Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Country Bites News snippets Dec 3 - Dec 7

Country Bites News snippets December 3 – December 7


Country superstars are joining forces for the first time in London to create C2C: Country to Country. Some of the biggest names in the business are heading across the Atlantic for a huge Two-Day music Festival extravaganza at The O2 London in March 2013.
For Full details see Blog Post

CMA Songwriters 2013 presented by BMI and Gibson returns to the UK and Ireland next year.
Following on from the successful February 2012 CMA Songwriters series event it is set for a return bringing four of Nashville’s big hitters to the UK: Bob DiPiero, Brett James, Chris Young and Kristian Bush

Bob DiPiero: Written 15 number 1 hits (Credits include George Strait’s ‘Clear Blue Sky’ & ‘Cowboys Like Us’, Reba McEntire’s ‘Little Rock’ & We’re So Good Together’, "Till You Love Me", Kathy Mattea’s "Walking Away a Winner" , "Take Me as I Am" (Faith Hill), "It's Lonely Out There" (Pam Tillis), "Worlds Apart" (Vince Gill), "Indian Summer" (Brooks & Dunn), "Southern Voice" (Tim McGraw), Sunny Sweeny’s ‘From a Table Away’ and “‘Lovin You Is Fun”  (Easton Corbin)
Brett James: As a solo artist back in 1995 he released a self-titled album with charting singles like ‘Female Bonding’ and ‘Wake up and Smell the Whiskey’. He has co-written Scotty McCreery’s debut single ‘I Love You This Big’, Jason Aldeans’s #1 ‘The Truth’ (with Ashley Monroe) and Carrie Underwood’s "Jesus, Take the Wheel" and "Cowboy Casanova"
Chris Young: Chris was the winner of the reality TV show Nashville Star. He first won a songwriters award for his first No.1 single ‘Getting you Home’. Young has had 5 consecutive number 1’s from his platinum selling 3rd album NEON.
Kristian Bush: One half of Sugarland, he has won 6 BMI awards for his song writing (‘Settlin’, ‘Want To’ & ‘Stuck Like Glue)
Thursday, Feb. 21 Dublin, Ireland
Friday, Feb. 22 & 23 Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival (#) - www.ticketmaster.co.uk
Monday, Feb. 25 London  (Bush Hall, 310 Uxbridge Road, W12 7LJ, London - £12.50)
Tuesday, Feb. 26 London

# Also of note at the Belnash Songwriters Fest (Holiday Inn, 22 Ormeau Avenue, Belfast) on Thu 21 Feb 2013 are UK artists Gary Quinn, Raintown and Brian Hughes are due to appear.

Raintown, Glasgow’s very own pop/country duo released a new Christmas single on Dec 2, titled “Still Believe”(Love This Time of The Year) 
This is Raintown's great new Christmas single! If you like what you hear please share the music. We are really grateful to everyone for their support and talent! Thank you Paul/Claire xx

Watch the promo video >>  YouTube – Available on UK iTunes - Photoshoot (JPEG)
Raintown, Paul Bain and Claire McArthur, state they are a “contemporary twist on the country duo’s of the past, continuing the tradition of exciting new music to emerge from Glasgow
Regrding the seasonal single Pat Geary of Voice of Country said: We'll come out and say it: this is the best Christmas song since "Do They Know It's Christmas". If the opening few notes alone don't fill you with the Christmas spirit, you're a hopeless Scrooge and are going to have your stocking sewed shut. Hitbound!"

Scottish singer-songwriter Yvonne Lyon is among the best and brightest emerging talent currently from Scotland
Here's the iTunes link or Amazon UK MP3 Link for her new self penned Christmas single 'I Believe In Christmas' with 'Dear December' (Double A side).
It was released on 18 November 2012 and produced by Graeme Duffin, Sandy Jones and Yvonne Lyon.
It was recorded at The Foundry Music Lab. "That's a lovely song, excellent as ever" said Iain Anderson BBC Radio Scotland
Yvonne Lyon - vocals, backing vocals, guitars, piano and keys
Sandy Jones - programming, guitars, bass and samples
Graeme Duffin - programming and backing vocals
David Lyon - guitars, keys and accordion
You can hear it yvonnelyon.bandcamp.com

Irish Singer/Songwriter Pete Kennedy brought his international tour to a close earlier this month after a 3-month stint opening for incredible pop icon/composer Neil Sedaka and Philadelphia soul group The Stylistics. It was the experience of a lifetime for Kennedy, who played 27 shows to an audience of nearly 36,000 people across the UK between October and December. Kennedy also was invited to join national and regional radio stations, RTE (Ireland) BBC (UK), along with a number of local stations in the UK.
Pete Kennedy was truly a crowd pleasing warm up act and a delight to have on tour,” Sedaka says of his experience with this burgeoning country artist.
Pete Kennedy-
Backstage-Neil Sedaka

After spending several busy months in Nashville this year filming his debut music video and performing at the fan-filled CMA Fest, the opportunity to tour closer to home was a welcome one for Pete. With the holidays fast approaching, he’ll use his newfound downtime to rejuvenate for what is sure to be an eventful new year.
This tour has been amazing and I am so grateful to have been a part of it,” said Pete. I am taking away many new fans that I would not have been able to reach if not for this tour.” Photo - Full Press Release Music Industry News Network

Veteran broadcaster and former Mayor of Bath, Cllr. Bryan Chalker, is set to launch a new ground-breaking show on UKCountryRadio.com entitled ‘Fruits Of The Vine’.  The show makes its debut on Thursday, December 6 between 8-9pm, with a Friday repeat between 4-5pm and will feature an eclectic musical mix incorporating everything from bluegrass, old-time, Cajun and reggae, through to blues, folk, rockabilly and western-swing – all drawn from Bryan’s incredible recorded library of more than 70,000 titles spanning the late 19th century until the present day.

