Saturday, 22 September 2012

Country Bites News snippets September 17 – September 21, 2012

Country Bites News snippets September 17 – September 21, 2012

Links / Sources shown in RED

UK & IRISH News
Pig Earth, the Middlesex based Acoustic/Alternative Folk/Americana band, have compiled a nice video of photographs taken at 2012 festivals including: Wembley Arena, Wolvestock, Americana International, Norfolk Country Music festival, Broken Spoke and more   >>  YouTube

Watch The Haleys new video “'Til I Can Gain Control Again” recorded by Malcolm Mason of Borderway productions, in Cumbria.
The song is from their latest album WHEN I REACH THE PLACE I'M GOING. View it on their Facebook Page

Irish singer songwriter Pete Kennedy updates us in this edited interview with his manager and CMR Nashville station head Lee Williams about his new single and video, acceptance in Ireland, forthcoming tour with Neil Sedaka and The Stylistics, his take on his Album of the Year BCMAward and the recent Americana Awards  >>  Audio  

Dane Stevens with his new single “I've Got My Work Cut Out” went from #3 to Top the Hotdisc British & Irish Independent Chart (16 Sept). It stands at #3 on the Hotdisc Top 40

Irish star Tom Allen, aka TR Dallas, is celebrating the return of the TV series by re-releasing his big hit, “Who Shot JR”? !

Mike Denver has released a new DVD capturing the magic of and his “fabulous band”. It begins with “Wasn't That A Party” and, by the end of the video, its hoped fans agree it certainly was a live dancing scene party brought right into the dance hall. Recorded in The Glencarn Hotel Castleblaney it has 23 tracks including "Paddy", "The Boston Rose"and "Thank God For The Radio" - Details

Eve Selis and her guitarist Marc Intravaia are coming back over to tour starting Sept 27. They will to be playing England, Wales, Ireland and France this time round. Irish dates are finally happening thanks to their agent Bob Paterson and friends Rick and Chrissy from Blackheart. There are 4 dates in Ireland, a festival in France and 5 dates in the UK. – Details at www.eveselis.com

UK COUNTRY ALBUM RELEASES
(18 Sept 2012) Easton Corbin - All Over The Road (Mercury) - Amazon UK CD Format

(18 Sept 2012) Dwight Yoakam - 3 Pears (Warner Bros. Records) - Amazon UK CD Format

(18 Sept 2012) Big & Rich - Hillbilly Jedi (Warner Bros) - Amazon UK CD Format

(18 Sept 2012) Bart Crow – Dandelion (Smith Music) Time: 53:16

(18 Sept 2012) Anderson East - Flowers of the Broken Hearted (Indie & Alternative) Time: 59:13

AMERICANA NEWS
The Americana Music Association celebrated thier most successful event to date as attendance and registrations soared. This year, for the first time, the sold-out Americana Music Honors & Awards program aired live nationally on AXS TV, broadcast via SiriusXM, WSM radio, and streamed by NPR.org (Listen back - NPR archived webcast). You can listen to highlights on BBC Radio 2’s Bob Harris Country here . Bob was backstage chatting to the winners & with exclusive live performances.

Americana Music Festival 2012

Fueled by musical legends Bonnie Raitt, Booker T. Jones and Richard Thompson, the next generation of stars including Alabama Shakes, Punch Brothers and John Fullbright, along with music industry heavyweights, the 2012 Americana Music Festival and Conference, presented by Nissan, saw over 15,000 fans, 300 performing artists and more than 1,100 music industry professionals, all of whom participated in the unparalleled five day celebration of American Roots inspired music.
I have never been more optimistic about the future in my 20 years in the music industry,” said Jed Hilly, Executive Director of the Americana Music Association, “The passion for this music and the community spirit we experienced last week was mind blowing”.
The Americana Music Association has chosen September 18-22, 2013 for their annual Festival & Conference to take place once again in Nashville, Tennessee.

Jim Lauderdale and Buddy Miller are now they’re teaming up for a new album of their own, BUDDY & JIM. The project arrives in independent record stores on Nov. 23, followed by a worldwide release on New West Records on Dec. 11
Listen to an exclusive track on CMT Edge — “I Lost My Job of Loving You.”

AUSSIE NEWS
Dwight Yoakam comes to Australia for an east coast tour in November, with special guest Australian country superstar Lee Kernaghan coming along for the ride. Dwight will play shows in Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Tamworth, Wollongong, Townsville, Rockhampton, Brisbane and Toowoomba. Joining Dwight for these shows will be very special guest Lee Kernaghan - the dynamic musician, songwriter and beloved Aussie country rocker.
I’m so excited to bring Dwight Yoakam back to Australia and give him the opportunity to play to fans not only in the big cities but also to his many regional fans,” said promoter Andrew McManus. “Dwight is one of the most talented singer-songwriters to come out of America and with the legendary Aussie Lee Kernaghan as our very special guest, fans can expect a stellar show."

Joe Nichols will make his fourth visit to Australia this September to perform at the Deni Ute Muster on Saturday 29 and special concerts in Sydney (Evan Theatre) on Wednesday 26 and Tamworth (Regional Entertainment and Convention Centre) on Friday 28.
The CMA award winner, whose catalogue of hits includes “Brokenheartsville” and “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off”

Lee Kernaghan has released the title track of his brand-new album, BEAUTIFUL NOISE, as the first single from the record.
Kernaghan says “Beautiful Noise is a song about a red dirt dream, a big V8 and the promise of an open road. It’s also about having your girl there with you and the beating of her heart when you hold her close - it’s a Beautiful Noise!” .
The Beautiful Noise album is released on October 19 through ABC Music/Universal Music Australia and signed copies with a special bonus DVD featuring two performances from CMC Rocks The Hunter 2012. Listen to the Audio – Bears resemblance to / inspired by U2”s Beautiful Day don’t ya think ???  

CANADIAN NEWS
Jetty Road had their hands imprinted for the Merritt Walk of Stars, the Country Music Capital of Canada. The only other Aussie to have done this is Keith Urban. - Photo

Victoria Banks, brought her talents to Hagerstown on Tuesday, Sept. 18, when she opens this season of the Hagerstown Community Concert Association at The Maryland Theatre in Washington Country on a US Acoustic tour. She has shared the stage with Reba McEntire, Randy Travis and Lonestar. And in 2010, she won top honors in both the Female Vocalist and Songwriter of the Year categories at the Canadian Country Music Awards.
Victoria has a bachelor's degree in zoology. After her job in a fishery was eliminated, she moved to Nashville, Tenn., to become a songwriter. "I earned a bachelor's degree in zoology from the University of Toronto and I spent my summers working in the Fisheries Unit in the Muskoka Lakes area, where I grew up, in northern Ontario," she said. "In my graduating year, there was an election and the new premier for the province axed all of the funding and shut down the unit. Instead of a full-time job waiting for me at graduation, I had a blank slate."
Banks now aged 39, said it was terrifying. "But it also was very freeing," she said. "So I asked myself if I could do anything, what would it be? And the answer was songwriting."

BLUEGRASS NEWS
Ricky Skaggs will be honoured in Nashville by the Academy of Country Music (ACM). On Monday, September 24, at the 6th Annual ACM Honors ceremony held at the historic Ryman Auditorium, Skaggs will be presented with the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award. "I'm very honored to receive the ACM Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award this year,” notes Skaggs.  It means a lot to an artist to be recognized for their work. I very much appreciate this award." (Absolute Publicity )

Jim Lauderdale is set to release his 21st recording on September 25, a new bluegrass album called CAROLINA MOONRISE.
Like his previous grass projects, Jim has again teamed up with Randy Kohrs, who produced and engineered, and also provided reso-guitar. And like Jim’s most recent prior release, Reason And Rhyme, Randy assembled a crack band of Nashville super-pickers, using the same bunch for each track to get a “band feel” in the studio. Assisting are Scott Vestal on banjo, Josh Williams on guitar, Tim Crouch on fiddle, Jay Weaver on bass and Aaron Ramsey on mandolin.

NEWS
After weeks of speculation and rumors it is finally official, Keith Urban will be joining "American Idol" for it's next season. Urban will be joining Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Randy Jackson on the judging panel for the 12th season of the talent competition. Urban is said to be earning about $4 million for his stint on the show. Enrique Iglesias was in final talks to join the judging panel as well, but there was never an agreement met.

Keith Urban
American Idol Panel


"With an unparalleled star like Mariah, fan-favorite Randy, chart-toppers like Nicki and Keith and our incomparable host Ryan [Seacrest], we’ve put together one of the most exciting judging panels around,” said Fox’s Mike Darnell in a statement.
Keith says that he plans to keep his judging authentic and he will not be cruel to the competitors. "I did similar shows when I was very young in Australia," Urban tells CBS, "and I was sort of crucified by one judge. So I don't know that I'll ever be THAT guy."
 Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler announced their departure from the hit TV talent show in July.
 The judging panel is now moving back to four judges as in earlier seasons, to hopefully prove more competitive against shows like "The Voice" and "X Factor"

Hippie Annie is getting hitched ! so no more single Annies! Ashley Monroe, one-third of critically-acclaimed country trio, Pistol Annies, is engaged. The angelic-voiced singer made the announcement via Twitter Friday night (Sept. 14), along with a photo of her gorgeous engagement ring and another picture from the scene of the proposal: a bed with 'Will you marry me?' spelled out in rose petals: Ashley Monroe I said yes.. IM ENGAGED TO MY JOHN DANKS!!!! BEST NIGHT OF MY LIFE!!!!

