Sunday, 6 January 2013

Country Bites News snippets Dec 17 - Dec 31, 2012

Country Bites News snippets December 17 – December 31

SOURCES/LINKS show in RED

CountryRoutesNews Blog wishes to thank all those that have visited the site during 2012 and taken an interest in the posts. Good Health & Good Luck for 2013
Enjoy - Kenny Rogers 'Til The Season Comes 'Round Again (Taken his 1996 album / Word Nashville)  >> Audio Link

UK & IRISH News
Dominic Kirwan and the Nashville Songwriters – This exciting show features Dominic Kirwan, Ireland’s number one singing star performing with the best of the fabulously talented Nashville’s Singer Songwriters direct from the USA.
Featuring Mark Hudson, the multi-talented and critically acclaimed singer-songwriter who has written and recorded his own hits and produced worldwide hits for many of our superstars, Victoria Shaw, who has songs on over 65 million albums and is an EMMY and CMA award-winner, Heidi Feek, a new and up-and-coming young star from Nashville and special guests Joey and Rory, winners of the American TV show Can You Duet.
The show is topped off by the one and only Colm Kirwan, an accomplished and sought after singer-songwriter going from success to greater success and now Nashville based.
Dates: Eden Court Theatre, Inverness Box Office Thurs. February 28, 2013, Music Hall, Aberdeen Box Office Friday, 1st March 2013, Pavilion Theatre, Glasgow Box Office Sat. March 2, 2013 and Whitehall Theatre, Dundee Box Office Sun. March 3, 2013.

Laois native Trudi Lalor has a new single out “OLD FRIENDS Are Best” and it is an original, written by Billy Morrissey. The song looks back at a time in our lives when great friendships were formed - ones that would remain solid with the passing of time.

THE COUNTRY in the Kingdom Festival will take place in Killarney's Gleneagle Hotel from January 18 to 20, 2013.
Now firmly established as one of Ireland's premier country music events, this festival draws people from all corners of Ireland, as well as attracting many visitors from the UK.
Performers (Friday)  Jimmy Buckley and his band, Patrick O'Sullivan. (Saturday)Finbarr Dennehy, Louise Morrissey, Johnny Carroll and Gary Gamble. (Sunday) John Hogan and his band, Declan Nerney and his band, plus Trudi Lalor and Tom Healy.

UK CHART NEWS
On the UK Official Albums Chart (week ending 5 Jan 2013) Taylor Swift’s RED is up from #30 to #23.
The last reported weekly World sales for RED  was 379,000 copies sold and a 3,842,000 tally in 9 retail weeks.
On the UK Official Singles Chart Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” is up from #8 to #7and smash hit “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” is up #41 to #24.
Taylor’s “Trouble” sold 38,823 downloads on the UK chart (Dec 23, 2012)

On the Official UK Country Album (Week Jan 5, 20132) Lady Antebellum hold the Top 3 slots with NEED YOU NOW at #1, 2CD Import OWN THE NIGHT/ NEED YOU NOW holds at #2 and OWN THE NIGHT is at #3.
Little Big Town's TORNADO is new at #7  and Hunter Hayes self titled album debuts at #16
Gretchen Peters HELLO CRUEL WORLD re-enters the Top 20 moving #32 to #19 as does the WORLD'S GREATEST COUNTRY HITS compilation on Lushgroove which jumps 24-14. HELLO CRUEL WORLD lands in the Top 10 list with the Sunday Mercury’s (UK) Paul Cole calling it “country-rooted singer-songwriter chic but with an edge. As good as Emmylou Harris’ landmark Wrecking Ball and a future classic.” It was also named Country Album Of The Year by Proper Records

<< On the iTunes UK Country Songs Taylor Swift post 9 of the top 10 songs with Johnny Cash's "Hurt" breaking the Country/pop stars monopoly

On The Hotdisc Top 40 Chart (23/30 December 2012) see Will Banister's "Turn Back Time" go to the top of the Hotdisc Top 40 changing places with Frank Jennings’ "Born And Raised In Black And White" at #2 who holds the #1 on the Hotdisc British & Irish Chart


 
TV Alert
Profile of the late country legend Tammy Wynette, including performances of many of Tammy's greatest songs. Contributors include husbands George Jones and George Richey. BBC iPlayer (BBC 4) - www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer

UK Country Radio News
Stewart Fenwick Country Hank Williams Special (Tuesday 1 January 2013 – New Year’s Day)
Country music presenter Stewart Fenwick hosts a tribute to Hank Williams who has been hailed as the single most defining influence on Country music.  It’s 60 years today, January 1st 1953, that Hank was found dead in the backseat of his Cadillac enroute to a concert in Canton, Ohio. Stewart Fenwick looks back at Hank’s legacy, with music from the man himself, including his first appearance on The Grand Ole Opry plus covers of his most popular songs and songs about him.
During his last years Williams's consumption of alcohol, morphine and other painkillers severely compromised his professional and personal life. He divorced his wife and was dismissed by the Grand Ole Opry due to frequent drunkenness. Williams died suddenly in the early morning hours of New Years Day in 1953 at the age of 29 from heart failure brought on by pills and alcohol. Despite his short life, Williams has had a major influence on country music
See Playlist - www.celticcountryplaylists and Listen live at - www.celticmusicradio.net

Former long-time BBC Radio Leicester/Nottingham stalwart Mick Smith recently celebrated a happy 70th birthday and a 2nd birthday of his now Podcast show. His latest programme is also dedicated to the music of Hank Williams marking the 60th anniversary of his death on 1st Jan 2013. Listen at www.micksmithradio.co.uk

BBC Country Programme changes
Steve Cherelle's Big Country on BBC Radio Essex will broadcast 2 – 4 pm on Sunday's as from Jan 6 and will be aired on BBC Radio Northampton in addition to BBC Radio Cambridegeshire and BBC Radio Norfolk - Programme Page.
The Country Hour on Wednesday Jan 2, 2013 with Steve Cherelle (alternating with Maverick Magazine Editor Alan Cackett) and Roger Day on BBC Radio Kent will be the very last show due to BBC cuts and new schedules

Helen Randle will be sitting in for Joe Fish for 14 weeks on BBC Radio Lancashire until April 7 (Sunday's 2 - 4pm) when it will be called Helen Randle's Country in his absence. (See BBC Showpage)

Marie Crichton’s Country show on BBC Radio Shropshire (BBC Page) will move from Monday evening to Saturdays 6pm - 8pm from Jan 12, 2013  

Allan Watkiss

In a recorded programme on BBC Radio Sheffield's very last "Your Country" show  Allan Watkiss played only UK artists that have appeared over the last 12 years.
They Included: Clive John, Annie Duggan Band,Tim McKay, Spirit of Smokey, Darren Busby, The Downtrodden String Band, Kev Mcvann, Arizona Wes,Smokin' Gun, Keith Manifold, Dennis Collier, Mel Hague, Maria Jordan, Travellin Rose, Gary Perkins & The Breeze, Ivor James, Clear Cut, Jack Gaton, Graham Clark, Meadowland, Carolann B, Mike Lane,Dave Sherriff, Jackie Storrar, Raintown, Foster & Allen, Charlie Landsborough, Travis Logan, Sally Glennan, Sands & Whitehead, Jonny Williams, Lynnette Marie, Ken Durrans, Phil Lloyd, Stu Page, Debra Andrew, C'est La Vie, Paul Martin, the late John McCain and John Ashton. 
Listen until Sunday Jan 8 at BBC Page – Thanks for the 12 years Allan!

Clare Balding, star presenter of the BBC's Olympics and Channel 4's Paralympics coverage, is to front her first radio programme in January with a Sunday morning show on BBC Radio 2. Balding will replace Aled Jones as the presenter of the weekly faith programme, Good Morning Sundays, from the New Year. The eclectic music mix often includes country, folk, bluegrass and singer-songwriter selections. More on the story at www.guardian.co.uk

CANADIAN NEWS
Festival organizers announced the new Saturday headline act (July 12, 2013) for the 2013 Craven Country Jamboree (July 11 - 14, 2013)– The Dixie Chicks. The site is some 15 minutes from the capital city of Saskatchewan - Regina. For four days in July, 23,500 fans a day visit from every corner of the globe.

We knew we had to find something extra special to replace Lady Antebellum when the band canceled their summer dates due to Hilary Scott’s pregnancy,” said Kim Blevins, director of marketing. “We are extremely excited that we can offer a taste of country music royalty to the Craven Country Jamboree. And it won’t be a regular show – not only will our fans see Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire and Emily Robison, the three original members, this is a greatest hits package. The Craven date will be one of the only opportunities fans of the band will have to see them live. This is an incredibly special moment for Chicks fans and the Craven Country Jamboree.”
The Dixie Chicks are the highest selling female group of any genre. They hold the distinction of being the only country music group in history and the only female group of any genre to earn back to back Diamond awards for selling over 10 million albums. As a greatest hits show, their performance will be one big sing-a-long as with well-loved anthems like “Not Ready to Make Nice,” “Wide Open Spaces,” “Cowboy Take Me Away,” “Landslide,” “Ready to Run,” “Good-bye Earl,” and “Sin Wagon” to name but a few.

