Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bill Anderson: The Measure of Songwriting Excellence

Bill Anderson: The Measure of Songwriting Excellence
By Deborah Evans Price
© 2012 CMA Close Up® News Service / Country Music Association®, Inc.
It’s been more than five decades since a 23-year-old Bill Anderson became the youngest writer to earn BMI’s Country Songwriter of the Year honor – a record until 20-year-old Taylor Swift’s win in 2010. Since then, he’s received numerous accolades, including two CMA Song of the Year trophies in a three-year span. In November, he was honored by Bear Family Records’ release of a four-CD anthology, Bill Anderson: The First 10 Years, 1956-1966. And he’s seen a lot of changes on Music Row.
“One of the biggest changes is the proliferation of co-writing,” he said. “When I came to Nashville, there were not that many of us writing songs for a living. Most of us wrote by ourselves. Back in those days, we were so restricted to who we could write with because they wouldn’t split copyrights. Lord knows ASCAP wouldn’t split things with BMI and vice versa, so you had to write with people in your own camp. Those walls have come down. Now we can write with anybody and everybody will split copyrights. It has opened up a whole world of freedom for songwriting.”
Anderson’s ability to adapt has allowed him to flourish in today’s collaborative climate. His credits include Kenny Chesney’s “A Lot of Things Different,” which he wrote with Dean Dillon; the Mark Wills hit “Wish You Were Here” (Anderson, Skip Ewing and Debbie Moore); and The Oak Ridge Boys’ “Jonah, Job and Moses” (Anderson and Tia Sillers), which won a Gospel Music Association Dove Award. Anderson won CMA Song of the year honors in 2005 for the Brad Paisley/Alison Krauss hit “Whiskey Lullaby” (Anderson and Jon Randall) and again in 2007 for George Strait’s “Give It Away” (Anderson, Buddy Cannon and Jamey Johnson).
“He still writes a lot of great songs and he also still works very hard,” said Anderson’s longtime fan and frequent collaborator Brad Paisley. “A lot of people have an era when they write great. For a decade or two they’re on fire and can do no wrong, then for whatever reason perspective changes and they don’t write like they used to — or maybe they do write like they used to but meanwhile styles and tastes change. Those things don’t apply to Bill. He has the ability to write whatever needs to be recorded in that era. If you think about the hits that he’s had over the last few years, they are important and current sounding and, at the same time, they sound like Bill Anderson songs. He’s changed just enough to pull off that sort of thing. It’s really inspiring.”
Though his distinctive vocal style earned him the nickname “Whispering Bill” and his stage skills keep him on the road year after year, at his core Bill Anderson is first and foremost a songwriter. In fact, his most recent album is simply and aptly titled Songwriter, on TWI Records.
Born in Columbia, S.C., Anderson grew up around Atlanta. As a child, he was fascinated with music and began writing songs when he was 9. “I subscribed to Country Song Roundup magazine,” he remembered. “I got all those song lyrics every month, and the first thing I would look at was who the writers were. I formed little pictures of people of the names I kept seeing over and over, and I would look at who the publishers were.”
Hank Williams was an early influence. “The reason I became such a big fan was that Hank Williams wrote most of his songs and that really appealed to me,” Anderson said. “I figured that this guy writes and he sings it, so this must be him. This must be who he is. I sensed an honesty in that music, and that was very influential to me.
“I’ve always loved to write,” continued Anderson, who began his career as a sportswriter. “I did some work for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and for some weekly papers around Atlanta, but when I got to the University of Georgia and met a couple of guitar pickers over there, that focus shifted to music and I started seriously to write songs.”
Anderson wrote the classic “City Lights” when he was just 19 years old and then moved to Nashville after Ray Price turned the song into a hit. Signed to Decca Records, Anderson created more successful titles, including “Po’ Folks,” “Mama Sang a Song,” “Tips of My Fingers,” “Eight by Ten” (written with Walter Haynes) and his signature song, “Still.” Eventually, after a hiatus from songwriting, Anderson started working with a new group of collaborators and creating hit songs for a new generation. He credits Steve Wariner for providing the motivation that spurred a new chapter in his career when Wariner recorded “Tips of My Fingers” in 1992 and took the song to No. 1. “That knocked down the wall and opened up my mind,” he said. “I was still shy because I thought ‘This is a whole new generation of writers and publishers and record people. I don’t know these people and they don’t know me.’”
A mutual friend encouraged him to call Vince Gill, but Anderson was hesitant. “I said, ‘Vince doesn’t even know who I am,’” he recalled. “I was wrong. I called him and got his Code-A-Phone (answering machine) and he answered (on his outgoing message) impersonating me; he says, ‘This is Whispering Gill.’ That gave me a little more confidence. We got together and wrote two songs. He ended up recording both of them. One was a No. 1 record: ‘Which Bridge to Cross (Which Bridge to Burn).’”
As he began collaborating more frequently, Anderson had to adjust his way of thinking. “One of the first things I had to do was totally put my ego aside as a writer because I had written most everything by myself,” he said. “I had done very, very little co-writing. When I started thinking seriously about getting back into music again, I realized that music had changed. Chord structures and melodies were more complicated, so I knew that I needed help. I knew that I couldn’t write songs for today’s market totally by myself. I needed input from people who were out there doing it, so I just checked my ego at the door. Vince was the first person I wrote with. I had felt like I was there to learn from him. The answers were the same, but somebody changed the questions.”
Since then, Anderson has paired with many of Music Row’s top writers and built an enviable catalog of hits. “I love writing with the young writers who have their perspective on it but who are open to listening to my perspective as well,” he explained. “That is the best of both worlds. Lyrics have always been my strength, even though I have written a ton of melodies. But most of the young writers today are more sophisticated in writing melodies than I am. Melodies today are a little more pop-influenced and R&B-influenced, so I embrace what other writers bring in that regard.”
Anderson had taken note of other aspects of songwriting that have also changed. “Today the first thing they want is an uptempo song with a positive message. Country Music kind of had the image of being a negative music, and in a lot of ways it was. It is much more positive music today, and as a result I think it appeals to a larger audience.”
Ironically, one of Anderson’s biggest hits flies in the face of that observation. The Dixie Chicks had a hold on “Whiskey Lullaby” when Brad Paisley put a secondary hold on it. “We did not write that song as a duet,” Anderson said. “But Brad had the vision and foresight to picture it as a duet and then had the good sense to ask Alison Krauss to sing it with him.”
Jamey Johnson is another one of Anderson’s favorite younger singer/songwriters. “He is a genius,” he declared. “I love writing with Jamey. He is so creative and one of the fastest writers I have ever worked with. I love him as a person. He has a deep sense of tradition and respects what has come before him, but he wants to take it to a new place and a new audience. That is exactly what our business needs.”
When it comes to securing cuts, Anderson prefers letting his publisher do the pitching. He spent several years with Moss Rose Publishing and is currently signed to Sony/ATV Tree, but during his early days in Nashville, he was with Buddy Killen’s Tree Publishing. “Buddy was more than a publisher,” Anderson said. “He was a mentor. There may have been more of that in the early days, probably because the whole scene was so much smaller. It wasn’t like Buddy had 50 or 60 writers over there, like some companies do today. There were probably less than half a dozen of us. Buddy could afford the time to do a lot of pitching. He was very close to the artists, particularly Jim Reeves. I had four Jim Reeves cuts, and I can credit every one of those to Buddy being out there pitching.”
One constant in Anderson’s lengthy career has been his relationship with BMI, which he joined in 1958 and never left. “He shows up every day and competes with the best of the best,” said Jody Williams, VP, Writer/Publisher Relations, Nashville, BMI. “He knows the nuances floating in the air of the songwriting community. He’s current.”
He’s also timeless. “Bill writes songs that become legends,” Williams continued. “He’s a legendary recording artist and songwriter, still creating more than 50 years after the beginning of his career, and his contributions remain relevant. He’s a mentor and friend to countless singers and songwriters, and his energy level rivals that of a 25-year-old. That’s an icon.”
Iconic, timeless and apparently ageless as well, Anderson embarks in February with Nashville songwriter Bob DiPiero and artist/songwriter Clint Black to the United Kingdom and Ireland, on the first international performances of the CMA Songwriters Series, an in-the-round concert featuring many of Music City’s top writers.
On the Web: www.BillAnderson.com


