Friday, 22 February 2013

Country Bites News snippets Jan 28 - Feb 3, 2013

Country Bites News snippets January 28 – February 3

SOURCES/LINKS show in RED

UK & IRISH News
The North East Show and Gig Guide has been updated - Blog Page Link

Rascal Flatts play O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire on Thursday 11th July 2013 + UK Tour updates for Vince Gill, Lindi Ortega, Brantley Gilbert (Oran Mor), Joey+Rory, Victoria Shaw, Bonnie Raitt, Kenny Rogers and more - UK Tour Blog Page

Vince Gill
Vince Gill will play Dublin's Olympia (72 Dame Street ,Dublin 2, Dublin, Ireland) on March 13 and the INEC in Killarney (Muckross Road, Killarney,  Co. Kerry,  IRELAND, IE / Box office on 064 6671555) on March 14. These 2 dates are just a few days before he plays The O2 London at the C2C festival on March 16. Tickets are €49.50 – €69.50 - www.ticketmaster.ie
In 2007, the Country Music Association inducted Vince into the Country Music Hall Of Fame.

Derek Ryan picked up the Best Original Song Of The Year Award at the prestigious Sunday World Awards in Mullingar. Derek is being mentored by his older brother Adrian on the Glór Tire talent show on TG4.

Irish songbird Mary Duff, who won the Female Vocalist Of The Year award at the Sunday World Country Music Awards. She is currently working on a solo album.

Hot duo and Hotdisc chart toppers Kelly Lee and Talia Smith aka Travellin Rose gave a sneek preview of their new album cover titled CINDERELLA DREAMS. According to their Facebook it is coming out soon. Last March they finished recording the album in Nashville. It was nominated for a BCMA album of the Year and they won UK Horizon Act of the Year at the BCMAwards in September 2012.

NASHVILLE comes to the UK - The first season of ABC’s drama series received its UK premiere on More4 on Thursday February 7th at 10pm with repeats on Sunday 10 Feb. The show (which US viewers get on ABC) focuses on two rival country singers. Rayna Jaymes (Connie Britton, American Horror Story), a country music superstar about to be upstaged by the up and coming, Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere, Heroes). Both ladies take an instant dislike to each other as they're both determined to continue the successes of their careers, especially when they both try to get the same guitarist - Deacon Claybourne (Charles Eston). Matters are also not helped by Rayna's husband running for Mayor of Nashville and Juliette's addict for a mother.
The gorgeous Connie Britton (L) and
Hayden Panettiere (R) from the
Nashville Drama (click to enlarge)

The hunger of two singers for fame is not the only thing that goes on in the pilot. Subplots deal with sex, drugs, not to mention betrayal, family squabbles and forbidden love!
Digital television channel More4 carried on Freeview (CH 14), Freesat (CH 124) and Sky
** It can also be viewed on a PC by logging onto 4oD - www.channel4.com/programmes/nashville
The Music Of Nashville (Soundtrack) Season 1 Vol 1 CD is available on Amazon UK
Big Machine have been releasing Digital tracks on US iTunes

Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere spoke at a press day last year for the show about who inspires them in the country music world. Nashville premiered in America on Oct. 10, 2012  on ABC >> YouTube
Meet "Nashville" Breakout Stars - Perfecting a Tennessee twang could be a challenge for any actor, but British actor Sam Palladio and his Australian co-star Clare Bowen told Pop Sugar TV they were more than up for the task when they signed on for the ABC drama. The series will feature original songs by music heavyweights including T-Bone Burnett and gives both Sam and Clare the chance to spotlight their singing talents in their roles as young, aspiring musicians - YouTube

UK CHART NEWS
On the Official UK Singles Top 100 Chart (Week February 9, 2013)
Taylor Swift’sI Knew You Were Trouble” (Mercury) moves 3-4. The dub-step single sold 35,018 copies to reach a total of  424,383 after 17 retail weeks. Her worldwide “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” dropped one place 51-52 in its 24th chart week, selling 6,950 copies and has a UK tally to date of 506,532. “Love Story” fell 2 slots 86-88. Will Taylor’s signature song receive a Valentines boost next week?

On the Official UK Albums Top 100 (Week February 9, 2013)
Taylor Swift’s RED fell 12-16 it sold 7,920 copies, up 19% on the previous week and has now sold 274,951 in 15 weeks. It has now been certified Platinum in the UK. Taylor tweeted, “So I’m just minding my own business, making a sandwich before rehearsals, and I get a call that Red is platinum in the UK. I LOVE you guys.” In the country, the threshold certificate is given platinum discs for units shipped to retail in excess of 300,000 copies. Released on Oct. 22, 2012 it soared to number one and has for 14 weeks, been on the bestseller list in the UK. Taylor received the milestone news on February 1st, the same day as Harry Styles 19th birthday!

Official UK Country Album (Week February 9, 2013)
Lady Antebellum move 2-1 with NEED YOU NOW (Capitol) to return to the top of the chart in its 80th chart week and their album OWN THE NIGHT moved up one to No.2 in its 54th. Carrie Underwood’s BLOWN AWAY is up 2 places to No.3  chart.
Last week’s No.1 Glen Campbell with GHOST ON THE CANVAS drops to No.4. New on chart at Robert Vincent as his album LIFE IN EASY STEPS (Demon Blue) bows at No.7.

On the Hotdisc Chart (Feb 3, 2013 Chart)
British singer songwriter Graham Clark's "I'm Not Inclined" stays at No.1 on the Hotdisc Top 40 as well as the British & Irish Top 10 listing for a fourth consecutive week.
The Swagger Kings move 3-2 while South based British singer-songwriter and teenager, Kathryn Anderson, has bagged a No.3 spot with her great debut single “Write a Letter” which was recorded in Nashville. There was very little movement from last week's Hotdisc survey. Next week the new songs from Hotdisc 169 (Rush Released) will begin to impact the charts.