Bryan Chalker

If you think that Amadeus Wolfgang Mozart and Bill Monroe are musically at odds, then think again, because to Bryan Chalker’s highly trained ears, they were kindred spirits and to prove it he will happily run one after another, before switching to a raw-boned Cajun two-step, jaunty reggae classic, or delightful claw-hammer banjo-led mountain favourite from the Ozarks, complete with rhythmic clogging for good measure.
Bryan’s new show will be pre-recorded in the studios of Somer Valley FM in Midsomer Norton, Somerset, where he also presents ‘Same Roots, Different Fruits’, with a similar theme to that of ‘Fruits Of The Vine’.  These programmes give me the opportunity of playing music that listeners never hear on other radio stations and I’ve waited an awfully long time to be given such freedom”, said Chalker.
Chalker has been actively involved in folk and country music as a journalist and broadcaster for more than half-a-century and he brings to UKCountryRadio.com a wealth of knowledge, warm voice and enormous enthusiasm for music of all categories. He is also a musician and still does the occasional gig with local Bath ceilidh band Out Of The Brew and for the past two years has been Artistic Director of the highly successful Bath Americana Festivals.

Republic Nashville recording artists The Band Perry recently returned from a stint in the United Kingdom where the family trio played to packed houses and sold out venues in Glasgow, Manchester and London.
Each night, the sibling trio introduced fans to their new single, “Better Dig Two,” which has already sold well over 250,000 downloads in the United States and has also garnered much critical acclaim.
The Band Perry's highly-anticipated sophomore album is slated for release in April 2013
Photos -
What a night,London! We’ve had a blast w/our friends across the pond &thank u for coming 2 the shows! We’ll be back :)
Band Perry London (photo) - PHOTO
Thank you, Manchester for an incredible show! You sounded great!- PHOTO

Grammy-winning singer Kathy Mattea performs songs from her latest album CALLING ME HOME in session for Bob Harris on BBC Radio 2 Tracklist:- Hello, My Name is Coal, Love at the Five and Dime - www.bbc.co.uk

Lady Antebellum title cut “On This Winter's Night” has been added to the BBC Radio 2 "C" Playlist (5 spins /week)

On the Official UK Singles Top 100 Chart (Week Dec 8, 2012)
Taylor Swift’sWe Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” drops #25-29 as “I Knew You Were Trouble” jumps up from #47 to #24 aided by its “B” BBC Radio 1 Playlisting.

On the Official UK Albums Top 100 (Week Dec 8, 2012)
Taylor Swift’s RED dops from #20 to #31

Official UK Country Album (Week Dec 1, 2012)
Lady Antebellum hold the Top 3 slots with 2CD Import OWN THE NIGHT/ NEED YOU NOW remaining at #1 .

On the Hotdisc Chart (Dec 2, 2012 Chart)
Toby Keith has hung on to the number 1 position with his tongue in cheek "I Like Girls That Like Beer" on the Hotdisc Top 40, with the Coleman Brothers in the runner-up position. The top four remains the same with Lisa Matassa continuing her climb to no.10.
Irishman Aidan Quinn, with “Would You Go With Me” claims the British & Irish No.1 position for a third successive week.

Noted singer and songwriter Claire Lynch and banjo pioneer Tony Trischka have been awarded 2012 USA Fellowships.
These are given annually by United States Artists to recognize American artists of every kind who have demonstrated exceptional ability, and are uniquely influential in their field. Their stated mission is to invest directly in these artists, and the fellowships come with an unrestricted grant of $50,000. USA also allows their fellows to use their online crowd sourcing apparatus to raise the necessary funds for special projects.
Working now in the studio on a new Compass release, Claire shared a few words about this award : “On a personal level, the award fuels my confidence and creativity and inspires me to take my work to new levels. I’m in the studio recording a new album right now and the thrill of being selected is bringing an incredible energy to the sessions.”

CMC Rocks the Hunter 2013 festival - Big & Rich are the second, big-name act to be added to the CMC Rocks the Hunter 2013 festival. With sales in excess of five million albums, six top 20 singles and a decade of mega hits, including 'Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy,' 'Comin’ to Your City,' 'Lost In This Moment' and their latest smash 'That’s Why I Pray,' the duo are set to make their first trip to Australia for CMC Rocks, and are sure to be one of the highlights of the 2013 festival.

Also added to the line-up is America’s hottest young country/pop duo, Love And Theft, who are also making their first trip to Australia for the Festival.
Local stars to be included on the bill include Adam Harvey, Jasmine Rae and Buddy Goode, will also add more heat to the already stellar lineup for the three-day festival, held at the Hope Estate in the Hunter Valley, over the weekend of Friday the 15th through to Sunday the 17th of March 2013. In addition to these newly announced artists are some rising stars from both Australia and New Zealand, including Aaron Jury (NZ), Paul Greene, Jackie Bristow (Nz), Chelsea Basham, Mark Wells, Kaylens Rain and current cmc new oz artist of the year, Peter McWhirter.

