The already sky-high star power of the Academy of Country Music Awards hit the stratosphere today with the announcement that Sara Evans, Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban will be performing during the broadcast.
“It has been so rewarding to have my songs embraced by country music artists,” said Lionel Richie. “Since Conway Twitty recorded ‘Three Times a Lady’ and Kenny Rogers sang ‘Lady,’ I have been welcomed into the country music family with open arms. It’s the ultimate compliment to have country artists record and perform songs that I’ve written. I’ve always felt right at home in country because I was raised just down the road from Nashville in Tuskegee, Alabama, where I was immersed in country, R&B, gospel and classical music. This show will be a homecoming and family reunion combined, and I’m so glad that viewers will be able to share these special moments with us. It will be a night that I will remember for the rest of my life.”
Tickets for “Lionel Richie And Friends In Concert” are on-sale right now at ticketmaster.com. Tickets start at $100 and benefit ACM Lifting Lives, which focuses on improving lives in the United States through music.
The world’s best-selling, multi-artist album series “NOW! That’s What I Call Music” will be trying their chances with a country music album on January 24th. They’ve put together some of country music’s biggest ballads of the last few years on a compilation album titled “NOW! That’s What I Call Country Ballads” just in time for Valentine’s Day. The album will be released both digitally and physically in stores wherever music is sold.
What’s better than new music from some of our favorite boys?
Rascal Flatts has released their new single, “Banjo,” from their upcoming album set to drop this spring. The song will officially impact country radio on January 17th.
Jay DeMarcus describes the song as:
“a sentiment about getting away from it all, getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and sort of breaking out and finding a spot way out in the country and drivin’ and drivin’ and drivin’ until you go so far you start to hear a banjo.”
Meanwhile, the super trio hits the road this week with special guests Sara Evans & Hunter Hayes for their Thaw Out 2012 Tour. The trek kicks off in Charleston, West Virginia on Thursday, January 12th. Click here for more information and tour details.
Don’t forget to get those requests in for “Banjo” to your local radio stations!
This week’s music video is Sara Evans, “A Little Bit Stronger.” The platinum hit served as the lead single for her sixth album, Stronger. I think the track is pretty much perfect. Great song, great lyrics, and I love the message. It was one of my favorite songs of 2011 without a doubt, and I was surprised it did not receive a Grammy nod. I think it was one of the biggest snubs this year, and Evans deserved to be nominated for “Country Song of the Year” or “Best Country Solo Performance.”
Pick Pickler! This week’s choice features an awesome live rendition of Kellie Pickler performing her song, “Tough.” It is the lead single from Pickler’s highly anticipated album, 100 Proof, which is set for release on January 24th. It is definitely one of the albums dropping this year to which country music fans are most looking forward. I have been following Pickler’s career since American Idol. Not only is she one of my favorite Idol contestants ever, but she is one of my favorite country singers. I cannot wait to hear 100 Proof.
Have you heard of Buddy Brown? I was searching Youtube and came across some of his excellent country song covers, and had to share with you all. This week’s video is his version of Jake Owen‘s, “Barefoot Blue Jean Night.”
Brown is a Gibson endorsed artists along with Costa Del Mar. His self-titled EP is available on iTunes. “Why You Won’t Dance” is a stand-out track for me.
Really, really good stuff. You should check him out! Plus, his covers on Youtube are some of the best I have heard.
Sony Music Nashville’s Sara Evans is set to provide the entertainment for a very special evening. She’ll be performing at the 21st annual Party With A Purpose on February 4th, 2012. It’s a food-centric event hosted by the NFL the night before the Superbowl. Each NFL team city has a chef partnered with a former NFL player. Proceeds from the event go to food cupboards around the United States.
Other stars making appearances at the special event include Ted Allen of the Food Network program “Chopped,” Mauro Castano and Joey Faugano of TLC’s “Cake Boss,” and former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy. This year’s event will be held at the Indianapolis’ Gleaner Food Bank. It’s the first time in the 21-year history that the event will be held at a food bank.
2011 has been one heck of a year for country music. We’ve seen singles from all different sides of the spectrum: from songs that make you want to get up and dance, to songs that make you want to cry. Country has always been very good at dealing with real-life issues. It’s the story songs that make country music the genre it is. It has a way of moving you, either to get up and party, or to remember what’s really going on in the world.
It was hard to narrow down the highlight songs of the year into one package, but Ted Efron and myself sat down to do just that. There might be some surprises on our list, but these are the songs that defined a genre for 2011. Take a look at our list below and let us know if you agree, disagree, or think we forgot someone we shouldn’t have. Not all of these songs are singles, some are just the best album tracks that should have been singles this year.
CMT Artists of the Year 2011 will air tomorrow night, December 13th at 9/8c. Hosted by Rob Lowe, the 90-minute special will honor five country music superstars – Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Lady Antebellum, Brad Paisley, and Taylor Swift. The event will include performances by the honorees themselves as well as some of their fellow artists such as Gavin DeGraw, The All-American Rejects, Joe Walsh and The Avett Brothers. There will also be live and video appearances by musical and celebrity friends including Miranda Lambert, Kelly Clarkson, Sara Evans, Faith Hill, Ellen DeGeneres, Matthew McConaughey, Lionel Richie, William Shatner, Jeff Gordon, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, and former St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa.
It should be a great show. Set your DVRs!
Meanwhile, check out some previews from the event.
Lady Antebellum performing “Dancin’ Away With My Heart”:
Gavin DeGraw performing Kenny Chesney’s hit, “Somewhere With You”: