Saturday, 5 May 2012

Country Bites News snippets April 30 – May 5, 2012

Country Bites News snippets April 30 – May 5, 2012

Congratulations to Belle Cannon whose song ‘Party‘ is top of the ECMA Country Music National Charts in France.

The Sun reports that Katy Perry now wants to ditch her raunchy style and be a wholesome country singer, just like Patty Griffin.
Katy said: “I’ve always wanted to make something like an acoustic record. “My favourite record is Patty Griffin’s Flaming Red. I discovered it when I was in Nashville. “I definitely want to do a Patty Griffin-esque thing at some point. It’s something that I’m really excited about because I know I can do it and I haven’t really played that card yet.”

Southern Fried Festival, Scotland's biggest and best festival of American roots music returns to Perth for the fifth year in 2012 from Friday 27 to Saturday 29 July. Covering all the American Roots music bases including blues, country, Cajun, gospel, swing and soul, Southern Fried Festival is a little nugget of Americana in the rolling Scottish countryside.
2012's line-up includes: John Prine, Johnny Cash: Songwriter, Gretchen Peters, Darrell Scott, Ruthie Foster, Carrie Rodriguez, My Darling Clementine, Lera Lynn, The Dynamites featuring Charles Walker, Anaïs Mitchell, Jeb Loy Nichols, Bap Kennedy, Niki King and the Elements and The City Sinners.

Million seller Isla Grant made a triumphant return to The Maltings on Tuesday 25 April when she entertained a full house to an eclectic two hour show. After an eventful start to her Scottish tour which saw both her and husband and band member Al suffer nasty falls, Isla was told by doctors to rest easy but she told her captive audience there was no way she’d miss a Berwick gig.
And those who turned out to see her certainly seemed glad she’d solidered on. Crowd favourite ‘Single Yellow Rose’, ‘Old Accordion Man’ (Isla’s tribute to the late Jimmy Shand) and ‘We’ll Meet Again My Friends’ brought the show to a fitting close and a high octane encore ensured everyone went home happy. Isla’s diary is pretty much full for the next two years!

Lisa McHugh’s new album DREAMS COME TO LIFE was released on Monday 30 April on Rosette Records. Lisa hails from Glasgow and now lives in Donegal, Ireland where she has become one of Ireland’s brightest Country stars. She is to appear at the CMA International Showcase in Nashville during the CMA Festival in June.
Listen to her album on Spotify - Lisa McHugh – Dreams Come To Life
In this edited interview Lisa talked to Stewart Fenwick on Celtic Music Radio (Broadcast Sunday 29April) >>  Listen Here   

This Sunday, May 6, at 2.30pm Daniel O'Donnell will be in, Co Donegal, for the official opening of the Daniel O'Donnell Visitor's Centre. This centre, which will exhibit all his memorabilia and give a history of his career on video, is the brainchild of Daniel’s friend and local businessman Pat 'Nora' Gallagher
Daniel is to receive the freedom of the Donegal. The millionaire singer, 50, is to be given the award after an announcement by Mayor of Donegal Cllr Noel McBride said the award is being made in recognition of Daniel’s “outstanding contribution” as an ambassador for his native county.
Daniel will be conferred with the Freedom of Donegal at a ceremony on June 22nd at County House in Lifford.

Gretchen Peters UK Festival Dates, she will be joined onstage by the legendary bassist Danny Thompson for select UK festival dates (#) including Isle of Wight, Cornbury and our Main Stage appearance at Cambridge Folk Festival on 28 July
22 June: Isle of Wight Festival, Isle of Wight, UK # ,
29 June: Cornbury Festival, Oxfordshire, UK #
30 June: Maverick Festival, Suffolk, UK
27-28 July: Cambridge Folk Festival, Cambridge, UK #
29 July: Southern Fried Festival, Perth, Scotland.
Note - Gretchen latest album HELLO CRUEL WORLD is being released this month
on vinyl - check out the folks at Diverse Records! - 
** Gretchen is already looking to 2013! She plays Queen Elizabeth Hall, London on Friday 15 March 2013 (£17.50 + £1.75 booking)