The lineup also features Rascal Flatts (USA), Billy Ray Cyrus (USA), Chris Young (USA), The Band Perry (USA), Adam Brand, Corb Lund and The Hurtin’ Albertans (CAN), David Lee Murphy (USA), Dean Brody (CAN), Catherine Britt, Amber Lawrence, Morgan Evans, The Legarde Twins, The Bluegrass All-Stars, Bob Corbett, Doug Bruce & The Tailgaters, Craig Morrison, The Wolfe Brothers and Aleyce Simmonds.
Now in its sixth year, the CMC Rocks the Hunter festival has established itself as the biggest International Country & Roots Festival outside of North America. The main stage program on Friday 15 March will run from 2pm to 11pm. The festival will continue through Saturday and Sunday, when USA superstars, Rascal Flatts, will close the proceedings - Flyer Image - www.cmcrocks.com

Following two successful independent album releases, ABC Music have announced the signing of Australian country music singer/songwriter Jayne Denham.
"From a girl and her ute to a farmer's wife… from legendary truckies to those farming the land… from the outback to life in a country town… or simply, Aussies living it up and having a good time! No matter what it is, if it's about Australian country culture and life, Jayne Denham writes and sings about it," an ABC spokesman said.

New Zealand’s Aly Cook has joined LockHouse Productions Australia’s leading independent production house for country artists.  Having signed an exclusive global management agreement this will see Aly join the growing band of quality entertainers linked to the powerhouse production company.
Aly, the 2012 winner of the New Zealand Country Music Award for Best Female Artist, has had a long and varied career in the entertainment industry dating back to the 1980s when she toured Australia with the likes of Michael Edgley and with several other promoters in New Zealand and Australia.
This signing with LockHouse Productions is the latest coup for the boutique independent company based in Sydney and adds Aly to a star studded line up that includes Nicki Gillis (Aust), Coopers Run (NZ), Branch & Dean (US) and Katie O’Donnell (Aust).

Lady Antebellum were surprised during a press conference to announce their new global charity initiative LadyAID™, when CMA Chief Executive Officer Steve Moore presented the group with the CMA International Artist Achievement Award.
Formerly the International Touring Artist Award, the CMA International Artist Achievement Award recognizes outstanding achievement by a U.S.-based artist who contributes to the awareness and development of Country Music outside the United States.
We’re so honored,” said Hillary Scott. “This year especially, being able to take our tour to Europe and then to Australia, and meet even more of our fans all over the world, and to take Country Music that far, we don’t take that lightly. We really, truly do want to make this town and the Country Music community proud when we go overseas and perform."
“We wish Lady Antebellum much success as they help children around the world,” said Moore. “And it is because of their work around the globe as ambassadors of Country Music that we are presenting them with the International Artist Award.”
Lady Antebellum has sold more than 11 million albums worldwide. Their “Own the Night World Tour” staged performances in 11 countries for more than one million fans including sold out shows in Dublin, London, Toronto, and three-nights at the famed Sydney Opera House. The trio’s first world tour also earned Billboard’s all-genre “Breakthrough Award” at the 2012 Billboard Touring Awards for its total ticket sales and other touring data. (CMA World )

Lady Antebellum announced their new charitable initiative called LadyAID™, a philanthropic effort created to bring awareness to and generate support for children in need locally, nationally and globally.

The multi-level organization will reach children across the state of Tennessee through grants to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®.  On a national level, Lady Aid is supporting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and on a global level, myLIFEspeaks and The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The LadyAID™ Fund is a component fund of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.
The opportunity to play music on stages all around the world has given us so much happiness,” said Lady A’s Dave Haywood. “By establishing LadyAID™, we’re going to be able to put a new focus on accomplishing an off-stage goal we have as a band, which is to help children in need.” Read more at ladyantebellum.com

In association with the 29th annual Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project, country singers Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood have traveled to Haiti to aid the efforts of non-profit organization, Habitat for Humanity! According to CountryWeekly, this is the second time they have provided their support in Haiti. The mission for this trip and this project is to restore 100 homes in Leogane, Haiti, an area that has been suffering since the devastating 2010 earthquake

Gary Allan offers a story of hope in the new video for his new single, Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain). And the country singer hopes to use the video to encourage fans to donate to the Red Cross for victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Allan was supposed to play Atlantic City the weekend the hurricane hit. "Obviously, that got canceled," he says. "Two weeks later, we shot the video, and it all seemed to make sense."
Allan wrote Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain) with Matt Warren and Hillary Lindsey, who sings harmony on the track and is part of Allan's band in the video. "She's one of the most creative people I've ever been around," Allan says.
Watch Video - http://vevo.ly/QH5w9C

Reba McEntire “the feisty country red head” from “Malibu Country” and of course country music superstar, Reba McEntire, is gracing the cover of AARP magazine (image). The December/January issue features Reba talking marriage, friends, acting, and Dolly Parton!

When asked about being compared to Dolly Parton Reba said,“It’s not that I’m a better singer. Dolly is still my idol. I still have not passed her in my eyes.” Reba also talked about her take on acting and what it means to her saying,
“It’s something that’s wanted to come out ever since I was little, at playtime with another person. That’s what I absolutely love to do"
More snippets here www.aarp.org

BABY NEWS! - Its been quite a week with Kate Middleton’s Royal Baby joy announcement.
Jennifer Nettles has now given birth to a baby. Jennifer and her husband, Justin Miller, have shared the exciting news of their “little baby Nettles” with the birth of their son, Magnus Hamilton Miller, on Dec. 6.
"We are so thankful for all the prayers and support and are excited to take some time together as a new family," said the couple, who married last year, in a statement.
In November, a very pregnant Jennifer hosted the annual CMA Country Christmas concert in Nashville. It's the first child for the 38-year-old singer and hubby Justin. They celebrated their one-year wedding anniversary last month.

