Quotes of the Month:
“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.” – Billy Joel
Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth; Break forth and sing for joy and sing praises. – Psalm 98:4
The expansive release behind multi-Platinum entertainer Jason Aldean’s 10th studio album Macon, Georgia (Macon Music/Broken Bow Records) is now available in its entirety. The album kicks off with 20 new tunes and 10 unheard live takes showcasing everything he does. fans can listen to the new album at https://jasonaldean.lnk.to/georgiaPR. Macon, Georgia was created during long months off the road and represents the first chunk of time since Aldean was a teen that he was not hopping from city to city each night, and he put it to good use. Together with longtime producer Michael Knox, Aldean took an anything-goes approach to his signature sound with part all-new music and part career retrospective. Macon, Georgia’s full release follows the wild success of Aldean’s duet with Carrie Underwood, “If I Didn’t Love You,” as his 26th career chart-topper. For more info on how to win a flyaway to see his Rock n’ Roll Cowboy Tour and make a $5k donation to the charity of their choice visit https://macongeorgia.jasonaldean.com/bingo/.
Luke Combs’ Album “Growin’ Up” will be released on June 24 via River House Artists/Columbia Nashville/Sony Music Nashville. Reflecting on the album, Combs shares, “I’ve been working on this album on and off for two and a half years now. It was sort of a crazy process through what COVID brought, and what that meant for our touring life last year. It made me have to put a pause on this album for a second, but I’m just really stoked that it’s finally coming out. It also has the chart topping single “Doin’ This,“ his 13th Number # 1. In celebration — BMI is hosted its biggest No. 1 party ever with a special sold-out Parking Lot Party concert on June 8 in Nashville, featuring performances by Combs and his co-writers.
The Americana Music Association has announced the nominees for its 21st annual Americana Honors & Awards. Among the nominees: For Album of the Year: In These Silent Days (Brandi Carlile), Outside Child (Allison Russell), Raise the Roof (Robert Plant & Alison Krauss), A Southern Gothic (Adia Victoria) and Stand For Myself (Yola)… Artist of the Year: Brandi Carlile, Jason Isbell, Allison Russell, Billy Strings and Yola… Emerging Artist of the Year: Sierra Ferrell, Neal Francis, Brittney Spencer, Adia Victoria, Morgan Wade. See the complete list of nominees at https://americanamusic.org. The winners of each category will be announced during the Americana Honors & Awards on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022 at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn. The celebrated program is the hallmark event of AMERICANAFEST, which returns for its 22nd year on Sept. 13-17, 2022.
Multi-Grammy Award nominee Jamey Johnson became an official member of the Grand Ole Opry May 14, welcomed by Opry member and Johnson’s mentor Bill Anderson after the two collaborated on their ACM and CMA Award-winning co-write “Give It Away.” Anderson stepped into the circle holding the Opry member award he would present to Johnson and reflected on the night of his surprise invitation in March. He asked Johnson what the night has felt like. “I’ve been talking about this moment since I was a kid,” shared Johnson. “I prayed for it every day and hoped it would come.” Anderson replied, “Well this is proof our prayers do get answered.” Johnson first attended the Opry in 1999 while in town for a job interview. He had the privilege of being a backstage guest on that night as Bill Anderson, Little Jimmy Dickens, and Porter Wagoner performed. Johnson first performed on the Opry stage on September 10, 2005 and knew as he walked into the backstage artist entrance he wanted to be a member someday Tickets for 2022 Opry performances are on sale now at (615) 871-OPRY and opry.com.
Music Health Alliance (MHA), recently honored with the 2021 CMA Foundation Humanitarian Award, unveiled its inaugural “Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda” event in April, headlined by four of Music City’s hottest songwriters ‑ HARDY, Randy Montana, Hunter Phelps and Jameson Rodgers – performing songs in the round that “coulda, shoulda, woulda” been a smash along with their biggest hits. The evening of stories and songs, hosted by Country Countdown USA’s Lon Helton at City Winery, raised $125,000 to support the Nashville-based non-profit’s free healthcare programs and life-saving advocacy services. Placed unfinished in the back of a drawer, left off an album it didn’t quite fit, every songwriter is haunted by the songs that didn’t seem to get a fair shake. This is how Grammy-winning songwriter Liz Rose came up with the idea the event. For every $1 donation, MHA is able to provide $30 in life-saving healthcare resources to Heal The Music. Based in Nashville, MHA has provided free healthcare advocacy and support to more than 18,000 music industry members across 49 states in the non-profit’s first nine years. For more about Music Health Alliance’s free services contact MHA at 615-200-6896 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Request assistance at: https://www.musichealthalliance.com/request-assistance/.
