Tuesday, February 12, 2013


             NASHVILLE, Tenn., February 12, 2013 – The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum will explore superstar Carrie Underwood’s critically acclaimed world tour with the exhibition Carrie Underwood:  The Blown Away Tour, which opens on June 5, 2013, and runs through November 10, 2013. 
             The exhibition will include costumes, instruments, microphones, set pieces and more from the six-time Grammy winner’s 2012-13 “Blown Away Tour,” which is set to re-launch on February 13 and run through May 23.  The 2012 leg of “The Blown Away Tour” entertained more than a half a million fans in 62 cities across three continents.
             “Carrie Underwood’s dynamic ‘Blown Away Tour’—starring her peerless powerhouse vocals and featuring amazing special effects including a tornado— has been entertaining music fans around the globe,” said Museum Director Kyle Young.  “It’s easy to see why she was Pollstar’s 2012 top female country touring artist.  Touring has always been a key element connecting music artists with their fans; those interactions help forge and strengthen the artist-fan relationship, and this exhibit speaks to that.  We are delighted to be able to show our visitors key elements from Carrie’s show; whether re-living their favorite memories of the ‘Blown Away’ tour, or experiencing it for the first time via our exhibition, fans will enjoy this ‘up close and personal’ look at a world-class, superstar level music tour.”
            Underwood’s “Blown Away Tour” also has a strong philanthropic element.  The American and Canadian Red Cross will receive $1 dollar from each ticket sold on the North American leg to help provide shelter, food, and emotional support for those in need after a disaster. In 2012, Underwood also donated additional proceeds from her Atlantic City and Des Moines shows to local charities.
             Carrie Underwood’s current release, Blown Away, made history last year when it debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums Chart, making the Oklahoma native only the second country artist in the 47-year history of the chart to have each of their first four albums debut at #1.  Blown Away also debuted at #1 on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart, making her only the second country artist in history to have three consecutive albums debut at #1.  Blown Away became country’s best-selling digital album debut since 2010.  In addition to reaching #1 on the country airplay charts, “Good Girl” and title-track, “Blown Away,” have both been certified platinum for selling more than one million digital downloads. The videos for both songs also reached #1 on CMT’s Top 20 with “Good Girl” spending a record setting 14 weeks at #1. Carrie’s current single, “Two Black Cadillacs,” has already broken the top 10 on the country charts and continues to soar.
             Since releasing her debut, Some Hearts, in 2005, Underwood has sold more than 15 million albums with Some Hearts, 2007’s Carnival Ride, 2009’s Play On and 2012’s Blown Away, making her the best-selling American Idol in the U.S.  She’s accumulated 16 #1 singles, seven of which she co-wrote, and she became the first country artist in history and the only American Idol winner ever to achieve 10 #1 singles from her first two albums.  In addition to being a six-time Grammy Award winner, Underwood is a two-time Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year, a three-time Country Music Association and ACM Female Vocalist winner, and a proud member of the Grand Ole Opry.
            Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is operated by the Country Music Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization chartered by the state of Tennessee in 1964. The museum’s mission is the preservation of the history of country and related vernacular music rooted in southern culture.  With the same educational mission, the foundation also operates CMF Records, the museum’s Frist Library and Archive, CMF Press, Historic RCA Studio B and Hatch Show Print®.