Lady Antebellums lovely lady Hillary Scott wrote on Facebook (Dec 7) - “Chris & I are excited to announce that our Christmas gift has arrived a little early this year! We are having a BABY! We feel so blessed!!!
No other details have emerged regarding due dates or the sex of Baby Antebellum, but the babe will come home to a full house. The young couple has two pups—Hobbs and Baker—to help with baby-sitting duties!
It’s not known how far along Scott’s pregnancy is at this time. Mum and country singer Linda Davis will be delighted to become a grandmother! Hillary and Chris, who also serves as the band’s drummer, were married earlier this year Jan. 7, 2012. 
Recently Love and Theft’s Eric Gunderson and wife Emily, announced they are expecting a child next spring and Jake Owen was on hand to deliver daughter Olive Pearl into the country worls. Awwwwww

Drummer Cactus Moser was back onstage barely three months after a motorcycle accident that led to the amputation of his left leg, on Nov. 27, playing behind his wife, Wynonna Judd, in Regina, Saskatchewan. Moser began working in the studio with Judd in October for an album expected in mid-2013.
Canadian singer-songwriter Victoria Banks posts on Facebook: Tonight was Cactus' first show with Wynonna after losing his leg in this summer's accident. He used a walker to get on stage, but then he sat down and played the heck out of those drums for 2 hours like nothing had changed. I couldn't believe it. Now that is some determination!

Spectacular entrances are traditional at the CMA Awards along the Macy’s Walk of Stars, but it’s safe to say no one will soon top the CMA 2012 arrival of Bucky Covington, who showed up aboard a vintage Nashville Fire Department truck as red flashers whirled. Aside from fulfilling every kid’s fantasy, Covington chose this vehicle to inspire support for firefighters who lost their lives or suffered debilitating injuries while on the job. This story begins about a year ago, when the young singer got involved with Help the Good Guys, which supports the families of firefighters and police officers killed or injured in the line of duty. “The first guy I met through them was Brad Dean, a carpenter who volunteered with the fire department in Birmingham, Ala.,” he recalled. “Fifty percent of his body from the waist down had been burned in a fire, which made it impossible for him to work.” Read More CMA Close Up Article

Carrie Underwood will star in the coveted role of Maria von Trapp in NBC’s live broadcast of “The Sound of Music,” based on the original Broadway musical, it was announced today by Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment. The live telecast of “The Sound of Music” will be a three-hour event on a date to be announced near the holidays in 2013.

NBC is partnering with the acclaimed "Smash" producing team of Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (film versions of the Oscar-winning "Chicago" and "Hairspray") for “The Sound of Music.” The pair also is producing the upcoming “85th Annual Academy Awards.”

Speaking for everyone at NBC, we couldn't be happier to have the gifted Carrie Underwood take up the mantle of the great Maria von Trapp,” said Greenblatt. “She was an iconic woman who will now be played by an iconic artist.”."
"To have a star like Carrie Underwood perform Maria in ‘The Sound of Music’ – and in such a very special and unique production -- is exciting beyond words,” said Ted Chapin, President, Rodgers & Hammerstein. “ Sony Press Release

LoCash Cowboys are the newest addition to the Average Joes Entertainment family of artists. The platinum-selling songwriting and performing duo simultaneously just wrapped their first Christmas video, “What Time Is It?” which premiered on GAC Friday, December 7, 2012. Thevideo represents the directorial debut of Hollywood’s Sunny Mabrey (“Mad Men,” “The Closer,” “Desperate Housewives,” “House MD,” etc.). “What Time Is It?” is featured on An Average Joes Muddy Christmas.
LoCash’s first full-length album on AJE will be released in early 2013. “LoCash Cowboys are the perfect fit for Average Joes, and everyone on our team is really excited to have them aboard,” commented Shannon Houchins, CEO/Average Joes Entertainment. “We’re extremely impressed with what they’ve already accomplished, and their style of music and dedication to their fan base perfectly aligns with Average Joes’ philosophy.”
Talented songwriters as well as entertainers, LoCash recently celebrated the writing success of two hit singles in 2012; “Truck Yeah,” the gold-certified, top 10 single recorded by Tim McGraw, and “You Gonna Fly,” the #1 hit recorded by Keith Urban. To date, the group has amassed over 10 million YouTube views and sold 1 million songs.

Big Machine's Tim McGraw and Warner Bros./WAR's Faith Hill roll out their Soul2Soul Las Vegas residency on Dec 7, 2012 at The Venetian. The couple has dates set for Dec. 8, 14 and 15 and 16 more in the new year. Details here.

Joe Nichols is eyeing a strong 2013, now that he's signed to a newly-formed label, Red Bow Records. After signing the contract at a private party in Nashville, Nichols chatted with reporters about what fans can expect from the upcoming project.
"The risks are 'How country can you go?' rather than 'How rock can you take it?'" he says, when asked about the new music. "So the risk on our part was to go as country as possible while still keeping people engaged in the modern, fresh feel of what country sounds like today." The new label is a joint venture between Broken Bow Records (an independent label that's home to Jason Aldean) and RED Distribution (a corporation that helps get albums on store shelves.)

