Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Lady Antebellum’s Strategy for Song Selection


Lady Antebellum’s Strategy for Song Selection        
By Erin Duvall
© 2013 CMA Close Up® News Service / Country Music Association®, Inc.
It’s been only five years since Lady Antebellum released its self-titled debut album, which propelled the group toward millions-upon-millions of album and single sales, seven Grammy Awards and six CMA Awards. In 2009, Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott solidified their superstar status with the crossover appeal of the power ballad “Need You Now,” which they’d written with Josh Kear. And their newest album, Golden, debuted at No.1 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart.
During the Golden sessions, though, sales and crossover possibilities were far from top priorities. “We wrote a lot on the road, so a lot of songs, like ‘Generation Away’ (written by Haywood, Kelley, Scott, Brad Warren and Brett Warren), were written with that thought of, ‘How is this going to translate live?’” Kelley explained. “We talk a lot about wanting more and more tempo songs, especially as singles, and that’s what drove us to release ‘Downtown’ (Luke Laird, Shane McAnally and Natalie Hemby). As our live show grows, you really want songs that get people out of their seats.”
The key to achieving that was to channel the energy from their tour into jamming with their road band whenever the opportunity presented itself.
“We actually get up there and soundcheck every day when we’re out on the road,” Haywood said. “Sometimes the band will start jamming and we’ll jump in. Then we’ll take it backstage and finish it. That’s actually how, on the last album, we wrote ‘Wanted You More’ (Haywood, Kelley, Scott plus members of their band: bassist Dennis Edwards, guitarist Jason “Slim” Gambill, keyboardist Jonathan Long and former member Matt Billingslea). Some of these songs are seven or eight writers on a song, but for us it’s all about getting the best song and whatever it takes to get there.”
While in the midst of their “Own the Night World Tour,” during which these jam sessions were taking place, the group stayed in contact with their longtime producer, Paul Worley, sending him songs along the way.
“They’re always making music,” Worley said. “That’s their way. If they’re together and the band is together, they turn the artist area in the venues into their world. They’re constantly writing, recording, pulling the players in and jamming. They don’t waste time hanging around.”
The key to the album’s appeal is in the songs. Five of its 12 tracks came from outside writers. Whatever the source, though, Kelley calls Golden the “best batch of songs we feel like we’ve had in a long time.”
“As the producer, I don’t care who wrote the songs,” Worley said. “What I care about is that the songs we’re recording are great. Really savvy artists understand that. Lady A understands that. There were some really honest and straightforward emails about songs. We’ve all worked together for so long that we don’t really have to cover up what we think. We’re not walking on eggshells with each other.”
“We wanted to make sure our sound evolved, and one way to do that is to use outside writers,” Kelley said. “As a songwriter, you tend to have a certain style. Putting your songs up against outside songs challenges you. That’s one way we’re able to stretch our sound.”
“They’re different melodies and lyrics than those we naturally gravitate toward when we’re writing,” Scott added. “We relate to them just as much as those we write ourselves, but that in itself was an evolution. It was also one of the smartest decisions we’ve made for this record.”
Every song had to prove itself to make the project. “Each outside song was for a specific reason, to take us to a place we didn’t capture when we wrote,” Haywood noted. “’Downtown’ took us to this place of having fun, partying, jaywalking, smoking — all these fun things. We didn’t have a song like that. ‘Nothin’ Like the First Time’ (Sarah Buxton, Jedd Hughes and Hillary Lindsey) reminded us of some of the nostalgic songs we put out before, and we were like, ‘We haven’t written one like that this go-round. Let’s grab that one.’ Each of them fit a piece of the puzzle for what we wanted for the record.”
To find these songs, the trio did look to traditional sources; the chart-topping first single “Downtown” was pitched to them by their label. But a few came to them by less conventional methods.
“’Get to Me’ (Lindsey and James Slater), for example, was in the running for our last record,” Scott recalled. “For whatever reason, we didn’t record it. Then Charles was going through his iTunes library with a fine-tooth comb and found it and sent it around.”
“We didn’t cut it, but luckily no one else had either,” Haywood said. “I reached back out to Hillary Lindsey and it was like, ‘Is this still free?’ She said it was and then, obviously, it goes through the channels.”
“Because we’re songwriters too and part of that community, it’s fun to go to the source, to be able to go, ‘We absolutely love this song,’” Scott continued. “There’s a method to going through the publishers and having it run through all the proper channels, but especially someone like Hillary, having such a great relationship with her, we can call her up or shoot her a text.”
Personal relationships also assisted in securing and recording “Better Off Now (That You’re Gone”), written by Will Hoge and Brian Layson and included on Hoge’s 2003 album, Blackbird on a Lonely Wire.
“I’ve had that record since college and I always thought it was great,” Haywood said. “I was listening to it, probably while running, and it was like, ‘Gosh! We could make a cool version of that!’’’
Spirit was as important as song selection to Golden, specifically in the trio’s decision to reach back to that first eponymous album and its fresh, new energy. “Our life experiences only naturally work their way into the way you write, the way you sing,” Scott reflected. “I sing completely different now from the way I did on the first record. We can never go back and be the same people we were when we recorded it. But we can definitely approach it the same as we did the first record and bring in the experience we’ve had over the past six years.”

