Tag Archives: Love and Theft

Who Is Keepin’ It Country Keepin’ Its Eyes On?

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.

The Ladies:

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.

 

The Gentlemen:

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.

Sam Hunt – Sam Hunt may not be a household name just yet, but chances are, you know at least one of his songs. If you’re reading this blog, it’s safe to guess you’ve heard Kenny Chesney‘s “Come Over,” Billy Currington‘s “We Are Tonight” and Keith Urban‘s “Cop Car.” Yep, each of those tracks were co-penned by Hunt, whose debut “Raised On It” is currently burning up Sirius XM’s The Highway. Hunt may not look like your typical country star, but with hits like that behind him, there’s no denying his country star potential and we expect big things from him in 2014.

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.

Duos/Groups:

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.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Dee Jay Silver

Dee Jay Silver

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!). 

Keepin’ It Country’s CMA Predictions

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The CMA’s are upon as once again, so the Keepin’ It Country Staff narrowed down our picks for the night’s biggest awards. Let us know who you agree with!

Entertainer of the Year Nominees: Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, George Strait, Taylor Swift

Nicole: It’s not an easy choice here, and there’s definitely the obvious inclusion of George Strait for sentimental reasons, but I have to give this to Blake. He played a huge summer tour, anchors the judging panel on The Voice season after season and put out quite a few huge hits. He’s arguably the biggest thing in country right now so I have to give it to him.

Jessica: Luke Bryan has had a huge year, and I think he’s taken one of the top spots in country music right now. You can’t deny those dance moves!

Jennifer: Luke Bryan – With sold out shows across the country and yet another #1 hit song (despite Zac Brown’s disdain for said song), no one is killing it on radio or on the road quite like Luke.

Jeanna: Blake Shelton or Taylor Swift? Both have really helped broaden the country music audience and impact the genre in such a significant way. Taylor is massive with her sold out tours worldwide and cross-over success. Blake is the face of the genre at the present time, and he has helped put country on the map and bring it to focus with The Voice. Luke Bryan had a big year and is a possibility too. However, I feel like it’s Blake’s time for this right now so I’m giving this one to him.

Love & Theft’s Stephen Barker Liles Engaged

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Big congratulations are in order for Stephen Barker Liles, one half of country duo Love & Theft. On Tuesday May 28th,  the “Angel Eyes” singer proposed to longtime girlfriend Jenna Michelle Kennedy in Fort Myers, Florida.

Speaking to People Magazine, Liles revealed, “I had one of my closest friends drive down and set up cameras….[She] asked what they were doing, and I said, ‘Probably just watching the sunset!’ Then we walked closer and I got down on one knee and begged her to be mine forever,” says Liles, who adds that they both cried during the proposal.

Liles asked Kennedy’s mother and three siblings for his bride-to-be’s hand and the pair are planning a wedding in May 2014.

ACM Poll: Vocal Duo of the Year

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We’re moving along with our ACM polls!

Who do you want to take home “Vocal Group of the Year”?

Thompson Square won this award last year. The married duo is nominated once again alongside Big & Rich, Florida Georgia Line, Love and Theft, and Sugarland.

Vote and let us know your thoughts! We love hearing from our fellow country music fans.

 

 

ACM: Vocal Duo of the Year

  • Sugarland (33%, 51 Votes)
  • Thompson Square (30%, 46 Votes)
  • Big & Rich (17%, 27 Votes)
  • Florida Georgia Line (17%, 27 Votes)
  • Love & Theft (3%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 155

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ACM Awards Announces ‘Newcomer’ Nominees

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The nominees for the “Newcomer” categories have been announced for the 48th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards.

Fans will have the chance to determine the winners at VoteACM.com and GACtv.com/ACM. Each winner will then go on to compete for the overall “New Artist of the Year” award.

The online voting will available to fans between Monday, January 21st and Monday, February 4th. The online voting for the “New Artist of the Year” award will take place from Monday, March 25th until Sunday, April 7th. The winner of this award will be announced during the live broadcast of the ACM Awards that will air on April 7th at 8PM EST.

Love & Theft Performing at Nashville’s New Years Eve

Love and Theft.

RCA Nashville’s rising duo Love & Theft already have their holiday plans figured out. They’ll be performing as part of Nashville’s New Years Eve celebration on December 31st, 2012. It’s an annual event on Music Row, where thousands of Tennessee residents and visitors gather downtown to ring in the new year.

The group is scheduled to perform, along with The Fray, Sixpence None The Richer and Striking Matches. SIRIUSXM and GAC personality Storme Warren will serve as emcee. It’s a free and open-to-the-public event, which kicks off at 7 pm CST.

For more information on the New Years Eve celebration, visit the official website. Will you be going? Where will you be for New Years Eve this year?

Jake Owen Makes CMT History with First Headlining Tour

Jake Owen

Jake Owen is going down in the books: his first headlining tour, CMT On Tour Jake Owen: The Summer Never Ends 2012, has become the CMT tour with the most consecutive sold-out shows for the annual tour in its eleven-year existence.

The tour kicked off on October 10th in New York, NY, followed by a show in Detroit last week. Jake, with the accompaniment of special guests Love and Theft and Florida Georgia Line, will be performing in cities including: Charlotte, NC; Chicago, IL; Des Moines, IA; Minneapolis, MA; Milwaukee, WI; and St. Louis, MO before it wrapping up in his hometown of Vero Beach, FL mid-December.

CMT On Tour has been the referred to as the “proving ground” for young country acts in the past, such as Keith Urban, Sugarland, Rascal Flatts, Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, and Brad Paisley.

Jake’s current hit, “The One That Got Away,” has reached the Top 10 on country radio charts and continues to climb upward. For more information on the tour that’s selling out fast, go to www.cmtontour.cmt.com.

 

Love & Theft React to CMA Nominations

Love and Theft.

Country music duo Love and Theft have had quite an amazing last few weeks. First, they had their single “Angel Eyes” go number one, and then they woke up yesterday to find out they were nominated for a Country Music Association (CMA) Award. They’re up for two awards at this year’s award show, New Artist of the Year and Vocal Duo of the Year. It’s something that Stephen Barker Liles and Eric Gunderson couldn’t even imagine.

Stephen shares:

“We can’t even believe it! We are honored and humbled to be nominated.  It’s most certainly one of the biggest highlights of our career. We can’t thank everyone enough!”

Eric added:

“I have been watching my idols on the CMA awards since I was a little kid. It is such an honor to be nominated in two categories. I have been dreaming of this my whole life.”

“Angel Eyes” was certified gold by the RIAA for selling more than 500,000 copies since its release. Their self-titled sophomore album is out at both physical and digital retailers right now, so make sure to pick up your copy.

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Love and Theft

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Yesterday, we had the chance to speak with Stephen Barker Liles of country music duo Love and Theft. The duo released their brand new self-titled album earlier this month to rave reviews, and just scored their first-ever number one single with the lead-off “Angel Eyes.” Stephen, and his band mate, Eric Gunderson, will be hitting the road this fall with Jake Owen and Florida-Georgia Line on the 11th annual CMT on Tour. In our exclusive interview with Stephen, we discuss how excited they are for that tour, what special message he has for Florida-Georgia Line, on if Eric survived a number one single, tattoos, why he needs to check Eric’s pockets, and he shares information on the duo’s brand new single.

Love and Theft’s “Angel Eyes” is also a gold certified single with the RIAA for selling more than 500,000 digital copies since its release. The duo are hotter than ever and just finished touring with Brad Paisley. Get to know Love and Theft and see why they have hard time getting into Canada with our exclusive interview below: