This month’s column is a mix of the good news from 2022 so we can reflect on happy times and first for our music community and also some wonderful things coming up as we move in 2023.
VERSE OF THE MONTH:
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be – Saint Theresa.
Country music visionary ERNEST had a record year. After dropping his first full-length album Flower Shops (The Album) to critical acclaim in March, 2022 saw him earn his fifth, sixth, and seventh #1s as a songwriter while his debut single “Flower Shops” feat. Morgan Wallen simultaneously reached RIAA platinum certification. Most recently honored as one of Variety’s coveted 2022 Hitmakers, the CMA Triple Play Award winner was also selected as a 2023 MusicRow Next Big Thing artist. Selling out his first ever headline tour across college towns this past fall, he rounded out a stacked year of touring on the road with label mate Morgan Wallen as part of his record-breaking Dangerous Tour. The deluxe album Flower Shops (The Album): Two Dozen Roses is due February 10. Building upon the project recognized as a top release of the year by Holler and The Tennessean, ERNEST adds 13 more original songs to the collection. Pre-order Flower Shops (The Album): Two Dozen Roses at https://ernestofficial.lnk.to/FlowerShopsTheAlbumTwoDozenRoses. More info and updates at https://ernestofficial.com, on Twitter (@ernest615) and Instagram (@ernest)
Grammy® Award-winning and Country Music Hall of Fame members, The Oak Ridge Boys are celebrating the 40th anniversary of their hit song “Thank God For Kids,” which was released in November 1982. Written by Eddy Raven and produced by Ron Chancey, The Oak Ridge Boys included the song on their 1982 album, Christmas. The single went on to reach number three on the Billboard Hot Country Songs and has continued to be a fan favorite throughout the years, being played at nearly every Oak Ridge Boys show since being recorded. “There are a number of songs in The Oak Ridge Boys’ repertoire that fans insist on hearing,” shares Joe Bonsall. ”One of those is obviously “Elvira,” and another one is “Thank God For Kids.” It is hard to imagine a set list without It. Eddy Raven wrote it and William Lee Golden’s heartfelt rendition always makes for a special moment!” The Oak Ridge Boys became members of the Grand Ole Opry in 2011 and achieved arguably country music’s highest honor in October 2015 when they were inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame. More news and info at https://www.oakridgeboys.com/.
Multi-Platinum selling superstar Cole Swindell closed out the biggest year of his career with two Platinum-certified, multi-week No. 1 singles (“Never Say Never” featuring Lainey Wilson and “She Had Me At Heads Carolina”); two sold-out headlining tours (Down To The Bar Tour and Back Down To The Bar Tour), two back-to-back, sold-out nights for his inaugural Ryman Auditorium headlining shows; multiple CMA Award and CMT Music Awards nominations for “Never Say Never,” multiple high profile television performances including The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, Good Morning America, Kelly Clarkson Show, 2022 CMT Music Awards and the 56th Annual CMA Awards. Additionally, earlier this year Pandora honored Swindell with the elite BILLIONAIRE plaque for surpassing three Billion lifetime spins. He has earned more than 5.4 Billion global streams throughout his career. Swindell broke his own personal record earlier this year with the release of “Never Say Never” featuring Lainey Wilson, hitting the top of the charts in just 22 weeks, only to come with his most recent lauded career single “She Had Me At Heads Carolina.” Swindell will join Thomas Rhett for his Home Team Tour 23. Tour info and more here https://www.coleswindell.com/headsortails.
Cultivating a global following of both country and rock loyalists, The Cadillac Three are hitting the road once again in 2023 with their newly announced Bandana Tour. Kicking off in January, the run of shows sees the band’s freewheeling vibe and distinct sonic tendencies partnering with the equally audacious Koe Wetzel on select dates. Bringing fans genre-fusion tracks rooted in country storytelling, rock grooves, and Music City homegrown psychedelic jams, you can always count on Grammy-nominated frontman Jaren Johnston, drummer Neil Mason, and lap steel-ing bassist Kelby Ray to bring the party. The band’s country-fuzz spirit can also be heard throughout Johnston’s accomplished songwriting credits for other superstar artists including Tim McGraw, Thomas Rhett, Keith Urban, and Jon Pardi, as well as Tyler Hubbard’s current single, “5 Foot 9.” As a producer, Johnston has also lent his talents to the likes of Tyler Rich, Kip Moore, Foo Fighters’ Chris Shiflett, and Steven Tyler, among others. TC3’s efforts have earned the trio a number of accolades, including Grammy, ACM, and CMA International Achievement Award nominations. Tickets for The Bandana Tour are available via the band’s website https://www.thecadillacthree.com.
One of shelter pets’ greatest champions, reigning ACM Entertainer of the Year and current quadruple-Grammy nominee Miranda Lambert, teamed up with Tractor Supply Company, the exclusive retailer for her MuttNation pet line, to spread holiday cheer to animal shelters both near and far. Just before Christmas, Lambert and her husband Brendan McLoughlin visited a Tractor Supply store in Franklin, Tenn., where they filled their carts with pet toys and supplies and then made surprise stops at three local shelters: Williamson County Animal Center, Metro Nashville Animal Care & Control and Nashville Humane Association. “This is the perfect time of year to visit your local animal shelter and to thank them for the great work they do all year long, helping the pets and the communities where we live,” shared Lambert. After Lambert visited the three shelters, Tractor Supply Company surprised her and MuttNation with $5,000 in gift cards to spread the joy to an additional five shelters and rescues that help senior pets and pets with special needs as part of the MuttNation Love Harder initiative. More about MuttNation at www.muttnation.com.
Springer Mountain Farms Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman returns to Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium starting on Thursday, June 22 and continuing each Thursday night through July 27. The series kicks off with Sierra Hull (June 22), followed by Jerry Douglas & Peter Rowan June 29), Sam Bush (July 6), Rhonda Vincent and Dailey & Vincent (July 13), leading up to the final night with a performance from Country Music Hall of Fame Member and 14-time Grammy Award-winner Ricky Skaggs (July 27). All shows begin at 7:30 p.m. CT and will be preceded by a 6 p.m. CT pre-show “Pickin’ on the Plaza” event sponsored by Springer Mountain Farms and Farm Bureau Health Plans on the Ryman’s PNC Plaza, featuring live music from local bluegrass artists and bands presented by 650 AM WSM. Information about tickets for individual shows or season ticket passes at https://www.ryman.com.
Outback Presents has welcomed Fallon Nell’s return to the company’s roster as Senior Booking Manager. Nell started her career at Outback Concerts as the company’s first intern before coming on board as a promoter representative in the Comedy department. She relocated to Atlanta for Outback Concerts in the opening of a new venture before making the transition to artist management at Alliance Artists. Her passion for new talent led her to start Brothers Management where she managed developing artists and provided management consulting services for independent managers. Most recently, she was the Coordinator of Live Events for the Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business at Belmont University, her alma mater, where she oversaw the production of Belmont’s ‘Showcase Series’ in the Curb Event Center. “We could not be prouder to have Fallon return to Outback! She is an amazing addition to what we are trying to accomplish here,” states Outback’s Mike Smardak. More info here https://www.outbackpresents.com/.