Thursday, 27 March 2014

Country Bites News snippets March 17, 2014 - March 23, 2014

Country Bites News snippets March 17, 2014 - March 23, 2014

SOURCES / LINKS shown in RED

UK & IRISH News

Petersfield, Hampshire Country/Americana duo “Test Tube” twin sisters Catherine and Lizzy Ward-Thomas sang live for Sir Terry Wogan on BBC Radio 2 on Sunday March 23rd. 
The 19-year olds performed their new single “The Good and The Right” along with a delicate cover of Dougie McLean’s “ Caledonia”.  
“You’ll be hearing a lot more from them, that was terrific” said Terry.

Ward Thomas tell Terry all about finding their country sound in Nashville!

Listen to the Session

Download the Podcast




Ward Thomas are back in Tennessee again April 2nd (Puckett's Grocery,Leipers Fork, TN ) to April 12 (Chick-fil-a Barn Bash, Huntingdon, TN) see dates
CONNECT with Ward Thomas: Website - Facebook - Twitter
Hampshire the "home of country music": Sensational country duo Ward Thomas sing live for Sir Terry Wogan - BBC Page
Sam Bailey Live in Session on Weekend Wogan (her baby is due Oct 3rd) - BBC Page

On the BBC Radio 2 Playlist for the week commencing March 22, 2014 C2C headliners the Zac Brown Band with “All Alright” remain on the “A” list.  Johnny Cash with “She Used to Love Me A Lot” and Rascal Flatts “Rewind” remain on the “C” playlist.

Country Music Triumphs in The U.K. And Ireland:  Fifteen CMA Board Members made the trip to London to lend their expertise to a weekend that was jam packed with something for both fans and industry alike…Read more CMA World

New To You Spotlight
Katie Nicholas is a 19-year old country/pop singer-songwriter, born and bred in Liverpool and now living in London working at a major advertising agency, JWT London, as an Integrated Designer.
Katie Nicholas Wallpaper CLICK to ENLARGE
She describes her sound as “honest, sometimes a bit twee – and it’s a true reflection of my feelings and thoughts”
Katie released her self penned single “Chemistry” on the promotional Hotdisc #183 (March issue) via Django Promotions, a UK based company. On March 9th it made its debut at No13 on the European Hotdisc Top 40, climbing to No.9 and on March 23rd rose to No.4 to top the Hotdisc British & Irish Chart!
Her single is a concoction of numerous things, including quantum physics, times tables, TV series and the chemical reaction which brought Katie and her boyfriend together. It was written specifically as a treat for her beau who is a TV addict where she is the complete opposite. They could however relate to their love of The Big Bang Theory. Bazinga! - Read her Blog.
Katie made a fun video in her bedroom, and posted it on Valentines Day to share with him and the world.
The excellent >> Music Video was received 108,500+ YouTube views to date. It was released on Feb 23, 2013 on UK iTunes and Amazon UK .
She films, animates and produces her own music videos. >> “Boots(released Dec 3, 2013 on iTunes) was created after months of Adobe labour. The concept is based on the saying "walking around in other people's shoes" thus understanding other people's feelings and not empathise with the fact that they'd be hurt if it was the other way around.
In Sept 2013 Katie was nominated and won the “Michael Molloy Youth Music Award” at the Liverpool Music Awards. This new and prestigious category (voted online by fans) outlines upcoming young artists, sponsored by the Mayor of Liverpool, and which is dedicated to a young talented musician who lost his life last year in a crash, Michael Molloy. See Photo - Photo and Read her interview . X Factor finalist Rebecca Ferguson, won last years Female Artist of The Year at the awards and Liz from Atomic Kitten and Heidi from Sugarbabes announced a few awards.

"An extremely photogenic young countryfolk (with a touch of Americana) singer songwriter from Liverpool new to the scene. What makes Katie stand out from the crowd is not just her clear, striking voice and skills as a perceptive writer but the fact that she makes her own videos... Not surprisingly, she's currently attracting a lot of interest, especially in Nashville." - David Allen (Former BBC Radio 2 Broadcaster “Country Club” and Country Music People Journalist)
>> Listen to her March 22nd interview and surprise session with BBC Radio Merseyside’s Billy Butler who has constantly given her support and encouragement:


Listen to all her singles on Soundcloud.com , they available to buy on UK iTunes
CONNECT with Katie - FACEBOOK - TWITTER - BLOG - INSTAGRAM

Votes Pour In For Raintown -  Glasgow Pop/Country / Americana (?) duo Raintown (picture) snagged the Best New Scottish Band or Solo Artist Trophy at The Scottish Variety Awards organised by KJM Events which returned to Glasgow’s Crowne Plaza on Saturday 22nd March 2014. "Previous winners have all gone on to forge successful careers"
Allegedly “Celebrating the best in Scottish Variety” during an evening of glitz and glam, the event was hosted by 105-106 Capital FM Breakfast presenters Des & Jennie.  Past performers have included singing sensations Susan Boyle, Sandi Thom, Paolo Nutini and Nina Nesbitt.
The winner of this and the other categories in the 2014 Scottish Variety Awards was decided by public votes online at capitalfm.com. Voting closed at midnight on Friday the 7th March.


