VERSE OF THE MONTH:
My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you— I whom you have delivered. – Psalm 71:23.
ACM NEWS & AWARDS:
The show will air live on CBS at 8 p.m. ET (delayed PT) on Sunday, April 18, as well as live and on demand on Paramount, from three iconic Nashville venues: the Grand Ole Opry House, the historic Ryman Auditorium and The Bluebird Café. For a list of nominees and all things ACMs visit https://www.acmcountry.com/noms.
EXTRA BITS: In his 15-year career, Brantley Gilbert has always made a point to celebrate and uplift those that deserve additional recognition and support: servicemen and servicewomen; veterans and veteran farmers; and his fans, BG Nation, made up of blue-collar and hard-working individuals. With the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in difficult times for those in the entertainment industry, the Georgia-native decided to get creative with a way to reconnect with his fans while providing relief to those now out of work.
On Saturday, April 17, the multi-Platinum country artist will host 500 fans on three separate trail rides at Brimstone® Recreation in Huntsville, Tenn., followed by a live show presented by Whiskey Jam. Entry tickets are available for $50 per person and all proceeds will benefit ACM Lifting Lives, the philanthropic arm of The Academy of Country Music, going directly to their COVID-19 Response Fund. Tickets are available at https://www.brantleygilbert.com/trailride. Entry tickets do not include the $28 Brimstone® Recreation trail pass required to participate. More about the Trail Ride & Brantley at https://www.brantleygilbert.com.
Country Music Hall of Fame member Ray Stevens has released the first of four new albums. Out now via Curb Records, Great Country Ballads features twelve timeless hit songs that left a mark on Stevens, not only as an artist but as a country music fan. On the project, Stevens reinvents the classic ballads in his own unique style, but also keeps the integrity of the original track intact.
“Music has been my life, my business and my great pleasure,” explains Stevens. “Whenever I would hear a record I really liked, I would soon begin to think about how I would have recorded it. Now I know because this collection is my version of my favorite songs that I grew up with. They really are the soundtrack of my life.”
For more information about Great Country Ballads or the other three upcoming albums Stevens is releasing this spring – Melancholy Fescue (High Class Bluegrass), Slow Dance, available April 23, and Nouveau Retro (What’s Old Is New Again), available May 21 – visit https://raystevens.com.
Justin Moore will release an eight-track collection titled Straight Outta the Country (The Valory Music Co.) it was announced on The Justin Moore Podcast sponsored by Bobcat. The new music channels the Arkansas native’s rural upbringing and signature honkytonk sound. The lead track “We Didn’t Have Much” climbs into Top 30 at Country radio and sets the tone for the mix. “She Ain’t Mine No More” and “Hearing Things” are stamped with Moore’s southern drawl and traditional storytelling, and “You Keep Getting Me Drunk” showcases Moore’s incredible vocal range. “Consecutive Days Alive” is a rocking reflective ode to the past, while “More Than Me” is a tender love letter to Moore’s children. And, the title track, “Straight Outta The Country,” is simply a small-town anthem.
Pre-order the full project at https://justinmoore.lnk.to/StraightOuttaTheCountryPR, – and listen to “She Ain’t Mine No More,” plus an acoustic version of “We Didn’t Have Much.” Listen to The Justin Moore Podcast sponsored by Bobcat, here: https://JustinMoore.lnk.to/PodcastPR.
BLUEGRASS MUSIC NEWS:
With a powerful legacy that includes multiple gold records, and more than a dozen #1 charting country songs, vocalist Marty Raybon (co-founder of the band Shenandoah) returns to his bluegrass roots by signing with Nashville’s Billy Blue Records.
“I am proud to say I have inked a deal with Billy Blue Records,” Raybon says. “The past few weeks have been more than satisfying. To get in the studio and hear banjos and fiddles in the headphones has been a soothing of the spirit.” Billy Blue Records will be the bluegrass home for Raybon’s acoustic roots projects. “After being away from it for a while, I realized this is more than scratching an itch for me,” he says. “It is truly the addition of the drive and strum of bluegrass music. I love it.”
A debut single, “Walking the Floor,” released March 26th, was written by Marty’s brother, Tim Raybon, and puts a new spin on the traditional love-gone-wrong story. Raybon is still working and touring with Shenandoah and will continue to pursue both his country and bluegrass passions. See https://www.facebook.com/martyraybon
Ronnie Milsap believes it’s the music that makes you young. With A Better Word for Love dropping April 30, the 4-time Country Music Association Album of the Year winner is ready to tease his fans with a little “Wild Honey.”
“It’s up-tempo,” explains the Country Music Hall of Famer, “and it feels good. That electric guitar part, the way the rhythms move, you get caught up. Then you start to listen, and you recognize the sweet and spicy part of what I’m singing… and you just get caught up!”
Written by Jim Weatherly, the song lands on the sweet spot between Milsap’s strong soul roots and the kind of country he made famous with “Daydreams About Night Things,” “No Getting Over Me,” “Why Don’t You Stay The Night” and “She Keeps the Home Fires Burning.”
Fans can pre-order the audio CD of A Better Word for Love at Amazon and pre-order the digital album unlocking “Wild Honey” instantly on iTunes. More about Ronnie at https://ronniemilsap.com.
Reigning ACM Entertainer of the Year Thomas Rhett’s journey continues with the release of part one of his fifth studio double album: Country Again Side A on April 30 (The Valory Music Co.). Fans can pre-order the album at https://tr.lnk.to/CountryAgainSideAPR and will instantly receive two new tracks, “Want It Again,” and “Growing Up.” With Side B planned for release later this year, Country Again Side A is entirely co-written by Thomas Rhett and is the result of a return to his initial inspirations as a young songwriter with a new perspective that comes from the challenges of 2020 and life in-between. It’s a musical and thematic return to roots for Rhett, an embrace of the sounds, stories, and methods that drew the superstar singer-songwriter to country music, yet required ten years of life experiences to have the perspective to write them. Rhett’s four studio albums have produced 16 Multi-Platinum and Gold-certified No. One singles, nearly 10 billion streams, back-to-back Grammy nominations and Billboard 200 debuts. More at www.thomasrhett.com. “Thomas Rhett One Night Only From Nashville” – a special livestream concert event will take place on the evening of the album’s release, Friday, April 30 at 7:00P CT. Full info at https://thomasrhett.veeps.com.
CHRISTIAN MUSIC NEWS:
Gary LeVox, lead singer of Rascal Flatts, has released a stirring new Christian solo track, “The Distance” (Big Machine Records), available to listen at https://garylevox.lnk.to/TheDistancePR. “The Distance” is an epic expression of the power of faith – and one that’s much needed in a pandemic-ravaged world. Written by LeVox with Josh Hoge and Matt McVaney, it’s a first-person testimony, full of encouragement and a sense of resilience. LeVox also released a powerful performance video of the track, which premiered with Jesus Calling and is now at YouTube.
“’Distance’ was the first song written for my solo chapter,” explains LeVox. “With the struggles and battles so many have gone through this past year and taken over people’s everyday lives, this felt like a true song of hope. With this song, the message we wanted to share is that our hope is not lost, it’s found on the cross. And with God, we can go the distance. Don’t ever give up.” Music and more at https://garylevox.com
The Cadillac Three released two albums in 2020 – Country Fuzz in February ahead of October’s Tabasco & Sweet Tea – while also supporting local venues in their hometown and other artists through ‘Country Fuzz Presents’ livestream concerts. In March, #SaveOurStages premiered their new video for “Long After Last Call,” a startling reminder of the empty independent venues across the globe. See the video at https://www.thecadillacthree.com.
“We shot Jaren’s performance in September 2019 with the intention of adding in more context once we got back to Nashville at the end of our tour. Kelby and I were going to be the bartenders closing down the bar while Jaren played in the empty room at the end of the night, but then the holidays happened, we started the Country Fuzz Tour and COVID hit,” explains drummer Neil. “Without independent clubs like these, The Cadillac Three wouldn’t exist. If you can, we hope you’ll help us support them too through the NIVA Emergency Relief Fund.”