John Danks is a pitcher with the Chicago White Sox. The left-hander signed with the team in 2007 and has proven a star player with 135 strike outs last year. He is benched this season due to shoulder surgery.

Craig Campbell’s addictive new single “Outta My Head is now impacting on country radio today. The neo-traditionalist singer is heading across the pond for back-to-back shows at The Gstaad Festival in Switzerland. While Campbell has previously toured in Australia, this will mark Campbell’s first-ever performance in Europe, where he’ll join Martina McBride for the popular festival in the Swiss Alps.

Songwriter and producer Allen Reynolds has been chosen by the Country Music Hall of Fame as the subject of this quarter's Poets and Prophets: Legendary Songwriters salute. Reynolds will be the subject of a ninety-minute program at the museum on Saturday, October 6 the presentation will be streamed live at countrymusichalloffame.org.
Reynolds has written numerous hit songs for both pop and country artists including:
I Saw Linda Today (Dickey Lee), Five O'Clock World (Vogues), Dreaming My Dreams (Waylon Jennings), Ready For the Good Times to Get Better, Somebody Loves You (both Crystal Gayle) and Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses (Kathy Mattea).
Reynolds has produced every album by Garth Brooks, except for his Chris Gaines release, and ten albums for Crystal Gayle.
He has four CMA awards, five ACM awards and is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame (2000).

Mother of ‘Ronan’ reveals how Taylor Swift surprised her . Last week, Taylor Swift touched hearts when she performed the song ‘Ronan,’ at the Stand Up to Cancer Telethon. She wrote the song about Ronan Thompson, 3, who died of a neuroblastoma. The tender-hearted singer was inspired to pen the tune after stumbling upon his mother Maya’s intensely personal blog posts about her son’s trials and tribulations with the disease, which claimed his life just days short of his fourth birthday.

She called me a week before to tell me about the song,” Thompson told MTV News. “I was very surprised, to say the least. I heard it for the first time the night it was on TV.”
Swift was considerate and requested permission to perform the song, since the lyrics are direct quotes from Thompson’s blog, which earned the grieving mother a writing credit.
It’s pretty much the words from my blog,” Thompson said. “Listening to it was very emotional and I was blown away by how she got it. She got it in a way that most people don’t. She took the time to take the intimate parts of things I’d written and put them into the song.”
While Thompson conceded that Swift’s performance struck a nerve and that “it’s hard to hear,” she was moved by the sensitivity with which Swift handled the material. “She did it in such a beautiful way and it touched so many people,” Thompson said. “She got it right to a T. She really took the time to go through each thing I’ve written and she got it 100 percent right.” When Thompson met Swift at two Phoenix shows in November, the singer was crying, since she was so affected by the blog posts. “She said she’d been reading our story and said she was so inspired by the love I had for Ronan,” Thompson revealed. “I had a moment when I thought, ‘This girl’s too good to be true.’ But she’s not. What you see is what you get. She’s that kind-hearted.”

Taylor Swift is one of the top nominees at the MTV Europe Music Awards. She’s up for five awards, including best female, best pop, best live and best world stage. Swift is also nominated in the new category: best look, which recognizes artists for their personal style. Rihanna leads the nominations with six. Fans can vote for the winners at MTVema.com. The EMAs will air live on November 11th from Frankfurt, Germany.

Taylor Swift  is headed to Las Vegas for the iHeartRadio Music Festival on Saturday (Sept 22) ... the biggest live music event in radio history! details at iheartradio.com/vegas

The guys of Rascal Flatts are still having to defend their place in country music despite 12 years of hit after chart-topping hit, 22 million albums sold and dozens of accolades,...."People would say, 'Why are you guys in country music? You look like you're in the Backstreet Boys.' We took so much heat," bassist Jay DeMarcus laments to Variety magazine. "We always said, 'It's not about hats and Wrangler Jeans. It's about a state of mind. Country is in our souls."…Read more at www.theboot.com

Rascal Flatts weres in Hollywood, CA on Monday (9/17) to receive the Walk of Fame’s 2,480th star from the city’s Chamber of Commerce. Songwriter David Foster, who will receive his own star in 2013, was invited to say a few words about the trio. “When I first put on ‘Prayin’ For Daylight,’ I knew they were going to be a force to be reckoned with,” said Foster. “I think they are just getting started. Thank you for always giving so much.”

There's good news for Tim McGraw and his record label, Big Machine, in regards to the singer's ongoing legal battle with his former label home, Curb Records. The Tennessean newspaper is reporting that Davidson County Chancellor Russell Perkins ruled that Big Machine will not be required (at this time, at least) to provide Curb with various documents and emails regarding the company's association with the "Truck Yeah" singer.Curb was seeking the documents to solidify its claim that Tim had violated his contract with the label and to determine how much it should be paid for damages. However, Perkins determined that some of the requested information could be confidential, and therefore detrimental to Big Machine's business

Carrie Underwood launched the much-anticipated North American leg of her “Blown Away Tour” this past weekend to enthusiastic capacity crowds at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, NH (Friday, September 14) and Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, CT (Saturday, September 15). Click here for LIVE PHOTOS & VIDEO from the shows

Lauren Alaina will make her way, inch by inch, to her 18th birthday (Nov 8) when she embarks on an 18-city tour in support of her current single “Eighteen Inches.” Lauren is teaming up with local charities and the Special Olympics to donate a portion of each sale of her limited edition 18-City Inch-By-Inch Tour t-shirt. Lauren is trying to make a difference city-by-city, inch-by-inch.
Eighteen Inches,” co-written by Carrie Underwood, Kelley Lovelace and Ashley Gorley, has hit the Top 40 on the country singles chart (currently stands at #40 on The Hot Country Songs Chart) and is steadily rising.

Back on September 8th, Toby Keith performed in Houston, Texas where he surprised a young lady by bringing her up on stage before singing American Soldier. Toby asked her about her husband, Major Pete Cruz, who she said was currently stationed in Afghanistan. Little did the misses know, however, that Toby had actually brought her up in front of thousands of screaming fans to do more than just sing to her – Video / Article

SINGLE / ALBUM NEWS
Faith Hill’s new single “American Heart” is already at radio in advance of an album that promises a perfect blend of the Mississippi Girl’s influences. It is written by Jonathan Singleton, Jim Beavers and produced by Byron Gallimore with Faith
Faith Hill-
Artwork American Heart

I came from the church, and I am a soul singer,” Hill explains. “And I have tried for so many years to figure out how to mesh the two worlds together – my love of country music that’s been my backbone [and soul.] To bring those two worlds together in a way that is authentic and true, to me, that’s the most important thing. I want it to be from me and honest. I feel like I’ve accomplished that.”
And it beats like a drum down in New Orleans /Sings like a Motown melody / It dreams like California/ Bigger than the Texas sky
It bleeds / It scars / But it shines when times get hard / And you can’t break an American heart 
 >>  LISTEN

Brad Paisley has released his new single, “Southern Comfort Zone,” to country radio. The thought provoking single was written by Paisley, Chris DuBois and Kelley Lovelace, the powerhouse writing team that penned previous No. 1 hits, “Water,” “Online” and “Remind Me,” for Paisley. The song itself is about “the bigger picture” and getting out of one’s comfort zone.  Paisley says he didn’t personally choose the track as the new single — his record label did. Lyrically, he says it’s less “cut and dried” than anything else he’s written and musically it “blends a lot styles.”   >> Audio Sample

Brad Paisley has provided vocals and guitar to "Merry Christmas Baby," a track on Colbie Caillat's upcoming holiday album. Set for release Oct. 23 on Republic Records, Christmas in the Sand includes her collaboration with Gavin DeGraw on another classic, "Baby, It's Cold Outside.

Gary Allan’s next album, SET YOU FREE, will be released in early 2013. Take a listen to Gary Allan's new single 'Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain)'  >>  YouTube


Dwight Yoakam’s 26th studio album 3 PEARS, produced by Dwight along with two songs co-produced with Beck, was released this week to critical acclaim. A special Target stores exclusive version of the CD also includes 2 bonus songs, covers of The Bee Gee’s “To Love Somebody” and Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.
Here are a few quotes/reviews:
“Yoakam’s first release in seven years is a smashing return … Pears mingles honky-tonk, rock, pop (the Bee Gee’s “To Love Somebody”!), and even two cuts co-produced by Beck with great, adventurous warmth.” – Entertainment Weekly
“[3 Pears] has got hard shuffles, trebly guitars, steel-guitar solos, strong chorus hooks. It locates some measure of cool within old obsessions…but doesn’t want to be contained. The voices are loud, the guitars are louder.” – New York Times
“3 Pears [is Yoakam’s] strong new collection, one of his finest overall.” – Washington Post
“Yoakam remains one of the most consistently interesting country music visionaries of his time.” – Associated Press

Mark Knopfler, whose new 2-CD album PRIVATEERING was recently released in the U.K. The album, his first studio double album of his 35 year career, takes it's title from British naval history and is an ode to his independent spirit, is made up of 20 original songs and can be described as "a soulful and heartfelt collection". The title track has an expected folk twist, there’s country blues on “Miss You Blues”, “Corned Beef City” has a bit of Sonny Landreth/ Money For Nothing-ish rock vibe to it whilst “Kingdom of Gold” pocesses a quiet Celtic-tinged beauty.
American mandolin supremo Tim O'Brien appears alongside many other world-class musicians including familiar session players:.
Richard Bennett (guitars, bouzouki, and tiple), Glenn Worf (bass guitar, string bass), Jim Cox (piano, organ) , Paul Franklin (pedal steel guitar and Ruth Moody (The Wailin' Jennys) guests on vocals.
Mark Knopfler discusses his new album in a video at www.telegraph.co.uk
Mark Knopfler's seventh solo outing is a ”backwoods ramble through two discs of the rootsy Anglo-American sounds”, writes Helen Brown.  It is available at Amazon UK CD Format - Amazon UK MP3 Dowloads
In other matters Knopfler is involved in the saving of African rhinoceros whose horns have become a highly prized item on the black market. The poaching of these majestic animals have made their number dwindle to a crisis level in Africa because of the horn's use in Chinese medicine and for knife handles. Mark posted an impassioned plea on his website asking for help in saving the rhino
I'll never forget the day my father came home from work to tell us that one of his colleagues, a supposedly educated man, had said: 'What do I care if the rhino becomes extinct?" I was a young teenager then and today this is a very real danger. Due to man's greed we may well lose these amazing animals forever. A kilogram of rhino horn is now worth $75,000 on the street in the East. Last year 463 rhino were poached in South Africa and this year over 340 so far.

Taylor Swift‘s next album RED hits digital shelves in just about four weeks (October 22), and in advance of the release she has teamed up with iTunes and ABC for a massive roll-out campaign. During each of the next four weeks Swift will release one song from the album on iTunes, preceded by a preview of the song on Good Morning America (GMA).

The grand unveiling begins September 24 on GMA with a peek at the first track and an introduction by Swift herself. That night at midnight the track will be available for purchase on iTunes. This combination effort will continue on Monday (GMA) and Tuesday (iTunes) of each of the following three weeks, concluding with a Swift performance on GMA the day after RED drops
>>   YouTube
For fans who download any of these pre-release singles and they can buy the full album on iTunes for a discounted price on the 22nd October.
Taylor Nation have announced a special opportunity for the UK Swifties. Pre-order the exclusive ZinePak edition from the Official UK Store and you could win the trip of a lifetime to meet Taylor and see her perform in New York. This special ZinePak format includes the bonus track album plus a 70-page booklet full of great photos and stories on the making of 'Red'.
Additional there are 3 different CD PreSale Packages available: Bonus, Deluxe or Ultimate packages –
The Ultimate Package not only includes Taylor's eagerly anticipated new album, RED, a Taylor Swift Logo Sticker, (1) RED Rubber Bracelet, a Special Note from Taylor, and a Tervis hot & cold cup featuring RED album artwork, but also a beautifully woven, fully colored RED Album Cover Blanket. Also, this amazing package includes the ultimate collector's item, a RED CD insert personally hand-signed by Taylor Swift with a permanent marker layered on top of a heavy stock, high-quality print featuring the "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" album art sized at 14" x 14", finished with a black matte frame. Available for $169.99

For smaller pockets the Red [Deluxe Edition] CD with includes six bonus tracks  (three new songs and three remixes).

DVD News
According to ABC News Radio, Lady Antebellum will release a live DVD, filmed at a show in Little Rock, Ark. The CAPITOL NASHVILLE trio in this new documentary-style DVD will show fans what life is like on the road for the group. “OWN THE NIGHTDVD will be a combination of candid footage and live concert coverage.
The trio is excited to share more than just performance footage on the project - "To me, the most entertaining parts of watching things and bands is what goes on behind-the-scenes," the group's Charles Kelley tells ABC News Radio. "So, there's a lot of that. It's almost a little documentary-style slash concert DVD." No release date has yet to be revealed,

BOOK
Kenny Rogers will release his autobiography, Luck or Something Like It, on October 2 via William Morrow.
Rogers has taken particular pride in his new book (see video below) because he wrote it himself, in his own voice, avoiding any misinterpretations of his career that can come when using a ghost writer. He talks of his childhood in the Houston projects and his father's alcoholism. Kenny credits the latter with his ability to avoid the common pitfalls of abuse that befall so many in music.