The Dixie Chicks join country superstar headliners Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw, Scotty McCreery, Phil Vassar, Brantley Gilbert, Doc Walker, Sawyer Brown, Chad Brownlee, Gloriana, High Valley, Small Town Pistols, Jason Blaine, and country legends Randy Travis and Bill Anderson. Also returning is the funniest duo in comedy – Williams and Ree.
Main Stage Daily Line Up - cravencountryjamboree.com
This is the biggest, deepest lineup of any festival in Canada,” said Blevins. “We always strive to bring something for everyone from the biggest names in country music, to the best Canadian acts, to amazing classic country, all at the lowest price.”
The "World's Greatest Country Music Festival" is the longest running multi-day music festival in Canada. It has been on the same site for nearly 30 years - in the middle of the beautiful Qu'Appelle Valley. The endless blue skies and rolling green hills are a treat for the eyes, but that's just the beginning of this extraordinary experience.

Country superstars Dixie Chicks have also been added to the line-up on July 7, 2013 to the Cavendish Beach Music Festival Christmas gifts arrived early today for fans of the annual LOTTO MAX presents Cavendish Beach Music Festival when organizers revealed some additional artists who will rock the main stage this July 5-7, 2013 in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island. The artists revealed will be added to the weekend lineup that already features Kenny Chesney as the headliner on Saturday, July 6, 2013.
Thirteen (13) time Grammy award winning trio the Dixie Chicks have confirmed a stop in Cavendish to headline on Sunday, July 7, 2013 during their long awaited “Taking The Long Way” tour.

World-renowned Kenny Chesney will not be the only superstar taking the stage on Saturday, July 6, 2013. Little Big Town will bring the sounds of their latest album “Tornado” to Cavendish on Saturday, July 6, 2013.
Also joining Saturday’s (July 6) party is Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Michelle Wright and Jason Blaine performs on Sunday July 7)
Over 30 country music acts will rock more than 50,000 visitors in the coastal community of Cavendish, located at 8779 Route 6, Prince Edward Island. The festival also features the Cavendish Farms Kitchen side stage with dozens of east coast and up and coming country artists. A variety of interactive song-writers circles, sampling sessions and food demos round out the vibrant Cavendish Farms Kitchen experience.

NEWS
Las Vegas is gambling on Country music. Las Vegas’ show business history is more closely tied to Frank Sinatra, Liberace
and show girls, but country music is becoming a much larger coin in the Nevada realm.
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill began their sporadic, 40-date engagement at the Venetian on Dec. 7, and Shania Twain kicked off a
two-year residency at Caesar’s Palace on Dec. 1. Those bookings come on the heels of Garth Brooks’ three-year run during select
weekends at the Wynn Las Vegas, which wrapped up Nov. 17.
The Academy of Country Music has presented its annual awards in Vegas since 2003, and the American Country Awards, which were slated to air on Fox on Dec. 10, have been held in Nevada’s entertainment mecca since being founded three years ago. In addition to its place in the city’s showrooms, country music has also found its way into Vegas’ casinos. A “Hee Haw” line of slot machines was introduced in 2006, and a Dolly Parton-themed slot machine was released this year.

Miranda Lambert’s Pistol is Keepin’ Her too Busy to Hunt. It’s her recent newly acquired title of store owner that’s changed-up her priorities. According to Country Weekly, her Pink Pistol store is keeping Miranda from enjoying some quality time in the woods with hubby Blake Shelton.“I went hog hunting once [this season] and got a hog with my bow. I haven’t had time. I’m in pink land now,” she says. “Blake’s like, ‘Really? You’re just going to be in pink glitter and no more hunting with me anymore?’ I’m like, ‘I’ll go a couple times.’” Miranda recently told Country Weekly. “I have so much fun with it: talking with people, making sodas and sundaes, putting out merchandise and cleaning up boxes. Songwriting was my hobby before, now it’s a full-time job, and I figure everybody needs a hobby and a creative outlet, so I’ve found one.” (Music City USA News)

(Dec 17) Dierks Bentley Wraps 2012 With Career Milestones. Award winning singer/songwriter Dierks Bentley has one of the most recognizable voices in country music, and in 2012, that signature sound that could only be Dierks was heard more than ever on country radio with three consecutive No. one hits off his sixth studio album HOME bringing his total as both a singer and a songwriter to 10. It was a dizzying 2012 for the artist, who also toured internationally, nabbed award nominations from the ACMs, CMAs and most recently the GRAMMYs, mined GOLD singles and found himself sitting at the top of critics’ year end lists.
Seems like every man in Nashville wants to be the Nashville Everyman. Here, Bentley actually pulls it off, singing from various
vantages with smarts and charm. Bonus points for the patriotic title track, which still sounds sensible after an election season
that left America covered in red-and-blue bruises.” – Washington Post, 2012’s Top 10 Albums (www.countrymusicrocks.net)

LeAnn Rimes debuted her new single on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" on December 18, 2012 when the Grammy Award winner performed her beautiful new single, "Borrowed", for the first time on late night television. (>> Studio Version)
LeAnn on Jay Leno


(Yahoo!) – The song is about her affair with now-husband Eddie Cibrian when they were both married to other people. The song is the first single off her upcoming album SPITFIRE whichis due out in spring 2013 -  I wanna hold out, but I hold on, even though I know it’s wrong,” Rimes sang. “Cause I don’t want to give you back, you’re the best I ever had … but you’re borrowed."
The same day, it was made available for download on iTunes
In other LeAnn Rimes news, Curb Records has made the track "What Have I Done," from the forthcoming SPITFIRE album, available now  on iTunes. (UK iTunes Link) - Curb Records Press Release
Looking stunning LeAnn (photo) spoke about turning 30 and checking into rehab treatment  >> YouTube

Carrie Underwood apologized for a shortened set by returning money to the city of Chicago
Carrie struggled with some vocal problems but she showed fans there's absolutely nothing wrong with her heart this holiday season.
The American Idol alum lost her voice following the Chicago date on her 2012 Blown Away tour. She decided to attempt her next show in Des Moines on Friday night (Dec 14) and managed to power through 90 minutes of it--but ultimately had to shave a few songs off the setlist.
Dissatisfied with what she considered a subpar performance, Underwood hoarsely told the crowd that she planned to return their
money right back to their city. "I feel real guilty about making any money on this show tonight," she noted. "So whatever I'm making is just going to go right back into this community."
While the surprised audience cheered in response, she added, "I feel that's the right thing to do."  >> YouTube
Talk about a "Good Girl"--we're sure Underwood was firmly on Santa's nice 2012!

Male Country Duo Kingston were nominated for Ryan Seacrest’s featured Artist of the Year
Among the rising stars chosen for RyanSeacrest.com’s Favorite Featured Artist of 2012 were the the fresh faces of Kingston who took 2012 by storm with their cover songs and original content thanks to the use of social media. The nominees are the top
10 artists of 2012 that were featured on RyanSeacrest.com.
Kingston

Kingston doubles the fun, doubles the talent and doubles the eye candy as the country twin shows us what raw talent is really
about!” said RyanSeacrest.com. 





Pop-rocker-turned-pop-country singer Cassadee Pope was crowned the winner in the third season of NBC's The Voice on December 18, 2012, becoming the youngest and the first female contestant to win.
Cassadee Pope


After the highest number of votes in the show’s history, country singer Cassadee Pope was crowned ‘The Voice’. 
The youngest, and only female contestant left, Cassadee had impressed judges with her remarkable range and ability to inject emotion into her songs.
During the series Cassadee performed "Cry” (Faith Hill) >> YouTube, covered “Over You" (Written by Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert) , "Stupid Boy" (Keith Urban) >> YouTube,  “I'm with You"  (Avril Lavigne), “Are You Happy Now?" (Michelle Branch) and “Behind These Hazel Eyes" (Kelly Clarkson)
Cassadee has already scored 2 number one singles on the Billboard Country Digital Chart and a Top 3 on Billboard Hot Counry Song with “Over You”  and “Stupid Boy”