After his success of his 6 song set at Wembley’s International Festival of Country Music in February Will Banister will be making a welcome return to Britain in September. It is planned that a new CD will be available to coincide with the tour.
He will be backed by the highly acclaimed C’est La Vie, with support by Banister’s record producer/manager Johnny Mulhair, he is set to appear at the following venues:
Thursday 20 Sept:      United Services Club, Precott Road, Widnes WA8 7PD
Friday 21 Sept:    Leeds Irish Centre, York Road, Leeds LS9 9NT
Saturday 22 Sept:    Wayland Academy, Mertn Road, Watton IP25 6BA
Sunday 23 Sept:    Freds Place, Plains Road, Maaperly, Nottingham NG3 5RH

Irish singer songwriter Pete Kennedy will be opening for Neil Sedaka's UK Shows Oct 6 - Oct 24, 2012 - Dates

Gary Curtis
Single Artwoork (Amazon)

Essex based UK artist Gary Curtis is promoting a new single "Life is for the Living" in aid of CANCER RESEARCH UK. Gary is a comfortable Hotdisc chart topper in the British & Irish Top 10 and has been at #2 on the Hotdisc Top 40 for several weeks.
In this interview Lee Williams from CMR Nashville talks to Gary about the charity single – Audio Link
The Music video features James Bond and Hammer horror girl Caroline Munro and from 'Allo 'Allo and Doctor Who Herr Flick himself Richard Gibson.  >>   YouTube
The songLife Is for the Living” is available on AMAZON.UK as a pre-order (release date July 1) and from other major download sites. 

Carrie Underwood's June 21 concert at London's Royal Albert Hall has already has sold out. "I'll be in the U.K., and I get to go back to Australia," Carrie says. "I went to Australia last year and met some wonderful people, just to get familiar with the area and what they're all about. It was really great, obviously, because we're going back. Then I get to sing in London, which is exciting”. at London's Royal Albert Hall, show sold out in just 90 minutes. Some online third party brokers (touts) who deals in Sold-Out events and premium seated tickets i.e. Front Row Tickets, First 10 Row Tickets seem to have their hands on the remainder!
Carrie's North American shows will feature talented newcomer Hunter Hayes and plans call for $1 from each ticket to support Red Cross disaster relief. Additional international concert dates are to be announced soon.

Taylor Swift now has an Official UK Online Store - LINK .

Taylor Swift Clothing also available on


Vince Gill sets 12 Bluegrass Shows in America for June 13 – June 23 Dates. Sarah Jarosz will open .
Vince will be backed by a band made up of some of the most acclaimed pickers in contemporary music, specifically fiddler Stuart Duncan, guitarist Jeff White, banjoist Jim Mills and bassist Dennis Crouch. Gill will round out the band on guitar, mandolin and vocals. “After the passing of Earl Scruggs [on March 28],” Gill says, “it means the world to me to do these dates with this world-class band playing the music that Earl defined. I absolutely adore this music.”

Yep Roc Records is pleased to announce the June 26th, 2012 release of SIGHT & SOUND, a two-disc audio and video collection from North Carolina based Chatham County Line. Sight & Sound includes 20 live tracks drawing from all five albums of the band's decade-long career. Nine songs appear on both the audio CD/LP and the DVD; four are exclusive to the DVD, while the CD/LP expands the collection with seven more tracks.

Levon Helm, former drummer and singer for The Band and Woodstock icon, was buried Friday 27th April at the Woodstock Cemetery. Helm, who died April 19 at age 71 after a long battle with throat cancer, was buried next to former bandmate and bassist Rick Danko, who died in 1999.Mourners filled the Town of Woodstock Friday to pay final respects to music legend Levon Helm.
They came from near and far to pay their respects and some said their debts to Woodstock's favorite son Friday.
Levon Helm was laid to rest at the Woodstock Cemetery to the joyous sounds of a New Orleans funeral parade who helped bring Levon Helm to his final resting place. It was a private funeral service that still drew a crowd of several hundred people who feel that they lost a friend. Photos

After weeks of Shelby Lynne’s tour gear shipment being missing after a show in Virginia, it now considered stolen

Famed country yodeler Kenny Roberts has died at age 85. His death was reported on Sunday, April 29. He was known as “Yodeling Kenny Roberts” and as “America’s King of the Yodelers.”

Eric Church Graphic
When a Rolling Stone article on Eric Church appeared on the internet Monday (image) and quoted Church being critical of artists, including Blake Shelton, who participated in televised talent searches -- feelings were hurt and tempers flared. And thanks to Twitter, those feelings were made public immediately. Shelton, a mentor on NBC’s The Voice, tweeted a link to coverage of the story saying: “I wish I misunderstood this…
Miranda Lambert, Shelton’s wife and former Nashville Star finalist, followed with: “Thanks Eric Church for saying I'm not a real artist. Or @kelly_clarkson, @carrieunderwood & @KeithUrban. You're welcome for the tour in 2010.”
Clarkson and Underwood are previous American Idol winners, and Urban is currently a mentor on the Australian version of The Voice.
Church’s offending comments included: “Honestly, if Blake Shelton and Cee Lo Green turn around in a red chair, you got a deal? That’s crazy. I don’t know what would make an artist do that. You’re not an artist.”
Church was also quoted as saying: “If I was concerned about my legacy, there’s no way I would ever sit there [and be a reality-show judge]. Once your career becomes about something other than the music, then that’s what it is. I’ll never make that mistake.”
Late Monday night the “Springsteen” singer issued a statement through his publicist explaining that the quotes were not meant as a slam against artists who participated in the shows but were intended to be a swipe at the idea created by televised talent shows that there was a shortcut to success.
I apologize to anybody I offended in trying to shed light on this issue,” Church said. “I am grateful for all of the artists and fans that have supported me along my journey and certainly did not mean for my comments to undermine their talent and achievements.”

The Americana Music Association will hold its ‘An Americana Summer Celebration’ on July 20-21. The event will once again take place at Blackberry Farm (located in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee) and feature Rosanne Cash, John Leventhal, John Oates and Jim Lauderdale. Funds raised will go to the not-for-profit artist advocacy group.“We are honored that artists of this caliber will be participating in our Americana Summer Celebration,” Jed Hilly, Executive Director of the Americana Music Association, said. “This event has become an important fundraiser and highly anticipated precursor to our ever-growing fall festival in Nashville. We’re curating our third musical weekend at Blackberry Farm and it just gets better and better.”

Are country king and queen Tim McGraw and Faith Hill about to sign contracts to topple their pal Garth Brooks from his lofty reign on the Las Vegas Strip? The Las Vegas Sun reports they’ll sign on for a series of weekend concerts from November to April to be in competition with Garth. The deal would be for concerts in an 1,800-seat theater within a guitar pick’s throw of Steve Wynn’s Encore Theater where Garth headlines. It’s so close to being signed that Tim and Faith have scrapped plans to go out on tour together so they can enjoy a residency here.

Jessica Simpson is a new mum. Simpson gave birth to a daughter named Maxwell Drew Johnson in Los Angeles on Tuesday, said publicist Lauren Auslander. Maxwell weighed 9 lbs 13 ounces (4.45 kg). It's the first child for 31-year-old Simpson and her 32-year-old fiance Eric Johnson, a former NFL player.
"We are so grateful for all of the love, support and prayers we have received," Simpson said in a statement on her website.
"This has been the greatest experience of our lives!!"  (AP)

ASCAP Writers celebrated a George Strait #1 Party this week to celebrate songwriters Chris Stapleton and Al Anderson along with publishers Sea Gayle Music Publishing, Small Fish Music, Big Yellow Dog Music, producer Tony Brown and UMG Nashville on George Strait’s latest hit single “Love’s Gonna Make It Alright”. This is ASCAP songwriter Chris Stapleton’s 4th #1 Song. His previous #1s are “Come Back Song” (Darius Rucker), “Never Wanted Nothing More” (Kenny Chesney), and “Your Man” (Josh Tuner). To date, Stapleton has had 12 Charting singles and cuts with many artists including Alan Jackson, Blake Shelton, Gary Allan, Miranda Lambert, Sheryl Crow, Brad Paisley, Adele, Lee Ann Womack, Dierks Bentley, Trace Adkins, and Tim McGraw.

