VERSE OF THE MONTH:
My heart is steadfast, O God; I will sing, I will sing praises, even with my soul. – Psalm 108:1
On the heels of releasing this summer’s instant-classic, “Mystified,” Alt-Rock icons Better Than Ezra (BTE)’s first new single since 2018, the perennial rock outfit now returns on November 3 with “Contact High” (https://roundhill.ffm.to/bte-contacthigh), the latest hint of the band’s forthcoming, highly-anticipated tenth studio album (Round Hill Records). Recorded at Tennessee’s Pink Deer Studio and written and produced by BTE singer-guitarist Kevin Griffin, alongside Emery Dobyns, the country-leaning jam, which recalls some of The Rolling Stones’ most twangy and effortlessly charming efforts, is set in the southern California desert and references a rowdy evening at the legendary Pioneertown bar, Pappy and Harriet’s. “You make a dead man grab his heart/I gotta contact high,” Griffin sings with a wry wink. “Contact High,” which Griffin describes as “about that buzz you get when around that person you can’t be without,” arrives right on time — the day after their fall tour opener. Having recently wrapped up their momentous summer tour, Better Than Ezra are now gearing up for a massive end of the year with their Return of the Legends of the Fall 2023 Tour kicking off November 2 at Keswick Theatre in Glenside, Pennsylvania. Tour info and tickets: https://www.betterthanezra.com.
APPLE MUSIC NEWS:
Apple Music has unveiled “God, Money & Love” performed by Gabby Barrett, as the fourth release of its Lost & Found program, which spotlights unreleased tracks written by some of the best songwriters in Nashville and re-recorded by today’s biggest artists, all in Spatial Audio. “God, Money & Love,” originally written by acclaimed songwriters Lori McKenna, Corey Crowder, and Phil Barton, perfectly embodies the spirit of the Lost & Found program. Since its inception 9 years ago, the song has been on hold multiple times for multiple labels, and was even cut with both female and male vocals, but due to a string of bad luck and bad timing, was never released despite being beloved by the publishing community. Gabby Barrett explains why she chose to record the demo of “God, Money & Love” on the next episode of Lost & Found Radio, saying, “It just felt more authentic and genuine to my messaging and what I talk about and what frames me as a person. So it sounded awesome to begin with, and so I was like, “Oh, I’m so curious to hear what this sounds like as a big production and with all the instrument elements and all the fun things that could come from it.” Listen to Barrett’s version in Spatial Audio and check out the Lost & Found space on Apple Music at apple.co/lostandfound. #GabbyBarrett.
When Kelsea Ballerini felt songs pouring out of her as she embarked on her first true headlining tour, she decided to heed their call. Writing and recording with her good friend Alysa Vanderheym, Rolling Up The Welcome Mat (Black River) became a tour du force anthology that’s taken the honey-tressed songwriter to her first Saturday Night Live performance, a major New York Times profile, the Grammy Museum, Country Music Hall of Fame and Whitby Theater to screen the award-winning accompanying short film for intimate direct-to-her-fans events and the cover of TIME100’s Next issue. With that kind of momentum, heart on her songs truth and a fresh-faced approach to living post-divorce, Kelsea expanded Welcome Mat to write the final chapter of a young woman finding her strength – and moving on. Beyond the Country Music Association nominations for the coveted Album and wildly competitive Female Vocalist of the Year Awards, she goes into the holiday season as the bubble-gum pink cover girl of cutting-edge style magazine Nylon. (https://www.nylon.com) More at https://www.kelseaballerini.com/#!. #KelseaBallerini
The band, Exile, celebrates the 45th anniversary of their iconic hit, “Kiss You All Over,” which was released on September 30, 1978, written by Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn. The American Country Rock Band and Kentucky Music Hall of Fame Members are currently enjoying their 60th year together as a band while looking back at the mammoth 1978 single which has seen overwhelming success over the last 45 years. It reached #1 in 1978, where it remained for four weeks, and continued to chart for an additional 23 weeks. It was the #5 song for 1978 and landed at #9 on Billboard Magazine’s 50 Sexiest Songs. The track also reached number one in at least three other nations. “Kiss You All Over” has sold over 5 million copies worldwide, amassed over 50 million Spotify streams and was included in a multitude of film and television projects. In the 1980s, Exile followed their Billboard No. 1 Hot 100 hit “Kiss You All Over” by sending 10 songs to the pinnacle of the Hot Country Songs chart, in addition to writing hit songs for country groups including Alabama. Exile continues to create new music, having just released their album, A Million Miles Later in August 2023. They are also touring, performing their greatest hits and fan favorites from over the years. More at http://www.exile.biz/.
Three-time Grammy Award winner and New York Times best-selling author Miranda Lambert’s MuttNation Foundation has awarded 48 Tennessee organizations with more than $175,000 in grants through the It Takes Balls campaign, launched earlier this year to raise awareness for the importance of spay and neuter with a focus on rural areas. “We’ve been so excited by the great response we received to our new spay and neuter program and know that the organizations we’re supporting with ‘It Takes Balls’ grants will make a meaningful difference in helping curb pet homelessness across Tennessee,” said Lambert. In addition to spay and neuter clinics and shelters that perform low-cost surgeries, MuttNation is also supporting Spay Tennessee, which helps mobilize spay and neuter programs across the state. Founded by Miranda Lambert and her mom, Bev, in 2009, MuttNation is a donation-supported 501c(3) nonprofit organization that has raised over $8 million to date in support of its mission to promote the adoption of shelter pets, advance spay and neuter and educate the public about the benefits of these actions. MuttNation also provides financial support and works with transport partners to assist and relocate animals during times of natural disaster. MuttNation Fueled by Miranda Lambert, a line of pet toys and supplies that benefits the Foundation, is available exclusively at Tractor Supply Company stores throughout the U.S. To learn more, visit www.muttnation.com/.
Reba McEntire’s new lifestyle book Not That Fancy: Simple Lessons on Living, Loving, Eating, and Dusting Off Your Boots, has topped The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists, following its Oct. 10 release. “An homage to her faith, family, and Oklahoma upbringing (Booklist), the book is a “lifestyle guide that has a sense of humor” (Garden & Gun). Purchase the book via Reba’s website: https://www.reba.com. Additionally, her accompanying album Not That Fancy shot to the No. 1 spot on the Current Country Album chart. Reba teamed up with Grammy Award-winning producer Dave Cobb to record stripped-down versions of some of her most iconic songs, “making room for McEntire’s voice to shine” (American Songwriter). The 14-track collection features a brand new single “Seven Minutes In Heaven,” an homage to Reba’s mother. Listen to the album now here https://strm.to/NotThatFancyPR. Amidst all buzz, Reba’s iconic hit “Fancy” – the namesake for the new book and album – surpassed 100 million streams on Spotify. Reba is serving as a coach on Seasons 24 and 25 of NBC’s The Voice.
Christmas 4 Kids, a non-profit organization that benefits hundreds of underprivileged children in Middle Tennessee, has announced its concert fund raiser. Please visit via a link at http://christmas4kids.org. Christmas 4 Kids has been in existence for over three decades. Each year, the organization provides hundreds of underprivileged children in Middle Tennessee with their very own Christmas shopping spree. The funds generated by the Ryman concert and Tour Bus Show/Artist Meet and Greet event, are used to give over 400 children from 29 different schools, a day-long shopping excursion. Upcoming events for 2023 are C4K Benefit Concert is November 20th at the Ryman Auditorium. The bus show is December 11th from 5pm to 9pm at the Hendersonville Walmart. The shopping event is December 12th – Please visit www.christmas4kids.org for all the updates!
The Country Music Association has announced the initial lineup of performers for “The 57th Annual CMA Awards.” The lineup includes a mix of first-time nominees and performers, along with Country Music legends and reigning CMA Awards winners, including Luke Bryan, Jelly Roll, K. Michelle, Little Big Town, Megan Moroney, Old Dominion, Carly Pearce, Chris Stapleton, Tanya Tucker and Lainey Wilson. Hosted by Bryan and Peyton Manning, Country Music’s Biggest Night™ broadcasts live from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Wednesday, Nov. 8 (7:00-10:00 PM/CT) on ABC and available next day on Hulu. Five-time nominee and first-time performer, Jelly Roll, will open the show with a not-to-be-missed performance of “Need a Favor.” CMA Awards co-host Bryan will deliver a medley of his hits including “Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day,” “One Margarita,” “That’s My Kind Of Night,” “Play It Again” and “Country Girl (Shake It For Me)” coming on the heels of celebrating his 30th No. 1 song. A three-time nominee this year, Stapleton will take the stage to perform his new single “White Horse,” while the night’s most-nominated artist, Wilson, will take the stage to perform her critically acclaimed song “Wildflowers and Wild Horses.” Stay tuned to https://cmaawards.com for more details. Other artists taking the stage for performances this year include: Old Dominion, Megan, Moroney, Tanya Tucker, Little Big Town and surprise guests.
“An American Hero,” a new song written by Dion DiMucci, who performs the track along with country music legend Carlene Carter, is out now on Blues-Rock Titan Joe Bonamassa’s label KTBA Records. The song, written by Dion and Mike Aquilina, comes in advance of an entirely new album from the rock/blues/gospel great, who has maintained a significant presence in American music over the course of an unprecedented eight decades. Stream/listen at Dion’s website: https://diondimucci.com. Dion, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 by the late Lou Reed, commented, “Basically, it’s a song about the ordinary person being a hero and championing the cause of the people around them. You don’t have to look at cable news or online and don’t look to politicians to save you. Look into your own heart and be a hero to the ten people you affect in your life the most. Patriotism really isn’t about politics; we’re all Americans, so values and character are what matter most. Stop looking elsewhere for the answers to our problems; look into your own heart.” #DionDiMucci #CarleneCarter
COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME NEWS:
More than five decades after bursting on the country music scene as a precocious teenager, Tanya Tucker was at last inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, October 22. Tucker was inducted alongside Patty Loveless and songwriter Bob McDill in a Medallion Ceremony held at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tennessee. Tucker, who was inducted by country stars Connie Smith and Brenda Lee, was also honored with three special tribute performances that included Country Music Hall of Fame members Wynonna and Charlie McCoy performing “Delta Dawn,” Margo Price and Jessi Colter performing “It’s a Little Too Late,” and Brandi Carlile performing “Two Sparrows in a Hurricane.” In her touching remarks, Tucker expressed her love for her family and the many friends in attendance affirming, “You’ve been through the ups and downs with me at different times in my life. Thank you for not giving up on me.” Regarding her long journey, she added, “Looking back on the past 52 years, it’s hard to make sense of it all. But if we lived in a world that made sense, and was logical, it would be a man who rode sidesaddle.” Tucker released her acclaimed new album, Sweet Western Sound, earlier this summer. More at https://www.tanyatucker.com.