UK COUNTRY ALBUM RELEASES
(5 Feb 2013) Holly Williams - Highway [Import] (Georgiana Records) Time: 45:12 / 11 tracks
Amazon CDAmazon MP3UK iTunes - Trailer >> YouTube

(11 Feb 2013) Love and Theft - Love and Theft  (Sony Music CMG) Time: 38:44 /  11 Tracks

AUSSIE NEWS
Cyclonic weather in Australia totally rained on Keith Urban’s parade over the weekend. Keith was forced to move Sunday night’s (27Jan13) concert in Brisbane to Monday due to torrential rain and significant flooding in the region. The show is part of Keith’s six-date The Story So Far Australian tour. Keith tweeted, “Tonight’s show in Brissie postponed until tomorrow night due to crazy cyclonic chaos … so bummed! Stay safe everyone.” The first leg of Keith’s North American tour kicks off July 18th in Cincinnati, Ohio.

CMC, in conjunction with Rob Potts Entertainment Edge, Chugg Entertainment and Foxtel Networks, announceed that high-octane country-rocker Jack Ingram (USA) and emerging country/rock trio THE FARM (USA) will complete the huge international lineup for CMC Rocks the Hunter 2013.
Local stars, Cadd + Morris, Travis List, 8 Ball Aitken, Baylou, Tori Darke and Harry Hookey will also add more heat to the already stellar lineup for the three-day festival, held at the beautiful Hope Estate in the Hunter Valley (NSW), over the weekend of Fri 15-Sun 17 March, 2013. - www.cmcrocks.com.au  Playing times for CMC rocks the Hunter 2013 - Image

O'Shea got 'wired for sound' when they supported Sir Cliff Richard on the East Coast leg of his sold out Australian tour in February. An Aussie country act getting a gig on a major UK artists international tour!
The dates were from 5 Feb, 2013 at Newcastle, NSW  (Newcastle Entertainment Centre) to Feb 19, 2013 in Melbourne ( Melbourne Arts Centre, Hamer Hall) . 
O'Shea graphic


Individually Mark and Jay O’Shea have an impressive string of writing and artist credits that span the globe. The combination of Jay’s country-soul voice blending perfectly with Mark’s country-rock sensibilities has made the Nashville based husband-and-wife team one of the most respected names in Australian country music in just a few short years.
Their debut album ‘MR. AND MRS.’ produced four #1 Country singles and earned them the 2012 CMAA “Golden Guitar” Award for New Talent of the Year. In 2013 they released their second albumONE + ONE” on 18th January (Australia only so far) -
With production by legendary ex-pat Mark Moffatt (The Saints, Tim Finn), ‘One + One’ showcases brilliantly their incredible vocal talents and skills as hit songwriters. The pair co-wrote the album with a string of renowned collaborators including Billy Burnette (Fleetwood Mac, John Fogerty, Bob Dylan), Tim Nichols (Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill), Kevin Kadish (Jason Mraz) and Kim Carnes (”Bette Davis Eyes”). It made a #3 debut on Aria Country Album Chart WC 28 Jan 2013

Australian bluegrass artist Kristy Cox and her band have been chosen to showcase at the renowned European World of Bluegrass convention in the Netherlands, now they just need to get there - www.indiegogo.com/campaign

Great Charlottes: Keith Urban hit the stage to jam with Australian tour openers Good Charlotte in Brisbane on Jan 25th, while by sheer coincidence, in the States, American Idol aired auditions from Charlotte, NC (1/23).

CANADIAN NEWS
Receiving some airplay in the UK  is 'Dancing with Elvis' by Canadian recording artist Tianna Woods (Facebook). She is one of the many people who have the same birthday as Elvis and was presented with the song which was then released to radio - iTunes What radio failed to mention is that is was first recorded by Tammy Graham and appeared on her wonderful “one album wonder” self-titled debut in 1996. The song was written by Robin Harbin and Stacy Worthington. The CD is selling for less than £1 on Amazon UK !


GERMAN NEWS
The Bosshoss, seven piece band are to play at the Underworld, Camden in London on Friday 8 March, Presented by Schoneberg Concerts. Tickets went on sale Feb 1 on Ticketweb.co.uk
Blurb: The BossHoss have long since established themselves as one of the most innovative and compelling live acts in the European live music-landscape. The guys have recently taken the German charts by storm with their latest top 5 album ‘Liberty Of Action‘ which has remained at the very peaks of charts for the last 13 months. Additionally the band has enjoyed huge success thanks to their charismatic appearances as coaches on the block- busting television talent show ‘The Voice Of Germany‘ (TVOG) – reaching over 5 million viewer twice weekly!
The seven piece band have in the previous seven years performed innumerous live shows and have certainly left their mark…With a surprising crossover of country, punkrock, blues, 60ies garage and rockabilly, they have perfected their own unique brand of rock n roll.

NEWS
Gretchen Wilson has returned after a triumphant Gang of Outlaws Tour with ZZ Top and 3 Doors Down in 2012 and has began recording with a vengeance and has emerged with three new albums on the schedule and a new single, "Still Rollin'" at radio.  RIGHT ON TIME, a collection of 12 new songs, songs written by some of Nashville's most imaginative songwriters, will hit stores April 2, 2013 - "I am very excited to have so much new music coming out this year," said Gretchen. "We are already touring, and are looking forward to an incredible year with old friends, and new beginnings!"
Written by Gretchen and longtime collaborator Vicky McGehee, "Still Rollin'" has shipped to radio (>> Audio). The single follows her hit songs "Work Hard' Play Harder" and "I'd Love To Be Your Last," which garnered two Grammy nominations. It deftly draws influence from that genre, recalling several Jackson Browne and Bob Seger titles as it conveys a personal story line about self-doubt and unflinching determination, shaded by the rigors of the road.

Produced by Gretchen Wilson, RIGHT ON TIME includes 1songs from her well-known traditional country and southern rock feel, to blues, classic jazz, and even a bit of modern popular-sound on a track or two. One of the cuts entitled "One Good Friend" was co-produced, by friend and legendary music man, Blake Chancey. "It is truly great to be able to finally express myself with all kinds of sounds! I have always been influenced by so many different genres, it just feels good to be able to experiment with that in the studio!"
Then UNDER THE COVERS, featuring 12 of Classic Rock's most memorable hits from the 70s, will be released May 28; and Gretchen's first full-length Christmas album will ship in October. Wilson is notoriously hooked on classic rock: She referenced Lynyrd Skynyrd in her breakthrough single “Redneck Woman,” has often covered Heart and Led Zeppelin in concert, toured with ZZ Top in 2012 and has a collection of classic-rock remakes on the way in June
Gretchen Wilson’s new Catchphrase is  ‘Still Rollin’ Nine years ago this week—on Jan. 29, 2004—Epic announced the signing of then-unknown singer/songwriter Gretchen Wilson, who catapulted to fame, then endured some creative battles with her label before leaving to establish her own imprint, Redneck Records. Sony has put Epic’s country wing in mothballs, while Wilson plans to release these three albums during 2013.

