Search our site:
Country music is probably the most accepting and welcoming genre in music. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that newcomers enter the scene often and immediately imprint our hearts with their sincerity and gratitude, and win our support with their undeniable talents. The staff at Keepin’ It Country has compiled a list of those we are Keepin’ Our Eyes On in 2014. We suggest you all take notes and keep a close lookout for these up and coming artists. We have a feeling they will be filling your iPods and blaring from your stereo speakers in the very near future.
Jenn Bostic – With a hit record in the United Kingdom and nearly half a dozen Independent Country Music Awards under her belt, “Jenn Bostic” is becoming a name commonly uttered by country music fans alike. If you haven’t heard Bostic’s breakout song, “Jealous of the Angels,” you are missing out on a song that will simultaneously touch and break your heart, all the while soothing your soul. It won’t take long until the United States’ radio stations take notice of this talented, warm, and beautiful artist. Mark our words.
Brandy Clark – She may hate orange and she may not look good in stripes, but she sure does sound sensational singing about same. With impressive songwriting credentials under her belt, Clark contributed her vocal talent to Sheryl Crow’s 2012 tour. Clark later released an EP, entitled Brandy Clark, and a full-length album, 12 Stories, which has received countless rave reviews. With the release of 12 Stories taking place so late in 2013, the album has barely had time just yet to circulate to its fullest potential, but we anticipate that radio stations are going to take notice sooner, rather than later, and make Clark a household country music name.
Lucy Hale – You may have been watching Hale for years in her role as Aria Montgomery on ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars. However, you might have been unaware that Hale first entered our homes on the small screen due to her musical talents. Ten years after Hale introduced her vocal abilities to America, she has returned, honoring her Tennessee roots, and recently released her debut country music single. If “You Sound Good To Me” is any indication of what Hale’s entire album is going to prove, consider Hale the next successful crossover artist from television to music.
Caroline Kole – She entered the scene as a pre-teen, sharing the stage with iconic country singer, Reba McEntire. She shares management with McEntire, Blake Shelton, and Kelly Clarkson. She is only sixteen years old. At sixteen, Kole has had experiences that most of us could only dream about and she is not even close to being done. Kole’s debut EP is being released this Tuesday, January 14, 2014, and is unmistakably a perfect introduction to country music fans. What will fans take from this album? Kole is mature; Kole is talented; Kole is bringing country back … and Kole, along with her classic country sound, are here to stay.
Jamie Lynn Spears – You have likely known of Spears for most of her life because of her family. You might have watched her on Zoey 101 or read about her in a magazine or twenty. However, this is a Jamie Lynn Spears you never knew before and is worth taking time to get to know. Bursting into country music with a song that people were initially skeptical about, Spears shocked the country music world with her raw, beautiful vocals on “How Could I Want More?” The track left country music fans wanting more, and we anticipate that Spears will provide more … and continue to make a name for herself in music.
Frankie Ballard – Although Frankie Ballard had moderate country success a few years ago with “A Buncha Girls,” his current single “Helluva Life” is currently climbing the radio airwaves in anticipation of the release of his forthcoming album with Warner Brothers, Sunshine and Whiskey. Ballard possesses a laid-back style and an effortlessly country voice that is sure to continue to endear him to country fans and help him truly break out in 2014.
Austin Webb – We dare you to listen to Austin Webb’s “Slip On By” and not stop in your tracks and feel the goosebumps rise on the back of your neck. Then give a listen to “It’s All Good” and you’re sure to find a smile creep over your lips. Webb possesses a soulful voice and storytelling ability that is hard to come by in today’s music scene and he’s also killer on the harmonica. His sound hearkens back to a seemingly bye-gone era in country music that we’d fully support him ushering back. He’s currently working on his debut album with Byron Gallimore (Lee Ann Womack, Tim McGraw) and we can’t wait to hear it.
Chase Rice - Once upon a time, Chase Rice was just another contestant on CBS’s Survivor, and although he may not have won that reality show, his country career took off in a big way due to a little song named “Cruise.” He co-wrote the Florida-Georgia Line megahit and released his own EP “Ready Set Roll” that is sure to win over country music fans. Rice will hit the road with Billy Currington and Brett Eldredge later this year, while also hopefully completing a full-length album.