Now that Cassadee Pope has been crowned the winner of Season 3 of ‘The Voice,’ it’s time for her to turn her attention toward recording an album. The newly-minted star says her sound will lean toward pop and rock, but will also feature some country elements - “I’ve always been writing, so I have a lot of material ready to go,” the 22-year-old singer says. “It’s going to be very uplifting, pop rock, maybe just a little hint of country in there. It’s going to be everything you’ve seen on the show, that ’90s, early 2000s feel, with a modern twist to it.”
Pope has her coach, Blake Shelton, to thank for that in part. As he took her under his wing and mentored her, the ‘Drink on It’ singer steered her a little bit more toward country, adding a new element to her existing sound — and it obviously worked. Throughout the season Pope covered several country hits on stage, but perhaps the most moving was her cover of ‘Over You,’ originally by Shelton’s wife Miranda Lambert.
Shelton is more than a little bit proud of his new protege, which he makes obvious. “She’s a great singer, she’s a beautiful girl and she’s a good person. You know, there’s a lot of those out there in this world that are trying to make it, but Cassadee Pope has this little extra magic that God sprinkled on her that makes us all want to be around her and meet her and see her and talk to her,” he raves. “If you’re a guy, you have a crush on her. If you’re a girl, you want to be her best friend. She’s just a very special human being and she deserves this win.”
Related News: Cassadee was the favorite to win The Voice for a long time, and she and her mentor Blake Shelton rejoiced when she won the coveted record contract. But not everyone is happy for Cassadee, as her father Lenny has slammed claims that she was abandoned by him, and he says that she owes her success to him.
 ‘The Voice’ winner is a phony, according to her father. Lenny Pope says Cassadee’s sob story about being abandoned was all a ploy to get more votes and win the singing competition. How scandalous!
Cassadee Pope is riding high after becoming the first female winner of The Voice on Dec. 18. But her newfound happiness may be short lived, as her estranged father Lenny Pope is making some pretty outrageous allegations about her. He says that his “heart ripped right out of my chest” when he heard Cassadee say that she was abandoned by him, and he thinks she was “manipulated” by NBC to make the show more interesting. “I was the one that supported her from the start,” Lenny tells Star. “Who do you think paid for Cassadee’s voice lessons? Private school? Instruments? Who drove her to competitions, talent contests, talent shows and paid for gas money and hotels? My ex-wife was a stay-at-home mom  – I paid for all of it. I worked 22 hours a day, seven days a week for nine years. I was a pastry chef, and the hours were long.”
Photos/Source - www.dailymail.co.uk

Well Blake Shelton and his pop-country protege Cassadee Pope notched the Season 3 win on ‘The Voice.‘ Well now we also have Tate Stevens, who was mentored by music exec L.A. Reid on the second season of "The X Factor USA," has won the Fox singing competition. He was apparently, repeatedly a viewer favorite, and routinely topped the fan leaderboard throughout the fall season. He is 37 years old, so he was a bit of a dark horse — at least on paper. But each week, he took the stage and showed the viewers and others like him that you are never, ever too old to chase your dreams and live them.
Mr Simon Cowell with Tate Stevens

The 37-year-old country singer from Belton, Mo., beat runner-up Carly Rose Sonenclar, a 13-year-old schoolgirl from Westchester, N.Y., and teenage girl group Fifth Harmony on the finale that aired live Thursday night.
Stevens wins a $5 million recording contract.
More than 35 million votes were cast by viewers after Wednesday's performance show on Dec 19.
Besides Reid, judges this season included Demi Lovato, Britney Spears and series creator Simon Cowell.
Thursday's show (Dec 20)was also the grand finale for Reid. Earlier this month, he said he wouldn't be returning to "The X Factor" next year. No replacement has been announced.
And Reid undoubtedly will continue to mentor Stevens as he records his debut album via Syco/Epic Records. While the artist expects to record a few "tug-at-your-heart country ballads," he said the overall theme of his first release will be "fun" and that he hopes to co-write "half the record." In mere months, 37-year-old Tate Stevens went from laying concrete in Belton, Mo., to winning a $5 million recording contract on national television. He also gains a Pepsi-produced video that will premiere on the Grammys in February. The Belton, Missouri, native, who was a member of mentor L.A. Reid's Over 25s team, won voters over with his everyman appeal, devotion to his family (yawn) and the fact that he was keeping alive the dream of becoming a superstar at age 37.

Simon Cowell, the brains behind the reality show, doesn’t want to waste any time getting Stevens’ first single out. He revealed that he has already enlisted the help of producer John Shanks, who has worked with the likes of Miley Cyrus and Melissa Etheridge, to begin working on the album.
With country music getting more and more airplay these days, Cowell has admitted that he was purposely seeking some twangy talent on this season of ‘X Factor.’
We went out of our way to go into regions to encourage country singers this year, because I kept reading about people saying I don’t like country music. I don’t understand it that much because I’m a Brit, but I do like it and I understand how commercial it is,” Cowell said. “So, I’m very happy that a country artist won the show and I think we’re going to now attract more country artists for next year.”
Apparently, Cowell’s goal to appeal to country viewers worked out well for Stevens. “My next dream is to make this album and be able to tour and live that life — do what I love doing,” Stevens says (according to Zap2It). “I love entertaining people, I love performing for people and I’m finally getting the chance.” (Taste Of Ccountry)
He will head to Nashville in early January to start working on his album. He plans to commute back and forth to Missouri while his son finishes high school. "But we're definitely moving."
As for album plans, Stevens said: "I'm going to dance with the one that got me here. It's going to be country. It's going to be a lot of fun. I'm going to put some very fun tracks on there. I'm sure I'll do some old, tug-at-your-heart country ballads. I'm excited."
Cowell said he expects Stevens to release a single much faster than did last year's winner, Melanie Amaro, who wasn't mentioned during the two-hour finale show. He sees recording success in Stevens' future. "There's a gap in the market for him. I think he will sell records and he's very determined. He reminds me a bit of Garth Brooks."
Tons of X Factor USA photos at www.dailymail.co.uk

Tate Stevens performed Chris Young's "Tomorrow" (>> YouTube)as his $5 Million Song on night one of the Season 2 Finals. "I genuinely believe, and I really mean this, in a year's time we're gonna be hearing about your record sales," said Simon Cowell
Tate also performed “Pontoon” with Little Big Town on the X Factor USA Finals >> YouTube

Related Posts Rollingstone.com: A whole lotta nothin' happened during the two-hour X Factor finale. Oh, except Tate Stevens was crowned the winner. But that was about as exciting as waiting for the Sunday newspaper to be delivered to your door.
With 35 million votes cast – a far cry from the 132 million that Season 11 of American Idol raked in – it seemed like Tate pulled far ahead of the pack, since the dynamic duo of awkwardness, Mario Lopez and Khloe Kardashian, never made any indication that it was a close call. Now, we'll see if Tate fares any better than Season One winner Melanie Amaro and actually launches a successful career
Rollingstone.com Interview:Tate Stevens on Winning 'The X Factor' Season Two: 'It's Still Very Surreal'

Simon Cowell defended LeAnn Rimes' 'Interesting' X Factor USA Performance. The media mogul didn’t believe the singer was drunk during her duet with Carly Rose Sonenclar.
On Dec 19 saw LeAnn Rimes take to the X Factor USA stage to perform her hit 'How Do I Live' with finalist Carly Rose Sonenclar.
Despite impressing the judges with their performance, it didn't take long for the audience at home to question LeAnn's duet with reports later suggesting that the star was drunk when she took to the stage.
Hitting back at the claims, LeAnn later took to her Twitter to explain: "In my 18 years of performing, I have never been anything but professional onstage. It is a shame that gossip and lies are overshadowing the performance of Carly, a very talented young girl."
"And while I have not given any media outlet a quote, if you want one, here it is 'It was an amazing opportunity to share this experience with Carly and I know I’ll be watching for her to win tonight.'"
Defending LeAnn against the claims put forward last week, TMZ reported media mogul and X Factor boss Simon Cowell as describing her performance with Carly as "interesting"
The family of Sonenclar, who placed second on the show, is hopping mad over the singer’s comments. Rimes’ statements seemed to lay blame on the teen.
Rimes said that Sonenclar, 13, was “nervous and had trouble hitting the right notes” during their rendition  of the country singer’s smash ‘How Do I Live’ (murdering Diane Warren’s penned song)
The ladies smiled at each other during the performance, and Rimes — who first attained her success around the same age as Sonenclar — even reached for the teen’s hand when she met her on stage.
TMZ reported that sources close to the Sonenclar family say Carly Rose’s mother and other relatives are incredibly angry about the post-performance comments.
They think Rimes threw the teen under the bus, which is made worse by the fact that she just suffered a heartbreaking loss on the show. As an extra sting, the Sonenclar family say they also feel that Carly outperformed Rimes on her own song. (Source - www.dailymail.co.uk) Watch the YouTube video (2000+ Dislikes and counting! ex. “sounded like two dying cats in a hail storm”)
 >> YouTube

Meet The Henningsens. The family trio consisting of father Brian (bass, guitar, vocals), son Aaron (guitar, vocals), and daughter Clara (lead vocals, guitar), will make their Grand Ole Opry debut on February 2, 2013 at the famed Grand Ole Opry House.
This family trio has been turning heads in Nashville circles for years, having penned songs recorded by such artists as Wynonna, Sara Evans, and several writing credits on The Band Perry’s million selling self titled album whose two-week #1 smash, “All Your Life,” was written by Brian and Clara.
American Beautiful,” the title track from The Henningsens forthcoming debut album, is already making its mark in music history, with more radio stations adding the song to their playlists in its first week than any other debut single in the history of music trade publication, Country Aircheck!
Christmas came early this year for new Arista Nashville trio The Henningsens (Brian, Aaron, Clara) as their debut single, “American Beautiful,” received 77 combined Country Aircheck and Billboard radio adds!
Among the feats accomplished, “American Beautiful” achieves the most first-week adds of any debut single in Country Aircheck history! Also, since 1999, The Henningsens score the highest impact-week add total for a group!
This stunning single receives the most out-of-the-box adds in recent Mediabase history and ties Gretchen Wilson’s 2004 Sony debut “Redneck Woman.”
“American Beautiful,” the title track from their debut album and co-written by the trio and Brett Beavers, is also the No. 1 Most Added Song on Mediabase and the Hot Shot Debut on the Billboard Country Airplay chart this week.
Their debut album, helmed by multi-million-selling producer Paul Worley (Lady Antebellum, Martina McBride) will be released in early 2013. (Music News Nashville)
Listen to 'American Beautiful' by The Henningsens >> Audio Download it on US iTunes
Related Post: The Tennessean.com: The Henningsens step out from behind the scenes with debut album