Raintown’s 28 year old Claire McArthur (born in Glasgow) and the now 35 year old Paul Bain (Birthday 24th March) once again used social media on Facebook and Twitter to encourage their 16,000+ Facebook and 5K Twitter fanbase to vote and they responded. Their C2C Pop Up stage musician pals Alan West and Gary Quinn were more than happy to blindly vote and joined the hundreds of followers who faithfully lent their support (without knowing much if anything about the other nominees)


Claire (left) : Thank you to DashingDolls Glasgow for the beautiful hair and make up! Thank you ladies! 

Previously online fan voting for Raintown (formerly a duo under the name of pop act "OMNI" Myspace recently deleted!) has won them a competition on Real Radio to open for Wet Wet Wet on Friday 20th July (in front of 25,000 fans). They also were winners of (bizarrely) Folk Traditional Recording of The Year, for their now 4-year old album HOPE IN TROUBLED TIMES at the much criticized and now defunct The Scottish New Music Awards held on 2nd Sept 2012.
The much hyped Scottish duo were winners of the 2013 British Country Music Awards (BCMAwards) Duo of the Year with a nomination and voting by unknown individuals , with no fan voting, but a voting panel cloaked in secrecy.
The duo are being championed by UKCountryRadio.com’s Simon Large & Will Downie, Steve Cherelle (BBC Radio Essex, BCMAward compere), Stewart Fenwick (Celtic Music Radio) and Emily Saxton (Maverick Magazine).
At The Scottish Variety Awards Raintown beat out 4 other acts:
a) PAWS (Glasgow three-piece with its roots in Ross-shire conprising bass player Ryan Drever frontman Phillip Taylor and drummer Joseph Swinney were brought up in Tain) They will release their debut album which they recorded in New York for Brighton-based Fat Cat Records.
b) Melanie Mason (55K Twitter followers), the Bowes and Bounds resident and X-Factor contestant had a fantastic time since taking part in the X Factor in 2012. The “Blues Mama with a lotta Rock n Soul” made it to the live shows, under the watchful eye of Gary Barlow, but was eliminated in week two - shows.stv.tv . The 45-year-old claimed to be a full-time mother and failed to reveal that she had worked with some big names for the last 15 years (Kasabian, Stereophonics, Fatboy Slim and Happy Mondays). Melanie had the judges believe that she was an undiscovered talent but she has in fact been working as a session vocalist. She also released a single in 2007 and was signed industry heavyweight EMI, the mother-of-two told The Sun: 'I had a brief deal with EMI 18 years ago but was dropped after a year

c) Fridge Magnets, an Electronic/Dance/ Alt band championed by Nick Grimshaw and others. On January 7they announced and confirmed after a couple of years of both ups and downs that they had disbanded as the Fridge Magnets!
d) The Merrylees (Psychedelic Western Pop based band Edinburgh / Glasgow - Facebook >> YouTube). They will be supporting the legendary Paul Weller on all his forest dates this summer and the band returned from Germany where they opened for Babyshambles in Hamburg. They described themselves as “clear 60s/70s psychedelic rock, mixed with a modern, American-Brit hybrid sound, listening to The Merrylees sounds like a melting pot of The Doors, The Animals, The Kinks, Fleet Foxes, Jake Bugg and The Coral”
Want to say massive thank you to DashingDolls Glasgow for the beautiful hair and make up! Thank you ladies!

April's issue of the crXss COUNTRY Magazine is out (Cover) featuring Pig Earth with a story from Emma Steele on page 6 (Image PDF). It available at CMC's or from crosscountrymagazine.co.uk or phone: 01909 561003. Download the January 2014 issue here [PDF]

Starlane were up to the beginning of March a folksy Thanet duo comprising UK musicians Cheltenham born and Ramsgate based Sarah Lucy Dole along with Broadstairs, Kent guitarist and backing vocalist Brian Langsdon. 
Following a five day tour in Holland in February Starlane played the Pop-Up Stages at C2C2014 but Brian was absent and has left the duo. Sarah joined “fabulous guitarist” Langsdon in 2011 and Starlane were born. They were slated as “a very special duo and destined for major success”! On Thursday 26th September 2013 they had an album launch in Broadstairs for their debut album "Buckle Up!" produced by Glenn Rogers. "Sarah Lucy Dole has one of the finest Americana voices this country has heard in a long time" quoted Alan Cackett the editor of Maverick Magazine - Read Album Review
Americana outfit Starlane now comprise Sarah joined by Dartford and Broadstairs musicians Scottish bass player Jon Smith and Harley (guitarist).
On Sunday 23rd March 2014 they joined Doug Welch on BBC Radio Kent on his “Kent Folk” programme for an interview and record a live session. 
>>Listen to their update, influences and C2C experience:

Live Events in the UK

Check out the updated Blog Tour Page for UK Tour & Festival Dates

Kelly Lee and her band have some gigs due: Friday April 18th, (Broad Town Village Hall Swindon), Sun May 11th (The Beehive, Swindon), Monday May 26 (Surrey County Show), Sat May 31 (Bluegrass Staines) and June 6th (The Green Room, Welwyn Garden City) see Facebook Events Page
The Kelly Lee Band consists (Kelly Lee; Lead Vocals, Guitar), Hannah Cope (Bass, Harmony Vocals), Ed Gallagher (Dobro), Nick Dunkin (Banjo) and Jason French (Fiddle, Harmony Vocals)
Kelly, a now mum to three children, with recent addition baby boy Billy Ray (born March 12th), is no stranger to the UK Country scene. In 2001 Kelly contributed a monthly page called Kelly's Eye, in the magazine Country Music International.
Her sensational single “Stay” reigned for 3 weeks at #1 (July 17, 2008 - Aug 7, 2008) on the British & Irish Hotdisc chart .
She signed to Halo Records in November 2007 recording her debut album, I CAN DREAM...ENGLAND 10 TITANS 0.
With tightening financial label constraints for future projects and Kelly wishing to take time out to raise a family she then took a break. In 2011, Mike Maslen introduced her to Talia Smith, another young country singer/songwriter (who in 2014 has found “fame” on the BBC show The Voice with Team Tom). The very attractive, bubbly and fun Romany pair of Kelly and Talia hit it off and formed, Travellin Rose. They wrote an album "Cinderella Dreaming"and recorded it in Nashville TN. Their first single “Made Up My Mind” stayed at #1 for 5 weeks on the British Hotdisc charts. Follow up single “V.I.P. Room” reached No.8 on the main Hotdisc Top 40.  They were also nominated and won the "Best Newcomer"award at the British Country Music Awards (BCMAwards) in 2012.  After a whirlwind couple of years, the lovely ladies have decided to concentrate on their solo careers. Kelly is now recording solo material, and looking forward to meeting everyone at her gigs.
CONNECT with Kelly Lee: WEBSITE FACEBOOK - GIGS

On 12th April at The George in Chertsey (45 Guildford Street, Chertsey, Surrey KT16 9BA) will feature a country night featuring Talia Smith from "The Voice" UK who was eliminated in the Battle Rounds when she was beaten out by the now semi-finalist Sally Barker - Event Graphic

Jill and Kate (Jill Pickering, Kate Rapier) the US C2C2014 Pop Up Stage duo have confirmed the support at their The Borderline show in London. It will be the lovely C2C2014 pop-up artist Hannah Jane Lewis plus the lovely UK singer-songwriter Jeannine Barry. Where & When: The Borderline (Orange Yard, off Manette St W1D 4JB London) on Weds June 4th 2014 - Ticketweb

US singer-songwriter James House will be playing The United Services Club (Presscot Road, Widnes, WA8 7PD) on Tues 29th July 2014. Tickets are £8 (Tele: 0151 488 0678) support is from Paul Taylor.

The Huggy Bear May Day Weekend takes place 1st - 4th May, 2014 at the Community Playing Fields Narborough Rd Narbough Nr. King's Lynn Norfolk PE32 1SR – See graphic. For more detailed info and bookings please phone Kenny Bloom on Tel 01553 840819

Rockfield Country Music Festival takes place on Thurs 5th June to Sunday 8th June, 2014 - Line Up 4-Day Ticket costs £35 per adult and One Day passes (£12) are also available - Tickets Where: Perthyre Farm, Rockfield, Monmouth NP25 5QE

Wolvestock 2014 Axed: **Announcement ** We are sorry to announce that Wolvestock 2014 has been cancelled due to poor ticket sales. Face value refunds are available at point of purchase on return of tickets – Source wolvescivic.co.uk
“be happy in the fact we all had 19 brilliant years to meet new friends listen to great music moan about the rain in our wellies while dancing, but most of all just being together” wrote Debbie Duncan on Facebook (Wolvestock Dance Master)
Wolvestock  organisers
Jim & Debbie Duncan
The West Midlands Country Music Festival was due to take place at a new venue held at the Civic Halls (Wolverhampton Civic Hall North Street WVI 1RQ) with 3 stages of music for its 20th year and was to star Californian Country star James House playing on Saturday July 26th. The bold step to go indoors had been taken to “ensure the future of the event” basing it on the success of the C2C at the Dome in March when they pulled over 10,000 fans of country who don't get wet and got to use flush toilets! - Event Graphic Previously held at the outdoor East Park site Westerners were always welcome but chose not to support due to council regulations about guns/ knives and may felt the same atmosphere was lost!  Due to refurbishment, costs to stabilize old coal mines and expensive to hire East Park was lost.
http://www.expressandstar.com/news/2014/03/24/city-festival-wolvestock-axed-over-poor-sales/
Wolverhampton City Council stated on March 24 that they pulled the plug on the two-day festival due to poor advance ticket sales. Mark Blackstock, the council's outdoor events manager, said: “We are sad to announce that Wolvestock will not be taking place this year. “The event has been very popular over the last two decades and, in its heyday, attracted thousands of people to East Park. “However, last year, there had been a huge drop in attendance figures compared with previous events. "As a result of this, we moved the event to the Civic Halls for this year which would be more suitable for a smaller audience. “But the pre-sale figures are extremely low and holding the event is no longer feasible so, unfortunately, we have no option but to cancel the event.”
Wolvestock, which started life as a free festival, used to be held open-air in Hickman Park in Bilston and then East Park. However, there had been fears it might not survive the city council’s £123 million cutbacks which were announced earlier this year. Traders at last year’s event at East Park said they had been hit by a drop in takings and claimed the number of visitors to the once-popular attraction had dropped. They blamed a new £6 entry fee, which was introduced in a bid to raise £10,000 from the festival.
Another price rise was brought in this year, with day tickets for the 2014 festival advertised at £11 and weekend passes for £18.
Secure camping for this year’s event, was going to be provided in West Park some 15 minutes away. Previously the arrangement worked for people, being a mere two minutes away from tents etc.
Bands that were lined up for the 2014 Wolvestock included the BCMAward winners Raintown, Gary Quinn and Mel & Luke, Lisa Stanley Band, John Taylor Band, The Breeze and Quill Band of Joy.

