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May 1

Big & Rich To Kick off CMA Music Festival at Chevrolet Riverfront Stage

Big & Rich

Big & Rich photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Nashville.

Big & Rich will officially kick off the 2014 CMA Music Festival when they take the Chevrolet™ Riverfront Stage at 10:00 AM/CT on Thursday, June 5 in downtown Nashville. The Riverfront Stage will feature more than 50 artists over the course of CMA Music Festival and is free and open to the public. CMA Music Festival is scheduled for June 5-8 in Nashville.

“Big & Rich will bring a great energy to the official start of the Festival,” Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer, said. “I know our fans will not want to miss their performance.”

The lineup was announced Wednesday morning through social media with a video showing Chevrolet vehicles taking country fans to historic locations in downtown Nashville for the reveal.

Performers scheduled to hit the stage include Frankie Ballard, Big & Rich, Danielle Bradbery, Kristian Bush, Craig Campbell, Jason Michael Carroll, Terri Clark, Billy Ray Cyrus, Dan + Shay, Tyler Farr, Colt Ford, Gloriana, LoCash Cowboys, Lonestar, Love and Theft, Dustin Lynch, Craig Morgan, Lorrie Morgan and Pam Tillis, David Nail, Jon Pardi, Parmalee, Eric Paslay, Kellie Pickler, Cassadee Pope, Collin Raye, Chase Rice, Maggie Rose, Corey Smith, Cole Swindell, The Cadillac Three, The Swon Brothers, Uncle Kracker, Clay Walker, Darryl Worley, Charlie Worsham and Wynonna.

“This outstanding lineup, paired with the artists performing at the Nightly Concerts at LP Field, represent the best in Country Music from past to present to future,” Sarah Trahern said. “The Riverfront shows are always a highlight of CMA Music Festival, and with the caliber of talent, this year is sure to be no exception.”

The Chevrolet Riverfront Stage is a CMA Music Festival fan favorite, with concerts beginning each day at 10:00 AM/CT in Riverfront Park on the Cumberland River. Shows are free and open to the public. Four-day ticket holders can enter 45 minutes before the general public. Fans do not need to have tickets to the Nightly Concerts at LP Field to attend concerts at Chevrolet Riverfront Stage.

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Posted at 10:59 am | Permalink
Apr 22

Country Music Hall of Fame Announces 2014 Inductees

Country Music Hall of Fame Announces 2014 Inductees

Ronnie Milsap at the Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees announcement, April 22, 2014.

This morning in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s Rotunda, the CMA announced the 2014 Hall of Fame inductees. The late, great songwriter Hank Cochran, who died in 2010, will be posthumously inducted in the Songwriter category. Mac Wiseman will be inducted in the Veteran Era category, and Ronnie Milsap in the Modern Era category.

CMA created the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961 to recognize individuals for their outstanding contributions to the format with Country Music’s highest honor. Inductees are chosen by CMA’s Hall of Fame Panels of Electors, which consist of anonymous voters appointed by the CMA Board of Directors.

Members are inducted during a special Medallion Ceremony at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in the CMA Theater. During the Medallion Ceremony, friends and colleagues pay tribute to each inductee through words and song. Each inductees’ bronze plaque is unveiled that will be on display in the Museum’s rotunda.

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Posted at 11:34 am | Permalink
Feb 28

CMA to Announce LP Field Performers for 2014 CMA Music Festival Via Social Media March 3

CMA to Announce LP Field Performers for 2014 CMA Music Festival Via Social Media March 3

CMA Music Festival at LP Field. Photo by Bennett Farkas, courtesy of the CMA.

CMA will utilize social networks to announce LP Field performers for the 2014 CMA Music Festival starting Monday, March 3. Every weekday from March 3-18, CMA will post clues on its social media platforms allowing fans to speculate and anticipate who will be performing during the Nightly Concerts at LP Field.

A full announcement of the LP Field lineup will follow the #CMAFestGuess social media campaign on Wednesday, March 19.