Brent Cobb debuted The Fireside Sessions Music Video Series on website Country Music Is Love.
Everything is heating up for Carnival Music’s newcomer Brent Cobb with the exclusive online premiere of his unique live music video series appropriately titled “The Fireside Sessions.” The first video in the ongoing series features an intimate, live performance of Brent’s current single, “Love On Me,” co-written by himself and Jason Saenz. The Ellaville, Georgia native’s playful and flirtatious song comes to life on Country Music Is Love today, Tuesday (12/18).
Brent has quickly become known as one of Nashville’s most promising tunesmiths with his songs recorded by the likes of Luke Bryan, Little Big Town, David Nail, Kellie Pickler and the Eli Young Band. With the release of his debut single “Love On Me” to country radio airwaves and self-titled EP produced by Matthew Miller and Oran Thornton, Brent is turning the tables and bringing country music fans his first recording as an artist.
CountryMusicIsLove teamed up with singer-songwriter Brent Cobb to showcase the Fireside Sessions, a new web series featuring music from Cobb’s self-titled debut EP.
The first installment of the Fireside Sessions features Cobb’s debut single, “Love On Me.” Co-written by Cobb and Jason Saenz, “Love On Me” is a tongue-in-cheek, up-tempo song that portrays the casual fun of flirting. >> YouTube
We wrote this song based on how I flirt,” shares Cobb. “In bars, I would say, ‘I’m about half drunk, but you look so good to me.’ It was just hokey and charming, I guess. We just wanted to capture that real moment.”
The Ellaville, Georgia native says recording the series just felt right.
These first Fireside Sessions are something I wanted to do that felt like home to me,” he tells CMIL. “Pickin’ around a fire is something we all do a lot of back home in Georgia. ‘Love On Me’ is a fun song for it. I’m pretty sure I used that line “fall in love on meon my wife. It worked.”  (Music News Nashville)

Dwight Yoakam’s critically acclaimed new album, 3 Pears, was the most celebrated album on the Americana Chart in 2012 remaining No. 1 more than any other in 2012 and spending 8 weeks in the coveted position.
Named “Best Of 2012” by outlets including NPR, Rolling Stone, American Songwriter, AOL’s The Boot and Rhapsody, Yoakam’s 26th studio album was his highest charting debut on Billboard 200 and Billboard Country Album Chart. This month, $1 from each sale of Yoakam’s CD will be donated to the Red Cross to benefit Hurricane Sandy victims. (Music News Nashville)

(Dec 19, 2012) One of Nashville’s most exciting new breaking artists, Angela Hesse, is giving country music lover’s one more reason to celebrate the holiday season! The December 18 launch of  a twenty-five day pre-promotion online blitz will provide a full Christmas season countdown of unique content leading to the January 11 premiere of Angela’s latest video release “Burn, Baby, Burn.”
Blurb:  The three “Burn, Baby, Burn”  billboard ads pose the opportunity to warm the winter chill with Angie’s music and have a culmulative expected ‘view profile’ of more than 475,000 unique potential impressions over the month long visibility campaign.
Between now and the January 11 video launch, Angela’s web universe of both Facebook and her official site will also be ablaze with daily content posts of exclusive photos, audio, and video clips. 

Shania Twain covers the new issue of Vegas, which is fitting since the country-pop diva just started her two-year residency at Caesars Palace in Sin City. In this case, the old adage that what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas does not apply, as the ‘Man! I Feel Like a Woman’ singer shares that she is ready to work on a new album, what makes her show more glamorous and how it really feels to be on the comeback trail.
The singer revealed that she plans to begin working on a new album, but there is a caveat — she has to fit the recording process into her schedule. But Twain also admitted that her confidence is steadily growing, and she’s progressing from recent years.
I’m so confident how my voice is coming across in studio after working with Lionel and doing ‘Today Is Your Day,’” she said, referring to Lionel Richie. “I know I am ready to go back in the studio and record an album, I just don’t have the time yet.”

In one of the unlikeliest scenarios imaginable, the rabidly anti-gay rights group Westboro Baptist Church is blaming country superstar Carrie Underwood for the shootings at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut. The group's spokesperson claimed via Twitter that Underwood's support of equal rights for same-sex marriage helped bring down God's wrath upon the innocent victims.

Colt Ford defended his "Right To Tote" Guns, and explained his Country-Rap Blend
Never afraid to speak his mind, Average Joes Entertainment's Colt Ford recently talked with HipHopDX about a range of topics, including his latest single, "Answer To No One," >> YouTube which talks about his belief in the "Right to Tote" guns while also describing his blend of Country Music and HipHop, including a statement about how "rap" is really a "singing style" and "not a genre."
Here's an excerpt from the article at HipHopDX:
DX: Now, I just saw that you were named NRA Country Artist of the Month for December. You talk about your “right to tote” in “Answer To No One,” and so I have to ask you about this current battle over gun rights in the wake of the Connecticut school shooting; is it time to make a change to our existing gun laws?
Colt Ford: Well, it’s the old cliché: guns don’t kill people, people kill people. I think it’s more of – to be quite honest with you – a mental health issue than a gun issue….We don’t take care of people with mental disabilities in this country like we need to. Unless you’re a rich person, and generally a rich White person, there’s not much care for you. There’s not much care for mental disability and that’s sad. There’s not many hospitals that people can go into, or clinics that they can go into, and get any kind of help unless you’ve got a bunch of money – or even just get some information. At the end of the day, I do think we have a right to tote guns. And the NRA preaches about gun safety and guns being registered and everything. Certainly the Hip Hop community is well familiar with guns. [Laughs]

According to DoSomething.org, Taylor Swift, the 23-year-old ‘Red’ hitmaker catapulted from No. 20 on the list of “Celebs Gone Good” last year to the top spot this year, due primarily to a couple of reasons. Among her many other charitable activities in 2012, Swift donated a staggering $4 million to the Country Music Hall of Fame for its education program. The gift is the largest ever given to the institution by a single musician donor, and the Hall of Fame responded appropriately by naming its music education center the Taylor Swift Education Center.
Swift was also honored by the Kennedy family on Dec. 3 at the Ripple of Hope Awards, where she received an award for her commitment to social change through music.She is the youngest person ever to receive that honor. Taylor has also done tremendous work for young people battling cancer among many others.
She’s not the only young star with ties to Nashville on the list, though — Miley Cyrus came in at No. 2 for her work with animals, the Save the Music Foundation, the Starkey Hearing Foundation and the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

Singer/songwriter and former “The Voice” contestant Gwen Sebastian is engaged to her drummer, Louis Newman!
The North Dakota native shared the news on Twitter: “I’m officially off the market. I love you @DrumLouis,” she posted along with a  the photo. After joining “Team Blake” on “The Voice,” Sebastian released the song ”Met Him In A Motel Room” to Country radio and also scored a spot on Blake Shelton‘s tour. (www.countrymusicislove)

Following the release of her entirely self-penned EP Glass, country singer-songwriter Kara Della Valle is debuting her first single from the project, “Without Him.”
Blurb:The song features relatable lyrics, a catchy country melody, and relatively sparse production—allowing Kara’s voice and story to shine. With over half a million views and thousands of subscribers on YouTube, Kara’s music may already be familiar to some country fans. 
Kara Della Valle (Cover art)

In November 2012, Kara released the follow-up to her successful independent debut, Out Loud. Her new EP, GLASS, is now available at all major digital outlets ( UK iTunes ) Supported by her large social media following and positive word of mouth, the EP charted alongside today’s top country artists as it hit the iTunes Top 100 Country Albums chart during its first week on sale......Although Kara’s blend of country, pop, rock, and folk is reminiscent of some of the great female singer-songwriters of the 90s, like Jewel and Shawn Colvin, and more recent stars, like Taylor Swift and Michelle Branch, “I want to be the first ‘Kara Della Valle.’ I’ve done things differently my whole life and I don’t intend on changing now,” she says.  (Music News Nashville)
The lyric video for “Without Him” >> YouTube

A light snow added to the festive mood in Chicago Friday night, as fans were filling the sold-out Chicago Theatre for the final night of superstar Martina McBride’s 2012 16-city Joy of Christmas Tour. Holiday revelers young and old celebrated the season, while Martina and her 12-piece band brought their love of the holidays to theaters and other intimate venues across the country.
At each stop, an athlete, popular radio personality or local celebrity read “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” story, while Martina sang “You’re A Mean One, Mr Grinch.” Chicago Bears bone-crunching linebacker Brian Urlacher was the perfect Grinch on the final night of the tour. Green Bay Packer Jordy Nelson, Pittsburgh Steeler Brett Keisel, tv personality Storme Warren, hockey great Jim Dowd and others shared the stage with the Grammy winner.
I had so much fun this year bringing back The Joy Of Christmas,” said Martina. “I felt like I was spreading the Christmas spirit to so many people! We are already booking dates for next year and I can’t wait to do it all again!”
Following a short break over Christmas, Martina will hit the road as George Strait’s special guest on his The Cowboy Rides Away Tour, which begins January 18, 2013 in Lubbock, Texas. (Source www.examiner.com)