Eric Paslay – There’s absolutely no denying the ear-wormability of Eric Paslay’s current single, “Friday Night.” While that catchy tune has finally given Paslay attention as an artist, you’re undoubtedly already a fan of his work. He’s written tracks like Jake Owen‘s #1 hit “Barefoot Blue Jean Night,” Love and Theft‘s “Angel Eyes” and Eli Young Band‘s “Even if it Breaks Your Heart.” At six feet, four inches, the man is a giant walking hit factory and we expect to hear much more from Paslay in 2014, as he continues to hone his leading man skills on tour with Brantley Gilbert and Thomas Rhett.
Dan + Shay - This Warner Music Nashville duo, consisting of Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney, was formed just a little over a year ago, but they have come onto the country scene in full force. They released their debut single “19 You + Me” back in October, and it was the most added debut single of 2013. It is currently climbing the Billboard Country Airplay and Hot Country Songs charts, and this week, it also debuted on Billboard’s Hot 100. “19 You + Me” is one of those songs that you love on first listen and then hit repeat, and we expect it to continue its rise. Plus, we hear a bit of Rascal Flatts in there, and really, that’s always a good thing. If the single and their YouTube videos are any indication of what is to come, Dan + Shay will definitely be making a big name for themselves.
Jill and Kate – We have been fans of Jill Pickering & Kate Rapier, collectively Jill and Kate, for years. After being long-time members of Kelly Clarkson‘s band and touring worldwide, the girls decided in 2012 to focus full-time on their own music. They have independently released a handful of albums and EPs (their most recent – Heart of Stone), and will be releasing new music this year. There are not many voices who sound as cohesive and blend as effortlessly well together as Jill and Kate’s do. Keep your eyes on this talented duo… we think this may be their break-out year.
The Swon Brothers – With Cassadee Pope and Danielle Bradbery already impacting country music in a big way, we think this fellow The Voice/Team Blake duo is next (Blake Shelton really has an ear for talent, doesn’t he?). The Swon Brothers, signed to Arista Nashville, recently released their new single “Later On” and the song hit number one on the iTunes Country Songs Chart within 24 hours. It will officially be sent to radio next month and their debut album is set for later this year. The brothers – Zach and Colton – are well on their way.
Striking Matches - Striking Matches, made up of Sarah Zimmerman and Justin Davis, recently signed with Capitol Records’ new label, I.R.S. Records Nashville. They have been gaining momentum and much notoriety with writing several songs for the hit ABC television show, Nashville, as well as partnering with CMT and having the backing of the Grand Ole Opry. The duo already has a self-titled EP under their belts, and they are now hard at work on their debut album. They are sure to continue their rise in country music.
Blackjack Billy - Composed of Rob Blackledge, Noll Billings, Jeff Coplan, Patrick Cornell, and Brad Cummings, this country rock band independently released their debut single “The Booze Cruise” last March. The song became a SiriusXM “The Highway” find as well as the biggest-selling song on iTunes by a band without a major label for the first half of 2013. Later in the year, the band was signed to Bigger Picture Music Group and released a five-song EP entitled Get Some. They have the sound; they have the look… With the backing of the label, we are sure to hear even more from them this year.
In today’s music, it is common to hear a remix of some of your favorite songs; even heartfelt power ballads have turned into dance hits with the help of some of music’s most talented DJs. And just when you thought DJ’ing couldn’t become anymore unique, enter Dee Jay Silver, the first DJ to be signed to a major Nashville record label. Dee Jay has played in premier venues in virtually every major market in the United States, Mexico, and Canada, but has ultimately found his home in Nashville. Whether he is touring with Jason Aldean and playing in sold out stadiums, performing on the American Country Awards, or remixing the work of some of country’s best known artists, Dee Jay is bringing his talents to the fans of country music in a myriad of ways. Dee Jay took some time out of his day of “bad television” while he recovered from the ACAs in Las Vegas to talk with me about his music, his favorite tour stop to date, and his future plans (which included getting back to Nashville stat!).