Trio Taylor Made (Wendy Duckworth Williams, Greg Duckworth and Brian Duckworth) are Music Row Magazine's Country Breakout Awards' Independent Artist of the Year. This award is based on the greatest amount of overall spins on the MusicRow chart in 2012 and will be awarded at their CRS Show on Feb. 26th.

Bride to be Kelly Clarkson is planning her wedding for later in the year. Kelly claims she is terrified of everyone staring at her as she walks down the aisle and she hasn't made too many plans yet - other than the wedding singer for the big event - none other than Blake Shelton! If you could one country artist to perform at an event for you, who would it be?

The Academy of Country Music recently announced the addition of a 2-night outdoor music festival as part of the The ACM Experience, the country music lifestyle event created for fans during The Week Vegas Goes Country. The ACM Experience is a fan-focused three-day event including the ACM Expo, outdoor music festival and much more, to be held April 5-April 7, 2013 at The Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The events will culminate in the already-announced ACM Fan Jam, a ticketed event headlined by Brad Paisley, on Sunday, April 7, 2013.

Taylor Swift has been nominated for 'International Female Solo Artist' at the 2013 BRIT Awards - www.brits.co.uk
Her next UK single (her third) to be released from Taylor's number 1 bajillion-times-platinum album 'Red' will be '22, co-penned and produced by Max Martin and Shellback. Ryan Seacrest reports that the song will be officially released on April 1.
The Karaoke version of 'Red' is also now available to pre-order Universal Music Store The CD/DVD format allows you to sing along to all of your favourite songs from 'Red'. It's released on February 25, 2013

Coke Deal: Rarely does Taylor Swift discuss relationships outside of her lyrics, but ... "We're actually going to be making it official with one of the great loves of my life," she said Sunday (Jan 27, 2013) announcing her involvement with Diet Coke. Swift reveals that the deal will include "so many fun things." And, once the deal ends, some potentially fantastic break-up songs >> Watch YouTube – Taylor carrying “the brand” at Luton Airport - Photo
There have been recent call for a UK tax on soft drinks with sugar (29Jan13)There are calls for an extra tax on soft drinks with sugar in them. Leading medical bodies are calling for a 20p-per-litre levy on soft drinks to be included in this year's Budget -

Buffy Lawson, singer-songwriter-singer and formerly one half of the hit country duo Bomshel, has married her High School Sweetheart Jimmy Hatmaker. The story appeared in the New York Times
Ms. Lawson grew up in Lexington, Ky., and in high school dated a boy named Jimmy Hatmaker. Friends and relatives remember a good-looking couple: she was a cheerleader and sang in both the school choir and her church choir, and he was one of the most likable students in the school. But after he started college, she broke up with him.
I knew I was not going to be staying in Lexington, and there was no reason to tie him down,” she said. “I knew he was not going with me.”
At 20, Ms. Lawson moved to Nashville, where she lived at first with an aunt and uncle. In an interview with CMT News last year, she said, “I truly thought I would be famous within a month.”
Almost 20 years of struggle, and two marriages, followed. She wrote or co-wrote songs for others, and eventually singers like Willie Nelson, Kenny Rogers and Randy Travis recorded some of them. She also came into her own as a performer, with bands, on her own and even singing a duet with Neil Diamond — on “Marry Me,” one of his songs — on “The Tonight Show.”
Ms. Lawson, 42, and Mr. Hatmaker, 45, were married on Jan. 19 at Chapel at the Park in Gatlinburg, Tenn.
The bride opted for a short black dress with royal blue and silver stones in the form of a large butterfly. The groom wore a black velvet blazer with an open-collared white shirt, embroidered jeans and black leather square-point shoes.
There were no bridesmaids or best man. The grooms two young sons Ethan, 7, walked Ms. Lawson down the aisle, and Stephen, 8, held her ring. Buffy’s CD I'M LEAVING YOU FOR ME was released on November 06 2012 on Wrinkled Records.

Chris Young, Dierks Bentley, Brantley Gilbert, Eric Pasley, Mac McAnally, Eric Church, Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum, and songwriter Shane McAnally were among the songwriters/artists honored by The CMA  for "Triple Play" awards  at the annual CMA Songwriters Luncheon.  
It honours songwriters who pen three chart-topping hits in a 12-month period. During the event held today at Marathon Music Works in Nashville, a dozen songwriters received the three-peat trophy from CMA Board Chairman Troy Tomlinson, President and CEO, Sony/ATV Music Publishing Nashville.
In addition, the CMA Board of Directors created and launched the CMA Songwriter Series in 2005 at Joe’s Pub in New York City, which has grown to include shows in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Washington D.C. In 2012, the series expanded to the U.K. and Ireland and will be going back for a second time in February. On March 1, the Songwriter Series will take place in Paris for the first time as part of the CMA International Marketing Summit.
In alphabetical order, the recipients of CMA’s Triple Play Award:
  • Dierks Bentley: “Am I The Only One,” “Home,” “5-1-5-0”
  • Rodney Clawson: “Drink On It,” “Drunk On You,” “Take A Little Ride”
  • Eric Church: “Drink In My Hand,” “Springsteen,” “Creepin’”
  • Brantley Gilbert: “Dirt Road Anthem,” “Country Must Be Country Wide” “You Don’t Know Her Like I Do”
  • Ben Hayslip: “Honey Bee,” “I Don’t Want This Night To End,” “I’m Gonna Love You Through It”
  • Dave Haywood: “Just A Kiss,” “We Owned The Night,” “Dancin’ Away With My Heart”
  • Josh Kear: “Dancin’ Away With My Heart,” “Drunk On You,” “Blown Away”
  • Charles Kelley: “Just A Kiss,” “We Owned The Night.” “Dancin’ Away With My Heart”
  • Shane McAnally: “Alone With You,” “Come Over,” “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye”
  • Eric Paslay: “Barefoot Blue Jean Night,” “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” “Angel Eyes”
  • Neil Thrasher: “Tattoos On This Town,” “Banjo,” “Fly Over States”
  • Chris Young: “Voices,” “Tomorrow,” “You”

Keifer and Shawna from Thompson Square were returning home from a show in Florida on Jan 28th when their bus was blindsided by a car in the fog. The driver didn’t see them and hit the bus as it crossed the highway. From what I hear, there were no injuries.