Donate at https://secure.givelively.org/donate/national-independent-venue-foundation The Cadillac three have also added a second night at Ryman Auditorium. Tickets for their Sept 1 and Sept shows are available now at ryman.com/cadillacthree.
DEEPEST SYMPATHY NEWS:
The Nashville music community is mourning the passing of Earl “JT” Gray, the owner of The Station Inn in Nashville. He passed away March 20 at age 75. The Station Inn was regarded as a ‘Mecca” for both Bluegrass musicians and fans. A week before his death, Gray appeared on the Grammy Awards broadcast during a salute to independent night clubs. The Station Inn attracted bluegrass fans from all over the USA and beyond for more than four decades. The Corinth, MS, native moved to Nashville in 1971 and joined The Misty Mountain Boys, before forming his group, J.T. Gray & The Nashville Skyline. Gray acquired The Station Inn in 1981 located in then semi-deserted Gulch area that his since grown up around the venue. As the club’s fame grew, it was often used as a location for music video shoots, and many celebrities made a point of dropping in when they were in Music City. Earlier this year, the Country Music Hall of Fame opened an exhibit featuring the Station Inn.
DUAL SONG RELEASE:
While Pryor & Lee may be known for rowdy live shows and music that celebrates the lighter side of the country music lifestyle, the duo digs a little deeper into storytelling with the release of “Good Ol’ Dogs and God” and “Carry On.”
Digitally available to stream and download both songs at https://orcd.co/goodoldogs, “Good Ol’ Dogs and God” is also playing on top playlists, including Apple Music (New In Country), Amazon Music (Breakthrough Country), and Spotify (New Music Nashville). “Good Ol’ Dogs and God” celebrates that unspeakable, unshakeable bond we share with “man’s best friend” and with our Creator. “Carry On” reminds us that everyone has a story unique to them and invites listeners to take advantage of the time we have to learn those stories.
Despite the world-wide pause of 2020, Pryor & Lee released their debut single “Y’allsome,” and played at multiple NASCAR races, including kicking off the Daytona 500 with a pre-race concert and later performing the televised National Anthem at the NASCAR Bank of America ROVAL™ 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. More at www.pryorandlee.com and on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok.
Before the pandemic began, John and TJ of Brothers Osborne were working on their album, Skeletons when a song idea came up.
Talking how they wrote “All Night,” TJ said, “It was before all this stuff happened, and these are the type of moments that get lost with Zoom. So, we were there (in the studio) just chatting, just catching up with each other, and John just starts playing this lick and he had a baritone guitar, and it was badum, badum, badum and I was like, ‘Stop! Everybody stop talking! That is awesome. Let’s write that right now!’ And we did. And that’s like, my favorite part of the song. It’s like this badass awesome guitar part. That type of thing is definitely lost on Zoom, but I think being there in the moment, that was like the leading thing that happened. And then we started working with these compound words and we were like, ‘All Night, I got this, you got that,’ and we kind of put it together.”
More at https://www.brothersosborne.com
EP MUSIC NEWS:
Levi Hummon, one of today’s top new artists, released two new singles, “Never Wanna Be” and “Same Kind Of Crazy” on all digital services providers in mid-March. Both songs are from 36/86 Side A. More songs will be released from the 36/86 Side B culminating in the release of 36/86 EP later this Spring. The 36/86 EP title represents the longitude and latitude of Nashville, Tennessee, Levi’s hometown, and it will feature 4 new songs as well as his streaming hits “Wedding Dress” and “Good Taste”. The project is meant to be a cohesive representation of Levi as a songwriter, with each song tapping a little into his many influences. Listen to both songs at https://promo.theorchard.com/26lGQnNuGrpm9Ly4wteZ Levi Hummon was named one of Entertainment Weekly’s 5 Artists Breaking Now and Rolling Stone Country’s ‘One to Watch.’ He has over 90 million on-demand streams.