The Time Jumpers Bring Country Back to Washington

The Time Jumpers Bring Country Back to Washington
By Philip Crabtree
Washington, DC, was treated with a caliber of music on Thursday that is seldom talked about unless witnessed in person. Nashville, Tenn., super group The Time Jumpers kicked off their east coast tour at The Hamilton just one block away from the White House.
I call them a super group, because the resume’ of their individual performers is nothing short of phenomenal. Take pedal steel guitar player Paul Franklin for example. Franklin has been named the ACM Pedal Steel Guitar Player of the Year eleven times. Franklin’s career expands more than five decades now and includes performing with artists in very different genres to include Barbara Mandrell, Sting, Megadeth, Barbara Streisand, and the King of Country, George Strait.
The other musicians and singers are no less great than Paul Franklin is. Lead vocalists Kenny and Dawn Sears take you on a musical journey with The Time Jumpers that harkens back to a day when neon lit up the night sky and social media consisted of turning on the radio and dancing with your best girl in the glow of car headlights. The velvety smoothness of Dawn’s voice seduces your ear and makes you forget about any troubles you left at the door when you came in. Combined with Kenny’s western twang, classical violin training, and decades of fiddling experience and the band transposes the audience to a place where western swing reigns supreme and the family radio helped keep the family together.
The entire band shares similar credentials that include decades of playing on the albums of numerous musical greats as session musicians as well as their own bands and playing live with Willie Nelson, Asleep at the Wheel, McBride and the Ride, Vince Gill, Brian Wilson, and The Chieftains. Between them, they have been awarded 24 Grammy’s, 18 CMA Awards, World Champion Fiddler titles, and have been recognized for not only their musicianship but also their songwriting prowess.
The Time Jumpers brought all of this to bear when they brought traditional country music back to America’s capital city Feb. 7. With the band playing “Texoma Bound”, the intro from their self-title album, the Grand Ole Opry came to The Hamilton and mixed with the usual urban beats that promulgate through the city. Once the crowd was warmed up, Kenny Sears led the band in their rendition of Bob Wills’ “Sugar Moon”. Most of the show featured legendary artist and band member Vince Gill singing with Dawn Keys on such numbers as “New Star Over Texas” and “San Antonio Rose”.
“This is a dream come true for me,” said Sears. “I hope you’re enjoying what you’re hearing and what I get to share on stage.”
Dawn’s hopes are well placed. I thoroughly enjoyed the almost 3-hour show as did the rest of the sold out crowd that attended. Although the room was very intimate, with tables just three or four feet away from the stage, some couples were able to find a little floor space to get up and dance to the solid rhythms and melodies coming from the 10-member band. Most of the night, it seemed another couple would steal the spotlight as Brad Alvin swung his bass fiddle back and forth while backing up the front row. If his bass had a flexible neck, I’m sure she would have been dipped more than once as she danced on stage with Brad.
The character of The Time Jumpers’ sound is not only characterized by its sweet-as-molasses vocals and jazz and country infused guitar. It is also defined by the three piece fiddle section comprised of band leader Kenny Sears, Larry Franklin, and Joe Spivey. When these men put bows to strings, you can hear the whine of a freight train charging down the track at you. This is not the kind of train you leap away from, though. This one hits right in the chest throws you aboard, promising you the ride of your life.
Considering how accomplished the musicians in The Time Jumpers are, thought to turn to those of “where have they been”. They have been playing in Nashville in a very loose and casual atmosphere. They’ve been known to get together backstage at the Opry just to pick around and eventually started playing together at the Station Inn on Monday nights, usually know to be pretty slow for customers.
Word got out they were having these jam sessions there and guests like Robert Plant, Bonnie Raitt, and Sheryl Crow started sitting in. Vince Gill was also one of those who would sit in and eventually joined the band. Eventually, Monday nights became packed, and the band had to change venues. They now play at the legendary 3rd & Lindsley on Monday nights where they have a bit more room.
The band is now out on tour to support their first studio album, which was recorded at Vince Gill’s home studio. “We didn’t start the band to tour,” says Kenny Sears. “We never expected any commercial success with it.” As it goes sometimes in life, things can get out of hand. As Kenny explains, “There’s a faction of people who love our music.” Hearing their music, seeing their live show, and watching how people respond to it, they may not have a choice.
“Maybe we can turn The Time Jumpers into something we can tour with. We’re awfully proud of what we’re doing,” Kenny says.
Some have criticized whether or not there is still a place for traditional country music. The Time Jumpers, their fans, and their peers prove there is plenty of room for them. They were nominated for two Grammys this year for Best Country Album and Best Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group country music. While the awards went to the Little Big Town and the Zac Brown Band respectively, they have shown that their special blend of western swing, jazz, big band, and traditional country music is developing a following and is a force to reckon with.
The Time Jumpers will continue to tour along the east coast of the U.S. through this week, playing in Virginia, New York, Maine, and Pennsylvania. They will return to Nashville and their regular venue at 3rd &Lindsley on Feb. 18. Keep an eye out for other shows this year including one in Lexington, Kentucky, and two planned shows in Switzerland. For more information, go to their website at www.thetimejumpers.com.

About the author: Philip Crabtree holds a B.S. in Recording Industry Management from Middle Tennessee State University, and he is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Public Relations from Georgetown University in Washington, DC, where he is focusing on the entertainment industry. He serves in the U.S. Army as a public affairs officer and is president of Double C Publicity, LLC. He can be reached at philipcrabtree@doublecpublicity.com

Kenny Sears pulls a bow across his fiddle as his wife Dawn Sears lends her smooth voice to another great tune by The Time Jumpers. (Photo by Philip Crabtree)

The three-piece fiddle section of The Time Jumpers consisting of (from left to right) Larry Franklin, Joe Spivey, and Kenny Sears. (Photo by Philip Crabtree)

Vince Gill lends his world renowned tenor voice to ballad accompanied by The Time Jumpers bass fiddle player, Brad Alvin. (Photo by Philip Crabtree)

Vince Gill (left) and Paul Franklin (right) fill the room at The Hamilton with the unique sound The Time Jumpers have become known for. (Photo by Philip Crabtree)

Kenny and Dawn Sears share a laugh as Vince Gill shares another one of his colorful stories about family and music. Along with being the “Guitar Slinger”, Gill is a masterful and captivating storyteller. (Photo by Philip Crabtree)


FEBRUARY 11, 2013

(Nashville, TN-2.12.13)  John A. Hobbs turned 85 years young yesterday and he was treated to a Roast and Toast that he will never forget.  As you can see by the picture, these were some of his closest friends in attendance, and many calls, letters, and all kinds of congratulations to him throughout the day.  In the picture are Jeannie Seely, Roni Stoneman, Joe West, Helen Cornelius, Jim Ed Brown, Jimmy C. Newman, Jan Howard, Dianne Sherrill, Johnny Counterfit, and The Man of the Day, John A. Hobbs.  I was unable to get in the picture because Joe West pushed me out.  (Hee Hee).  Just kidding Joe.  The Grand Ole Opry was well represented as you can see.  We all know how much John A. has been involved in country music and how much he loves the Opry.

During the day John A received calls from Lorrie Morgan, Gaylord’s CEO Colin Reed, Randy Travis, Sam Luvollo, a special note from his longtime friend Tom Powell, a gift and birthday congratulations from Alan Jackson, gifts from Ralph Emery, who was in attendance and many other calls that I do not know about.  Mayor Karl Dean sent John A a proclamation for his birthday, and the list of family and friends goes on like the Who’s Who’s of entertainment, government, and his personal friends. John was very happy to see his longtime friend Ralph Emery.