DEBUT EP NEWS:
Country newcomer and 19 Recordings/BMG artist Colin Stough reaches a milestone that was once just a pipe dream, releasing his debut EP, Promiseland. Stream/download here: https://colinstough.lnk.to/colinep. A heady collision of grungy Southern Rock and pure-Country style featuring six fresh tracks – with all but one co-written by Stough and produced by the likes of Alex Maxwell, Sean Rogers, and Austin Shawn – helps introduce a Mississippi-born vocal flamethrower and guitar slinger with a true underdog story. Just 19 years old and coming off a standout third-place finish on Season 21 of American Idol in 2022, Stough was still in high school until last year and had been working full-time as an HVAC technician after graduation. But once his mother convinced him to audition for Idol, that life became history. Now based in Nashville, and mixing a freight train of full-bodied vocal rasp with a down-home blend of Hard Rock and twang, his debut EP marks the culmination of a whirlwind journey – and the start of an exciting new chapter. “This EP represents who I am and where I’m from,” Stough says. “It speaks to my life these past few years and has become a source of comfort for me.” More here: https://www.officialcolinstough.com.
EP & TOUR NEWS:
Country-Soul troubadour Drake White keeps momentum red-hot by announcing his spring The Bridge Tour, spanning across 24 cities nationwide. This news comes right off the heels of the release of White’s EP of the same name, The Bridge, in October. White kicks off the voyage in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, on February 21 and will cross over to the Midwest, Southeast and Northeast making major appearances in Atlanta, New York, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Baton Rouge and finishing the journey in Detroit, MI, on May 4. Tickets are available now at https://www.drakewhite.com/tour-2. The Bridge Tour announce supports its musical counterpart, The Bridge EP, White’s freshly released seven-song collection of inspiration, love and conviction. The EP is comprised of all-new tracks and reimagined versions of fan favorites off his 2022 studio album, The Optimystic. Prior to kicking off The Bridge Tour,White will co-headline Blow Up Your TV Tour with Texas-Country hitmaker William Clark Green, traveling the Western half of the U.S. throughout the end of the year with their last show on December 9 in Green Bay, WI. Music, tour and ticket information here: https://www.drakewhite.com/home.
Fresh off announcing the biggest bar opening of all time, Friends in Low Places Bar & Honky-Tonk in Nashville, Garth Brooks is ready to take it to a whole new level with the release of his 14th studio album, Time Traveler. Produced by Garth himself, the 10 track album will be included in Garth’s new 7 disc boxed set, The Limited Series. Garth Brooks said, “There are a lot of different eras on this album, thus the name. Country music’s core is sincerity, after that, you can dress it up a thousand different ways. I am so lucky to live under the flag of Country Music.” The Limited Series will be on sale exclusively at Bass Pro Shops on November 7th and is available for pre-order via Garth’s website: https://www.garthbrooks.com. Orders purchased online will ship mid-November. The Limited Series will include Man Against Machine, Gunslinger, Fun and the 3 disc Triple Live. This is the third and final release of The Limited Series. The previous 2 were released in 1998 and 2005. The release is timed with the big opening of Friends in Low Places Bar & Honky-Tonk Dive Bar Concert on Black Friday.
GOSPEL VIDEO NEWS:
Vocal group Girls Next Door, well-known for their exquisite harmonies, recently released a stunning Christian Gospel single, “Livin’ in the Rain.” The vocal quartet premiered their new music video in support of that single on their official YouTube channel. Teeming with faith and spirituality, and overflowing with angelic harmonies. “I felt like the ‘Livin’ in the Rain’ video needed to be simple and showcase Girls Next Door’s strong vocals,” explained Videographer Michael Psanos. “Having them perform outside, with only a stand-up bass, while ‘Soaking up the blessings of the good Lord,’ was perfect.” “We have performed this song in our live show for over a year and had planned on the song being acapella,” shared Girls Next Door member Diane Austin. “Our producers came up with the idea of adding stand-up bass and a little percussion. We love it! It made for a very interesting scene in the video, with only the girls in a field of tall grass and a stand-up bass player – who happens to be Doris’ husband, Mike Merritt. Near the end, you will see a scene of the girls openly worshiping and communing with God and nature. This scene was quite organic. We had church in that field!” More at https://www.girlsnextdoormusic.com.
