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Lionel Richie and Billy Currington to Premiere “Just For You” on Jimmy Kimmel Live & The Talk

Lionel

Lionel Richie teamed up with his Mercury Nashville label mate Billy Currington on the song “Just For You” for his new album, Tuskegee, which was released on Monday, March 26, and has already peaked at No.1 on the iTunes and Amazon.com album charts. They will premiere the song on Jimmy Kimmel Live on April 4 and The Talk on April 5.

As soon as Richie heard Currington’s rough-and-sultry soulful country voice, he immediately knew what song he wanted the Georgia singer to record on his new album that contains 13 of his timeless hits performed as duets with country stars.

Q It Up Live Features Headlining Performers Through End of the Year

Margaritaville

Newly-launched artist management firm, XYQ Artist Management, will host Q It Up Live, a star-studded concert series at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville in downtown Nashville. Concerts will be held once every other month through the end of the year. The series kicks off this Wednesday, May 15 at 7 p.m. CDT featuring country music headliner, Darryl Worley, and supporting acts Danielle Peck, Sarah Darling, Mo Pitney and Friends of Lola. Adam Wurtzel from WSMV Channel 4 News’ More at Midday will host, and a silent auction and raffle will benefit the American Red Cross and local non-profit for the hearing impaired, Songs For Sound.

The silent auction will give fans the chance to bid on a diverse array of celebrity autographed items and experiences, including a signed guitar from country star Jake Owen, a ride in a two-seater Indy race car during the week of the Indianapolis 500, presented by IndyCar, and merchandise from Jack Daniel’s and Roper. In addition, Herta Racing will present a prize package that includes a meet and greet with driver Alex Tagliani, a personal tour of his race car and garage, and an autographed team hat. Additional items are being added to the auction daily.

General admission tickets for Wednesday night’s Q It Up Live concert series kick-off show can be purchased online in advance at www.qituplive.com or at the door for $10. VIP packages including food, two Jack Daniel’s drinks and an exclusive gift are available for $35.

The Q It Up Live concert series, in partnership with the American Red Cross, Songs For Sound and The Big 98 WSIX “Nashville’s NEW Country,” is sponsored by Jack Daniel’s, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville and Roper. Additional concert series line-ups will be announced soon.
For more information, visit www.qituplive.com.

Nominees for ACAs Announced

AMERICAN COUNTRY AWARDS: LOGO

The nominees were just announced earlier this morning for this year’s American Country Awards. The third edition of the fan-voted award show will once again air live on FOX from Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. While the co-hosts remain the same with Trace Adkins and Kristin Chenoweth, there is something new about the award show – the addition of the “Song Of The Year” category which will honor country music’s top songwriters of 2012. The nominees for Song of the Year are determined by the National Songwriters Association International (NSAI). The award show will air live on December 10th on FOX at 8 pm EST.

Artists leading all nominees this year are Luke Bryan with seven, and Lady Antebellum tying for second with Zac Brown Band with six nominations each. Eric Church and Taylor Swift both have five nominations each. Check out the full list of nominees below and let us know who you’ll be voting for. Fans can vote at theacas.com for their favorite artists, and make sure to tune in December 10th to see who wins!

Performers and presenters will be announced shortly, so stay tuned for that announcement too!

Lionel Richie Receives First-Ever CMA Nomination

Lionel Richie.

It’s almost hard to believe that a musical icon like Lionel Richie can still be receiving “firsts” in the industry today. He’s been nominated for his first-ever Country Music Association (CMA) Award for his duet with Darius Rucker with “Stuck On You” for Musical Event of the Year.

Lionel shares:

“I am thrilled to receive my first nomination from the CMA.  I am so grateful to the country music community for embracing this project and making me feel so at home. To share this nomination with my friend Darius Rucker makes it even more special. I have a CMA nomination and a friend for life. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

Darius is just as excited as Lionel is over the nomination:

“I was so honored to have sung with Lionel and am overjoyed with this nomination.”

“Stuck On You” appears on Lionel’s platinum-certified Tuskegee. Tuskegee is the best-selling country album of 2012 and the first country album in more than a year to spend two consecutive weeks atop the Billboard 200.  Richie has garnered album sales of more than 100 million, 22 Top 10 hits, five Grammys, an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a host of other awards.