Craig Campbell’s Celebrity Cornhole Challenge was paused the past two years, but he and a fun cast of cornstars were back to toss bags and raise money to benefit Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC). The 8th annual event took place Tuesday, June 7 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Loser’s Bar & Grill in Midtown Nashville. Craig has been a national spokesman for Fight CRC for many years, honoring the memory of his father who passed away with colorectal cancer at age 36. “We are BACK!” said Craig. “This year was bigger and better than ever with a great lineup of artists and celebrities.” Fans were able to compete on one of the 16 teams alongside the likes of Abby Anderson, Drew Baldridge, Mindy Campbell, Ryan Charles (Jiggy Buckaroo), Lucas Hoge, Alexandra Kay, Thomas Mac, Ian Munsick, Neon Union (two teams), Jerrod Niemann, Heath Sanders, Holly Stocks, Chuck Wicks, and Craig himself. The event raised more than $25,000 for the national nonprofit Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC).
CD Release News:
Tenille Townes released her new EP Masquerades on April 23. The new release comes hot on the heels of Townes’ appearance at the C2C Festival. Described as ‘soul-baring,’ the collection sees Townes pull her mask down and shine a light on those emotions that we get used to hiding. The EP features a track with hit singer-songwriter Wrabel, who duets with Townes on “When You Need It”, a collaboration with BRELAND, known for fusing gospel, R&B and country, on “Shared Walls”, as well as the hit song “When’s It Gonna Happen”. Tenille Townes will be returning to the UK in October as part of Country Music Week. While in Europe, she will be appearing in Berlin and Hamburg, Germany as well as playing dates in London, Manchester, Bristol and Glasgow in the UK. See updated US and overseas tour dates and purchase tickets at https://tenilletownes.com where you can listen/add the Masquerades EP.
Every Hat Is a Cowboy Hat…, Country rocker Scott Stevens’ debut album for Verge Records, is now available on all platforms via https://onerpm.link/505372160706. To celebrate the release, “Missin’ You”—a heartfelt tribute to his grandfather and his new single from the project—impacted radio May 23. The East Tennessee native and current Nashvillian has released several catchy songs already (“New Boots,” “Country Soul Survivor” and “I Feel Good”), despite continuing to walk two very different paths as both a civil rights attorney and performing artist. “Though I’m blessed to suit up and do my thing for our community as an attorney, my dream has always been to support my family with my music,” Stevens says. “Missin’ You,” penned by Stevens, Dave Pittenger and Riley Thomas, offers touching testimony to Stevens’ grandfather relatable to anyone who has lost a loved one that held an important place in their lives. For more information, follow Scott Stevens on Facebook.com/ScottStevensMusic, Instagram @ScottStevensMusic, Twitter @ImScottStevens, YouTube.com/ScottStevensMusic, Spotify and Apple Music.
It was ‘CELEBRATION time’ on April 21 in Nashville: specifically, the Number One party celebrating the chart-topping success of “Whiskey and Rain,” recorded by Michael Ray. IT WAS a long 62-week climb to the top for writers Josh Thompson and Jesse Frasure. The event was held at the popular music venue The Local and hosted by BMI Senior Director David Preston. Taking the stage, Michael Ray made a point of recognizing the role that BMI’s David Preston has played in his music career. He noted that David was the first – in fact the only – person in Nashville to take a meeting with him. Ray was there to share his appreciation for Jesse Frasure and Josh Thompson, the writers of “Whiskey and Rain.” The song represented Frasure’s twentieth No. 1 and the seventh for Thompson. The song was produced by Ross Copperman and is the lead single from Ray’s next album.
Charity Event News:
NFL veteran and Super Bowl Champion, Kevin Carter and co-host Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts hosted the Grand Finale of “Waiting for Wishes” Celebrity Waiters Dinner at the Hilton Nashville Downtown on April 19. The star-studded event benefited The Kevin Carter Foundation and Make-A-Wish® Middle Tennessee. The event series, which concluded with this Grand Finale, has raised $2.5 million to help grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions through Make-A-Wish of Middle Tennessee. The celebrity event was an exclusive, VIP evening where hosts Carter and DeMarcus invited various celebrities from all over the country to wait tables, followed by the Official After-Party – Jammin’ with Jay DeMarcus & Friends, emceed by SiriusXM The Highway’s Storme Warren. DeMarcus showcased his new band Generation Radio as part of the after-party event. Music celebs included Tim McGraw, Charles Esten, Jillian Cardarelli, Halfway to Hazard and Jason Scheff. The Kevin Carter Foundation will make a donation to Make-A-Wish® Middle Tennessee, the primary beneficiary of “Waiting for Wishes” with the proceeds of the event. Make-A-Wish® Middle Tennessee grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. www.middletennessee.wish.org.
Christian Music News:
It is estimated that 20-30 million people across the world sing one of Chris Tomlin’s songs every week in church services in nearly every language. This Easter, he expanded that reach to a global audience by exclusively premiering his Good Friday Nashville live event on Facebook. Chris delivered a powerful worship experience online and in person as he celebrated the historic return of the annual concert event to Bridgestone Arena after a two-year in person hiatus due to the pandemic. K-LOVE and Air1 radio partnered with Chris once again, this year delivering a live simulcast of the concert. Chris was on stage from beginning to end of the two-and-a-half-hour concert and continued the tradition of surprise performers throughout the evening welcoming Hillsong UNITED and Katy Nichole as well as multi-Platinum trio Lady A to the stage. Chris’ live performance of his brand-new single “Always” from the Good Friday concert released as the first of five music videos premiering exclusively on Facebook.
Chris also wrapped his third set of back-to-back “Worship At Red Rocks” concerts in one of North America’s most iconic, intimate, and scenic venues. His return was his fifth visit overall (2013 & 2015) after becoming the first Christian artist in history to headline two consecutive nights in 2017, repeating that history in 2019 and again this year with a combined total of over 60,000 in attendance. The inclement cold weather and severe rain showers during both nights, were no deterrent for the worshippers who were determined to be a part of an intimate experience at the historic venue. “Worship At Red Rocks” followed Chris’ annual “Good Friday Nashville” (GFN) event held in person at Bridgestone Arena for the first-time post pandemic. More at https://www.christomlin.com and @christomlin.
The Country Music Association has announced the departure of long-time employee and current Director of International Relations, Bobbi Boyce. After nearly 30 years of service to CMA, she will be stepping away from the organization at the end of this month. “I have always been proud to work at CMA and have loved being a part of the country music community, which is such a special family,” says Boyce. “I will cherish the memories I am taking with me. It’s time to concentrate on other projects in particular as the Trustee for Davy Jones’ Trust, but I look forward to watching the continued growth of country music internationally.” Beginning her career with CMA in 1992 as the organization’s European Assistant, Boyce eventually took the helm as CMA’s Director of International Relations. Throughout her time with the organization, she supported all CMA international initiatives, including the worldwide distribution of CMA’s television properties such as the CMA Awards, CMA Fest and CMA Country Christmas. More about the CMA at https://www.cmaworld.com
CMA Fest Special News:
Amazon Music, in collaboration with the Country Music Association (CMA), announced multiple star-studded events to occur throughout CMA Fest, June 9-12. The activations included artist meet & greet appearances, the CMA Close Up Stage “Artist of the Day” interviews, and appearances by Country Heat Weekly podcast co-hosts Kelly Sutton and Amber Anderson. Artist meet & greet appearances in the Amazon Music Activation Space at Fan Fair X occured every day of CMA Fest. Kelly Sutton and Amber Anderson, hosts of the popular Amazon Original Country Heat Weekly podcast, also made numerous appearances throughout the four-day event. Sutton and Anderson hosted “Artist of the Day” interviews on the CMA Close Up Stage at Fan Fair X. On Sunday, June 12, Sutton and Anderson also served as house emcees on the Nissan Stadium stage.
Grand Ole Opry members Carrie Underwood and the Oak Ridge Boys as well as Jon Pardi, Henry Cho and June Opry NextStage artist Morgan Wade helped the Grand Ole Opry kick off its CMA Fest week with two shows on Tuesday, June 7. As has become a popular Opry tradition, a free Opry Plaza Party returned with the theme this year being “Opry Loves the 90s.” It was filled with music and activities celebrating one of the most influential decades in country music. “Opry Loves The 90s” Plaza Party, sponsored by Truist, Mid-South Ford Dealers and Dollar General, included food trucks, multiple photo ops, vendors, and feature performances by Hannah Ellis (June 7), Ray Fulcher (June 11) and more.
Fan Fair X is the heart of the CMA Fest experience – where fans get one-of-a-kind opportunities to connect with Country Music artists in person. From celebrity panels, games and partner activations to unforgettable performances and meet-and-greets, Fan Fair X delivered more than 173,000 square feet of air-conditioned fun inside Music City Center. Many artists took the mic on the Spotlight Stage inside Fan Fair X. With nonstop entertainment on two stages, lifestyle exhibits, a vendor marketplace, prize giveaways and more it also included a return to the festival’s origins with meet-and-greet sessions.
Midland have teamed up with Jon Pardi on “Longneck Way to Go,” a modern country heartbreak anthem. Listen/stream: https://midland.lnk.to/longneckPR. Midland have always gone their own way when it comes to their free’n’easy take on progressive/classic Country music. Having come together at a friend’s wedding over shared influences and a love of a good honky tonk bar, they came out of the chute with two Grammy® nominations for their No. 1 hit “Drinkin’ Problem.” It takes a pretty hardcore kind of honky tonk man to be loose enough to swing with Cam Duddy, Mark Wystrach and Jess Carson when they’re in full swing. But Jon Pardi, 2020 and 2017 ACM and 2020 CMA Album of the Year nominee, as well as 2017 CMA Single of the Year nominee for “Dirt On My Boots,” can lean in with the best of them. “Sometimes killin’ the pain is a team sport, so when we were listening to ‘Longneck Way To Go,’ we thought bringing in Jon Pardi would ramp up the drink-til-you-drop of it all, because he loves those drinking and heartbreak songs as much as we do.” More at https://www.midlandofficial.com.
Husband and wife Adam Wakefield (Texas Hill) and Jenny Leigh have released “Finding Time,” a single to honor the birth of their firstborn daughter, Fern Templin Wakefield. It’s the first of several songs Adam and Jenny have been working together on while preparing for parenthood. “Adam originally had the idea a few years back and brought it to a writing session with Keelan Donovan,” Jenny explains. “It’s a song about the struggle to balance the new world and the old. You’d think because we’ve made it so much easier and faster to do so many things with our devices that we’d take more time to kick back and smell the roses; but it seems to rarely have had that effect. If anything, now it seems the world demands more of our time than ever.” Adam continues, “The 3rd verse was written years after the rest of the song with help from Jenny. It has the perspective of people who have been in Nashville long enough to have a clear picture of what it is.”
Thompson Square’s long-awaited return to country radio with “Country In My Soul” read like a lesson in the genre’s trademark loyalty: officially impacting April 26, the tune was the second most added song by stations nationwide. The upbeat, country-rock ode, co-written by the latest songstress-turned-star Lainey Wilson with Daniel Ross (“Had Me at Halftime” for Morgan Wallen) and James McNair (“Lovin’ on You” for Luke Combs), “Country In My Soul” marks the husband and wife duo’s first single release since 2019’s “You Shoulda Been There” – and their first since signing with Quartz Hill Records. Listen to “Country In My Soul” at https://orcd.co/countryinmysoul. “Keifer and I really got back to our roots,” said Shawna of “Country in My Soul.” “We grew up, and the music reflects that for sure.” “I write a lot of songs about us, so the subject matter is far more real than anything we’ve done in the past,” added Keifer. Known for romantically charged #1 hits like “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not” and “If I Didn’t Have You,” GRAMMY® Award-nominated duo Thompson Square has achieved multiple award nominations and wins, and top 20 tunes. More at https://thompsonsquare.com and @thompsonsquare.
The iconic Bellamy Brothers’ first vinyl release in more than three decades, 40 Years: The Vinyl Album, is available now from Bellamy Brothers Records, Inc. Order 40 Years: The Vinyl Album at https://bellamybrothers.lnk.to/40YearsTheAlbumPR. A follow up to 40 Years, the Bellamy Brothers’ 2015 two-CD release, 40 Years: The Vinyl Album was produced by David and Howard Bellamy along with Randy Hiebert. The album celebrates the Bellamy Brothers’ journey to fame that started on the pop music charts in the ‘70s and took a winding turn into country music in the ‘80s. The project includes “If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body,” originally scrawled on a dinner napkin by David, which rocketed them to the top of the country charts the way “Let Your Love Flow,” the project opener, had done in the pop market just a few years earlier. The Bellamy Brothers have continued to release new music like their first, covers-only album last fall, Covers From The Brothers. In June, they will return to Europe for the first time since 2019 on their World Tour Reboot. Details at https://bellamybrothers.com. @BellamyBrothers
Having turned their a cappella, on-the-job serenades into a national recording career, The Singing Contractors have assembled Hard Workin’ Man, a CD and DVD offering of country classics from Gaither Music Group. Listen/download at https://gaithermusic.lnk.to/HardWorkinMan_CountryClassics. Distributed by Capitol Christian Music Group and Universal Music, Hard Workin’ Man is available now at national retail and on all digital streaming platforms. “We are so excited about this new record,” stated Aaron Gray. “From the beginning of this recording process we wanted this album to connect with the everyday, hard workin’ man and woman.” “Working as contractors while getting to sing and perform, we can relate to how many of our listeners feel day in and day out,” added Josh Arnett. “We selected these songs with the hope they will mean as much to listeners as they have meant to us.” The Singing Contractors teamed up with veteran producer Michael Sykes to create Hard Workin’ Man. Showcasing the harmonies that have garnered national TV appearances and avid fans, the singing sensations put their unique twist on country music classics. More details at https://www.thesingingcontractors.com/ and @singingcontractors.
EP Music News:
Country artist and entertainment host Chuck Wicks is showing us his softer, more vulnerable side by releasing Started in a Bar, a five-song EP of love songs that will make you laugh, smile, cry and sing along. The title track serves as a focus track for the rest of the album, which is available now on all streaming platforms at https://onerpm.link/startedinabar via Verge Records, the label arm of global music company ONErpm. Four of the five songs on Started in a Bar, produced by 20-year Nashville veteran Jimmy Ritchey, were either written or co-written by Wicks, essentially as love letters to his wife, Kasi. “This EP speaks to the songwriter side of me and the type of songs I love to write—story songs; real songs; songs that make you think,” Wicks says. Sweet and soulful, “Every single word” of the self-penned ‘Started in a Bar’ “is from my life,” he adds. “I’ll never forget when Kasi walked into the same bar as me on a Sunday afternoon in downtown Nashville. We immediately found ourselves in conversation, and the rest was history.” More at https://chuckwicks.com @chuckwicks (Instagram and @chuckwicksmusic (Twitter).
The best-selling duo of all time, Brooks & Dunn have returned to arenas for the first time in over a decade, with their Reboot 2022 Tour. Brooks & Dunn has curated a stacked lineup across the run with openers including Gabby Barrett, Jordan Davis, Riley Green, Walker Hayes, Jon Pardi, Scotty McCreery and more. Tickets are on sale now at https://www.brooks-dunn.com and https://www.livenation.com. Live Nation is the tour promoter. With 20 No. 1 hits stretching back to 1991, two Grammy awards, dozens of ACM and CMA honors and a discography counting more album sales than any duo in history – regardless of genre – Brooks & Dunn’s influence on today’s country has never been in question. Hits like “Boot Scootin’ Boogie,” “My Maria” and “Believe” have propelled the duo to more than 30 million albums sold.. The duo’s recently released collaboration project Reboot debuted at No. One on Billboard’s Top Country Albums. The impressive feat marks the first time the duo has topped the album charts since 2009 while simultaneously earning the duo their 10th Billboard 200 Top 10 album, the most of any country duo or group in the chart’s history
Multi-PLATINUM entertainer Dierks Bentley and Live Nation have announced the lineup for Seven Peaks Music Festival — taking place this Labor Day Weekend (Sept. 2 – Sept. 4) against the picturesque new location of Villa Grove, CO in the San Luis Valley. The festival returns in its third edition with headliners Bentley and Morgan Wallen, with additional main stage performances by Boy Named Banjo, Ashley Cooke, Jordan Davis, Jackson Dean, Travis Denning, HARDY, Kendell Marvel, Ashley McBryde, Old Crow Medicine Show, Caitlyn Smith, Rapidgrass, Alana Springsteen and Lainey Wilson. Friday night of the festival will kick off with a special stacked lineup of 90’s acts including Hot Country Knights, Tracy Lawrence, The Frontmen and Pam Tillis, while AYDAMN will be deejaying throughout the weekend. Passes are available now at https://sevenpeaksfestival.com. With fans previously traveling from 49 states and as far as Australia, festival-goers can expect an eclectic variety of outdoor adventure, excursions, surprise guests and and much more across three days. Follow further Seven Peaks Festival updates on Facebook: Seven Peaks Festival, Twitter: @sevenpeaksfest and Instagram: @sevenpeaksfest. More about Dierks at https://www.dierks.com/beers-on-me-tour.
Kentucky’s bourbon country will be pouring out a variety of music at their second annual Yake Music Festival, which will be held at The Amp at Dant Crossing on Saturday, July 2. Kentucky native, Dustin Collins, will be headlining the event along with opening acts Kaleb Cecil, No Deceit, Tony Logue, Hotel Whiskey and Taylor Hughes. The music will kick off at 3 p.m. ET and the festival will also feature face painting and bounce houses for younger attendees, with fireworks to follow that night. Purchase tickets at https://www.simpletix.com/e/yake-music-festival-2022-tickets-104080. Located in the scenic enclave of Gethsemane, just south of Lexington and Louisville, the 2,000-seat amphitheater kicked off its grand opening in Summer 2021 with a sold-out show by Little Big Town. Additional performances from chart-topping acts included Better Than Ezra, Phil Vassar, Mark Wills and more. The Amp is a part of Dant Crossing, which is a 350-acre campus featuring the Log Still Distillery offering a unique Kentucky bourbon experience. It also includes five bed-and-breakfasts, a 20,000-square-foot wedding and event venue opening this spring and more amenities opening throughout 2022. More at https://dantcrossing.com/amp/.
Fishing Anthem News:
Clayton Anderson, whose recent single “Show Me Your Fish” (hailed as “the fishing song of the year” by Hook & Barrel Magazine), announced a string of 2022 Lake Tour dates throughout the Midwest, along with traditional club shows into the Fall. Music, tickets and show info at claytonandersonofficial.com. Written by Clayton, Christian Stalnecker, and Grammy winner Dave Audé, “Show Me Your Fish,” which has received editorial playlisting across Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music, was chosen as the theme song for Major League Fishing’s Redcrest 2022 (Pro Bass Fishing’s World Championship and Inaugural Expo) in March. When executives at Pure Fishing, Inc. — maker of the leading rod brand Ugly Stik heard the song — they, along with MLF, asked Anderson to be part of the tournament’s events. Clayton delivered a 90 minute concert, including “Show Me Your Fish,” at the SageNet Center at Expo Square in Tulsa, OK. Now, Clayton follows “Show Me Your Fish” with his new track “Made in the USA,” a “love song to America,” and accompanying Lyric Video. Clayton is finishing a full length album, planned for release in late 2022.