GRAND OLE OPRY NEWS:
Country music hitmaker, author and patriot Craig Morgan celebrated his 15th anniversary as a Grand Ole Opry member in October, including special performances from his recently released EP, Enlisted (Broken Bow Records). Morgan performed hits “Redneck Yacht Club,” “That’s What I Love About Sunday,” and was joined onstage for two special appearances when surprise guest, multi-genre hitmaker Jelly Roll took the Opry House stage for “Almost Home” and fellow Grand Ole Opry member and multi-platinum entertainer Trace Adkins dueted on “That Ain’t Gonna Be Me,” two of six collaborations from the new project. Listen now at https://craigmorgan.lnk.to/Enlisted. Enlisted offers new takes on four of Morgan’s biggest hits along with two new tracks and includes appearances by an all-star group of performers including Trace Adkins, Luke Combs, Gary LeVox, Jelly Roll, Blake Shelton, and Lainey Wilson. Morgan previously served seventeen years in the Army and Army Reserve with the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions as an E-6 Staff Sergeant and Fire Support Specialist and including Airborne, Air Assault Jumpmaster and Rappel Master among his certifications. He is now returning to serve his country in a new way – as a soldier in the Army Reserve. The newly sworn in Staff Sergeant and Warrant Officer candidate will continue touring and releasing new music in his civilian career while simultaneously serving our country in the Army Reserve. More at https://www.craigmorgan.com/gfc-tour-splash. #CraigMorgan
HEADLINING TOUR NEWS:
“She’s Speaking to an Entire Generation,” praises Grammy.com, as Columbia Records/Sony Music Nashville artist-songwriter Alana Springsteen kicked off her first U.S. headlining run (10/25), already tallying several sellouts including her first headline show in Nashville, TN. Recently touring the U.K. and Europe, Springsteen’s had a slew of opening slots throughout the fall in the States with Switchfoot, Tyler Hubbard, and Eli Young Band. Now headlining The Twenty Something Tour, she’ll make major city appearances in Dallas, Charlotte, Chicago, New York, Boston, and more, before wrapping on December 10 at Hard Rock Café in Pittsburgh, PA. Tour/ticket details here: https://www.alanaspringsteen.com. In addition, she’ll hit another international milestone in November, when she makes an introductory stop in Australia for back-to-back music festival dates. She is among the Class of 2023 for CMT’s Next Women of Country and MusicRow’s Next Big Thing; a Celebrity Ambassador for the Ryan Seacrest Foundation; and previously named a Country Artist to Watch by Pandora. On Oct. 27, Springsteen released an extended version of her acclaimed debut album, Twenty Something (Deluxe). Available across all streaming platforms and digital retailers, listen here: https://alanaspringsteen.lnk.to/TWENTYSOMETHINGDLX and watch the official album trailer via Alana’s website. #AlanaSpringsteen.
HUMANITARIAN AWARD NEWS:
The Country Music Association awarded Country Music superstar Darius Rucker the CMA Foundation Humanitarian Award during a visit to “The Kelly Clarkson Show.” Rucker was presented the award in a surprise announcement from Clarkson during his visit to the show Oct. 23, where he spoke about his late mother Carolyn Rucker and explained how the namesake of his new album, Carolyn’s Boy, directly inspired his passion for giving back. “When I was a kid, she instilled in us that you help people—not people that are less fortunate; you help people that need help,” Rucker shared with Clarkson of one of his mom’s greatest lessons, also noting, “We grew up in a really poor neighborhood with not much and, you know, there was no reason for me to believe that I was gonna be here and make it. But she always instilled in me ‘believe in yourself, you can do whatever you want.” The CMA Foundation Humanitarian Award recognizes an individual who has served as a humanitarian through community leadership, financial support, personal volunteerism, and advocacy. The individual honored has evidenced commitment to worthwhile causes that are important to the Country Music Association and the Country Music community. Rucker pledged his support to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital after an inspiring firsthand visit 15 years ago and, as a result, created the “Darius and Friends” charity auction, golf tournament and concert in 2010. More about Darius at https://dariusrucker.com.
If one thing can be counted on in the wild world of rock & roll, it’s that Neil Young will surprise the listener. In the past 55 years of releasing albums, that is a constant. On his new album, Before And After, Young has approached a totally eclectic collection of mostly obscure songs like a painter with a new palette. Picking from a vast array of his originals, Young chooses favorites from his playbook like a trip into his music history and performs them mostly alone taking a solo acoustic journey to a new place. Each of the songs blend and create one continuous flow, clocking in at a 48-minute pure and intimate listening experience. Produced by Lou Adler and Neil Young and mixed by Young and Niko Bolas, aka The Volume Dealers, this is unlike any other album he has released to date. Pre-order at https://neilyoung.warnerrecords.com. Young describes Before And After succinctly: “The feeling is captured, not in pieces, but as a whole piece — designed to be listened to that way. This music presentation defies shuffling, digital organization, separation. Only for listening. That says it all”. New versions of the songs themselves seamlessly move and morph with mesmerizing clarity, beginning with his earliest Buffalo Springfield appearance, “Burned,” to the recent “Don’t Forget Love” (from 2021’s BARN) and including the previously unreleased song “If You Got Love”.
