Watch promo video on Youtube for ticket link details.

Raintown, Hailed (for the best of reasons) as Britain’s answer to Lady Antebellum – Stuart Cameron (Up Country Magazine, UK)

Gretchen Peters has announced she will be playing the Isle of Wight Festival on June 22.

Are we Brits in love with country music? There’s only 2 types of music Country & Western? Reba McEntire who has brought the sunshine to London joined BBC Breakfast on the sofa (Fri Feb 24) to discuss its direction. Footage of CMA The Songwriters Series vintage Wembley Country festivals. Reba will open with “All the Woman I Amat Wembley Arena this Sunday  Watch from 10minutes. 

Daniel O’Donnell has admitted he was left ‘all at sea’ after performing on his first cruise ship. The country crooner had decided to do something a little different after 30 years singing on dry land. So, having just turned 50, the Donegal man signed up for several performances on a cruise liner around the Caribbean in recent weeks.
But the Kincasslagh crooner has admitted that things did not go as smoothly as planned as he tried to find his ‘sea legs.’
The first day we left Fort Lauderdale the sea was a bit rough and I was worried that I might not be able to stand on the stage, never mind perform on it! “The ship was rocking from side to side and I was running from one side of the stage to the other to try and keep up with it! “My dancing was even more dynamic than usual. Thanks to the movement of the ship I was doing steps I didn't even know I was capable of,” he said. But once he got into the swing of things Daniel said he enjoyed every last minute of it.
In fact, he has already signed up to do another cruise in 2013.
Bill Anderson
Tour Bus
The members of the CMA Songwriter Series, Whisperin’ Bill Anderson, Bob Dipiero, and Clint Black, were in a minor bus accident on Thursday, FEBRUARY 23rd on there way to WHELAN’S in Dublin when a car rear ended the bus.

None of the performers or crew were injured, but it did cause a 30- minute delay on the show’s start time.

"This accident happened when we were all on a Gibson Bus - but it turned out to only be a FENDER-bender - thank goodness!" said Anderson

Due to phenomenal demand, the Lady Antebellum concert at the Glasgow Concert Hall has now been moved to the Clyde Auditorium on the same day (13th July).

A special 2CD CMC Rocks The Hunter 2012- Various Artists compilation package has been released to provide the ultimate companion to this years CMC Rocks festival! It features tracks from Alan Jackson, Joe Nichols, Eli Young Band, O'Shea, The McClymonts and many more. Sample all the tracks here

US country star Dierks Bentley and Aussie’s modern-day King of Australian Country Music Lee Kernaghan are going out on the road together for a limited series of in March Friday 9th March(Toowoomba), Saturday 10th March (Brisbane), 13th March (Melbourne) and Thursday 15th March (Canberra).

Session - Hear an exclusive performance at ABC Country from Seleen McAlister, winner of the 2011 Gympie Music Muster Talent. Listen to 3 live tracks and view the photo gallery.

Two of David Nail’s singles - ‘Let It Rain’ and ‘Red Light’ both just went gold. David says, “downloads have a lot to do with that & it makes me feel good my songs have staying power.”
Jake Owen tweets, “I'm totally guilty for just finding two of my albums at a truck stop and moving them to the front of the display.”

Chris Young tweeted this weekend; “I may have split my pants on stage tonight and didn't know it. That's what I call a good time!”

Kix Brooks 1st solo single, ‘New To This Town’ will be out on March 19 with Eagles Joe Walsh.

Jason Aldean has such a big stage for his tour this year he says, “I’ll probably be in the best shape of my life! There’s a lot of running around but I need the exercise!”

Married almost 5 years, Joe Nichols’s wife Heather’s having a baby this spring. Joe also has a 13 year-old daughter.

LeAnn Rimes is finished writing songs for her next album & she’s headed into the studio to record next month.
Reports are circulating that LeAnn may be a new judge on Simon Cowell’s show, ‘X Factor.’ Sources say she’s met with show producers since there are now 2 judge spots to fill.

Nashville has been gearing up this week for CRS 2012 Feb. 22-24 (Country Radio Seminar) take a look at the events being held on their blog.

A full-band concert by Lady Antebellum is held Wednesday night at Municipal Auditorium, with complimentary transportation and special seating provided for CRS attendees.

Nashville Songwriter Don Schlitz Will Be Inducted Into The Songwriters Hall Of Fame on June 14th In New York City at The Hall Of Fame’s 43rd Annual Induction and Awards Dinner At The Marriott Marquis Hotel.

