Saturday, 18 January 2014

Country Bites News snippets January 6 - January 12, 2014

Country Bites News snippets January 6 – January 12, 2014

SOURCES / LINKS shown in RED

UK & IRISH News

Keds has signed on to sponsor the European leg of Taylor Swift's Red Tour, and they could be sending you and four of your friends on a trip to see her February 11 show at London's 02 Arena.
They launched a new contest on the company's Facebook page asking fans to post photos of their best concert look inspired by London's street-style scene. The winner will get hotel, airfare and tickets to the concert. The contest is open to U.S. and U.K. residents through January 26.

Acoustic Folk Singer-songwriter Edwina Hayes has added new dates and venues for 2014. She will be the support for the Fairport Convention Wintour from January 31st to 16th March all over the UK and has dates for the Nanci Griffith Tribute Tour with The Kennedys in June.  Also she is the support artiste with Barbara Dickson and Rab Noakes (April and June 2014). Edwina will play the Cropredy Festival in August. She will be releasing a new studio album later this year but in the meantime will drop  "Abbey Road Live on Tour", which will be recorded by the Abbey Road Team at Driffield Town Hall on May 23rd.
The Abbey Road Live On Tour Team have recorded a variety of amazing artists for their series, the last one being Kris Kristofferson in London late last year. All Tickets include a limited edition 'on the night only' CD recording of the concert by the Abbey Road Team to take home that night and there will be two fantastic support artists plus complimentary nibbles and a raffle!  Also the Bell Hotel has offered a Dinner, Bed and Breakfast Deal which includes two tickets, full use of the Driffield Spa facilities, an evening meal, double room accommodation and breakfast for Two. Visit -  www.edwinahayes.com 

The Mervyn Futter Philippines & Norfolk Flood Appeal takes place at Pentney Country Club on Sunday 9th February and will be compeered by BBC Radio Norfolk’'s Keith Greentree - See Flyer

Many new dates have added to the UK Tour Page (UK Tours dates, London dates, Major Festival Events) including Paper Aeroplanes, Annabelle Chvostek, Lucy Ward, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Edwina Hayes, Jace Everett, The Stray Birds, Cara Dillon, Laura Cantrell, Emma Stevens, Joe Brown, Eliza Gilkyson and many more.

What’s On: The ABC of British Country Music Live listings for Artists, Bands & Clubs  
Scottish Country gigs - scotcountryconcerts.blogspot.co.uk

UK CHART NEWS

Official UK Albums Top 100 (Week Ending January 11, 2014)
Taylor Swift’s RED fell 10- places from 65-75 on her 64th chart week.

Official UK Country Album Chart  (Week Ending January 11, 2014)
Billie Joe (Armstrong) + Norah (Jones) with their 12 track FOREVERLY (Warner Bros) returned to No.1 in their 7th week making it six non-consecutive weeks at the summit. Kacey Musgraves’ SAME TRAILER DIFFERENT PARK (Decca) slid 1-2 in her 39th week. Lady Antebellum hold places #3 (NEED YO NOW, 111 chart weeks) and #4 with GOLDEN (36 weeks).

New at No.10 is The Perfect Johnny Cash Collection: 20 Original Albums (Sony/ Columbia) box set (released Sep 16, 2013) which includes 20 albums, all on separate discs. Each disc comes in its own thin non-glossy card sleeve with replica original album cover on front and original album back-cover on back with a 35-page booklet included – Amazon UK
 Derek Ryan dropped 7-11 with COUNTRY SOUL (Sharp Music) in his 11th chart week.  Nathan Carter’s WHERE I WANNA BE also fell back 11-16 in his 63 week set WAGON WHEEL.  

On the Hotdisc Chart (January 12, 2014 Chart) 

In the second chart of 2014 Ray Scott with his new self penned single  "My Kind Of Music" secured a sixth week at No.1 on Hotdisc Top 40. The top 4 remained the same with David Shelby with “Stealing Honey” at #2, Toby Keith’sShut Up And Hold On” (#3) and The Phoenix Stone BandWhen The Whiskey Doesn’t Work” at #4.
This week witnessed new entries impacting the chart from the Hotdisc 181 January 2014 promo disc. 
Taking the Hot Shot debut honours at No.5 was Nashville, TN recording artist Jessie Lee Cates with “Scotland”. The single, written by V.Bonissuto and A Walker is taken from her Nov 28, 2013 released 6 track EP titled LET YOUR COUNTRY OUT.
Andy Griggs cover of the Hank Williams song “Ramblin’ Man” made a bow at No.7. Also landing in the top 10 were America’s Donny Richmond with “I Wonder Where They Sleep” (taken from his Best Of set) and the US/UK collaboration from Charlie Boston & Carolyn Martin with their song “What’s Good For You”.
Erica Sunshine Lee's "Drinking And Driving Me Crazy" fought off 10 new Hotdisc tracks enjoying a 9th week on the chart moving 7-11.
New entries inside the Top 20 were for US acts: James Robert Webb’sLong Hot Winter” at #14, Bart Connell with “What A Way To Go” at #15, Avrio with “When I Get Over Today” (#17) and Monongator Joe’s single “No Turnin’ Back” (#20).

Up and coming British singer/songwriter Sam Hollyman landed at #18 (#2 Hotdisc British & Irish Chart) with “Where I Wanna Be” (From CD The Red Reel Sessions). 
At 15-years old he sang with Michael Buble at his concert in Birmingham in 2010 and when aged 17, was asked to audition for Simon Cowell’s Britain’s Got Talent after four million watched the duet on YouTube. But the Wheaton Aston schoolboy turned them down, fearing the contract he was being asked to sign was too restrictive.
Sam continued to work on his debut album slated for a 2012 release. After he wowed Buble and Simon Cowell the teenager then failed to win over the judges on BBC show The Voice in April 2013. The 17-year old “Stafford singing sensation” fell at the first hurdle in the TV talent show when judges Jessie J, Will.i.am, Sir Tom Jones and Danny O’Donoghue didn’t warm to his rendition of Elton John’s ‘Your Song’
Sam tweeted on January 12th 2014 : Can't believe the head honcho from British Country Music Association came up from London just to see me perform.  What an honour….here’s me Justin and Lee Williams. Great night on Saturday.  Excited for things to come!

The Hayley Oliver Band with “The Hand That Rocked The Cradle” fell 10-21 on the Top 40 and so missed out on a record breaking 10-week No.1 reign on the Hotdisc British & Irish Chart. They were prevented from breaking the 9-week straight run of Rob Allen's "Pale Rider" (chart issued 8th July 2012) with British band The Diablos and their “Bad Chrome Job” holding a 16 slot (13-16) and Hollyman’s #18 bow.

UK COUNTRY ALBUM RELEASES
(6 Dec 2013) Collin Raye - Still On The Line...The Songs Of Glen Campbell (Cradle Concepts)
12 Tracks/ Time: 38.22 CD - Amazon.com

Various artists - 100 Country Hits & Greatest Country Classics - The Very Best Classic Country Music Collection - MP3

(14 Jan 2014) Jennifer Nettles - That Girl (Mercury Nashville)
11 Tracks / Time: 41:23 CD -  Amazon.com - US iTunes

(14 Jan 2014) Jon Pardi - Write You A Song (Capitol Records Nashville)
11 Tracks / Time: 38:38 CD - MP3 - Amazon.com - US iTunes -

(14 Jan 2013) Blackie & The Rodeo Kings - South (File Under: Music)
12 Tracks/ Time:45:11 CD - MP3 - Amazon.com 

AUSSIE NEWS
Dolly Parton announced she has added Australia's Country Music Capital to the series of dates for her "Blue Smoke World Tour"
starting "down under" next month. This year's tour follows the singer/songwriter's successful 2011 tour and will promote her latest studio album of all new material Blue Smoke released in December.
Dolly had previously announced dates in Adelaide, Auckland, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Pokolbin and Sydney and will now play Tamworth on Sunday February 16

Lee Kernaghan's “It's Only Country” jumps 2-1 on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart this week. Jayne Denham/Shannon Noll duet "Beyond These City Lights" is at No.3 (3-2). Dianna Corcoran fell 1-3 after setting a tough record for 2014 with her latest hit, “Therapy”, holding number one five successive weeks. Kate Cook's “Give The Girl A Spanner” made a 6-4 hop.

CANADIAN NEWS

Toby Keith, Hunter Hayes, Lee Brice, Neal McCoy and the Road Hammers will join already announced Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan for the sold-out Boots and Hearts Music Festival July 31 to Aug. 3 in Bowmanville, Ontario - Details here

Tippin Point" the first single off of Dallas Smith's upcoming album tops both the Canadian Country Singles Airplay and Singles Sales charts >> Video

Maritime Countryfest organizers were disappointed to receive the news that Ronnie Dunn was cancelling all of his 2014 shows is an understatement. MCF President Joe Keenan said, “When the situation was brought to our Board of Directors, the response from all was, ‘Okay, let’s step it up a notch.’ So, on Wednesday (January 15th) our plan is to announce Saturday’s new headliner as well as our additional line-up.”

NEWS

Snapshot News: Country Aircheck's Insider News: January 14, 2014

Nashville’s The Johnny Cash Museum (JCM) will mark Johnny Cash‘s 82nd birthday this February with its inaugural Johnny Cash Birthday Bash. 
In a three-day event running from Feb. 28 through March 2, fans will be treated to appearances by Johnny Cash family members and former band members. Buy tickets at johnnycashbirthday.com

APA Nashville (Talent and Literary Agency) has signed singer/songwriter Maggie Rose, it was announced by Steve Hauser, SVP of APA Nashville.  Rose, whose new CUT TO IMPRESS CD from iconic producers James Stroud and Blake Chancey includes the two Top 30 Mediabase singles "I Ain't Your Mama" and "Better, " was named one of the four best Country albums of 2013 by Amazon.com.  Her new single, " Looking Back Now ," from RPM Entertainment will be released on January 21.