Weston Burt Worldwide Debut of Cutting Edge Video, “Lucky Sometimes”

Singer Weston Burt to Premiere on CMT Pure, CMT.com & CMT Mobile

Exclusive Worldwide Debut of Cutting Edge Video,
“Lucky Sometimes,” Set for June 12

 
Nashville, TN (June 11, 2013) – Singer Weston Burt will be heating up the airwaves this summer with the exclusive worldwide debut of the cutting edge video, “Lucky Sometimes” on multiple platforms.  The premiere will be featured on CMT Pure, CMT.com and CMT Mobile on June 12, 2013.  “Lucky Sometimes” is being celebrated as a revolutionary film technique, serving as the first of its kind in country music. The Stop Motion editing platform is directed by Stokes Nielson. Nick Harley served as executive director for the groundbreaking video.

"Wow, one of the most innovative, eye catching videos we're ever debuted! It captures the fast paced energy of this contagious summer hit!” says CMT Senior VP Music Strategies Leslie Fram.

“It's always fun to push the creative limits and retain the visual entertainment level.  Weston's single and high energy performance was a perfect fit for this experimental cinematic clip," adds HitShop Records President Skip Bishop.

Weston Burt, a Fort Payne, Alabama native is deeply rooted in the traditions of Southern rock and country.  Musical influences for the 27-year-old singer/songwriter include Garth Brooks, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the iconic group Alabama.

He is gearing up for the national stage as country’s next breakout male vocalist. Earlier this year, Weston launched a national radio tour, promoting his debut single “Lucky Sometimes.” “I’m a hardworking guy from Alabama who loves country music,” he says. “And I’m ready for my shot.”

Trace Adkins June 6. and June 12.

Trace Adkins’ Tonight Show Appearance with Colbie Caillat (6/12) will be First TV Performance of “Watch The World End With You” by the Country Star and the Two-Time Grammy Winning Singer/Songwriter

Adkins Also Plans Fan Q&A on CMT Facebook Page on June 12 @ 3pm EST / Noon Pacific