“Road to Fame” Talent Competition and “Arts Education Fund” to Develop and Discover Music Talent from Area Famous for Producing Country Music Superstars
Frankfort, KY (January 31, 2012) – Today, Governor Steve Beshear, Country Music Highway committee members, TourSEKY members and Country Music Hall of Fame Member Tom T. Hall announced the launch of two new initiatives surrounding the legendary highway (U.S. Route 23), now referred to as the “Country Music Highway.” This stretch of road, which winds along the Eastern corridor of Kentucky, has given rise to a remarkable number of country artists including Wynonna and Naomi Judd, Billy Ray Cyrus, Ricky Skaggs, Keith Whitley, Dwight Yoakam, Gary Stewart, Patty Loveless, Billy Ray Cyrus, Crystal Gayle, Loretta Lynn, Rebecca Lynn Howard and many more. 
The announcement made at the State Capital introduced the “Country Music Highway Road to Fame” talent competition which will allow the discovery of the next generation of talented artists from the area, as well as the development of a charitable organization, the “Country Music Highway Arts Education Fund” which will support music programs in Kentucky schools and aid children in discovering a passion for music without utilizing state education funds. 
“I am certain that Governor Beshear will agree with me when I say how proud we are to honor the rich musical heritage springing from the State of Kentucky,” said Jeff Crowe, President and CEO of Tour SEKY. “Our youth is teeming with musical talent and I am excited to see the impact the program will have upon them.”
The “Country Music Highway Road to Fame” competition, set to begin in mid-March, will tap Eastern Kentucky’s musical roots to find the next generation of talent. The winner of the 2012 “Road to Fame” competition will receive a scholarship to participate in career development and coaching under the direction of PCG Nashville valued at $25,000, an acoustic guitar and a plaque recognizing their achievement. The contest will be open to aspiring artists 13-35 years of age from the 15 counties that border the Country Music Highway (US Route 23). Details of the contest will be released on the “Country Music Highway Road to Fame” website. Potential contestants and interested parties should visit www.cmhroadtofame.com and register to receive announcements as they are made. 
“I’m really excited about the competition because it will show that some of the best talent can be found in the hills of Eastern Kentucky,” said Country Music Hall of Fame Member Tom T. Hall about the talent residing in his home area of Kentucky.
“The Country Music Highway means so much to me. I grew up in that special part of Kentucky, as did so many of my friends who have also been fortunate enough to find careers in country music. And now the Country Music Highway folks have launched a great project they’re calling “The Road to Fame,” said Naomi Judd in an earlier statement. “Keeping music alive on stage and in schools is close to my heart. I encourage everyone to get behind this project. Please join me in supporting the “Road to Fame” and the difference it will make in the lives of our friends and neighbors.” 
These initiatives announced today are already receiving support from corporate sponsors. The first to come on board are the Gibson Foundation, Crawdad’s Classics Gourmet Flavorings, PCG Nashville, Vietti Chili, Fairway Outdoor Advertising, TourSEKY, and Ray, Foley and Hensley Accounting.
For more information, contact: www.cmhroadtofame.com
About the Country Music Highway:
On March 1, 1994, a bill sponsored by State Representative Hubert Collins was passed and US Route 23 in Eastern Kentucky became “The Country Music Highway” to recognize the famous Country music stars that came from the region. In 2002, the Country Music Highway was also recognized as a National Scenic Byway. The 144-mile stretch of highway runs north and south along the eastern part of the state through the lush hills and valleys of Appalachia. Click for more information:
About the “Road to Fame” Competition:
Auditions, qualifying rounds, semi-finals and the grand final will be held at venues along the Country Music Highway. To be eligible to enter, contestants must be between the ages of 13 and 35 and prove residency in the counties of Letcher, Pike, Floyd, Johnson, Lawrence, Boyd, Greenup, Harlan, Petty, Knott, Magoffin, Morgan, Elliott, Carter, and Lewis. Full contest rules, contest dates and venues will be announced, along with updates at www.CMHRoadToFame.com
About PCG Nashville:                   
PCG Nashville is recognized as one of America’s leading career development organizations, working with new and emerging artist, and customizing programs to accommodate an artist’s creative and professional growth. Programs include: career guidance and mentoring, strategic planning, styling, branding and marketing, entertainment relations and ethics, media training, live performance coaching, vocal evaluation and training, instrument lessons, songwriting and creative direction, studio preparation and more. Click for more information: http://pcgnashville.com/
About Murray State Digital Media Services:
Digital Media Services is a multimedia production facility and in-house advertising agency at Murray State University.  We utilize a full-time professional staff and some of the best electronic media students in the region through a partnership with the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications.