Is Chris Gaines set for a comeback? During his livestream show, Inside Studio G, on March 15, Garth Brooks hinted that Garth Brooks in … the Life of Chris Gaines could be made available in different formats other than the original CD. Answering a question from a fan, Brooks added, “You’re going to have Chris Gaines stuff nobody’s ever heard before,” he said. “It’s all coming. I love that project, so I’m excited.” Although the original 1999 album sold around two million copies, it was still one of his least-successful projects, and The Lamb, the movie based on the life of Garth’s fictional alter ego never saw the light of day. More Garth news at https://www.garthbrooks.com
Urban country artist Paulina Jayne’s “vibey” new single, “Drove By,” paints a relatable picture of post-breakup emotions in the rawest form. The storyline unfolds in the corresponding music video, bringing the song to life for the listener.
“So many of the knowns in my life became blurry over the last year. I got out of a relationship that I thought would be anything but short-lived, lost one of my best friends to Covid-19, felt the pinch when shows were cancelled one by one, and like everyone else, I had to shut normal down for a period of time because of a worldwide pandemic. I didn’t have anywhere else to bring my heart, so I brought it to music. I made a home there that became something most everyone can live in,” says Paulina.
Grammy Award-Winning engineer and producer, Mills Logan, co-produced ‘Drove By’ with Paulina at UMG Nashville’s House of Blues Studios. Director and editor Tyler Manuel, and Director of Photography, Jake Moore, created the “Drove By” music video. It’s now available on all digital platforms. More at https://www.paulinajayne.com/
INDIE ARTIST NEWS:
“Hard at Quittin’” could be the story of Jordan Moore’s life as well as the title of his debut single and the accompanying music video. Moore was in a writing session with long-time friend Noah Henson.
“I just had no idea where to start,” says Moore. “But then I started telling him what had happened with me and my wife and I came up with the title ‘Hard at Quittin,’ and its really true. Quitting is not in my DNA. It never has been. I may fail but I will never, ever quit.”
Moore has faced more than his fair share of roadblocks in his life and musical career that began in the rural “two stop light” town of Lowell, Michigan. Far from being a pity party, “Hard at Quittin’” is a rousing, rollicking uptempo rocker of a country song, and the video captures the fun side of not giving up on something worth keeping. Listen to “Hard at Quittin’” and find out more about Jordan Moore at https://www.jmocountry.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jmocountry/
INDIE ARTIST NEWS 2:
Country music newcomer AC Jones has released her official music video for her empowering new single “You Wouldn’t Know Me Now.” The video premiered on The Backstage Pass. And is now viewable via ACJonesMusic YouTube channel. More info at https://www.acjonesmusic.com.
Much like the heavy-hitting simplicity of the song’s arrangement produced by Sean Giovanni (John Legend, Big & Rich, Tim McGraw, Meatloaf), the purposeful minimalism of the self-produced video amplifies raw emotion as Jones claps back and reclaims her own self-worth following a toxic relationship. The video is punctuated with on-screen quotes: first, they highlight all-too-common passive-aggressive statements that slowly whittle away at one’s psyche, and then shift to affirm self-appreciation, self-trust, and self-empowerment.
“Many of us are guilty of thinking that if we alter something about ourselves and sacrifice little things, it will make a relationship better,” says Jones. “But there’s a huge difference between giving OF oneself as opposed to giving UP oneself–this goes for ANY relationship….personal or professional.”
2911 Media has promoted valued employees Scott Sexton and Logan DeLoye. Sexton has been promoted from the title of Publicity Manager to Director of Publicity and DeLoye from Media Coordinator to Publicity Manager. Doing their very best to continue to keep the dream alive for an outstanding and diverse client roster, and guided by company President/CEO Jeremy Westby, the team proved their worth through hard work and continued success during the unprecedented events of 2020. Founded in November 2017, 2911 Media provides publicity, marketing, media strategy, and branding services to actors, artists, athletes, authors, and more. The 2911 team has a rich history in entertainment publicity, marketing, management, and live event production. More at https://2911.us
(Capitol Records/ CMG /Nashville)
Singer/songwriter Riley Clemmons added to her ever-growing catalog of soul-boosting hit singles with “Keep on Hoping,” available on streaming platforms everywhere. Initially released exclusively to radio in February, the track saw Clemmons’ largest radio add week since her debut single, “Broken Prayers.”
“I knew that I wanted to write a song about hope; specifically, the hope that comes from God and what He promises,” says Clemmons. “I wanted to write it as a reminder that there’s a reason to keep on looking up, to keep heart, to keep on singing even in the hard days. There’s a promise that God has got you. And I believe that’s true.”