Alan Jackson will take to the Grand Ole Opry stage on May 8 and give a sneak peek performance of selections from his upcoming album "Thirty Miles West" out June 5. This is Jackson's first disc under a deal between ACR (Alan's Country Records) and EMI Records Nashville. During a 30-minute set, Jackson will perform some of his greatest hits along with the new material

Mark D.Saunders

Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member Mark D. Sanders will take a seat at the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum on Saturday, May 26, as the latest subject of the quarterly programming series Poets and Prophets: Legendary Country Songwriters. He has written 14 No. 1 hits, 50 singles, and over 200 cuts  Sanders' body of work includes contemporary country classics such as "I Hope You Dance," "Heads Carolina, Tails California," "It Matters to Me" and "Blue Clear Sky." The list of artists who have recorded Sanders' songs reads like a who's who of country stars over the past 30 years: Trace Adkins, John Anderson, Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Lonestar, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Jo Dee Messina, John Michael Montgomery, George Strait, Josh Turner, Clay Walker, Lee Ann Womack and more.
Mark Daniel Sanders, born in Los Angeles in 1950, eased into songwriting after writing poetry in his teens and studying literature in college. After a stint as a teacher, Sanders became passionate about creating music and decided to try to make songwriting his profession when he was 29.
Sanders moved to Nashville in 1980 with his first bundle of original songs and landed a publishing deal with Acuff-Rose Publications in less than two years. His first cut was "A Matter of Wine" by Mel Tillis in 1983. Sanders worked as a substitute teacher and a tour bus driver while he honed his craft. After cuts by Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Kathy Mattea and others, Sanders began the 1990s with a song ("Victim of the Game") on Garth Brooks' blockbuster album No Fences. Soon came a long string of chart singles starting with "Mirror, Mirror" by Diamond Rio. Co-written with Bob DiPiero and John Jarrard, the song went to #3 on the Billboard country chart in 1991."Mirror, Mirror" was followed by "Runnin' Behind" (Tracy Lawrence), "Whatcha Gonna Do with a Cowboy" (Chris LeDoux and Garth Brooks) and "Money in the Bank" (John Anderson).

The mid-1990s were banner years for Sanders. He scored #1s with "(This Ain't) No Thinkin' Thing" (Trace Adkins), "No News" (Lonestar), "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter" (Reba McEntire),"Daddy's Money" (Ricochet), "Blue Clear Sky" (George Strait) and many others. Sanders won ASCAP's Country Songwriter of the Year honor in 1997, while on staff at McEntire's Starstruck Publishing.
Though Sanders has written some of the most popular contemporary country songs, his most-awarded song is the inspirational ballad "I Hope You Dance." Co-written with Tia Sillers and a chart topper for Lee Ann Womack for five consecutive weeks, the song won the Best Country Song Grammy in 2000 and was named Song of the Year by virtually every country music industry organization including ASCAP, BMI, NSAI, the CMA and the ACM. 

  Jewel will play country-music legend June Carter Cash in a Lifetime biopic about the former wife and musical partner of Johnny Cash, the network said Thursday.

The TV film, which bears the working title "The June Carter Cash Story," is based on her son John Carter Cash's book "Anchored in Love: An Intimate Portrait of June Carter Cash." The biopic will begin filming in early summer in Atlanta, for a premiere later this year.

Randy Houser joined Stoney Creek Records in late 2011. Named the Most Played New Artist of the Year in 2009 by Mediabase, previous hit singles include “Boots On,” “Whistlin’ Dixie” and “Anything Goes." Now he’s back with an upbeat, addictive new single, “How Country Feels,” impacting radio Monday, May 7. “How Country Feels” is Randy’s first single release on Stoney Creek Records and serves as a sneak-peek of what fans can expect from his third album that will hit stores later this year.
"My entire life has changed since my last single, I mean in every way," shares Randy. "I got married to my beautiful wife, have an amazing baby boy, and a passionate new label team that feels more like family.  One thing that has not changed though is my passion to make music and grow as an artist.  I'm so excited about 'How Country Feels' and the reaction I'm getting out on the road when playing it live”