Guy Clark Rises to No. 1 on the Americana Music Chart

This One's For Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark
Rises to No. 1 on the Americana Music Chart

No. 1 in Classic Country, No. 3 in Today's Country,
No. 1 in Pop Tributes on Amazon Best Sellers Chart
Album includes recordings by Rodney Crowell, Lyle Lovett, Joe Ely, Shawn Colvin, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Emmylou Harris & John Prine, Patty Griffin, Ron Sexsmith, Rosanne Cash, Steve Earle, Vince Gill, Jerry Jeff Walker, Robert Earl Keen, and more.
Produced by Tamara Saviano and Shawn Camp
January 31, 2013

This One's For Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark tops the Americana Music Chart this week.  The album is also No. 1 in Classic Country, No. 3 in Today's Country, No. 1 in Pop tributes and No. 24 overall on Amazon.com Best Sellers Rank.
The collection was lovingly produced by GRAMMY-winning producer Tamara Saviano (Beautiful Dreamer: The Songs of Stephen Foster)—who is also working with Clark on his definitive biography—and frequent Clark co-writer Shawn Camp ("Sis Draper," "Magnolia Wind").
The tribute includes 30 tracks by 33 Americana artists who are friends and colleagues of Clark or who have been influenced by his remarkable compositions. The collection was mixed and mastered by Austin's Cedar Creek Records principal Fred Remmert.
Part of the proceeds benefit the Center for Texas Music History at Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.
Volume 1

1.    That Old Time Feeling – Rodney Crowell
2.    Anyhow I Love You – Lyle Lovett
3.    All He Wants Is You – Shawn Colvin
4.    Homeless – Shawn Camp
5.    Broken Hearted People – Ron Sexsmith
6.    Better Days – Rosanne Cash
7.    Desperadoes Waiting For A Train – Willie Nelson
8.    Baby Took A Limo To Memphis – Rosie Flores
9.    Magdalene – Kevin Welch
10.    Instant Coffee Blues – Suzy Bogguss
11.    Homegrown Tomatoes – Ray Wylie Hubbard
12.    Let Him Roll – John Townes Van Zandt II
13.    The Guitar – Ramblin’ Jack Elliott
14.    Cold Dog Soup – James McMurtry
15.    Worry B Gone – Hayes Carll

Volume 2

1.    Dublin Blues – Joe Ely
2.    Magnolia Wind – Emmylou Harris & John Prine
3.    The Last Gunfighter Ballad – Steve Earle
4.    All Through Throwing Good Love After Bad – Verlon Thompson
5.    The Dark – Terri Hendrix
6.    LA Freeway – Radney Foster
7.    The Cape – Patty Griffin
8.    Hemingway’s Whiskey – Kris Kristofferson
9.    Texas Cookin’ – Gary Nicholson, Darrell Scott & Tim O’Brien
10.    Stuff That Works – Jack Ingram
11.    Randall Knife – Vince Gill
12.    Texas 1947 – Robert Earl Keen
13.    Old Friends – Terry Allen
14.    She Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere – The Trishas
15.    My Favorite Picture of You – Jerry Jeff Walker

Sirius XM Bluegrass Junction

Sirius XM Bluegrass Junction to Present Track By Track with Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice

Sirius XM Bluegrass Junction's Kyle Cantrell will feature music from Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice on the popular show Track By Track this week beginning on Wednesday, February 1st at 11:00am EST. During the program, Kyle will host an in-depth interview with Junior Sisk and play each track from the band's latest Rebel Records CD, The Heart Of A Song

The Heart Of A Song has been gaining a tremendous amount of attention and is #2 on Bluegrass Music Profiles Top 10 CDs chart (January 2012), #3 on the Bluegrass Today Monthly Chart (January 2012) and is currently #3 on Bluegrass Unlimited's Top 10 CDs (February 2012). The highly popular single, "A Far Cry From Lester And Earl",  has held tight to its #1 spot on the Bluegrass Music Profiles Top 30 Hot Singles chart in both December and January, is #1 on this week's Bluegrass Today Singles chart and is also the #2 single on Bluegrass Unlimited's Top 30 for February. Penned by Junior Sisk, Tim Massey and Rick Pardue, "A Far Cry From Lester And Earl" has really resonated with the band's audiences all over the country. 

Track By Track with Kyle Cantrell featuring Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice will air 
Wednesday, February 1st at 11:00am EST, Thursday, February 2nd at 9:00pm EST, and Sunday, February 5th at 11:00am EST. Bluegrass Junction's Track by Track can be heard on Sirius 61 and XM 14.

For more information, visit www.siriusxm.com/bluegrassjunction. For more information on Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice, visit www.JuniorSisk.us.