On March 21st tickets went on sale for C2C Country To Country 2015 to get limited numbers of early bird tickets. The tickets were not at the advertised 2014 prices but up by some 40%. People (without knowing the line up for next year) also found they were unable to purchase them only to find tickets ended up and were then being sold on “tout” sites studhub, viagogo etc at nearly 3 times the price for a weekend pass!

UK CHART NEWS

Official UK Country Album Chart (Week Ending March 29, 2014)
Dierks Bentley with RISER (Decca) climbed four places (5-1) to top the chart in the C2C performers second week.
Sheryl Crow with FEELS LIKE HOME (Warner Brothers) held at No.2 on her 13th chart week.
Rosanne Cash new album THE RIVER & THE THREAD made a 4-3 hop in her 6th week.
Don Williams with REFLECTIONS (WELK) fell 1-4
Sara Evans with SLOW ME DOWN (RCA Nashville) fell back 3-6 in her 2nd week
Eli Young Band with T10000 TOWNS debut at No.13

On the Hotdisc Chart (March 23, 2014 Chart)  
M Callahan with “Chicken On A Chain” made a 3-1 climb to land his first number 1 on the Hotdisc Top 40 at just his second attempt. He pushed aside last weeks No.1 Irish singer Fergal Flaherty with "Hey Son” who fell 1-5 after just one week at the summit.
Bertie Higgins (USA) made another upward stride as "Just Another Day In Paradise" rose 4-2
Branch & Dean who were chart toppers for one week with "Glad She's Not An Angel“ fell 2-3.
British singer-songwriter Katie Nicholas with her self written “Chemistry” made a 9-4 hop to overhaul Flaherty to bag the No1 on the British & Irish Chart list. She claimed her first #1 with her first ever single! Hotdisc CEO Stuart Cameron says “here is a young lady destined for big things”
Aussie duo Stuie French & Camille Te Nahu with “The First Time” (written by Fred Koller and Danny O’Keefe) reached the upper tier with a 14-10 jump . They are this year's recipients of the coveted Frank Ifield Golden Spur Award in Australia.
US artist Stevie Lee Woods with his self penned “Hey!..What Do I Know” made another leap up the chart with an 18-13 move.

UK COUNTRY ALBUM RELEASES

(15 March 2014) Kathy Kallick - Cut to the Chase (self released)
13 Tracks/ Time: 54:32 CD - MP3 - UK iTunes - CDBABY - Amazon.com
Two-time IBMA award-winner Kathy Kallick has a brand new album called Cut to the Chase.
After 17 albums as a leading voice in American roots music, you’d think that Kathy Kallick would be ready to coast on her latest release, a collection of originals titled Cut To The Chase. Listen to "Tryin So Hard To" on soundcloud.com - Review

(17 Mar 2014) Eliza Gilkyson - The Nocturne Diaries (Red House Records)
(17 Mar 2014) Ronnie Milsap - Summer Number Seventeen (Sony Music CMG)
12 tracks/ Time: 44:44 CD - UK iTunes - Amazon.com
(18 Mar 2014) Jo Dee Messina - Me (Import)
12 Tracks/ Time: 42:25 CD - Smart Choice Music - US iTunes - Amazon.com 
(24 Mar 2014) Johnny Cash - Out Among The Stars (Sony Music CMG)


AUSSIE NEWS
Morgan Evans has come out the big winner at this year's CMC Awards. The rising singer songwriter, who has just released his debut album, won three CMC Awards, including CMC Oz Artist Of The Year, CMC Australian Video Of The Year, and CMC Male Oz Artist Of The Year.
CMC Female Oz Artist Of The Year was awarded to Jasmine Rae off the back of her album If I Want To, while the CMC New Oz Artist Of The Year was awarded to Tasmanian country rockers The Wolfe Brothers. The international portions of the awards were taken out by Taylor Swift for International Artist Of The Year and Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift and Keith Urban for International Video Of The Year for their clip 'Highway Don't Care.' This year's CMC Awards were held at the CMC Rocks The Hunter Camper's Bar at the Hope Estate in the Hunter Valley and hosted by The McClymonts.

CANADIAN NEWS
2013 Saskatchewan Country Music Award (SCMA) Female Vocalist of the Year Jess Moskaluke (MDM Recordings Inc./Universal Music Canada) will release her new single "Cheap Wine and Cigarettes" available on US iTunes,  March 18, 2014. Produced by Corey Crowder (Jamie Lynne Spears) and mixed by Scott Cooke (Dallas Smith, Florida Georgia Line), the track is the second single to be released off her forthcoming album Light Up The Night, which will be available at Canadian retail and online on April 15, 2014.

Canadian singer Suzie McNeil took the wraps off her latest musical project Friday — a band called Loving Mary. “But then one day we thought, ‘The world needs a Fleetwood Mac again,’ so let’s do a band — two guys, two girls.”. The 32-year-old Ontario native has teamed up with Grammy-winning country artist Rebecca Lynn Howard and hit songwriters Marti Frederiksen and Elisha Hoffman. The band describes the sound as “from Americana to Country with a spin of Rock ’n’ Roll.” Based in Nashville, Loving Mary already has an album’s worth of songs written and an EP recorded. No release date yet announced.