Jerry Douglas will release a new album title TRAVELER on June 26.
From the press release: With Traveler, Jerry has finally recorded an album that will even further elevate his already impressive stature from super-sideman to a bona fide front-rank creator of musical Americana. Produced by Russ Titelman (Eric Clapton, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Ry Cooder, Little Feat, etc.), and recorded in New Orleans, Nashville, and London, this ambitious collection of vocals and instrumentals enlists a truly awesome cast of characters in support of an epic vision that combines Country/Bluegrass, R&B, and even a ballad with roots in the British Isles (Paul Simons The Boxer performed with Mumford & Sons and the song s composer.) Other highlights include two New Orleans classics--- Something You Got, with vocals and guitar by Eric Clapton; and High Blood Pressure, with vocals by Keb Mo and a gang of the Crescent City s finest including Dr. John.

Shawn Colvin, whose new album, ALL FALL DOWN, is due out June 5, will preview tracks from the album at NYC’s City Winery on June 4. The show will be broadcast live on New York's WFUV, 90.7 FM, streaming live at

NASHVILLE, Tenn., April 30 – 2012 is shaping up to be one of the busiest and most rewarding years of Kenny Rogers legendary career.
a) Kenny Rogers is currently putting the finishing touches on his first autobiography, scheduled for a fall 2012 release by HarperCollins. Jam-packed with fascinating stories from life on and off the stage, it’s bound to be one of the most talked about books this year. “I have to admit I've had an incredible life,” Rogers commented.“Once I started actually recalling some of the special moments, I was shocked as to how much fun it was for me.  I would hope that as you read this book, you get a sense of where I came from, who I am, and where I’m going.”
b) Rogers will take the Ford Theater stage as the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum’s 2012 Artist-in-Residence in Nashville on May 9th and 10th. c) He has also  joined the lineup for this year’s edition of the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival (June 7th-10th).  Kenny will also perform at this year’s CMA Music Festival in Nashville on June 9th
d) Kenny’s has added new tour dates in New Zealand and Australia.  e) Kenny’s most recent release, his first gospel album, THE LOVE OF GOD, became his 21st Top 10 country album here in North America.  The critically acclaimed album will be re-released under the new name Faith by Wrasse Records in Europe digitally on May 14th and in stores on May 28th.
f) Kenny will begin recording a brand new studio album this year with producer Dann Huff , Huff previously worked with Kenny on 2006’s Water & Bridges.

(CMA News - May 03, 2012) NASHVILLE – The reigning CMA Female Vocalist of the Year Miranda Lambert and fan favorite group Little Big Town have joined the performer lineup for the Nightly Concerts at LP Field held during 2012 CMA Music Festival. The event takes place Thursday through Sunday, June 7-10, in downtown Nashville, and will once again be filmed for an ABC television special to air in late summer.
Lambert will perform on Thursday, June 7, and Little Big Town will perform on Saturday, June 9. 
Also during the Nightly Concerts at LP Field, Sarah Darling, Nashville School of Arts Chamber Choir (under the directon of Walter Bitner), Oak Ridge Boys, and Julie Roberts will each perform the National Anthem.

The current lineups for the Nightly Concerts are as follows in alphabetical order:
Thursday, June 7:  Jason Aldean, Glen Campbell, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley, and Zac Brown Band. National Anthem performed by the Nashville School of Arts Chamber Choir (under the direction of Walter Bitner).
Friday, June 8:  The Band Perry, Brantley Gilbert, Ronnie Milsap, Jake Owen, Blake Shelton, and Carrie Underwood. National Anthem performed by the Oak Ridge Boys.
Saturday, June 9:  Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Hunter Hayes, Faith Hill, Little Big Town, and Kenny Rogers. National Anthem performed by Julie Roberts.
Sunday, June 10: Dierks Bentley, Alan Jackson, The Mavericks, Martina McBride, Scotty McCreery, and Rascal Flatts. National Anthem performed by Sarah Darling.

