News And Notes

All posts tagged "CMA"

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


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


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


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”


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.

Continue Reading


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


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


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


Posted at 9:47 am | Permalink
Dec 17

GAC’s Top 10 Country Albums of 2012

Every year, music reviewers pull from the year’s releases to create Top 10 lists. 2012 was a fantastic year for country music, offering album after album of quality titles to choose from while overall sales for the genre rose 3.2% compared to this point last year. By the very nature of a ‘Top 10′ list, not every title can be included, but the albums below make up our list of releases that stood out. If you don’t happen to see your favorite album on the list, let everyone know what you thought was the best country album of the year by leaving a comment. Now, in no particular order, onto GAC’s Top 10 Country Albums of 2012!

Carrie Underwood's 2012 CD, Blown Away

Carrie Underwood’s 2012 CD Blown Away. Photo courtesy of Sony Music Nashville.

Carrie Underwood‘s Blown Away:

Carrie Underwood’s fourth studio album, Blown Away, is a musical tour de force so strong listeners are best off grabbing hold of anything they can find before pressing play. Read Our Original Review >> With an opening tri-fecta that includes the hook-heavy, “Good Girl,” the mesmerizing and emotional title-track, “Blown Away” (nominated for two Grammy awards including Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song), and the dark tale of vengeance, “Two Black Cadillacs,” Carrie displays the greatness ‘pop country’ can achieve in just the first 13 minutes of the album. Working again with producer Mark Bright, the platinum certified, Blown Away, is Carrie’s most polished work to date. Whether she’s moving through tender, patient melodies (“Forever Changed”), dipping into sunny, island-inspired rhythms (“One Way Ticket”), or showing off some serious fire (“Cupid’s Got A Shotgun” with Brad Paisley dropping some twang guitar), Carrie is a master of melody and vocal expression. Carrie co-wrote more than half the songs on the album, including the traditional-leaning, “Wine After Whiskey,” which captures loneliness and heartache with breathtaking clarity. Key tracks – “Blown Away,” “Two Black Cadillacs,” “Forever Changed,” “Wine After Whiskey”

Little Big Town's 2012 CD, Tornado

Little Big Town’s 2012 CD, Tornado. Photo courtesy of Sandbox Entertainment.

Little Big Town‘s Tornado

Harmony quartet Little Big Town scored a massive hit with their 2012 CMA Single of the Year and Grammy-nominated “Pontoon,” a laid-back summer tune that powered the group’s fifth studio album to a No. 1 Country album chart debut. Read Our Original Review >>  Working for the first time with producer Jay Joyce (the man behind Eric Church’s CMA Album of the Year, Chief), Tornado sounds vastly different than any of LBT’s previous work as it stretches from shimmering harmony to atmospheric grooves. Though the songs are shorter and many buzz with electric guitars, an infectious live energy runs through the project to ignite each song. The album-opener “Pavement Ends,” the muddy water rocker “Front Porch Thing,” and the bluesy “Self Made,” highlight LBT’s delta spirit while the spaghetti western title-track brings the storm straight through the speakers. However, it’s still the sparkling harmonies and spellbinding chemistry on songs like the emotionally-estranged, “Your Side of the Bed,” and the sexy, “Night Owl” that make this one of the best records of the year. Key Tracks – “Tornado,” “Your Side of the Bed,” “On Fire Tonight,” “Pontoon”

Jamey Johnson's 2012 CD, Livin' For A Song: A Tribute To Hank Cochran

Jamey Johnson’s 2012 CD, Living For A Song: A Tribute To Hank Cochran. Photo courtesy of UMG Nashville.

Jamey Johnson‘s Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran

Nominated for a Grammy for Best Country Album of the Year, Jamey Johnson proves once again that he is one of the genre’s finest traditional artists.  Read Our Original Review >> Here, on a loving and heartfelt tribute to his friend, the late Hank Cochran, Jamey assembles a guest list of epic proportions (how’s seven Country Music Hall of Famers for a start?) to pay tribute to the iconic songwriter. Jamey draws from Hank’s deep catalog to perform classics including “I Fall To Pieces” (sung here with Merle Haggard), “Don’t You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me” (with Willie Nelson) and “Make The World Go Away” (with Alison Krauss). If pulling together such an impressive cast wasn’t enough, Jamey’s anticipation, timing and expressive range show just how deeply connected he is to the sad honky tonk sounds under the collection’s strikingly stark arrangements. It’s all about the song here, and when Jamey moves from pointed judgment (“This Ain’t My First Rodeo” with Lee Ann Womack) to guarded restraint (“Don’t Touch Me” with Emmylou Harris) and soul-bearing vulnerability (“Would These Arms Be In Your Way”), he surpasses even his own previous achievements. Hank, however, has the line of the album when he’s heard singing, Life’s so full of melodies, with words that rhyme and harmonies, on the project’s captivating title-track. Key Tracks – “Living For A Song,” “The Eagle,” “I Don’t Do Windows,” “This Ain’t My First Rodeo” Continue Reading


Posted at 8:33 am | Permalink
Nov 1

GAC Album Review: Lady Antebellum’s On This Winter’s Night

Lady Antebellum

Lady Antebellum’s 2012 Christmas CD. Photo courtesy of Capitol Nashville.

During breaks from their Own The Night 2012 World Tour, Lady Antebellum hit the studio in the middle of summer to record an album full of Christmas songs. The 12-song set, which was recorded in a studio adorned with holiday lights to help create that festive ‘winter’ wonderland atmosphere, builds off the stunning dynamics of the award-winning trio while also capturing the enchanting glow of the holiday season.

On This Winter’s Night, which is available now, pairs the group once again with producer Paul Worley, the man behind the controls since Lady A’s debut in 2008. The overall sound is slick and modern, and while the project includes holiday standards like “A Holly Jolly Christmas” and “Christmas Baby (Please Come Home),” the group brings a vibrant energy to the old favorites with their special chemistry. On the former, it’s Hillary Scott taking the lead, developing a bouncing melody over a big band sound complete with swelling horn fills. On “Christmas Baby (Please Come Home),” Charles Kelley’s urgent delivery is punctuated with doo-wop harmonies from Hillary and Dave Haywood.

While big band brass and a heavy dose of Christmas cheer fill out selections like the funk / jazz-inspired “This Christmas” and a rollicking version of “Blue Christmas,” Lady A is truly at their best on the more traditional country leaning songs. Hillary’s classic delivery intertwines with harmonies from Charles and Dave on “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow” before a tasteful guitar and fiddle handoff plays through. “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” which follows acoustic guitar and fiddle lines, showcases the groups’ layered voices carrying through a room like the warmth of a winter fire. A constant throughout their career, Lady A once again shows off the ability to create compelling vocal arrangements.

The reigning CMA and ACM Vocal Group of the Year, Lady A re-worked the arrangements for two of the project’s songs. Continue Reading


Posted at 7:44 am | Permalink