He also talks about his mother's wisdom and work ethic, something that he has used throughout his career even when facing adversity such as the breakup of the First Edition and the various valleys in his music popularity. See clip on YouTube
Details: ISBN-10: 0062071815, Hardcover: 336 pages, available 20 Oct 2012 at Amazon UK and Amazon.com

Dolly Parton is to release DREAM MORE, her new book of inspirational wisdom. She shares her deeply held philosophy of life in, to be released by Putnam in November 2012. The book is an exploration of the personal and spiritual philosophy she has lived by over the course of her extraordinary career. The blurb reads: “It is a funny, poignant and uplifting anthem for people who want to take charge of their lives and forge a future on their own terms” (Webster PR)
Details: Hardcover: 128 pages / ISBN-10: 0399162488 available on Amazon UK from 27 Nov 2012

PRESS RELEASES
The legendary Oak Ridge Boys will be filling the holiday season with the celebrated sounds of their Christmas Time’s A-Coming CD (Gaither Gospel Series). The album is set to launch on September 25th. An exclusive version of the CD is now available at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store®. For more information read this Webster & Associates Press Release

Curb Records have announced its launch of popular recordings from LeAnn Rimes (Special 3 CD Package),Tim McGraw (Classic Collection, Greatest Hits), Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers (Classic Collection), The Judds (Classic Collection) and Wayne Newton (Classic Collection). They are now available at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® locations along with two exclusive CD projects by Wynonna and Rodney Atkins. All projects retail for $11.99 (Curb Records - September 19, 2012)

ARTICLES
Jason Aldean is Billboard's latest cover story "Stacking Paper Country style"…"Last year kind of took us by storm. We felt like we had a great record [in "My Kinda Party"], we felt like we had some big hits on it, but I don't think any of us expected things to explode like they did.

Introduction: Back in 1966, John Sebastian noted in his song “Nashville Cats,” that “there’s thirteen hundred and fifty-two guitar pickers in Nashville,” each of whom “played clean as country water.” Years later, he recalled, with a laugh, someone “with too much time on their hands” went through the local AFM book from 1966 and found out “I was only 30 off.”

In the 46 years since The Lovin’ Spoonful made history for themselves and for Music City with that song, that number has obviously grown. Many guitarists have come and gone, dreamed and died, which makes the task of deciding a consensus “best ever” picker to play Country Music a tough one. Still, it’s worth trying to do, particularly with the aid and counsel of some of those heralded Nashville Cats themselves. Read thoughts on Hank Garland, Grady Martin, Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed and James Burton.

Can Country Music Make a Comeback on New York Radio?
Extract: Artists like Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift (left), and Carrie Underwood have made country music stronger than ever. The Country explosion is part of today’s reality TV. Blake Shelton is a judge on NBC’s The Voice, and the multi-platinum selling Keith Urban just signed on for season 12 of American Idol. Country music is one of the most popular radio formats with more than 2,000 stations playing that music across the “country.” It accounts for approximately 20 percent of all commercial music formats nationwide. Despite its popularity, the genre hasn’t cracked the New York market for years.
Each time an FM station flips format or purchases a New York City dial position, the new opportunity for Country is overlooked.
..........New York, which has been in the radio biz for more than 90 years, has had just a smattering of full-time Country stations. WHN made the flip in 1973. Prior to that, only WJRZ in neighboring Hackensack, New Jersey, and Mineola-based WTHE, gave listeners the Nashville twang.  Read more - www.mediabistro.com

Country music with horns? Yes! Which is one reason Jerrod Niemann's new album is called "FREE THE MUSIC."
It's not a political statement. It's part of his learning process.
"I'm so excited," Niemann said of his fourth album, being released Oct. 2. "I just keep educating myself. I have respect for country music's history. Man, you know, one of the biggest misconceptions is horns. People aren't aware of it. Country music people are educated on the pedal-steel guitar. But it wasn't invented 'til 1948."
However, Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys shook things up in 1944 - deploying horns on "New San Antonio Rose."....As a country music fan, I wanna know about the old technology," said Niemann, 33, who grew up surrounded by steel guitar- and fiddle-flecked stylings in southwest Kansas. "In college, I was basically a country-music major. I was interested in song writing and I studied it."....Progressive producer David Brainard helped Niemann record "Free the Music" the way it once was done in Nashville.
They adopted a "totally analog state of mind" to achieve an "organic feel" by adapting old-school reel-to-reel tape and digital technology……There are horns on every track and Jerrod uses them to help power eight-man band. - Full Story

INTERVIEWS
Brad Paisley spoke with the Tennessean’s Cindy Watts about “Southern Comfort Zone,” the first single from his next album, which drops April 9.

Brad Paisley
Single Art


Extract: He admits He’s nervous.Thursday night the singer released “Southern Comfort Zone,” the debut single from his yet-to-be-titled album, to country radio. He knows the song, which incorporates everything from the voice of Eddie Stubbs to the Brentwood Baptist Church choir, sounds different than anything he’s released up to this point.
He didn’t write it to be commercial, but rather to set the tone for his upcoming album, which is due in stores April 9.

Now, it’s the song that fans will hear first. As for what “Southern Comfort Zone” is about, the singer is hesitant to say, because he says he thinks it will mean different things to different people......The song is one of about 14 tracks Paisley and his band have recorded in a farmhouse the singer recently turned into a studio on his Williamson County property. About half of those songs probably will be featured on the new album, which Paisley chose to makeas raw as possible.

Kathy Mattea Comes Home on New Album - Singer Shares Memories of Hit-Making Years in 1980s and 1990s with CMT.com
Extract: Kathy Mattea's home state of West Virginia inspired her compelling new album, Calling Me Home. Even though she's no longer striving for country radio success, she considers her current music-making approach to be similar to her hit-making heyday in the 1980s and 1990s. "Really, the process that I am doing right now is really no different than the process I ever did. I have come to understand in my commercial years it's just really lucky to be on a record label that let me be me," says Mattea, who charted 16 Top 10 country hits in her award-winning career.
Speaking about the new album, released on independent label Sugar Hill Records, Mattea notes, "It's like finding in the back of your closet your favorite old pair of jeans and finding that they still fit. It doesn't feel like a departure. It feels like a continuation and a return home all at the same time."...........For the artists who are scrambling so hard now, do you ever want to reach out and tell them anything? Or to say, "Enjoy it"?  I did a gig with Taylor Swift early on, and she opened for me. I think she was still in high school, and I said, "Are you having any kind of life?" And she said, "Yeah, and it's a darn good one, too!" And I thought, "This one is different, and she wears it so well." ……More

LISTEN
You can listen to some tracks of Jerrod Niemann's upcoming FREE THE MUSIC album on ASCAP. There's an 'audio portrait' that features an interview of Jerrod talking about 4 songs.

WATCH
Play the Full CMA Music Fest Concert 2012 showing all 24 Performances from some of the biggest names in country music, broadcast this week on the ABC TV Special"'CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock" -  YouTube Playlist
The ABC special Country’s Night to Rock, hosted by Luke Bryan and Kimberly Perry averaged about 6.2 million viewers; in 2011, the program averaged about 7 million. So a  little cooler than last year, but landed almost on par with the 2010 installment.

Catherine Britt - Sally Bones theMusic Sessions >>  YouTube

Kacey Musgraves Merry Go Round  >>  YouTube
About: “It's an anthem for every single 20-something (30-something, 40-something ...) who is tired of living on the "Merry Go 'Round" of what life "should" entail. The tune, which the clever singer-songwriter co-wrote with Josh Osborne and Shane McAnally, is laced with witty rhymes and word plays, and paired with common, nostalgic images of the cookie cutter life”. Apparently the song has created a buzz from everyone from Lady Antebellum and Katy Perry to Perez Hilton!  
Kacey has a cut “When You Love A Sinner” on Martina McBribe’s album ELEVEN and is the the co-writer of "Mama's Broken Heart," which Miranda Lambert cut for her FOUR THE RECORD album, Kacey is getting ready to release her own debut album next year. Texas native Kacey, 23, opened for Lady Antebellum in select cities on their record-breaking Own The Night 2012 World Tour in Europe

Sydney based Amber Lawrence's new single 'Try' from her new album ’3' written by Amber with Drew Mcalister and Tamara Stewart. “I always try’… apparently this her usual response whenever anybody gives her a compliment! She took the idea to a co-writing session with Tamara Stewart and Drew McAlister, and on a balcony in the Blue Mountains and they wrote ‘Try’.
 >>  YouTube

The Church Sisters - The Only Sound I Heard (I Wandered By a Brookside)   >>  YouTube
About: The pair's most recent venture was included on a stellar album named "Mark Twain Words and Music", produced by Grammy award-winning singer, songwriter and producer, Carl Jackson. The Church Sisters, Sarah and Savannah Church, were born on December 11, 1995 in the coal mining area of Dickenson County, Virginia. After residing in Haysi, Virginia for a short while, they returned to Danville, Virginia, hometown of their mother, Stephanie. They began their musical career in March of 2007 after winning a local talent competition, WAKG Rising Stars. Sarah and Savannah we're also very privileged to have met Nashville country music stars "Joey and Rory," whom they have worked with on various projects over the last year. Joey and Rory added them to a brand their new TV show named "The Joey and Rory Show."