The 30A Songwriters Festival in South Walton County, Florida returns on January 18 - 20, 2013. The lineup this year includes: Lucinda Williams, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Nanci Griffith, David Olney, Suzanne Vega, Tift Merritt, Kim Richey, Alison Moorer, Eliza Gilkyson, Jeff Black and many, many more
Produced by the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County and presented by Visit South Walton, this three-day music festival features more than 125 songwriters and over 250 performances in venues ranging from intimate listening rooms to spacious outdoor amphitheaters amid a backdrop of brilliant white sand beaches and turquoise waters along South Walton's Scenic Highway 30A in Northwest Florida. Details - www.30asongwritersfestival.com


BABY NEWS
Sarah Buxton and her husband, musician Tom Bukovac, welcomed their first baby into the world. Buxton gave birth to Marshall, a baby boy, on December 4. She took to Twitter to share the news on December 17.
Tom and I are in love with our sweet baby boy, Marshall,” she wrote. “He came December 4th. My little Sagittarius.”
Buxton, who is best known for her songwriting talents, has penned tunes for artists such as Keith Urban and Big & Rich. Fans may also recognize her from her solo career and as half of the duo Buxton and Hughes.
I knew that I needed to make room in my life,” she explained earlier this year. “I knew that touring wasn’t going to be something that I was personally going to be able to do and be the kind of mom I want to be. So I chose to go with songwriting, which was already something that I loved to do anyway.”

MUSIC NEWS
The World Music Awards was postponed due to "logistical and multiple visa issue," organizers said, two days before the event was scheduled to be held in Miami.
Event producers John Martinotti and Marcol International said in a statement that the December 22 awards ceremony also was being delayed in the wake of the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
"We are sorry for any inconvenience but this decision had to be made due to logistical and multiple visa issues and in view of this week's national mourning. Fans have been a great support to the artists and have voted online in huge numbers," the producers said in a statement. On Facebook they quote “Several of our international performing acts have been unable to get work permits so we are asking for your comprehension at this difficult moment and promise to give you all a great worldclass show this coming Spring
The winners in categories ranging from world's best song, world's best artists and entertainer of the year, are picked by fans who vote online. The statement said that votes will continue to be collected until a new date is set for the show.
The nominees are chosen by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry to honor the top-selling artists around the globe.
Country music’s 2012 World Music Awards Nominees are listed below:
World’s Best Song: Carrie Underwood, ‘Blown Away’, Justin Bieber, ‘Boyfriend’, Jason Aldean, ‘Take A Little Ride’, Kelly Clarkson, ‘Stronger’, Taylor Swift ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ and Adele, ‘Rumour Has It’
World’s Best Album: Carrie Underwood - BLOWN AWAY, Lady Antebellum - ON THIS WINTER’S NIGHT, Jason Aldean - NIGHT TRAIN, Taylor Swift – RED, Christina Aguilera – LOTUS, Alicia Keys - GIRL ON FIRE and Adele - 21

(Dec 20 NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Brittany Howard of the Alabama Shakes is unharmed after being robbed at gunpoint over the weekend. Nashville police say Howard and four others that included members of the Brooklyn-based band Clear Plastic Masks were robbed Sunday night in east Nashville by two unidentified teens wearing hoodies.
Howard and the Shakes are up for three Grammy Awards in February, including best new artist, after releasing their debut album "Boys & Girls" earlier this year. A spokeswoman says the 24-year-old singer from Athens, Ala., has no comment.
The thieves were both armed with handguns and stole cellphones and a small amount of cash, but didn't harm anyone before taking off. Some of the items were found a short time later at a nearby park.

SINGLE / ALBUM NEWS
Tim McGraw has two very special guests on his upcoming album TWO LANES OF FREEDOM, and that would be country favorites, Keith Urban and Taylor Swift! If everyone wasn’t already excited about hearing new tunes from McGraw, especially after all that Curb Records broo-ha-ha, this collab is sure to get you on board. The new album, Two Lanes of Freedom, is set to release February 5th, 2013, and Urban and Swift are featured on track 13, “Highway Don’t Care” written by Mark Irwin, Josh Kear, Brett Warren and Brad Warren. Other tracks include recent releases “Truck Yeah” and “One Of Those Nights. There will also be a deluxe version of the album released including four additional songs. Track List
 “One Of Those Nights” (Luke Laird/Rodney Clawson/Chris Tompkins) – Video Link http://vevo.ly/VMh5Iz

Justin Moore has been talking about his next album for a while now, and it seems the ‘Bait a Hook’ singer is getting started before the new year. He announced via Twitter on Wednesday (Dec. 19) that he was headed into the studio to begin work on new recordings. “Day 1 recording album #3! Can’t wait to get new music out for y’all” Moore tweeted early in the day. The 28-year-old singer recently saw his sophomore album ‘Outlaws Like Me’ go gold on the strength of hit singles like ‘If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away,’ ‘Bait a Hook’ and ”Til My Last Day,’ but he admitted in October that he was still not sure about the direction for his next studio effort.

Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines has completed her first solo album. The singer-songwriter tweeted the news earlier this month, writing, "Happy Natalie Maines Finished Her Album Day everybody!" The project, which is titled MOTHER, is expected out on May 7, 2013.
Earlier this year, the Texas native confirmed via the same social networking site that the new album is rock, rather than country. Several outlets are also reporting that Ben Harper is producing the project. The record will mark Natalie's first full length offering since the 2006 Dixie Chicks album, TAKING THE LONG WAY.
Good news!I made some calls and had them push the end of the world to sometime after the release of my album, #Mother 5/7/13.You’re welcome. - Natalie Maines (@1NatalieMaines) December 20, 2012

The release of Ashley Monroe’s LIKE A ROSE has been pushed back to March 5. From the press release: “The great Vince Gill and I have written a brand new song that I love so much I have to put it on my new album,” Monroe says to explain the new street date. On Facebook Ashley wrote: “As a thank you for sticking by me, I'd love to share with you all another song from the album. "Used" is a song that came to me in my sleep when I was seventeen years old. I woke up and finished it with Sally Barris the next day and it's always been near and dear to my heart. It has stood the test of time in the nine years since it was written and the version you'll hear is our updated spin on it” >> YouTube

PRESS RELEASES
Restless Heart Gears Up For 30th Anniversary Tour - '30 Years & Still Restless' Tour Kicks Off January 2013
Nashville, Tenn. (December 17, 2012) – These days, bands come and go in the blink of an eye.  It isn't often that a touring group
can boast 30 years on the road, especially with every single original band member.  RESTLESS HEART is one of the few groups in the history of country music that has withstood the test of time, barreling onward nonstop for three decades.
The tour kicks off in January 2013 with more than 25 dates already on the books and around 80-90 dates anticipated by the year's end.  "It's an honor to be able to continue to play our music across the country with all five original members, which is something that
is almost unheard-of in our business,” says Restless Heart frontman Larry Stewart.  "We are so blessed to have all remained in
great health and are able to continue to do what we love most!"
Restless Heart pianist and vocalist Dave Innis adds, "I'm extremely fortunate to be part of a 30-year legacy where I am constantly
blessed by people’s connection to our music.  The stories of how our songs have touched a life will never lose their impact.  It’s
truly humbling.” 
In addition to its 30th Anniversary tour, the band plans to release all new material in 2013. 
John Dittrich, Greg Jennings, Paul Gregg, Dave Innis, and Larry Stewart – the men who make up Restless Heart have enjoyed one of the most successful careers in Country Music history, placing over 25 singles on the charts – with six consecutive #1 hits, four
of their albums have been certified Gold by the RIAA, and they have won a wide range of awards from many organizations – including the Academy of Country Music’s Top Vocal Group trophy . (For US dates - Absolute Publicity Press)

Rolling Stone, Washington Post, Rhapsody, AOL’s The Boot and more named Kellie Pickler’s 100 Proof “Best Of 2012
Press Blurb: Spearheaded by the release of her critically-acclaimed album 100 Proof in early January and rounded out with the signing of a new record deal with Black River Entertainment in October, the year 2012 has meant tons of excitement and career momentum for country music songstress Kellie Pickler.
Note, Kellie  was dealt a blow on her 26th birthday on Thursday (28 June 2012) when Sony Nashville record label bosses dropped her following disappointing sales of her last album, 100 PROOF.
Fans can expect 2013 to also be an exciting year for Pickler as she gears up to release a new single from her forthcoming new album. To read what top critis say read the EB Media Press Release and enjoy this stunning photo of Kellie”