On Jan 24, 2013 California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein staged a dramatic press conference on Capitol Hill with 10 weapons at her side and unveiled legislation instituting a government ban on more than 150 types of firearms, including rifles, pistols and shotguns.
Flanked by other anti-gun liberal lawmakers, including New York Sen. Chuck Schumer and Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, Feinstein announced the introduction of the “Assault Weapons Ban of 2013.”
The legislation being pushed by Feinstein — who has long history of calling for gun bans — would prohibit the sale, transfer, importation and manufacture of certain firearms. (Video - Washington Bureau Biz Journal)
This is a List of all the guns Dianne Feinstein wants to ban - Image
I read that there have been over 1,191 fatal shootings since the Sandy Hook shootings. 
Should NRA members have to face any consequence as a result of the mass murders? You can argue that 2,999,999 legal firearms owners did nothing wrong and should not be punished for the actions of the mentally ill.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) is a formidable opponent, however, when it comes to grass-roots organizing. It has more than 4 million members who feel passionately about gun rights. Nearly 90 percent of NRA members oppose the  banning semi-automatic weapons.
Blake Shelton & Luke Bryan
NRA members

Country music has aligned itself with NRA via their “Artists of the Month”. Some of country music’s biggest artists have teamed up with NRA Country which is a campaign launched by the gun organization that features country music artists “involved in causes that defend our values.” Country music star Colt Ford was chosen as the NRA Country Artist Of The Month for December 2012.
In addition to Colt other artists involved with NRA Country include:
Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Rascal Flatts, Hank Williams Jr., Easton Corbin, Heidi Newfield, Aaron Lewis, Edens Edge, Florida Georgia Line, Justin Moore, Lee Brice, Montgomery Gentry, Trace Adkins, Craig Morgan, Sunny Sweeney, Rodney Atkins, Gretchen Wilson, Josh Thompson, Love and Theft, John Rich, Charlie Daniels, Thomas Rhett, and TV personality Storme Warren.

Justin Moore is NRA Country
Country music was once a hotbed of anti-gun fervor—for about five minutes, anyway, when Johnny Cash released his 1958 chart-topper “Don’t Take Your Guns to Town.” Cash’s “young cowboy named Billy Joe” ignored his mama’s advice to disarm before heading into the city, insisting that “I wouldn’t shoot without a cause / I’d gun nobody down.” But a gun that’s introduced in the first verse was bound to go off in the fifth.
Shoot forward to 2011 when Staind singer Aaron Lewis successfully crossed over to country, he established his rural cred by recording a song called “Country Boy” in which he bragged that he never goes to town without some serious firepower. “Hank taught me just how to stay alive,” he sang (referring, of course, to Junior, not Senior). “You’ll never catch me out the house without my 9 or .45.”
The most popular male country singer, and reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year, is Blake Shelton, a poster boy for loud ‘n’ proud gun owner. In 2011, Shelton cheerfully invoked the great divide between gun enthusiasts and detractors to an audience at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas. “I had mentioned to a couple tree-huggers out there [in L.A.] that I was gonna come out here and do an NRA Country skeet shoot,” Blake told the crowd of soldiers and their families. “They said, ‘Man, you’re gonna go out and shoot guns? You’re a celebrity now. Don’t you think that’s a little irresponsible to be shooting guns? You’re supposed to be a role model.’ I want to dedicate this song to that person. Because if you don’t think that I ought to be shooting guns and bragging about my right to keep and bear arms, then you can”—here comes the song title—”kiss my country ass, man.”
In the wake of Sandy Hook, Does Country Music Have a Gun Problem?
According to their websites, since December, NRA Country haven’t named any new artists of the month. Strangely silent?
OUTLAWS LIKE ME artist Justin Moore celebrate the “lifestyle”  - This is NRA Country.

If it makes you “appy”? Larry Gatlin is the latest country music star to join Viddy, the booming “video-Twitter” smartphone app that allows users to share intimate moments of their day-to-day lives, 15-seconds at a time.Viddy is available for free download on iPhone and Android smartphones. Since debuting in 2011, the app has attracted some of the world's biggest celebrities including Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Usher, Britney Spears, Snoop Dogg and Jessica Alba. “First the earth cooled, then came the dinosaurs, then Twitter and Facebook and now  Viddy… I’m in!” says Country music legend LARRY GATLIN upon posting his first VIDDY. Click to view Gatlin’s Viddy account - www.viddy.com

Lady Antebellum claimed the highest chart debut in their seven year career today with the release of "Downtown" from their
upcoming fourth studio album. With 109 radio stations adding the song to their playlists today, Lady A storms the charts at No. 25 on Billboard and No. 34 on Mediabase - "We really wanted to come out of the box on this album with some tempo and something with a little attitude," said Lady A's Charles Kelley.

Taylor Swift, with a huge female following, will appear in Keds shoe ads with inspirational messages in print, online and in social media.
"Welcome, Brave Girl. Keep your head high and your heart open." That's the gist of the new Keds campaign featuring Taylor Swift. And why did the company choose her? "We thought about who would be Brave Girl No. 1," the company president told The New York Times. And for them, that was Swift. When Keds started doing consumer research, they discovered that heroes are important to their target audience.
IN the 1960s, among fads like Mad Libs and the Twist, there was a popular type of joke known as a “Tom Swifty,” named for the children’s-book hero Tom Swift, in which a punning verb or adverb set off a sentence: “I’ll have a martini,” Tom said dryly. “We just struck oil,” Tom gushed. “Hurry up and get in the back of the ship,” Tom said sternly.
The 21st century equivalent may be the Taylor Swifty, named for Taylor Swift, the young singer and songwriter whose relationships have become fodder for comedians online and offline.
As Taylor Swifties proliferate in the media, the Keds line of footwear is preparing to introduce a campaign featuring Ms. Swift that delivers a strongly social message to the brand’s young, female target audience. The campaign, scheduled to begin in print, online and in social media, appeals to “brave girls” and “bravehearts” and offers Ms. Swift as a role model.
“If you’re lucky enough to be different from everyone else,” Ms. Swift is quoted as saying in one ad, “don’t change to be the same.”
Another ad offers advice like this: “Try things. Say hi already. Laugh a lot. Mess up. Apologize. Mess up again. Hug people. Take chances. Trust yourself.” The litany ends, “Be brave and you’ll have the time of your life.”