Legendary singer kicking off performances starting on Feb. 10
Randy TravisNashville, TN (January 31, 2012) -- Randy Travis, seven-time Grammy award winner and country music superstar, is gearing up to launch his 2012 concert tour in celebration of his silver anniversary with a kick-off performance on February 10th in Grand Ronde, Oregon at Spirit Mountain Casino with additional shows spanning the U.S. and Canada. Known as one of the music industry’s top-selling and most renowned artists, Travis is announcing, at this time, more than 30 cities with early stops to include Boise, Denver, Fort Worth and many others, plus Calgary. Fans can expect several more shows to be added to this year’s performance schedule.
In June 2011, the Grand Ole Opry member marked the official beginning of his 25th year in the industry with the Warner Bros. Records release of the Anniversary Celebration album. Among the musical masterpieces on the 17-track CD are a combination of originals and Travis favorites such as More Life, Road to Surrender, He Walked on Water and Forever and Ever, Amen.  It features a powerful lineup of guest artists, including Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney, Kris Kristofferson, Carrie Underwood, George Jones, Zac Brown Band, Lorrie Morgan, Jamey Johnson and more. In May 2011, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® released the 11-track CD, Randy Travis, which benefitted the national Wounded Warriors Project.
A chart-topping icon with multi-platinum albums and more than 40 appearances in television and film, Randy Travis has maintained a sense of integrity that has touched and inspired many throughout his stellar career. When reflecting on milestones of his quarter-century in the music business, Travis says, "I'm surprised at how fast the first 25 years have gone by.  It feels like only five."  As for the upcoming tour, "there's no better feeling than being on stage and the connection with a live audience."
For more information on the tour and CD, please visit: www.randytravis.com.
About Randy Travis
Warner Bros. Records has been home to Randy Travis for the majority of his recording career; and together they have accumulated lifetime sales of his music in excess of 20 million units to date.  Travis is one of the biggest record sellers in music industry history, with 18 #1 singles, 29 Top 10 chartings, certification of the rare quintuple platinum album (Always and Forever, released in 1987), one triple platinum album (Storms of Life, released in 1986), two double platinum’s (Old 8x10, released in 1988, and No Holding Back, released in 1989), eight platinum albums, and 10 gold albums.  Major industry career awards include seven GRAMMY Awards, five Country Music Association Awards (CMA), 10 Academy of Country Music Awards (ACM), 10 American Music Awards (AMA), two People’s Choice Awards, and eight Dove Awards from the Gospel Music Association.  He is a three-time recipient of CMA Award’s “Song of the Year’’ honors (“On The Other Hand,” “Forever and Ever Amen,” and “Three Wooden Crosses”).  Randy Travis has appearances in more than 40 feature film productions and major television projects to his credit.  In 2004, he was honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  In the midst of every major career award and accolade, he considers his honored induction as a member of the famed Grand Ole Opry, in Nashville, in 1986, as a shining highlight of his first 25 years of legendary accomplishments.
25th Anniversary Celebration Tour Itinerary 
(partial listing, more dates to follow) 
Feb. 10, 2012
Grand Ronde, OR
Spirit Mountain Casino
8:00 p.m.
Feb. 11, 2012
Airway Heights, WA
Northern Quest Casino
7:30 p.m.
Feb. 13, 2012
Boise, ID
Morrison Center - BSU
7:30 p.m.
Feb. 16, 2012
Denver, CO
Grizzly Rose
8:30 p.m.
Feb. 17, 2012
Colorado Springs, CO
Pikes Peak Center
7:30 p.m.
Feb. 18, 2012
Greeley, CO
Union Colony Civic Center
7:30 p.m.
Feb. 19, 2012
Beaver Creek, CO
Vilar Center for the Arts
8:00 p.m.
Mar. 3, 2012
Coachella, CA
Spotlight 29 Casino Showroom
9:00 p.m.
Mar. 9, 2012
Winnie, TX
Nutty Jerry’s
8:00 p.m.
Mar. 10, 2012
Ft. Worth, TX
Billy Bob’s Texas
8:00 p.m.
Mar. 18, 2012
Gainesville, TX
Red River Celebration – Gainesville High School
6:00 p.m.
March 22, 2012
Dothan, AL
Toadlick Music Festival – Main Stage
5:00 p.m.
Apr. 7, 2012
Laughlin, NV
Riverside Casino – Amphitheater
8:30 p.m.
May 4, 2012
Biloxi, MS
Beau Rivage Casino - Theatre
8:00 p.m.
May 5, 2012
Live Oak, FL
Suwannee River Jam – Main Stage
5:00 p.m.
May 6, 2012
Melbourne, FL
Runaway Country Space Coast Music Festival – Wickham Park (Main Stage)
2:00 p.m.

Ryman Auditorium to get new stae

Ryman Auditorium to get new stage
Music City’s most famous stage — which provided a platform under the feet of the legendary likes of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline and Louis Armstrong — will hold its last performance this week after 61 years of service.

Ryman Auditorium will replace its current oak stage, in place since 1951, with a new one that will improve its durability and triple its load-bearing capacity, with an aim to ensure the building’s future as a concert venue.

The current stage has been in place for about half of the Ryman’s life, serving as home to the Grand Ole Opryfor more than 20 years as it made its debut on television and helped launch the careers of icons such as Cash. Replacing it is a move that Steve Buchanan, Gaylord Entertainment’s senior vice president of media and entertainment, said has been considered since the venue underwent major renovations and reopened in 1994.

“The weak spots, dips and just the wear and tear of the shows that we’ve done over the last 18 years ultimately made it a necessity,” he said. “Being able to (build) a stage that really meets the demands of current production values is really very critical.”
The stage, only the second in the National Historic Landmark’s history, will be performed on for the last time on Friday, when Keith Urban returns from vocal surgery to play an Opry at the Ryman concert with the Oak Ridge Boys, Charley Pride and others. The next morning, crews will begin working daily to complete the project within two weeks. The new stage will host its first performance — a sold-out concert from country newcomers The Band Perry — on Feb. 20.

The new stage won’t be entirely new: Wood from the current stage will be incorporated into an 18-inch-deep strip that will run lengthwise along the edge of the new stage.
After the stage is replaced, “Artists that come and play here can still stand on that stage,” said Ryman General Manager Sally Williams. “Or kiss it, as the case may be, because that’s not unusual.”

Sacred ground

Artists and audiences alike have come to consider those oak boards sacred ground. The stage was installed in the middle of the Ryman’s famed run as the home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 to 1974, and that legacy has been cherished by the stars who have performed on it since, including Bruce Springsteen, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Dolly Parton, B.B. King, Neil Young and Coldplay.
“There may not be any other stages in the world that are as revered as this one, and we acknowledge that,” Williams said. “We know how important the heritage of this stage is.”
But along with that heritage has come significant strain, through concerts and daily tours, according to Ryman officials. In lieu of a replacement during the ’90s renovations, the stage was sanded and refinished, Buchanan said, “but we knew that was the last time that that could happen.”
“Probably the greatest wear-and-tear (in the venue) is to that stage, and that’s part of the reason why we’re using a hard wood, so it’ll be more durable and can last a long time,” he said. “Getting 61 years of life out of those oak boards, with road cases rolling on and off of them and ultimately thousands of people that have walked those boards, we’ve felt like we’ve gotten great life.”

Oak to be replaced with Brazilian teak

The Ryman’s new stage will be made of Brazilian teak certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The same wood was used to replace the Grand Ole Opry House stage after sustaining damage in the Nashville flood in 2010. By using it, the new stage will be able to support up to 120,000 pounds: three times its current load-bearing capacity.
“It’s one of the hardest woods in the world,” said Corey Brinkema, president of Forest Stewardship Council U.S. “And it’s my understanding that they’re looking for a wood floor that will last for more than a hundred years. It should be a fantastic application of that particular species.”
The stage also will feature a slightly darker finish, which Williams said is “going to be really great for TV and film.” Much of what supports the stage floor, she added, will be left in place but reinforced.
“We’re taking out the stage decking, but we’re leaving the hickory support beams, and we’re leaving the joists that are underneath the stage. Everything that we’re able to keep and improve, we are.”
Plans are also being made for the remaining planks of the current stage, and Ryman officials say those plans will be announced at a later date. Twenty-four-hour security will be present as the stage is dismantled and the wood is moved off site.
“I think everybody would like to have a piece of that stage wood,” Williams said, “and there’s going to be some exciting stuff coming down the pipeline on that.”

Manager: ‘We don’t replace pews’

Dierks Bentley is among those curious to see what happens to that stage wood. The country star booked a Feb. 2 concert at the Ryman before learning it would fall in the stage’s final week of operation.
“It makes you want to pull every person at our show onstage, and give them the chance to stand on it,” he said.
“It’s still the Mother Church of Country Music, and things change, and you’ve got to do what you got to do. They wouldn’t remove the floor unless they totally needed to, and it sounds like they’ve probably waited longer than they should have, so kudos on that, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s still a bummer.”
Buchanan said the Ryman’s overseers “take very seriously our responsibility to maintain this great, historic theater.”
He added, “We’ve taken great care throughout the building to maintain the wood floors, the pews, the windows, all of those different elements that really ultimately make up the heart and soul of that building.”
“There’s no evidence that we’re just casually taking things out of the building,” Williams said. “A good example is the pews that we have, which are original to the building. We don’t replace pews. We repair pews. That’s the philosophy of the Ryman. We’re maintaining history here. We’re not removing history.”
The Ryman’s 120-year history, as Ryman/Grand Ole Opry curator Brenda Colladay pointed out, has been filled with its share of changes, from the 1994 renovations that added dressing rooms, proscenium and central heat and air. When the current stage was installed in 1951, it replaced a 50-year-old stage that had been stood on by Theodore Roosevelt, Charlie Chaplin, Enrico Caruso and Harry Houdini.
“Even things like the stained-glass windows that people think are so integral to the building, because it used to be a tabernacle — those were installed in 1966,” Colladay said. “It tends to kind of absorb these things and make them part of the story. It’s an ongoing story. To me, the Ryman is the heart of Nashville. It looks like Nashville’s heart. It’s this kind of heart-shaped, red building, and it’s a living, changing place.”

Historic Jonesborough Bluegrass Series Kicks Off 2012 Season With Banjo Legend J.D. Crowe

Historic Jonesborough Bluegrass Series Kicks Off
2012 Season With Banjo Legend J.D. Crowe

January 31, 2012 (Jonesborough, TN) — The Historic Jonesborough Bluegrass Series will officially kick off its second season of presenting the best in bluegrass concerts when it brings banjo legend J.D. Crowe to the Jonesborough Visitors Center on February 25th. Joining J.D. Crowe will be his band, the New South, singer/songwriter Brandon Rickman and South Carolina-based Cane Creek Bluegrass Band. Produced by Mountain Music Entertainment and nestled in Tennessee's oldest town, the Historic Jonesborough Bluegrass Series is looking forward to bringing another year of top-notch entertainment to the East Tennessee region. 

Banjoist J.D. Crowe and his band, the New South are among the most influential bluegrass bands of the past three decades with a visionary sound that suggests both a rich past and a wide-open future. From 1975's classic J.D. Crowe and the New South (affectionately referred to by fans by its catalog number, 0044), to their latest project, Lefty's Old Guitar, bandleader/banjo player/guitarist/vocalist Crowe has led an array of brilliant musicians in a mission to continually reinvent and update bluegrass while simultaneously paying tribute to the legacy of tone, taste, and timing established by Crowe's musical idols. The lineups of the New South have continued to evolve and change from the release of 0044 onward. Many great musicians have passed through on their way to start their own bands including Jimmy Gaudreau, Richard Bennett, Don Rigsby, and Phil Leadbetter. Among the most notable alumni was the gifted, ill-fated vocalist Keith Whitley, who introduced a strong honky-tonk feeling to Crowe's music before going on to mainstream country stardom. Following the release of 1999's Come On Down to My World (Rounder), Crowe put together the strongest New South lineup since the days of Ricky Skaggs and Tony Rice. Guitarist and vocalist Rickey Wasson brings a full, rich vocal sound to the band, along with his abilities as an MC and front man. On mandolin, tenor, and high-lead vocals is Dwight McCall, whose remarkable singing was featured on Come On Down to My World. Matt DeSpain joined the group in 2010 playing resonator guitar as well as contributing to the sound vocally. Also new in 2010 was the addition of Kyle Perkins on upright bass.