(June 11, 2013 - Nashville, TN) – Veteran hit-maker Trace Adkins kicked summer off by winning All-Star Celebrity Apprentice, raising over $1.5 million for the American Red Cross and releasing Love Will… his 11th studio album (Show Dog-Universal). However, despite accolades and powerful performances, he has yet to share the stage with two-time Grammy winning singer/songwriter, Colbie Caillat who appears on the album’s poignant first single, “Watch The World End With You,” - until now.
On Wednesday, June 12, Adkins and Ms. Caillat will give their first televised performance together on NBC’s “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.” Of the soul-searching single, USA TODAY wrote, “Not many guys could pull off a love song about the apocalypse, but danged if Adkins doesn't make it sound romantic.”
Adkins, however, gives the credit to Colbie, “This song is about undying love and two people who feel exactly the same way about each other. It needed a voice that was feminine and strong. Colbie’s voice is pure, sultry and soulful all at the same time and I am honored that she could join me on this powerful song by Brett Edlredge.”
While at Leno, Trace will host a Facebook Q&A with fans at 3:00pm Eastern / 12:00pm Pacific on the official CMT Facebook page.  Using the new Facebook feature, Replies, the quality of the conversation will be more direct than ever, since users can reply directly to comments and start a conversation thread.  This new feature helps users manage multiple conversations on a post, and ensure that friends visiting the page always see the best conversations.
Love Will… is available now (http://smarturl.it/ituneslw) and tackles the world’s greatest emotion. Guests include Colbie Caillat, the esteemed Harlem Gospel Choir and rock/country veterans, Exile. About the album, the Associated Press wrote “… the tall, muscular former oil rigger concentrates on romantic themes, some of which push at the steamier edges of conservative country music conventions - as on his cover of the Exile pop hit "Kiss You All Over."” Country Weekly applauds, “Love Will . . . isn’t a collection of schmoopy, saccharine ballads. The songs are solid and lyrically diverse, exploring love—from the unrequited kind of “So What If I Do” to the eternal in “Watch the World End” to the downright heartbreaking in “If the Sun Comes Up.””
ABOUT TRACE ADKINS: Grammy-nominated Trace Adkins’ trademark baritone has turned albums into Platinum plaques, with over 10 million albums sold, cumulatively. The member of the Grand Ole Opry has a hit list that includes “(This Ain’t) No Thinkin’ Thing,” “You're Gonna Miss This,” “Ladies Love Country Boys,” “Songs About Me,” “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk ,” “I Left Something Turned On At Home,” “Every Light In The House,” “Hillbilly Bone (Blake Shelton and Trace Adkins),” “Hot Mama,” “I'm Tryin',” “Just Fishin’,” “Then They Do,” “Chrome,” and “More.”  In 2011, Trace’s album, Proud To Be Here debuted atop the Billboard Country Chart and his eleventh studio album, Love Will… was released May 14, 2013 on Show Dog-Universal Music.
He a television personality whose integrity and wry humor served him well when he was named winner of NBC’s All-Star Celebrity Apprentice in May 2013 with over $1.5 million raised for the American Red Cross. He created and hosted GAC’s “Great American Heroes,” series that honors great deeds by every-day Americans and, for three consecutive years, he has hosted FOX’s American Country Awards.
Additionally, Adkins is a spokesman for the Wounded Warrior Program, the American Red Cross and has performed seven USO Tours. He was humbled to serve as Honorary Grand Marshall in the 2013 Memorial Day Parade in Washington, DC. As an actor, Trace has played a tough as nails biker in The Lincoln Lawyer (starring Matthew McConaughey) and as an author, the 6'6" oil-rigger recounted his rise to fame, brushes with death and battles with personal demons in his 2007 autobiography, A Personal Stand: Observations and Opinions from a Freethinking Roughneck.
COLBIE CAILLAT - Two-time Grammy winning singer songwriter Colbie Caillat caught a generation’s imagination with her first hit single “Bubbly”, which become one of the best-selling digital tracks of all time.  . Her first album COCO debuted at No. 5 and raced its way past the multi-Platinum barrier. Her second album BREAKTHROUGH broke at No. 1 and was honored with two Grammy nominations; that same year, Colbie won two Grammys for her collaborations with Jason Mraz and Taylor Swift.  
Her most recent studio album ALL OF YOU netted Caillat her sixth platinum single in Brighter Than the Sun, which was featured in more than 20 films and tv shows.  Last year, Caillat released her first holiday album ever, CHRISTMAS IN THE SAND, which featured duets with Brad Paisley, Gavin DeGraw and others.     Caillat works for honorable causes including the Surfrider Foundation, Save the Music, Farm Sanctuary, the Humane Society of the U.S.  Her new studio album is due later this year.

If you’re a big country music fan ...

If you’re a big country music fan, then you just might have made the trip to the mecca of all events, Nashville’s annual sold-out signature week – the CMA Music Festival. And if you were one of the 80,000 visitors per day to the mothership (the new Music City Center), then you likely met country music’s hottest breakout artists Branch & Dean from the label SSM Nashville Records.
 
Branch & Dean were featured at this year’s four-day event with a full schedule of packed house performances and a meet-and-greet booth for up close and personal fan interaction. Sunday night, as Branch & Dean played live to a standing-room-only audience at Honky Tonk Central, a three-story megalith of a venue in the famed blocks of Lower Broadway, The Country Music Association released reports of a 14 percent increase in attendance over last year’s event.
 
Perhaps we will never know what or who is responsible for the record-setting crowds packing the very heart of the music city to the tune of a whopping 320,000 visitors, yet we do know that fans and industry alike are warming up to Branch & Dean like a kettle on a potbelly stove. In a recent edition of MusicRow Magazine’s online Weekly Chart Report –known widely as the authority among country music critics, the publication said this, “Branch & Dean‘s “The Dash” is making fast inroads.”
 
Duo members Steve Branch and Marlon Dean Scallan grew up in the small Jacksonville suburb of Macclenny, Florida, and after 15 years of friendship the twosome officially paired in 2011, as Branch & Dean. Their second single which was released last month entitled, “The Dash”, is a tribute to Steve Branch’s only son Theron Steven William Branch, who passed away on March 15, 2013, following a long struggle with Cystic Fibrosis. “The Dash” follows their debut single, “Your Ol’ Lady’s Gone”, which hit country radio 11 months ago and quickly became a sensation earning an all-time record of most weeks at No. 1 in the history of the British Hotdisc Chart.
 