The Band Perry shares new songs, makes memories at Ryman Auditorium as they christened the new Brazilian teak stage with an 85-minute set, report at The Tennessean.
The Band Perry christened Ryman Auditorium’s new Brazilian teak stage on Monday night with an 85-minute set that not only showed off their dexterity as singers, songwriters, and performers, but also gave the audience a solid sneak peek as to what they can expect on the trio’s next album.    In short: more hits.    The sibling trio kicked off the show, their first headlining local gig, with “End of Times,” which Kimberly Perry described before the show as “a big statement from the three of us.”

Sugarland attorneys: Injured Ind. fans share blame Feb. 21, 2012, 7:46 p.m. INDIANAPOLIS AP
(AP) — Attorneys for country duo Sugarland said concertgoers were at least partly to blame for injuries suffered in a stage collapse, drawing a sharp reaction from fans Tuesday and prompting the band's manager to issue a statement criticizing the finger-pointing.

Members of the band expressed shock and sadness after last summer's stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair killed seven people and injured dozens more.

But in their response to a civil lawsuit, the band's attorneys said injured fans "failed to exercise due care for their own safety" and contended some or all of their injuries "resulted from their own fault."

The comments outraged Haley Waggoner of Cincinnati, who was in the front row with her twin sister when the collapse happened and suffered a concussion that caused headaches and other problems for weeks.

"It disgusts me," said Waggoner, who has attended eight or nine Sugarland shows. "Through this whole process, I don't feel like the band cares that much about fans."

The band's attorneys also called the high winds that toppled the stage rigging an "act of God" and denied the band had any responsibility for the stage construction or to warn fans.

Waggoner said while the band couldn't control the weather and didn't build the stage, she believes Sugarland could have done more to warn concertgoers of the impending danger. She said she'll never see them live again........."Sadly when a tragedy occurs, people want to point fingers and try to sensationalize the disaster," Sugarland said in a statement Gail Gellman issued to The Associated Press. "The single most important thing to Sugarland are their fans. Their support and love over the past nine years has been unmatched. For anyone to think otherwise is completely devastating to them." ......But one attorney involved in the Sugarland lawsuit said the band's response was strange.

Dauphin's Countryfest has learned that Sugarland is unable to perform at the 2012 festival and with a quick turnaround, Reba - the Queen of Country- has been secured as the Sunday headliner. “Scheduling conflicts due to TV obligations” is the explanation Sugarland representatives have confirmed that forced the duo to cancel their performance on July 1st as well as a number of other dates around this time.
Countryfest representatives were deflated to learn of this cancellation; however it opened up the perfect opportunity to acquire the #1 female Country touring artist for her first-ever performance at Dauphin’s Countryfest.
We feel great about Reba!” says Rob Waloschuk, Countryfest Promoter. “We agree the cancellation is definitely not ideal, but we’ve never had Reba on our stage and we’re more than excited to announce she will be in Dauphin.”

Thompson Square decided to withdraw from the Country Radio Seminar's New Faces show (Fri) to due personal circumstances.
The statement from the husband/wife duo was given: "Thompson Square unfortunately have had to withdraw from their performance on the CRS New Faces Show. As many of you know, Shawna Thompson’s father has been quite ill for a few months and she needs to be by his side at this time
UPDATE 24 Feb - Condolences go out to Shawna. It was announced by the duo's publicist, Natalie Kilgore, confirmed the news in a statement. It said George Michael "Mickey" McIlwain died in Alabama Thurs (2/23) after "a valiant battle with cancer." The statement said Shawna and her family, including husband Keifer, were by his side when he died.
The duo are  an opening act on Lady Antebellum's "Own The Night" tour. Singer David Nail will be filling in for the duo this weekend
 of the passing of her father George Michael “Mickey” Mcillwain. 

Vince Gill with wife Amy Grant

Vince Gill has left MCA Records. Appearing Wednesday (Feb. 22) as an unscheduled guest on Universal Music Group's Country Radio Seminar show at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium, Gill sang his unrecorded song "Red Words" after announcing his 23-year relationship with MCA was over.

A spokesman for Gill confirmed the departure from MCA, a division of UMG. Prior to signing with MCA in 1989, he had spent five years recording for RCA Records. Gill released Guitar Slinger, his final album for MCA, last October. His first -- and possibly final -- single from that album, "Threaten Me With Heaven," received only moderate airplay. However, Gill, wife Amy Grant, Dillon O'Brian and the late Will Owsley received a Grammy nomination in the best country song category for co-writing it. The trade publication Country Aircheck reported that Gill told the audience of radio programmers, "I'm just grateful for where I've been, and you've been a big part of where I've been and where I'm going. To my MCA family, it was really a sweet ride the last 23 years, and I appreciate everything you do."

