Sunday 31 August 2014

Country Bites News snippets August 18 – August 24, 2014

Country Bites News snippets August 18 – August 24, 2014



Allan Watkiss and his country radio programme “Your Country” returned to BBC Radio Sheffield for a summer country music special show on a rainy August Bank Holiday Monday! His live guests included duo My Darling Clementine who performed a few songs and tried to define what Americana is, recently married Yorkshire country duo Jonny Williams and Lynette Marie came in for a chat and a sing and current BCMAward winning Irish singer-songwriter Gary Quinn discussed the current UK country music scene, how he might progress to the next level and played live. First broadcast on August 25th (BBC Page) the Spirit Of Smokie band also appeared. >> Listen to the edited highlights:

The Radio 2 playlisted country duo The Shires joined presenter, host and country artist Steve Cherelle on BBC Radio Essex on Sunday August 24th. They performed a couple of songs from their forthcoming album and spoke about how they formed, their influences and their current success after signing to a major label. >> Listen to highlights

After completing the current leg of their UK tour Ward Thomas returned to Petersfield in Hampshire for a welcome home gig. Lee Williams from CMR Nashville ("Europe's #1 Country Music Radio Station") finally caught up with them to speak about their success on the Official UK music charts and how they burst onto the UK scene. Listen here:

Line Dance to Ward Thomas!: Choreographed by: Caroline Cooper (UK) July 2014 48 count - 2 Wall - Improver level line dance Music: >> "Push For The Stride" from the Radio 2 country duo Ward Thomas.

Mike Ward, who made it to the final of the hit BBC1 show last year, is releasing an EP of six songs in September. The talented 23-year-old from Higher Broughton recorded five self-penned country songs at Liverpool’s Parr Street Studios, where Chris Martin wrote some of Coldplay’s biggest hits and has also been used by the Spice Girls, Take That, Echo and the Bunnymen, Oasis and former owner Phil Collins.
He has also recorded a cover of his audition song for The Voice “Don’t Close Your Eyes” by American country music singer Keith Whitley, which has been viewed more than 2.5 million times on  You Tube. He told the Salford Advertiser: “People all the over the world have seen my audition. “Another song on the EP is a song I wrote on the train coming home after The Voice, called “Welcome Home” [promoted on the August Hotdisc] which is the first single off the EP.
“I also revisited a country song I was writing before The Voice called ‘Waiting For You To Come Home’.”
Mike, a former pupil at Albion Academy, was entered into The Voice by his proud mum Julie and his performances were credited for introducing country music to a new audience. Mike is now planning to follow the EP release with an album. His ultimate dream would be to record in Nashville, the home of country music, and to make it big in America.
He added: “Before The Voice I had only ever performed on karaoke once or twice.  “My love of country music started when I was looking online and I stumbled across a singer called Randy Travis.

Another former Voice contestant Sam Hollyman, who also recorded his album at Parr Street shared on Facebook: “Wow, I made the front and second page of the Staffordshire Newsletter, Stafford, UK today. Interview was before my Single 'Feeling Good' was released

Aleyce Simmonds the 27-year old Port Macquarie, New South Wales Aussie native and singer-songwriter & London based country/pop artist Jeannine Barry will play at Culpepper Club ("The Best Honky Tonk In Town"; Gardiners Lane South, Basildon, Essex SS14 3AP Tickets) on 13th Sept.
Simmonds is no stranger to country music audiences down under. A 3 times Golden Guitar nominee, she rose to prominence in 2005 after winning the Telstra Road to Tamworth competition. Since then she has delivered No.1 singles, hit videos and toured extensively with artists from all ends of the country music spectrum. Hers has been an old-school country music journey – complete with successes and failures, broken hearts and even physical adversity. In July she released "My Life Drives Me To Drink" as the 3rd single to be lifted from Aleyce's Golden Guitar nominated album, BELIEVE (released Sept 13, 2014 – UK iTunes).
Featuring Lachlan Bryan on backing vocals, My Life Drives Me To Drink is an honest, relatable, old-school country song.
Her single "Stronger" from the BELIEVE album has reached a peak of #28 (currently #40) on the Austialian Country Tracks Top 40.
Believe, her 2nd studio album debuted at #4 on the ARIA, All Genres Hit seekers chart and #7 on the Australian Country Albums Chart.  “I’m extremely proud of this record” said Simmonds, “the songs are very personal to me. They come at the conclusion of a turbulent six year period, and represent a significant growth in my understanding of the craft of songwriting”.
Additionally Aleyce also is slated to appear at the YeeHaw UK Country Music Festival (Sept 6th), Rockingham Castle, Rockingham, Market Harborough, Leicestershire, LE16 (Sept 8th), The Troubadour,  265 Old Brompton Rd, London SW5 9JA (Sept 9th) , The Workshop ( 243 Old Street, London EC1V 9EY (Sept 10th), The Garage (20-22 Highbury Crescent London N5 1RD) on Sept 12th and The Bedford Live in London  (Sept 15th).