John A was in great spirits for the entire night, and as each of his friends took the stage to either roast or toast him on his birthday. He has been a pillar in our community, both entertainment wise and in so many other ways, with his generosity, his business savy, and his generosity of friendship, advice, and not doubt in other ways.  His friends number so many that I promise you in this article I will miss many, but only because of the number of friends who were invited to this private bash for this great man, and those I did not know.

The following is the list I have compiled of John A’s friends to attend.  First his family with three sons Joe, Ronnie, John C., his sister JoAnn, and their family members.  John’s friends from local, state, and federal government were in attendance, along with doctors, musicians, artists, and so many old friends who were there to let him know how much we all love him and wish him many, many more years of good health and prosperity, with many birthdays to come.  His longtime friend Father Breen gave the invocation and spoke eloquently about his friend John A.  One of John’s closest friends Major League Baseball Umpire Joe West was in attendance and really gave John A the roast of all roasts.  I am not sure if Joe remembers the rest of the night, but thank God he did not have to call balls and strikes last night.  Westy was in top form, as he took the time to travel from his home in Florida to be with John for 2 full days, and John A enjoyed every minute of Joe’s visit.  BTW, West sang two songs last night???? I wish that I could tell all of the stories I heard, but it would take all day and night to remember and write them down, and some I cannot tell, but I laughed a lot.

John A received a DVD greeting from his great friend Sam Lovullo in California, who was unable to attend. My list is the best I can remember:  David McCormick of the Ernest Tubb Record Shops was there and David looked great and we were all thrilled to see him, Trucker, Jerry & Georgia, Buddy & Jane, Tom Grant, State Rep. Kent Williams who gave John A one of the great roasts and toasts of the evening, Julie Harris reminded John A of when she first came to town, Steve Hill who worked for John A at the old Nashville Palace for over 20 years, Judge Donna Davenport, Reggie and Barbara from Canada, Dr. Ben Birdwell, Congressman Jim Cooper, Terry Cobb local government official, Nancy Quinn, Eddie Pascall, Eddie and Mary Bryan, Julie Richardson (my lady), Dana Cupp came in from Detroit, to be with his friend John A, Billy Galvin, Libby Griggs, Ruth Elkins, many of the Black Widows ladies were in attendance, L.D. Wayne, guitarist for Randy Travis got up and played with the band, and he was on his A game all night, Willie Rainsford, Shar, Randy, Jerry, and Mike of the Classics band.  Jim Ed Brown, Dianne Sherrill, Julie Harris, Jimmy C. Newman, Tom Grant, and Johnny Counterfit entertained the crowd.  Now that is as far as my memory will take me, but I give you my word that it was jammed packed with all of John A’s friends who could attend, so there are many I did not know and I am sorry for that, but John A is a true celebrity who could have never held all that were invited if they had attended.    

The mood of the evening was extreme happiness to celebrate John A’s 85th birthday, because at one time in the past, we were all concerned if John A would be with us because of his health issues, but you would have had to been there last night to witness this young man in spirit of life enjoying every minute of his celebration of all of these years.  I hope he knows how much we all love him and are thankful for his friendship, and most of all that he has allowed us to be part of his life.  I in some way have been allowed to join that special corner of John A’s world every night I go to see him, and that in itself is worth every minute that Julie and I have to enjoy all of the special people in that corner. 

When the final roasts and toasts were made, Joe gave the microphone to his Dad, and asked him to say a few words, which John A is never at a loss of words, but last night John A took the mic and said thank you to everyone but then said “but I gotta pee” and away he speedily traveled to the place of comfort.  Then after he felt better, he proceeded to go to everyone that he could to thank them for making last night such a memorable evening for him and his family. I assure you there were many toasts that we all made to let him know how much he means to us, and what he means to us.  Incidentally John C., Joe, and Ronnie spoke special words to their Dad.

A special, special thanks to manager Thomas Sellers and his complete staff for an evening which Thomas prepared to make sure that everything was in order for John A, and our great bartender Tonya.  Great food, two beautiful cakes, and the super staff of gals and guys waiting on tables, and all the family of John A. Hobbs, for an evening that I hope someday I will be able to make it to 85 and enjoy life as John A does.  One more thing about the food.  There was enough to feed an army and no one went away hungry.

This article would not be complete without the above picture, and so many other pictures of John A’s friends.  John’s family and all of us that were honored to help John A celebrate his birthday wish to thank Jerry Overcast for being there to take the photo’s that will be a memory book for John A to look at over the coming months and years.  Jerry has always been there to be of service as one of best photographers in the business and we thank you Jerry for sharing your time and talents to make John A’s evening a great success.  I am not sure of how many pictures Jerry took, but he left no one out, so maybe he will make a collage for us to see.  You are the best Jerry Overcast and the Hobb’s family sincerely thanks you for being there to make sure that their Dad will have a book of great memories to remind him of his 85th birthday.

In closing, I want to say that John A. Hobbs has been blessed with a great family, many dear friends in the entertainment and political fields.  I know that he has a guardian angel that walks with him or tries to keep up with him, but seriously John A. Hobbs is one of the most sincere men that I have ever known.  He has given so much to so many and he continues to go at full speed.  May our Blessed Lord Watch over and keep him in good health and full of life as he is now.  Thanks John A for allowing me the opportunity to be in your corner. 