“We have a very strong, dedicated, and loyal social media audience,” said CMA Chief Executive Officer Sarah Trahern. “They are the ones who are constantly engaged with the Festival, so of course we want to let them be the first to find out who will be performing this year. Their passion for the music makes CMA Music Festival the world’s premier Country Music festival.”

A mock movie trailer announcing the campaign will be released on CMA’s social pages Sunday during the Oscars ceremony. “As the Oscars will be one of the largest nights of the year for social engagement, we felt it the perfect time to announce this innovative social campaign to our fans,” said Damon Whiteside, CMA Senior Vice President of Marketing and Partnerships.

Followers can use #CMAFestGuess to track the virtual clues. With more than two million followers across CMA’s social media platforms, Country Music fans are proving that they are digitally engaged and Internet savvy. The 2013 CMA Awards, which aired Nov. 6 on ABC, was the most tweeted-about television event of that week. Continue Reading

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Posted at 2:20 pm | Permalink
Feb 5

New Artist Spotlight: Eric Paslay

Eric Paslay

Eric Paslay photo by Eric Adkins, courtesy of the CMA.

By Bob Doerschuk

© 2014 CMA Close Up® News Service / Country Music Association®, Inc.

Eric Paslay’s story is familiar, from his upbringing in Waco and Temple through his gigs on the Lone Star circuit and inevitable move to Nashville.

Eventually hired by Cal IV Publishing, the tall Texas redhead penned several hits. He won CMA’s coveted Triple Play Award for writing or co-writing three songs that hit No. 1 in 2012: “Angel Eyes,” “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” and “Barefoot Blue Jean Night,” which also was honored as ASCAP’s Country Song of the Year. Impressive, but not unique … yet.

The epiphany comes with his self-titled inaugural album, released Feb. 4 on EMI Records Nashville. Produced by Marshall Altman and Daniel Hill/Billy Lynn, its 11 tracks reflect the strength of this young artist’s work. Compositionally, he cultivates simplicity. Many of his verses cycle just three or even two chords. “Country Side of Heaven” (Paslay, Dylan Altman and Shane McAnally) hangs entirely on the I and V. But on that track, Paslay’s organic dynamics, his inspiring vocals and especially his ability to conjure compelling images enrich both his sound and his story. Continue Reading

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Posted at 11:47 am | Permalink
Apr 10

CMA Announces 2013 Hall of Fame Inductees

Bobby Bare, Cowboy Jack Clement & Kenny Rogers

Bobby Bare, “Cowboy” Jack Clement, and Kenny Rogers are announced as the newest inductees to the Country Music Hall of Fame at a press conference on Wednesday, April 10 at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Photo Credit: John Russell/CMA.

The Country Music Association announced today that Bobby Bare, “Cowboy” Jack Clement, and Kenny Rogers will become the newest members of the revered Country Music Hall of Fame.

Rogers will be inducted in the “Modern Era Artist” category, while Bare will be inducted in the “Veterans Era Artist” category. Clement will be inducted in the “Non-Performer” category, which is awarded every third year in a rotation with the “Recording and/or Touring Musician Active Prior to 1980,” and “Songwriter” categories. Bare, Clement, and Rogers will increase membership in the coveted Country Music Hall of Fame from 118 to 121 members.

Kenny, who’s currently in the studio working on new music posted a video thanking his fans just moments after he got the call from Steve Moore, CMA Chief Executive Officer:

“The highest musical honor achievable for a Country Music artist or industry leader is to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and these are all outstanding and highly deserving individuals,” said Steve Moore. “’Cowboy’ has been responsible for producing many of the iconic songs in Country Music. Bobby pioneered the Country concept album and was one of the first artists to take the format to Europe. And Kenny’s crossover success throughout a lengthy career introduced Country Music to a much wider audience.” Continue Reading

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Posted at 10:33 am | Permalink
Mar 28

GAC Album Review: The Band Perry’s Pioneer

The Band Perry

The Band Perry’s 2013 album, Pioneer. Photo courtesy of BMLG.

