Monthly Archives: December 2011

Trace Adkins On The State Of Country Music

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As the calendar is about to turn on a phenomenal year for Country music, it’s time to sit back and reflect a bit.

Country’s influence and impact reached far and wide this past year.  Cross-over artists like Taylor Swift and Lady A brought their music to millions of fans, many of whom may have been getting their first taste of the genre.  Country artists finished first and second on the latest season of American idol with Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina.  Then there was Blake Shelton, who brought a funny, thoughtful and sometimes surprisingly compassionate face to Country through his work on NBC’s “The Voice”.

Sara Evans To Perform At Taste Of NFL

Sara Evans. Photo Credit: Sony Music Nashville.

Sony Music Nashville’s Sara Evans is set to provide the entertainment for a very special evening. She’ll be performing at the 21st annual Party With A Purpose on February 4th, 2012. It’s a food-centric event hosted by the NFL the night before the Superbowl. Each NFL team city has a chef partnered with a former NFL player. Proceeds from the event go to food cupboards around the United States.

Other stars making appearances at the special event include Ted Allen of the Food Network program “Chopped,” Mauro Castano and Joey Faugano of TLC’s “Cake Boss,” and former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy. This year’s event will be held at the Indianapolis’ Gleaner Food Bank. It’s the first time in the 21-year history that the event will be held at a food bank.

Country Stars Make TLC’s Top 10 Weddings Of 2011 List

Blake Shelton & Miranda Lambert. photo credit: Robert Evans.

TLC put together a countdown of the top ten weddings of 2011, and some of country music’s biggest weddings made the cut. Shania Twain, Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton, Kellie Pickler and Kyle Jacobs, and LeAnn Rimes and Eddie’s weddings all charted in the chart. Kate Middleton and Prince William were named the number one wedding of the year. No surprise there! TLC just aired the special tonight. Country music had the most weddings charting out of all genres!

What would you consider to be the biggest country music wedding of 2011?

Top 20 Singles Of 2011

Ronnie Dunn.

2011 has been one heck of a year for country music. We’ve seen singles from all different sides of the spectrum: from songs that make you want to get up and dance, to songs that make you want to cry. Country has always been very good at dealing with real-life issues. It’s the story songs that make country music the genre it is. It has a way of moving you, either to get up and party, or to remember what’s really going on in the world.

It was hard to narrow down the highlight songs of the year into one package, but Ted Efron and myself sat down to do just that. There might be some surprises on our list, but these are the songs that defined a genre for 2011. Take a look at our list below and let us know if you agree, disagree, or think we forgot someone we shouldn’t have. Not all of these songs are singles, some are just the best album tracks that should have been singles this year.

Taylor Swift Releases New Song For Hunger Games Soundtrack

Taylor Swift. photo credit: Big Machine Records.

With just hours before Christmas, country superstar Taylor Swift gave her fans an early Christmas present this year.  She sent out a link on Twitter to a brand new song “Safe And Sound” which she recorded for the upcoming Hunger Games soundtrack. The movie will be released to theaters March 23rd, 2012.

She first teased fans with this Tweet:

@taylorswift13: Something I’ve been VERY excited about for a VERY long time is going to be happening VERY soon.

With everyone guessing everything under the moon, Taylor finally let the cat out of the bag. She recorded a new song “Safe And Sound” with The Civil Wars for the movie, which quickly became a trending topic on Twitter within minutes. The track is available for purchase on iTunes now. It’s a different side of Taylor which the Civil Wars help her bring out: no more love stories or catchy man-hating lyrics here! It’s a dark, folksy track that explores a new side of Taylor that fans weren’t expecting.

REVIEW: Jason Charles Miller – Uncountry

Jason Charles Miller. photo credit: TJ Scott.

Usually when an artist wants to cross-over and try his hand with country music it doesn’t always go like they planned. Jason Charles Miller, better known as the frontman of Godhead, released his debut country solo album back in October. “Uncountry” is a surprisingly country album that most mainstream fans may not have heard of. Jason embraced his songwriting roots with an album filled with a Kris Kristofferson or a Merle Haggard flavor.

His solo career was launched on HBO’s hit series “True Blood” with his single “You Get What You Pay For” and it’s been on the rise since then. Jason has opened for Toby Keith, Gary Allan, and Eric Church, three artists he could comfortably compare to in the industry today. His classic country influence is obvious on the record, which proves that Los Angeles and Nashville have more in common than people thought.

Jason has one of the most “country” voices this year, which deserves more attention than it’s been getting. “Uncountry” is one of the more pure-country albums of 2011 and it rocks. For fans of Eric Church it’s a must-have. Fans will be surprised at how easily Jason can fit into country music with his rock pedigree. It’s not a spur-of-the-moment venture: he’s been playing country music for quite some time. He co-wrote or wrote every track on the 10-song album. Much like his title track says, there’s nothing uncountry about him.

Grammy Camps To Be Held In 3 Cities In 2012

The Grammys.

The Recording Academy announced yesterday that they will be holding three sets of GRAMMY camps in three major United States cities in 2012. The signature camp experience for American high school students will be held in New York City, Los Angeles and Nashville in the summer. The camp was previously held in Los Angeles for the last seven years and for the first time in New York City last summer. This is the first year it’s expanded to Nashville.