Emma Jade, the contestant on The Voice UK Season 2, is hoping to record her debut EP. The 20 year old country music artist who appeared at the 2014 C2C Festival pop up stages hails from South Yorkshire.
Emma was a contestant on TeamTom after Sir Tom Jones chose me to join his team. She is in need of your support and has set up a Kickstater Campaign (Funding period Aug 15 2014 - Sep 4 2014 (20 days). Updated Sun 31 Aug: So far 11 backers have  pledged £325 of a £5,000 goal with just 3 days to go
Can't wait to write with Justin Johnson [Producer from Parr Street Studios] next week!!! she shared on Twitter.

The Shires have played with Jools Holland and his band for his BBC Radio2 show. They also got to chat about a few of their favourite songs too! It will be broadcast on September 15th. - Facebook Image

After four years of success in the USA singer-songwriter Callaghan returns to the UK! Originally from Lincolnshire, Georgina [Callaghan] moved to America in summer 2010 to record her debut album with Shawn Mullins. “I’m excited to be coming home to do shows for the first time since coming to USA to record and tour in 2010. It’s a very mini tour, but I hope it will be the start of many more frequent trips home.   With the new album coming out and an appearance in the upcoming BBC documentary ‘Bob Harris’s Nashville’, it feels like a great time to be playing in the UK again! she shared
So far there are dates on Monday October 13 (Stafford, Gatehouse Theatre – Tickets) and Tuesday October 14 (Milton Keynes - The Stables – Tickets)
Her good friend and musician Adam Wakeman (who is in between Ozzy Osbourne tours) will be joining her to play keyboards at shows and you’ll hear songs from Life in Full Colour, Live in America and her new record.
Recently Callaghan was back in the studio recording her new record. This was only possible thanks to those who have supported her Pledge Music campaign. All Pledgers have now received 4 new songs and the record is on schedule to be finished by Christmas.

Dexeter are getting ready to record and release their second album and have returned to Pledge Music for fan support after the success of their set Brighter Skies. The album will be called SOMEWHERE TO RUN it will have 10 new songs with a planned 2nd March 2015 bust out release date. Essentially fans pre-order (pledge) and then the CD is sent out to them when it is completed.

The lead single is >> "Slow It Down" and >> "Wouldn't Change a Thing" are to be included on it. 
Their whole album production and mastering target is at a budget price of less than $1800!

Describing themselves as a "Motley Crew" the 6-piece contemporary country  band (with a rock and roll twist) played the C2C2014 pop up stages in March and hail from the folds of Leicestershire. They have guitarist and songwriter Gareth Thomas and talented vocalist Deeanne McGee Dexeter as its core with Paul (double bass), Jim (drums), Rachel (vocals) and Pete (accordion). Find them on Facebook

BBC Radio 2 presenter Bob Harris (OBE) is planning a Old Grey Whistle Test limited edition Photo Album via a crowd funded Pledge Music project: - “From 1972 to 1977 photographer Alan Messer had exclusive access to the Old Grey Whistle Test studio. During that period some of the most important artists in musical history appeared on the show. To celebrate this pivotal period in musical history we are creating a very special photo book, entitled “INPUT”. This book will include largely unseen photo’s of such icons of popular music as Bob Marley & The Wailers, David Bowie, Elton John, The Who ….. in fact the list is still growing”


Official UK Top 100 Singles Chart (Week Ending August 30, 2014)
Taylor Swift debuts at Number 4 selling 37,595 copies with her Pop single “Shake It Off” following its surprise release on Monday (August 18). “Shake”, incidentally, is Tay’s 19th hit, the sixth to make the Top 10 and the first single from her upcoming fifth album, 1989.

Official UK Top 100 Album Chart (Week Ending August 30, 2014)

Dolly Parton with BLUE SMOKE/THE BEST OF (Masterworks) fell 3-7 (8,940 sales; down 18% on previous week 10,905; 11-week total 176,161). Parton's pair has been in the Top 7 throughout its 11 week chart frame!

After two uncharted albums, Southern rock band Blackberry Smoke from Atlanta made their UK breakthrough in February, when their third album, Whippoorwill No.40 in America in 2012 – was belatedly released here, debuting and peaking at No.30 (2,973 sales; chart week March 1, 2014). Their new double concert set LEAVE A SCAR: LIVE NORTH CAROLINA (tagged as “rock” ) made a debut at No.35 (2,181 sales).

UK duo Ward Thomas in their 5th week on the chart with their full length debut album, FROM WHERE WE STAND (WTW MUSIC) moved up place 95-94 selling probably around 980 copies (based on #93 Kate Bush selling 986 copies) to add to their debut sales week of 2,473 with an estimated 5-week haul of 6,280 copies.

On The Independent Albums chart FROM WHERE WE STAND fell 4 places 14-18
Their official video >> “Push For The Stride” published on July 9, 2014 has to date received 45,679 views.

Official UK Country Album Chart (Week Ending August 23, 2014)
The UK’s Ward Thomas with FROM WHERE WE STAND (WTW Music) stays at No.1 for a fifth straight week
Johnny Cash with OUT AMONG THE STARS (Columbia) held at No.2 in its 21st chart frame.
Lady Antebellum with NEED YOU NOW held at No.3   in their 143rd week.
Kacey Musgraves with SAME TRAILER DIFFERENT PARK (Decca) was a non-mover at No.4 in her 71st chart frame.
Billed as the world's first country vocal band Home Free with CRAZY LIFE debut at No.10. In America for the chart week Feb 1, 2014 it sold 6,000 copies to debut at #40 on the Billboard 200 and #8 on Billboard Country Albums.

UK iTunes Top 1500 Country Albums  (Last updated August 26, 2014)
Brad Paisley’s new album MOONSHINE IN THE TRUNK officially released on Aug 25th and lifted 11-1 to head the summit. There is every chance that the popular C2C Country To Country 2014 headliner will make he Official UK Top 100 Albums as it is currently No.38 across the iTunes genres. His last album WHEELHOUSE made a debut at No.69 (1,582 sales; chart week April 20, 2013) before rapidly exiting the chart.  
Dolly Parton’s album BLUE SMOKE/ THE BEST OF slipped 2-1. As the buzz grew regarding Taylor Swift’s new POP “Shake It Off” single her previous sets RED and SPEAK NOW sprinkle the Top 10.
Ward Thomas with their 5 week old debut album FROM WHERE WE STAND slipped 3-6.
At No.11 saw Millers Daughter made an arrival with their debut album titled SO HOLLYWOOD. They are a Country/Pop/Rock duo comprising identical mirror twin sisters Louise and Christie Miller who hail from Amesbury, Wiltshire UK (“from the magical location of Stonehenge”).
They cite Dolly Parton, Shania Twain, Blondie, The Cardigans and others as influences with great hooks and melodies.
Their website states: “Millers Daughter sing the sort of big, bright and breezy, country-tinged pop songs with crystalline melodies, mountain-air pure harmonies and solid gold choruses that you thought they didn't make anymore”.
Their single “Undeniable” (Currently #115 iTunes Country Chart) is already B-Listed by BBC Radio 2 from the week commencing 2nd August 2014. Find out more from their website and Facebook Page

1 Brad Paisley - Moonshine in the Trunk (#38 Overall UK Albums Chart)
2 Dolly Parton - Blue Smoke/ The Best Of (#77 Overall UK Albums Chart)
3 Taylor Swift - Red
4 Dolly Parton - The Very Best of Dolly Parton
5 Johnny Cash - The Man Comes Around
6 Ward Thomas - From Where We Stand (#317 Overall UK Albums Chart)
7 Various Artists - American Heartland: Legends of Country
8 Taylor Swift - Red (Deluxe Version)
9 Taylor Swift - Speak Now (Bonus Track Version)
10 John Denver - The Ultimate Collection
11 Millers Daughter - So Hollywood (#503 Overall UK Albums Chart)
12 Lady Antebellum - Need You Now

UK iTunes Top 1500 Country Singles  (Last updated August 26, 2014)

It’s rather ironic that Taylor Swift now an official POP artist continues to dominate the top 20 songs. Her 1 week old “Shake It Off” stays at Nos 1 & 2 with purchased from both the forthcoming standard and Deluxe copy of “1989”
Dolly Parton continues to post 3 songs in the Top 10 as the “Glastoburr” buzz runs on and on headed by her signature tune “Jolene” which moved 4-5
Ward Thomas who their former BBC Radio 2  “A” playlist with “Push For the Stride” climbed 15-10 as fellow English duo The Shires with their Radio 2 playlisted single “Tonight” (Decca UK iTunes.) fell back 10-13.  

1  Taylor Swift  - Shake It Off (#3 Overall UK Singles Chart) 
2  Taylor Swift  - Shake It Off 
3  Taylor Swift - I Knew You Were Trouble. (#369 Overall UK Singles Chart)
4  Lady Antebellum - Need You Now 
5  Dolly Parton - Jolene  (#416 Overall UK Singles   Chart)
6  Taylor Swift - Love Story 
7  Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers - Islands In the Stream 
8  Dolly Parton -  9 To 5 
9  Taylor Swift - 22 
10  Ward Thomas - Push For the Stride (#681 Overall UK Singles Chart) 
11  Taylor Swift - Everything Has Changed (feat. Ed Sheeran) 
12  Taylor Swift - You Belong With Me 
13  The Shires - Tonight  (#953 Overall UK Singles Chart)

On the Hotdisc Chart (August 24, 2014 Chart) 

Jim Reeves’ duet with Barbi Franklin re-make of "How's The World Treating You" bagged a third successive week atop the Hotdisc Top 40 chart.
David Frizzell with "Maybe There's Love After You After All" held at No.2.
Joe Stampley's son Tony Stampley with "It Ain't All Good But It Ain't Half Bad" stayed at No.3.
David Wood with Who Left The Door To Heaven Open” lifted 5-4.
Bertie Higgins’Cowboys Of The Caribbean” fell 4-5.

On their 7th week on the charts US acts Brian Collins’ Never Really Left” held at #7 and Owen Howell with "Let's Start A Party" stayed at No.8 with Texas native SaraBeth’s "That's The Sound" improved 11-10.

Outside the Top 10:
Sonia Leigh with “Put It In Your Pocket” and David Shelby with “Southern Drawl” reached new highest ranks at No.’s 17 & 16 as another US act M Callaghan made a 24-20 stride.

Charlie Boston made a 14-12 hop with “How I Only Wish I Could Fly” to snag the No.1 on the British & Irish Hotdisc chart for a third week once again holding off the challenge from former The Voice UK finalist  Mike Ward with "Welcome Home" which advanced 15-13 on the Top 40 remaining in the runner up British slot.   
Scotland’s Janey Kirk landed the No.3 British place moving 33-29 on the main chart with her title track “Streets of Loneliness
As former British No1 “Put That Country Song On” retreated 30-35.


(11 June 2014) Joanna Mosca - Have a Little Mercy - EP
5 Tracks/ Time: 16:50 MP3 - UK iTunes - 

(31 July 2014) Kenny Butterill - Troubadour Tales (No Bull Songs)
13 Tracks/ Time: 48:53 MP3 - UK iTunes -

(17 Aug 2014) Donna Hughes - From the Heart (Running Dog Records)
21 Tracks/ Time: 1:15:28  Bluegrass album MP3 UK iTunes - CD Baby

(17 Aug 2014) Donna Hughes - Fly (Tunning Dog Records)
Folk/ Piano Album 12 Tracks/ Time: 42:52 MP3 - UK iTunes

(19 Aug 2014) Chase Rice - Ignite the Night (Dack Janiels Records)

(19 Aug 2014) Sarah Dunn Band - You or the Whiskey (Audacity Records)
10 Tracks/ Time: 36:02 MP3 - UK iTunes -

(22 August 2014) Shovels & Rope -  Swimmin' Time (Deluxe Edition)(Dualtone Music)
15 Tracks/ Time: 1:05:15  Indie Rock, Alt Country, Americana CD - UK iTunes - 

(25 August 2014) Millers Daughter - SO HOLLYWOOD (My Major Company)
12 Tracks CD - UK iTunes

(25 Aug 2014) Micky and The Motorcars - Hearts From Above Micky and The Motorcars (Blue Rose) Americana 12 Tracks CD - UK iTunes -  You can hear that born-again “blast” right from the start of Hearts From Above with the soaring title track, a song Micky started working on in the afterglow of a particularly inspiring show he caught by one of his biggest Austin heroes, Alejandro Escovedo. “Alejandro’s one of those guys who makes me want to be better,” Micky enthuses, “and all I wanted to do was go right home and write.”

(25 Aug 2014) Brad Paisley - Moonshine In A Trunk  (Sony Music Cmg)
15 Tracks/ Time: 51:30 CD - MP3 - UK iTunes - Smart Choice Music -

(26 Aug 2014) Lenny Cooper - The Grind
12 Tracks/ Time: 39:11 MP3 - UK iTunes -

The late Australian country great Slim Dusty has established a new chart milestone with his best-of compilation which appears on the ARIA Top 40 Country Music chart for an 800th week. First released in November 1998, The Very Best Of Slim Dusty is certified five-times platinum (350,000 units plus) and has now charted for more than 15 years. No other album has enjoyed such a long stint on the ARIA country category. It’s far ahead of the next best, Dixie Chicks’ Wide Open Spaces (610 weeks), while Johnny Cash’s The Essential (605 weeks), John Williamson’s True Blue... The Very Best of John Williamson (565 weeks ) and Shania Twain’s The Greatest Hits (448 weeks) round out the top 5.

Victoria Banks first single "Ruined" from her brand new record, is officially being sent out to Canadian country radio. >> Listen on Reverbnation

Country Aircheck's Insider Artist News
August 22, 2014: Trisha Yearwood (Happy New Yearwood), George Strait (Breaking The Ice), Carrie Underwood (Denver Broncos)
August 26, 2014: Tim McGraw (Unstaged), Love And Theft's Stephen Barker Liles (Wedding Bells), Martina McBride (Everlasting Tour Part 2/ Cold As Ice), Little Big Town (The Pain Killer Tour), Hunter Hayes (Tattoo), 

Love And Theft's Stephen Barker Liles and his fiancée Jenna Michelle Kennedy, who tied the knot Sunday (8/24) in Nashville. The ceremony included a dedication for their son Jett Barker Liles.