Dean Scallan says of the CMA Music Fest week, “The out pouring of love from country fans, radio, and music row has been incredible. We’d like to thank by name some of the folks who took the time to come out to our shows: Jeff Miller from Young Country TV, Matt Bjorke of Roughstock.com, the incomparable Joe Guercio, Ed Salamon – legend and former Executive Director of Country Radio Broadcasters, Katy Salamon of WSIX-Nashville Clear Channel Broadcasting, Lee Williams from UK radio, journalist extraordinaire Kris Midgett, and Ed Morris of CMT, to name a few.” And to their fans and supporters, Steve Branch adds with sincerity, “I like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kind words and thoughts. You will never know how much your Facebook messages, emails, calls, and love have lifted my family and me up in this hard time. God Bless you and I love you all.”

Terry Smith, Terry Eldredge, Dierks Bentley, Jamie Johnson, Danny Roberts, Jeremy Abshire, Kristin Scott Benson

Dierks Bentley and The Grascals backstage at Riverfront during CMA Music Fest. Dierks surprised fans with an appearance during the award winning bluegrass band’s performance; joining in on the tune “American Pickers” which was co-written by Jamie Johnson, Iodine and Jeffrey East. Dierks later brought his two young daughters onstage to the delight of the crowd and Terry Eldredge danced with one of the little girls. Dierks is a co-writer (along with Jamie Johnson and Ronnie Bowman) on the title cut of The Grascals’ Grammy-nominated album, Life Finds A Way.

(L-R) Terry Smith, Terry Eldredge, Dierks Bentley, Jamie Johnson, Danny Roberts, Jeremy Abshire, Kristin Scott Benson
Credit: Laughing Penguin Publicity

Country Music News International June 11. 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, Courtyard Nashville Downtown http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/bnadt-courtyard-nashville-downtown , Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau www.visitmusiccity.com , Dellenbügler, http://dellenbuegler.de , Tennessee Tourism, http://www.Tennessee.de , Steel Guitar Nashville, http://www.SteelGuitar.net , HelpCharity, http://www.MySpace.com/HelpCharity

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2013 CMA MUSIC FESTIVAL WITH 80,000 FANS