The album features duets of 13 of his timeless hits with Jason Aldean, Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Chesney, Billy Currington, Little Big Town, Tim McGraw, Willie Nelson, Jennifer Nettles, Rascal Flatts, Kenny Rogers, Darius Rucker, Blake Shelton and Shania Twain.

Josh Leo Celebrates 23 #1 Songs!

josh leo

Renowned music producer Josh Leo is celebrating twenty-three number one singles this week. He’s personally written six number one singles, and has contributed to multiple gold and platinum selling albums and singles throughout his career – including for The Eagles’ Timothy B. Schmit. He was  even the one responsible for the discovery of country superstar Martina McBride.

His latest number one is with RCA Nashville duo Love and Theft. He produced their new album and their number one single “Angel Eyes.” He’s pretty excited about the duo, and shares:

“Love and Theft is a TRUE duo!! Two great singers, songwriters and performers that equally carry the weight! I’m very fortunate to be given the opportunity to work with such talented REAL people!”

Eric Gunderson and Eric Barker Liles were just as excited to be working with Josh:

“Josh Leo is the man!  He is a legend and it has been such a pleasure to work with him.  We are so honored to be a part of his 23rd #1 song.  We look forward to making music with Josh for years to come!” says Eric Gunderson.
 
“Josh Leo!!!!  Our other dad!!!  I couldn’t be more happy for him to land his 23rd #1 record.  We are honored to work with him and blessed to call him our friend.  Congrats Josh!” comments Stephen Barker Liles.
Love & Theft’s single isn’t the only thing Josh is celebrating this week. He also produced Broken Bow Records’ artist Dustin Lynch‘s single “Cowboys & Angels.” Dustin’s single is currently number twelve before his self-titled debut album hits stores next week. Josh co-wrote Dustin’s single with Tim Nichols and Dustin himself.
Along with working as a producer on 23 number one singles, Josh has been the session guitarist for over 150 songs in his career. He also has a pretty impressive songwriting credits over his career: including six number one singles, including Alabama‘s “Down Home” and “Hometown Honeymoon,” Restless Heart’s huge A/C smash “Tell Me What You Dream,” and has had his songs recorded by Kenny Chesney, LeAnn Rimes, The Wreckers, Reba McEntire, Brenda Lee, Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Rogers, and many, many more.

Lionel Richie Has Best Selling Country Album of 2012

Lionel Richie.

It’s official! Lionel Richie‘s “Tuskegee” is the best-selling country album for the first half of 2012. The record has sold an approximate 912, 000 copies, which is more than any other release so far this year, by the year’s mid-point on July 1st. That’s the halfway point for Soundscan’s tracking year. Lionel is in second to Adele’s “21” for all-genre best sellers. To date, Lionel’s now topped sales with more than 934,000 copies sold of his country duets project.

“Tuskegee” claimed the number one spot on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart for two consecutive weeks, and sat atop the Billboard Country Albums Chart for an impressive four weeks in a row. In only five weeks, “Tuskegee” was certified platinum for selling more than 1 million copies.

“What a year!” Richie says. “This album has taken me on an unforgettable journey filled with new friends, new jokes and new musical inspirations.  I am overwhelmed and humbled by the success of Tuskegee and am thrilled by how it has been embraced by music lovers of all ages and backgrounds around the world.”

Lionel’s album was released back on March 26th and debuted at the number two spot on the Billboard 200 and number one on the Country Albums chart. It was his best first-week sales that Soundscan has tracked since 1991. It’s become an immediate worldwide hit, debuting at number one on Canada’s Top Albums Chart, and reaching the top 20 albums charts in 10 different countries. It went top 10 in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Holland, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Sweden. It was his first number one debut in Canada since Soundscan started tracking, and his first number one record in Canada since his 1983 release “Can’t Slow Down.”

The album features 13 duets of Lionel’s biggest hits with some of the brightest stars in country music. Artists featured on the record include Shania Twain, Kenny Chesney, Jimmy Buffett, Little Big Town, Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton, Jennifer Nettles, Rascal Flatts, Kenny Rogers, Darius Rucker, Jason Aldean and Billy Currington.