Randy Travis has received a decision in the court case stemming from a 2012 drunk driving arrest when he was found naked after crashing his car.
The Grand Ole Opry member pleaded guilty in a Sherman, Texas, court to driving while intoxicated, a misdemeanor offense that could result in jail time. Randy was given two years of probation, a fine of $2,000 and a 180-day suspended jail stay. Provided he stays trouble free during his probation, he can avoid jail.
The singer was also ordered to spend one month in an alcohol treatment facility and do 100 hours of community service. Additionally, any vehicle that Randy operates during the probation period is to be equipped with an ignition interlock.
According to Grayson County, Texas, district attorney Joe Brown, the punishment was commensurate with Randy's offense.
"First-time DWI defendants are rarely forced into in-patient treatment," noted Brown. "He will be unable to leave the facility for 30 days. His fine and community service requirements are more than double what is usually received, and his probation term is the maximum available, and longer than the usual 18 months. All of that is appropriate in light of his behavior with the officers."

Sarah Darling is the surprise musical guest for a one on one date on an upcoming episode of The Bachelor. The episode will feature a special “one-on-one date” where country music artist Sarah Darling performs a concert in Whitefish, Montana with the newest Bachelor, Sean Lowe. The episode was scheduled to air Monday, February 4, 2013, on ABC.

Country music fans in America can look forward to finding Johnny Cash on a new stamp. The days of putting the amount on the stamp seem to be gone, with the new ‘Forever Stamps.’ And that is where Johnny Cash’s likeness will find it’s new home… apparently “Forever.” The Post Office has announced that it will issue the Johnny Cash stamp as part of the new ‘Music Icons’ series.

The series will we a total of three artists. The process for selecting topics for its stamps can be a long one for the USPS.
"We get about 40,000 suggestions for stamp ideas each year but only about 20 topics make the cut," spokesman Saunders said. "These suggestions are reviewed by the Postmaster General’s Citizens’ Stamp Advisory whose role is to narrow down that 40,000 to roughly 20 and then provide their recommendations to the Postmaster General for final approval."
According to BeyondthePerf.com, a web extension of the USA Philatelic catalog, the stamp is meant to resemble a 45 rpm record sleeve. The black-and-white portrait of Cash featured on the stamp was taken by Frank Bez in 1963, during a photo shoot for "Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash."

Tate Stevens the Belton, Missouri native who captivated viewers worldwide on FOX’s The X Factor Season 2 with his emotive and powerful country vocal performances—never placing less than second throughout the entire competition.
Stevens will unveil a first look of his debut music video for the song “Holler If You’re With Me,” at the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards on February 10 on CBS. The new music video was to debut during the GRAMMY broadcast complements of The X Factor sponsor Pepsi, as part of the grand prize awarded to Stevens in addition to his $5 million recording contract with Mr. Simon Cowell’s Syco Music/RCA Nashville. Here is the Video  Hit or Miss?
So an outdoor party with country fans getting’ wasted on beer (pepsi), super-cliched lyrically, pumped high energy and generic, so incredibly novel?! Not. Can you get enough? Does it have "The X Factor"?
Tate Stevens
2012 USA X Factor Winner

Steven filmed the video in Simi Valley, California, and he told Rolling Stone magazine that his song "Ordinary Angels" is a strong contender to be his next single.
(Update 8 Feb ) Sales for the song have got off to a very slow start. It in its first few days of release, "Holler If You're With Me" was floundering in the 90s on the iTunes Top 100 Songs chart before the song dropped off of the chart. Maybe the Grammy Awards telecast exposure will help increase sales for the song. But if sales don't pick up considerably after that kind of TV exposure, and if country radio overall doesn't support the song, then "Holler If You're With Me" could turn out to be a giant flop.
** “Holler If You’re With Me,” is now available for download on UK iTunes beginning Tuesday, February 5.

Keith Urban Falls for “Idol” Contestant—Literally! - “Can someone make a gif of @keithurban falling out of his chair from #idol tonight,” Ryan Seacrest tweeted > So here it is Gif
One American Idol contestant's audition literally knocked Keith Urban out of his judge's seat in the episode that aired Thursday (Jan. 31). Zoanette Johnson, 19, said she had a bet with her family that if President Obama won reelection, she would sing the national anthem for her audition. Zoanette belted it out, and when she hit the land of the free high note—around the 2:23 mark in the YouTube video of the audition—Keith dropped right out of his chair.
Keith wasn't the only judge blown away. "I am obsessed with you!" judge Nicki Minaj said. "Me too!" Zoanette replied, cracking up the judges. All four judges voted for Zoanette to advance.

The CMA Songwriters Series has returned for A Ninth Year. The Popular series Kicks off Stateside at Joe’s Pub in New York City On March 19 featuring Craig Morgan, Shane Minor, Phil O’Donnell, and Host Bob DiPiero, Ronnie Milsap and Lorrie Morgan to join DiPiero in Washington, D.C. at the Library of Congress on March 20 2013. The series will also play in Boston, Chicago, Austin, and Nashville - “Nashville’s songwriters are the best in the world and CMA is excited to showcase them, not only in the States, but overseas as well,” said Steve Moore, CMA  Chief Executive Officer. “It’s great to see how this series has grown since it began in 2005. What started at Joe’s Pub in New York has expanded to other cities over the years. We have even taken the series overseas with shows in the U.K. and Ireland and we will be hitting Paris next month.” Full details at CMA World

Justin Moore announced that he will embark on his first headlining tour – OUTLAWS LIKE ME. The dates will officially kick  off on March 14 in Pikeville, KY with Dustin Lynch and Jon Pardi serving as supporting acts.