With a mixture of sweet melodic harmonies and ample drama, sibling trio The Band Perry are set to release their highly-anticipated sophomore album, Pioneer, on April 2. Following up the Grammy-nominated group’s 2010 platinum selling debut, Pioneer preaches an independent spirit as the group continues their unique blend of country, bluegrass and ’70s-inspired rock.

Working for the first time with in-demand producer Dann Huff (Taylor Swift, Hunter Hayes), the Mississippi-raised group – consisting of Kimberly (lead vocals), Reid (bass) and Neil (mandolin) – build on the recipe that garnered high praise for songs like their 2011 CMA Single and Song of the Year, “If I Die Young.” Pioneer’s No. 1 hit lead single, “Better Dig Two,” is a murder ballad showcasing pretty, yet wickedly eerie, melodies amidst off kilter banjo and a power chord crunch. Kimberly’s signature voice, which can be as sweet as the girl next door or as fierce as a woman scorned, can manipulate dark lyrics into bright passages for exquisite depth. The stomp heavy story of a woman moving on, “Done,” pairs la-di-da’s next to biting lyrics like, I don’t believe in getting even but getting what you deserve. And on the clever, “Chainsaw,” a rollicking good time about chopping down the tree bearing a heart and a young couple’s initials, she delivers one of the album’s greatest lines, It’s hard to bury the hatchet holding a chainsaw, with a wonderful flair.

The Band Perry co-wrote nine of the album’s 12 songs, pairing up with emerging family act The Henningsens to pen six. Out of these collaborations came the album’s Appalachian-tinged title track, “Pioneer.” Celebrating the strength in those willing to follow the horizon, “Pioneer” fields some of the album’s finest sibling harmonies to complement the track’s acoustic purity. Independence is a recurring theme on the project, and songs like “I’m A Keeper” and “Back To Me Without You” (both written with The Henningsens) drive this home. The former is a soulful backbeat rocker shouting one’s self worth from the mountaintops while the latter is a transformative ballad keyed into regaining one’s self. Striking those hard to reach notes throughout the song, “Back To Me Without You” spins spellbinding and intricate harmonies before it races off with a fiddle solo. The Band Perry also paired with Brad Paisley to write the theatrical, ’70s punk-meets-musical, “Forever Mine Nevermind,” that features plenty of Brad’s guitar ripping runs and a storyline that accepts loss.

There are plenty of bittersweet moments on Pioneer, but interestingly, they often morph into uplifting narratives. “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely” opens with introspective lyrics yearning to break free before turning into a powerful youth anthem. The musicianship is tight as it winds through passages leading to a strong gallop. “I Saw A Light” builds to a grand bridge after a soft start and “Night Gone Wasted,” The Band Perry’s version of a barn-burning Honky Tonk, lets the twang hang while righting wrongs and having fun, singing, I’m making up with my enemies and loving my best friends.

Constantly bursting with life, even slower songs like “Mother Like Mine” — a heartfelt ballad dedicated to their Mom — are alive with emotions that are easily felt. On “End Of Time,” a slightly distorted Americana-influenced song, the Southern imagery is deeply vivid and sung with such a rich voice that the words, The Alabama moon fell from the sky and the sweet tea wells ran dry, survive long past the song’s end. While celebrating life and an independent spirit, The Band Perry blazes their own trail on Pioneer with a strong and unique vision.

Key Tracks – “Better Dig Two,” “Chainsaw,” “End Of Time,” “Back To Me Without You”

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Posted at 8:24 am | Permalink
Mar 25

GAC Album Review: Thompson Square’s Just Feels Good

Thompson Square

Thompson Square’s 2013 album, Just Feels Good. Photo by Joseph Anthony Baker, courtesy of Dashboard Media.