THE ROYS brought Bluegrass to the small screen this year with a host of appearances on network and cable outlets.
Additionally, the siblings appeared on the PBS programs Pa's Fiddle: Charles Ingalls, American Fiddler and Song of the Mountains; RFD-TV's Reno's Old Time Music Festival; CMC Australia/Sky TV-U.K. Bluegrass Mountains TV Show and the Dr. Steve Show.
Camouflage The Bluegrass Way
The duo aligned with Team RealTree™ Outdoor Energy Drink  for a strategic partnership that includes tour sponsorship.  THE ROYS travel to their shows in a distinctly-wrapped RealTree™ camouflage bus, which was named for their critically-acclaimed 2011 CD, LONESOME WHISTLE.
Lee and Elaine travel the road with their band, a talented group of pickers comprised of Harry Clark (Guitar), Matt Downing (Banjo), Clint White (Fiddle) and Royal Masat (Bass).  Together, the cohesive unit has thrilled crowds at impressive Bluegrass fairs, festivals and special events throughout the year. More details on the Webster & Associates Press Release
Watch The Roys Year End 2012 Video >>  YouTube

Bo Bice, Sugar Money Records artist, signs with newly-formed Altar Agency and announces the upcoming lead role in the revival of the 1980’s Broadway musical ‘Pump Boys and Dinettes’. The production will be held at the Circle in the Square Theater with preview performances to commence March 19, 2013 with an official open April 8th.
The original production opened off-Broadway in 1981 and moved to Broadway in February 1982, completing 573 performances over 16 months.  The musical is a tribute to rural American life centered around a roadside restaurant and filling station on Highway 57 in North Carolina. See Webster & Associates Press Release

The Oak Ridge Boys Respond To Call From Former First Lady Barbara Bush
 Words cannot properly express how much The Oaks’ special performance meant to the President and the Bush family.  This friendship goes back many years, and what happened yesterday gave the President a real shot in the arm as he, thankfully, continues to improve.  The Bushes continue to feel so blessed to have so many friends like The Oaks, and wish to thank one and all for their prayers and good wishes.” – Office of George H. W. Bush
“Yesterday morning, The Oak Ridge Boys received the daily report from President Bush (41’s) staff.  The report of his health was that he was improving each day.  Then, we received another message, Barbara Bush requested that we call the President and sing to him!  All of the Oak Ridge Boys are on vacation, but we all headed to our office upon hearing of this request.  We called the President and sang for him.  He asked to hear Elvira, so we sang that for him, and then we sang one verse of Amazing Grace.” – Duane Allen, The Oak Ridge Boys  >> YouTube  Read more Webster & Associates

(Dec 31) TV Host & Acclaimed Artist, Mike Scott Celebrating 40 Years as a Professional Entertainer Nashville, TN (December 31, 2012) – Rural Rhythm Records congratulates Mike Scott who celebrates 40 years in music which impressively includes over 450 performances at the Grand Ole Opry.  He first took the stage with his banjo at the age of 10 and now leads the Mike Scott & The Nashville Band. In addition, he still performs with Ronnie Reno & The Reno Tradition and can be seen regularly on “Reno’s Old Time Music Fest” TV Show airing on RFD TV and Blue Highways TV.
Mike was born in 1962 in Johnson City, Tennessee and has earned a fine reputation as a talented Singer, Songwriter, Producer and TV Host. As a sideman or a featured artist, he has toured extensively throughout every state in the US and all of Canada. He has also toured throughout Europe, including the Wembley Tours (England, Ireland, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden), and was the first U.S. band to tour in South Africa (Zambia, Lesotho, Malawi). Read more Rural Rhythm Press Release

INTERVIEWS
Willie Nelson interview: Don't fret about the end of the world - www.telegraph.co.uk

Taylor Swift: 7 ways boyfriends make you sad - Most of us want to forget the heartache and struggles of adolescence, but for pop singer Taylor Swift, those memories are the makings of a great song.
On 60 Minutes Overtime, Taylor tells Lesley Stahl the secrets of her song-writing. "I break down emotions into like 50 million categories," Taylor explains, and one big category is sadness, mostly the sadness of love.
There's the missing-him kind of sadness," Taylor says. "There's the frustrated-and-confused, don't-know-why-it-ended kind of sadness, there's the sadness tinged with anger..." and a few more variations on the ways that a boyfriend can get a girl down.
It's all sad, but true, and her fans love it, as you'll see in Lesley Stahl's 60 Minutes piece, "Taylor Swift," produced by Shari Finkelstein
Watch the video interview at www.cbsnews.com

Bill Cody talked with Lorrie Morgan (recorded November 15, 2012) at WSM Radio in Nashville. Lorrie stopped by to debut brand new music and preview her "Enchanted Christmas" at Gaylord Opryland. There was a world exclusive spin of a wonderful song "Last Nights Makeup" at (24mins).

Bill Cody & Lorrie
Lorrie's latest work, due out in the Spring, is a compilation with fellow country artist Pam Tillis. The project, which features the new song “Last Night’s Make-Up,” features four duets and then four solos each by Tillis and Morgan.
Pam and I have been working together for a couple years,” Morgan said. “The album is absolutely fantastic … and has a lot of fun songs.” >> Audio Link
Lorrie Morgan also sharing the wonder of Christmas with her Enchanted Christmas Dinner & Show at Gaylord. Yallwire host Stephanie Langston caught up with the Grand Ole Opry star about her favorite time of the year while our cameras take you inside the show - www.yallwire.com

LISTEN
Sunny Sweeney‘s fans would be horrified to hear her sing a jolly Christmas rendition of  ‘Silent Night’ or ‘O Come All Ye Faithful.’ That sort of song fits the East Texas singer like a dress fits Blake Shelton. Listen to her single ‘One More Christmas Beer’ if nothing else, it’s honest and for many close to home! -  Well you’d think that a family/ Could try to get along/ At least this one day here/ But the fact is we can’t / We never will/ So pass me one more Christmas beer >>  YouTube

Sammy Kershaw talks to NPR about his new album of Cajun holiday songs called A Sammy Klaus Christmas
Michelle
Listen/Download Michelle Wrights take of "Joy to The World" (128kbps MP3 Stream) - www.michelle-wright.com

It took a while, but the London folk-rock band Mumford & Sons broke big with its 2009 debut album, SIGH NO MORE.
In this session of World Cafe, NPR’s David Dye talks to Mumford & Sons' members about how they achieved success. And, of course, they perform songs from their highly anticipated second album, BABEL. The band responsible for the term "arena folk" talks about balancing between quiet and loud spaces within its music – www.npr.org

When your schedule is as jam-packed as Taylor Swift’s is, it can get a little exhausting, but Taylor says it’s all part of getting to do what she loves for a living. She doesn’t mind going where people tell her to go and doing what she’s told she has to do because she says, “I determined what was on the schedule ‘cause I talked about it in a management meeting and decided what I was gonna do”
Audio - soundcloud.com

WATCH
The official video for "Scavenger," from the album "Reunion" by Lucy Kaplansky on Red House Records.
Sweetwater Rain performing “Starshine” (2012 Curb Records) >> YouTube
Aussie Chelsea Basham video for “I Learned The Hard Way” >>  YouTube
Matt Cornell  Days To Remember” (Official Music Video)  >>  YouTube
Sneak peak into Jewel's 2013 Greatest Hits release with Kelly Clarkson and Pistol Annies >> YouTube

HanaLena, formerly Nash Street, are a touring sister duo based in Nashville, TN. Led by the sister duo Hannah and Caroline Melby, their roots reach all the way back to the state of Mississippi where they grew up playing old-time, folk and bluegrass music
They’re a gifted and exciting ensemble, among the better playing and singing units to emerge in the contemporary end of the genre."
says Alan Cackett, editor of Maverick Magazine. Check out “Mississpppi Queen” from Oct 2010 >> YouTube

Seasonal Videos
Ali Isabella "A Little Love This Christmas" Official Music Video >>  YouTube
Callaghan performs "O Holy Night" >> YouTube
Lucy Angel "Mr Santa" >>  YouTube

"Warm Christmas" performed by lovely Canadian Elyse Saunders (Written by Elyse Saunders & Peter Linseman)
YouTube its available on UK iTunes / US iTunes

Just wanted to share a fun christmas song by Julie Ingram "Doorbell Party"...enjoy! Happy Holidays! >> YouTube

On  Sunday, December 23, on the weekend edition of the Fox News Channel‘s FOX & FRIENDS, GRAMMY Award winning country music star Billy Dean spread a bit of holiday cheer, just in time for Christmas. Dean, who was on tour with Kenny Rogers on the country legend’s 31st annual “Christmas and Hits” tour, performed live on the national news show.
I’m planning on singing one of my favorite Christmas song, appropriately titled ‘My Favorite Things,’” says Dean.  I can’t think of a better way to wrap up this tour than to sing a classic holiday songs on Fox & Friends!
After Fox & Friends, Dean headed to nearby Westbury, New York for the final stop on Rogers’ Christmas tour.
Watch Billy perform “My Favorite Things”  the video:  http://video.foxnews.com

Happy holidays to you from Taylor Swift! In an effort to spread cheer among her fans, the country crossover star filmed an acoustic performance of three hit songs ("We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together", "Treacherous" and "22") for everyone to enjoy.The short set was recorded live during Swift’s ‘Red’ promotional live vid chat back in August. She kicked off the live music by talking about the process of writing her first single from ‘Red,’ ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.’ >>

Taylor Swift‘s contemplative ballad ‘Never Grow Up’ provides the soundtrack for one of the cutest and most heartwarming commercials of the Christmas season >> YouTube (tasteofcountry.com)

Lady Antebellum celebrated Christmas morning (Dec. 25) with all of their fans, courtesy of a pre-taped performance of ‘Have a Holly Jolly Christmas’ from their holiday record ON THIS WINTER’S NIGHT, which aired on the annual Disney Parks Christmas parade on ABC. Charles Kelley, Dave Haywood and Hillary Scott performed outside in the broad daylight and were joined by a troupe of dancers, with the females looking extra cute in their Santa Claus-inspired outfits.
Check out this photoshoot jpeg  Watch taping from magic kingdom for Christmas Day parade >>  YouTube

No one sings Christmas songs like Martina McBride, according to ‘CMA Country Christmas’ host Jennifer Nettles. McBride proved the Sugarland singer right with a classy performance of the traditional hymn ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ during the special.
McBride’s killer voice was paired with a harp during a super slow rendition of the song. Later, background singers and an orchestra stepped in to carry the tune to its climax as the singer continued belting out the song, nailing every note as always.

