Monthly Archives: June 2014

Kelly Clarkson Welcomes Baby Girl!

Kelly Clarkson is a mom!

The multi-genre singing sensation gave birth to River Rose Blackstock on Thursday, June 12th! Earlier today, Clarkson made the highly anticipated announcement to her fans via Twitter and Facebook.

The little girl’s arrival also means that Reba McEntire has a new grand baby. Kelly’s husband, Starstruck Management Group’s Brandon Blackstock, is Reba’s stepson.

We don’t want to put pressure on the 2-day old baby girl, but her name is perfect for country music. With her mama’s incomparable pipes and her music royalty family, we may have a future star on our hands.

Welcome to the world, River Rose! We want to send the biggest congratulations to Kelly and Brandon! We are so happy for them and their beautiful family.

Kelly Clarkson Twitter

Toby Keith raises $950,000 for Oklahoma Kids Korral

Congratulations to country music superstar Toby Keith! The Oklahoma native paid back his home state with a huge donation for the Oklahoma Kids Korral. The money was raised through his 11th annual Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic event. His golf tournament was attended by over 800 eager participants making up 44 teams. The event also held a silent auction, which ended up bringing in the big money.

Some of the top bids were:

Dinner with Toby Keith at the Oklahoma Kids Korral: $52,000
Bull Elk Hunt at Express UU Bar Ranch: $37,500
Arnold Palmer/Jack Nicklaus Memorabilia piece: $35,000
Toby Keith Behind the Scenes Experience: $30,000
Brush Creek Ranch Getaway: $30,000
African Safari: $25,000

The Oklahoma Kids Korral is a free-cost home away from home for pediatric cancer patients.

Jana Kramer Added to All-Star Kicker Country Stampede Line Up

Kicker Country Stampede, to be held June 26-29 in Manhattan, Kansas, is delighted to announce that all camping & reserved seating is officially sold out for the first time in the 19-year history of the festival. Festival organizers recently surveyed the grounds and added an additional 200+ camping sites, which sold out immediately upon releasing them to the public.

“What a milestone! We want to thank the fans for their continued support throughout the years!” said Wayne Rouse, general manager of Kicker Country Stampede. “For the first time, the demand for camping has exceeded the supply! However, we want as many fans to have the opportunity to experience Stampede as possible, so we are looking into ways to accommodate even more folks in future years!”

Country’s fastest rising female star Jana Kramer has been added to the star-studded line-up, which includes Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Chris Young, Easton Corbin, Lee Brice, Joe Nichols, Randy Houser, Dustin Lynch, Thomas Rhett, Charlie Worsham, Tyler Farr, Joe Diffie, Will Hoge, Jon Pardi, 6 Degrees West, The Railers and Logan Mize.

The last day to purchase four-day tickets for $145 and VIP tickets for $565 is Wednesday, June 25. There are a very limited number of VIP tickets remaining, so get yours now before it’s too late! For more information on tickets or for any of your Kicker Country Stampede needs, visit www.countrystampede.com or call 800-795-8091.

Kicker Country Stampede is giving tickets holders the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see their favorite country stars, including Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Chris Young, Easton Corbin, Randy Houser and more, up close and personal with the newly-added Party Pit. The Party Pit is located directly in front of the main stage, putting fans steps away from their favorite artists during their performances! There are a very limited number of passes in this standing-room-only area. Fans who wish to have Pit access for more than one artist must purchase individual artist pit passes. Patrons must have a ticket to Kicker Country Stampede to purchase Party Pit passes. Buy your Party Pit passes here.

Kicker Country Stampede offers a full-fan experience with fun for attendees of any age. In addition to the main stage boasting the biggest names in country music, Steel Rodeo Tours is back and will be providing non-stop, action packed freestyle motocross exhibitions Friday, June 27 through Sunday, June 29. The Nashville Songwriters Association International Songwriters Tent will feature established, as well as up-and-coming songwriters, including Lance Carpenter, Rob Northcutt Band, Tony Ramey and more. Kite’s Grille & Bar Tuttleville Stage will once again showcase the best local talent the Midwest has to offer, including Tim Zach & The Whiskey Bent, County Road 5, Jared Daniels Band and more. Other activities include a carnival, mouth-watering vendor food, shopping, interactive exhibits and much, much more.

Country Stampede is an annual four-day country music and lifestyles festival held the last full weekend in June at Tuttle Creek State Park in Manhattan, Kansas, located less than an hour from Topeka and Salina and two hours from Wichita, Kansas City, Lincoln and Omaha. The event features multiple live stages with performances from today’s biggest stars, mouth-watering vendor food, shopping, interactive exhibits, an on-site saloon, camping and much, much, more!

Follow Kicker Country Stampede on Twitter at: twitter.com/countrystampede and like them on Facebook at: facebook.com/countrystampede.