Singer-songwriter Brandon Rickman has created a definite buzz over the past several years in the bluegrass and country community with his distinctive vocals and songwriting talents.  He currently tours as lead singer with the famed Lonesome River Band and performs solo dates as well. His first solo project Young Man, Old Soul came right on the heels of Lonesome River Band’s #1 Bluegrass Unlimited album No Turning Back, and garnered rave reviews as one of the best singer-songwriter CDs of the year. South Carolina-based Cane Creek Bluegrass Band is comprised of five talented musicians in their own right who sing and play both classic bluegrass covers and original material from several of its members, achieving a haunting sound many bands would aspire to emulate while also presenting driving music that gets feet tapping.

The Historic Jonesborough Bluegrass Series is excited to be partnering this year with The Lyric Frizell Foundation, raising money for children's cancer research. The foundation was named for Lyric Alana Frizell who was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of leukemia at the age of 10 months. In addition, Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice are the new ambassadors of the Historic Jonesborough Bluegrass Series. Junior and his band will be making an appearance during the 2012 season and will also help spread the word about the concert series at their other shows across the country.

The Historic Jonesborough Bluegrass Series will kick off on on February 25th at 7:00pm at the Jonesborough Visitors Center located at 117 Boone Street, Jonesborough, Tennessee. Tickets are $20/ adults, $10/ETSU students with ID and children 12 and under and may be purchased at the door the night of the show, online at www.jonesboroughtn.org or by calling 866-401-4223. For more information on the Historic Jonesborough Bluegrass Series including a complete concert schedule, please visit www.Jonesboroughbluegrass.com.

MATT KENNON “You Had To Pick On Me”

“You Had To Pick On Me” Tackles Sensitive, Timely Subject Of Bullying

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (January 31, 2012)—Moved by a topic frequently making headline news, Matt Kennon (RoaDDawg Records) addresses the increasing presence of bullying through song. Sheer emotionalism compelled Kennon to write his latest single “You Had To Pick On Me.”*

Co-written with Jami Grooms and Garrett Parris, the track is a striking and honest reflection of victim sentiment; in combination with Kennon’s heartfelt vocals, it is a tune that hits the core. With the encouragement of early listeners and his friends in music, he unveiled the track.

Prompted to write the song after a candid conversation with a third-grade student, coupled with a Facebook message from a young fan who asked if Kennon had “ever been bullied,” Kennon realized the epidemic was becoming widespread and felt the call to bring the problem to the forefront utilizing the country music format as a medium.

“Country music addresses all kinds of life issues that matter; it can be the voice for love, love lost, political and social issues, and more. I wanted to address this major issue, not only among our youth, but within our entire society,” Kennon reveals.

The song features two perspectives, from both a boy and a girl, suffering from tragic and troublesome experiences and hushed heartaches as a result of harassment. The frank lyrics express the dark and silent pain of the victims. Kennon’s closing verse is the result and response; he appeals for a change and reminds listeners that some of those who are bullied feel no alternate escape from the turmoil but to take their own life.

It’s an issue that has been a historic problem, yet very little has been done to address it. Almost daily, a news story about bullying makes national headlines,” Kennon adds. “There are so many kids, as well as grown-ups, who are targeted victims of this kind of cruelty. This song lays it out there—paints a picture—and it’s my way of drawing more attention to the problem. My message to all the victims is to say, ‘bullies don’t define you.’”  

Next month, Matt Kennon takes the song to the 2012 Country Radio Seminar to share the track and his motivation to release it with major radio players. In support of the song, Kennon also reiterates the importance of speaking out, taking a stand and spreading awareness surrounding supportive events, including Pink Shirt Anti-Bullying Day on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 and Day of Pink (the International Day Against Bullying), April 11, 2012.

You Had To Pick On Me” is not the first of Kennon’s songs to address an emotional topic. His debut single, “The Call,” broke into the Billboard “Heatseeker’s” chart (eventually reaching No. 1) and was a “Top 20” hit in 2010. Penned alongside friends Noah Gordon and Jeremy Campbell, the heavy song’s vignettes demand the listener’s attention and addresses tough subjects from suicide to abortion.

More information about Matt Kennon, including tour dates and appearances, is available at his website, mattkennon.com. The new release, “You Had To Pick On Me,” is available on Play MpE and all Internet outlets.



Nashville, TN...(January 31, 2012)...On the heels of landing two nominations for the 47th annual Academy of Country Music Awards in the categories of Male Vocalist of the Year and Single Record of the Year for his mega-hit “Tomorrow,” Chris Young finds himself in elite company.  Young joins ACM Awards co-host and The Voice star Blake Shelton as one of only two solo artists to top Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart with their five most recent singles as “You” surges to the top this week.   

“I am ecstatic,” says Chris after hearing the news. “I’ve been excited for each #1 and to have five in a row feels amazing!”

“You,” written by Young with Luke Laird, is the follow up to his #1 smash “Tomorrow” from his highly acclaimed third album NEON, which opened at #4 on the Billboard Top 200 in July of 2011.  The song has racked up over 350,000 downloads.

The singer/songwriter’s four previous chart toppers include “Tomorrow,” “Gettin’ You Home,” “Voices,” and the title track to his 2009 gold certified sophomore album, The Man I Want To Be.

Young has had a busy start to the new year as he recently performed on the hugely popular syndicated daytime program, The Ellen DeGeneres Show.  In the coming months, Young remains on the road with labelmate Miranda Lambert for the “On Fire” tour.

ABOUT CHRIS YOUNG:  2011 was an amazing year for Chris Young, with nominations including CMA New Artist of the Year and his first GRAMMY® nod.  He won Breakthrough Artist of the Year and Single of the Year at the American Country Awards and made six national TV appearances.  2012 has started with a bang with ACM nominations for Male Vocalist Of The Year and Single Record of the Year for “Tomorrow”.  With his rich, warm baritone and penchant for writing relatable, slice-of-life songs, Young has emerged as both a critic and fan favorite.  In the last few months, Young has celebrated GOLD selling status for both his sophomore album The Man I Want To Be, and smash single "Tomorrow" from his new album NEON.  He has scored five consecutive #1s at country radio.  Young spent much of last year on Jason Aldean’s “My Kinda Party Tour”.   Miranda Lambert has selected Chris as her special guest for her tour “On Fire” which kicked off this month.   For tour dates and all the latest information on Chris Young, visit www.chrisyoungcountry.com and follow him on Twitter @ChrisYoungMusic.

PERFORMANCE ALERT - Almost Austin House Concerts - February 18, 2012


Take a rock and roll lead guitarist turned mainstream musical comedian and add a Texas Bluegrass icon and homespun humorist for over 32 years and whadda you got? The recipe for pure-dee entertainment. Richard Bowden and John Early, current bandmates for the incredibly, widely unknown band, Moon & the Starz, have teamed up to take their talents to whoever is lookin’ for talent. Bowden says, “House concerts have become very popular, and I like to sit around the house, so I thought, I’ll just sit around somebody else’s house, pick a little and make some people happy while I’m at it.” John Early was in total agreement, so ladies and gentlemen … here you have …
  the Bowden/Early Experience.  

What will you hear? You’ll hear everything from Bowden’s morning radio comedy hits and inside stories from the 70’s California rock scene to Early’s touching lyrics about family and freedom that will make you stop and think. You’ll hear every kind of rhythm, from bluegrass to blues with plenty of good, flat-out-kick-ass classic rock & roll. You’ll hear yourself singing their songs days after the concert and you’ll hear yourself telling all your friends what a great experience you had at the show.
Experience the Bowden/Early Experience and let’s all just sit around the house.

For more information, check out:
Debut Performance:
Saturday, February 18, 2012
Almost Austin House Concerts
Pasadena, TX

Click here for more info

Country Music News International January 31st 2012

Here is your Country Music News of the day. Your Country Music News is supported by Lucy Angel, http://www.LucyAngel.com , Steel Guitar Nashville, http://www.SteelGuitar.net , HelpCharity, http://www.MySpace.com/HelpCharity , Bobbe Seymour, http://www.MySpace.com/BobbeSeymour , Radio4Humans, http://www.Radio4Humans.de , Katsy Redstar http://www.myspace.com/KatsyRedstar  , International Festival of Country Music http://www.bb-promotion.com/de/veranstaltungen/international-festival-of-country-music 

You can publish the Newsletter to your websites or forward to your friends. If you want to publish some of the interviews, please contact me.

Hier sind jetzt Eure Country Music News des Tages. Eure Country Music News werden unterstützt von Lucy Angel, http://www.LucyAngel.com , Steel Guitar Nashville, http://www.SteelGuitar.net , HelpCharity, http://www.MySpace.com/HelpCharity , Bobbe Seymour,    www.MySpace.com/BobbeSeymour , Radio4Humans, http://www.Radio4Humans.de , Katsy Redstar http://www.myspace.com/KatsyRedstar , International Festival of Country Music http://www.bb-promotion.com/de/veranstaltungen/international-festival-of-country-music

Der Newsletter darf veröffentlicht werden auf Euren Internetseiten und an Eure Freunde weiter geleitet werden. Solltet Ihr gerne einige der Interviews veröffentlichen wollen, kurze Rückmeldung an mich.

The Oak Ridge Boys have played inside the Super Dome http://countrymusicnewsinternational.blogspot.com/2012/01/oak-ridge-boys-have-played-inside-super.html

A SPRING CONCERT COMING SOON http://countrymusicnewsinternational.blogspot.com/2012/01/spring-concert-coming-soon.html

Lonesome River Band on Music City Roots http://countrymusicnewsinternational.blogspot.com/2012/01/lonesome-river-band-on-music-city-roots.html

THE MCCLYMONTS RELEASE NEW SINGLE “I COULD BE A COWBOY” http://countrymusicnewsinternational.blogspot.com/2012/01/mcclymonts-release-new-single-i-could.html

"All My Roady Friends" Memorial Concert for Tom Roady http://countrymusicnewsinternational.blogspot.com/2012/01/all-my-roady-friends-memorial-concert.html

CRAIG MORGAN “THIS OLE BOY” PRE-ORDER AVAILABLE NOW  http://countrymusicnewsinternational.blogspot.com/2012/01/craig-morgan-this-ole-boy-pre-order.html

DIERKS BENTLEY ANNOUNCES U.S. DATES FOR HIS 2012 COUNTRY & COLD CANS TOUR http://countrymusicnewsinternational.blogspot.com/2012/01/dierks-bentley-announces-us-dates-for.html

Steel Guitar News January 30th 2012 http://countrymusicnewsinternational.blogspot.com/2012/01/steel-guitar-news-january-30th-2012.html

MENU OF STARS AT “LARRY’S COUNTRY DINER” http://countrymusicnewsinternational.blogspot.com/2012/01/menu-of-stars-at-larrys-country-diner.html

Niall Toner New Single “Tomorrow” http://countrymusicnewsinternational.blogspot.com/2012/01/niall-toner-new-single-tomorrow.html

Last but not least, join my buddy list on the following profiles and add me to your Top Friends:


Warm regards

Viele Grüße


Country Music News International
Editor / Publisher
Christian Lamitschka
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The Oak Ridge Boys have played inside the Super Dome

Ban-Joey Football Blog.... The Super Bowl Shuffle
by Joseph S. Bonsall

With Super Bowl XLVI quickly approaching it is hard to imagine that Super Bowl XX, or 20 for you non-Latin speakers, was actually played twenty-six years ago on January 26, 1986, when the 1985 Super Bowl Shuffling Chicago Bears creamed the then-Bradyless, Steve Grogan New England Patriots, 46-10. The Oak Ridge Boys and our girls were all inside the Super Dome for this one and here is how it happened.

