Category Archives: Introducing

Review: Dustin Vye EP

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Last year, Keepin It Country had the great priviledge of introducing up and coming country singer Dustin Vye in an exclusive interview. The interview mentioned to keep an eye out for a forthcoming EP. On April 15, the EP landed on both iTunes and Bandcamp. And now, it’s our pleasure to be asked to review his debut EP, Dustin Vye, for our readers!

Dustin Vye’s self-titled EP is a great mix of rockin numbers, great for gettin on your line dance, and ballads to snuggle in close to your special someone. It starts out with a bang with the great ‘don’t let the door hit ya in the butt on your way out’ number “So Long”, sure to be resonant with anyone who realized they were just better off without someone.

“Chance” and “Country Life” are great country anthems, one about a girl who catches the songwriter’s eye and one about the simpler life out of the city. Both have great rhythms to keep the toes tapping and melodies you’ll be humming for days.

“Let Her Go” and “Never Loved” are the EP’s two soulful loved and lost ballads. The heartbreak is underscored by minor chords and a prominent fiddle that serve to pull the listener into the singer’s state of heart.

The Dustin Vye EP is a strong debut from a talented young man and is sure to be a great addition to the collection of any country fan. Whether you are looking for a crowd-pleaser for a party or a partner in heartbreak, this EP is for you!

Photocredit: Dustin Vye Official EP Cover

Dan + Shay Releasing Debut Album in April

Dan + Shay

If you have been lucky enough to attend a live show by Dan + Shay, you know that this duo is incredibly talented and their harmonies are nothing short of heavenly. With their first single, “19 You + Me,” flying up the charts, Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney are ready to take on the album charts with their debut project. After seeing what these two have to offer their live audiences, we couldn’t be more excited to hear what the talented duo has in store for us!

Dan + Shay’s debut album, Where It All Began, will be released April 1st on Warner Bros. Records and will contain the following tracks:

CMT’s Next Women of Country Adds Five Artists

Next Women of Country

We can’t say enough about the fierce females who are a huge part of today’s country music. CMT echoes our sentiment, as it gives nods to five upcoming country music starlets who are on their way to striking gold (or platinum) in the genre we all know and love.

This year’s “Next Women of Country” are: Lindsay Ell, Lucy Hale, Nikki Lane, Angaleena Presley, and Natalie Stovall & the Drive. CMT chose these particular ladies for their voices, but also for their music in general. CMT coins each of these talented artists as the types of “women [who] dig deep and find the stories and the lyrics that make listeners stop and think.”

You can find out more about each of these artists by visiting NextWomen.CMT.com, or by checking out the hashtag #NextWomen on Twitter.

Exclusive Interview: Ross Cooper

Ross Cooper

In today’s country music, it is common to find new artists putting a pop/rock twist on tracks, sometimes blurring the lines between what is truly defined as country music and what is more often referred to as “Top 40.” Enter Ross Cooper, a native-born Texan who couldn’t have the heels of his cowboys boots dug deeper into classic country in every sense of the word.

Ross grew up in a rodeo family, so, naturally, he became involved with rodeo at a young age. However, his mother, albeit a rodeo lover herself, was also involved in music. Growing up, Ross’s mother had a guitar, but, for some unknown reason, he (like many kids) took piano lessons. Finally, Ross reached the end of his rope with the piano, put his cowboy boot down and told his mother he wasn’t playing piano any longer and wanted to take guitar lessons instead.

Once his mother agreed to let Ross make the instrument switch, he also began writing songs. The first song Ross wrote was when he was ten years old and it was with his mother on piano, and, admittedly, the song was “terrible.” In junior high, Ross decided he wanted to start a band, “because that’s what you do!” and he got together with a few friends, one of whom’s mother owned a local blues bar. The group would sneak into the bar and play their Sunday night jams. By the time the group entered high school, they had a well-groomed band.

While Ross was making music with his friends, he was also becoming more and more involved with the rodeo. Ross was a bucking horse bareback rider through high school and even quit football during his sophomore year to focus on riding. He continued on this path through college and then started to pro rodeo. In an unfortunate twist of fate, Ross tore his knee, not once, but twice, and was required to take time off from rodeoing. At that point, he had to figure out what path to take moving forward, as he was still playing music regularly. “Music kinda filled the gap, so much to the point that I had to make a choice between the two. So, here I am.”

Breakout Artist Sarah Davidson Releases Self-Titled EP March 25

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Sarah Davidson is setting herself up to be a breakout artist of 2014 with the release of her self-titled EP.

The EP, recorded in Nashville under the helm of producers Brian Kolb (Jerrod Niemann) and Dino Paredes (The Avett Brothers and Johnny Cash), is a 5-reflection of Davidson’s personal and professional growth over the last several years. “I want to put out music through my albums that tells a story, that is authentic to what my life is. Just basically living my life open and putting out music that parallels that.” says Davidson. The EP showcases Davidson’s broad range of musical style: from the audio come on of the debut single “Drink You Up”, to the poignant ballad “Get Out” and the breezy ode to youth “Ride Around”; there is sure to be something to appeal to every fan of country music.

Backed by the Suretone label and bolstered by being featured on TNT’s new unscripted drama Private Lives of Nashville Wives (debuting Feb 24 at 10/9 CT), as not only one of the stories they follow through the drama, but also penning and singing the series theme song “Bright Lights, Big City”, Davidson is sure to be poised for stardom.

Exclusive Interview: David Fanning

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Although you may not know the name David Fanning just yet, chances are if you’ve turned on country radio recently, you’ve heard a song he’s had his hand in. Since arriving in Nashville seven years ago, he’s been working behind-the-scenes, but now, he’s confidently making the leap from one side of the microphone to the other.  And he’s got Justin Timberlake‘s endorsement.

Before moving to Nashville at the age of twenty, David Fanning grew up in Admore, Alabama, which is on the Alabama/Tennesee line, and was always surrounded by music. His family sang 50′s & 60′s Acapella music on weekends, while it was his older sister who listened to country music. In typical younger sibling fashion, David idolized his sister and wanted to be just like her. “She was in the Bryan White fan club, so I had to be like her and be in the Bryan White fanclub.” He laughs, recalling his intro to country music.

David tells us that he played shows whenever the opportunity arose, and at the age of twenty, he packed up and headed to Nashville. Upon arriving in Nashville, he met Rich Redmond, Tully Kennedy, and Kurt Allison, members of Jason Aldean‘s touring and recording band. The foursome began New Voice Entertainment and began writing and producing for new acts. Together, they’ve produced hits such as “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not?,” which David describes as one his first steps into professional production.

EXCLUSIVE REVIEW: Jo Dee Messina’s “Me” on Monday

Image courtesy of Jo Dee Messina

We are one week closer to Platinum-selling recording artist and Grammy-nominee, Jo Dee Messina‘s, album release. We are “Breaking It Down” for you here: Me, a project that is very dear to Jo Dee’s and her fan’s hearts, will become available on March 18, 2014. Every drop of blood, ounce of sweat, and stream of tears aided in making this one of her best projects to date.

This week, seven weeks before the big day, the selected track off Me is “Breaking It Down.” “Breaking It Down” is about a relationship where there seems to be a communication disconnect and, no matter how much the woman tries to explain to the man exactly what she needs from him, he just doesn’t seem to understand. Ultimately, the woman reaches her breaking point, can’t continue to fight so hard for her happiness in the relationship, and opts to walk away. Or, in alternate meaning, some might say this could be a message from Jo Dee to her former record label …

Jo Dee’s vocals on this track will take you back to the beginning, when you first fell in love with this artist. Jo Dee is a sassy powerhouse who makes every word she utters believable. Jo Dee sings “‘Cause I feel that you oughta know that I need more than I’ve been getting out of you. I’m tired of excuses, this is useless, so now, I’m breaking it down” in a way that you can envision yourself driving down the street, windows down, belting along with her in a moment when you feel as though you need freedom (albeit likely not in key). The bridge, which is the most catchy part of the song, says “I’m breaking it down step-by-step, line-by-line. I’m breaking it down so you know why it’s crumbled to the ground.” The beat of this portion of the song makes you want to clap your hands and will, undoubtedly, be a crowd favorite when Jo Dee takes her new music out on the road for her adoring fans.

Remember, there are only seven weeks left until this iconic female country singer releases this very personal album, reconnects with old fans, and welcomes new. We will see you back here next week as we continue to celebrate the upcoming release of Jo Dee Messina’s Me.

REVIEW: Lucy Hale’s Album Sneak Peek

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Lucy Hale is making her rounds doing radio station events to promote her upcoming album, and she recently stopped into 103.1 WIRK in South Florida. Lucy took the stage at country nightclub, Renegades, to give fans a glimpse at who Lucy is beyond her role as Aria Montgomery on ABC Family’s hit show, Pretty Little Liars. We were fortunate enough to be among those who were on the receiving end of four songs that will appear on Lucy’s debut country album.

Exclusive: Interview with Brent Rupard

Brent Rupard

“I remember telling my sister when I was very young, ‘I either want to be like Alvin and the Chipmunks or Garth Brooks.’”

That is my favorite quote from my interview with Brent Rupard.

Brent is a proud Kentuckian who took the leap of faith and headed to Nashville in 2010 to pursue his dream and passion – music.

Rupard (pronounced Rooperd he jokingly noted) is from the small town of Shepherdsville, Kentucky. He took a liking to music early in his childhood. After his dad taught him his first guitar chord at age 10, an artist was born as they say and he started writing songs a few years later.

After he made the move to Nashville to pursue his dream career, he soon found a home for his songwriting. With the help of Leann Phelan (ASCAP), he signed a publishing deal with Sea Gayle Music Publishing which is owned by Brad Paisley, Chris DuBois and Frank Rogers.

After about a year of focusing on his writing, he started and is currently working on his debut album. He is hoping for it to be released sometime this year. When asked about his album, he says: “Working on this record has been the highlight of my life. This is a record I’ve always wanted to make. I’ve been fortunate to work on this album with Bryan Simpson and Justin Niebank producing. This record will have the elements of a “rootsy” back porch style with a big ol’ slice of Rock n’ Roll. According to my producer Bryan Simpson, ‘It’s kind of like Garth Brooks meets Levon Helm.’ I have really poured my soul into this project and I hope people get a clear picture of who Brent Rupard is from this debut album.”

The Swon Brothers Ship Debut Single, “Later On” to Country Radio

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Arista recording artists, The Swon Brothers, have officially announced “Later On” as the debut single for their upcoming album. After playing it live, in a celebrated return performance to The Voice in December, the Team Blake finalists have been drumming up anticipation for this release.

The single shipped today to country radio stations and although, the official radio airplay date is set for March of this year; fans have been able to download the song from iTunes since December. Within 24 hours of its availability, listeners pushed “Later On” to #1 on iTunes’ Top Country Song charts!

The duo is pleased that the song is resonating with their fans as much as it does with themselves. Zack Swon was quoted as saying, “We are beyond blessed and excited to be releasing our very first single on Arista Nashville! We believe that with the love and support from our fans this song has big potential.”

“We’ve waited and prayed for this moment our whole lives and it’s finally here! We are more than ready to meet all the folks at country radio and want to say thank you in advance for welcoming your two new brothers to the family!” added by his brother, Colton Swon.

For now, The Swon Brothers are hard at work with producer Mark Bright (Carrie Underwood and Sara Evans) on their debut album under Arista Nashville. The date for the album may be set for later this year, but fans who just can’t wait, can download the debut single, “Later On”, here.

And for fans who just can get enough of this fun and talented brother duo, you can catch the replay of their performance on The Voice, here.