Applications are currently online and students can apply at grammyintheschools.com. The application deadline is March 31st, 2012. Financial aid is available and 75 percent of students who have applied for aid have received it in the past.  Students are allowed to apply for all three locations, and there is discounted tuition available for participation in multiple sessions. The GRAMMY camp is also searching for camp counselors between the ages of 21 to 25.

“We are extremely excited to bring GRAMMY Camp to three dynamic music markets in the summer of 2012, and provide this valuable experience to the next generation of music makers,” said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy® and the GRAMMY Foundation. “GRAMMY Camp is one of our most immersive programs in terms of exposing young people to what it’s like to have an actual working career in the music business, and the opportunity to receive instruction directly from GRAMMY®-winning artists and industry professionals instills knowledge, confidence and lasting lessons on GRAMMY campers.”

For details on each of the three camps, read below:

Top 11 Country Albums Of 2011

Pistol Annies.

2011 has been quite a year for country music. We’ve seen touching, real-life singles like “Cost Of Livin’” to new party anthems like “Red Solo Cup.” There’s been albums that have broken records, and albums that have surprised fans. We’ve had all-girl groups form, and some groups losing members this year. One thing is for sure… 2011 has been a big one for country music.

We’ve put together our top eleven list of the eleven best albums released this year. Some of our picks may surprise you, so make sure to take a look and let us know on Twitter, Facebook, or right here in the comments about what you think, how you feel, and if you think we missed someone we shouldn’t have.

Keepin’ it Country’s Top 11 Albums of 2011: 

Joey + Rory A Farmhouse Christmas Just In Time For Holidays

Joey + Rory.

Husband-and-wife country music duo Joey + Rory have been making the most of this year’s Christmas season. They’ve managed to take their “A Farmhouse Christmas” album into a multi-city tour, and have scored a television special for the holidays with “Country’s Family Reunion Presents Joey + Rory’s A Farmhouse Christmas.” The hour-long special 0riginally aired in November, but will be getting more airtime this weekend onon Country’s Family Reunion on RFD-tv. Catch the special December 23rd at 8 pm EST, and again on December 24th at 5 am and 11 am, both times in Eastern Standard Time.

“We fell in love with Joey and Rory when they were musical guests on ‘Larry’s Country Diner,’ and ‘Country’s Family Reunion’” said Larry Black, producer of both shows. “They are such a sweet couple – so engaging and so warm.  When they came up with the idea to do a television special surrounding their new Christmas album, I said, ‘if you can pull it off, we’ll do it.’  The show they came up with smacks of the old and resonates with the new.”

Taped in their spacious 1870′s farm house outside Nashville, Tennessee; the special captures the duo’s quirky personalities. Joey + Rory mixed songs from their “A Farmhouse Christmas” record and discuss their favorite holiday memories, favorite gifts, holiday cooking and baking, and more.

“It was decked out like a winter wonderland”, wife of the duo, Joey Martin added. “We’re thrilled at how it turned out, and we’re anxious for everyone to see it.  Funny thing is, we don’t even have a television, so we’ll have to go visit someone and catch it one these nights!” laughs Rory Feek.

The television special is sponsored by Roper Western Apparel and Footwear.

Mark Wayne Glasmire Brings Compelling Tunes & Great Vocals Jan 10th

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Award-winning singer-songwriter Mark Wayne Glasmire will be bringing his signature voice and music back to country music on January 10th with a brand-new seven-song E.P.. The self-titled E.P., “Mark Wayne Glasmire,” will be released on Traceway Records. It’s currently on the iTunes “Country New And Noteworthy Page” The record includes the international hit “I Like You” which had kept Mark as the number one entertainer on the HotDisc chart earlier this year for nine weeks. The E.P.’s first single “Goin’ Home” was released back in September, and was inspired by a c0nversation with his friend who had a military career of over a decade. The music video for the single was directed by Harold Jarboe, and currently has rotation on Roughstock, American Music Channel, Yallwire, The Country Network, and Yahoo! Music.

The record was co-produced by Mark and John Albani, famous for his work with Steve Azar, Monty Holmes and Randy Boudreaux. The 7-song EP features some of Nashville’s best pickers, and Mark’s signature guitar work.

“It was truly a labor of love,” Mark says.  “There’s a certainty and commitment that I think come across in the music.”

The album features tracks like “Last Of A Dying Breed,” which targets a lack of accountability in today’s society with a gospel-inspired piano intro and rock-flavored guitar licks, then he segways into a laid back, island-driven “I Like You.” Mark’s voice easily sells the ballads “Goin’ Home” and “The Last Goodbye” on the E.P, and reminiscent of Brooks & Dunn on “She’s Got It All.” The album also includes the pretty bonus track “Now I Believe,” and the closer “The Moment.”

“This is what I do,” Mark admits with a trademark grin.  “I’ve been running the road for a lot of years; from the East Coast to the West Coast, with Nashville in between. I’ve got an abundance of life experience to draw from.”

The Texas-born singer is a memorizing performer, who has shared the stage in the past with Dierks Bentley, Guy Clark, and many other top acts in country music today. He’s an award-winning songwriter who had been honored with the 2010 “Grand Prize In The Country Song Division” of the 2010 Chris Austin Songwriting Contest held at Merlefest.