In 2012, there will be a ton of talk surrounding the 30th anniversary of The Oak Ridge Boys’ mighty1982 Cookin’ Tour, because it was the biggest country music arena tour of its day and age, featuring production that had never been seen before on a country stage. I, in fact, wrote a whole chapter on this magical piece of Oaks’ history in the book, An American Journey, in the chapter called Glory Days.

In actuality, the American Made Tour of 1983, the Deliver Tour of 1984, and the Step On Out Tour of 1985 did not take much of a back seat to the aforementioned Cookin’ Tour, because The Oak Ridge Boys were a hot commodity throughout the 80‘s and everything was going our way . . . hit records, big shows, cool stages and production, lots of pertinent television show appearances, and overall success at every level of the music business.

Now, we have never taken anything for granted, and we have never used our success in any way to garner a favor that I can remember . . . except for this one time! The Ford Motor Company asked us to do a private show for them the night before Super Bowl XX in New Orleans. The Ford event was a big deal affair, and they were paying us a sizable amount of money, plus expenses, to provide the entertainment. As it has always been (and still is) we were taking a vacation in January and several of us would be basking in the sunshine on some mysterious island earlier that month, so we knew that, if we said ‘yes’ those expenses would be a bit high (logistically, there would be some real hoop jumping in order for some of us to get there).

It was about time to get back to work anyway, so we threw in a extra special request nonetheless . . . We will do to the show if Ford can come up with good Super Bowl tickets. Well, Ford said ‘yes’ and came up with the tickets. So, on or around January 24,1986, we were all New Orleans bound.

Mary and I had been in the Virgin Islands for about ten days and changing flights was not an easy—or a cheap deal—back then. But our good friends at Ford made it all happen. We flew to New Orleans via Puerto Rico, Miami, and Dallas, and then wearily arrived at a hotel way out of town on the evening of January 24th. Our fancier rooms by the Super Dome would not be ready until the next day, so Mary and I put our suntanned bods to rest in the Fleabag Hotel in Somewhere, Louisiana, and waited for the Oaks’ bus to come pick us up the next day and take us in to N’Orleans. 

We put on a big show that night for Ford, and the next day we found ourselves sitting right there in the Super Dome, about forty rows up on the 50 yard line on DA BEARS side of the field.

My wife is not a big football fan but having grown up around Freeport, Illinois, she was stoked to see Chicago in their first ever Super Bowl. (Note: They would be in one other, on a rainy night in Miami in 2006, where they proceeded to lose to the Peyton Manning Colts. But on THIS day, they clobbered the Patriots, as you know.)

After the game we all boarded the tour bus and trekked back to Hendersonville, Tennessee.

Looking back now as I am doing, a few things stick out to me about the game itself.

Jim McMahon hitting Willie Gault with one bomb after another. What made Jim a good QB in his day was that he could throw the ball a long way, and the world-class speed of Gault could always catch up to it, while outrunning the entire secondary. The huddle must have been like kids in the park. “Go long, Willie, and I’ll just put it out there!” 

Then there were the Monsters of the Midway Defense. Defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan had introduced the 46 D that year, and players like Super Bowl MVP Richard Dent, William “The Refrigerator” Perry, and defensive player of the year, middle linebacker Mike Singletary, who only lost one game over the entire 1985 season under head Coach Mike Ditka, held New England to just 123 yards which included minus nineteen yards in the first half.

But seeing the man called “Sweetness” run the football was the highlight of the game for me. We had met Walter Payton once at a charity event, and I have never forgotten that moment. I have a signed picture on my wall to this day (thanks to Mary) to commemorate that event. 

Seeing Walter run across the Super Bowl turf was really something. I had watched OJ Simpson in his hey days with the Buffalo Bills, and he was pretty amazing. And I have seen many great RB’s since. But there was just something special about watching this man do his thing.

There was also one negative event that transpired, which I have never forgotten. With the game well in hand and just a bit of time left on the clock, the Bears found themselves on the two-yard line. Now, up to this point Payton had NOT scored a touchdown in the Super Bowl, but instead of giving the ball to his star running back, Coach Ditka went circus on us and installed the “Refrigerator” into the backfield.

McMahon handed Perry the ball and, yes, it was very funny to see the Big Guy rumble across the goal line with five Patriots hanging all over him, but it was also very sad that Coach Ditka did NOT decide to give the ball to Sweetness so that he could score a touchdown in his only Super Bowl. I have actually held this against Ditka all of these years!!

So a few final thoughts...

- Walter Payton died at a very young age and will never be forgotten!

- The Oak Ridge Boys have played inside the Super Dome three times. Once with Kenny Rogers in 1979, and once on our Cookin’ Tour in 1982. The only other time was at the Republican National Convention in 1988, when our friend George H. W. Bush was given the nomination of the party to run for President. We were right there on the stage singing when the balloons and confetti fell, and this was also incredibly memorable!

- Mary’s father Albert Bell died in a boating accident in July of 1985 and missed his beloved Chicago Bears winning the Super Bowl by just six months. He loved Mike Singletary, but he was pretty old school. I don’t think he would have approved of The SHUFFLE! 

- Being the football geek that I am, I have only ever been to one other Super Bowl. That was in Miami on January 29, 1995. We were way up in the nosebleeds and watched a very small Forty Niner team dismantle an even smaller San Diego Chargers!

- The halftime show at Super Bowl XX was provided by Up With People. I think I was getting hot dogs.

- I have always been a Chevy truck kind of guy, but next time . . . I think I’ll buy a Ford.

 - SUPER BOWL XLVI pick . . . They say defense wins Super Bowls, however The Big D Ravens and Niners are now ice fishing. That does leave the Giants’ defense, which is really cooking. But, to me, it will be the quarterback who makes the difference. So, with all due respect to Eli (who just happens to be the only Manning who will play in Indianapolis this season), I am going with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots to overcome the New York football Giants and WIN this SUPER BOWL!!! (Howard Cosell voice).

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