SINGLE / ALBUM NEWS
Tim McGraw is set to release his highly anticipated Big Machine Records debut, TWO LANES OF FREEDOM, on Feb. 5 with performances kicking off on location at the Super Bowl in New Orleans on Good Morning America Friday (Feb. 1).
Billboard comments “…freedom—and acceleration—are prevailing themes on a set that finds McGraw and longtime producer Byron Gallimore delivering a sonically ambitious collection of songs that is equal parts fun, romance and big-picture vignettes.”
In his record-shattering career, Tim McGraw has sold over 40 million albums and dominated the charts with 32 No. one singles.

Billy Ray Cyrus, fresh off the 20th anniversary celebration of his record-breaking debut album, SOME GAVE ALL, the multi-platinum recording artist is keepin’ it country with the release of his new song, “Hillbilly Heart,” to country radio today, Monday (1/28). The singer, songwriter and actor will be making a special appearance during Nashville’s Country Radio Seminar and visiting radio in support of the new single.
Written by Cyrus, “Hillbilly Heart,” is a smoldering, swaggering anthem that highlights the Flatwoods, KY, native’s country roots.
“Let’s get this party started!” says Cyrus. “I’m so excited about ‘Hillbilly Heart.’ I wrote this song as a tip of the hat to my pure
love of country music … past, present and future. It’s a blend of my early musical roots; Outlaw Country (Waylon Jennings, Hank
Williams, Jr.) mixed with my Southern rock heroes (Lynyrd Skynyrd and Charlie Daniels), all fusing together for a feel-good anthem that I can’t wait to share with radio and fans!”
“Hillbilly Heart” is from Cyrus’ thirteenth studio album titled CHANGE MY MIND, which Country Weekly cites as “his best album in years.”
Billy Ray struck it big in June 1992 with his debut album, the eventual 9x-platinum-selling No. 1 Some Gave All, fueled by the best-selling single “Achy Breaky Heart,” which spent five weeks atop the Billboard Country chart. Some Gave All (which held the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Top 200 chart for 17 weeks in a row and became the best-selling debut album of all time.

Sheryl Crow was on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (Jan 24) where she confirmed her first new album in two years will be country.
There has not been a release date or title for the project yet, but Sheryl did confirm that she is releasing a country album on Warner Music Nashville. She even performed what will be the lead single from the album, called "Easy," on the late night TV show >> YouTube. As far as why she's doing a country album, CMT.com reports that Sheryl said: "I believe a lot of my songs would probably be played on country radio today if they were just being released. The country music community has been incredibly welcoming."
It was just revealed last week that Sheryl will be the mentor for Team Blake with country superstar coach Blake Shelton on season four of "The Voice."
Back in May 2011 she said her new songs will "be more old-fashioned than new country," Sheryl told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Regarding the song the American Songwriter writes: The few concessions to a more overtly country sound, such as the pedal steel accents and the way the final chorus starts by dropping much of the music away before rising back up for the big finish, are more cosmetic changes than anything else. Crow’s still maintains a laid-back vibe and her ability to make songs that are going to sound fine coming out of the car radio. “Easy” is a simple enough ode to spending time at home with the one you love rather than splurging on some exotic locale. Crow makes it sound pretty inviting when she sings, “We’ll put on bug spray and we’ll lose our clothes/Put out the lawn chair and turn on the hose.” Who needs Mexico?” she sings. “Baby, let’s stay home.”
Those expecting drastic changes may not see the big deal here. Maybe the rest of the album will dial up the twang to another level, but “Easy” sounds like Sheryl Crow absolutely in a comfort zone, and that’s always a good thing

Emerson Drive’s new Single is “CRAZY!” There a tour, an album and now the official release of a new single, “She’s My Kind of Crazy,” to American radio. >>  YouTube  It’s the lead single from Roll, the band’s much anticipated new studio album. Roll, contains 11 songs penned mostly by the members of Emerson Drive, was co-produced by Emerson Drive and David Kamulsky.  Blurb: The new release showcases the band’s growth and maturity with its lyrical content, vocal range and instrumentation, which has made them one of country music’s most loved bands. US iTunes - Track listing
Record label Open Road Recordings:
Members Dean Brody, Doc Walker, Emerson Drive, The Higgins, Jason McCoy, Tara Oram, Prairie Oyster, Ridley Bent and The Road Hammers

PRESS RELEASES
Chris Janson, Bigger Picture Group’s “hot country newcomer” and dynamic multi-instrumentalist it is better that he do release his new single “Better I Don’t” to country radio on, January 22. The song is the lead single from Janson’s upcoming first full-length album produced by Keith Stegall (Alan Jackson, Zac Brown Band) and expected for release later this year.
Co-written by Janson, Kelly Roland (his wife) and Pat Bunch “Better I Don’t” is an addictive, up-tempo song that highlights Janson’s irresistible and clever lyrical charm as he explains why sometimes he is better off saying no.
HI RES Cover - Sweet Talk Publicity – Watch the "Better I Don't" Lyric Video >> YouTube

Stephen Barker Liles, one half of hot Country duo Love and Theft, enjoyed an extended 29th Birthday celebration last week filled with music and friends. It kicked off when Stephen and Eric joined an "in the round" evening at the Bluebird Café, revered as a hallowed haunt for Nashville's best songwriters. Love and Theft played their #1 hit "Angel Eyes," current single, "Runnin' Out of Air," and revealed some new songs. Later, the group dined at a local hibachi grill.....See Sony Press Release

