Friday, June 10, 2011

Interview with Shania Twain

Shania Twain Nashville Press Conference – 6 June 2011


Livewire on behalf of Country Music News International joined the live video broadcast at shaniatwain.com

With “Your Still The One” playing on the screen behind them Caesars Palace President Gary Selesner and AEG chief John Meglen are sat on chairs on the Nashville stage for the press conference, with one empty seat in the middle – I wonder for whom?
Press conference begins...

John Meglen - Good afternoon I’m John Meglen with AEG

Gary Selesner - And I’m Gary Selesner, the President of Caesars Palace , How you all doin’ today? (Applause)

Gary Selesner – First I want to thank Shania and her team and CAA
and AEG and all of Nashville for allowing us to share in this important and terrific announcement. You know having Shania join all the legendary performers that have been at Caesars Palace including the current line up of Celine and Elton and Rod Stewart. It’s a dream come true for us and we couldn’t be more proud. And you know this is the first time at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace will play host to a certified country music legend. And she’s going to be joining us at a remarkable time in our history. Were completing a major expansion which includes a big new tower and also adding a slew of restaurants including Central (Restaurant) from Washington DC and Nobu Restaurant and a hotel so it’s just going to be a remarkable time when the show comes. So John I can’t be more excited to welcome her millions of fans to Las Vegas.

John Meglen – Well thank you Gary. I think that we picked a wonderful week to be here in Nashville today with all of the fans that are coming into Nashville for CMA week the country music television. So first and foremost I want to thank the country music Hall Of Fame for allowing us to use this beautiful theatre. The Theatre and the scene remind us of the Colosseum. I want to put out a special thanks to Jason Owen at Sandbox Entertainment and all of his staff to Mark Dennis and everyone at CAA, Creative Artist Agency who have just been tremendous partners with us getting this deal done.
The Oprah Winfrey Network has been a very big supporter both of Shania and our other shows at The Colosseum and I want to thank them also. I want to thank Gary our partner at Caesars Palace and his staff and John Nelson and our staff at AEG Live, Las Vegas. So to get really to the facts, why everyone is here. Were happy to announce that Shania will be performing for a 2-year residency at The Colosseum, at Caesars Palace. We will begin December 1st, 2012. The deal is for 60 shows a year. We will put the first run, the December run of 2012 on sale. Actually were doing something very unique. The American Express presale
will begin tonight live when Shania announces the Male Video recipient on the country music television awards tonight. So we will go live exactly at that moment with the American Express presale and we will follow that up with a public on sale at 10 o’clock Pacific Time on Sunday June 19th. So those are the facts but I think your really here to see someone other than Gary and myself so with that I’d like to introduce our new resident star at Caesars Palace, Shania Twain.

(Applause and cheers) Shania looking beautiful in a white dress walks on the stage and kisses Gary and John on the cheeks

Shania - Thank you! (Cameras clicking like crazy!! )
Shania - Thank you John
John Meglen – So are you excited?

Shania – Ooooh I’m beyond exited. This is, I feel like I’m on top of the world. Honestly I feel like I’ve climbed a very giant mountain and I’m standing right on top, with my arms open wide. This is really beautiful, really lovely; I’m very excited today and yeah ..

John Meglen - So with that let’s go ahead and get to some questions, whose starting?

Question from the Floor - Shania you have so many hits that we hear them on the radio. What are you excited about getting to perform those songs on stage again for your fans who are so anxious to hear them?

Shania – I just can’t wait, umm I wish I could get stated tomorrow. You know today is a very big turning point for me, I feel as though I’m about to step into a world of endless creative possibilities and that is so exciting for a songwriter, for an artist to take songs and translate them into such a magical place, on a magical platform. So this will be like no other platform I’ve been on before with my songs and it’s a whole new beginning I think for the old music...if you will.

Question From the Floor – The Oprah Winfrey Network has been about finding your voice again and now you’ve committed to this incredible series in Las Vegas. What’s been the time frame between finding your voice and this and what been going thorough your mind during that time?

Shania – The losing of my voice has been very progressive and getting my voice back has also been very progressive. Today I’m speaking very well its very open, I’m very happy with the way its coming out. I’ve made a lot of progress in baby steps through the course of the series. I’ve seen great progress, I’ve gotten to the bottom of it and I’m addressing it and that is what showing it was all about. Addressing the fact that not only do I have a problem but its scaring me and I really want to face those fears. So sharing it with the public has been a very big part of addressing it and its helping such a great deal just to talk about it. I’m singing more, I’ve forced myself into a lot of vocal scenarios in the series, and I know I can do it. I’ve proven it to myself and now after visiting with experts it’s just a matter of following through with their advice and getting the therapy that I need. So it’s not really much different to an athlete with an injury and you may not realise it, or you may, most vocalists go through vocal problems -The show must go on sort of theory. I’ve never missed a show, ever, in my career any vocal performance ever and the show did go on sometimes against what was better for me. I don’t want to do that this time. The show will go on and this time I’m gonna feel confident and good about it.