In partnership with the #CMAFoundation, the philanthropic arm of the Country Music Association, and Scott and Sandi Borchetta’s Music Has Value, Diamond-selling Country Music superstar Brian Kelley visited music students and teachers at Franklin High School in Franklin, TN on Oct. 18 in support of furthering music and arts education across the country. During the visit, Kelley joined the CMA Foundation to highlight the impact and power of music through music education with a Q&A session where he discussed his songwriting process, his journey in the music industry as well as advice around starting a career in Country Music. Kelley was also treated to four performances by Franklin High School students, including a performance by Skylar DeCuir of an excerpt from “DELECLUSIASTICS for solo snare,” a trio of orchestra students, Ty Henry, Ethan Hill and Clara Zaccari performing an original song written by Hill, a performance by singer/songwriter Madison Johnson of her original song, “Summer Nights,” and a performance by Lukas Varden of an excerpt from “Messager’s Solo de Concours.” “My high school music teacher greatly impacted my life, and to be able to visit these talented students at Franklin High School and see them perform was truly an honor,” shares Kelley. “I will forever believe music is healing and brings people together.” More about Brian Kelley at https://www.officialbriankelley.com. #BrianKelley
Colorado-bred singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Sophia Scott marked her territory as a rising Country force-to-be-reckon with in October, making her bucket list Grand Ole Opry debut the same day she released her landmark debut album Barstool Confessions via Empire. Stepping into the circle for the first time donning an elegant floor-length white dress accentuated with feathers, Scott performed soul-stirring single, “Lipstick on You,” the cleverly written ballad that puts a poignant twist on the classic breakup using makeup as a metaphor for dashed hopes. Earning much-deserved attention from the likes of Entertainment Tonight and Country Now, the instant slow-burning Country-Pop hit earned a placement in vied-after MusicRow’s DISClaimer, described as “Sultry and soul-tinged, she [Scott] sings with a husky, throaty and totally ear-catching manner. Add some blues to your playlist with this dandy, stately lament.” WSM radio’s Charlie Mattos greeted Scott for a brief on-stage interview. Full of joyful tears, Scott was speechless, and then shared, “It’s really surreal. I’ve been waiting on this for a really really long time.” Scott was first introduced to the Opry by her grandmother who traveled from Colorado with her parents to be in the audience for this milestone moment. More at https://www.sophiascottmusic.com
(Red Street Records/Voyager Records)
Multi-Platinum Country star Chris Lane is toasting brand-new music, celebrating the hard-won wisdom of personal growth with his hotly anticipated EP, From Where I’m Sippin’. Featuring five new fresh-Country concoctions – four of which were co-written by the hitmaker himself – the EP was produced by Derek Wells with additional production from Michael Lotten – and marks another step forward for a top-shelf creator. It finds Lane refining his mix of energy and emotion, fusing gratitude, good times and more with ear-catching melodies, effortless charm and clever wordplay. Along with the fuzzed out and frustrated lead single “Find Another Bar” currently climbing the Country radio charts, themes range from unexpected romantic perfection (“Mistake”) and bittersweet heartbreak (“Way to Go Girl”), to a flirtatious gamble with high stakes (“Betcha”) and the good-life gratitude driving Lane’s open-hearted title track. From Where I’m Sippin’ marking the first studio collection on Lane’s newly announced label home – a partnership of Jay DeMarcus’ Red Street Records and Voyager Records, which Lane launched himself. Stream/download here: https://chrislanemusic.lnk.to/FromWhereImSippin_EP. “I cannot believe the day is finally here! I am so excited to introduce this next chapter with From Where I’m Sippin’,” shares Lane. More at https://www.iamchrislane.com. #ChrisLaneMusic
Grammy award-winning Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit wrapped an eight-night, sold-out residency at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium Sunday, Oct. 22. The run of shows from Oct. 12-15 and Oct. 19-22 marked the group’s eighth residency at the Ryman, as Isbell reached a milestone of 50 career shows played at the revered venue. His residency has become an October tradition, with each night featuring a variety of openers and special guests including Adeem the Artist, Quinn Christopherson, S.G. Goodman, Izzy Heltai, Autumn Nicholas, Kim Richey, Lawrence Rothman, Satya and Amanda Shires. Isbell celebrated the 10-year anniversary of his fourth solo album, Southeastern, playing the album from top-to-bottom during the residency. Released in 2013, the album solidified Isbell’s influence on Americana and includes RIAA gold-certified tracks “Cover Me Up” and “If We Were Vampires.” An expanded deluxe edition of the record was released in Sept. to further commemorate its impact over 10 years. In June, Isbell released his ninth solo album, Weathervanes, as Pitchfork observed its songs “reveal their intricacies slowly, the measured, almost leisurely pace suggesting that Isbell is confident that his audience will stick with the album as they learn its subtle pleasures.” Music and more at https://www.jasonisbell.com.
