Luke Bryan photo by Joseph Llanes, courtesy of Schmidt Relations.
Luke Bryan will be a familiar face during tonight’s CMA Awards. He will kick off the show with a rousing performance of his recent No. 1 hit “That’s My Kind of Night” and later return to the stage to debut his new single, “Drink a Beer.” He is dedicating the performance to his brother Chris and sister Kelly, whom he lost in 1996 and 2007, respectively.
“This is the coolest sad song ever,” Luke said. “It holds a special place in my heart and I am honored the writers allowed me to record it.” Continue Reading
Chris Stapleton photo by Becky Fluke, courtesy of UMG Nashville.
Got a beard or know someone who does? It may earn you a spot on Chris Stapleton’s guest list! Chris, a self-proclaimed “professional hair grower,” has launched the “Get Cleared With Your Beard” contest, asking fans to submit photos of their facial hair via social media to win a place on his guest list at one of his shows. He encourages fans to get creative with their submissions.
“It’s funny, I get a lot of questions right off the bat from fans about my beard, which always makes for a great conversation starter,” he said. “We just get straight down to the personal stuff. I decided to have some fun with it and celebrate the beard…women too! If your husband or boyfriend or brother, or even your grandma has a beard and you are proud of it, then send in your photos!” Continue Reading
Frankie Ballard photo courtesy of Warner Music Nashville.
The first Faster Horse Festival has added Frankie Ballard, Kelleigh Bannen, The Cadillac Three, Gunnar & The Grizzly Boys, Will Hoge, Chris Stapleton and many more to a second stage. The artists join previously announced headliners Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley and Luke Bryan along with Kix Brooks, Florida Georgia Line, Colt Ford, David Nail, Jerrod Niemann, Thomas Rhett, Thompson Square, Chris Young, and Brett Eldredge among others.
The Faster Horses Festival will feature 2 stages, 9 campgrounds, late night jam sessions, food trucks, bonfires and more to highlight the unique summer lifestyle experience in the area.For the full line-up, ticket info and set times, visit www.fasterhorsesfestival.com. Continue Reading
Don Williams photo by David McClister, courtesy of Sugar Hill Records.
Eddie Stubbs, host of 650 AM WSM’s evening show, will welcome Don Williams to his ‘Intimate Evening’ interview series on Monday, February 18. Taking place live from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Don will be joined by his longtime producer, Garth Fundis. The special will air at 8p|7c.
Read our review of Don Williams’ And So It Goes >>
”When Don Williams sings, you immediately know who it is,” Eddie said. “His impressive track record of 40 years worth of hits has won him millions of fans. Don’s latest album shows that what he does still matters to the industry. This will be the first time that we’ve gotten together for an interview, and we’re sure looking forward to it. To have his long-time producer Garth Fundis join us that evening will make it even more special.” Continue Reading
The SteelDrivers’ 2013 album, Hammer Down. Photo courtesy of The Press Network.
With three Grammy nominations to their credit, Nashville bluegrass outfit The SteelDrivers were quickly emerging as one of the genre’s hottest new acts following the release of their 2010 sophomore album, Reckless. At the time of the release, however, the group was also breaking in a new singer, former Mercury Nashville recording artist Gary Nichols, to replace exiting founder/singer Chris Stapleton. Two and a half years and thousands of miles later, the five-piece troupe has a new project, Hammer Down.
Don Williams' 2012 CD, And So It Goes. Photo by David McClister, courtesy of Sugar Hill Records.
On his first new album in eight years, Country Music Hall of Famer Don Williams doesn’t seem particularly concerned with conforming to any sort of new trends that have emerged in the genre. There’s only one person he’s answering to – and that’s himself. And So It Goes, Don’s new record due in stores June 19, is a 10-song set that finds the Texas native sounding as strong as ever and fully at ease with himself and where he’s at in life as a man and an artist.