NASHVILLE – May 1, 2012
Beginning June 11, the legendary Nashville band The Time Jumpers will relocate from the Station Inn, where it has performed nearly every Monday night since June 9, 1999, to the recently renovated and enlarged 3rd & Lindsley nightclub near downtown Nashville.  
The band is making the change primarily to accommodate audiences that have been growing since it was nominated for two Grammy awards in 2008.  Fans are now routinely turned away for lack of seating. 
"We are looking forward to making 3rd & Lindsley our new home,” says bandleader Kenny Sears. “The larger venue will enable us to accommodate our fans in a more comfortable way.  We are so grateful to [owner] J. T. Gray and the Station Inn for taking a chance on us 13 years ago and giving us a place to play our music.  Leaving here is truly like leaving home." 
The Time Jumpers is made up of prominent studio and touring musicians.  The 11-member western swing band is comprised of Kenny Sears, Joe Spivey, Vince Gill, “Ranger” Doug Green, Andy Reiss, Paul Franklin, Dennis Crouch, Larry Franklin, Dawn Sears, Jeff Taylor and Billy Thomas.

Julie Roberts Artwork
As a part of the University of South Carolina's (USC) 'Carolina Promise' campaign, USC alum and country music artist Julie Roberts has written and recorded "Sweet Carolina," a special song honoring her home state and beloved University.

"I went to the University of South Carolina-Lancaster my first two years of college and received an amazing education and strong foundation for the rest of my life," she says. Co-written and produced by Jason Collum, "Sweet Carolina" gives Roberts a way to help out the campaign and honor the place she calls home. This new song is currently available for purchase on CD Baby

'Dark Corners: The Appalachian Ballad'—by Julyan Davis exhibited at Greenville County Museum of Art
An excellent art exhibit is happening in Greenville, South Carolina.
British artist Julyan Davis has painted the South for more than twenty years—empty rooms in abandoned mansions, state fairs, vanishing scenes from the Outer Banks to the Delta.
The Greenville County Museum of Art showcases his exciting new focus on Appalachian love songs and murder ballads.
This exhibit runs from May 5 through July 1st. It will continue to Morris Museum in Augusta Georgia.

From the release:
“Has love ever made you want to throw yourself off a bridge, or throw someone else off a bridge?” Davis asks. “These paintings interpret some of the South’s oldest songs, placing them in modern day settings to remind us that nothing really changes. Lovers still fall prey to despair and suicide, or end up in the crime report.”
Such music drew Davis to the South directly from art school in London. He’s brought its colorful culture and history alive on canvas ever since.
“Sometimes it takes an outsider to draw attention to the strangeness of the everyday,” Davis says, “The British director Ridley Scott made telephone poles beautiful in 'Thelma and Louise.'  That’s what I seek in my work: to find the sublime hidden in the familiar, the revelatory moment that comes at us without warning.
As for the ballad series, well, this music is close to my heart.  I inherited an enthusiasm for it from my father. With their Celtic origins, these songs have provided my connection to the Southern landscape since my arrival here half my life ago.”

About Julyan Davis:  Is is an English-born artist who now resides permanently in the South. Not long after he arrived in the States, he found his way to Savannah and Charleston. Having arrived from the Georgian city of Bath, the history of these two Southern cities, with their comparable architecture, was a real pleasure.
He received his art training at the Byam Shaw School of Art in London. In 1988, having completed his B.A. in painting and printmaking, he traveled to the South on a painting trip that was also inspired by an interest in the history of Demopolis, Alabama and its settling by Bonapartist exiles. Davis is known for his paintings of the Low Country of South Carolina and Georgia, Western North Carolina and the Coast of Maine.

Go and do the best you can"—Oil on canvas 60x72 – Painting Image - YouTube
Inspired by traditional folk song "Little Maggie," which is part of a family of white blues songs found in the Appalachian region in the late 1800s. "Little Maggie" has been recorded by artists including the Stanley Brothers, The Kingston Trio, Doc Watson, Bill Monroe and Ricky Skaggs.

View the Murder Ballads Gallery on Facebook or watch the Appalachian Ballads Slideshow at
Julyan Davis Fine Art
By Her Lily White Hand

"By her lily white hand" — on canvas 36x38  (Left

Inspired by 19th century murder ballad "Banks of Ohio." The first recording of the song was by Red Patterson's Piedmont Log Rollers in 1927.
It has been recorded many times since then by artists including The Carter Family, Pete Seeger, Johnny Cash, Porter Wagoner, Doc Watson, Joan Baez and Olivia Newton-John.