MUSIC ROW NEWS:
Music Row’s veteran musician, Multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Robin Ruddy held a release event on October 30, at the Commodore Grille in Nashville to celebrate her poignant new album, Healing Happens, a project that reflects on her journey from grief to healing following the death of her husband of 35 years. Healing Happens is available for download and streaming on all digital music platforms (see https://robinruddy.bandcamp.com/album/healing-happens) and was released nationally to Americana stations on Oct 31, in honor of his birthday. Robin hopes that this music can help others process their grief in a way that was previously inaccessible to them. She hopes someone finds comfort and solidarity in knowing that they are not alone and that healing can and does happen with time. Larry was Robin’s biggest fan and supporter who selflessly held down the fort and kept everything running in their multiple businesses, while Robin toured and traveled to 26 countries with Rod Stewart for two and a half years playing pedal steel, banjo, dobro and guitar. When her husband lost a courageous battle with cancer during the pandemic in 2021, Robin had to find a way to process her grief. For months after his death, She didn’t know what to do. So, she did what songwriters do. She picked up her guitar and the songs started coming, one after the other, as if they were being downloaded from heaven. #RobinRuddy
OPRY INDUCTION NEWS:
Capitol Records Nashville Multi-Platinum singer/songwriter/producer Jon Pardi was officially welcomed into the Grand Ole Opry family October 24 by Opry member Garth Brooks, an overwhelming surprise to Pardi. “This is me and you joined in holy matrimony shared by our love of country music,” said Brooks as he stepped into the circle with Pardi to hand him the official Opry member award. “It’s full circle to watch my hero, from flying around an arena in concert to right now,” said Pardi. “I love the Opry and being a part of its family. The future is so bright.” Pardi’s Opry induction and performance will air as a Saturday night Opry Live on November 18 on the Opry’s television broadcast home, Circle Network, Circle All Access Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Pardi released his first Christmas album Merry Christmas From Jon Pardi, October 27, a 12-track holiday album produced by the award-winning team of Pardi, Bart Butler and Ryan Gore, available now for pre-add/pre-save athttps://strm.to/JonPardiChristmas. As one of his first activities as an official Opry member, Pardi will be kicking off the third season of Opry Country Christmas on November 26. Pardi is currently headlining Mr. Saturday Night World Tour. For a full list of tour dates and information visit https://www.jonpardi.com.
OPRY NEXT STAGE NEWS:
NextStage has announced its third annual “Opry NextStage Live” at the Grand Ole Opry House will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 6. The Opry-style show will showcase country music’s top rising artists who are part of the Opry NextStage program. Reigning ACM, CMA and People’s Choice Country Female Artist of The Year and 2021 Opry NextStage alum Lainey Wilson will host and perform. Additional artists featured on the lineup include NextStage Class of 2023 members Ashley Cooke, Chapel Hart, Corey Kent, ERNEST, Jackson Dean and Kameron Marlowe. Tickets vailable at https://www.opry.com. “Opry NextStage holds a special place in my heart because it’s all about giving talented, emerging artists the spotlight they deserve,” said Wilson. “I know how it feels to chase a dream in this town, and the Opry has always championed up-and-coming artists like me. I am honored to have been a part of the NextStage community, and I can’t wait to share the stage with these awesome artists.” Since 2019, the NextStage program has introduced new talent to the country music fan base and featured artists such as Wilson, Riley Green, Parker McCollum and Tenille Townes, who all went on to earn ACM New Male or New Female Artist of the Year trophies the year following their NextStage inclusion. More at https://www.opry.com/artists/opry-nextstage.
RISING STAR NEWS:
Iam Tongi, a viral sensation, and American Idol history maker has paid tribute to Morgan Wallen’s hit song, “Sand in My Boots,” with an emotional acoustic cover. Tongi’s version of “Sand in My Boots” is available now on digital platforms, allowing fans to experience his unique interpretation of this No.1 country track. Stream here: https://iamtongi.lnk.to/SIMB. Tongi, who filmed this heartfelt performance at Starstruck Studios in Nashville, Tennessee, expressed his deep respect and admiration for Morgan Wallen and the poignant lyrics of this heartbreaking love song. He shared, “I have immense respect for Morgan Wallen, and ‘Sand in My Boots’ is a song that truly touches my heart. The raw emotion in the lyrics and the soulful melody resonate with me on a profound level.” Since his historic American Idol win as the first person from Hawaii and the first Pacific Islander to claim victory on the show, Tongi’s journey has been a testament to resilience and determination. Despite facing personal challenges, including the loss of his beloved father just before his life-changing American Idol audition, he emerged victorious. His story serves as an inspiration to countless individuals, showcasing his unwavering commitment to pursuing his dreams. Tongi’s recent works include “Why Kiki?”, “Monsters” with James Blunt and his inspiring acoustic version of “Starting All Over Again” with the proceeds dedicated to supporting Maui charities. More at https://www.facebook.com/wtongi/ or follow @wtongi.
Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium has welcomed a new addition to its collection of unique music artifacts – Johnny Cash’s legendary tour bus, “JC Unit One.” The bus is now on public display outside of the Ryman, allowing guests to step inside and experience a piece of country music history during the venue’s tour hours. Access to “JC Unit One” is included with the purchase of a regular Ryman tour admission ticket. JC Unit One, which Cash used for the 1991 Highwayman Tour that transported Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson, traveled to Nashville from its home at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. The bus’s journey to the Ryman is part of the venue’s partnership with the Rock Hall to showcase the Ryman’s significant rock and roll history. “We are excited to continue our partnership with the Rock Hall and honored to have ‘JC Unit One’ at the Ryman,” said Gary Levy, Ryman Auditorium General Manager. “Johnny Cash is a music icon with significant ties to this building. It was here that he graced the Grand Ole Opry stage for the first time, where he crossed paths with June Carter Cash and where the iconic ‘Johnny Cash Show’ found its home.” For more information about Ryman tours, visit https://www.ryman.com.
Young country crooner Waylon Hanel (Waylon Hanel Music, LLC) returns with an emotive modern-day country classic: his fifth single “My Kind of Lonely.” The soulful ballad, written by acclaimed Nashville songcrafters Frank Myers (Alabama/Lonestar/Kenny Loggins/All For One) and Bernie Nelson (Conway Twitty/Kris Kristofferson/Ricky Van Shelton/ Kenny Chesney/Wynonna/Chris Ledoux), and produced by Nelson, is set for a December 1, 2023 release with the presale and pre-save event beginning Friday, November 17, 2023 (Ed Gertler/ Digital Retail Services Distribution). Listen here: https://www.waylonhanel.com. Set against a backdrop of classic country motifs, the slow-burning “My Kind Of Lonely” tune details a chance encounter between two ships passing in the neon, Hanel’s lyrical narrative paints a vivid picture of a dimly lit bar where heartaches intertwine and “lonely” pours with strong, hopeful potential. “I knew the song was a perfect fit for me the first time I heard the demo. It has a lonesome emotional storyline; the hook, ‘whoever let her go is my new best friend,’ is an attention-getter and a fan favorite,” said the twenty-one-year-old country music newcomer. Hanel releases the single as an introduction to his third CD, titled Don’t Mess With My Country, due in late Spring 2024. He will host a “My Kind Of Lonely” hometown preview event on Friday, November 24 at Uptown North (Frankenmuth, MI) to premiere the behind-the-scenes “making of”/LIVE performance music video among family, friends and neighbors. #WaylonHanel
ONErpm Nashville has signed singer/songwriter Dan Smalley. ONErpm will oversee Smalley’s new releases, culminating in a full-length album next year. “I’m an Alaskan-born military brat who grew up in Shreveport, La., where I started playing music in the third grade,” Smalley says. “I committed myself to a life in country music once I graduated high school, then moved my wife and two kids to Nashville in 2017 after signing my first publishing deal with [veteran producer] Keith Stegall… I feel like I spent the last six years learning valuable lessons from the best in the business; now I’m looking toward the future.” Smalley says he is excited to be working with ONErpm to release a series of singles, leading up to the release of his first self-produced, full-length record, The State of Country Music, in April 2024. “We are thrilled Dan Smalley has signed with us,” says Tim Wipperman, managing director of ONErpm Nashville. “He offers a new brand of country music, infused with the swampy sounds of his roots. Smalley has also found success as a BMI songwriter, with upcoming cuts by indie artist Jesslee and Warner Music recording artist Randall King. For more information about Smalley, check out his website https://www.dansmalleyofficial.com and visit his socials at @DanSmalleyMusic.