To date, Clemmons has amassed in excess of 190 million global music streams and 42 million YouTube video views. Over the past two years, Clemmons, the 2019 GMA New Artist of the Year, has toured over 121 dates, including a national Winter Jam tour and festivals in Europe. In 2021, she will tour again with Winter Jam this spring, play a number of summer festivals.
Following the announcement of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series® rebrand to the Rock ‘n’ Roll® Running Series, Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon & ½ Marathon will undergo a similar change and will now be known as Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series Nashville, showcasing it is more than a single distance event. The next edition of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series Nashville is planned for the fall with a date to be determined once the NFL releases its schedule as Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series Nashville utilizes Nissan Stadium as a key venue for the event. Distances will include a marathon, half marathon, 10K, and 5K. More about Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series Nashville at www.runrocknroll.com/nashville.
American country rock band and Kentucky Music Hall of Fame members, Exile, will reissue four of their legendary albums via a new signed deal with Time Life to coincide with the original Exile Reunion concert which took place in 2008 reuniting the original five members of the band. The four albums included in the distribution deal include The Garage Tapes, Exile Hits, Live at the Franklin Theatre and People Get Ready. For the first time ever, the multi-award winning albums will all be available on all digital platforms and include #1 hits and many all-time fan favorites including “Kiss You All Over,” “Woke Up In Love,” “I Don’t Want To Be A Memory,” “Give Me One More Chance” and many more. With a career spanning nearly six decades and eleven number one songs, 3 Gold Albums and 8 Million Records Sold, Exile continues to tour and create new music. Music is available for streaming on all digital music platforms including Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, Pandora and more. Tour info and more at https://www.exile.biz.
MUSIC EVENT NEWS:
New music is on the way from Rory Feek who releases his new album, Gentle Man, on June 18. He recently shared another song from the project, collaboration with Trisha Yearwood, titled “Met Him in a Motel Room.” Yearwood had previously included the song, co-written by Feek, on her album PrizeFighter.
Feek said that the subject of “Met Him in a Motel Room” is: “the emptiness inside us that we try and try to fill, with money and things, with work or with alcohol. With drugs and sex and whatever else we can, only to find that that empty spot inside of us, that all that stuff is supposed to fill… doesn’t. And often, we find ourselves in a free fall, at the end, of the end, of our rope.”
Gentle Man is the first solo album that Feek will release since the passing of his wife Joey Feek. “This past fall, I went into the studio with producers Ben Isaacs and Matt Johnson and some of Nashville’s greatest musicians and recorded 14 new songs,” He posted on his blog. See also https://www.facebook.com/roryfeek.
ACM “New Male Artist Of The Year” nominee artist Travis Denning’s fan-favorite track “ABBY” is now at country radio and available to listen at https://strm.to/TDABBYPR. The breakup anthem has turned heads with its double-edged lyrical acronym that has fans already amassing over 17 million streams and the track reaching the No. One spot on Sirius XM’s Highway Hot 30. Written by Ashley Gorley, Matt Jenkins and Chase McGill, Denning’s cutting yet humorous delivery of “ABBY… that’s Any Body But You” has critics praising the song. “ABBY” on the heels of Denning being named one of the CRS New Faces and follows his No. One track and one of the Top 5 most played songs of 2020, “After A Few.”
“Ever since I first heard ‘ABBY’ I felt like it would connect with fans, but I had no idea it would have this crazy anthemic life it’s grown into,” shared Denning. “It has by far become the most fun song to play live, and hearing people chant ‘A-B-B-Y’ always fires me up. I’m so excited for it to finally be hitting country radio.” More at https://www.travisdenning.com.
MUSIC ROW NEWS:
The National Recording Registry is recognizing Whisperin’ Bill Anderson’s songwriting as “Once a Day,” recorded by Connie Smith, joins other groundbreaking sounds of history and culture in the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress. “Once A Day” is being inducted alongside Louis Armstrong’s “When the Saints Go Marching In,” Labelle’s “Lady Marmalade,” Nas’ “Illmatic,” Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration,” and Kermit the Frog’s “The Rainbow Connection.”