George Strait will play his final concert June 7, 2014 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The CMA Entertainer of the Year’s The Cowboy Rides Away Tour 2014 will ride away with style, for a king. The show will feature an all-star lineup of guest artists (performing three songs each) including Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Sheryl Crow, Ronnie Dunn, Vince Gill, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride and Lee Ann Womack.
Additionally, the opening act for Strait’s final concert will be the “Kings of Texas Swing” and six-time Grammy Award-winning group, Asleep At The Wheel.
Tickets for the highly-anticipated concert will go on sale to the public Friday, December 6 at 10:00 AM CST and can be purchased via Strait’s official website here.
While this is Strait’s final concert tour, he will continue to record new music with MCA Records and will perform select dates across the country after the tour has wrapped. For more information, please visit www.georgestrait.com.
Country superstar Kenny Chesney will debut his brand new music video for “When I See This Bar” with USA Today next week! The video will premier on July 18th on USA Today’s website.
About the new video and single, Kenny said:
“I think people, whether they’re country fans, music fans or just alive, all have a place like this, a place where they grew up, fell in love, learned to move on. You may never go back there, or only go back as a pilgrimage to who you were and how much you’ve grown … But that place? That place is always alive in your heart.”
Are you excited for Kenny’s new video?
Boston: Like so many, Kenny Chesney watched the bombings at the Boston Marathon in incredulity and horror. The idea that people who’d trained so hard, who’d improved and become better runners for the iconic race – and those who’d turned out to cheer them on – would be injured was unthinkable. Like so many, he didn’t know what to do; like so many people, he wanted to make a difference.
After careful consideration, Chesney reached out to WKLB-FM and explained his desire to help fund and support prosthetics for the people who were having or would ultimately need amputations. Saddened by the state of the world, he wanted to sow healing for the nation’s souls, as well as the broken bodies of the people affected.
Beyond making a sizeable donation for seed money, Chesney decided to put his music where his heart was. He’s establishing the Spread the Love Fund to work with Boston Medical Center (BMC) to help pay for not just prosthetics, but the fitting, ongoing care and physical therapy required.
All Chesney’s proceeds from the downloaded single sales of “Spread The Love,” his track co-written and recorded with the Wailers, go to the fund, which will benefit post-acute care for victims of traumatic injuries from the Boston Marathon bombings at BMC or other Boston hospitals. In addition, people are encouraged to donate what they can, knowing the money will help the injured regain as much mobility as possible.
“It’s hard to imagine a world where taking your children to school, going to the movies or witnessing something as iconic as the Boston Marathon is a dangerous thing to do. For me, I want to help give these people as much of their lives back as possible, but I’d also like to counteract some of the negativity in the world… Remind people that there are more good people out there, and it’s up to us to ‘Spread the Love.’
Music can be healing. When you’re at your lowest, it can inspire… The way these athletes, their friends, family and the city of Boston inspire me! I want to give back to the ones who need it, but also to heal all of us a little bit. So, spread the love.”
“I am honored that Mr. Chesney has selected Boston Medical Center as the home of the Spread the Love Fund,” says Kate Walsh, President and CEO of Boston Medical Center. “BMC cared for many of the patients most seriously injured in the Boston Marathon bombings, patients who have a long journey of recovery ahead. Over time, the spotlight will fade, but their needs will go on.
“We thank Mr. Chesney for stepping forward to make sure these and all the Marathon patients have all the support they need over the long haul,” Walsh continues. “Thank you for embracing Boston, these patients and their families, and everyone who has gotten us through this very challenging time. Your generosity, vision and support will keep us Boston Strong.”
Beyond downloading “Spread the Love”, giving to those in need is as simple as a click. Boston Medical Center has established a dedicated link for the Spread the Love Fund, which can be accessed here: www.bmc.org/kenny.
Kenny also said:
“I can’t change what happened. I can’t imagine how the families, as well the city of Boston, feel – and I want to do what I can. If we can all remember that the negativity only wins if we let it, that’s a good start. That, and helping these families with this huge process of dealing with a prosthetic. Hopefully, we can all come together and make a difference.”