Marty Martel©


Gives Sweet Treat to Fans on Valentine’s via Livestream

February 12, 2013 – Nashville, TN – CMA Triple Play winner Chris Young helps Katie Couric go country on Wednesday, February 13, joining guests Reba McEntire and Connie Britton on Katie for this special sweeps period broadcast. During his appearance, Young shares a surprising secret in his chat with the award-winning journalist, and performs his latest smash, “I Can Take It From There." Check HERE for local listings of this nationally syndicated TV show.

Another sweet treat is in store for fans this Valentine’s week as Young hosts a Livestream event on Thursday, February 14 from 5:30-6:30pm EST.  Chris will serenade fans as he performs several of his hit songs and interacts with fans during a Q&A session.  For details and to join the event, please click HERE.

“I Can Take It From There,” Young’s latest single from his highly acclaimed third album NEON, recently released to country radio and is already Top 15 on the radio charts.

ABOUT CHRIS YOUNG: 2013 is off to a great start with Chris Young not only continuing as headliner of his Liquid Neon Tour stateside, but also taking his music to an international level with performances slated in Ireland, the U.K., and Australia. The Grammy nominated vocalist continues to accumulate more career milestones with last year's highlights including TV performances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Talk, and the 47th Annual ACM Awards on CBS, appearances on the Grammy Nominations Concert Live on CBS, and CMT Artist of the Year special, a sold-out tour with Miranda Lambert, ACM nominations for Male Vocalist and Single of the Year and his fifth consecutive chart-topping single.  He also added PLATINUM and four GOLD RIAA certified singles plus a GOLD album for his sophomore release, The Man I Want To Be, to his accolades. Young won Breakthrough Artist of the Year and Single of the Year at the 2011 American Country Awards, racked up four ACA nominations in 2012, and was named People's Sexy Man of the Week in addition to being recognized with a CMA Triple Play Award for having co-written three #1 singles within a twelve month period. With his rich, warm baritone and penchant for writing relatable, slice-of-life songs, Young, as described by Entertainment Weekly, clearly “has a long, lucrative future ahead of him.” For tour dates and all the latest information on Chris Young, visit http://chrisyoungcountry.com/ and follow him on Twitter @ChrisYoungMusic.


     "Boy talk about an adventure." Bob, Sheila, and Bobbie Lhea Everhart are off on a cruise, departing the port of Miami for stops in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.  "We had sort of arranged to perform on a ten-day cruise to the Southern Caribbean, but they canceled the cruise, not enough people signed up for it.  So, we thought, why not take our own.  We found an inexpensive one with Celebrity Cruises on their ship the Constellation, out for five days.  Let me tell you right off the bat, a reason for taking a cruise is not only the delightful weather, but the incredibly good food they feed you.  For instance, we departed Miami at 4pm on a Saturday, and by 7pm we were in the dining room eating escargot.  Bobbie Lhea had escargot on one of our trips to Paris, when she was just five years old.  She eats it now whenever she gets a chance, and of course it was on the menu all five days we were at sea.  By the time we had gotten accustomed to the ship, we were ready for our berths.  The 'cheap' cabins aren't large, but the third bed came down out of the ceiling, and the room was pretty good size.  We had one delightful time," Bob said.
     "We were at sea the first day," Sheila added, "and sailed right past Cuba.  So close I could take a pretty good picture of the mountains.  This was our second day at sea, so we went to the big dining room.  Bob had duck, I had a filet mignon, and Bobbie Lhea had lamb.  This is all included in your initial fee of taking the cruise.  It was a delicious experience.  We went to one of their 'Broadway Shows' and found it pretty good.  We were all ready for the next day."
     "It was Jamaica." Bob said.  "We docked in Falmouth, just a short distance west of Ocho Rios (where the homes of Elizabeth Taylor, Johnny Cash, and John Barrymore lived.  We decided to go to Montego Bay.  Nice bus ride, first stop along the seaside for some free banana bread and Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee.  Many years ago, before coffee became such a popular drink, Blue Mountain was the coffee bean (flavor) that ALL coffee's were rated against.  It's still a very delightful coffee, but a bit strong.  We visited the oldest church in Jamaica, made from bricks imported from Liverpool, England, in the mid-1700's."
     "I'm not sure it was a budget lunch," Bobbie added, "but it was pretty good.  I had wanted to taste Jamacia's jerked chicken, so I had some.  Dad took us the the Pelican Restaurant.  Mom wasn't taking any chances, she had a BLT.  But Dad tried a very Jamaican dish, Akoee-codfish.  He said it was the old salted cod that used to be packed in wooden barrels for ship's cooks.  There was a kind of fruit called akoee with the oily cod.  They told us it was very poisonous if eaten before it was ripe, and when they served it, it looked like scrambled eggs to me.  I noticed Dad didn't eat it all."
     "The next day was in the Cayman Islands, once known as the most popular scuba diving location on planet earth," Bob added.  "Today it's an island off India somewhere, but we were determined to take a look at the reef, and found a submarine ride that was incredible.  The sub held about 40 people, all sitting back to back, with their own private porthole to look through.  Our first visitor was a huge barracuda that Sheila got a stunning picture of.  The reef is not as colorful as it once was due to ocean pollution, but we dived over a hundred feet, and visibility still good enough to take pictures.  It was an incredible experience for us."
     "Our five days went flying by," Bobbie said.  "Before you knew it we were back in Miami, helping Bernie and Tom Worrell for the big "Horse Country" show, February 23rd.  So now, we're 'back on the road.' 