John Meglen - You know one of the things at the Colosseum we are very sensitive to an artist’s voice and a lot of care and time is put into that at Colosseum. Shania knows when she came out we have a micro climate system that exists on the stage at the Colosseum to protect the vocal chords. The entire backstage has a tremendous humidification. As you we all know Las Vegas is a very dry place. I think with that we have our press friends in Las Vegas with us live for this press conference and they are at The Colosseum so I think we have some questions from Las Vegas.

Let’s go to Las Vegas with Question number 1
Hi I’m Rachel Smith from Fox5, can you guys hear me? Hi! This is Rachel Smith in Fox 5 in Las Vegas . First of all Shania congratulations. We are thrilled to have you come to Vegas! That’s wonderful. I’m asking you’ve been all over the world in your career and toured in so many venues and cities. What does it mean to you to become the next Vegas headliner?

Shania - I am in the top class company in the world as far as performers go, as far as production value goes, and production support, the venue itself, the group at AEG. This is a dream for any performing artist. What more could I ask for, this is, I don’t want to use the word “opportunity”, although it is an opportunity I thank you for that, but it’s more than that its an exceptional gift and that is truly how I feel about it.

Question number 2 in Las Vegas.

Hey this is Robin Leach from Vegas Deluxe in the greatest entertainment city in the world.
Shania and John if you would be so kind as to tell us how you danced this duet together that when it started the romance and when you finally came to the conclusion and then what the show is going to be like in 15 months time? Thank you

John Meglen - Robin we promise you first, so I’m telling you right now, Shania’s confirmed. Robin as you know he follows us quite well and is a tremendous supporter of everything we were doing in Las Vegas. I think it was and you were aware it was shown on episode 3 on Shania’s special that she came to visit us at the Colosseum. We tried to make her feel very comfortable. She went and saw Cher I believe, and loved Cher’s show there at the Colosseum. But when she left we weren’t sure. We gave her our best pitch but we had to follow up with Jason and Mark Dennis and say “Can we please make this a reality”. So I think it was really at that time we wanted to make sure that Shania had the space to make the decision about the commitment. It’s an important commitment and it’s a commitment you need to be disciplined for because it gets to be a pretty rigorous schedule out there. So that’s where it started Robin and in terms of what the show is I’ll let Shania talk about that but were really right at the beginning steps.

Shania – Yes I really couldn’t have said that better myself, that’s exactly how it happened. I needed to see the venue for myself, empty. Hear the sounds and walk around in there and really think very deeply about making the commitment. If I could do it, and was up for the challenge. I felt very good when I left. I was still unsure. I still had things to go through with the series to find out what was really going on. In fact when I left Vegas, Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville was my next stop, for seeing a specialist to determine what was going on. To answer the second halve of that question. What is the show going to be like, what can we expect. From today on, From This Moment On I decided that I would only start dreaming now, about what it be like. I will now let my imagination run wild, so its early stages its going to be a process and I really don’t know you can expect about anything specific other than the fact that my dreams are unleashed and creativity is unleashed and I’m going to make the most of this extraordinary platform. Because you can’t take this type of environment as far as sound and lighting and expertise and crew on the road with you, nobody can. So making the most of that has really given me a huge freedom and I’m going to nuts (laughs LOUD )

John Meglen - That’s OK, and we want her too

Shania - Anything’s possible at Caesars

John Meglen - No no we want her too because, as we have such tremendous partners with Caesars Palace that when they built this venue and we’ve been very involved with them from day one on this. Ever single aspect of this venue is just styled in. It is a beautiful venue; it’s incredible sound, its incredible lighting. We have all the bells and whistles of virtually anything that you could do there at the Colosseum. So we want you to dream we want you to just go for it and get out there as far as you can. We’ll all bring it all back in at the right time and make it all work, so now is you’re dreaming time.

Shania - I mean up to now I have focussed on making the decision to commit and as I said from today I will start dreaming of all the creative things. You know the base and platform for something is already there you guys have already done an incredible job of that. It’s well tested, and very successful, I’m not concerned about any of that.

John Meglen - I think were going back to some questions in Nashville

Hi Shania, Lauren Glass? Entertainment Tonight Canada Congratulations, I wonder if you had talked to Celine or any of the other performers who have been in the venue to get some advise and what was that like?

Shania - I have not yet sat down with my list of questions. I would love to sit down and do that. I will call Celine. Somebody should warn her now. (laughs) The last time I spoke to Celine, it was about our babies because her first son, René-Charles, and my Eja are basically the same age. So we got on the phone and talked about all the little hiccups and the first baby syndrome and all of that sort of thing. And that's the last time we actually had a conversation about anything personal. And I consider this adventure very personal. Of course it's professional but this is where the worlds cross and combine. And I think Celine will be very insightful and very helpful.

John Meglen - I have spoken to them and both Celine and René are incredibly excited about that and don’t know if were 50% Canadian now at Caesars Palace

Shania - (Laughs) its getting dominated now

John Meglen – Funny how that works, no they’re very excited about this and we just believe it’s a marriage made in heaven to have Shania come there.