NEWS
Snatshot Country Aircheck's Insider Artist News - March 21, 2014 - March 25, 2014  

The hype continues: The CMA announced the line-up for its June CMA Fest nightly concerts at LP Field in downtown Nashville >> YouTube

The CMA has announced it plans to rebrand and expand the annual Global Artist Party during CMA Music Festival in June.
CMA CEO Sarah Trahern made the announcement during the Second Annual International Marketing Summit at The O2 in London. “The Summit was the perfect platform and this was the ideal audience to announce the strategic growth of the international showcase from a club gathering to a main-stage event,” Trahern said.
The brand will now be known as CMA World and the Global Artist Party will now be called the CMA World GlobaLive concert.
The event will be held on Monday, June 2 on a free, outdoor stage on Broadway in downtown Nashville. The concert features performances by country music artists from countries including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, and the U.K and has been running since 2004.
Trahern says the new format and branding is designed to create greater recognition for the event and the artists involved.
Moving this incredibly popular event from a club setting to a large stage with international food and beverage vendors will enhance the experience for our visiting artists, and create a bigger platform to reach an even broader audience of fans and press from around the world,” Trahern said.

Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks: We're Moving to Nashville and leaving BFFL in Oklahoma.

Sarah Darling has launched the Sweet Darling Patisserie. ...I fell in love with Paris long before I ever went there. When I was a young girl, I would dream about walking these beautiful streets. Who wouldn't love a city of love, art, fashion and patisseries. I've always had a passion for French baking. Growing up, I always found so much joy cooking...This is where the dream of "Sweet Darling" was born. In our dreams we are based in a little cobbled corner of Montmartre in Paris but during waking hours we are based in Nashville, Tennessee. Even so we like to think that every bite of our delicious treats is like a little taste of Paris -sweetdarlingpatisserie.com

Nashville duo Striking Matches (Sarah Zimmermann and Justin Davis) the C2C2014 Pop Up Stage buzz favourites has joined the Capitol Records family by inking a deal with I.R.S. Nashville, helmed by music executive John Grady. Striking Matches are perhaps best-known for penning “The Right One Comes Along” with Georgia Middleman, which was recorded by Clare Bowen and Sam Palladio for an episode of the television series Nashville.

NY Times: Indie Label Big Machine to Start Dot Records….But with the success of acts like Miss Taylor Swift, the Band Perry and Florida Georgia Line, Big Machine has already started two affiliated labels, Valory and Republic Nashville, and this week it will open its third, Dot Records. Dot, to be run by Chris Stacey, a former promotion executive at Warner Music Nashville, revives the name of a celebrated independent label that was active from 1950 until the late 1970s, with a diverse roster that started with gospel and R&B and moved into pop, rock and country. Dot will be a joint venture between Big Machine, in Nashville, and Republic Records in New York, a division of the Universal Music Group.

35.4 million YouTube hits can't be wrong: Swedish DJ Avicii made his introduction to Billboard's Country Airplay chart, as >> "Hey Brother" bowed at No.59 last week. Avicii … country? Certain country programmers say that despite Avicii's status as one of EDM's cornerstones, the bluegrass-tinged "Hey Brother" is hardly a stretch for their format. With its club-ready beats, the song crowned the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart (dated March 22). Its vocal from Union Station's Dan Tyminski, however, has helped spur its country inroads, most notably at Clear Channel-owned stations after the chain commissioned a new remix of it. "Brother" landed on Country Airplay with 97 plays (translating to an audience of 607,000), according to Nielsen BDS. The company's WSIX Nashville led with 21 plays for the song last week (March 10-16). This week it leaves Country Airplay chart, Dang!  US digital sales for “Hey Brother” have now topped the 1-million mark. It's his 3rd million-seller (Wake Me Up! 4,060,000 & Levels 1,660,000). On the Billboard Hot 100 it sits at #19 (+3) reaching a new 16 week peak!

TOURS
The original Urban Cowboy, Mickey Gilley, is hitting the road and will return to touring after recovering from 2009 tragic accident that left him paralyzed.

AWARDS
Workin' Man News:  Merle Haggard will be honored with the Crystal Milestone Award at the 49th Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas April 6 on CBS-TV, joining past recipients Jason Aldean, Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, Jennifer Nettles, Gayle Holcomb and Taylor Swift. The appearance follows the April 1 release of Broken Bow's Working Man's Poet: A Tribute To Merle Haggard.

The Academy of Country Music also announced on March 21st that Toby Keith, Ronnie Milsap, Carrie Underwood, Kris Kristofferson, Rascal Flatts, the late Jack Clement, producer Dann Huff and songwriter Shane McAnally are among those receiving off-camera honors as part of this year’s ACM Awards:
Carrie will receive the Gene Weed Special Achievement Award for her “unprecedented, unique and outstanding individual achievement in country music.” 
Keith and Milsap are receiving the Career Achievement Awards.
The Jim Reeves International Award is shared by Opry Entertainment Group president Steve Buchanan and country trio Rascal Flatts. Read all the ACM winners off-camera awarad winners listing at musicrow.com

TV
The airdate for acclaimed singer/songwriter Brandy Clark’s debut performance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” changed. The nationally syndicated television show, featuring Clark performing the song “Stripes” from her album 12 Stories, is to now air on Monday, Mar. 24. “It was incredible that my song was used in the Beats Music commercial starring Ellen earlier this year, and now I am going to perform ‘Stripes’ on her show,” said Clark. “I am so excited, and I look forward to meeting her.”  Clark is currently touring the country opening for Jennifer Nettles.