Before Keith Urban took the stage to perform a unique version of ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ on ABC’s Dec. 20 broadcast of ‘CMA Country Christmas,’ he spoke a little bit about what Christmas is like in the female-dominated Urban-Kidman household. “The girls are anxious to get to the tree and presents, and the feeling of euphoria is infectious,” Urban revealed, referring to his wife Nicole Kidman and their daughters Sunday and Faith >> YouTube

CMA Country Christmas 2012 - "FULL SHOW" >>  YouTube

COUNTRY GOSSIP
(18 December 2012) Taylor Swift allegedly spent £50,000 on Beatles memorabilia for Harry Styles' Christmas present.
The 23-year-old singer is desperate to get hold of some rare merchandise for her One Direction hunk boyfriend and stunned shop assistants specialising in the legendary 60s group with her extravagant budget.
A source told the Daily Star newspaper: "Harry spent £900 on Taylor for her recent birthday and now she wants to repay the favour - and then some."She's been phoning Beatles stores in Liverpool hoping to find pieces of rare autographed memorabilia she knows Harry will love."A staff member at one store let slip she wanted to spend somewhere between £40,000 and £50,000."
Taylor turned 23 earlier this month and was showered with gifts by the British singer, including a Jimmy Choo bag, antique earrings, perfume, and a black and white photo of the 'I Knew You Were Trrouble' hitmaker in a vintage frame.
Harry, 18, has previously praised The Beatles as "icons" and admitted he finds comparisons between his chart-topping group and the 'She Loves You' hitmakers "ridiculous".

One Direction hunk Harry Styles enjoys some time with friends whilst Taylor Swift headed back to the US. Harry Styles and Taylor Swift are said to be smitten with each other.  
The One Direction star enjoyed an early Christmas lunch with Pixie Geldof and her boyfriend George Barnett along with Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw who posted a picture of the meal on Twitter.' Although the group clearly enjoyed their festive feast, Harry, 18, is sure to be missing new girlfriend Taylor Swift.
The pair have been inseperable since their first public outing in New York earlier this month. Harry even brought Taylor, 23, home to meet his mum Anne before the country singer flew back to the US to spend the holidays with her family.

(20 December 2012) Taylor Swift has introduced boyfriend Harry Styles to her mother.
The 23-year-old singer has given a clear indication the couple's relationship is getting serious by taking the One Direction singer to meet her mum Andrea on Wednesday (19.12.12) after he stayed over at her Hollywood home on Tuesday night (18.12.12).
The pair - who have only recently started dating - were spotted leaving the 'I Knew You Were Trouble' hitmaker's abode on Wednesday with Andrea, and the trio popped out to do some shopping at Southern Californian grocery chain Ralphs before returning to the blonde beauty's abode, website MailOnline reports.

(Dec 25, 2012)Taylor Swift & Harry Styles took Romance to New Heights but weren’t together for Christmas. Tay and Harry Styles of 1D took their romance to new heights - around 7,000 feet above sea level. The couple, who have recently been criss...crossing the globe together, spent the weekend at Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah. They hit the slopes and some of the town's best restaurants, looking "cute and lovey dovey." According to the MailOnline, the couple were also enjoying time on the slopes with Taylor's best friend Selena Gomez, who was holidaying in the same resort with her family
The previous week, Taylor accompanied Harry to a tattoo parlor in L.A. (Shamrock Tattoo Parlour in Los Angeles - a favourite haunt of soccer star David Beckham) where he got a huge ship inked on his left arm. Taylor watched on as Harry got his latest tattoo, and she chatted to a female friend and enjoyed a game of pool to pass the time.
But the 2 lovebirds aren't together for Christmas. The One Direction heartthrob is already back in the UK to spend it with his family!
As for Taylor? She’ll be in Australia for the holiday, due to some prior commitments! However, it sounds like Taylor and Harry’s time apart won’t last long — supposedly, she wants him to meet him in Australia for their next romantic reunion and some lovin’ down under!

(Dec 21, 2012) Taylor Swift believes in Santa Claus.
The 23-year-old singer - who is dating One Direction hunk Harry Styles - thinks people won't receive gifts if they aren't open to the belief that presents are delivered by the bearded sleigh traveller.She said: "You have to believe in him, if not, he won't bring you any gifts. Everybody knows that." Whether the 'I Knew You Were Trouble' singer will be spending this Christmas with Harry or not, she's likely to get a kiss from someone as she hangs mistletoe, a plant which traditionally means two people must share a smooch if they stand underneath it together.She told BRAVO.de: "There'll be mistletoe hung at my house." How long was the queue?

Harry Styles and Taylor Swift have introduced their families to one another. They spoke on Skype five times a day during their festive separation and even used the software to introduce their families to one another.
The couple - who will bring in the New Year together tonight (31.12.12) in America - spent much of the festive season apart, but used internet video conferencing programme Skype to cope with their separation and during some of the calls, the One Direction heartthrob got his loved ones to talk to Taylor's relatives.
A source told The Sun newspaper: "Harry and Taylor spoke online up to five times a day while they were apart. They got their families involved too, so it wasn't just them locked inside their bedrooms for hours on end. It was a good opportunity to familiarise their families as they were all together at Christmas.
Harry and Taylor's reunion this weekend (Dec 29/30) almost didn't happen after the 18-year-old British star missed his flight from London to the US on Friday morning (28.12.12) - because he forgot his passport.

Las Vegas is turning into a second home for more and more country music superstars, and one singer allegedly isn’t happy about it. Shania Twain is reportedly “seething” that coverage of Tim McGraw and Faith Hill‘s Soul2Soul residency is taking away from her comeback show at Ceasars Palace.
Granted, Perez Hilton is only quoting “an insider” as his source for the rumored drama, which was first reported in the National Enquirer. “She knew they were coming, but she didn’t think they’d try to steal the spotlight like they have,” he or she said of Twain without going into specifics. Soul2Soul began on Dec. 7, just days after the star began her high-profile and much-hyped show.
It’s taken Shania everything to get to this point, and now, along come Faith and Tim to spoil her party,” the source revealed.

Miley Cyrus received a sex doll as an early Christmas gift. The 20-year-old star - who is engaged to 'The Hunger Games' actor Liam Hemsworth - took to her Twitter account to reveal she had taken the unusual festive present out for a drive in her car, and joked whether she would be allowed in a carpool lane, in which only vehicles with two or more passengers are permitted.
In a message to accompany a picture of her taking the doll for a spin, she wrote: "Does this count for the carpool lane? Such a nice Xmas gift (sic)"
The former 'Hannah Montana' star has been fully indulging in the festive spirit has been listening to some of her favourite Christmas songs. In a series of tweets quoting the lyrics of classic hit 'Let It Snow', she wrote: "Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snoooooow. The weather outside is frightful ... But the fire is soooo delightful (sic)"
Miley's new erotic blow-up doll is not the first time she has celebrated a special occasion with a naughty gift. In January, the 'Climb' hitmaker and Liam marked his 22nd birthday by eating a penis-shaped cake (not an Achy-Breaky-Heart-Shaped one then?).

Miley Cyrus' favourite place to perform is London because she has so many gay fans there.

Pop star turned Country artist Lionel Richie has splashed out on seven Mercedes cars for himself this Christmas.
The 'Dancing on the Ceiling' singer - whose adopted daughter is fashion designer Nicole Richie - decided to treat himself to several new vehicles to mark the festive holiday, however, the shocked salesman didn't recognise Lionel when he first walked into the dealership and thought he was joking when he told him how many cars he wanted.
Lionel told the New York Post newspaper: "I decided to buy myself a Mercedes - or two! In blue jeans and T-shirt, I walked into a Montgomery, Alabama, dealership and said, 'I'll buy seven Mercedes.' Staring, the guy asked, 'Son, you got some proof?' I had him call LA's Bank of America president. He hung up and segued from 'Son' to, 'Mr. Richie, right this way, please.' "
Were the retail receipts for Richie’s 2012 million selling TUSKEGEE album that healthy?