2013 CMA MUSIC FESTIVAL SETS NEW ATTENDANCE RECORD WITH 80,000 FANS

Surprise Guest Performers Included Jason Aldean, Sheryl Crow, Charlie Daniels, Kid Rock, Lenny Kravitz, Tim McGraw, Jason Mraz, Kenny Rogers, Trisha Yearwood, and More!
NASHVILLE – CMA Music Festival set a new attendance record in 2013 with daily attendance topping 80,000 fans, a near 13 percent increase over the 71,000 in attendance in 2012 and a sellout of LP Field tickets six weeks before the event.
The increase was attributed to expanding the event into the new Music City Center, which was dubbed the AT&T U-verse Fan Fair X. The new venue nearly tripled the size of the former space in the Nashville Convention Center creating room for new exhibits, additional stages, and attractions for families in the Keep the Kids Playing Pavilion.
“This event has a global reputation as the destination for any Country Music fan,” said Steve Moore, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “The support we receive from our industry and the dedication of our fans is unduplicated. Each year we strive to improve and enhance the event for our attendees and the artists – and this is undeniably our best CMA Music Festival ever!”
Attendance figures for 2013 include four-day ticket packages and promotional tickets, as well as attendance in Fan Fair X, and free areas downtown. In all, more than 450 artists and celebrities participated in more than 200 hours of concerts on a record 11 different stages.
Week-long mild temperatures in Nashville resulted in increased attendance in the numerous free areas including The Buckle, Fan Alley, public events, and concert venues. In fact, there was record attendance on opening day at Chevrolet Riverfront Stage with more than 44,000 fans passing through the gates for the free concerts on the sloping bank of the Cumberland River. Crowds for the new Transitions Performance Park were strong and attendance at the Bud Light Stage on the Bridgestone Arena Plaza increased over 2012. The BMI Tailgate Party stage at LP Field, which debuted in 2012, was bustling each evening as crowds entered the stadium for the Nightly Concerts.
Corporate brand partnerships are a key element to the marketing, fan experience, and financial support of the Festival. Nearly 40 different brands participated in the CMA Music Festival generating a combined activation and consumer engagements of more than 1.8 million. These various engagement elements included product sampling, dedicated registrations, and brand impressions.
“In 2013, we built on the strength of our established Festival partnership development program by working with partners who were excited about engaging our attendees in new and entertaining ways,” said Sheri Warnke, CMA Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications. “The growing popularity of our Festival is due in no small part to the commitment of our corporate partners in creating and delivering a great fan experience.”
“We were thrilled with our experience at this year's CMA Fest,” said Michael Weidman, National Promotions Manager for Chevrolet. “We had a record number of people engage with our products. We are already starting to think about how we can up our game for next year.”
"The 2013 CMA Music Fest was the best ever, providing the ideal platform for HGTV to connect with passionate Country Music fans,” said Denise Conroy, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Creative, HGTV & DIY Network. “From the top-notch concert lineups to the overall rich experiential environment, CMA Music Fest was the perfect setting for the HGTV Lodge."
“As first-year partners, the 2013 CMA Music Fest has exceeded our expectations,” said Tim Skiba, Director of Media for Gander Mtn. “The Festival has proven to be an excellent avenue for us to reach and engage with avid outdoors enthusiasts and Country Music fans. We can't wait for 2014!”
CMA Music Festival supports music education in Music City. The artists and celebrities participating in CMA Music Festival donate their time. They are not compensated for the hours they spend signing autographs and performing. In appreciation of their exhaustive efforts, The CMA Foundation donates proceeds from the event to music education on the artists’ behalf through CMA’s Keep the Music Playing program. Since 2006, CMA has donated more than $7.6 million to the cause.
CMA’s fans are contributing to this worthy and important initiative, too. For the first time during the Festival, fans were able to bid on signed items and one-of-a-kind experiences during the CMA Silent Auction benefiting Keep the Music Playing, which was held in Fan Fair X.
The auction raised more than $80,000 and included items such as a Jack Daniel’s Commemorative Whiskey Barrel autographed by the Master Distiller and branded with the CMA Music Festival logo; a Chevrolet Camaro Convertible hood, signed by artists on the 2011 CMA Awards Red Carpet; and a 2012 CMA Awards commemorative guitar, autographed by hosts Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley.
CMA Music Festival, which started as Fan Fair® in 1972, is about the fans and their relationship with the artists and the music.
The theme is universal and in 2013, Festival attendees came from all 50 states and two dozen countries, including Australia, Austria, Canada, Chile, China, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Holland, Honduras, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, and the U.K.
Tickets for 2014 CMA Music Festival, which will be held Thursday through Sunday, June 5-8, are on sale now and selling 52 percent ahead of this time last year.
“The pace of the advance ticket sales speaks to the strength of the event, the popularity of our music, and the experience that our fans had at this year’s CMA Music Fest,” said Moore.  
Fans can order tickets by calling the CMA Box Office at 1-800-CMA-FEST (262-3378) or Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000. To purchase tickets online, visit Ticketmaster.com.
Fans Connect Digitally
CMA continued its practice of interacting with fans through digital and social channels at the 2013 CMA Music Festival, to both inform and reward loyal Festival attendees.