Dierks Bentley's CMT Crossroads concert with OneRepublic premieres Friday night, but fans won't be hearing their planned cover of the Avicii pop hit, "Hey Brother," on the show. During rehearsals, OneRepublic front man Ryan Tedder kept singing different lyrics to the song to crack Dierks up. For example, Ryan replaced, "Hey brother, do you still believe in one another?" with "Hey brother, did you know your sister is your mother?" Dierks told ABC News Radio, "I was like, 'You're ruining [it]. We're never gonna be able to sing the song now 'cause we're gonna be cracking up the entire time.'"
Dierks has since added "Hey Brother" to his concert set list, but fans can expect to hear him and OneRepublic swapping vocals on each other's hits, including "I Hold On" and "Counting Stars." The show also includes a cover of the U2 hit, "Pride (in the Name of Love)."

BABY NEWS

Missouri singer/songwriter Chris Janson is a dad again. The “Better I Don’t” singer, writer of Tim McGraw's “Truck Yeah” and one of country’s most magnetic young live performers, and his lovely wife, Kelly Lynn (Inside Music Row TV presenter), welcomed son Jesse Bo Janson on Wednesday, March 19. Weighing 6 pounds, 9 ounces and measuring 18 inches, the little guy arrived two weeks early, but he and his mother are both doing fine. Jesse Bo joins 2-year-old big sister Georgia, Chris and Kelly’s other child, and two older step-siblings, son Graham and daughter Chel, whom Chris likes to refer to as his “bonus kids.” The Missouri singer/songwriter, who penned the hit “Truck Yeah” for Tim McGraw.

Vince Gill’s daughter Jenny Gill and her husband, Josh Van Valkenburg announced that the couple is expecting their first baby, a boy, in August. That means Vince will soon be a grandfather.

Indiana Boon - Rory Feeks explains the naming of Joey+Rory's little girl in his latest blog

MUSIC NEWS

Sam Bailey the 2013 X Factor winner looks set to follow her Official Christmas Number 1 single with a chart-topping album, appropriately released just in time for Mother’s Day. According to Monday's Official Charts Company sales data, 2013 X Factor winner Sam Bailey could follow up her Christmas #1 single with a #1 album this weekend. Sam (who recently revealed that she and husband Craig are expecting their third child, following a New Year quickie) with her debut set THE POWER OF LOVE, has gone in at No1 on March 24th early Official Charts sales flash. Sam who received over 1-million votes in the X Factor final drew  53.4% of the 3-way contestant vote and overcame 17-year-old Nicholas McDonald in a final were 11 million people tuned in.
The Power Of Love could well be the highest charting X Factor winners’ album since Alexandra Burke’s “Overcome” debuted at Number 1 in October, 2009. Sam’s 11-track effort features covers of Shania Twain’s From This Moment On, Faith Hill’s There You'll Be, the duet performed with judge Nicole Scherzinger at the live X Factor final.
>> Listen to a 10 min Album sampler BUY:


Idina Menzel's Fairy Tale Journey: From Broadway to 'Frozen' and a 'Gorgeous' Note From John Travolta (Cover Story)
A 42-year old Broadway actress whose new show has a song called "What the Fu--" breaks out as a pop sensation from a Disney kids movie? Suddenly, the songbird dropped from earlier labels has a top 10 hit, obsessed "Fanzels" and a name that has gone viral...Read Story  >> Watch the Video

Related article: Idina Menzel: A snow queen to melt our hearts - Read more: Daily Mail

NY Times: Pandora Wins a Battle, but the War Over Royalties Continues
Pandora, the leading Internet radio service, and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, the 100-year-old music licensing group better known as ASCAP. The ruling was sealed, but on Friday Ascap revealed that the judge had left unchanged the royalty rate that Pandora must pay Ascap to use its music, at 1.85 percent of Pandora’s revenue....The music industry has become increasingly frustrated about the rates from streaming music, which have begun to amount to significant revenue yet can still be very low when they filter down to individual artists, particularly when it comes to songwriting royalties

SINGLE / ALBUM NEWS
Produced by Grammy award winning hit maker and friend Fred Foster, Ray Price’s final sessions, Beauty Is…, will hit shelves on April 15th via AmeriMonte Records. Available at Wal-Mart, Cracker Barrel and online retailers, the album highlights the timeless, signature string and shuffle sound of Ray Price featuring duets with Vince Gill and Martina McBride.

Merle Haggard the Country Music Hall of Famer will be the focus of two tributes next month — one an album of the singer's hits recorded by current country stars, the other from the Academy of Country Music. Luke Bryan, Garth Brooks, Jason Aldean and Toby Keith are among the artists lending their voices to Working Man's Poet: A Tribute to Merle Haggard, out April 1 on Broken Bow Records. Read more Tracklisting