Lee Ann Womack will be WSM's very special guest on Monday, September 15 as Eddie Stubbs invites listeners from around the world as well as a live audience at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to sit in on a unique, in-depth, intimate conversation with an artist.

Reigning CMA Vocal Group of the Year Little Big Town will join CMA Award winner Darius Rucker Wednesday, Sept. 3 in New York City for the announcement of the final nominees for “The 48th Annual CMA Awards,” which airs Wednesday, Nov. 5 (8:00-11:00 PM/ET) on the ABC Television Network. Following “Good Morning America,” Little Big Town and Rucker will be at the Best Buy Theater in Times Square to announce the finalists in the remaining seven categories along with the announcement of the CMA Broadcast Awards for Personality and Radio Station of the Year. Read full CMA World Press Release

Brad Paisley was to perform on ABC-TV's "Rising Star" Sun, Aug 24th to promote the release of his "Moonshine in the Trunk" album on Mon August 25th and will kick off the release week by performing a song from the album on the season finale of the ABC-TV talent show he has been judging.   

Holy Hayden! Hayden Panettiere, pregnant with her first child, revealed on the 2014 Emmy Awards red carpet Monday, Aug. 25, that she's having a girl!

The Nashville star, 25, dared to bare her cleavage and curves in a dreamy sequined gown by Lorena Sarbu, which accentuated her burgeoning baby bump. "I'm thrilled," she told Giuliana Rancic of her pregnancy. "I can't wait for her to come out."
A flustered Rancic asked, "Girl?" Nodding, Panettiere confirmed to the E! hostess that she and fiance Wladimir Klitschko are expecting a daughter and said that there was a "two in one package going on." Us Weekly broke the news in May that the star and Klitschko, 38, were expecting their first child together. Panettiere also spoke briefly about her first pregnancy on the Emmys red carpet, sharing details about specific cravings, struggles, and more. "The only thing that's difficult is making sure that it's tucked away," she said of her bump. "My feet get sore when I'm wearing no shoes. I've never felt this amount of weight on me.

Kate Bush makes Live Return following 35 Year Hiatus: Review (By Richard Smirke, London)...Thirty-five years after making her last live performance, Kate Bush finally delivered what many of her fans thought they would never get to see: a triumphant, hit-filled and characteristically theatrical return to the stage. Appearing at London’s Hammersmith Apollo -- the scene of her last live show in 1979 -- for the first of a 22-date run of sold out shows, the 56-year-old British singer was met with a rapturous reception as she playfully marched onstage, dressed all in black, bare foot and leading a small procession of backing vocalists that included her teenage son Bertie....Read review and setlist at Billboard


Rounder Records has signed Shelby Lynne. The label will release a 15th anniversary edition of I Am Shelby Lynne (with bonus tracks and a concert DVD) on October 7.

RCA NASHVILLE artist Trisha Yearwood will release her new single "PrizeFighter," from her upcoming album of the same name, on Mon, Sept 15th. Kelly Clarkson also lends her voice
to the "PrizeFighter" single. "I love how 'PrizeFighter' makes me even when the odds are against me, I can do anything," explained Yearwood.  "It's a message we all need to
hear, and the track just plain rocks! I can't wait for folks to hear it."
Yearwood recently signed with Sony Music Nashville's RCA imprint, announcing the forthcoming album. The release date hasn't been set yet, but the album will mix new songs with some of Yearwood's classic hits. "It's everything you would expect like 'She's in Love With The Boy' and all the way to 'How Do I Live,'" Yearwood said of the songs that range from her breakthrough hit to the Diane Warren-penned power ballad featured in the Nicolas Cage film Con Air. "When we released 'How Do I Live,' we did two versions for the movie. We did the country version and we did the pop version. The country version is what went to radio, but the pop version was released on the album, so the country version has never been on a record. PrizeFighter will be about eight or nine greatest hits and about six new songs, so it should have about 15 songs on it." The bulk of the album will be produced by Yearwood's longtime producer Garth Fundis

Chely Wright has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the release of her next album.
296 backers have so far pledged $31,295 of a $175,000 goal with 44 days to go. This project will only be funded if at least $175,000 is pledged by Thu, Oct 9 2014.

Her last album, LIFTED OFF THE GROUND was released 2010. It was also the year that her memoir Like Me was released and the year that she came out of the closet. 
Chely got legally married in 2011 and in 2013, her wife Lauren and Chely doubled the size of their family by having identical twin boys—Everett and George now fifteen months old.

  • Big & Rich's Gravity set to blast off with Historic Launch on September 23rd
  • Third Annual Aaron Lewis Invitational Charity Golf Tournament and Fourth Annual Aaron Lewis & Friends Benefit Concert raise $250,000 for It Takes a Community Foundation.
  • Ashliegh Lisset Independent artist and 19-year old Texas native releases her sophomore single, “Target On My Heart,” to country radio this week via CDX. The catchy, fiery, and soulful song is available on iTunes now, and already gaining attention from some industry tastemakers. #CMChat describes the fast paced tune as “jam packed with attitude, letting listeners know that the next three minutes twenty seconds are well worth their while.” Listen at
  • USA Today is set to exclusively premiere the brand new lyric video "We'll Come Back Around", from Craig Morgan.
  • The Oak Ridge Boys’ iconic hit, “Elvirais taking to the airwaves on CBS’ award-winning Mike & Molly show. Platinum-selling "Elvira," written by Dallas Frazier, is one of country music’s most distinctive and recognizable songs. Listen to the newest version at
  • AmericanaFest update: Ry Cooder, Billy Joe Shaver, Marty Stuart, BR5-49, and more
  • Dierks Bentley joins Blake Shelton for Second Annual Tree Town Music Festival Memorial Day Weekend May 21-24, 2015
  • This fall, the legendary Marshall Tucker Band (MTB) will release live recordings from its historic 1977 Englishtown, New Jersey concert that reportedly drew more than 150,000 fans
  • Great American Country’s Backstory: Dolly Parton celebrates one of country music's most beloved and iconic artists (one-hour TV special):
  • Montgomery Gentry is back in the studio with producer Michael Knox
  • Erica Nicole takes home a Top honour (Best Country Artist Female) at 2014 Nashville Independent Music Award Winners
  • Americanafest reveals Honors & Awards Performers and Presenters (Weds, Sept 17). As anticipated, the list reflects Americana’s “spirit of eclecticism” (New York Times) through its diverse production and curation.
  • Chris Young’s latest hit “Lonely Eyesinspired by a favorite Nashville hangout
  • Out Now: John Cowan's eagerly anticipated SIXTY (special guests including Leon Russell, Alison Krauss, Rodney Crowell, Bernie Leadon, Sam Bush, Chris Hillman, Huey Lewis, Bonnie Bramlett, Ray Benson)
  • Donna Hughes receives Key to the City of Trinity at Red Carpet Event: She announced two new album releases, FROM THE HEART and FLY, plus the music video for her song “Red Oak Tree.” During last Saturday’s red carpet release event, Mayor Protem Jessie Hill of Trinity, NC (Donna’s hometown) presented her with the Key to the City and proclaimed August 23rd as Donna Hughes Day.
  • Marty Raybon (lead singer) reunites with Shenandoah following a 17-year absence (Rollingstone exclusive). Raybon co-founded the band in 1984 but left after their 1997 tour.
  • Dolly Parton, who’s usually flooding stadiums with fans around the world, cools off her Summer by taking a dive into the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (We T-Shirt contest)

The Guardian ( by Hermione Hoby) Taylor Swift: ‘Sexy? Not on my radar'...As she returns with her catchiest material yet, she talks awards-ceremony etiquette, autobiographical lyrics and why she puts nice before naughty...

Billboard (By Jem Aswad) Are Taylor Swift and Country Splitting Up for Good?
Will Taylor and country radio ever get back together, or have programmers moved on? It was like a carefully planned breakup. First came the unabashed pop bangers on Taylor Swift's last album, 2012's Red, "Trouble" and "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" among them. Then, in June, Big Machine chief Scott Borchetta spoke diplomatically to Rolling Stone of her next LP (titled 1989 and due out Oct. 27). "Taylor fans are going to love it. Will country stations play a complete pop song just because it's her? No. But when she comes to town, her friends at country radio will come and see her.".....

Taste Of Country Merle Haggard Talks Modern Country …..Merle Haggard the Country Music Hall of Fame inductee admits that even after all these years in the business, he doesn’t listen to country radio anymore, because he no longer finds it entertaining.
“I’ve gotta be honest, I don’t really listen to the radio at all anymore,” Haggard explains to News Observer. “Once in a while, I’ll scan it and I don’t understand what they’re doing. I can’t find the entertainment in it.”
Haggard furthers that modern country music lacks “substance,” something he’s valued since he got started. “I know these guys, occasionally play shows with them and they’re all good people. But I wonder if that record they’re making is something they can actually do,” the legend says. “Too much boogie boogie wham-bam and not enough substance.”
Should We Quit Complaining About Modern Country Music?  Billy Dukes of Taste Of Country >> reacts

Alan The Church Sisters: Artist Spotlight……With all of the technological advances that have been made in the past 50-odd years, it’s very easy to lose sight of our past and the heritage that has formed the bedrock of how we live in this modern age. Fashions and trends change, this is all part of evolution.…..


ForTheCountryRecord Larkin Poe ‘Kin’ (Album Review) preview on YouTube All songs written by Rebecca Lovell & Megan Lovell, except for "Don't", written by Rebecca Lovell, Megan Lovell, & Chris Seefried.