Anderson’s prolific songwriting has been recognized with membership into the Country Music Hall of Fame, Songwriters Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry and awarded him with more than 50 BMI Awards, three CMA Awards and two ACM Awards. Anderson earned a spot in history as the only songwriter in history to chart country songs in seven consecutive decades. More about Bill Anderson at https://billanderson.com/
The Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) has promoted Jennifer Turnbow to Chief Operating Officer. Turnbow will continue to oversee the day-to-day operations and finances of NSAI, serve as a legislative advocate for songwriters, co-direct NSAI’s annual fundraiser, the Tin Pan South Songwrite\ ;’rs Festival, and produce the Nashville Songwriter Awards. She has been with NSAI for 16 years. NSAI also announced Aubree Neal has assumed the role of Director of Development. Chloe Dubrovay joins NSAI as Executive Assistant for Bart Herbison (NSAI’s Executive Director) and Turnbow. She will also assist Herbison and Turnbow on Legislative and Advocacy work. Megan Harris has transitioned from Receptionist to Membership Representative, working alongside the membership team on day-to-day meetings and membership events. In addition to membership duties, Harris also assists Neal with sponsor and partner fulfillment. More at https://www.nashvillesongwriters.com.
Danielle Bradbery opens up about how she stays happy and healthy amid a global pandemic in the Spring issue of People Health. The five-page spread offers an intimate look at a day in the life of the 24-year-old Country artist. Delving into her ongoing battle with migraines for this issue, Danielle is joined on the cover by her dog Kaya, who she says has been a constant comfort during the most painful episodes. Kicking off a new chapter last year with “Never Have I Ever,” Danielle delivered one of her most raw performances to date, amassing over 24 million global streams. Honing in on the butterfly-inducing lyrics, director Peter Zavadil brought this epic stunner to life with a socially distant video filmed on a ranch in her home state of Texas with her mom filling in as her glam team. While 2020 was a trying year for many artists, quarantine has given Danielle time to create and expand her musical palette in thrilling new ways as she gears up for the release of new music this year. More at https://daniellebradbery.com and follow her on Instagram.
Jimmie Allen has renewed his worldwide publishing agreement with Endurance Music Group. The multi-platinum hit songwriter and recording artist’s chart-topping singles include his debut, “Best Shot,” as well as his follow-up, “Make Me Want To,” which he co-wrote with EMG’s Paul Sikes as well as Jennifer Denmark. His current single, “Freedom Was a Highway” with Brad Paisley, is climbing the country charts, and Allen is nominated for New Male Artist of the Year at the 56th ACM Awards on April 18. Allen has recently been in writing sessions with artists like legendary R&B singer, songwriter, and producer Babyface, multi-platinum Latin hip-hop artist Pitbull, Grammy Award-winning rocker Rob Thomas, and southern rapper Yelawolf, a testament to his versatility and range as a songwriter. Signed to BBR Music Group’s Stoney Creek Records, Allen made history as the first Black artist to launch a career with two consecutive #1 hits on country radio. Details at https://endurancemg.com.
Classic Country trailblazer and soon to be fifty-four-year member of the Grand Ole Opry®, Jeannie Seely, has released “If You Could Call It That” to radio off of her highly-acclaimed album, An American Classic, on Curb Records. “If You Could Call It That” was recorded by Jeannie Seely and Steve Wariner and written from a song Dottie West started in a notebook before her death in 1991. Co-written by Curb | Word Music Publishing’s Bobby Tomberlin and award-winning singer/songwriter/storyteller Steve Wariner, who toured with Dottie, finished the song and gave Jeannie Seely, who was a very close friend with Dottie West, the opportunity to record the tune. “I am elated more fans will hear ‘If You Could Call It That’ through country radio. Jeannie Seely is a country legend, and she’s been reunited with her longtime friend Dottie West through the writing process of this song,” co-writer Steve Wariner shared. “I am extremely honored and humbled to be a part of this.” More at http://www.jeannieseely.com
Acclaimed American rock band Blackberry Smoke has debuted their new song, “Hey Delilah.” Describing the track, lead singer Charlie Starr shares, “A good old scary Bible story with a New Orleans groove. Delilah has a cellphone now, though.” “Hey Delilah” is the second song unveiled from the band’s highly anticipated new album, You Hear Georgia, which will be released May 28 via Thirty Tigers (pre-order at https://orcd.co/youheargeorgia) and marks their 20th anniversary as a group.