Don Williams shares “I can announce that I have been in the studio recording a new album, which will be released in June of this year. This will be my first studio album for a number of years and has 10 brand-new, specially written songs. I am very happy with the recordings so far, and am excited to hear what the fans think of this new album
Read more:

Lady Antebellum brings spectacle, special guests to Nashville concert - Lady A provided their hometown with plenty of spectacles, sing-alongs and surprises during their sold-out concert at Nashville Municipal Auditorium Wednesday night. The chart-topping country trio brought their 2012 "Own The Night" tour to Nashville in the thick of the Country Radio Seminar - an annual convention of country music DJs and radio executives - and invited roughly 1,200 of its attendees to the show. Concert Review @ The Tennessean

Lionel Richie made a surprise appearance at a luncheon concert at The Ryman Wednesday, performing two duets with a clearly overjoyed Luke Bryan.
Bryan has long been a fan of the singer. He told the audience the two had met up the night before at Hutton Hotel.
"It's like when you meet your hero and they turn out to be everything you imagined they'd be."
The two earned a standing ovation after performing Richie's "Easy" and "I'm Going Crazy in Love Over You."
The concert was held for attendees of Country Radio Seminar, the annual four-day gathering of about 1,800 music and radio executives in Nashville. It was sponsored by Universal Music Group. More than a dozen other UMG artists, including George Strait, Easton Corbin and Scotty McCreery, also performed. ( Source Anita Wadhwani @ The Tennessean)

A research study conducted by Edison Research unveiled at the Country Radio Seminar finds one in five Country music fans never tunes in to a Country radio station. The Tennessean reports, "Instead, self-described Country music fans get their music from websites, their own collections stored on iPODS or listening to other types of radio stations, the annual report on industry trends found."

Edison Research at the Country Radio Seminar says 'Many country fans are not listening to country radio’
The latest research surveying who listens to country radio stations — and how often — pinpoints some tough challenges ahead for an industry that has long counted on tradition and music lovers’ loyalty to the genre to earn a living.
One in five country music fans never tune in to country radio stations, according to a research study released Wednesday afternoon at Country Radio Seminar, a four-day national gathering of music makers, players and radio industry executives in downtown Nashville.
Instead, self-described country music fans get their music from websites, their own collections stored on iPods or listening to other types of radio stations, the annual report on industry trends found......Country radio already does a good job keeping its hard-core fans but has to do better reaching those casual country music fans who are more likely to be women, relatively new fans of country music and have a favorite radio station that doesn’t consistently play country, according to the study conducted by Edison Research. ( Presentation)

“The ‘twang-iest artists’ are the most polarizing,” the study concluded.
The data also found:
Risky numbers: 65 percent of country music fans don’t pick a country radio station as their favorite for music or they don’t listen to radio at all.
Recent converts: Casual country fans are twice as likely to have begun listening to country music in the last few years.
Love the legends: Many casual fans still like older country tunes. One in six say that country music from the 60s and 70s is their favorite. These songs aren’t typically played on country radio today.
I believe that we as an industry have really made a mistake in our conception of our own stations,” said Rosin. While many people don’t want to listen to classic country music, some still do, and “we’ve let them float away,” he said.
Many instead are getting their music from Classic Oldies or Classic Rock stations, the data found.
Still, the same qualities found in country music continue to attract both hard-core and casual fans.
Country fans are united in their appreciation for song lyrics, which are mostly clean of explicit language and tend to be family friendly, the data show.
In a music culture with some of the most horrifying lyrics one could imagine on rock and Top 40 and urban, country distinguishes itself over and over with clever, poignant, and at worst winkingly naughty lyrics,” Edison said.   (Source The Tennessean).
Returning to country music after a five year-hiatus multi-platinum recording artist Neal McCoy’s highly anticipated new album, XII, will be released March 6, 2012. Produced by CMA’s reigning Male and Female Vocalist of the Year, Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert, and renowned guitar-slinger, Brent Rowan, this Blaster Records’ debut is McCoy’s 12th studio album.
Neal is not only a friend of mine, but my hero,” commented Blake Shelton about working with McCoy on XII. “Our first priority with this album was that Neal only cut songs that he truly loved and was excited about. That was very important to us.” Miranda Lambert added, “It was a blast seeing Neal and Blake together…had the place laughing all the time. I think fans will hear three different artists coming together on this album with their individual takes on the music.”
To view Neal McCoy’s new video, “A-OK,”  - Youtube 

Chris Young gave a very special autograph on the evening of February 22, 2012, when he signed his name beside a caricature of himself on the wall of The Nashville Palm.  His likeness will be a permanent addition to The Palm’s collection of caricatures, which line the walls of the restaurant.
Chris is a great addition to our wall since he has participated in several fundraising events at The Palm for Make a Wish Foundation of Middle Tennessee as well as Stars for Stripes ,” said Paige Dixon, sales manager for The Palm. “We’re honored that Chris could stop by in the midst of CRS week and his national tour.  We’re proud that he’ll be a permanent fixture here.”
The caricature tradition originated when Pio Bozzi and John Ganzi opened The Palm Restaurant in 1926.  They had no money to decorate, and offered meals in exchange for cartoon work by artists.  Today, all Palm locations feature a variety of caricatures of celebrities, politicians, athletes, regular customers and people of note, as well as classic cartoons.
The Palm is such a mainstay in this city and in the music community,” says Young.  “It’s pretty cool to be part of this Nashville institution!”

Carrie Underwood’s new single, “Good Girl,” is available exclusively on iTunes (US) now at The five-time Grammy Award winner debuted her new single last night (23/2) in Nashville during the annual Country Radio Seminar.
Carrie wrote the track with Chris DeStefano and Ashley Gorley, who co-wrote two of Underwood’s No. 1 hits “Don’t Forget to Remember Me,” and “All-American Girl.” Once again Carrie teamed up with Mark Bright, who produced her two previous albums as well as seven tracks from her debut album Some Hearts.
** Carrie’s fourth album will be released May 1. **


Gretchen Peters: Personal Pain As Universal TruthInterview with NPR Radio  -  Listen

Country Music Award winner Gretchen Peters had an eventful 2010: The BP oil spill washed up on her doorstep, a good friend committed suicide, and her son announced that he's transgender. The last of those in particular, she says, got her thinking about personal conflict.
"[My son] had withheld a very basic and large truth about himself for a long, long time," Peters says. "And I thought, what's the difference here — except a difference of degree — between him and anyone else? I think all of us withhold truths about ourselves that we think would make other people like us less, or accept us less."
That sentiment and others formed the basis of a new album called Hello Cruel World, released last month. True to its title, the album opens on a down note: "Haven't done as well as I thought I would / I'm not dead, but I'm damaged goods / And it's getting late."
"I think that's something that every single one of us can relate to," she says. "I was craving the truth. And I wanted to tell the truth."

Tim O'Brien on Woody Guthrie 100 - as he talks with No Depression

Suite101 talk to Lisa Matassa: Long Island Country Music Singer talk to Lynn Anderson: Veteran Country Music Sensation. She discusses her incredible career, Martina McBride, smash hit "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden" and future plans........For people that wish to go into country music, Lynn underscores that it’s important for them to be themselves. “My mother told me that long ago. I used to sing what was on the radio, and she reminded me to always be myself, since it didn’t do any good to sing like everybody else. You need to have some individuality. Be true to yourself and do not let people change you and who you are,” she adds.

Singer Gene Watson recalls route from cars to country – Reuters report

Carrie Underwood  “Good Girl” new single – Youtube from her upcoming album due May 1. The single is currently available on US iTunes (release 24 Feb) with a digital release in the UK on Feb 28 –  UK Amazon “Good Girl”

Taylor Swift has released a stark music video to match her moody folk-ballad "Safe & Sound," the singer's contribution to the "Hunger Games" soundtrack.  Youtube

In the video, Swift wanders in wintery scenes from rural, Appalachia-seeming environs: bare trees, paint-stripped walls, empty fields, a deer in the fog. Her co-writers for the slow-building song, The Civil Wars, appear periodically to strum and sing. Of "Safe & Sound," they noted that the song was knocked out over the course of just four hours. "You don't say no when T Bone calls," Williams said. White joked of Taylor, "We told her to stop using us to further her career." 

Cahalen Morrison & Eli West: a new-old time duo from Seattle are a young American-roots duo playing mandolin, banjo and guitar. In this exclusive session for the BBC Celtic Connections website they are joined by Ryan Drickey on fiddle.

Alison Krauss & Union Station perform The Simpson’s Theme Tune on an episode "At Long Last Leave," which aired on Fox within and during the episode. YouTube
This one escaped my notice Sarah Jarosz, Alison Krauss and Jerry Douglas team up to perform Sarah’s original tune "Run Away" at the fifth Transatlantic Sessions , spring of 2011. - Youtube 

40th Jayco CMAA  Australian Country Music Awards:
Show Highlights (20mins) - Youtube

“Midnight Sun” (written by Aly Cook, Casper Van Vulpen, Alan Jansson) is the new single by Aly Cook a New Zealand Country crossover artist from her album Brand New Day.  YouTube

Carrie Underwood Cover art for her new single “Good Girl” – Wow!  SONY Photo Link

Reba McEntire is enjoying the sunshine and being a tourist in London
(Thursday 23 Feb) pictured at The Albert Memorial in Knightsbridge. Perhaps she’s remembering her wonderful show at the Royal Albert Hall in June 4, 1999 with the National Symphony Orchestra.

Reba  – Enjoying the sunshine in Hyde Park, London