Two Part Event Includes A Celebrity Ping Pong Tournament And Intimate Concert

Nashville, TN – Feb. 12, 2013 – GRAMMY winning trio Lady Antebellum have set the date for their inaugural PING PONG & SONGS fundraising event for March 23 in Nashville, TN. Inspired by a combination of the band’s favorite backstage hobby and their love of songwriting, the event includes a celebrity ping pong tournament and an in-the-round style songwriters’ night, both benefiting the group’s newly created charitable initiative LadyAID™. Tickets for both portions of the event go on sale this Fri., Feb. 15 at 10:00A CT through LadyAID.org.

“This is really a dream day for us…getting friends and fans together to play ping pong, play music and raise money for LadyAID,” said Dave Haywood. “Charles and I…better known as ‘The Dynasty’…will challenge anyone who wants to try and take us at the table!  It's going to be a total blast.”

With registration to the tournament, players will receive a commemorative player kit and two tickets to the finals and concert portion of the event. Individual tournament finals tickets and ticket bundles are also available for purchase. All proceeds will benefit LadyAID™. For more ticket information or to make a donation, visit LadyAID.org.

About LadyAID™:
LadyAID™ was set up in 2012 by the seven-time GRAMMY award-winning trio Lady Antebellum as a philanthropic effort created to bring awareness to and generate support for children in need locally, nationally and globally. The multi-level organization reaches children across the state of Tennessee through grants to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®.  On a national level, LadyAID™ is supporting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and on a global level, myLIFEspeaks and The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The LadyAID™ Fund is a component fund of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.


Canadian Songstress Bows Powerful “Five-Pack”
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (February 12, 2013) – Budding Canadian singer/songwriter, Chantal Kuegle (SHAN-TAL CUE-GULL) has released today an eponymous, five-song CD in multiple digital formats with a limited edition disc to follow.  “Chantal Kuegle” is a collection of well-crafted,  pop-toned country tunes all written or co-written by the talented 20 year-old.  The first single, “Never Alone,” co-written by Kuegle and produced by Grammy nominee Kent Wells (Dolly Parton) is an inspirational ballad that resonates with listeners of all ages, and continues to amass adds and increases at country radio.  Kuegle will be making her first appearance at Country Radio Seminar in Nashville later this month.  She was also recently named by CMA Close Up as an Artist to Watch in 2013.
“I’m very excited about my debut release,” said Kuegle.  “I’ve had the opportunity to
work with many amazing and inspiring people that have helped me to get where I
am today.  I look forward to seeing my peers and friends at country radio very soon in Nashville for CRS,” she added.

“‘Never Alone’ puts this Canadian Country singer/songwriter on the map.  She and her song stand out in a crowd, and almost command you to listen.  When it ends, it ends too soon, leaving the listener wanting to hear more.  For a new artist, that’s a great place to
be.  I’m very confident, that in the near future, when Chantal releases a new single, listeners everywhere will say,‘Hey, that’s Chantal Kuegle’s new song.’  No one will have to ask,” said Bill Hughes – WJSQ radio.
“Chantal is getting quite a few spins due to the requests and responses from our listeners. Good song!” adds Lane Goodwin – KWYN radio.
The gifted songstress and stunning co-ed is excelling in music and performance at the University of Manitoba, balancing her time between classes, her home in Oakbank, Manitoba, and the recording studios of Nashville. Always the driven go-getter, Chantal has spent her life dreaming up ways that she could turn her varied musical talents into a
successful career.  With the promise of recent successes and a planned tour in the works, it looks like she is well on her way.
“Chantal Kuegle” from GTR Records is available now at iTunes globally and at www.chantalkuegle.com.

NEW ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Florida Georgia Line

NEW ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Florida Georgia Line
By Bob Doerschuk
© 2013 CMA Close Up® News Service / Country Music Association®, Inc.
You don’t need to know that Tyler Hubbard comes from Monroe, Ga., or that his partner in Florida Georgia Line, Brian Kelley, comes from Ormond Beach, Fla. It’s the music that lets you know these two guys know how to kick it in the studio and onstage, Dixie style.
Their debut album, Here’s to the Good Times,is a pastiche of prickling banjo, walloping backbeats and muscle guitar, run through a blender of Country, Southern rock and a hint of hip-hop.
Hubbard and Kelley coast over these grooves with upbeat vocals that pound their good-time message home. Every measure of their first single, “Cruise,” suggests head-bobbing and arm-waving. Written by Hubbard, Kelley, their producer Joey Moi, Chase Rice and Jesse Rice, it opens with a harmonized vocal figure, which pops with the first of several lyric hooks that made this one of the catchiest summer anthems of the year. (The “Chevy with a lift-kit” lick midway through the chorus is a lethally infectious secondary sing-along line.)
This first single from Here’s to the Good Times pretty much defines Florida Georgia Line’s party-hard feel. Even their song titles beckon listeners to join in on the fun: “Get Your Shine On” (Rodney Clawson, Kelley, Hubbard and Chris Tompkins) builds through a melodic fragment that rises, step by step, into another ear-worm chorus, this one at a steady medium tempo. “Tip It Back” (Clawson, Hubbard and Kelley) applies those three words to ball caps, long-necks and the seats in “your girlfriend’s Cadillac.”
With their smiling, deep-drawl delivery and relentlessly upbeat outlook, who could resist invitations like these?
KELLEY: “Garth Brooks.”
HUBBARD: “Lil Wayne.”
BOTH: “Bible.”
KELLEY: “‘Reckless,’ by Alabama.”
HUBBARD: “‘Tuesday’s Gone,’ by Lynyrd Skynyrd.
HUBBARD: “Whatever vocal my producer Joel Moi is making me practice.”
KELLEY: “Truck.”
HUBBARD: “Motorcycle.”
KELLEY: “Garth Brooks.”
HUBBARD: “Myles Kennedy from Alter Bridge.”
KELLEY: “I’d have to say my cousin Stephen. He’s a great actor in L.A. and he kinda looks like me."
HUBBARD: “Taylor Kitsch of ‘Friday Night Lights.’”
KELLEY: “My favorite guitar and my boots.”
HUBBARD: “My dog tag necklace.”
BOTH: “Hotel Indigo in Nashville. It was a little shaky, but we had a blast.”
BOTH: “Hands down, it was our show at Joe’s Bar in Chicago because it’s a great venue and we had a sold-out, electric crowd.”
KELLEY: “Anything with chicken.”
HUBBARD: “Pizza.”
KELLEY: “When people honk right when the light turns green.”
HUBBARD: “A mess of any kind.”
KELLEY: “It’s not a lucky charm, but I wear a necklace my dad gave me when we signed our deal. I never take if off.”
BOTH: “The last year of our lives. It has been unreal.”
BOTH: “Enjoy the Ride.”
On the Web: FloridaGeorgiaLine.com
On Twitter: @FlaGaLine

Blue Sky Riders

Blue Sky Riders
By Sarah Skates
© 2013 CMA Close Up® News Service / Country Music Association®, Inc.
In Blue Sky Riders, members Gary Burr, Kenny Loggins and Georgia Middleman draw from years of musical experience to create a sum greater than its parts. The result is a showcase of finely crafted songs and exceptional vocal harmonies called Finally Home, self-released on Jan. 29.
 “The sound of the band was a pleasant surprise for me,” said Loggins, whose high-profile career includes writing an imposing catalog of hits for multiple artists and his superstar duo Loggins & Messina. “I knew that Gary and I had a good vocal blend. When I asked him to pick a female singer/songwriter, he suggested (his wife) Georgia, because they also had a good blend. So logically, I knew that the three of us would have a good blend.
“But the first time I was really struck by our sound was early on, when we got together to rehearse in a hotel room,” he continued. “We were working on ‘Help!,‘ the Beatles tune. Our voices instantly meshed and sounded bigger than three people. At this stage of my career, I‘m not sure that I would have been willing to go door-to-door and sing (in search of vocal partners). But every time we sing, I love what we sound like. And I love what we’re writing, so getting together and singing with them is a joy to me.”
Though Middleman had enjoyed plenty of songwriting success, including co-writing Keith Urban’s 2010 chart-topper “I’m In” with Radney Foster, she was a little apprehensive before the trio collaborated for the first time. Loggins’ credits include “Footloose,” “Danger Zone” and the Grammy-winning Song of the Year “What a Fool Believes,” while Burr is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. But, she recalled, “as soon as the three of us sat down to write, all the nerves went out the window. The singing was second nature. I wasn’t thinking about impressing anyone. We were arranging the song from the moment we started writing it. It was effortless. As hard as it is to get a record off the ground, writing and performing for this one was a lot of fun.”
“Kenny was very adamant from the beginning about wanting Blue Sky Riders to be its own entity, like a fourth writer in the room,” Burr said. “That’s what we try to achieve every time we write.” Accordingly, all but two songs on the 15-track album were written by all three members.
One of the first songs they penned was ”Dream.” ”It came out of the idea that somebody told me I was too old to start a band, that my days were over and I should go to pasture,” Loggins recalled. ”I texted Georgia the words ’too old to dream,’ and she turned it into the start of a chorus. In a way, it’s the theme song of the band.”
”It’s a universal theme for a lot of people,” Middleman agreed. ”It doesn’t matter how old you are.”
Inspirational themes animate the entire album of Country-rooted, pop-leaning songs. ”Little Victories,” born from a melody that Loggins started years ago with Richard Marx, is about finding hope in small things during difficult times. And ”Feelin’ Brave” drives its message from the top, with bagpipes intensifying the Celtic-flavored intro.
The trio had already wrapped the album when they wrote ”Just Say Yes.” Loggins admits to having struggled to find the same engagement with Blue Sky Riders that he had felt working solo. But immediately, he as well as Burr and Middleman knew that the project wouldn’t be complete without this track. ”I felt very strongly that this was the missing piece that would bring my part of the puzzle to the record,” Loggins remembered. ”It helped me take my voice where I wanted.”
Loggins’ idea of the ”fourth writer” also helped in the process of blending three fully formed individual artists into a single creative force. ”It’s tough when you start a band with everybody at a certain level, because you’re not used to asking everyone’s opinions,” Burr said. ”We all trust our own opinion the most. I’d tell other people trying to start a band of this ilk to stop trying to win and start trying to think of what will make the band win. You have to check your ego at the door because you’re going to find out it’s an all-star game and you have to raise your level and work for the band as a whole.”
”A band is a unit of people that get along, respect each other and like each other, and each member contributes ideas and respects everyone else’s ideas,” Loggins added. ”In many bands, you have a leader who decides what idea flies. In this case, I defer that and I know they do too. The majority doesn’t rule in writing. We keep going until all three of us are happy. That’s one of the things I like about the band. That way, no one of us ever feels overwhelmed by the other dynamic personalities. That’s where the trust comes in. There’s a dynamic tension creatively, but it’s what we need to get the best ideas out on the table. When we are writing and an idea comes out, we keep going until we all resonate to it.”
”This collaboration is really fun because we love what everybody does individually,” Middleman noted. ”We respect each other and listen to each other. It’s not about me. It’s about what the project needs. I know I can come in with an idea and we have three minds to sort it out. If one of us says that something doesn’t feel right, we take those comments seriously. There has to be room for negotiation every step of the way. We all have strong opinions, but when something is not working, we hash it out. It’s tough, but every time we get through one of those moments, I think, ’Wow, this is a great band!’“
In keeping with their hands-on work ethic, the band co-produced Finally Home with Peter Asher, whose résumé includes work with Loggins, James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt. “Working with him previously, I knew he had a steady, clear head and a strong internal compass and would be able to handle strong opinions like ours,” Loggins said.
Sessions were divided between Nashville, where Burr and Middleman live, and Loggins’ hometown Santa Barbara. “We wanted to explore his arena and our arena,” Burr noted. “What I love about the record is that we made a conscious decision for every track to sound like a different band with the same voices. One of my favorite records is (the Beatles‘) Revolver, and you can’t tell what the next song is going to be by listening to the one before it. Each one has different instrumentation and a different style. It isn’t so much that the sound of Blue Sky Riders is a surprise to me, it’s that every track is a surprise to me.”
Loggins and Burr list the Beatles as a major influence, while Middleman grew up at the intersection of classic Country and iconic pop, listening to Merle Haggard, Barbara Mandrell, Ronnie Milsap, Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton, along with Burt Bacharach, Barbra Streisand, James Taylor and Carole King. These varied backgrounds illuminate BSR’s songwriting process. “We allow ourselves to go places that aren’t stuck in one genre,” said Loggins. “I wanted to try something challenging, go somewhere new musically — and it’s more invigorating.”
In fact, Blue Sky Riders has been a rejuvenating experience for all three members. “What’s great for me,” Burr explained, “is that instead of being a songwriter-for-hire, where you throw a thousand songs against the wall and hope one sticks, is in the cocktail hour of my life to be able to write 15 songs a year and know that 15 songs will get recorded because we’re doing it.”
“When I came to Nashville, I was a waitress,” Middleman added. “I had to adhere to the silent rules and politics (of the music business) to get a certain level of success as a songwriter. But now Gary and I know that success means saying no to things. I don’t have to do anything that doesn’t feel right at this point in my life, because I don’t need it that badly, like I did when I first got to town. Today it has to be something fun, something that I love and makes sense. What we’re doing is a lot of challenging work, but it’s also freeing because we don’t have to do it.”
On the Web: BlueSkyRidersBand.com
On Twitter: @GaryBurr, @KennyLoggins