The CMA Songwriters Series returns for its tenth season with the announcement that the first shows of 2014 will be at the world famous Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 22 and 23.For a decade, the CMA Songwriters Series has been exposing fans across the country and the globe to the artisans who, through their craft, pen hits that touch the lives of millions of music fans. The January performances of the Sundance ASCAP Music Café’s CMA Songwriters Spotlight will feature special guests Brandy Clark, Brett James, Chris Stapleton, and Lee Ann Womack. Read more CMA World News

Carrie Underwood remains the highest-earning American Idol champ for the past year. According to Forbes, Carrie pulled in an estimated $31 million last year, thanks to touring, music sales and sponsorship deals. That's more than show judges Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey and Keith Urban are estimated to have earned last year. Kelly Clarkson is second on the top-earning American Idol winners list, with an estimated $7 million.

Trace Adkins is in a rehab center for alcohol abuse after drinking on a country music cruise. The setback comes after 12 years of sobriety for Trace. His spokesperson says, "As he faces these issues head-on, we ask that his family's privacy will be respected." Trace's performances on the Country Cruising voyage have been canceled.  According to TMZ, Trace allegedly got into an altercation with a man impersonating him at the ship's karaoke bar Monday. The fight reportedly turned physical, and Trace is said to have left the ship when it docked in Jamaica.

Jennifer Lawrence and Taylor Swift had a spontaneous personal moment on the red carpet at Sunday night's (Jan. 12) Golden Globe Awards.
Look behind! Taylor Swift was being interviewed by
Ryan Seacrest until Jennifer Lawrence
photobombed them (Daily Mail)
During E! Entertainment's pre-show telecast, Swift was mid-interview with Ryan Seacrest when Lawrence came up and gave her a huge hug. "I was gonna come and push you down the stairs," Lawrence joked. "I was like, 'She'll crack up. She would really love that.'" Instead, the two celebs talked about their mutual adoration for each other.
First, Lawrence said she loved Swift's performance on the CMA Awards in November so much, she texted her right away.
"Oh, my God," Lawrence said. "I freaked out over the CMAs. I sent her a text message that was, like, six inches long."
Then Swift echoed Lawrence's sentiments, and said she'd felt the same after watching her in American Hustle.. The role netted Lawrence a Golden Globe nomination for best supporting actress in a drama. "I was doing the same thing," Swift told her. "I wanted so badly to send a novel text message."
It was a heartfelt moment between two nominees. And awards show hadn't even started yet.
Lawrence won the Golden Globe, although Swift was edged out for best original song by U2 and Danger Mouse for "Ordinary Love" from the film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. Swift was nominated for "Sweeter Than Fiction," a song she wrote for One Chance. "I wrote this song with Jack Antonoff, who's one of my best friends, who's dating my other best friend Lena [Dunham]," she said. "So we're all here, and we're all so excited that all three of us are nominated." >> Yahoo Video

TOURS
Jason Aldean shared 2014 Tour Details on Good Morning America. First announced Stadium Dates will include Special Guests Florida Georgia Line and Tyler Farr . Full details here
January 15, 2014 – Award winning singer/songwriter Dierks Bentley is amping up his 2014 tour schedule with the announcement today he will headline the 2014
RISER TOUR. The first leg of Dierks Bentley’s tour will kick off May 9 in Charlotte, NC and continue through the summer with special guests Chris Young, Chase Rice and Jon Pardi - See more at: www.dierks.com

Kacey Musgraves is hitting the road with Katy Perry on the pop star's Prismatic tour, launching June 22 in Raleigh, NC. Pop acts Tegan & Sara and Capital Cities will rotate with Kacey on different shows. Though Kacey may seem a little out of place on Katy's tour at first glance, the two have become friends and written songs together in the past few years. The tour will hit 46 cities before wrapping up October 10 in Houston.

TV
The latest performers for the 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards telecast were announced. Performers added to the lineup are current GRAMMY nominees John Legend, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Kacey Musgraves, Taylor Swift, and Keith Urban, as well as nominee Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr  - who as members of the Beatles will receive the 2014 Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award. Other special performances include nominee Sara Bareilles together with four-time GRAMMY winner and 2014 MusiCares Person of the Year Carole King.

Spoiler: "Nashville" Recap: I'll Keep Climbing 

AWARDS
The 56th Annual Grammy Awards are less than a month away, and if you still need to brush up on who's nominated for what, there's one album that'll do the trick. The 2014 Grammy Nominees album, hitting stores January 21, features songs from select nominees in all the top categories, all in one handy place.
Country music is well-represented with nominated tracks from Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton, Kacey Musgraves, and Keith Urban are included on the compilation. The album also includes songs from nominees Justin Timberlake, Katy Perry, Pink and more. Pre-order on Amazon.com read Press Release
Taylor Swift, "Begin Again" -- Album of the Year, Best Country Album
Blake Shelton, "Mine Would Be You" -- Best Country Album
Kacey Musgraves, "Merry Go 'Round" -- Best New Artist, Best Country Album
Tim McGraw, "Highway Don't Care" Feat. Taylor Swift & Keith Urban -- Best Country Album
Jason Aldean, "Take a Little Ride" -- Best Country Album
Grammy Awards, airs live on CBS January 26 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.