Country music rising star Sarah Darling and MoonPie’s Vice President of Marketing, Tory Johnston (photo) announced the ‘“Home to Me’ Sweepstakes” and partnership with the Tennessee-based national brand today.

The Black River Entertainment recording artist will be featured on several hundred thousand cartons (image) of the nationally distributed Chocolate 12-count Single Decker MoonPie.

Little Big Town's Kimberly Schlapman lost her brother-in-law on Thanksgiving week following a car accident in Tennessee that was suspected to be from a drunk driver.
The funeral was held Tuesday morning. The band rescheduled a few upcoming shows, due to the death in the band member's family.Kimberly updated the fans with this message: 
Last Wednesday, Nov 21, my brother-in-law was killed by a drunk driver. He had come to Nashville from Virginia to visit us for Thanksgiving, which is our long-standing family tradition. He is married & has a 9 year old little girl. This is a part of life that one never imagines or plans for. It has been very difficult to accept. Allen Schlapman was an amazing father, husband, brother & son. We will miss him so much

Other sad news for Clint Black. On Sunday his 78-year-old father G.A. Black took his own life due to losing his wife and his own declining health. Clint said, "Our family is devastated.”

In October, country music’s Sammy Kershaw released A SAMMY KLAUS CHRISTMAS, his first holiday album nearly 20 years.  Now, Kershaw is inviting fans to sing along with the release of A Sammy Klaus Christmas in karaoke-form.
We know a lot of our fans like to sing along to our songs so we decided to make the karaoke tracks available for fans to download,” notes Kershaw.  Almost everyone likes to sing along to Christmas songs, so we made these available to make you the star!”
Available on US iTunes

Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell have teamed up on a new project OLD YELLOW MOON
The 12-track duets album is scheduled for a February 26, 2013 release date on Nonesuch Records, and has been simmering on the back burner of Harris’ mind for years.
I first heard Rodney on a demo tape in 1974 and knew immediately from his voice and lyrics he had the right stuff,“ Harris says. “We met soon after, becoming band-mates in the Hot Band and starting a friendship that has continued and grown over the years. I always hoped we would someday do this record, and now I can finally cross it off my bucket list!”
Crowell penned four of the tracks, with the rest of the record being filled out by covers of Roger Miller and Hank Devito, among others. Vince Gill, Stuart Duncan and Billy Payne will be featured, as well as other members of the original Hot Band.
Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell perform "Hanging Up My Heart" by Hank DeVito >> YouTube
Hanging Up My Heart, Invitation to the Blues, Spanish Dancer, Open Season on My Heart, Chase the Feeling, Black Caffeine
Dreaming My Dreams, Bluebird Wine, Back When We Were Beautiful, Here We Are, Bull Rider and Old Yellow Moon

Sheryl Crow may be known as one of rock music's most successful females, but she hopes to expand her fanbase in country music. The singer-songwriter has finished her first country album, which she recorded in her barn at her home in Nashville.
"It's been really fun to make," she tells Country Weekly. "My record is probably more country than a lot of country that is getting played [on the radio], so I hope I get played."
The 50-year-old star, who has lived in Music City for seven years, says she feels perfectly at home in the genre. "I think it's the best format if you like songs as a forum -- songs that are melodic and lyric-driven," she explains. "That's what I've always loved. There isn't a home for that outside of country consistently."
The mother of two, has enlisted Brad Paisley to help with the new album
"I've decided that moving forward, I'm going to try to give songs to my audience that move me. I'm not going to pay as much attention to whether it has a fiddle or a steel guitar in it. If it's a piano based song - even if it's not what I'm used to, but the song is that good, then that's what I am going to do. I've got a huge variety of musical influences - country, a lot of rock and roll, but also some stuff like Billie Holiday

Gretchen Wilson is unleashing a Classic Rock Set in 2013. She sat down with Billboard Magazine and unveiled not one, but two different EP projects that are going to be released in the New Year. The first will be a six-song of classic rock cover songs pulled from 1970's. The second will be a more country album of original material. Says Wilson:
"We just finished up mixing on the first of two six-packs I'm going to be releasing. We decided to do something that would be really fun and familiar, and a project of originals. One of the six-packs is of classic rock cover songs, and the other is all originals."
"All the songs are from the 70s, which is my favorite classic rock era. We did 'Stay With Me' from Faces, 'Funk #49' by the James Gang, and also covered Bad Company and Van Morrison.

Colt Ford has been chosen as the NRA Country Artist Of The Month for December. Simultaneously, he is also celebrating his first nomination as “Breakthrough Artist of the Year” on the fan-voted Fox television broadcast of the American Country Awards live from Las Vegas on December 10, at 8:00 pm ET/PT.
His latest album, Declaration Of Independence, which debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Country Album chart, is one of the most noteworthy country releases of the year. He closes out the year, joining some of country music’s biggest artists in teaming up with NRA Country to celebrate his support of our brave men and women in uniform, appreciation for the great outdoors, and love of family.
"I have lived my life and built my career around core values my parents instilled in me: love of God, family, friends, America, and hard work.  I share those ideals with my NRA Country family. I embrace the chance to be a role model for my kids and all of the other young country kids who are the future of this great nation. God Bless America. My Name is Colt Ford and I am NRA Country."