With an easygoing nature that’s earned Don the nickname “The Gentle Giant” of country music, And So It Goes capitalizes on his exquisite laid-back delivery that turns lyrics into stories. “What If It Worked Like That” plays out like a hummable narrative offering a wise look at life’s simple pleasures between amusing lines like, Take our time without being late / Drink a few beers just to get in shape / Yeah, wouldn’t that be something? On “Infinity,” which features harmony vocals from Chris Stapleton and ponders the great unknown, Don gets a bit existential singing, They say time goes on and on / even after we’re all gone, while comparing the enormity of the universe to the love he has for his wife. A natural storyteller, Don works songs and melodies into thoughtful and compelling pieces, even if the lyrical content itself doesn’t feature a traditional storyline.
Along with Chris Stapleton, Alison Krauss, Keith Urban and Vince Gill also guest on the project. Alison shines on the classic country “I Just Come Here for the Music,” offering soft vocals and beautiful, lonely fiddle. Possibly the album’s best song, tender acoustic guitars and electric piano support the chemistry of Don and Alison as they play the parts of a delicate barroom encounter between two broken hearts.
Keith and Vince both guest on “Imagine That” and “She’s With Me,” the former being a downtrodden ‘miss her badly’ where the two sing harmony vocals over a rhythm section similar to Don’s classic “Tulsa Time.” On the ballad “She’s With Me,” Vince adds a melodic and patient guitar solo while Keith supports with guitar. This song features one of the album’s most expressive and vulnerable lines Continue Reading
George Strait photo courtesy of UMG Nashville.
George Strait does it again! His current single “Love’s Gonna Make It Alright” off his latest CD Here For A Good Time lands the No. 1 spot this week on the mediabase radio chart. This feat ironically marks his 59th career No. 1 hit for the 59-year-old country music superstar – one per year of his life! “Love’s Gonna Make It Alright,” written by Al Anderson and Chris Stapleton, is one of the few George did not write with son Bubba and longtime pal Dean Dillon for this album .
“You know, I’ve always thought that whether I’m writing or not, I’ve gotta pick the best songs, whether or not they’re mine,” says George. “I’m not gonna sing ‘em just because I wrote ‘em. I’ve gotta find the best songs to make the best record I can. I think all of these songs deserve to be on the record.” Continue Reading
Darius Rucker photo courtesy of Capitol Nashville.
Darius Rucker and The Band Perry released albums on the same day, and now they’re appearing on the same show, joining host Nan Kelley on this weekend’s edition of GAC’s Top 20 Country Countdown.
The Band Perry’s self-titled debut album came out on Tuesday, featuring the group’s first Top 20 hit, “Hip To My Heart,” as well as its current ballad, “If I Die Young,” which has already become the trio’s first gold single. “If I Die Young” is No. 15 on this week’s Top 20.
The new Darius album, Charleston, SC 1966, was also released on Tuesday, and it contains a successful single of its own, “Come Back Song.” If you saw the title before you actually heard the song, you might have thought it was about a veteran musician’s career. Which means Darius and his co-writers, Casey Beathard and Chris Stapleton, succeeded in their attempts to twist the meaning.
Darius Rucker photo courtesy of Capitol Nashville.
Darius Rucker knows what it’s like to be on a roll. He’s done it twice.
In 1995, he was a co-writer and the lead singer on four hits from one pop album as a member of Hootie + The Blowfish. In 2008, he was a co-writer and the singer on four hits from one album once again — but this time, it was his debut project as a country artist.
Does he have to do something different to write country songs?
Dierks Bentley photo courtesy of Capitol Nashville.
Dierks Bentley has built his reputation as an artist by mixing mainstream country with alternative sounds, playing clubs with Cross Canadian Ragweed and even playing a date on Chicago’s Lollapalooza stage.
But for his next album, Up On The Ridge, he’s scaling back on the volume for an album that’s built around acoustic and bluegrass sounds. One of country’s hardest-working artists, Dierks used the opportunity to scale back on his schedule, too.