PRESS RELEASES

  • Michelle Wright's 2014 CMA Music Festival Party! -
  • Erica Lane the Nashville-based recording artist will release her new EP, "Take Your Burden Down," on April 1st via Saylors Brothers Entertainment. A former Miss Houston and Top 10 US Miss World, Lane is a prolific vocalist and songwriter, captivating audiences around the world with her blend of inspirational lyrics and sweeping ballads, energetic performances, and a touch of elegance. Lane has toured the United States and abroad and has performed at events with notables such as Jon Voight, George Lopez and Chonda Pierce.
  • Chris Young’s Annual Fan Club Party has been set for Thursday, June 5th in Nashville.
  • Charlie Daniels Band kick off  their "Off the Grid Tour" in March in support of their first new studio album since 2007,  Off the Grid - Doin' It Dylan. 
  • Members of the Americana Music Association may now submit their nominations for the best album, song, artist, emerging artist, instrumentalist and duo/group of the year for consideration of awards at the 2014 Americana Honors & Awards, slated to take place during our annual fundraising Americana Music Festival & Conference, September 17-21, 2014 in Nashville, TN.
  • Dolly Parton has announced her performance as part of the Today Show Outdoor Concert Series, the very same day her album hits stores May 13th.
  • John Cowan signs Compass Records with a new album scheduled for Summer 2014 release. Cowan, known by many as The Voice of Newgrass, has been singing his heart out for the past 35 years. As a member of New Grass Revival, he helped create a sound which brought a new audience to the bluegrass music.
  • Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison declare 2014 'Our Year' with new album out 5/27. The follow-up to Cheaters Game mixes harmony and groove. The two already reign as one of Americana music’s coolest couples, and their latest release, Our Year, out May 27, 2014 on Premium/Thirty Tigers Records, elevates them closer to the lofty territory once occupied by beloved royals Johnny ’n’ June and George ’n’ Tammy....Maybe they’ll play Buckingham Palace one day, though night clubs and dance halls are more their style. But wherever Our Year takes them doesn’t really matter, Robison says, because they’re having the time of their lives.
ARTICLES
Billboard 615: Charlie Daniels Does Dylan on New Album: 'He Doesn't Have Boundaries'...The country rock veteran played on three Dylan albums -- now, he's paying tribute with "Off The Grid: Doin' It Dylan'...The names Bob Dylan and Charlie Daniels might not necessarily go together, but the southern rock giant says there is a definite tie between them. "Back in 1969, he came to town and recorded Nashville Skyline, and I worked as a studio musician playing guitar on that album," Daniels told Billboard. "I later went on to record two other albums of his – 'Self Portrait' and 'New Morning.'" The music of Bob Dylan had always had a hold on Daniels, who pays tribute to the singer-songwriter on his new album "Off The Grid: Doin' It Dylan'" (due April 1)......

Billboard 615: Jerrod Niemann Talks New Album, Lee Brice: 'He's Saved My Neck More Than I Realize'....Spend any amount of time with Jerrod Niemann and you will find a performer who can quote country lyrics from album cuts from the 1970s or 1980s. But, just because he cherishes the history of the format doesn't mean that he feels compelled to be a clone of the artists he grew up admiring.....Niemann's third Sea Gayle/Arista Nashville release, "High Noon," hits stores on Tuesday, and one listen to the album reveals arrangements as hip and as cutting edge as anything else on country radio these days.

INTERVIEWS
Celtic Radio Gets Lucky with Suzy Bogguss – Ahead of her appearance at The Northern Nashville Caithness Country Music Festival (NNCCMF), over the weekend 18th to 20th April 2014. Headliner Suzy Bogguss chats with Stewart Fenwick about her new album and music. Listen below:


MAGAZINES
Lydia Loveless featured in Direct Buzz January 2014 issue.

LISTEN

  • American Songwriter.com Song Premiere: BettySoo, “Listen”: The Austin, Texas singer-songwriter song is from When We’re Gone, an album that tackles heavy subjects like depression, divorce, and rehab.
  • Johnny Cash – Out Among the Stars: exclusive album stream. You can listen to it at The Guardian.com and read a track-by-track preview from Cash’s son, John Carter Cash.
  • NPR First Listen: Nickel Creek, 'A Dotted Line' stream the new album
SPOTIFY COUNTRY

Ronnie Milsap – Summer Number Seventeen - 12 tracks released out March 17, 2014
Cowboy Troy – King of Clubs - Country/Rap/Autotune for mother truckers, 8 tracks released March 11, 2014 
Katie Nicholas – Liverpool singer-songwriter, single “Chemistry” Hotdisc #1 March 23, 2014
Eliza Gilkyson – The Nocturne Diaries - 12 tracks released out March 17, 2014
Samantha Landrum – Hometown - 12 tracks released out March 18, 2014

FREE DOWNLOADS

  • Toronto-based Folk/ Alt/ Canadiana/ Country Rock outfit New Country Rehab have 3 FREE tracks (262kbps MP3 for an email share). The "Lost Highway" EP features the song "Lost Highway" from the album "Ghost of Your Charms" and two other cover songs.
  • I'm Movin' On” - Johnny Cash with Waylon Jennings (260kbps MP3) taken from the album Out Among The Stars (released March 31st - Amazon UK)
WATCH