Husband and wife duo Thompson Square’s new album, Just Feels Good, plays out like a Hollywood love story complete with the happy ending. If things start seeming too good to be true on the upbeat project, a quick review of Shawna and Keifer Thompson’s career trajectory quickly reveals ample real-life inspiration; paid dues scraping by as working musicians on Nashville’s Lower Broadway; co-wrote and released a breakout Grammy-nominated hit, “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not”; named Billboard’s No. 1 New Country Artist in 2011; won CMA and ACM awards for Vocal Duo of the Year. And all of this as a married couple. It’s a wonderful story that translates excellently to their sophomore album, due in stores March 26.

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Posted at 11:02 am | Permalink
Mar 19

GAC Album Review: Blake Shelton’s Based On A True Story…

Blake Shelton's 2013 album, Based On A True Story...

Blake Shelton’s 2013 album, Based On A True Story… Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Records.

CMA Entertainer of the Year Blake Shelton’s eighth studio album comes from a happy place. Based On A True Story…, which is due in stores March 26, tells the sort of tale you’d expect to hear from an artist clearly on the ascent with a soaring national profile and an ever-growing fan base. Working again with longtime producer Scott Hendricks (Trace Adkins, Jana Kramer), Blake dishes up 12 contemporary-leaning songs on the new record that serve as a lighthearted companion to his 2011 platinum-selling album, Red River Blue.

Things have been going well for Blake, whose national popularity skyrocketed after settling into a judge’s chair on the hit singing competition, The Voice. An increased role in the TV spotlight appears to be having an effect on his music as Based On A True Story… features some of Blake’s finest and most confident performances to date. The album opener, “Boys ‘Round Here,” which features wife Miranda Lambert’s band Pistol Annies as well as former The Voice contestant RaeLynn, gains strength from a subtle acoustic hick hop beat before Blake’s easy drawl falls perfectly in time with the music. Giving fun-loving shout outs to Hank Jr., chewing tobacco and dirt roads, the performance exemplifies Blake’s easygoing demeanor. On the cinematic power ballad, “Do You Remember,” Blake carefully builds the drama before breaking into a powerfully nostalgic chorus. And on the standout track, “Mine Would Be You,” a miss-her-badly whose full effect isn’t realized until the twist, Blake’s melodies are one part soothing, one part regret.

Popular reference points like dirt roads and Chevy truck beds do make steady appearances. Continue Reading

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Posted at 10:20 am | Permalink
Jan 17

Chris Young to Receive CMA’s Triple Play Award

Chris Young

Chris Young photo by Randee St. Nicholas, courtesy of Sony Music Nashville.

Chris Young is picking up a major honor from the Country Music Association. He’ll receive the coveted Triple Play Award for his hit songs “Voices,” “Tomorrow” and “You” on January 29. The award recognizes songwriters who have written three No. 1 songs within a 12-month period.

The CMA has also selected Chris as a featured artist to help further the popularity of country music overseas. Chris will travel to the U.K. and Ireland in February to take part in CMA’s Songwriter Series with stops in Dublin, Belfast and London. The series will be recorded and broadcast at a later date on BBC Radio 2. Continue Reading

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Posted at 11:37 am | Permalink
Jan 15

CMA Plans First International Marketing Summit in Paris

Kristian Bush

Sugarland’s Kristian Bush. Photo courtesy of the CMA.

Country music is invading Paris. The Country Music Association will hold the first International Country Music Marketing Summit at Disneyland Paris on March 1. The summit is part of the association’s mission to help expand the format around the world.

“With immediate and convenient access to Country Music, the world market is fertile ground for our industry and artists,” Steve Moore, Chief Executive Officer of CMA, said. “Country artists are selling out major venues; our CMA Songwriter Series is returning to the U.K. and Ireland in February; and new events like the ‘C2C: Country to Country’ Country Music festival at the O2 Arena in London in March are a strong indication of the burgeoning popularity of the music and the need for this type of educational platform across the world.” Continue Reading

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Posted at 9:47 am | Permalink