With the addition of producer Dave Cobb, a fellow Georgian, You Hear Georgia pays homage to the band’s deep respect for their roots. Across the album’s ten new songs, including the recently released title track, Blackberry Smoke continues to embody Georgia’s rich musical legacy as they have for the past two decades, honoring the people, places and sounds of their home state.
Grammy-winning artist, John Berry and his wife Robin have worked together most of his music career, and now have embarked on a new journey and project they are creating together through the podcast series Faith, Family & Friends. The twice monthly subscription-based podcast is an interview series where John and Robin provide a warm atmosphere of conversation in their ‘sitting around the kitchen table’ approach to talking with their guests. They will release the conversation with The Oak Ridge Boys lead singer, Duane Allen and his beautiful wife as well as a celebrated backup singer, Norah Lee. Subscribe to Faith, Family & Friends online at www.johnberry.com.
Each episode features a high-profile guest, including celebrities, sports stars, Hall of Fame members, best-selling authors, and entertainers, who share personal stories about how their faith, family and friends have impacted their lives and careers. Future guests will include Richie Furay, Chris Hillman, Ken Abraham and T. Graham and Sheila Brown, Candy O’ Terry and Jacy Valeras along with many others including surprise guests along the way.
Lady A celebrate the confidence of a woman at her best in “Like A Lady” (BMLG Records) sharing an empowered sneak peek into their upcoming eighth studio album. Feeling energized from a full year of songwriting, the Country-chart mainstays return with a danceable throwback anthem and a dressed-down message of female independence. Co-written by the group’s Hillary Scott with Dave Barnes, Michelle Buzz, Martin Johnson and Brandon Paddock, it finds Scott leading the band with joyful vocal abandon and a playful strut – and shouting out those who’ve spent the last year learning to live it up in loungewear “Like A Lady” is available now at all digital retailers.
“I feel my most confident when I’m not trying too hard,” Scott explains. “I love getting glammed up and all the fancy clothes, but when I feel the most ‘me,’ it’s a lot more laid back – and I think that’s a lot of us. You are your most authentic self in blue jeans with a tequila drink, ya know?” Music and more at https://www.ladyamusic.com.
“Just the Way,” the collaboration between Stoney Creek Records’ band Parmalee and BBR Music Group’s Blanco Brown, hit No. 1 on the Billboard and Mediabase Country radio charts in the US and Canada in March. This is Parmalee’s second No. 1 – the first being their PLATINUM-certified smash “Carolina,” which was also co-written by the band’s Matt Thomas. It also marks Brown’s first No. 1 on country radio. The upbeat, celebratory tune has amassed international attention with millions of on-demand streams overseas. It has garnered more than 150 million on-demand streams in the US alone.
“Having ‘Just the Way’ go No. 1 is amazing! As an artist or writer, all you can hope for is that your music connects with people and makes them feel something. We’re proud to be a part of something that has been able to spread positivity throughout the world, especially over the past year,” said Thomas. “Thank you to our fans, Country radio and everyone on all platforms who believed in us and have helped us spread the message behind this song.” More at http://www.parmalee.com/
SPRING MUSIC NEWS:
Nick Norman released his self-titled debut album in March. The 11-track record — produced by Lee Brice, award-winning songwriter Rob Hatch, and producer/engineer/songwriter Elisha Hoffman — is the first project released on the trio’s Pump House Records, and features special guests Jamey Johnson (“The Cock Crows”), Josh Abbott (“Rolling in the Grave”), and Rebecca Lynn Howard (“Going Through the Motions”), with Brice adding background vocals and guitars throughout.