Here’s one special you won’t want to miss. CMT is planning on celebrating country icon Willie Nelson‘s 80th birthday with a very special taping of “CMT Crossroads: Willie Nelson & Friends From Third Man Records.”Announced to be part of the big birthday celebration will be performers Ashley Monroe, Jamey Johnson, Sheryl Crow, Neil Young, and Leon Russell. The episode will air in May, but we don’t have an exact date yet.
Fans are also asked to take part in Willie’s 80th birthday celebrations by visiting birthday.willienelson.com/ and submitting a video talking about why you’re a fan of the country legend. The birthday submissions are being put together by Farm Aid,who is gathering up good wishes for Willie Nelson from America’s family farmers, and artists. They’ll round up your funniest, most heartwarming testimonials to make a video for Willie on his big day on April 30, 2013.
One of the artists helping to celebrate with a video message is Kenny Chesney. Check out his special birthday message for the icon:
Next up… “Vocal Event of the Year”! Who doesn’t love a good country collab?
Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson took this award home last year for their cross-over mega-hit, “Don’t You Wanna Stay.” Both are back in the category again this year, except with brand new and separate collaborations!
Who will win? Don’t Rush – Kelly Clarkson Featuring Vince Gill; Easy – Rascal Flatts Featuring Natasha Bedingfield; Feel Like A Rock Star – Kenny Chesney (Duet With Tim McGraw); Let It Rain – David Nail Featuring Sarah Buxton; or The Only Way I Know – Jason Aldean With Luke Bryan & Eric Church?
ACM: Vocal Event of the Year
Total Voters: 265
Blue Chair/Columbia Nashville superstar Kenny Chesney will be performing a private show for Sirius/XM radio listeners in New York City. The concert, which will take place at the Highline Ballroom, is invitation-only, on May 1st, however the show will be broadcast live on Sirius/XM’s Highway 59 on Saturday, May 4th at 8 pm EST.
It’s a pretty big show for the company, who shares:
“As part of our unmatched offering of Country music, Kenny Chesney will give our subscribers a special performance,” said SIRIUSXM President/Chief Content Officer, Scott Greenstein. “Kenny is often playing stadiums and arenas, but for SIRIUSXM he’ll be doing a special intimate performance for a few hundred lucky subscribers who can see him perform live at the Highline Ballroom. Our national audience of subscribers will be able to hear the concert on SIRIUSXM, an unwavering supporter of all kinds of Country music. This special concert is another example of what we like to bring our listeners: the best Country music they can’t find anywhere else.”
SIRIUSXM subscribers will have the opportunity to win tickets to the event through an online contest, starting today. For info and rules visit siriusxm.com/thehighway. You can also win your way to the show by following The Highway’s Twitter account – @SXMTheHighway. Good luck!
You have probably been hearing this name more and more frequently, and I have a feeling you will continue to hear it for a long time.
The Nashville singer-songwriter made her major record label debut yesterday with her album, Same Trailer Different Park. By the way, that might be one of my favorite album titles in recent memory.
Musgraves co-produced the album with Shane McAnally and Luke Laird, and co-wrote all 12 tracks. The lead single off of the album, “Merry Go ‘Round,” was recently certified gold by the RIAA for 500k downloads.
Musgraves is definitely a stand-out when it comes to songwriting. The former Nashville Star contestant has written a couple of other songs you already know. She co-penned Miranda Lambert‘s current sassy single, “Mama’s Broken Heart.” She also co-wrote the emotional track, “Undermine,” which was one of the songs featured on ABC‘s TV hit show, Nashville.
The 2013 ACM nominated singer is not afraid to speak her mind when it comes to her music, and her lyrics are as honest and real as they get. On top of that, her voice is just as genuine and honest as her songwriting which makes for the perfect mix. The highly anticipated album from the 24-year-old definitely did not disappoint. Go grab your copy from iTunes!
Continue reading for links and to watch a video of “Undermine”….
The 48th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards announced today that superstars Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Lady Antebellum and Little Big Town will perform on the April 7th show.