Visits to the official Festival Web site, CMAfest.com, spiked 35 percent over 2012, pointing to the utility's value and wealth of content available to fans. As the digital home for The Ultimate Country Music Fan Experience, CMAfest.com houses all pertinent details about the event and featured a special "Live @ CMA Fest" section with content posted and streaming for Country fans not able to join the festivities in person.
Re-launched for 2013, the free CMA MUSIC FEST APP for iPhone and Android saw nearly 25,000 downloads – a 14 percent uptick year to year. App features included event maps, schedules of activities and performance lineups with the option for users to create their own personalized, custom schedule. Additionally, CMA social media streams and news bulletins were integrated, and the CMA MUSIC FEST APP offered push notifications to update attendees on weather alerts and schedule changes.
The interactive fan tweet-to-screen element at LP Field concerts was expanded to the Chevrolet Riverfront Stage in 2013. In total more than 68,000 tweets were sent using the official hashtag, #CMAFEST. The tweet volume represents 120% growth over 2012. Additionally, fans were encouraged to post their Festival photos to Instagram throughout the weekend using hashtag #CMAFEST, and photos were also featured nightly on the LP Field Jumbotron. This Instagram-to-screen promotion yielded more than 7,000 photo submissions.
The CMA mobile database (CMA MOB) grew an impressive 33 percent year over year, with eager fans opting in to receive updates, promotional opportunities, and event alerts via text message. Anyone may join the CMA MOB by texting keyword FESTIVAL to shortcode 66937 (message and data rates apply).
CMA's total aggregate digital audience has reached 1.9 million fans, growth of 36 percent from the 1.4 million in June 2012.
2013 CMA Music Festival Research Recap
With so many ardent Country Music fans in one place, opportunities abound for CMA to conduct research with this important consumer group.
“Country Music continues to rise as a favorite genre among all segments of the population, across the U.S. and beyond,” said Karen Stump, CMA’s Senior Director of Market Research. “This year’s Festival provided CMA, and the industry, with several opportunities to learn from both existing and new Country Music fans about their Festival experience and Country Music listening habits. Our attendees are extremely loyal and eager to share their experiences and CMA truly appreciates their participation in our research during this year’s event.”
Top line research findings from the 2013 CMA Music Festival:
  • More than 50 percent of attendees were under the age of 40
  • 48 percent were first time attendees this year and more than 90 percent of both first time and returning attendees stated that they are planning on attending in 2014
  • Nearly 95 percent of attendees stated that, overall the 2013 CMA Music Festival met or exceeded their expectations
  • 70 percent traveled 250 or more miles to attend this year’s Festival 
Highlights of 2013 CMA Music Festival
The Ninth Annual CMA Music Festival Kick-Off Parade claimed Broadway from Tenth to First Avenues on Wednesday before tens of thousands of cheering spectators. Country Music superstar Kix Brooks served as Grand Marshal. The Keep the Music Playing All Stars Marching Band, which is made up of 80 high school musicians representing eight Metro Nashville Public Schools, made its third appearance in the parade, as well as the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales.
Following the procession, the fun kicked into high gear with The Eighth Annual CMA Music Festival Block Party. Fans gathered at the Chevrolet Riverfront Stage for the kick off with The Henningsens followed by Brazilbilly, The LACs, and The Cadillac Three. Lyndsey Highlander performed the national anthem. A highlight was headliner Joe Diffie singing “Pick Up Man” with his nine-year-old daughter, Kylie.
AT&T U‐verse® Fan Fair X
X marked the coolest daytime spot for Nashville’s “signature” event in the new AT&T® U-verse® Fan Fair X (FFX) with autograph signings, concerts, lifestyle exhibits, marketplace, live broadcasts, and more in the shiny new Music City Center.
Lady Antebellum kicked it off with “Lady A Day at FFX” on Thursday with an official ribbon cutting, acoustic performance, and Q&A session with the fans, hosted by Lorianne Crook.
”Welcome to Nashville, everybody!” proclaimed Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum at the ribbon cutting. “We just want to say how honored we are to be a part of this. It’s such a huge moment, not only for Country Music and CMA but for Nashville as a city. This Music City Center is just state-of-the-art and gorgeous – and we get to be a part of the grand opening. Here’s to a great CMA Fest! We love ya!”
FFX offered fans an enhanced experience with four stages and the new Keep the Kids Playing Pavilion, with events and activities created especially for children and families. Another popular destination was the FFX Vault featuring an amazing gallery of stunning music memorabilia including artwork created by Steve Wariner. Wariner also participated in a Q&A session on the Keep the Music Playing Stage in the Pavilion about how music can influence art.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect when I arrived today, but I thoroughly enjoyed talking about my artwork with the audience and my friend, [host] Bill Cody,” said Wariner. “I enjoyed bringing the kids up onstage to draw with me, and I hope I might have encouraged or inspired some folks in the audience to follow their creative path. The event went too fast – I want to do it again!”
A record-breaking 65,000 visitors passed through the turnstiles into Fan Fair X throughout the Festival. The number of artists signing autographs and performing on the stages was 393, exceeding 2012’s figure of 254.
The number of artists signing in CMA Central, CMA’s signature headquarters, led to some unique photo ops for fans, such as when Little Big Town met and posed for photos with Kristian Bush. Similarly, Brenda Lee and Jean Shepard crossed paths and ended up agreeing to sit and sign autographs together for a brief time.