Lionel will be performing at Boots and Hearts Music Festival in Bowmanville, Ontario this August. We’ll be there, will you? Tickets are still available for this amazing country music festival, which runs August 9th through to the 12th at the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. For more information, or to get your tickets before they sell out, visit bootsandhearts.com/.

REVIEW: Kenny Chesney – Welcome To The Fishbowl

Kenny Chesney.

Kenny Chesney’s new album, “Welcome To The Fishbowl”, dropped today. It features his fantastic hit duets, “You and Tequila” with Grace Potter, and “Feel Like a Rock Star” with pal Tim McGraw. For the most part, the album follows the “You and Tequila” style. Chesney tones down the party-boy attitude on this release, opting instead for more brooding (and sometimes downright gloomy) numbers.

Chesney opens with recently released single “Come Over”, a softer take on the same theme as Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now”. While Chesney is better known for his upbeat, party-country tunes, he sounds just as comfortable with this heartsick, melancholy track. In “Come Over”, you notice a sense of real longing, almost begging, on the part of the singer. It’s no surprise this one is climbing the charts already.

Cruisin’ With Blake Shelton Playlist

blake shelton

With the days getting warmer and the date getting closer, us here at Keepin’ it Country got together to put together a list of our favorite beach-flavored tunes for the Blake Shelton Cruise. We’ll be aboard the biggest live country music event ever to set sail, and we want to help our fellow country music fans get ready for the party of the year!

The 7-night cruise leaves Miami on October 14th, then returns on October 21st after 7-nights at sea. You’ll visit San Juan, Tortola, Nassau, and St. Thomas over those fantastic seven nights. Not only will we be on-board, but so will some of the biggest stars in country music… Blake Shelton will perform twice during the cruise, and he’s bringing along some friends to perform and party with too. There’s so many great performers announced so far that it would take all day to list them here, so visit blakesheltoncruise.com to book your cabin or for more information on the country music party of the year. If you mention Keepin’ it Country when you book your cabin you’ll receive a free gift from us on-board!

Take a look at our ultimate Blake Shelton Cruise playlist below, which we’ll be playing on our iPods as we board the beautiful Norwegian Pearl in October.  Leave us your suggestions and maybe your favorites might make our Cruise playlist part 2 at a later date.

REVIEW: Carrie Underwood – Blown Away

carrie underwood

Carrie Underwood first achieved crossover success in 2006 with her treatise on appropriate responses to infidelity, “Before He Cheats”. That track hit number eight on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the country charts, propelling the blonde bombshell to new heights of popularity. Since then, though, she’s stuck closer to home while occasionally dipping a toe in the pop realm as with “Cowboy Casanova” and the duet “I Told You So”.

But it sounds like three straight number one records and seven years of continuous success have given her the confidence to step outside her comfort zone.

Underwood’s new album, “Blown Away”, does just that to all previous attempts at country-pop crossover. There’s some great traditional country on this release, but it’s completely overshadowed by a trio of spectacular crossover songs.

Zac Brown Band Add New Member & New Album

Zac Brown Band. photo credit: C.Taylor Crothers

With two GRAMMY wins and already more than 50 award nominations to their name, Zac Brown Band are heading back into the studio for work on a new album. They’ve announced that they’ll be releasing that new record, “Uncaged,” on July 10th. It’s a big album for the Zac Brown Band, who will be having brand new member percussionist Daniel de los Reyes make his debut as part of the group.

The band is currently nominated for a Billboard Music Award for Top Country Artist, and they also have two nominations in the fan-voted CMT Music Awards for Collaborative Video of the Year for “Knee Deep” with Jimmy Buffet, and Best Group Video for “Keep Me In Mind.”

Zac Brown Band have already had a huge impact on country radio with only two albums released so far. Their debut album, “The Foundation,” went double-platinum. Their sophomore album, “You Get What You Give,” debuted at the number one spot on the Billboard 200 Chart in 2010.

The band is made up of Zac Brown (vocals, guitar), Jimmy De Martini (vocals, violin), John Driskell Hopkins (vocals, bass), Coy Bowles (guitar, organ), Clay Cook (multi-instrumentalist), Chris Fryar (drums), and now percussionist Daniel de los Reyes.