Nashville, TN (February 12, 2013) – Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, Music City’s legendary honky-tonk, will celebrate its 53rd Birthday in downtown Nashville on November 21st  with a Broadway street-party hosted by Great American Country (GAC) personality Storme Warren.  The annual event will be the kick-off event celebrating and honoring Country Music Hall of Fame member George Jones’ final Nashville concert, which takes place the following evening Friday, November 22nd at the Bridgestone Arena.  As part of the celebration, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge is extending their annual “Birthday Bash” to a two-day event with entertainment on the outdoor Broadway stage taking place on both Thursday and Friday nights. 

“The Tootsie’s Birthday Bash has become an annual event that everyone looks forward to,” says Tootsie’s proprietor Steve Smith.  “We kicked it off at the Ryman with Kris Kristofferson, Terri Clark, Mel Tillis, and Jamey Johnson a few years back.  Then Kid Rock and The Kentucky HeadHunters took the party to the street on Broadway.  Last year Dierks Bentley, Randy Houser, and Troy Gentry kicked it up a bit, and who knows who will be coming this year!”

Tootsie’s is known to have been used as a “green room” to some of the greatest Opry stars including Patsy Cline, Hank Williams and Ernest Tubb. “Tootsies is where the stars would come to wet their whistles and pick their guitars,” adds Smith.

Entertainment will be announced in the coming months.

About Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge:
Today, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge is a must-see Music City destination for tourists and is frequented by locals, including some of the biggest names in country music, who often drop in and surprise patrons with impromptu performances. Kenny Chesney with classic rock icon Steve Miller, Kix Brooks, Montgomery Gentry, Kid Rock, Randy Houser, Jamey Johnson, Dierks Bentley and Hank Williams, Jr. are among the artists who have recently performed there. For additional information, visit www.tootsies.net.