The South Carolina-native, now a Key West fixture, will kick off an intimate, socially-distanced tour this summer. Hear the album on Spotify, iTunes, and Apple Music. Nick Norman brings humor, heart, southern storytelling, and soulful swagger to the country genre. It’s a sound that began taking shape in his hometown of Columbia, South Carolina, where Nick grew up listening to a soundtrack of home state heroes — including Edwin McCain and Hootie & the Blowfish — and icons like Stevie Wonder and The Band. Details at https://www.nicknormanmusic.com and social media.
Songwriters still struggling to finish up their 2020 tax return (there is an extended deadline this year!) might want to check this out. The National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) S.O.N.G.S. Foundation is offering free tax services to Nashville area songwriters at H&R Block. The offer expires April 10, 2021. Visit https://www.songsfoundation.org
Launched in 2015, the NMPA S.O.N.G.S. Foundation supports songwriters through funding educational programs, direct financial assistance and services, and through partnerships with like-minded institutions and organizations to enhance opportunities for music creators.
New Country music trio McGuire, comprised of sisters Caleigh, Kristen and Taylor, debut their new Country single “Colorado.” The song is available on all digital music platforms at https://mcguire.fanlink.to/Colorado.
“The concept for ‘Colorado’ came to me while I was driving. Although the story is fictional, I used personal experiences to bring it to life,” says Caleigh McGuire, “Then, I brought the lyrics to my sisters, Kristen and Taylor, and we finished developing the song.” This haunting ode to that which is lost begs the question why. The rawness of the acoustic instrumentation and the sheer edge of Caleigh McGuire’s crisp lead vocals wrapped in her sisters’ sibling harmony carries the lamenting message to which we can all relate.
An appearance on RFD-TV’s “Larry’s Country Diner” kicked off an exciting 2021 for Bobby Marquez who, on March 31st, accepted the CMA of Texas Award for Americana Song of the Year for his single, “Speak Love.” Bobby also performed at the event in Lubbock, Texas, sharing the stage with legends Johnny Rodriguez and Tanya Tucker, as well as actor/singer Dennis Quaid. Marquez will now head south of Nashville to Winchester, Tennessee for a show with one of country music’s all-time greatest duos, The Bellamy Brothers on April 10th. Additionally, television and stage performances in Branson, Missouri, are coming up in late April at the Grand Country Music Hall Theatre and The Branson Star Theatre. Fans can keep up with Bobby Marquez and his schedule at www.bobbymarquez.com and www.facebook.com/bobbymarquezmusic where Marquez is planning more Country Campfire Shows for livestream this year. Dates and guests will also be announced on the Facebook page throughout the season.
Multi-platinum performer Chris Young and 2X 2021 ACM nominee Kane Brown teamed up in the official music video for their top 25 and rising track “Famous Friends.” True to the song’s sentiment, many of their real-life friends are featured in the music video, including Corry, Brandon and Meagan, plus a live rooftop performance with Chris and Kane while overlooking downtown Nashville. The video is directed by Peter Zavadil/Tiny Terror Productions (Eric Church, Lindsay Ell, Blanco Brown).
“I can’t imagine a more perfect video for ‘Famous Friends’” said Chris. “Peter knocked it out of the park on this one! I had a blast seeing my friends on set, and that rooftop performance with Kane is some of the most fun I’ve had in a video.” Written by Chris with Cary Barlowe and Corey Crowder from a headline tour stop in Tampa in 2018, “Famous Friends” was teased by Chris and Kane on social media last year. The autobiographical song mentions Rutherford County, where Chris grew up in Tennessee, and Kane’s hometown of Hamilton County along with Nashville’s Davidson County. More at https://www.chrisyoungcountry.com/ and https://www.kanebrownmusic.com.
WWWEBSITES TO CHECKOUT:
WHO’S LOOKING * WHO’S CUTTING:
Chasity Bailey, Caylee Hammack, Luke Bryan, Heath Coleman, Joe Nichols, Dustin Lynch and Keith Urban.
Inside Track is a monthly column by Preshias Harris
Preshias Harris is a freelance music journalist and music career development consultant with the emphasis on new and aspiring artists and songwriters. Her book, ‘The College of Songology: The Singer/Songwriter’s Need to Know Reference Handbook’ is available at www.collegeofsongology.com Follow her blog at www.nashvillemusicline.com.