REVIEW: Miranda Lambert – Platinum

Miranda Lambert released her fifth album on Wednesday, choosing a simple play on the word Platinum for the title. She could be referring to her platinum blonde hair but, seeing as how her last four albums all went platinum in sales, it is more likely an easy prediction. This album finds Lambert at her most introspective and nostalgic, everything from the lyrical content to the adventurous spirit of the compositions, Platinum relishes the past. Though she presents more of her rootsy side, she blends it with the modern pop sensibility, pushing herself as only a fully-developed artist is able to do.

It is musically her most diverse album to date, going from lively guitar shredding in “Little Red Wagon” to a lap-steel ballad in “Smokin’ and Drinkin’ (feat. Little Big Town)”. On Platinum we find Lambert stretching the limits of the genre and experimenting sonically while keeping her strong voice and persona intact. It is this voice that holds the album together, guiding us through her corner of the south, sharing the perspective of a confident, strong and charismatic woman who offers no apologies. From feminist issues to her marriage to Blake Shelton, she takes her daily concerns and filters them through her realistic and often humorous perspective.

She guides us with a wink and nudge but just when that sort of rye humour might grow tired she lets down her guard and shows us her more vulnerable side on tracks like “Bathroom Sink”, a song about facing yourself in the mirror and the depth (or shallowness) it could entail. She gives us these vulnerable moments only after presenting herself as self-assured, resulting in an endearing three-dimensional persona that is easy to relate to and admire. As far as role-models go, the youth of today could do a lot worst, Lambert advocates generosity and good-intentions but she constantly reminds us that she isn’t perfect nor does she pull her punches.

Lambert includes a lot of radio-ready pop-country in Platinum but also songs like “Old Sh!t”, a tune where you can almost hear the creaking of a rocking chair on a porch, and “Gravity is a B**ch”, a honky-tonk stomper with so many great lines about getting old it would be difficult to highlight the best. Both songs contain expletives in their titles, something not usually seen on country music records, and they both sound like they consciously avoid pop-country production. Instead they harken back to more simple times, melding southern grit with some modern sensibilities.

Unfortunately, there is a bit of a contradiction when listening to the more subversive songs that represent a reaction against pop-country, like the folksy “All That’s Left”, next to those that fit the mold like the lead single “Automatic”. Lambert co-wrote the song with lyrics that look back fondly on the days before everything seemed so easy. It’s a relevant message that can hold several meanings, the obvious one being the advent of technology but the more interesting one would relate to Lamberts process. The more adventurous songs sound like reactions against being more comfortable with the song writing process. While “Automatic” has an infectious melody and a relevant message, Lambert seems to forget this very message in the song itself and relies on predictable pop-country devices without taking much risk, but assuring radio play.

A good blend of Lambert’s risk taking and mainstream sensibility is her duet with Carrie Underwood, “Somethin’ Bad”. The drums take centre stage in the production and hit hard as the two talented voices take turns snarling with ferocity and cooing gently. It’s like the Queen classic “We Will Rock You” filtered through the Lambert lens but keeping all of that sneering attitude that can only come from winning. That is the essence of Platinum, Lambert knew going into it that this was her victory lap.
Is all this to say that Platinum is lazy? It is actually very ambitious in scope, encompassing many different styles with Lambert’s vision keeping it cohesive. Having both deeper cuts and big pop-country choruses suitable for the summer just makes the album more diverse. Platinum is the vision of a unique talent with an incredible voice that despite world-wide success can still write some of the most humble and honest songs out there. You can’t help but be won over by the end, as she caps the album off with “Another Sunday in the South”, a track with imagery that captures the heat of those afternoons perfectly. It’s got sultry guitars and organs creating the kind of closer that makes you want to start the album over again.

Let us know what you thought of one of the biggest name in country music’s latest effort in the comments below.

Richie Sambora Joins Zac Brown Band for Epic CMA Fest Performance

Before heading to Europe for his upcoming tour with Orianthi, Richie Sambora was excited to head to Nashville, TN, surprising crowds with an incredible appearance during Zac Brown Band’s set at the CMA Music Festival. The collaborative performance, which saw Richie and the acclaimed country/folk band riffing on the iconic hit “Wanted Dead or Alive” had the crowd amped up over at LP Field.

Said Richie Sambora “What a blast playing with my brother Zac Brown. Nashville has always welcomed me with open arms and it was incredible to jump on stage and feel the energy of that amazing crowd!”

Richie’s European tour kicks off June 13th with a sold out show in London. He’ll be back in the states for 3 special performances in NYC, being announced shortly.

Celebrated American rock icon Richie Sambora has become known throughout his remarkable 30-year career for his raw vocals, indelible songwriting and world-class guitar playing. As both an acclaimed solo artist and a founding member of multi-platinum, Grammy-winning band Bon Jovi, Richie has sold over 130 million albums worldwide and has co-written over 20 Top 40 hits and 11 Top 10 hits, including “Livin’ On A Prayer,” “You Give Love A Bad Name” and “Wanted Dead or Alive.” He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2009.

Photo Courtesy: Jessica Crans, Keepin’ It Country