Music videos are not usually as emotional as the latest one from Shady Hill Records artist Sandra Piller but in this case, “There is no way I can watch this without tears,” says the singer as she reflects on her late husband, Michael Piller, the subject of the song, “Love Goes On.”
This song is a memorial to Michael and the love he and Sandra shared,” states Jane Bach, co-writer and producer of the recording. “As one of the most moving music videos I’ve ever seen, it’s like a photo album or memory book that has come to life,” Bach adds.
The song is the title track of a recently-released 6-song EP dedicated simply “…for Michael.” Recognized by millions of fans for his role as the executive producer and writer of more than a hundred episodes of the Star Trek television series, Michael Piller also wrote the feature film “Star Trek Insurrection.” …..For more information  >>  YouTube

Tim McGraw has released his new video for "Truck Yeah" featuring his Country Strong and Friday Night Lights co-star actor Garrett Hedlund. In the video some might think it wasn’t possible to make a big old truck look sexy, but they managed to make it happen. The video is filled with shots of buff men (including the singer himself) climbing in their suped-up rides, spinning their wheels and just having a little fun together. After seeing this video, even city folk will consider trading in their four door sedans for a country style rig.Of course, the clip isn’t all about boys playing with their trucks. Near the end of the video, a gorgeous mystery brown-eyed brunette proves that girls know how to drive big rigs, too.
“The theme of this song is pretty straight forward… It’s for guys and girls who love jacked up trucks,” McGraw explains in a statement. “It’s a culture, and you don’t have to be from the sticks and only listen to country music to want drive a truck…that’s why I love the reference to Lil Wayne in the lyrics.”
That means massive tires spinning in the Tennessee dirt (the video was shot at a former U.S. Pipe and Foundry factory site in Chattanooga, clouds of dust, pots of fire, donuts, and of course a whole lot of trucks;big ones, a couple small ones, a fancy purple custom job, some vintage numbers, and even some semis.
>>  YouTube  with behind the scenes footage at http://vevo.ly/RS4p0b 

For BBC's football TV show Match Of The Day we get to see Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer, Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson. For Sunday Night Football 2012 in America they get Faith Hill! She’s got the legs and she knows how to use em’ looking smokin’ hot in her short dress!  >>   YouTube  See photo from the 2011 season!
Faith Hill - new Sunday Night Football opening

COUNTRY GOSSIP
It seems Randy Travis isn't the only family member who's having issues with the law!
His brother David Traywick was arrested last week. He was arrested twice in recent weeks, including an arrest last Thursday (Sept. 13) on charges of methamphetamine possession, manufacturing drugs and drug paraphernalia possession.
David Traywick was arrested along with Jessica Traywick in Marshville, NC
David was also arrested on Aug. 27 in Union County on second degree trespassing and communicating threats charges.
The 49-year-old younger brother to the Randy was released after the first arrest on $500 bond. It’s unclear if he’s been released after his most recent arrest whuch was orginally first reported by WSOC-TV

Gwyneth Paltrow regularly sees a therapist and admits she cries about everything. Gwyneth Paltrow is a ''crybaby'' who is in therapy. The County Strong actress - who has an eight-year-old daughter, Apple and six-year-old son Moses with her Coldplay rocker husband Chris Martin - revealed she sees a therapist and is a highly emotional person who cries all the time. She told America's InStyle magazine: ''I cry all the time. I cried half an hour ago. I'm a crybaby! ''[I cry] maybe out of sadness or uncertainty.''

Thomas Rhett will be married in a few weeks to a girl he’s known since the 1st grade. They dated when they were 15, then dated again after college and were engaged in 8 months.

Brantley Gilbert, (best known for his hit songs “Country Must Be Country Wide” and “You Don’t Know Her Like I Do”),  >> confessed to all of Atlanta that fellow country artist and actress, Jana Kramer, is indeed his girlfriend
Jana Kramer will be returning to her boyfriend’s home state of Georgia on October 6th when she opens for Alan Jackson & Clay Walker at the KICKS Country Fair at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater

TWEETS
Martina McBride @martinamcbride Wow! Kinda sucks that I had 2 find out on twitter that RCA is releasing a CD of 40 of my songs. #hopeIatleastgetafreecopy

Miranda LambertMiranda_Lambert: Hahaha someone just asked Blake If I was his daughter!!! Yes!!!!

Taylor SwiftTaylorSwift13: 1) Hanson covered ‘We Are Never Getting Back Together’. 2) I didn’t just watch the video of it 8 times in a row. 3) #2 might be a lie

R.I.P
Homer Joy was a country singer and songwriter who is best remembered for penning “Streets of Bakersfield” for Buck Owens has died.  The song, which he wrote in a motel in the Bakersfield-adjacent town of Oildale, California in 1973, ultimately became Owens’ final #1 country hit in 1988. 

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