Randy Houser has announced a new album, HOW COUNTRY FEELS, to be released Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Press Blurb: Powerhouse vocalist Randy Houser has been said to have "true musical horsepower" by Country Weekly and GAC asserts, "one listen to his soulful singing is enough to convince you that you're listening to a star."  As reported exclusively on AOL's The Boot this morning, Houser will release his third album, How Country Feels, on Tuesday, January 22, 2013. His first release on new record label Stoney Creek Records features the Top-10-and-rising and No. 1 Billboard Heatseekers smash hit "How Country Feels," and will be available everywhere music is sold.
The follow-up to his critically-acclaimed sophomore album THEY CALL ME CADILLAC is a 15-track disc including seven songs penned by Houser, and is named for the hit "How Country Feels," Houser's fastest-climbing which has sold over 250k singles to-date. How Country Feels is produced by Derek George – the first person Houser ever met when he first moved to Nashville. “I’ve wanted to work with him since day one,” says Houser. “We just clicked… he comes from my home state of Mississippi and we share a similar creative vision that I think really shines through on this new album… can’t wait for ya’ll to hear it!” (Essential Broadcast Media)

Craig Campbell’s five-song EP OUTTA MY HEAD is now out (Dec 4,2012) US iTunes only
Just in time for the holidays, Craig Campbell releases a collection of five brand new songs from his upcoming sophomore album.  The sneak peek EP not only features his latest smash “Outta My Head” but also four other tracks penned by some of Nashville’s elite songwriters including two co-written by Campbell. (Monarch Publicity)
Lisa Matassa's New EP, SOMEBODY'S BABY is resonating with Radio & Fans
"The disc knocked me out." - 650 AM WSM's Bill Cody 
With a voice that FAME writer Mark S. Tucker calls "big, brassy, clear and confident" that "takes no prisoners, no guff," Lisa's EP "rocks the block, fills up the neighborhood and starts heading for the outlands to make converts to the cause."  Tucker adds, "Lisa Matassa can count herself a lead member of the pack of arena country anthemic rockers." 
The enhanced disc, comprised of seven songs and a bonus music video, was produced by Tony Bruno (Rihanna, Enrique Iglesias) and recorded in Nashville and New York.  The Long Island songstress contributed three tracks: "Wouldn't You Like to Know," "Girl with a Rock 'n Roll Heart" and "Learning as You Grow."  (Source Webster & Associates PR )
Available at Amazon UK - UK iTunesUS iTunes

Lindsay Lawler, country recording artist and Highway Angel spokesperson was on hand Tuesday, December 4th to perform her single “Standing Tall” – chosen from over 400 submissions as this year’s Capitol Christmas Tree theme song – at the tree’s lighting ceremony on the Capitol’s West Front Lawn, and again after the ceremony at the Congressional Reception. This was Lawler’s first performance in Washington, D.C. – an event made even more special, as it was also her birthday.
After Lawler’s performance of Standing Tall, Speaker of the House John Boehner spoke, but left the honors of pressing the button that lit the tree to Eagle Scout and Colorado Springs native Ryan Shuster.
Getting to perform my single Standing Tall on the West Lawn of the Capitol on live national television – with Speaker of the House John Boehner, his wife, and distinguished members of Congress in front of me and the U.S. Capitol behind me – on my birthday during my first trip ever to Washington D.C. is a moment I’ll never forget, to say the least,” said Lawler of the experience.
(Nashville Music Media)

Randy Travis will join host Joel McHale and an all-star cast for the Second Annual American Giving Awards presented by Chase.  It’s set to air Saturday, December 8, 2012 on NBC from the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, CA. Travis will serve as a musical performer during the awards show, which is a celebrity tribute to community heroes. Celebrated actress Glenn Close will be
honored with the AGA Leadership Award for her philanthropic endeavors.  Read More Webster & Associates

Country singer and songwriter,Television host and actress Laura Lynn has been named the official host of Sheplers WNFR Insider during the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo December 6th through the 15th in Las Vegas. The event coverage, which will include videos and blogs of exclusive interviews, footage from the Rodeo Vegas concerts and Team Mirage Cowboys and Cowgirls, and nightly event recaps, will be posted to Sheplers official WNFR website. "I am very excited to be working with Sheplers for WNFR," Lynn said. "Vegas glitz and glam is always incredible, but when you add cowboys and cowgirls, country stars, pro riders and all of Las Vegas goes country, it doesn't get any better than that"!  (Nashville Music Media)

Shania Twain officially launched her residency at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on Dec. 1 with a 90-minute, 18-song set that included a series of flashy costumes (by designer Marc Bouwer), a campfire scene and a motorbike entrance. And—shades of Elvis Presley singing “Hound Dog” to a Basset Hound—the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that one of her sets found Twain singing “You’re Still the One” to a white horse. Twain will deliver 60 shows in total during the next two years in the venue's 4,300 seat Colosseum Theater. The crowd treated the 47-year-old singer with a palpable enthusiasm, giving her a standing ovation before she sang a single note.