I took her by her pretty white hand
I let her down that bank of sand
I pushed her in where she would drown
Lord, I saw her as she floated down

Darling say that you'll be mine
In our home we'll happy be
Down beside where the waters flow
On the banks of the Ohio

Returning home about twelve or one
Thinking "Lord, what a deed I've done?"
I killed the girl I love, you see
Because she would not marry me

Banks of the Ohio - Bill Monroe & Doc Watson >>   YouTube

Multi-platinum country star and true American Patriot, Lee Greenwood, offers his personal insights into America’s challenges and her future in his inspiring new book, “Does God Still Bless the U.S.A.? A Plea for a Better America” set for publication May 14, 2012 by Tate Publishing.  The compelling 216-page softcover publication includes a special 30-day devotional “Prayers of a Patriot,” written by Greenwood’s wife, Kim.

Also included with purchase are two exclusive free downloads, a brand new version of “God Bless the U.S.A.” and “Show Me the Way,” available through

American Songwriter caught up with Jaren Johnston between writing appointments and rehearsals with the new band he has formed. Keith Urban (“You Gonna Fly”) , Sara Evans (“Anywhere”) Meatloaf, and Jack Mannequin have cut Johnston’s tunes with Kenny Chesney, Dierks Bentley, and Tim McGraw cuts coming out in 2012, he is a pretty happy guy!

Since winning American Idol in 2005, Carrie Underwood has become one of the most popular country artists in the business. At the age of 29, she is tied with country legend Reba McEntire as the Female Country Artist with the most number one hits on the Billboard charts. Not bad for a girl from Checotah, Okla. Underwood's fourth record, and it's a little darker than her previous work. In a line on the title track, Underwood sings, "There's not enough wind in Oklahoma to rip the nails out of the past."
"The song is a story about a girl and her father," Underwood explains. "The song describes him as a 'mean old mister' — and you can kind of make that as bad as you want it to be. The daughter can feel a storm coming, and she just wishes it would wash her past away, and in doing so, take her father along. So it's a very deep, dark story.' "To be able to explore that side and kind of have a little more drama, a little more ominous weather going on in the album, is really nice," she adds.
Carrie Underwood speaks with NPR's Guy Raz about the making of BLOWN AWAY, her Idol audition, and why she still drives the same >>   Audio Link have an exclusive Q and A with Marty Stuart. He talks about the new Album, “Forgotten” People, and Johnny Cash

Carrie Underwood: 'Blown Away' and crossing over USA TODAY Interview - Video Link

NPR First Listen - Like her former Nickel Creek bandmate Chris Thile, Sara Watkins paints on a canvas called roots music, only to delve into any number of adjacent genres. Sara Watkins' new album, SUN MIDNIGHT SUN, comes out May 8 on the Nonesuch Label. Listen to it in full - HERE

Glasgow duo Raintown perform “Falling Backwards” live in Stockport Plaza >>   YouTube

Currently #6 on the Bilboard Hot Country Songs Chart it you got a minute check out
Zac Brown Band’s official video for “No Hurry” >>  YouTube

The former American Idol victor Carrie Underwood is a match for the pop vixens in the US charts but says there is a limit to how far she’d go to get attention - I don’t ever want to do  anything that might embarrass my children someday so I try to keep that in mind,’ the country singer told Metro, as she plans her June show at London’s Royal Albert Hall. ‘There are a lot of impressionable people that watch and I want to try and set a positive example.’
Her fame is in good hands anyway, as she shares a manager with the Beckhams. But what about our other famous exports?
I don’t really know of One Direction’s music but I hear them everywhere,’ the 29-year-old said. ‘They’re definitely making a splash.’
We just take the best of all genres of music and make them fit my country world,’ she said. ‘We’d love to bring some country all over the globe

The Clampetts memorialized in sand at Merlefest 2012 - photo © Jason Lombard - Photo – See the rest of the Merlefest slideshow

Miranda Lambert and friends at The Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs Saturday, May 5, 2012, in Louisville (AP Photo)

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