Shania - Well at least you guys are already broken into the Canadian thing. You’re well broken in.

Hey guys Joseph Hudak from TV Guide Magazine . This is actually a question for John. Could you talk a bit more about the pre-sale tonight and how that ties in with the CMT awards I’m sure its going to be a big topic, fans are going to want to get tickets right away?

John Meglen - There will be, I think you can call it a cylon (overlay advert) that we’ll be running across the bottom of your television set tonight exactly when Shania announces the winner of the Male video of the year award and that will begin an American Express pre-sale program that I think everybody’s pretty familiar with. It’s a pretty standard thing in the business. We do a tremendous amount of outreach, we have programs with The Oprah network, we have programs with Caesars Entertainments Total Rewards program. We obviously have a Canadian database of ticket buyers at the Colosseum. We will use everything that we can. Its important to us that we maintain fairness in the distribution of tickets. So we make sure that if wait for the public on sale there will still be plenty of good seats and that’s part of the beauty of Las Vegas is that it takes people time to plan when they can go. Its travel, it’s not like throwing the kids in the car and let’s head down to the arena. So part of the reason we go so far out front is so that people can plan their time and decide when they want to come out and come and see Shania.

Ladies and gentlemen let’s go back to Las Vegas

Hi Shania, Mark Gray from People Magazine - A lots happened in your life last year, professionally, personally with the voice and how this kind of thing. Can you put in perspective what the last years been like for you?

Shania - It's been a healing year for me. ... I’ve taken this time and I haven’t set any time restraints on myself. I set out to heal, I wrote the autobiography. I did the series. I explored Vegas. I committed myself to things. And I think it was learning and growing time, which I guess is all part of healing. And you know committing myself in the first place to do the series and to release the book was a very big step in....just almost forcing myself to stick with something. It's like going on a diet or getting in shape. You do it with a partner or you do it with a buddy. I did it with the public, and they held my hand all the way through it.
And I did it with song. I wrote a song to cheer me on through the whole process. It was all very real and very genuine. It was a motivational exercise, self motivational exercise for me that I lived, in real time, and shared it. That forced me, to do it. So, committing yourself is a very big part I've learned how to commit myself and put that into healing instead of fear and anxiety, which is a big turnaround.

Were going to do question number 2 from Las Vegas

Hi Shania, this is John Katsilometes , talking to you from Las Vegas Sun and Greenspun Media Group I want to welcome you to Las Vegas. As the entertainment capital of the world it’s very busy here and very competitive and just today were going to have a big event just up the strip at The Mirage where Cirque du Soleil's and The Beatles show are celebrating their 5th anniversary of the Love show. It’s just an example how busy it can be here. I want to ask you a little bit about that the nature of the competition here and how you see yourself fitting in?

Shania - My whole career is a series of competition after competition, from the side of the industry. I'm not personally a very competitive person in that regard. I make my music. I do my thing and I put it out there. I'm not counting or anything like that. It takes too much energy to do that, so I leave that up to the industry and I just worry about doing what I do.

John Meglen - I think part of the competitive; I don’t know if I really look at it as a completive nature in Las Vegas. I like to believe that as there are more good shows it’s more of a reason for people to go to Las Vegas. As we know people go to Las Vegas, it’s not a day trip, it’s really you go in now for an average of 3 to 4 days. “Cirque” has created some amazing shows. “Love” is an amazing show. That’s testament to how great they are the fifth anniversary of that show tonight and it’s still selling out every night. So we like to believe that great entertainment feeds the market place, maybe Gary you can comment a little bit on that.

Gary Selesner - Well John I was just thinking what we often talk about the problem of finding artists to fill The Colosseum for the number of days we try to fill it. There are very few human beings on earth that can do it. When we’ve talked about this challenge we’ve always agreed its how many records they’ve sold and how many fans they have. Were sitting next to one the most prolific sellers of records who ever lived. So I have no doubt that this will be a huge success. I just can’t wait to get it started

Shania - I think also, the touring industry and the radio industry in itself, it’s so highly competitive. If you survive that, I think you can survive Vegas. Trust me (she laughs) That is not even something that I've given much thought, to be honest. I think I’ll leave the rest up to you guys, you know what you’re doing, and I guess I’ll do, what I do.

John Meglen - You brought up a good point earlier which is your creating a show which is really the only place in the world you can see that show and that people can come to see you. So we go the extra mile. We go the extra 20 miles to make sure that, THAT show is that spectacular. As you said it’s not a show that you can pack up and tour around the country in a bunch of semi trucks. It just doesn’t work that way and that’s part of the beauty. So when you think about you know we really want every show to be unique because every artist is unique BUT we want people just to go over the top and have the time of their life putting that show together but it’s something that you can only see in Las Vegas at Caesars Palace. From the production standpoint we can just go so much higher.

Shania - Yep, There’s no other venue where the possibilities are as endless as they are at Caesars Palace. That is for sure, I’ve seen a ton of shows in Vegas myself over the years. I’m a great fan of going to live shows whenever I’m in Vegas. I see several shows I think a lot of people also do that. I like to see a variety of things. It’s just a great place to be all around like you said, very few people may go there for one day, and they go there for a trip. So I hope I become a part of their trip.

John Meglen - We want them to go to Cirque shows the night after they went to Shania’s show (audience laughs)

Back to Nashville with a question

Hi, Chris Willman of Yahoo and this answers one of the 2 of the big question marks about the resumption of your career and want to ask you about the other one which is - When you do go to Vegas is it possible you’ll have a new album out by then? Are in the studio or thinking about going in the studio. For those of us who think you’ve had some the greatest singles and most fun albums in the last 20 years, are we going to be ready to expect more? We know there’s a new song with Nathan Chapman co-producing and wondered if going to be doing any work with him?

Shania - Yeah, I'm very excited about the new song. And the new song was a surprise. I didn't plan on it. I was petrified of writing a new song, without Mutt, a whole new world for me. It had been many, many years since I had written by myself so that was new and scary. The song, really every day, it cheered me up so much. I thought, "Well, maybe I should share it in the series”. Nathan Chapman and David Foster are both involved. I was very involved myself with the production of it. I enjoyed it. I'm excited about the new song and it's really set me off. You know. I'm ready to get back into the studio. So I've written a whole bunch of other things over the course of this year as well, and I absolutely will make another record soon. And I will be making it over the summer. I'm not putting any pressure on myself as to when it will be ready. Whether it will be before December 1st, 2012, I don't know.

Hey there Stormy Warren with Headline Country in Sirius XM
Hi, You talked about the new song and talked about creating new music I’m sure it will make its way into this show will the new music mirror that to some degree?

Shania - Anything I've ever done live onstage has always evolved from the beginning to the end. I think it's wise to always leave some room for that. So if there was a new song that comes along, then I would certainly adapt that into the show. I wouldn't want to leave that out, so I will leave room that, for new music to come in as it comes.

John Meglen - You know we encourage people when the artists come to the Colosseum because they’re there for such a long time because you have a lot of repeat customers. So it’s important that the show evolves, that’s kind of the beauty of the process. Its not just here were opening, here is “the show” and 2 years later we’ve done the same thing every night, it evolves.

Shania - There couldn’t be a better place to introduce a more easily adaptable show on that stage, at that theatre, than it is on a touring show. That’s much more difficult. When you’re on a touring concert, people come repeatedly over and over again throughout the course of your whole tour and there’s little room to really change, you know. It’s exciting, easily adaptable compared to a road traveling show.

Let’s go back to Las Vegas for a question.
Barry or Donny and Marie ...In making this decision were there any conversations or advise they gave you. Also since you show and Garth went decidedly under the top, with his, I wondered you had other options about where you might land in Vegas and other sorts of shows you might do?

Shania - Ok well we did answer the question about speaking to some of other artists that are residents there and who have been. I will do that and look forward to that. I didn’t want to get too far ahead of myself before today. This is all going to unfold now. Again today is really where this begins as far as dreaming about the possibilities. When I say go nuts, just go nuts with that and unleash all that creativity. It’s definitely going to be, Going NUTS, so I look forward to that.

Let’s do a second question from Las Vegas
Hi, this is Norm Clark from the Las Vegas Review Journal. I would like to ask you when did the voice issues come up and what insurances did your doctors give you?

Shania - Everyone’s fairly optimistic, I’ve seen several vocal specialists. I’ve put that to task by going through it during the series to prove to myself, I could and try and get over that hump a little bit and say “Yes I really can do this” - I believe the doctors. It’s quite interesting to watch it unravel in the series and how it does come much clearer to me and everyone around me how to see how possible this is going to be for me to really get my voice back and maybe stronger than ever before - With more knowledge of my voice.

Let’s come back to Nashville

Hi Shania, Intern Adam 107.5 (The River) Nashville and US Weekly
You’ve talked at lot today, First of all Your HOT by the way (laughs) - Shania - Thank you. Intern Adam - You talked a lot today about commitment, now when it comes to commitment on your family side will Frederic and the family be joining you in Vegas?

Shania - They are very artist friendly. The schedule is being planned out in a way that I can, you know, really get satisfaction personally and professionally. I can all of the time that I’m there because of the way the schedule is; it’s possible to do that. A travelling tour would make that very very difficult and very challenging. I did that with Eja when he was very young but that was before he started school. So now the family is concerned and I do not like separating those 2 lives’s they really have to go together. Especially at Caesars the way the environment is set up so beautifully. I'm just looking forward to contact with the fans again. I mean, I'm enjoying this so much today just sitting around talking with all of you. And I know this is not like the "fan crowd," but I just enjoy the contact. Being able to communicate with the fans directly during the show has always been one of my greatest pleasures. That's probably what I'm looking forward to the most, above and beyond the performance and the spectacle of everything. It's just the direct contact, one-on-one with the fans. That venue is going to make it as intimate as it can possibly be.

John Meglen - We want to thank our friends and the press in Las Vegas also. We look forward to seeing everyone in December of 2012. With its touch of Nashville and its touch of country it’s so representative of Middle America which is really what does come to Las Vegas. We feel we’ve hit it out of the park getting you to agree here so Thank You very much.
Shania - (Laughs), Thank you guys very much and thank all of you.

Applause from the Nashville audience

Honey I’m Home’ breaks out!

Livewire

Interview with Terri Clark

Interview with Terri Clark

Ch.L.: Country Music has many new fans in Europe, who may be hearing about you for the first time. How would you describe yourself and the music you play to someone who's never seen or heard you before.

T.C.: I would say I try to empower women, wear a cowboy hat, jeans, and don't necessarily fit the female country artist stereotype. My show has a very personal vibe to it, and some of the music is more rollicking, and some is more thought provoking, but it is ALL authentic, and I feel many people can relate to it. I love letting people know and see that I am just an every day girl, with a not so every day job, but I don't feel a "disconnect" with my audience just because I am on the stage...I feel like we are all there to have a great time, myself included, and usually, that is what happens. My music tends to lend itself to more of a traditional country/rock, or roots sound, as opposed to " pop".

Ch.L.: How was the last year for you? What were the highlights?

T.C.: This past year for me was full of bitter and sweet. I made a new album called "Roots and Wings" that I am very proud of. I lost my best friend, my Mom, to cancer last year, and ended a long term relationship not long after that. It was all very tough, but I also feel like that is when our spirits and minds grow the most, and creatively I feel like it all inspired me to write some songs that I otherwise may not have.  I got a cottage in Canada close to many of my old friends from junior high, and teen years, and my Grandmother, Dad, sister, and nephew....staying tethered to them has helped me deal with the loss of my mother a little better as well, so that has been a HUGE blessing, and helped me gain clarity and balance. My own personal and spiritual growth was the one bonus out of the pile of rubble and I do believe we have to take advantage of those nuggets of wisdom...they are worth more than their weight in gold.

Ch.L.: How did you choose the title for the CD, is there a story behind it?

T.C.: I chose "Roots and Wings" after much deliberation about naming the album after one of the song titles, which felt a little cliche. I felt not just ONE song encompassed what the album meant for me. There is a song I co- wrote with Karyn Rochelle about my relationship with my Mom called "Smile"...the song is about how she was always willing to "let me go" so that I could live up to my fullest potential, and really fly...no matter how hard it was at the time, because we were always so extremely close...that and the fact that I feel like she is my angel always, is the "wings" portion of the title.The "roots" portion covers where songs like "Northern Girl" and  “We're Here for a Good Time" came from. Songs that represent me growing up in Canada, and embracing my roots, who I am, my old friends and family, and coming full circle in my life and choosing some songs with those themes for this album.

Ch.L.: Please tell us about the songs on your album.

T.C.: Wrecking Ball- is a song about a woman on a mission. She knows what she wants and isn't afraid to go after it. Its the first song on the record and has a totally rocking vibe....

Breakin’ up Thing- Wrote this one with Kristen Hall, and it's about someone who has had so many breakups they have mastered the art of "leaving" rather unscathed.

The One- this song is about the proverbial single person catching hell from everyone for not yet being married. I admire those who wait for the one who is right, instead of "settling" for whatever pressures society places upon them, or they place upon themselves.

Northern Girl- Again, this one encompasses how I feel about the land where I grew up, and the people I grew up with, and have returned to it, in so many ways.

Beautiful and Broken- This song is about unconditional love for someone who is broken emotionally in so many ways. About being there for them in spite of the chaos they create...

Lonesomes Last Call- Wrote this tune with Jim Rushing when I was about 22 years old- so um, 5 years ago....ok not really, but a girl can dream right? It’s got that classic old school country vibe that I grew up listening to, and reminds me so much of my Grandparents who used to sing all the classics.

Smile- is about my Mom and I and our relationship

We're Here for a Good Time- a 70's rock classic by the Canadian band, Trooper...heard it SO much growing up, so decided to make a comeback with it, and country it up a bit. Just a feel good fun, roll the windows down, type of tune.

The Good Was Great-  A song about taking the good parts of a relationship and the sweetness it brought to your life instead of constantly focusing on the bad parts and reasons why it didn't work out.

Flowers in Snow- This is the first song Kristen and I wrote for this album. It is about "knowing'' inside that a relationship is dead and over long before either one of you has the guts to really do anything about it.
Ch.L.: What kind of songs do you like to record the most?

T.C.: Anything that resonates with some part of who I am. I have a fun side, a party side, a serious, side, romantic side, thoughtful side...I have to somehow feel connected to what I am singing every night or to me it feels disingenuous.

Ch.L.: What's your favorite song among all the songs you've recorded and what's the story behind it?

T.C.: The song I wrote about My Mom and me, "Smile".

Ch.L.: Do you have any interesting stories about how fans have been affected by your music?

T.C.: I have received so many wonderful letters and stories over the years it is really hard to pick just one.  The stories that impact me the most are how my music reaches peoples hearts in a way that truly impacts their life.  I get letters from a lot of young girls who have viewed me as a role model of sorts, which, of course can feel like pressure, but I consider it a tremendous honor and responsibility of sorts. They write to me about reaching their goals and dreams, and tell me the songs I sing inspire them to be who they really are and not let the negative things in life get them down....that just hits my heart in such a huge way.

Ch.L.: Who do you look up to musically and how deep do your musical roots run?

T.C.: Reba has always been someone, as a business woman, mentor, friend and person, I have always looked up to. My Grandparents were also professional musicians and club acts in the 50s and 60s in Montreal and supported 5 kids on playing country music. I have all their old Publicity shots still, and their union cards framed at my house in Nashville....they inspired me in so many ways, and I feel as though their legacy has lived on through me, and flourished to even greater heights. I am so grateful they both lived long enough to experience a lot of my success.

Ch.L.: What do you think about today's Country Music versus its roots and where do you see it going in the future?

T.C.: Country music is like anything else. Ever changing as it goes. There is room for all styles and types or artists. We are all good at what we do for different reasons. I personally prefer to listen to Bluegrass and traditional country in my spare time. I like roots music and acoustic music. Anything unaffected that is easily duplicated sitting in someones living room, which is why I have pursued the unplugged solo touring option in the US. I think country will always be ever present in our culture. Satellite radio provides a place for people to hear whatever they want whenever they want, and in a way will help keep it alive.

Ch.L.: If you had the chance to change something about the music industry, what would it be?

T.C.: I wish the major record labels had been a little more forward thinking when NAPSTER impacted music online. I wish they had been more proactive in the downloading world and found a way to get ahead of the curve before it changed the major label industry so drastically. I feel a lot of them were too self assured and confident in their ability to maintain a strong foothold  without having to “worry'' too much about it early on, and it has backfired in many cases.

Ch.L.: As an artist you have to do so many different things such as recording, touring, doing interviews etc. What do you like best, what's your favorite activity?

T.C.: Playing live is the reason I do everything else....including this interview (she says with a smile on her face)

Ch.L.: What was your big break that got you into the music business?

T.C.: It took 8 years to secure a record deal from the time I left my little prairie town in Alberta, Canada. It was a series of "little" breaks, a TON of let downs, broken promises, and heartaches that lead to the big one. Eventually Alan Jackson’s producer Keith Stegall heard a demo tape I did, and requested a meeting.  6 months he later wound up at Mercury records and requested another one, in which I walked in with my guitar and sat in the president’s office (Luke Lewis) and sang about 4 songs solo....that did it.

Ch.L.: Before you became a star, were your friends and family supportive or was it a struggle?

T.C.: They have always been my biggest cheerleaders.

Ch.L.: What inspired you to become an artist?

T.C.: I didn't choose to become an artist...it chose me. I fell in love with the guitar, and country music and had a natural talent for it....I had to see where it would lead.

Ch.L.: What inspired you to become a songwriter?

T.C.: My Mom....

Ch.L.: What moments in your career stand out in your memory as highlights and achievements which you're proud of?

T.C.: Becoming the first (and still only) female Canadian Member of the Grand Ole Opry is it for me. It means the WORLD to me. Also holding the record for the most CCMA Entertainer of the Year/Fan’s Choice awards is a close second. I’ve won that 8 times and the only person close behind me in that category is kd Lang. It's a huge accomplishment, and the fact that it comes from the fans, who I believe are the only ones that matter, means so much more.

Ch.L.: Any thoughts of retirement ahead?

T.C.: Hell no.  When its music, you play till you die. Actually to be serious, it is more about "balance" than retirement. I am only 42 still, so a little young to hang it up and I think I would be absolutely BORED.

Ch.L.: Who's your biggest critic, yourself or others?

T.C.: Myself, for sure.

Ch.L.: When you get time off, how do you like to relax?

T.C.: I have a cottage in Canada, and I choose to be around people who will add to my life and not drain or take away.

Ch.L.: Is there any place you haven't played that you would like to?

T.C.: Ireland, Germany, Scotland, England

Ch.L.: What's the best compliment a fan has ever given you?

T.C.: That I’ve saved their life

Ch.L.. What message would you like to send your European fans?

T.C.: I can't WAIT to get there and play for everyone in the UK and Europe. I have vacationed there and absolutely loved it.....

Christian Lamitschka ( Ch.Lamitschka@t-online.de )

MARTY STUART’S LATE NIGHT JAM SELLS OUT

 
MARTY STUART’S LATE NIGHT JAM SELLS OUT AND
DONATES OVER $30K TO MUSICARES

NASHVILLE, TN – June 9, 2010 – Country Music icon Marty Stuart sold-out the Ryman Auditorium last night with his annual LATE NIGHT JAM, raising more than $30,000 for MusiCares, with a portion also going to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.  Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives were joined by country music icons Dolly Parton, Mel Tillis and Connie Smith, along with The Quebe Sisters Band, Doug Kershaw and surprise guests Ricky Skaggs and Duane Eddy.  

For more information, visit www.martystuart.net.
 
Photo by: Erica Goldring

WILLIE NELSON'S COUNTRY THROWDOWN TOUR 2011

WILLIE NELSON'S COUNTRY THROWDOWN TOUR 2011
ENTERS THIRD WEEKEND OF MUSIC & FUN
 
Upcoming Dates Include: Columbia, MO (6/10), Sparta, IL (6/11) and Lawrenceville, GA (6/12)
 
 
 
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – June 9, 2011 – Willie Nelson's Country Throwdown Tour 2011 made a highly anticipated stop in Nashville on June 3 before heading to North Little Rock and Orange Beach Alabama, where many artists donated their fees to tornado victims. The 25 city tour is laid back in nature and keep fans on their feet as musical surprises abound. For more information, please visit www.countrythrowdown.com. Here are some shots of this year’s tour.
 

Willie Nelson "On the Road Again" with the Country Throwdown Tour 2011
Photo credit: Steve Lowry
 
Any crowd adores the legendary Willie Nelson.  The iconic Texan is the creative genius behind historic recordings like "Crazy," "Hello Walls," “Red Headed Stranger” and “Stardust.”  His career has spanned six decades.  His catalog boasts more than 200 albums.  He's earned every conceivable award and honor to be bestowed a person in his profession.

Family Tradition (Lukas Nelson on stage during Willie Nelson’s Country Throwdown Tour)
Photo credit: Steve Lowry

 Lukas Nelson might have gotten his start singing with his famous father, Willie Nelson, but with the recent release of his band's (Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real) debut full-length album and their constant roadwork, it's become quite clear that Nelson is emerging from the shadows of the Red Headed Stranger and accruing quite a following on his own merits. The group has performed for the first time on national late-night television on both Late Show with David Letterman and Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and has every major publication singing its praises.

Jamey Johnson 
Photo credit: Steve Lowry

Photo credit: Steve Lowry

Fans react to Jamey Johnson at Willie Nelson’s Country Throwdown Tour 2011

Photo credit: Steve Lowry
 
Behind the scenes, co-creator of Country Throwdown,  Kevin Lyman played grill master before handing over duties to newcomer Drake White.

Photo credit: Steve Lowry
 
Randy Houser goin' out with his "Boots On"! Fans are welcome to drop by the Harley Saloon at 5:30 p.m. on every tour stop to meet country performer Randy Houser and see his personal custom-made Harley Davidson motorcycle on display.

Photo credit: Steve Lowry

Drake White serving up some tunes before taking over grilling duties. The enthusiastic 27 year-old EMI singer/songwriter is a Hokes Bluff, Alabama native who credits many country, blues, rock, freestyle and bluegrass influences for his unique musical sound.

Brantley Gilbert kickin' it in the sticks!
Photo credit: Steve Lowry

At the young age of 25, Georgia native Brantley Gilbert already has a list of impressive industry accolades notched on his belt.  The rising star’s second album – the independently-released Halfway to Heaven -- reached #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers Album Chart and #2 on the iTunes Country chart. Gilbert’s current single on The Valory Music Co, “Country Must Be Country Wide,” is a Top 35 hit and rising.

Photo Credit: Steve Lowry
 
Southern gals are all smiles after catching the Brantley Gilbert show at Willie Nelson’s Country Throwdown Tour 2011 in Nashville (6/3)

Lee Brice driving the crowd crazy! / Photo credit: Steve Lowry

Lee Brice's "Love Like Crazy" reached the top five on the charts and was named Billboard's #1 country song of 2010.  It currently holds the record for the longest charting song in the history of Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart. ACM and CMT Award nominated Brice is also known for his songwriting, penning hits for many great artists including Garth Brooks and Tim McGraw.

Co-creator of Country Throwdown, Sarah Baer, cruisin’ around the laid back festival grounds.
Photo credit: Steve Lowry

The "Family Man," Craig Campbell, performing at Fontanel
Photo Credit: Steve Lowry

With the release of his self-titled album, Craig Campbell has the highest first week sales for any debut male this year! The lead single "Family Man" is a Top 15 hit and will be included in an upcoming episode of HBO's wildly popular "True Blood." New single: "Fish"

Bluebird artists gathering backstage
(L-R): Caitlyn Smith, Austin Lucas, Brent Cobb, Dani Flowers and Erin Enderlin

Fans will have the opportunity to enjoy the unique and intimate “in the round”-style sets made famous at Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe.  Adam Hood, Caitlyn Smith, Austin Lucas, Brent Cobb, Dani Flowers, and Erin Enderlin have signed on for the Bluebird Cafe Stage and also will be front and center on a specially designed set during the main stage set changes.
 
 
Willie Nelson’s Country Throwdown Tour 2011 sponsors include COUNTRY WEEKLY, HARLEY-DAVIDSON, DICKIES, CMT, NAMM, THE BLUEBIRD CAFE, BMI, Y'ALLWIRE, KEEP A BREAST, SHIRTS FOR A CURE, AZUNIA, WARNER MUSIC NASHVILLE, SOUTHWEST AIRLINES, MARTIN GUITARS, UFC and U.S. MARINES.