Shania Twain stuns with horses, dancing violinists and a flying motorcycle (Las Vegas Sun by Robin Leach Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012
Extract: The Strip has a bona-fide new superstar, and when Shania Twain’s show “Still the One” premiered Saturday night at the Colosseum in Caesars Palace, it packed a high-octane wallop that would’ve KO’d many a UFC fighter….In 100 minutes, it became one of the best shows on the Strip with hits galore and video bigger and bolder than IMAX. “Still the One” is a show made for Las Vegas complete with dancing violinists and cellists, a flying motorcycle, a gorgeous white horse and a handsome black one, too……. Not only is Shania still the one and still No. 1, she’s a 10 in the glamour department and pulled a 21 with every card she played. If she’d gone bowling, it would have been a 300. This was Entertainment with a capital E and glitter and glamour by the gallon. The producers and directors hammered it home lest you forget what Las Vegas is all about with superstar allure and an amazing wow factor. There is absolutely nothing subtle about this production; it set a new level that other Strip stars will now have to kick it up a notch to stay even.
Back in the saddle, Shania Twain delivers a showcase of force and horse (Las Vegas Sun by John Katsilometes Mon Dec. 3, 2012) 
Extract: But what many in the audience likely don’t realize is the sister of Shania has been singing backup for the entire show with no formal introduction. If there is a scene to tighten, focusing on Twain’s banter with the audience members and the positioning of all these folks atop the imitation rocks surrounding the fake fire, it’s this one……More pertinent is the quality of Twain’s voice, as she embarks on a 60-show, two-year residency after an eight-year absence from live performing.

Those who saw her preview performances last week and heard her again Saturday night say the Saturday show was her strongest. But even at her best, Twain is not the type of singer whose voice alone will carry a performance. Frequently, her vocals were maddeningly buried by the musicians. The band rocks far harder (and a lot louder) than a pure country band, often reaching stadium-rock audio levels, and Twain’s singing was detectably diminished in these moments……Whether Twain will enjoy such a successful arc is difficult to predict. She is a beautiful person, no doubt of that, and handles herself with the grace and precision of a true star. She is an extraordinarily hard worker, and her attention to detail is already becoming the stuff of legend around the show.
Setlist From Las Vegas:
I'm Gonna Getcha Good, You Win My Love, Don't Be Stupid, Up!, I Ain't No Quitter, No One Needs To Know, Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?, Any Man Of Mine, That Don't Impress Me Much, Honey I'm Home, (If You're Not In It For Love) I'm Outta Here, Hey, Carrie Anne, Come On Over, Rock This Country, Today is Your Day, Still the One, From This Moment and Man! I Feel Like A Woman

Alan Jackson will release a limited number of his book SEASONS OF SWEETBRIAR – A Photographic Collection of Home by Alan Jackson. The full purchase price of each book will be donated to the Colon Cancer Alliance’s Blue Note Fund, benefitting colon cancer patients in need. “Sweetbriar – created by God, bound by the Harpeth River, and guarded by hand laid rock walls from years ago – this 140 acres of fertile valley shadowed by the Tennessee hills has privileged my family and me with a landscape for living” – excerpt from the book’s Foreward by Alan.
It can be purchased through www.alanjackson.com for $25 or $50 for a book autographed by Alan. A FLAT RATE of $6 shipping will be charged per book shipped within the United States. If shipping out of the United States an additional charge of $25 for all other International shipments.

Country music scored some new primetime cache in October, when the ABC drama Nashville debuted to almost nine million viewers. The series follows the romantic lives, career struggles and rivalry between two drastically different singers: Rayna James (played by Connie Britton), the well-established but currently foundering "Queen of Country," and Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere), the young country-pop crossover star du jour.
You can now hear four tracks from the extended release, including Britton's twangy take on "Changing Ground" and an acoustic version of Panettiere's saccharine ballad "Undermine." Clare Bowen, who plays the songwriter Scarlett O'Connor, also delivers a particularly deft bluegrass rendition of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire," and Sam Palladio, who plays the aspiring musician Gunnar Scott, wails over arch guitar on "I'll Be There." Visit www.rollingstone.com

Outta My Head (5 Track EP) by Craig Campbell full listening party at music.aol.com

BAD FOR ME by Megan and Liz (Sounds Like: Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood) full listening party at music.aol.com

Love and Theft’s latest single, “Runnin’ Out of Air,” is picking up steam with a sexy, tension-fraught new video.
Directed by Mason Dixon (Jake Owen, Eli Young Band), the video features a stylish Eric and Stephen in a nightclub performance setting, surrounded by a maze of lovely ladies! Two particular stunners come in and out of focus as they weave their way through the crowd, echoing the song’s message of up-and-down desire. The song describes the breathtaking intoxication of being near the one you desire…and knowing that it’s as bad as it is good.  It has been described by some industry insiders as a country hit flavored by The Eagles and Maroon 5.
“Runnin’ Out of Air” is the second single from Love and Theft’s self-titled RCA Nashville debut. Billboard Magazine says the song “takes a cue from the Maroon 5 playbook” while popular blog, TasteofCountry predicts “both the tune and the video have what it takes to push Love and Theft into a whole new level of stardom.”  >> YouTube