Kenny Chesney received “heavy metal” in the way of platinum certification for his surging entreaty for the inevitable post-break-up hook-up “Come Over,” for his Greatest Hits II and golden certifications for “The Good Stuff” and “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems” from his quadruple platinum No Shoes project.
You hope when you record a song, it’s something the fans can live inside,” explains the four consecutive Academy of Country Music and four-time Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year, “I’ve always tried to pick songs that felt true to who I am, how I’ve lived… or the people around me, and I think that since where I come from isn’t so different from anywhere else, it’s a safe bet other people have lived this stuff, too...See Sony Press Release
Kenny Chesney has released a new single “Pirate Flag”. When he heard it he knew it was an anthem for his No Shoes Nation. Blurb: With its driving beat, the David Lee Murphy/ Ross Copperman song of eschewing it all struck a chord with the 4 consecutive Academy of Country Music and 4 time Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year who’s made a career out of coloring outside the obvious – and his instincts have been validated by USA Today five days before “Pirate Flag” even hits the airwaves.
Critic at large Brian Mansfield writes, “Country's island boy hoists his Jolly Roger on his new single, which hits radio Friday, hopping an ocean-bound bus out of a Smoky Mountain small town and transforming himself into a rum-soaked renegade. With its mandolin, tin-whistle sound and classic-rock guitar riffs, this pseudo-shanty is the first volley from Chesney's next album, out April 30.”....See Sony Press Release

For Kenny Chesney, It’s All About Life On A Rock as the Luttrell, Tennessean wrote 8 of 10 Songs for the 30 April, 2013 release. With his single “Pirate Flag” beaming out at the stroke of midnight, Chesney figured the time was right to release the title of his much anticipated April 30 Blue Chair/Columbia release. LIFE ON A ROCK, co-produced with longtime collaborator Buddy Cannon, captures the thematic core of the 10 song set that’s been recorded and mixed in Los Angeles, Hawaii, Jamaica, Key West, London and Nashville, Tennessee.
It all depends on what kind of rock you’re looking at,” Chesney says of the title. “Just living here on this planet, we’re all living life on a rock; but for me, and for this record, it’s about the way life is when you live on an island. Everywhere you go, there’s everyone you know; you know everything about them, and they know everything about you… and well, that’s just a whole other way to be. “And coming from Luttrell, Tennessee, I can tell you, ‘life on a rock’ isn’t all that different from life in a real small town. It’s slower, it’s easier, it’s more invested and it’s also more about really enjoying the moments as they are, when they are.”

 
June Bug Records’ Jackson Delaney revitalizes the Outlaw Country movement, an art form of days gone by, in his self-titled, six-track LP scheduled for official release April 9, 2013. Produced by Gary Hannan, and featuring tracks written by Eddie Montgomery, Troy Gentry, Dave Gibson, Ray Scott and more. JACKSON DELANEY is complete with love stories, tongue-and-cheek tunes and deep, provoking compositions, and showcases his radio debut single entitled “Shotgun Wedding.”.........Press
The group LiveWire, jump-started its career in 2012 with a heavy touring schedule, a very successful debut disc for Way Out West Records (LIVIN'), a hit single with "Lies" and signed a booking agreement with William Morris Endeavor (WME) in Nashville. The group electrified audiences, Country radio, reviewers and fans with their Ozark Mountain firebrand sound and explodes into the New Year with a CMA Close Up Debut Spotlight and inclusion in February’s CMA's Who New To Watch 2013 feature. Bookings are sizzling hot as LiveWire is set for a Casino Concert Series and numerous fairs, festivals and club dates over the upcoming months. The group's lead guitarist and founder Bobby DeGonia notes,"Things have just exploded for us since we signed with Way Out West and we couldn't be happier!" The Joplin, Missouri-based group will also attend its first CRS in February. According to the Press Release they say they’re “Set To Kick A** In 2013”.
** Livewire are being promoted in the UK via Hotdisc and CMR Nashville courtesy of Lee Williams’ Django Promotions

International touring band Mustang Sally has released "Jiggle It A Little," a new single, on January 22, 2013 from the act's forthcoming CD on Permian Records.
It’s described as an “edgy, uptempo” song, written by Tobi Campbell, Lisa Romeo and Sandy Ramos, is currently going for adds at country radio.
The single, and forthcoming CD, is produced by Dennis Money and was recorded at the legendary Sound Kitchen. Chip Matthews, who has worked on projects for Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Jeffrey Steele, Montgomery Gentry and others, mixed the project. Mastering was by Benny Quinn Mastering (Shania Twain, Alan Jackson).
They look good – Image but do they sound good? >> YouTube The jury is NOT out! But if your inclined Amazon.com
NASHVILLE, TN (February 1, 2013 / Nashville Music Promotions)
Radio promotion is being handled by Triple Crown Promotion, headed by Doc Gonzales and Jim Dorman. Ed Gertler with Digital Services is in charge of downloads and digital placements on the Internet, with publicity by Nashville Music Promotions

Dave Adkins & Republik Steele have received 2 SPGBMA Nominations and have a February 26 album release -

ARTICLES
CD Review - The Mavericks: In Time  (Steve Horowitz) Rating 8/10
On this album and elsewhere, The Mavericks can sound like a greasy fifties group, a Tex Mex juke joint combo, soulful lover boys, and rockin’ band. Sometimes the players make you want to dance, and other times The Mavericks urge you back to the sofa with your main squeeze. Everything will happen in time, that’s the message here…..

CD Review - Carrie Rodriguez: Give Me What You Got ( By John M. Tryneski)
The weary wisdom that underlies the best songs here is country songwriting at its best, taking heartbreak and regret and making it redemptive and therefore hopeful. After growing up in the shadow of her father, then making her name as a junior collaborator with more established artists, Rodriguez’s fourth album further establishes her as a great country talent in her own right.

Blogs Spectator - BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards: bottom of the class (by Emma Hartley) Extract: You would think that asking for and receiving the names of the judges of a set of BBC awards would be a straightforward matter. The corporation’s own awards guidelines, available on its website, demand transparency. So it was surprising that when I asked who chose the winners of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, thinking I’d write about them in my music blog, The Glamour Cave, I was told it was a secret. It was a more unpleasant surprise that a follow-up Freedom of Information request was denied on the grounds that the award ceremony, in the view of the BBC’s FoI department, was protected as ‘journalism’. If an awards ceremony qualified as journalism, I was left wondering, then what could they possibly consider my blog to be? Did I want to know?
What began as idle curiosity became irritation and then anger…………….This is why the BBC Radio Two Folk Awards matter. In them the BBC wields the most powerful tool there currently is for promoting British folk, enabling with public money what Mumford & Sons have done through social connections. It would be nice if the Mumfords actually played there this year or, probably more to the point, if the organisers had the gumption to ask them. (Asking John Leonard, who runs the relevant production company, Smooth Operations, whether this was likely to happen, produced the response that he was sure the Mumfords were too big to be bothered with his small folk awards event