According to gossip website TMZ, 65-year-old country legend Emmylou Harris was investigated by California officials after an Oct. 1 car accident.The site reports that the singer allegedly hit into another car while driving a rental car on a Los Angeles freeway and drove off without stopping or exchanging insurance information with the other driver. Therefore, the California Highway Patrol opened a hit and run investigation after the other driver filed a report on what happened

(Dec 28) Things seem to be going well for Jana Kramer and Brantley Gilbert, as is evident by a rumored recent purchase — and it’s a big one. The fellow country singers’ romance has been heating up this winter, and apparently that’s been topped by Kramer and Gilbert buying a house together, according to Nashville Gab. The report originally popped up at OMG, a Yahoo gossip site that insists that the country couple is getting very serious.
I am really happy,” Kramer says when speaking of her love life. “[Brantley] is so wonderful, I cannot stop smiling around him. He surprises me with gifts ‘just because.’” One of the sweet things Gilbert has done lately is nurse Kramer back to health after she was plagued with exhaustion and dehydration while touring with Brad Paisley. (tasteofcountry.com)

TWEETS
Taylor Swift – TaylorSwift13: I shouldn’t read into the fact that my family got me a new scrabble board (the one that swivels!) & cat treats for Christmas, right? Am I 85?

Martina McBride – MartinaMcBride: Ok. Christmas break is taking it’s toll. I just spent literally 5 1/2 hours doing a 2000 piece jigsaw puzzle. In my pj’s. I need to get out!

Kellie Pickler – KelliePickler: Honored to have been a part of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (@Martin_Dempsey) Holiday tour!! #USA #USO

R.I.P
Noted music journalist and author Martha Hume died in her sleep at home in Nashville on Monday night, December 17.
The former managing editor of Country Music magazine was the author of the books You’re So Cold I’m Turnin’ Blue: Martha Hume’s Guide to the Greatest in Country Music (1982) and Kenny Rogers: Gambler, Dreamer, Lover (1980). Hume was the wife of CMT columnist Chet Flippo.

(Dec 26) Frank Christian, a virtuoso guitarist and songwriter who made critically acclaimed albums and contributed to Nanci Griffith’s Grammy-winning “Other Voices, Other Rooms” project, died Dec. 24 in New York after battling pneumonia.
Mr. Christian, who recorded four solo albums and played on works by Griffith, Suzanne Vega, Dave Van Ronk, Christine Lavin, John Gorka and others, was 60.

Many artists expressed their feelings on social media following the horrific elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Here is a small sampling:
“I’m heartsick about the senseless tragedy in CT and praying for the families of the children and teachers who lost their lives. Unthinkable.” Taylor Swift
Stand strong and united everyone…We are Americans and we are better than this. What a sad, disgusting day this is.” Blake Shelton
Pray for the families of the victims of the shooting in Conn. Pure satanic evil walks among us.” Charlie Daniels
The world will never be the same. Heartbroken. Newton, CT we are with you.” Martina McBride
I’m praying for those babies and all the victims of the Connecticut shooting. May God bring peace to the families.” Miranda Lambert
Our hearts are broken for the families in Connecticut…Please join us in prayer for these families.” The Band Perry
 My God, y’all. Please pray for the families in Connecticut.” Colt Ford

LOOK BACK ON 2012
Stella Parton reflected on The Blessings Of 2012 - The year of 2012 for Stella Parton has been filled with book signings, concerts, workshops, new releases and exciting projects on the horizon!
Most recently, the audiobook version of her inspirational memoir, Tell It Sister, Tell It, was made available for the first time – unedited and uncensored!  Narrating the book herself, Stella comments, “Yes, this audiobook is a little different than the paperback.  It was difficult to write this very personal memoir, but reading it was even more challenging, and as I read, other things just came to mind.”

As debut years go, Greg Bates has had a terrific one. “2012 was an amazing year for me,” he says. “It was probably the best year of my life. I can’t say enough about how excited I am for “Did It For The Girl”. It went top 5 this year. And just looking ahead to 2013, its gonna be a lot of fun to go out and play this song and have people sing it back to me. This year was amazing. I got to go on my first tour with Brantley Gilbert. It’s been an absolutely perfect year for me and I’m just, I’m in a really good place heading into 2013.”
One thing Greg is looking forward to in 2013 is releasing his debut album to get even more music out to his fans - www.musicnewsnashville.com

AllMusic’s Favorite Country Albums of 2012 - It has to be said that 2012 was a bit of an odd year for country music, particularly of the mainstream variety. After all, the biggest country album of the year was an album that was only nominally country: Taylor Swift’s rather brilliant pop platter RED.
There were other terrific big, glossy country-pop records - Little Big Town’s TORNADO, Carrie Underwood’s BLOWN AWAY and a couple of good straight-ahead mainstream country records like Toby Keith’s HOPE ON THE ROCKS and Tim McGraw’s EMOTIONAL TRAFFIC, and then there were records that defied any easy category, such as Jerrod Neimann’s joyfully weird FREE THE MUSIC and Zac Brown’s jam-happy UNCAGED. Still, most of the noteworthy albums came from somewhere outside of the mainstream, whether it was Jamey Johnson’s earthy, heartfelt tribute to songwriter Hank Cochran, Elizabeth Cook’s bracing Gospel Plow, Turnpike Troubadours’ gritty plain-spoken narratives on Goodbye Normal Street, or veterans like Bobby Bare, Don Williams, and Marty Stuart delivering fine latter-day work


The UK's Martin Chilton from The Telegraph's selects his 10 favourite folk-country-blues albums from his 2012 reviews.

Country Weekly's Top 10 Albums of 2012 included Livin’ for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran by Jamey Johnson, 3 Pears (Dwight Yoakam), Tornado (Little Big Town), RED by Taylor Swift, 100 Proof (Kellie Pickler) and The Time Jumpers (The Time Jumpers) See full Listing - www.countryweekly.com

NEW YEAR
Luke Bryan always gets a bit nostalgic on the last day of the year. "My best New Year's Eve is definitely when my wife and I started dating," he notes. "We started dating right before Christmas, and we went on a trip down to Florida and met some friends. And her birthday is New Year's Eve. We celebrated it that night. It was just a great night."

Eric Church knows he will over-indulge on New Year's Eve, but he isn't worried about feeling bad on Jan. 1. "The best hangover cure -- I've got two," he shares. "One is 5-hour Energy [bottles], because of all the B-vitamins that are in it. You can start pounding those, and it's either gonna work or It's gonna keep you up and prolong your misery. But the other one I have is just take two Advil and a beer in the morning. Hair of the dog, man -- that works every time."

Keith Urban welcomed in the New Year while in Oz. He shared a New Year’s Eve photo from Sydney, complete with fireworks going off in the background. - Photo

The McClymonts: Happy New Year everybody! We hope you all have a fantastic night tonight, we can't wait to see you all in the New Year. Be safe! Brooke, Sam and Mollie

Happy New Year from the Eve Selis Band. Eve turns 50 would you believe in July and she will be touring the U.K. in June 2013

Taylor
Taylor Swift was one of the acts on ABC's iconic Dick Clark's Primetime New Year's Rockin' Eve show, which was being hosted by Ryan Seacrest and Fergie and dedicated to the iconic presenter who passed away in April.

'Thirteen is my lucky number! Taylor Swift steals the show in leather as she heads New York's star studded celebrations
It's been yet another wonderful year for Taylor Swift. And what better way to end it than heading New York's star studded ball drop?
The 23-year-old starlet donned leather trousers and a red jacket as she took to the stage in Times Square to perform for millions.
Taylor performed her hit songs “I Knew You Were Trouble” and “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” belting out her hits to a massive ovation  >> YouTube
More than 1 million people, some who traveled to New York from distant corners of the world, packed into Times Square to celebrate the start of the new year.
'So excited to be in New York playing on @OfficialNYRE! It all starts at 8pm ET on ABC. Can’t. even. verbalize. how stoked I am for 2013!' Taylor tweeted. 'There are 13's EVERYWHERE. This is PERFECT,' she added later, referring to her lucky number.
And how did the singer celebrate at midnight? With a kiss for boyfriend Harry Styles!
Earlier in the night, Harry was spotted attending Jay-Z and Coldplay‘s New Year’s Eve Concert at the Barclays Center before heading back to Manhattan to catch Taylor‘s performance. (www.dailymail.co.uk)
At the end of the day, Taylor and Harry were spotted hand in hand while entering their hotel.
Check out the photo evidence of the Haylor kiss >  Pic 1 - Pic 2
Taylor Swift and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg attend - Billboard Photo

The Voice 2012 Winner and Country No.1 artist Cassadee Pope also performs on the NIVEA Kiss Stage in Times Square on New Year's Eve 2013 on December 31, 2012 in New York City - Billboard Photo
Jason Aldean performed on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve; he was in LA at the CBS studio. Jason is also scheduled to perform live at the People’s Choice Awards 2013, from the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles, on Wednesday, Jan. 9 (9 p.m.), on the CBS Television Network. Christina Aguilera and Alicia Keys were also announced as performers (Music City USA News)

See photos of New Year Celebrations around the world at www.mirror.co.uk


 
  Best wishes for 2013!

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