Phil Vassar has released his “Santa’s Gone Hollywood” video.  
Look out Kardashians, the Kringles are coming to town! While the rest of the country is focused on the Powerball lottery, few people realize Santa Claus actually won the big prize, left the North Pole and moved to Hollywood. Or at least that’s how it plays out in Phil Vassar’s new music video for “Santa’s Gone Hollywood” from his Noel Christmas album, which debuts this week.
“Man, Santa’s fed up with the cold and being out of shape, and winning the lottery gave him the opportunity to change all of that,” said Vassar, who wrote the song with Tim Nichols and Jeff Outlaw. “We had a blast walking the streets of LA and hanging out on the beach, and I think (director) Steve did a great job with this video.
The clip begins with Santa sending a video message to Phil commending him for being a good boy and offering to send his private jet to spend some time hanging out in Hollywood. As the music starts, Santa is getting the news from one of his elves that he won it big.
He and Mrs. Claus, played by Debbe Dunning, best known for playing Heidi the “Tool Time” girl on the ABC sitcom “Home Improvement,” pack up and head to warmer climate. Santa stars working out, dies his beard, trades in his sleigh for a Maserati and starts “rocking on the Sunset Strip.” Key words like rack, nipped, tucked, lipo-sucked and Brazilian leave little to the imagination, as Mrs. Claus gets totally immersed in the Hollywood lifestyle.
Philadelphia actor Juri Muller played Santa in the video, and other guests included popular personality Ashlie Kolb, from the nationally syndicated lifestyles show, The Better Show, and author, Fantasy Football talk show host, race car driver and former Playboy Playmate Pilar Lastra, who plays Phil’s date in the clip.
>>  YouTube

Up and coming trio Scarletta have released a music video for the debut single "Right Here, Right Now >> YouTube

Ram Country pays a visit to Reba McEntire on the set of Malibu Country. Which country pals might guest on the show? And which rocker brought her back to TV? music.yahoo.com

Kristy Lee Cook earned her way into America's hearts as a top ten finalist on American Idol's seventh season. After recording for a time on Arista Records, she's now been signed to Broken Bow Records...the label home to Jason Aldean, who is now the executive producer of her upcoming album. The lead single “'Airborne Ranger Infantry'  is a song she co-wrote about her Dad's experiences while serving in the Vietnam War (Inside Music Row)

The new single from the Aussie country sister act The Sunny Cowgirls  Green and Gold” - is not only a taste of the duo's soon-to-be-released fifth album, but also a love- song to Australia  >> YouTube

Music video by Joanna Smith performing “We Can't Be Friends” (2012 Sony Music Entertainment) >> YouTube

Harry Styles showed off to his new girl Taylor Swift as he sang to her at an after-show bash.
Harry, 18 - who was spotted out with the country singer in New York's Central Park and then holding hands as they left One Direction's Madison Square Garden gig together - is reported to have sang Elton John and Kiki Dee's Don't Go Breaking My Heart to Taylor, 22, as she joined him in a rendition of the classic track.
Taylor Swift & Harry Styles
Candid-NYC Central Park

'It was the perfect song for a new couple,' a source tells The Mirror. 'They were both giggling as they sang to one another. 'They were still smiling when they disappeared back to her hotel hand in hand in the early hours of the morning.'
The One Direction star couldn't help but Tweet about the night's events. 'Last night was the best thing I have ever done,' Harry posted on the social networking site.

Harry Styles is reportedly looking for a ring to buy Taylor Swift for her 23rd birthday, and has been consulting upmarket US jewellers Robert Procop and Tiffany's.

Meanwhile Harry’s One Direction bandmates are worried about his romance with Taylor Swift.
Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik think Harry, 18, is rushing into a relationship with Taylor, 22, too quickly and are also fearful she will write a damaging song about him if it ends badly.
"With Taylor's reputation for writing break-up songs about her exes, they think Harry could find himself in a spot of bother if it doesn't work out and his actions are setting them all up for a fall.
"They also think it is moving too quickly and both have busy schedules, so it's a difficult time for either one of them to commit."
The 'What Makes You Beautiful' singers are also worried Harry's relationship could affect their fan base as he is known as the heartthrob of the group.
The insider added: "Harry's especially loved by the band's female fans and there is a feeling that by being so open about his relationship with Taylor he will only upset them.
"The boys are praying that when it does come down to it, he ends things amicably with her. Otherwise, they fear there will be hell to pay."

LeAnn Rimes has had another Twitter war with her husband’s X Brandi Glanville. LeAnn now refers to Brandi and Eddie’s sons as “my boys” and Brandi tweeted, “someone is trying 2 get under my skin by calling MY children “her boys.” They’re MY boys and your step-sons.”
Leann told E! News: "Eddie and I talk about having kids and I would love to be a mom. I didn't ever want to bring a child into the world without taking care of myself. And that was another reason I decided to go (into treatment)."
LeAnn also opened up about her rehab stay, admitting the public's negative view of her ever since she and Eddie left their spouses for each other took its toll.
She said "I was America's Sweetheart for so many years, but it was just like everyone turned. "No one will ever understand how much thought and hurt were put into our decision. "I was incredibly depressed and not quite sure of who I was. People are so quick to judge and make decisions for themselves about situations they know absolutely nothing about."

Teea Goans: 65 degrees on the first day of December...yes, please :)

Rick Blackburn the veteran record executive, who played a key role in the careers of Willie Nelson, Ricky Skaggs and John Michael Montgomery, died Nov. 30 in Franklin, Tenn., following a kidney ailment.
Blackburn, 70, came to Nashville in 1974 to run Monument Records, launching Billy Swan’s million-selling “I Can Help” in his first year at the label. From 1976-1987, he worked for CBS during the peak commercial years for Nelson and George Jones.
Merle Haggard signed with the company’s Epic label during Blackburn’s tenure, and the Highwaymen venture—which teamed Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and former Monument act Kris Kristofferson—also came into existence during Blackburn’s watch. A president chairman of the CMA board during the 1980s, Blackburn was also one of the 11 founding council members of Nashville’s Leadership Music program.


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