Related – Wondering where the Mike Harding Show has disappeared from BBC Radio 2. It has now become an online Digital Podcast - www.mikehardingfolkshow.com

LISTEN
Check out Kentuckian J.D. Shelburne song “Something About a Smalltown”. It’s described as rockin' country with a blend of Dierks Bentley and John Cougar Mellencamp. Recommended if You Like Dierks Bentley and Jake Owen. He looks very much like the latter too- CD Baby

FREE DOWNLOAD
Download Kristi Miller’s track “Baby-Mcgee” (320kbps MP3) taken from her album: "LOVE IS BLONDE"
Go here Download MP3Right Click on the Link and "Save Target as"

WATCH
Carrie Rodriguez “I Cry For Love” from the album GIVE ME ALL YOU GOT
 >> YouTube

The Gloriana team put together a video of the band rehearsing for their 2013 tour, which will kick off with opening dates this weekend for Alan Jackson. - YouTube

FREE DOWNLOAD
Jack Klatt "Life's A Drag",as heard on BBC Radio Norfolk on Keith Greentree’s Rodeo Norfolk Country show. A High Quality MP3 is available at jackklatt.bandcamp.com - Album Track list - Americanrootsuk CD Review
Jack Klatt, a 26 year old St Paul native has sang in countless barrooms, cafes, living rooms, theaters and street corners all over the world, entertaining folks with his boisterous finger-picking style and whiskey worn voice, continuing the troubador tradition of folks like Utah Phillips, Blind Willie MacTell and Towns Van Zandt. 

COUNTRY GOSSIP
Brandi Glanville the ‘Real Housewife of Beverly Hills’ star who was married to LeAnn Rimes husband Eddie, when asked about LeAnn’s mental health Brandie says she’s quote, "insane”

With Brantley Gilbert and Jana Kramer engaged, people are wondering when they’ll team up musically. A duet is a possibility but Brantley says not anytime soon.  He’s just finishing his third album and says, “the first person I run a song by is Jana and she’s pretty brutally honest.”

Kelly Clarkson says her wedding to Brandon Blackstock will likely take place this fall and they want it to be small because Kelly’s terrified at everyone watching her walk down the aisle. They’ve asked Blake Shelton to be their wedding singer at the reception and he said yes. The groom just happens to be his manager. Reba McEntire (Brandon’s step-mum) has already asked if she can sing at the wedding. I guess they said “Yes”?!!

Following the apparent suicide of her boyfriend David Wilson, Mindy McCready is now speaking out over awful rumors that she could have played a hand in his death. The “Guys Do It All the Time” singer appeared on NBC's "Today" show earlier this week (January 29), to speak from the heart about the horrific event that she says is the most “painful” thing she has ever gone through in her life.
Initial reports stated that 34-year-old Wilson died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on January 13, but the case is being investigated further to make sure fowl play was not part of the tragedy.
McCready (L) & Wilson (R)
** Mindy since died Feb 17 
When asked point-blank if she had been responsible for Wilson’s death – who is also the father to her 9-month-old son – a tearful McCready responded with “Oh my God, no … Oh my God, no. He was my life. We were each others’ life.”
McCready went on to explain finding Wilson on their front porch after being struck with a bullet. “I just started screaming, calling 911,” she said through more tears during the interview. “I lay down next to him and pleaded with him not to die,” adding that he
responded to her, but only “with sounds.”
While she admitted that the two had been fighting that particular night, she clears the air that it was not over him leaving her, nor over him cheating on her with another woman, as being reported by tabloid magazines. “David was not having an affair,” McCready said. “That is absolutely, totally untrue.”

Faith Hill is on Facebook she uses the name "Faith McGraw" - www.facebook.com/faith.h.page

TWEETS
Austrailian female trio The McClymonts via Mobile.News: We just won TWO Golden Guitars-the Sanity Highest Selling Album of the Year and Video of The Year (Piece Of Me). Thank you to you all for supporting us with Two Worlds Collide.Highest Selling Album is YOUR award!-BSM – Live Photo in Peel Street Tamworth

Carrie Underwood tweets, “I just love the way my doggies look at me! Someday I hope to be the person they already think I am!”

Carrie Underwood says she’s proud of the success she had in her life but nothing makes her prouder than her work with animals. She says, “I hope in the future that I get to do a lot more. It’s that kind of stuff that changes the world.”

Related: Twitter Has Become the Fastest Growing Social Platform in the World:
Contrary to popular perception, Twitter has always been more of a niche social network in most countries around the world. In Global Web Index’s first wave of research in July 2009, they estimated that Twitter had just 35.47 million monthly active users across the markets covered at the time. Twitter, however, is shaking off that niche status with impressive style, and as we being 2013, it is the fastest growing social platform on the planet.
GWI.8, the Q4 2012 dataset from GlobalWebIndex, shows that the number of active Twitter users grew 40% from Q2 2012 to Q4 2012. This is equal to 288 million monthly active users (claimed to have used or contribute to Twitter in the past month) across the 31 markets currently researched by GWI (representing nearly 90% of the global internet population aged 16 to 65). That marks a whopping growth rate in active users of 714% since July 2009. - Graphic

PHOTO
Australian CMAA 2013 Winners at the Golden Guitars: Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson, Troy Cassar-Daley, Catherine Britt, Chelsea Basham, Pete Denahy, Camille Te Nahu and Stuie French, Tamara Stewart, Felicity Urquhart, Luke O'Shea, Duncan Toombs and Graham Rodger! - Photo

Billy Ray Cyrus Then and Now Thursday! - Photo

R.I.P
Reg Presley (Born Reginald Ball) June 12, 1941 – February 4, 2013
Reg Presley was the front man for legendary British garage band, the Troggs. The Country connectiuon?
Their biggest hit came with their 1966 cover of Chip Taylor’sWild Thing” which reached #1 on the Billboard singles chart that year.  Their version came in at #257 on Rolling Stone‘s list of The Top 500 Songs of All Time.
Video Reg Presley, Chip Taylor and on fiddle Carrie Rodriguez perform on BBC TOTP2
 >> YouTube

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