Erin
  • Miranda Lambert performed her brand-new single "Automatic" live at the Grand Ole Opry with Gwen Sebastian on backing vox.
  • Maggie Rose "Looking Back Now" from debut album, CUT TO IMPRESS.
  • Erin Enderlin "I Let Her Talk" (Kickstarter Funded Video) the title cut lead single from her latest album available on Amazon.UK - UK iTunes - Amazon.com  Read article A New York Minute with Erin Enderlin at New York Minute Mag.com
  • "My fans are going to love this music, because it's still me singing the songs, hopefully it feels really authentic and I hope they like it" - Martina McBride the four-time CMA female vocalist of the year appeared on PBS-TV's Tavis Smiley to explain why she's charting new territory with forthcoming album non country classic soul and R&B set titled Everlasting. "I'm excited about this tour cos I'm going to do a whole tour around this album bringing out a horn secton, backing vocals and maybe do some moves!" she shared. >> Watch at pbs.org 
  • Amber Hayes has released an >> exclusive video in advance of the upcoming film,
    ‘Cowgirls ‘N Angels 2: Dakota’s Summer,’ in which she appears, singing a country classic. “I am so honored to have been asked to record one of country music’s most recognized dance songs, ‘Cotton Eyed Joe,’ for ‘Dakota’s Summer,’” she says. Read More at The Boot.com Cowgirls ’N Angels Dakota’s Summer is a multilayered family film with dazzling horse riding and a great message for all ages. Read the Film credits
  • Jasmine Rae inside the Album "If I Want To"
  • ICYMI - Joey and Rory Feek unveiled a video / Blog called “The Birth of Indiana” that celebrates the recent birth of their daughter which will chronicle the couple’s life raising their beautiful baby, who has Down Syndrome.
  • Yorkshire's very own The Haley Sisters sing a cover of "Hello Stranger" live at Ramsbottom, Civic Hall.
  • Victoria Celestine "In The World" (Americana/ AAA/ Romantic Pop), at age 16, Victoria completed a 12 track new full length album "Back home in San Antone" which was self released on March 18, 2014 Amazon UK - UK iTunes ; besides performing regularly at local venues, and finishing up high school, she has been involved in several projects as a studio vocalist and has begun her own recording and engineering.
  • Ashton Lane perform a bespoke song “Seventeen” in their Kitchen Session
  • Kevin ChaseWhole Lotta Honey” (Official Music Video) more Bro-country rock influenced cliched material
  • SHELWhen The Sky Fell
COUNTRY FASHION

Taylor Swift Indo tweeted @TSwift_ID  Mar 21 Taylor, Scott Borchetta and friends at the City of Hope event in NY
Taylor Swift attended the City of Hope Dinner in New York wearing a French Connection Vienna Lace Jersey Dress ($79.99) -
usa.frenchconnection.com The dinner was to celebrate the charity City of Hope and its funding towards research and treatment of cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening illnesses.
Taylor was spotted Out and about in New York City on March 22, 2014 wearing a Dolce Vita coat, Rag & Bone booties (Image) and carried a Dolce & Gabbana bag - Fashion Image

COUNTRY GOSSIP

  • The victim found murdered in an incident in Tennessee’s Putnam County has been identified as Courtney Cash, the great-niece of country legend Johnny Cash. She was found stabbed to death on Wednesday morning, March 19. The man who lived with her, whose name has not been released, was injured in the incident and taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. Tommy Cash, the brother of Johnny Cash and the grandfather of Courtney, issued a statement. The Daily Mail reports Courtney body was found crammed into a container in her Tennessee home after a fight with a family friend. Putnam County Sheriff David Andrews said 23-year-old Courtney Cash's body was discovered Wednesday morning in a home near Cookeville, about 70 miles east of Nashville. Cash's body was found in a chest just inside the front door, Andrews said. A man identified as William Austin Johnson, Cash's boyfriend, was being treated for stab wounds at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. Wayne Masciarella, 26, a friend with a lengthy criminal record, was charged with first-degree murder. Wayne Masciarella, 26, a friend with a lengthy criminal record, was charged with first-degree murder. Investigators believe the couple were hanging out with Masciarella when the three of them had a falling out possibly related to drugs. See video and Photos.
  • Trailer Swift - The first trailer for the upcoming film version of Lois Lowry's "The Giver" is out, and if you squint real hard fans get a glimpse of pop-country superstar Taylor Swift in her latest foray into acting. In the film, a brunette Tay portrays Rosemary, The Giver's daughter. Swift's other acting credits include Garry Marshall's "Valentine's Day," voice work on "The Lorax," and guest spots on "New Girl" and "CSI." "The Giver" hits US theaters Aug. 15.  
  • Jason Aldean and former American Idol contestant Brittany Kerr are an item as his rep confirmed they’ve been dating since he filed for divorce from his wife last May.
  • Brad Paisley’s dad Doug spilled Brad’s putting the finishing touches on a studio he’s made in a log cabin on his property. Apparently Hip Hop / R&B rapper Pharrell Williams wants to come there and write with Brad so do other big name stars in other genres.
  • Cole Swindell says when he meets the right girl, she has to understand what he does for a living and that he’s been single a long time, so he’ll have to learn to consider someone else’s decisions. Right now he’s so focused on his career; Cole doesn’t have time for a serious relationship.
TWEETS

Nashville TV drama actress chaley (chay-lee) tweeted @ChaleyRose Backstage at @opry with @theshiresuk!
The Shires @theshiresuk tweeted @SamPalladio and a happy Crissie as she can finally eat something that isn't fried!

BIRTHDAYS
March 25: Hoyt Axton (1938 – Died October 26, 1999 (aged 61)), Robbie Fulks (1963)
March 26: Michael Bonagura (Baillie & The Boys) (1953), Kenny Chesney (1968), Dean Dillon (1955), Charly McClain (1956), Ronnie McDowell (1950)
March 28: Gerry House (1948), Reba McEntire (1955), Rodney Atkins (1969)
March 29: Regina Leigh (Regina Regina) Brady Seals (1969)
March 31: Anita Carter (1934), The late Lefty Frizzell (1928 - July 19, 1975 (aged 47))

R.I.P
Bobbe Seymour, a longtime steel guitar passed away last week (March 20th). Seymour played with the likes of Ferlin Husky, Jean Shepard, Stonewall Jackson and Billy Walker. At the beginning of 2012 he developed Spinal Stenosis which took away his ability to walk and play steel guitar. But he still instructed people on how to play..he never lost his style.
Listen to sound clips

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