Upcoming Tour Dates include:
 
6/10 - Columbia, MO @ Midway Exposition Center
6/11- Sparta, IL @ World Shooting & Recreation Complex
6/12 - Lawrenceville, GA @ Coolray Field
6/16 - Roanoke Rapids, NC The Rapids Jam Festival*
6/17 - Simpsonville, SC @ Charter Amphitheater at Heritage Park
6/18 - Waldorf, MD @ Regency Stadium
6/19 - Knoxville, TN @ World’s Fair Park
6/21 - Denver, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheater
6/23 - Del Mar, CA @ Grandstand
6/24 - Ontario, CA @ Citizens Business Bank Arena
6/25 - Pozo, CA @ Pozo Saloon
6/26 - Murphys, CA @ Ironstone Ampitheater
6/30 - Mission, TX @ Las Palmas Race Park
7/1 - Corpus Christi, TX @ Concrete Street Amphitheater
7/2 - Eufala, OK @ Eufala Cove Amphitheater
7/3 - Siloam Springs, AR @ Osage Creek Amphitheater, Willie's Throwdown and Picnic
7/4 - Fort Worth, TX @ Billy Bob's, Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic & Throwdown



About 4 FINI, Inc.
4Fini is the creator and producer of Willie Nelson’s Country Throwdown 2011 Tour.  4Fini partners Kevin Lyman and Sarah Baer also are co-producers of the highly successful annual Rockstar Mayhem Festival, a summer metal festival featuring 15 metal bands including headliners Slipknot and Disturbed. A success by all standards, Rockstar Mayhem Festival perhaps most notably integrated the camaraderie Lyman had created on the Vans Warped Tour into a metal festival.  Best known for the successful Vans Warped Tour, the longest running traveling music and extreme sports festival in the world today, Lyman pioneered the successful integration of corporate sponsors with the extreme lifestyle, creating a blueprint for sponsorship integration widely duplicated in the marketplace today.  Kevin and his company 4 Fini, Inc. have produced numerous other successful tour productions. Kevin is a music industry authority on multiple corporate branding projects, helping companies maintain the valuable street level credibility that endears their products to the youth market.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit  

RICKY SKAGGS “Country Hits Bluegrass Style”

RICKY SKAGGS COMBINES HIS LOVE OF COUNTRY AND BLUEGRASS MUSIC FOR HIS LATEST ALBUM
“Country Hits Bluegrass Style” Set to Release July 19th

Nashville, TN (June 9, 2011) – Musical legend Ricky Skaggs has announced the July 19th release of his upcoming project Country Hits Bluegrass Style on Skaggs Family Records.  The 14-song release is a mix between Skaggs’ country and bluegrass roots, something he has been sharing with fans around the country on his current Treasure Chest Tour.

Both bluegrass and country lovers alike will enjoy the bluegrass instrumentation along with the impeccable tenor voice of Ricky Skaggs, the man who “single-handedly” saved country music in the early 80’s, according to renowned guitarist and producer, Chet Atkins.  Ricky’s 8-time IBMA Instrumental Band of the Year, Kentucky Thunder, along with some of Ricky’s original award-winning country band alumni and special friends add to the magic of this album.

“We did such good music in the 1980s and early '90s that a lot of fans still shout out 'Honey (Open That Door),' and I felt like we needed to do those songs for them, too,” explained Skaggs.  “For years now I’ve had fans come up and ask me to do a CD that would have my old country hits on it.  So here it is, done a little different than the original recordings.  These were done in more of a bluegrass style.  Folks have loved it when we play them on the road.  Sure hope you love them too.”

Skaggs’ first two country #1 singles and standouts on the new album, “Crying My Heart Out Over You” and “I Don’t Care,” are accompanied by eight more #1 country hits, such as “Cajun Moon” and “Highway 40 Blues.”  Ricky’s superior guitar skills are showcased throughout this bluegrass rendition of his fan-favorite classic, “Country Boy.”  Other songs include “Uncle Pen,” the first bluegrass tune ever to hit #1 on Billboard’s country chart, “Don’t Get Above Your Raising,” “He Was On To Something (So He Made You),” and “Somebody’s Prayin’.”

About Ricky Skaggs
Fourteen-time Grammy Award winner Ricky Skaggs is well known for both his country music classics as well as his bluegrass hits.  Skaggs started his own record label, Skaggs Family Records, in 1997 and has since released 12 consecutive Grammy nominated classics.  He has won a total of 8 ACM Awards and 8 CMA Awards, including CMA Entertainer of the Year in 1985.  Skaggs' latest album, Mosaic, released in August 2010, marked his return to a full band sound with melody and lyrics that speak to his faith.  Skaggs and his band, Kentucky Thunder, are currently on the road for the 2011 Treasure Chest Tour in addition to a host of bluegrass dates.
 

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