Taylor Swift and Tim McGraw snagged wins for Favorite Country Artist and Favorite Country Music Icon, respectively, at Wednesday's People's Choice Awards 2014 (Jan 8th). Budding country singer and Pretty Little Liars actress Lucy Hale was also honored as Favorite Cable TV Actress. Full winners list here. Brad Paisley performed "Mona Lisa" at the 2014 Awards.

BABY NEWS
Congratulations to Joe Nichols and his wife, Heather, who have just announced that they are expecting a second child!
The news came via Twitter (Jan 9, 2014), where Joe wrote, “Aaaaaaaaaand we’re pregnant again! Another baby Nichols on the way in 2014!” In the Dec. 16 issue of Country Weekly, Joe mentioned that he and Heather were happily enjoying the business of attempting another baby! It’s worked!

MUSIC NEWS
Record Store Day, the now annual celebration of independent record shops, will take place on Saturday, April 19 this year.
Like previous year’s events, there will be a number of specially commissioned, limited edition releases which will only available in your local record shops on Record Store Day. There will also be a number of high-profile in store appearances from some of the biggest names in music on Record Store Day, too.

Online music streaming has doubled in the past 12 months. The surge in usage of services such as Spotify and Deezer means around 7.4billion tracks were streamed in the UK last year, double the previous year's total. The boost has pushed music revenues above £1billion, with streaming subscriptions worth £103million a year – equivalent to 10 per cent of all record labels' income – up 34 per cent on the £77million in 2012. The cash increase from streaming services coincides with an overall dip – down 6.4 per cent across all formats – in album sales during 2013, particularly a decline in CD sales.
Album sales were worth £772 million in 2013. CD sales of 60.6 million were down almost 13 per cent on 2012's total, but despite the impression the format is dead, CDs still account for almost two thirds of all albums sold in the UK.
Digital sales of 32.6 million – up almost 7 per cent on 2012's tally – now represent almost 35 per cent of the total album market.
There were 175.6million digital singles bought in the UK in 2013, a figure close to 2012's all-time high of 183.3 million tracks downloaded. The so-called vinyl revival continues, too, with sales of vinyl albums up to 780,000 during 2013. While this only amounts to 0.8 per cent of all albums sold during the year, it represents a 101 per cent increase on 2012's total

HMV’s flagship technology store in Islington, London is to close at the end of this month. The store’s last day of trading will be January 25, according to Retail Week. After falling into administration early last year, the retail chain’s new owners Hilco have spent the past 12 months attempting to return it to profitability. As well as a trimming down of stores, focus has moved back to selling music, films and games - rather than high-end technology.
The Islington store was part of a plan from the retailer’s old management to strengthen its technology category in a bid to improve its fortunes in 2011. HMV's strategy is now more digitally focused and its website has recently been revamped as an “editorially focused site” that runs alongside a digital music store.

Popular Billboard editorial director Bill Werde has left the US magazine, as its parent company shuffles staff to take the title in a "more consumer-focused" direction. Former Rolling Stone editor Werde announced his exit on Jan 9th, with Billboard owner Guggenheim Partners effectively replacing him with the boss of another of its titles - The Hollywood Reporter's Janice Min. She said: "The combination of Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter under one editorial voice creates a true entertainment super-brand." Werde joined Billboard eight years ago, and was named editorial director in 2008.

SINGLE / ALBUM NEWS
Big" Kenny Alphin and John Rich have formed Big & Rich Records and will release their fifth studio album in the coming months.

The world’s best-selling, multi-artist album series, NOW That’s What I Call Music!, will release a second, all-new volume of country music’s most romantic contemporary hits on January 21, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Available on CD and for digital download purchase from Amazon.com

Martina McBride shared her new album cover for EVERLASTING out March 2013 - Image
Martina had a specific vision for ‘Everlasting’ (out March 4), a collection of iconic soul and R&B songs, and knew Grammy-winning producer Don Was had just the experience and insight to lead her on this journey. The legendary producer guided McBride through songs as diverse as Aretha Franklin’s “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man,” Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Minds” and Van Morrison’s “Wild Night,” and yielded a new sound and a departure for the country icon and four-time CMA Female Vocalist of the Year....Martina McBride Enlists Don Was for a “Dream Come True" – See Track Listing

Don Williams, is set to debut his new, 10-track studio album, REFLECTIONS, on March 11 via Sugar Hill Records. Williams, a Country Music Hall of Fame member, dominated for decades as a country hit maker and earned the name “the Gentle Giant” because of his unique blend of commanding presence and that laid-back, easy style—cutting across national and genre boundaries...Read More Sugar Hill Press Release

