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INTERVIEW: CMA Award Winner and Grammy Nominee Deana Carter

She is likely best known for her debut single, “Strawberry Wine,” but singer/songwriter Deana Carter has a plethora of albums, songwriting credits, award nominations, and a CMA Award on her shelf. Admittedly, Read More »

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Exclusive Interview: Paul Jolley

If you know the name Paul Jolley, chances are you were introduced to him by a little show named American Idol. If you don’t know the name Paul Jolley yet, it’s time Read More »

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Exclusive Interview: Dave Barnes

The name Dave Barnes is synonymous with awesome. By day, he’s an independent musician who just recently released his eighth studio album, Golden Days. By night, he’s a bit of a Nashville Read More »

Image courtesy of Kari & Billy

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Kari & Billy

Kari Nelson and Billy Arnold (collectively referred to as Kari & Billy) are a couple bound by love and marriage, as well as their talents for music. Kari has toured with John Read More »

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Exclusive Interview: David Fanning

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 Read More »

Lady Antebellum Lands Eighth #1 with “Compass”

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While most compasses point north, Lady Antebellum’s has pointed them straight to #1! The trio’s current single “Compass” has taken over the top spot on both the Billboard Country Airplay and Mediabase charts, making it their eighth #1 single.

“When we got the news that ‘Compass’ was number one, we were ironically enough, on a 500 mile detour on the bus in Canada trying to avoid an avalanche,” explains vocalist Hillary Scott. “The timing was actually really funny and fortunately we’re going to make it in plenty of time to see all our fans in Vancouver tonight.”

Scott continued by recognizing the work that others put into making the single such a success. “We’re so thankful for all our friends in radio, our record label but especially to all the fans that are on their feet each night when we start the show with this song. The energy is infectious, and it sets the night off on an unbelievable course!”

In addition to celebrating their latest #1 hit, Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley, and Dave Haywood will be honored at the GRAMMYs on the Hill Awards on April 2 in Washington DC. The trio will receive the Recording Artists Coalition Award in recognition of their achievements in country music and their philanthropic efforts.

Photo: Official Compass single artwork

Official 2014 Academy of Country Music Awards ZinePak Available March 18

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With the ACM Awards practically around the corner, The Academy of Country Music and ZinePak paired up to release the OFFICIAL 2014 ACMS AWARDS ZINEPAK, a limited-edition package exclusively for the ACM Awards. The pack features a 120 magazine and two CS with 21 songs, as well as a ballof of this year’s ACM nominees and six collectible guitar picks. The ZinePak will be available at Walmart stores on March 18 and retails for $10.

“This year’s ACM Awards ZinePak is better than ever,” said Lisa Lee, the Academy’s senior vice president of Creative & Content Production. “Fans can find out everything they need to know about this year’s ACM Award nominees, immerse themselves in the best music of the year and even play along at home with their own ballot. It’s a must-have for any country fan.”

Artists included on the collection include Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, George Strait, Taylor Swift, Lee Brice, Brett Eldredge, Carrie Underwood, Florida Georgia Line and many more.

There were also be interviews and other exclusive content, including a look into the ACMs. ZinePak co-founder Brittany Hodak said, “We are so excited to give fans even more exclusive content in this year’s ACM Awards ZinePak through the ZinePak All Access app! By scanning specific pages, fans can watch interviews from stars like Luke Bryan, Jerrod Niemann, Eric Paslay and Blake Shelton.”

The 49th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards will air on Sunday April 6, 2014 at 8:00 PM live ET/delayed PT on the CBS Television Network, hosted by Blake Shelton & Luke Bryan.

See the ZinePak & full track list here: http://bit.ly/ACM14

 

Cassadee Pope Makes History With Debut Single

Cassadee Pope WATT

As we have recently reported, Big Machine recording artist Cassadee Pope‘s debut single, “Wasting All These Tears,” was RIAA certified as Platinum for moving one million units. Achieving Platinum status is a feat in itself, but, if you are familiar with Cassadee, you know that this young artist constantly strives for more in her budding country music career.

Well, this comes as no exception, as Cassadee not only received high honors from RIAA, but also broke a country music record in the process. With Cassadee’s certification, she becomes the first solo female country artist to achieve a Platinum-certified debut single since Taylor Swift‘s 2006 release of “Tim McGraw.”

Congratulations to Cassadee on leaving her footprint on history! You are doing country music proud and are representing female artists beautifully!

REVIEW: Sara Evans’ “Slow Me Down”

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Sara Evans has been climbing the charts and playing through your stereo speakers since the late 1990′s, and if there is one thing we can say about Evans, it is that nobody can slow her down. At a time where it seems that a lot of our favorite veteran female country singers are releasing new music, Evans is back with an album, Slow Me Down, that will not disappoint. With three duets (two of which might surprise you!) and several new solo tracks to introduce, Evans reminds us all why she entered the hearts of country music fans many years ago and why she has remained in our hearts since.

On this, Evans’ seventh studio album, the pristine artist proves that her music career remains full speed ahead. Slow Me Down kicks off with the chart-climbing title track, which talks about a relationship that is nearly over, but before one of them walks out the door, the other is given a final chance to hurry up and say the right thing. “Slow Me Down” is an appropriate start to this eclectic collection of tracks because, right from the beginning of this album, Evans hits the ground running with potential hit after hit.

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 REVIEW: Jo Dee Messina’s “Me” On Monday

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We are only eight days away from the release of Jo Dee Messina’s new album, Me. Where did the time go?! With only two Mondays left before the release, we have three tracks left to get you excited for before the album officially drops. This week we want to introduce you to “Strong Shot of You” and “Love on a Maybe,” which are two more tracks on Me that will have you dancing in the driver’s seat of your car.

“Strong Shot of You” may have lyrics that are classified as “typical country” because you could get drunk if you imbibe the beverages mentioned in the first verse; however, the song itself is anything but. “Strong Shot of You” actually trades in the booze for a man, as Jo Dee orders up “those burnin’ kisses that go down easy” and “a hit of your love, just a little buzz in your ninety proof” from her bartender. While Jo Dee sings about how tipsy she already is from this man’s kind of lovin’, she certainly does not shy away from placing the order again … and again. This song is one that you will blast as you are getting ready to go out for a night on the town and stands out from the rest of the album, as it borders the more modern country rock that is so prevalent on today’s radio, while maintaining Jo Dee’s signature sound.

“Love on a Maybe” slows things down a bit … until the chorus, where you can’t help but bob your head and dance to the beat. When I heard the lyrics to this song, I said out loud to my co-worker, “ugh, sounds like my life!” and I am confident that many of you out there will relate. “Love on a Maybe” tells the story of a relationship where every time they get close, the man pulls away, leaving her wondering where exactly they stand. Then, without fail, he comes back around as if he never strayed. In this song, Jo Dee finally puts her foot down and tells him that the back and forth needs to stop and he is either in or he’s out, and if he’s in, it is about time he proves it! Jo Dee sings, “Can’t come back around, can’t come back around, getting my hopes up, just to tear them down. I, I don’t need you for a minute, don’t stand there tellin’ me you’re in it, ’cause I need you to show me you won’t leave me hangin’, no. I can’t give, give up my love, no, I can’t give my love on a maybe.” This song sends a message of independence and confidence, and tells women not to allow the uncertainty of men’s minds to control their hearts. Message received, Jo Dee!

Remember, Me will be released NEXT TUESDAY, March 18th, and is already available for pre-order now on iTunes. You can also pre-order a bundle package from Jo Dee’s website while supplies last!

Image courtesy of Team Jo Dee Messina

Miranda Lambert Ready to go ‘PLATINUM’

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In case you were counting, June 3rd is 85 days away. That means we only have to wait 85 more days for new music from Miranda Lambert, as her highly-anticipated album, Platinum, hits stores that day. It may seem like a ways away, but the album will be Miranda’s fifth and comes over two and a half years after her last record.

“From the day you kinda go I need to start looking for songs and writing songs, it feels like no matter how much time you have, you’re rushed,” Lambert said to ABC NEWS. “And so I didn’t want to rush it at all. To me it’s all about timing and making sure that you can feel like you can finally sit there and go, OK, the album’s done, and never have a moment where you go, I wish we could change that or I wish we had a different song.”

The album will feature 16 new tracks, and continue her expansion across genre and subject matters. To Lambert, it’s a collection of tracks that reflect her current life, as fans have already heard on the first-single “Automatic.” Country fans are also in for a girl-power treat when Lambert pairs with fellow blonde bombshell, Carrie Underwood, on “Something Bad.”

“We’re really rocking in country music and we’re coming together as a force,” Lambert says of the duet.. “To me, like, if you’re sitting on the front row, you might want to scoot back. It’s a force. It just feels exciting to me. I’m ready to rock.”

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.”

Eric Church Releases Second Video In Cryptic Series

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A distraught young woman, given a second chance. A mysterious funeral dated back in 1995. A present day heated altercation in a garage. An angry young man taking out his frustrations on a classic car with a bat. Sound like you’re watching the latest series on prime time? Is this by David Lynch?

Nope.

That was all part of Eric Church‘s video “San Destino Rising: Movimiento De Una” which, set up his latest video “A Man Who Was Gonna Die Young.” All the players are back, moving the storyline along, this time with Eric singing solemnly interspersed. This unique way of sharing the stories he tells in song on his album The Outsiders is a great way of getting fans involved in them. Says Eric:

“I love mysteries. That’s kind of where this whole video thing, when we started this teaser thing, we already had the concept for what these videos were gonna be. And we wanted it to be this big mystery, level of intrigue, that just was fun for fans that we could have this thing of trying to figure it out and looking at where clues were.”

Fans are encouraged, as the videos are released, to pay attention to the clues and characters that Eric and his team are laying down. After all, don’t we all want to know whose funeral is going on on the roadside?

“All the characters that are in that, light will be shed on them as we go through this single process and video process. Throughout this entire album, that storyline will continue to play out and the ending is quite remarkable. We’ll get to that one day.”

We are definitely looking forward to it!

Photocredit: John Peets