ForTheCountryRecord Chase Rice - Ignite The Night (Album Review)

American Songwriter Taylor Swift – “Shake It Off” (Rating: 3 Stars out of 5)

Martina McBride in Concert in New York....From the moment a full horn section opened the show by marching through the first row, it was clear that this night in western New York would be a radical departure from her past concerts. Three overly capable Motown backup singers were also employed to produce a wildly energetic, two hour non-stop auditory assault....Music News Nashville

Esther O’Connor from Glasgow Pop/country band Ashton Lane spoke with Trev Ward SkyHigh Radio on Aug 18th. Listen to the interview on SkyHigh Radio (SkyHigh Radio (SHR), is an online radio station, Which began life in December 2006. They play a whole host of different music, from the 50's to the 90's, Up to date Chart hits to the latest club and dance - Website

Music News Nashville Interview with Jonathan Jackson from TV’s Nashville (by Ted Drozdowski)..Gear is the star attraction of the annual Summer NAMM show, but on the event’s final day, this past Saturday, one of the biggest crowds gathered to hear the debut NAMM show performance of Jonathan Jackson. Jackson plays struggling musician Avery Barkley on ABC TV’s Nashville, and Avery’s rise, fall and return from the ashes is one of the series’ most compelling storylines.....


For users of this online music streaming service here are some of the more recent additions and recommendations.
When it's free and easy on Spotify who needs music piracy?

Brad Paisley – Moonshine in the Trunk - 15 Tracks released Aug 25,  2014
Lenny Cooper – The Grind – Country/Rap 12 Tracks released Aug 26,  2014

Micky & The Motorcars – Hearts From Above - 12 Tracks released Aug 25, 2014

Risa Binder – Nashville - 5 Track EP released Aug 10, 2014
Donna Hughes – From the Heart - 21 Tracks released Aug 17, 2014 (Bluegrass)
Donna Hughes – Fly - 12 Tracks released Aug 17, 2014 (Piano Album)
Sarah Dunn Band – You or the Whiskey - 10 Tracks released Aug 19, 2014
Millers Daughter – So Hollywood - 12 Tracks released Aug 25, 2014

The American Songwriter Muse September 2014 sampler (71 MB Zip File) includes a fab new song ‘When I Come Around” (251 kbps MP3) from newly signed to Sugar Hill Records Lee Ann Womack who kicks country-pop to the gutter and embraces a raw, rootsy, realistic sound on The Way I’m Livin’, her first album in six years. “When I Come Around” is a waltzing ode to the small pockets of the Bible Belt, shot through with fiddles, pedal steel guitar, close harmonies and a passionate performance from Womack, who croons with confidence after her half-decade sabbatical. Other tracks include Shovels and Rope "The Devil Is All Around" (271 kbps MP3), Lera Lynn "Out To Sea" (249 kbps MP3) and
Hiss Golden Messenger "Mahogany Dread" (224kbps).
Sample the audio and download the tracks for an email share from americansongwriter/

Belles & Whistles "Princess"
Sandra Lynn performs "You Belong" and "Hangin' Witchu" in an exclusive live recording session at Blackbird Studios in Nashville.
Sturgill Simpson "Life of Sin" recorded live at RCA studio A in Nashville
Joel Crouse "Even The River Runs"

Glasgow’s Ashton Lane perform "Oceans Apart" in their latest Kitchen Session. It is drawn from their April 2012 album Magic In The Air  - iTunes Profile

"Redneck Style" is the first single for the band Blackwell hailing from Ottawa, Canada. The song, written by Carey Blackwell was released on iTunes July 4, 2014 on  Eating Crow Records. In support of Blackwell's first single this >> video gives viewers an up-close look at Braiden Turner (lead singer), Carey Blackwell and Dan Blackwell as they discuss who inspired them to make their brand of Canadian Country Music. Braiden along with friend and Canadian artist Brea Lawrenson have both been spokespersons for the Canadian Red Cross’ Anti-Bullying program called RespectED. Find Blackwell on Facebook and Twitter

Irish Republic singer/songwriter Pete Kennedy performed "Crazy Country Girl" (a song he co-wrote with Jo-Leah Wallace-Tilbury) at 3rd & Lindsley in Nashville.
The song appears on Pete's latest US released CD I Am The One which dropped  May 6, 2014 by KEMC Records (currently ranked Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #603,464)
Pete kicked off what was part of a DRX Artist Showcase live stream held on Tuesday, Aug. 26 and also featured acts Jim Brown, The Cains Trio, Chasin' Jaymie, and Templeton Thompson. The DRX monthly showcase highlights some of the platform’s most promising Country artists and helps to promote some of the website's featured unsigned acts. Pete is currently back in the studio recording new tracks, with a new single scheduled for late 2014 and a worldwide tour in the works for 2015.

On The Edge
Alt Rock/ Singer-Songwriter Kyler England's lyric Video "Home" from her brand new 5 Track EP Golden (Gypsy Rock Records) released August 26, 2014 on and UK iTunes


2014 MTV Video Music Awards Fashion

Lucy Hale was one of the first to hit the red carpet at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday evening (August 24) at The Forum in Inglewood, California. As host of the MTV VMAs pre-show, the "You Sound Good to Me" country/pop singer and ‘Pretty Little Liars’ actress  kick-started the night in a flirty fuchsia and black cocktail dress, before changing into this more dramatic ensemble.
The Sachin & Babi Spring 2014 black leather-inspired halter top perpetuated the cropped trend combined with a slightly sweeter, floral-printed full skirt by Zimmerman, with peekaboo grommet-like seaming throughout the skirt, styled with a few knuckle rings and Stuart Weitzman Nudist silver sandals (Image). A beautifully teased ponytail (Image ), earrings from the Graziela Gems and EF Collection, a smoky bronze eye and sultry mauve lip rounded out her romantic, rock-star look - Fashion Pic

Lucy wore a second complete look after her initial walk this time around she wore a short and flirty Oscar de la Renta dress from the designer’s Fall 2014 collection. The black and fuchsia print was eye-catching and fun, and the pink Brian Atwood ‘Besame’ pumps were a great way to keep the party going all the way to the floor. Vita Fede jewelry, a bright pink lip and long, loose waves complete look #2 - Image - Interviewing Taylor Swift

Julianne Hough the Footloose/Dancing With The Stars champ and "That Song in My Head" country pop singer hit the red carpet and went boho chic in a voluminous navy gown from Emilio Pucci’s Fall 2014 collection. Julianne’s pixie cut (Image) growing out beautifully left her with the perfect funky bob, and her coral lips and statement earrings were the perfect pairing for the look - Fashion Pic

Taylor Swift made quite the stir when she pranced her way down the red carpet of the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards. The spunky singer rocked a long-sleeved bodysuit from the Mary Katrantzou Resort 2015 collection with wine-coloured peep-toe cutout Elie Saab Fall 2014 booties (Image - Fashion Pic) and a few Lorraine Schwartz jewels (left hand) with sister brand Ofira pave bands (right hand - Image - Image ). Taylor wore a blue version of this leotard from the Greek designer, now based in London, renowned for her stand out creations that play with print, embroidery and colour. This cute all-in-one was great for perfecting the leggy look with perfectly toned pins that go on for years!
Tay Tay, moving forward with a designated “80s” fashion of the era, road tested a new designer and had the bod and legs to “shake things up” in attempting to pull it off. Her red lippie and a shaggy bob (image ) helped keep things playful and fun - Fashion Pic - Fashion Pic 

Miley Cyrus (Video Of The Year Winner for Wrecking Ball) and Taylor Swift seemed to have switched stylists for once as they wowed in surprising fashion choices on the MTV Video Music Awards red carpet. Strangely Miley covered up in a high-waisted pair of leather trousers- albeit teamed with a crop top as Miss Swift was altogether more edgy and provocative.

Later Taylor was seen in a crop top and high-waisted shorts for her 20s, flapper-esque debut MTV performance ( ) of "Shake It Off" which were custom creations by Lorena Sarbu. Both designs feature hand-beaded Swarovski crystals and fringe (Image - Image ) One of the advantages of Taylor Swift releasing a new album every two years is that it pretty much guarantees a VMA performance every even calendar year. Since her Video Music Award debut in 2009, the singer has performed at the MTV award show in 2010, 2012, and now 2014. 
Watch her performance on
Retro Fashion: Taylor on the red carpet at The VMAs in 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013 and 2014 - Image
Later attending the MTV VMAs after-party in Los Angeles on August 24, 2014 Taylor wore another romper longer and composed of a pretty black lace with a Alexis Montreuil ‘Black Lace Romper’ ($287.10; Product Detail - Fashion Pic)

In the "Shake It Off" music video (39.3 million YouTube views in the first 7 days) Taylor wears a custom cropped leopard K-Way x Maje jacket from the twerking section. The brand’s distinctive zipper is seen on the creation. A similar ‘Claudette’ jacket is  available online here retailing for $250.

UK Radio 2 playlisted pop/country duo Millers Daughter tweeted @Millers_D Cuppa tea and a read of our article in Thursday's Salisbury Journal...nice little Saturday morn! Image

Meet Taci Shaffer Miss Rodeo Arizona 2014 - Image - Image  ( courtesy Laura McClure Photography)

August 25: Jo Dee Messina (1970), Billy Ray Cyrus (1961) 
August 26: Brian Kelley (Florida Georgia Line),
August 27: Jeff Cook (Alabama) - (1949), the late Carter Stanley (1925; died Dec 1, 1966 (aged 41)), the late Jimmy C Newman (1927; died June 21, 2014 (aged 86)), Colt Ford born “Jason Farris Brown” (1970)
August 28: LeAnn Rimes (1982), Shania Twain (1965), Sherrie Austin (1970), Jake Owen (1981), Cassadee Blake Pope (1989)
August 29: Don Schlitz (1952)
August 30: the late Kitty Wells (1919; July 16, 2012 (aged 92) ) 
August 31: Mickie James (1979)