Country Music News International February 12. 2013

Here is your Country Music News of the day from Country Music News International http://www.CountryMusicNewsInternational.blogspot.com . Your Country Music News is supported by, Dellenbügler, http://dellenbuegler.de , Tennessee Tourism, http://www.Tennessee.de , Flynnville Train, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Flynnville-Train/36616757595 , Steel Guitar Nashville, http://www.SteelGuitar.net , HelpCharity, http://www.MySpace.com/HelpCharity

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Legendary Group Set to Headline Zurich's
2013 International Country Music Festival, March 1-2  

MTB to Record Performances for Future Live Concert Album

Nashville, Tenn. (February 11, 2013) - It's been more than 35 years since the legendary MARSHALL TUCKER BAND (MTB) rocked the continent of Europe.  But even then, the iconic southern band never had the opportunity to perform in Switzerland, a European country that is one of the most widely recognized for its love of country music.

In early March, for the first time in 41 years, the MTB will travel 'across the pond' for its first-ever live concert performances in Switzerland.  The MTB is set to perform March 1-2 in Zurich, Switzerland, at the 2013 International Country Music Festival, held at the Schützenhaus Albisgütli Event Center.  The two-month festival also includes performances from Lorrie Morgan, the LoCash Cowboys, the Quebe Sisters, Della Mae and Aaron Watson, among others. 

"We are so excited to have been asked to play at such a prestigious event," notes MTB lead singer and founding member Doug Gray.  "It's been almost four decades since we last played Europe and even then, we didn't get to visit Switzerland.  We plan on arriving a few days early so we can enjoy the city."

The MTB plans to record the performances for a future live concert CD.

For more information on the festival, visit www.albisguetli.ch.

About the Marshall Tucker Band
Forty-one years ago, original members Doug Gray, Toy Caldwell, Tommy Caldwell, Paul Riddle, Jerry Eubanks and George McCorkle founded The Marshall Tucker Band in Spartanburg, SC. Thanks to hits like “Can’t You See,” “Heard It In A Love Song,” “Fire On The Mountain,” and “24 Hours At A Time,” the 5x Gold, 3x Platinum-selling southern rock group has sold more than 15 million albums to date. MTB songs have been featured in major motion picture films and television series including BlowThe BoxSwing Vote, Half Nelson, My Name Is EarlCold Case and Good Guys. CMT (Country Music Television) named the MTB’s “Can’t You See” the #4 Greatest Southern Rock Song . The MTB’s debut album, The Marshall Tucker Band, reigns as Gibson Guitar’s #5 Greatest Southern Rock Album.  UltimateClassicRock.com recently crowned the MTB's "Can't You See" the #1 Greatest Southern Rock song ever recorded.

For additional information on The Marshall Tucker Band, visit www.marshalltucker.com.

Wrec The Halls With Sounds Of Johnny

Wrec The Halls With Sounds Of Johnny..(Cash, That Is!)
   (OJAI) - Wrec The Halls With Sounds of Johnny...(Cash, that is!), when top Johnny Cash Tribute band The Mighty Cash Cats perform in concert at Ojai's popular  Wrec Room on Saturday, February 23. 9 p.m. No cover. The Wrec Room is located at 219 E. Matilija Ave. Info: (805) 646-6150 or visit the event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/372886142808893/. Oh, and one more thing: Don't forget to wear black!," reminds Mighty Cash Cats front man, Michael Jay Smith.

   There's nothing like a Mighty Cash Cats live show. "The Mighty Cash Cats rocked the Lava Sports Lounge in Thousand Oaks on Saturday, January 19 with their always tuneful "Tribute to Johnny Cash and June Carter," writes Will Phoenix of the L.A. Examiner in a recent review. "There's something about Michael Jay's "Man in Black" and his "Clan in Black" that just worked in the comparatively dark little sports bar. It just plain made some of the more serious numbers somehow work better. Even the upbeat stuff like the timeless tune "Jackson" went over well there," concludes Phoenix. 

"Michael J Smith leads the performance playing a black acoustic guitar. It is impossible not to be drawn to the bass texture of his voice-and his physical and aural resemblance to Johnny Cash is practically eerie. Letica Blumette steals the stage with the energy covering songs by Shania Twain, Gretchen Wilson and Pat Benatar. The Mighty Cash Cats are purely live entertainment for a live audience. They know how to talk to the crowd and maneuver their instruments and voice to create a body of sound for each song, no matter the genre or mood."      MUSIC CONNECTION   

"Michael J's love and knowledge of both (Johnny) Cash's history and his music was an obvious indicator that this act is no mere "flavor of the week"...their clothing, playing, and vocal styles, and even their knowledgeable between-bits banter, reveal a genuine commitment to the man and his music. No one-trick-pony here, folks! The Mighty Cash Cats had entertained a crowd of mainly twenty- and thirty-somethings."                                              LOS ANGELES MUSIC EXAMINER   
    Where have The Mighty Cash Cats been recently? As one of Johnny Cash's big hits exclaimed, "They've been everywhere, Man." Northern California, Southern California, Las Vegas, Utah, Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Ireland, Israel, and Europe, plus an appearance on top-rated German TV Reality show, "RTL Punkt 12."
   Mighty Cash Cats cover six-plus decades of the music of "The Man In Black, " from his early hits in the 1950's to Cash's final Rick Rubin-produced song "Hurt" on "American Recordings" in 2003 and include fun Johnny Cash and June Carter duets that audiences all know and love. The band has toured extensively in the U.S. and overseas in Israel, Europe and Ireland, in venues ranging from theaters and performing arts centers to concerts in the park, malls, and casinos. Mighty Cash Cats have recently shared the stage with American music icons Kris Kristofferson and Merle Haggard.  

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