Tim McGraw - Hitting up the parties trying to find that Girl!
Does Auto-tune  belong in country music?
Taste Of Country in their single review for Tim McGraw’s latest release wrote - “marries traditional country stylings to contemporary innovations in his new single ‘Lookin’ for That Girl.’ The scream of a pedal steel keeps the track safely on the country side of the radio, while his use of auto-tune points forward toward what could be the genre’s future”.
On his last album McGraw used a similar effect on the post-chorus of throw-away ‘Southern Girl’ somewhat taking liberties, but he has now ramped the auto-tune experimentation production right up!
McGraw is riding major momentum into the new year with brand new music and plans for an even bigger summer ahead. He is  hitting the 30 cities road on this summer’s Sundown Heaven Town Tour, which gets its name from the lyrics (“Sun down, heaven town, driving ‘round hitting the bars, shooting the stars”) of his poor new single which was released to radio on Jan 17th with an impact date of January 27, 2014 to coincide with retail release.
The mid-tempo pop-country track, which goes on sale on iTunes is the first from his upcoming album, a follow-up to last year’s TWO LANES OF FREEDOM. “Lookin’ for That Girl” was penned by Jimmy Slater, Chris Tompkins (co-write Blake Shelton’s "Sure Be Cool If You Did" and Florida Georgia Line’s "Round Here" "Get Your Shine On", "Here's to the Good Times", and Mark Irwin (Co-wrote Tim McGraw's "Highway Don't Care", Tyler Farr's "Redneck Crazy").
As can be seen Tompkins has written a lot of the “Bro-Country” stuff from 2013 and it seems that 46-year old Tim is more than happy to extend its reign into the New Year trying to be Mr.Cool and fit in with the "frat boys" Luke Bryan and Big Machine Records label mates Florida Georgia Line. The parties, chicks, butts, trucks, drinking and hitting the bars themes sadly continue.
Lyrically, McGraw is looking for a girl to have a good time with - “That girl, she’s a party all nighter / Little ‘Funky Cold Medina,’ little ‘Strawberry Wine”-er,’” he opens with.

Tim is seeking an ideal lover, but then he tells of his search - That Girl, She’s A Lone Gun Slinger, Neon Jagerbomb Country-Okie Singer That Girl, She’s A Walk On A Wild Slide, She’s A Day Glow Radio Slow Ride, Low Ride, Good Time, IF You See Her, Tell Her I’m… Looking’ For That Girl
Quite what his wifey Faith Hill will make of this I’m not too sure?! 
Will Fans Love It?: His fans that embrace the “new country sound” may like it as he continues to push the country envelope forward (?) or is it more the hand of wise businessman Big Machine CEO Scott Borchetta maintaining the bro-country clichés and lyrical success (?) of FGL’s hits with a return to Tim’s impersonal "Southern Girl".
On this new track McGraw defines his “dream girl” with benchmarks by the type and quantity of alcohol that she consumes - "Low Ride Good Time" / "That Girl Likes To Drink It Up Really Loud"
What picture are the songwriters painting as McGraw declares with colorful language on this cringe-worthy song - "Hold My Dreams In Her Blue Jeans, Oh My, Yellow Hammer, South Georgia, Mississippi Chick Trick”.
Are these Bro-country Valentines pick-up-truck-lines or would you get a slap across the face?! - As McGraw chases the Bryan/FGL pack he concludes: “Hair Like A Field Of Corn / Body Like A Honey Comb / Smile Like A Country Song / Baby, Climb On In” 
Tim’s got a “ Sitting’ Up High Silverado Seat” and the #C2C 2013 Festival superstar is going day-glow-radio-slow-ride-crazy “ Waitin’ For That Girl”!
Entertainment Weekly is offering a first listen of the song available here.
A version called "A.M." which strips out some of the auto-tune out of the chorus also exists.
Is this a country train wreck or is McGraw driving nicely on the 2014 Pop side of the Country/Pop fence?
 Related Article:
Country Radio Programmers Wish For Better Music, More Stars In 2014
WGH-FM (Eagle 97) Virginia Beach, Va., PD Mark McKay and WBEE Rochester, N.Y., operations manager Bob Barnett, among others, say the music has to improve in a recent Billboard article. From a creative standpoint,” McKay says, “I hope some substance returns to the music next year. I like fun, party songs as much as the next guy, but I fear that with so many of them in the last 18 months, we’re at the saturation point. [Miranda Lambert’s] ‘The House That Built Me’ feels like a long time ago. I’d love to hear more of those types of songs. And I’d love it if a new solo female artist could cut through with both the critics and audience next year. We’ve not had that happen in a few years.”
Another commenter states “Everything changes—and it should—but our pursuit of youth and cool may be causing a bit of a disconnect with 35-54 females that drive country radio.”
WCTK Providence, R.I., PD Bob Walker raises the point that, “As long as artists and labels make a big portion of their money from touring, we are going to continue to get a lot of disposable songs that pound out beats per minute, and burn just as quickly. If we do not have a solid library of gold from this era, we will pay the price in a few years.”

PRESS RELEASES
  • For the third consecutive year, Bob Kingsley’s Acoustic Alley will return to Country Radio Seminar on Feb. 20 with an all-star lineup of hit songwriters.Ben Hayslip, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally, Brandy Clark, Ashley Gorley, Rodney Clawson, Brett James, Matt Jenkins, Rhett Akins and Dallas Davidson are set to perform at the event, which is presented by Bob Kingsley’s Country Top 40 and co-sponsored by SunTrust Bank. Kingsley will host the event.
  • New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan likes Sammy Kershaw's music so much that he included the country star's Better Than I Used To Be album art on the back of his play sheet.
  • Digital Journal chooses Michelle Wright's "Strong" as Year's Best Female Country Music Video
  • Eric Church and EMI Records Nashville have released the upcoming album The Outsiders (out Feb 11, 2014) second single, “Give Me Back My Hometown.” The wistful song, written by Church and Luke Laird, is currently playing on radio stations across the country and available for pre-order purchase at US iTunes.
  • On Tuesday Jan 9th singer/actress Lucy Hale debut single hit #1 on iTunes Country Chart as video pulls in Half Million Views on first day.
  • Country-pop-Americana artist Amy Allen is releasing the second single from her highly successful new album, “Someday Is Today”. “Josie Rae“, a mid-tempo country/pop song about motherhood, is being promoted to radio stations across the nation by Nashville-based Bill Wence Promotions. “Josie Rae” and other selections from the album can be heard on Spotify and purchased from US iTunes 
  • 2014 Kicks Off Into High Gear for Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out.

ARTICLES
CMA Close Up (by Bob Doerschuk): New Artist Spotlight: Jon Pardi
Billboard.com 10 Country Artists to Watch in 2014: 615 Picks (By Chuck Dauphin)

INTERVIEWS

Rolling Stone: Rosanne Cash on Her Dad's Influence and Bill Clinton's Musical Insight...Singer-songwriter opens up about her latest album 'The River and the Thread' Read more:
Billboard 615: Mary Chapin Carpenter Gives Old Songs a New Setting on 'Movie' Album
Billboard 615: Jennifer Nettles Talks Solo Debut: 'I Want People to Be Moved'

Listen to a recorded interview with Country, Southern Rock singer-songwriter Georgia native Erica Sunshine Lee speaking to Lee Williams on CMR Nashville (First broadcast 10th Jan, 2014). The Inde artist, currently on tour in Australia speaks about her career, new singles, and new brand self released 5th studio album titled THE SOUTH WILL RISE AGAIN which dropped on New Years day. It’s available on CB BABY, UK iTunes and Amazon. Find her on Facebook, Twitter and visit her Website
This Nashville Recording Artist has earned the reputation of "Hardest Working Woman in Country Music” due to her uncompromising work ethic, established during her up-bringing in rural Georgia.
In late 2013 she promoted her single "Drinking and Driving Me Crazy" (>> Official Video) on Hotdisc which was the 2nd single off Erica’s 4th studio album. It has enjoyed a 9-week chart run and peaked at #7 on the Hotdisc Top 40 chart.


"Sunshine is a prolific hit songwriter with infectious and catchy lyrics and melodies, beautiful southern voice keeping the country in country music." Lee Williams, Nashville CMR Europe Radio.

MAGAZINES   
Country Weekly No.48 2013 (December 2, 2013) – George Strait: TRIUMPH! The King of Country Music has been named the CMA Entertainer of the Year for the third time in his career / Nashville Wives: the sexy spouses/ Trace Adkins and NASCAR star Danica Patrick team up/ Deana Carter is back with a new album.. READ ONLINE - Details.
Country Weekly No.49 2013 (December 9, 2013) – Carrie Underwood’s Favorite Things (The Sound of Music)/ Jake Owen is golden/ Lauren Alaina addresses a family struggle in her new song/ Red carpet action – READ ONLINE - Details










Country Weekly No.50 2013 (December 16, 2013) – Growing Up Blake Shelton the early years/ Toby Keith's new facility/ Joe Nichols brings us along for a day out/ Parmalee releases their long-awaited album/ Vince Gill takes his latest project to Bakersfield, Calif. - READ ONLINE - Details
Country Weekly No.50 2013 (December 23, 2013) – Christmas With Reba McEntire/ George Jones gets a monument/ Ashley Monroe weds/ Rodney Atkins weds/ Krystal Keith gets in the holiday spirit/ Have a beer (or two) with Josh Thompson - READ ONLINE - Details

About Country Weekly - US Magazine Description: Each week Country Weekly takes you into the lives of your favorite country stars -- at home, on and off the stage, and on the road. They share their music, fashion, favorite recipes, advice and home decor.

LISTEN

Lucy Hale's new single "You Sound Good To Me" available on US iTunes

NPR First Listen: Rosanne Cash, 'The River & The Thread'....It's tempting — and, really, accurate — to describe Rosanne Cash's new album as a literary effort. The singer-songwriter is also a published author, and her last album, 2009's The List, was a writer's game: Its 12 tracks abridged her famous father Johnny's 100-song lexicon of essentials, which he gave to his then-teenaged daughter as a legacy and a challenge. A set of originals, The River & The Thread features a similarly strong formal structure, but it expands where The List contracts…..

Debut single from Calgary, Alberta, native Lindsay Ell, "Trippin' On Us" (Stoney Creek Records) written by Lindsay Ell, David Fanning, Vicky McGehee (Lyric Vid) it was released: Nov 05, 2013 - US iTunes
Lindsay debuted as the #1 Most Added Artist at country radio this week when her first single, “Trippin’ On Us” earned 50 adds across both Country Aircheck / Mediabase and Billboard.
 “Trippin’ On Us” was recently lauded as a Taste of Country “Critics Pick” and Lindsey herself was celebrated as one of the site’s “Artists To Watch in 2014” praising her as an artist that “protrudes confidence without the attitude” and as a “star in the making.”
  • Factfile: Born  20 March 1989 (age 24) Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • Occupations - Musician & Songwriter / Instruments – Guitar (purple Les Paul) / Years active 2003–present
  • Labels - Stoney Creek Records / Website - lindsayell.com / Facebook Page (16,200 + Likes)
  • Discovered and mentored as a teen by Randy Bachman (Bachman Turner Overdrive, the Guess Who)
  • Lindsay Ell opened for The Band Perry on their “We Are Pioneers” World Tour Autumn tour across Europe (London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Belfast, Dublin - Video Blog) Lindsay resumed on The Band Perry’s tour beginning January 9th, 2014 in Penticton, British Columbia.
  • Ell is readying her debut album for Stoney Creek. She released two sets independently: Alone (2009) and Consider This (2006).
  • On her website she writes: I've seen all kinds of crowds ... and no crowd at all. I feel ready as a singer and a musician. I have confidence as a performer. I've been writing for years and, since moving to Nashville, have found how best to communicate who I am. I'm comfortable in a conference room with six people or onstage opening for Keith Urban in front of thousands. It's really not that different. Both are exciting and a little humbling. Either way, I'm ready to go."

SPOTIFY COUNTRY

FREE DOWNLOADS
The lovely Sasha Aaron a Miami native who now calls Nashville TN home is giving away “Billboard” (160kbps MP3) for Supercuts #RockTheCut campaign! (Supercuts is all about the latest cuts for your hair and your headphones)

Emerging artist Alaina Blair is a Rock/Country, Singer/Songwriter who hails from San Diego, CA. Download "I'm A Mess" track 4 from her self titled 2013 album.

Alt group Darling Parade offer up "Summer"(256kbps MP3), it’s track 10 from their 2013 album. Lead vocalist Kristin Kearns entered the local Nashville music scene a few years ago then she moved there in 2009 after graduating high school, continuing
on her path by performing at local venues on the weekends. After launching the band as a just-for-fun recording project, Kearns welcomed Nate McCoy (guitarist), Dustin McCoy (bassist), and Casey Conrad (drummer) in to the group. The band won big at the 2011 Nashville Independent Music Awards, taking “Artist Of The Year” as well as “Song Of The Year”. They have  played a national tour with Cassadee Pope.

WATCH

"Riser" Dierks Bentley Live at  Last Call Ball 9, Nashville, TN 6/9/13
Katie ArmigerSafe (iHeart Video)
Actress/Country newbie singer Lucy Hale "You Sound Good to Me" (Official Video)

COUNTRY FASHION

Laura Bell Bundy - Headed to the HBO #GoldenGlobes after party with my main man! Thanks Alon Livne Design & Tacori for the amazing dress and jewelry!! - Image


Hayden Panttiere (wearing Tom Ford)
CLICK to ENLARGE

Black and white delight: Hayden Panettiere went for modern glamour sporting a geometric Tom Ford gown with a bejeweled halter detailing at the 2014 Golden Globe Awards, hosted at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California on Sunday night (January 12).
On the red carpet Hayden shared with Ryan Seacrest that she has been asking Tom Ford to loan her a dress for quite some time. I wonder if she knew she was being given a re-run.
She opted for an ivory clutch and black pumps, adding a Jennifer Meyer diamond-encrusted flower brooch to the neckline.
Her cool slicked-back 'do’, nude lips and voluminous lashes were both smart and sexy and completed the on-trend look - Fashion Pic -
Hayden Panettiere bought her Golden Globes dress: The 'Nashville' actress said she was so taken with the Tom Ford dress, she couldn't resist buying it.
She told E! News: "It's the first time I've ever worn him. I feel sexy in it, I feel comfortable in it, and I'm in Tom Ford. I would wear a plastic bag if it was designed by him”.
She added to People.com: "I'm obsessed with it! I freaked out that I'm even wearing it. "I bought this one. I actually get to keep it, which is really weird to me, that I don't have to worry about somebody showing up on my doorstep going, 'Where's the dress? Give it back!' It's like buying a piece of art. You can hopefully keep it forever."
Hayden was sporting a shorter new hairstyle to the ceremony, and says she was relieved to be able to cut it after two series' filming with long hair for 'Nashville'. Getty Images

Taylor Swift made a rather effortless old Hollywood sweeping entrance onto the red carpet at the 2014 Golden Globe Awards. She was nominated for best original song for the upcoming film, ‘One Chance,’ loosing out to U2’s “Ordinary Love” (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom >> Lyric Video)






