SUICIDE AWARENESS NEWS:
Angel In The Sky returns with their annual Shining A Light On Suicide Awareness show on Saturday, Nov. 4th, 3-6 p.m. at Epworth United Methodist Church (4340 Arno Road, Franklin, TN). The family-friendly benefit show and silent auction will feature the music of Contemporary Christian singer/songwriter and inspirational speaker Briana Domenica and Catchfire, a Christian Contemporary Southern/Soul Rock band. There will be food trucks, door prizes, and raffles. The music will take place indoors while food and beverages will be available for purchase outside with picnic and play areas on the grounds. Tickets will be available at the door and are $10 for ages 18+ and free to anyone 17 and under. Proceeds from the concert and silent auction will benefit Angel In The Sky. “Music is one of my greatest passions, but I am also deeply passionate about suicide prevention and awareness after losing several loved ones to suicide, including my brother, and I have also struggled with suicidal thoughts myself. In an attempt to turn family heartache and tragedy into something good, I started my 501c3 (Angel In The Sky) in May of 2016 My hope is to raise awareness and to help save lives through prevention, education, and the power of music,” Domenica commented. More about Briana Domenica at https://www.brianadomenica.com #BrianaDomenica
Platinum recording artist and CMA Awards Male Vocalist of the Year nominee Cody Johnson has added 15 more concerts to The Leather Tour (plus additional festival dates) to launch on January 19, 2024 in Sacramento at the Golden 1 Center. The 2024 schedule includes Cody’s first headline performance in Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on February 2, 2024. Special guests on the tour next year include Justin Moore, Chris Janson, Dillon Carmichael, and Drake Milligan. Support guests vary by market. Go to https://apps.codyjohnsonmusic.com/leather/ for tickets and more details. Tickets for newly announced dates go on sale Friday, November 3. Cody spoke exclusively to Billboard about the new music and being ‘authentic.’ “People appreciate authenticity, whether it’s me being a cowboy and singing something that reminds people of ‘90s country stuff they grew up on, or someone like the Zach Bryans and guys that are more like what probably is considered Americana, or Jelly Roll, who is completely the opposite of me, musically,” Johnson says. “But authenticity is the common thread.” Known for his explosive live shows and electrifying stage presence, COJO Music / Warner Music Nashville Platinum recording artist Cody Johnson has established a following of passionately loyal fans who regularly sell out shows across the country. #CodyJohnsonMusic
Country music neo-traditionalist William Michael Morgan, described by Music Row’s Robert K. Oermann as “stellar” and “a leading artist of this style,” has released a new video in support of his current single, “In Walked You” via ONErpm Nashville. (Listen/download: https://onerpm.link/inwalkedyou) Directed and produced by Sean McGee (Sarah Darling, Sam Outlaw), the video for “In Walked You” was shot by Thomas Chi on location at Cahootz Honkey Tonk in Lebanon, Tenn. A classic boy meets girl story, McGee brought in professional Latin dancers for their take on a spicy Western Swing and even let Morgan take a turn as bartender, with humorous results:
In walked you on a Saturday night
Neon blue lightin’ up your eyes
And the only open seat in the place was next to mine
I’d have bet I was never gonna bet on love again
Then in walked you
“It’s always fun building a song in the studio and playing it live,” Morgan says, “but I feel like it really comes alive in a music video, especially with a song like ‘In Walked You.’ From our director to our actors, label and songwriters, we feel like we truly captured the magic.” More information on Morgan’s socials at @WMMorganMusic on Instagram, @WilliamMichaelMorgan on Facebook and @WMMorgan on Twitter.
Flipping the script of Country music once again, Bad Realm Records/Atlantic Records/Warner Music Nashville artist BRELAND dials up some throwback fun in the official music video for “Cowboy Don’t,” matching his 1000-watt smile to a promise he’s not like other guys. Directed by Nada Taha and filmed at a backyard barbecue, the wholesome clip features a throwback ‘90s vibe to match the high-energy honky tonker and finds BRELAND embracing a down-to-earth form of good times. Rejecting flashy facades for a classic day of community instead, BRELAND lets his irresistible charm shine, helping showcase the carefreeness at the core of the up-tempo track: BRELAND promises to treat a girl with the rowdy fun-love no “cowboy” can. The clip was produced by GoodCopBadCop and executive produced by Andrew Tuttle, featuring dancers Kyrstin Young, Detavius Boyd, Gian Marco Dela Cruz and Natalie Aaron. It follows the official release of “Cowboy Don’t” in August, which itself came after the track became a live-show staple and favorite of crowds around the globe. “Cowboy Don’t” was also featured on the expanded version of BRELAND’s debut album, Cross Country: The Extra Mile, released in September. Listen to the album, watch the video and find tour news: https://www.brelandmusic.com.
Texas-based Country music artist, David Adam Byrnes, has tied the knot with longtime girlfriend, Amanda Toler. The joyful event occurred at Amanda’s parents’ home in Granbury, Texas on Saturday, October 7th. People Magazine featured exclusive coverage and can be viewed at https://people.com. “We were so excited to spend the night with the ones we love most!” expressed Amanda. “Due to our jobs, we don’t get to spend much time with our close friends and family.” “I looked forward to seeing our loved ones and celebrating this special night with all of them,” shared David. “Even more, I couldn’t wait to see my beautiful bride in her wedding dress and get that first kiss from her as my wife!” David Adam Byrnes is an accomplished Country Music Artist, while his new bride Amanda is a Critical Care Nurse and also helps her family raise longhorn cattle. It was the couple’s desire to have an intimate wedding, which is why they chose to hold the celebration on Amanda’s family’s property. Having the ones they love most with them on their special day was especially meaningful. More about David Adam Byrnes at https://www.davidadambyrnes.com. #DavidAdamByrnes
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Send me music stuff, I love to get it! / Preshiaswriter@hotmail.com TN/USA. Google “Preshias”
Preshias Harris is a music journalist with more than three decades on the Nashville music scene. She is an advocate for songwriters and a music career development consultant with the emphasis on new and aspiring artists and songwriters. Her book, ‘The College of Songology 101: The Singer/Songwriter’s Need to Know Reference Handbook’ is available at www.collegeofsongology.com #PreshiasHarris