The 24-year old singer-songwriter took her own chance by debuting a new look for her. She donned a drama-filled Carolina Herrera Pre-Fall 2014 strapless gown—delightfully coloured in cherry-red, save for the slice of edgy black that outlined the sweetheart bodice. The bustling, ball-gown skirt, which extravagantly trailed behind her, was asymmetrically gathered and draped at the right side. Beautiful gemstone pinned-up ringlets peeked through behind her retro curls, while a statement ring provided an edgier sparkle. Her standard kohl-lined cateye and ruby-red lip were also present and accounted for - Fashion Pic
 Read more: Daily Mail
Get One like it for less! : Lipsy VIP Bandeau Maxi Dress with Embellished Bust at Asos (£130.00 NOW £48.00)
Her pal Jennifer Lawrence joined her sporting a strapless Dior white gown with black band detail and diamond jewellery- Image

Following her Carolina Herrera gown for the main event, Taylor Swift changed for the 2014 InStyle and Warner Bros. Golden Globe Awards post-party on Sunday (January 12) in Beverly Hills, California.










































The singer wore a daring Julien Macdonald Spring 2014 black knit dress which is in total contrast to her earlier look.
Jimmy Choo sandals, Lorraine Schwartz jewels, wavy tresses and her signature red lip completed the look - Image
Lovely duo: Taylor enjoyed some time with Jared Leto at the InStyle Golden Globe after party and was joined by pals Sarah Hyland, Jaime King and Hailee Steinfeld for the fun.

Taylor was snapped on her way to a dance class in LA on Tuesday afternoon, the 24-year-old looked picture perfect in a pair of tiny black Nike shorts, a grey vest and a black hoodie, accessorised with a smart black handbag and a flash of red lipstick.
It's often said that accessories make an outfit, and even in this case - when Taylor is just wearing her workout gear - you can see how true that is. Taylor's bag is by luxury Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana. The singer is a massive fan of the brand, and wore one of their show-stopping dresses to the Country Music Awards last year.
A black frame bag such as this makes a really classic ladylike statement, and is a great way to smarten up your everyday look.
Taylor's bag is from Dolce & Gabbana's SS14 collection, so isn't on sale yet (lucky Taylor's obviously been given a sneak preview!). Read more: dailymail.co.uk

COUNTRY GOSSIP

Pistol Annie’s over? Ashley Monroe has spilled by saying they cancelled last summer’s tour because there was no time for rehearsals. She says, “it’s as simple as that but it’s funny how people just make things up.” She says the Annies have no tour plans now cause Miranda [Lambert] and Angelina [Presley] are both making records.

Hayden Panettiere has no idea when she will marry Wladimir Klitschko : The 'Nashville' star, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-Series or TV Movie at the Golden Globe Awards got engaged to the World Heavyweight Champion boxer, 37, from Kazakhstan, last year but admits they haven't made any wedding plans yet.
Asked when and where she plans to tie the knot, he 24-year-old actress told E!'s 'Live From Red Carpet': "Not the slightest clue. I'm dealing with Americans and Ukrainians on the other side of the world so we have to find some common ground in between."
The blonde beauty, who stunned in a monochrome gown by Tom Ford, decided to make a "personal investment" and buy a house in Nashville, Tennessee, after falling in love with the city and plans to continue living there regardless of whether the show is recommissioned in the future. Hayden - who initially dated Wladimir from 2009 until 2011 - reconciled with the fighter in January 2013 and they secretly gotten engaged in March during a trip to Florida but only confirmed the news in October.

Taylor Swift has reportedly been spotted house-hunting in New York City with a mystery man. Taylor has been viewing apartments in Greenwich Village in the hopes of finding a new pad, the New York Daily News Confidenti@l column is reporting.
Money is clearly no object for the 24-year-old star, who visited a $12 million Leroy St. townhouse that was once the home of 'West Side Story' writer Arthur Laurents, with a mystery man by her side. An eye witness told Confidenti@l: "She was well dressed and seemed in good spirits. She was being driven around with this good-looking guy who looked about her age."
The impressive 1850s four-bedroom redbrick property spans over 4,400 square feet and is a stone's throw away from Hollywood heavyweight Robert De Niro's pad. Taylor was also seen taking a tour of the nearby 22 Charlton St, which is 2,900 square feet and is on the market for a more modest $6.25 million. She was reportedly being shown around the houses by one of the highest-earning brokers in the city, Sharon Baum.
The country/pop music darling already has three properties in her name - a penthouse in Nashville, a cottage in Beverly Hills and a holiday home in Rhode Island.

BIRTHDAYS
January 13: Trace Adkins (1952)
January 14: The late Billie Jo Spears (1937 – Died December 14, 2011 (aged 73)), The late Billy Walker (1929 – Died May 21, 2006 (aged 77))
January 16: Ronnie Milsap (1946), Jim Stafford (1944),
January 17: Steve Earle (1955), Amanda Wilkinson (Wilkinsons/ Small Town Pistols) (1982)
January 18: Mark Collie (1956), Bobby Goldsboro (1941), Hargus 'Pig' Robbins  (1938), Tammy Rogers (1965),
Kristy Lee Cook (1984) 
January 19: The late Phil Everly (1939 - Died January 3, 2014 (aged 74)), Dolly Parton (1946) 

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