Highlights at the CMA Close Up Stage included The Oak Ridge Boys singing “Amazing Grace” a cappella at the ‘70s Heritage Panel; Randy Travis introducing a song he had recorded as a tribute to George Jones and playing it for Nancy Jones during a panel in tribute to the legend who passed away in April; and an acoustic performance and question-and-answer session with Wynonna.
Large numbers of fans also gathered at Fan Fair X to witness a surprise appearance by Blake Shelton at the Pepsi Music Experience, where the reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year played a variation of “Pictionary” with attendees; and at the table tennis match between Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley and the father-son team of Homer and Adam  Brown of Birmingham, Ala., in the final round of their Ping Pong & Songs tournament to raise funds for the band’s LadyAID Fund (Team Lady A, who get a lot of practice time on the road, won in straight sets, 11-8 and 21-19).
Popular autograph signings included Lauren Alaina; Kix Brooks, who signed for several hours; Laura Bell Bundy; Dog & Beth from CMT;Eli Young Band, Florida Georgia Line; Brantley Gilbert; “Grits & Glamour” (Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan); Kree Harrison; Justin Moore; Kip Moore; Joe Nichols, Kellie Pickler (who also had a surprise appearance with the cast of “Duck Dynasty”); Lisa Marie Presley; members of the Robertson family from the popular A&E Channel reality series “Duck Dynasty”; Josh Turner; Wynonna; and Chris Young, who was scheduled to sign for three hours on Sunday but ended up staying all day.
This marks the second year that AT&T has been title sponsor of the exhibit hall experience, first at the Nashville Convention Center and now FFX at the Music City Center. The AT&T Showcase Stage sponsored stage in FFX featured performances from 17 of Nashville’s great songwriters, celebrity Q&A sessions, and more.
"From the opening of AT&T U-verse Fan Fair X in the new Music City Center, to the U-verse Karaoke Stage at The Buckle, and our launch of Country Deep, we couldn’t be more thrilled with the 2013 CMA Festival,” said Brian Collins, Vice President of Wireline Consumer Marketing, AT&T Home Solutions. “We were proud to participate in this event with Country Music fans, and we look forward to next year.”
Durango® returned to present the Durango Music Spot, which launched in 2004 as a showcase for independent artists, and featured nearly 40 solo or group performers. The Music Spot was extremely popular with fans and the area stayed packed throughout nearly 20 hours of music in FFX. All performances were broadcast and streamed live by 650 WSM-AM Nashville.
The Wrangler Fashion Show on Saturday, hosted by “Headline Country’s” Storme Warren, was a hit with spectators. Participants included Country artists Ali Dee, Peyton Rae, Bridgette Tatum, Josh Thompson, and Trent Willmon; champion bullfighter, actor, and recording artist Hollywood Yates; Mrs. Tennessee Bethany Sharp; Tennessee Titans kicker Rob Bironas with his girlfriend Rachal Bradshaw; and five members of the Tennessee Titans Cheerleaders. These Festival fashionistas, along with professional models, showed off the hottest styles from Wrangler, Durango boots, and additional designs from Manuel, designer to the stars who is known world-wide for his embellished and embroidered motifs.
FFX also featured a Marketplace with numerous vendors including Manuel and his son Manny, who demonstrated the art of making their fabulous, embellished couture clothes.
"It was great to be back at the CMA Music Fest again this year,” said Liz Burnham Murphy, Chief Marketing Officer of the Bonnier Men’s Group, which encompasses Field & Stream. “Attendance and overall engagement with the audience, particularly in the new Fan Fair X Hall, was fantastic. We learned once again that so many of those who love Country Music and come to the Festival also have a great love for the outdoor sports."
Nightly Concerts at LP Field
The Nightly Concerts at LP Field featured 62 performers spanning four nights of star-packed shows.
Pre-show activities Thursday included The Oak Ridge Boys performing the national anthem, CMA’s Moore, and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, who declared, “I want all of you to have a wonderful time in our great city. Whether you traveled a short distance or a long way, we want you to enjoy the city and this great weather.”
Performing Thursday were Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Miranda Lambert, Taylor Swift, and Zac Brown Band. The audience also enjoyed a heritage performance from Tracy Lawrence. Surprise guests for Thursday night’s show included Kid Rock, Tim McGraw, and Kenny Rogers.
“Who’s feeling a little frisky tonight in Music City?” shouted Bryan to thousands of fans before singing ‘Rain Is a Good Thing.’”
“Whether you drove right down the road or came from across the world, thank you for coming and for making us a part of your lives. We love you,” said Swift.
Hunter Hayes, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Kip Moore, and Blake Shelton performed on Friday. Randy Travis was the heritage act of the evening and Gloriana performed the national anthem. Special guests on Friday included Sheryl Crow, who performed with Little Big Town and Jason Mraz, who joined Hayes.
Moore used the occasion to share a sweet memory with the stadium audience. “I played some songs for a bigwig producer,” he recounted. “He showed me what I was up against and told me to pack my stuff up and go home. I was polite, I thanked him and said, ‘To hell with that, I ain’t goin’ nowhere.’ And now I’m playin’ for y’all at CMA Fest!”
And in closing out the night as the last performer, Shelton scanned the thousands of cheering onlookers and said, “It takes a special breed of human being to stand out here this late at night after drinkin’, partyin,’ and listening to Country Music all day. You’re still freakin’ here!”    
Performing Saturday were Dierks Bentley, Kelly Clarkson, Florida Georgia Line and Keith Urban. The Oak Ridge Boys returned Saturday to perform and Brett Eldredge sang the national anthem. Jason Aldean, Lenny Kravitz, and Trisha Yearwood were surprise guests.
“I hate that we have to play so short. I wish we could play all night for you guys,” Urban said during his closing set.
Bentley was more succinct. Kneeling on the stage before a sea of illuminated cell phones after his performance of “Home,” he said with emotion: “This might be the best night of my life.”
Severe storm threats shortened sets on Sunday, but didn’t dampen the spirits of the outstanding lineup featuring Gary Allan, The Band Perry, Jake Owen, Brad Paisley, and Carrie Underwood. Lee Greenwood was the heritage act and Lorrie Morgan and Pam Tillis joined musical forces to perform the national anthem. Country icon Charlie Daniels joined Paisley for his performance; and Lennon and Maisy of the hit ABC series “Nashville” also performed.  
“Everybody, think positive thoughts about the rain,” said Allan as skies turned threatening. “Just remember, every storm does run out of rain.”
“According to my calculations, right now, summer starts,” said Paisley before launching into “Beat This Summer” with fans who had downloaded Paisley’s Light App that was synched to match the music.       
Dee Jay Silver warmed up the crowd with remixes of popular Country hits Friday and Saturday. Thursday and Sunday night’s shows were hosted by “Headline Country’s” Storme Warren, who also helped emcee Saturday night along with the cast of the popular A&E series “Duck Dynasty”; Friday was hosted by CMT’s Cody Alan, Katie Cook, and Alecia Davis.
BMI Tailgate Party
For the second year, the BMI Tailgate Party was located outside LP Field with a strong selection of more than 20 BMI songwriters and artists warming up the audience and providing a popular pre-show destination before fans entered the stadium for the Nightly Concerts.
Chevrolet Riverfront Stage
”It’s great to be in Nashville, and I’m happy to be opening CMA Music Festival,” proclaimed Sara Evans as the CMA Award-winning artist opened her set and four days of music at the popular Chevrolet Riverfront Stage in front of one of the biggest opening day crowds on record – 44,000. 2013 marked the first time Evans opened the Festival. 
It was an auspicious start to a full slate of performances. The stage bustled with a roster of outstanding artists delivering longer sets for the appreciative crowd. In all, 40 acts performed 30 hours of concerts over the four days including a surprise appearance by Hunter Hayes on Friday. More than 162,000 fans passed through the gates to watch the performances at Chevrolet Riverfront Stage over the course of the four-day Festival.
Bud Light Stage at Bridgestone Arena Plaza
The audience at the Bud Light Stage at the Bridgestone Arena Plaza was enthusiastic and didn’t hesitate to demonstrate their appreciation for the 33 acts performing on the stage during 25 hours of concerts. The exceptional lineup included up-and-comers, established stars, and legends.  
"This was my first time witnessing the Music Fest after many years of overseeing events from a corporate sponsorship perspective and I could not have walked away more satisfied,” said Jason Hayes, Director of Trade Marketing, Anheuser-Busch InBev. “I ultimately want a natural synergy of brand identities that can build on each other for the greater good of an event as well as a partner that cares as much as I do about my brand. The CMA management team delivers both in a signature event which Nashville should be very proud of and I look forward to supporting on behalf of Bud Light for years to come.”
Transitions Performance Park
New to the Festival in 2013 was the Transitions Performance Park with a nonstop lineup of talent performing in Walk of Fame Park. In all 32 acts performed including the Marshall Tucker Band, who kicked it into high gear on Thursday.
“How many of y’all are so happy God took those clouds away and made the sun shine?” asked Kristy Lee Cook during her Transitions Performance Park performance, speaking for many who enjoyed the favorable weather lounging in hammocks covered by giant sunglasses, or playing volley ball or putt putt in the park.  
Press Here
CMA credentialed more than 700 journalists, photographers, and videographers representing more than 230 domestic and international media outlets including: ABC Radio Networks, Associated Press, AXS Live, BBC Radio 2 (UK), Billboard, CMT, CMT Canada (Canada), CNN International, Country Aircheck, Country Music Channel (Australia), Country Weekly, ESPN, Great American Country, “Good Morning America,” “Headline Country,” MSN.com, Music Row, Nashville Business Journal, OK Magazine, People, Premiere Radio Network, Rolling Stone, Sirius XM Satellite Radio, Sports Illustrated, The Tennessean, “The Better Show,” United Stations Radio Network, UPI Newswire, US Weekly, USA Today, Yahoo!, and more.
International media outlets represented 14 countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the U.K.
Safety First
CMA took numerous steps in 2013 to protect the safety of fans, artists, volunteers and staff, so everyone could fully enjoy The Ultimate Country Music Fan Experience. Enhanced information booths were scattered throughout the downtown footprint with trained staff to serve the needs of a steady stream of visitors. In addition there were water stations and misting tents for quick relief from the heat.
CMA also utilized the “If You See Something, Say Something” program from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). “If You See Something, Say Something” is a simple and effective program to raise public awareness and to emphasis the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the proper local law enforcement authorities. 
Medical tents and roving medical teams from Vanderbilt Medical Center, a nonprofit medical facility, were readily available for Festival goers needing attention for a variety of ailments including treatment of blisters and sunburns. The mild temperatures and pre-planning by CMA and the medical crews resulted in one of the lowest years in medical treatment since the event moved to downtown Nashville in 2001.
In all, they logged 436 patient contacts with 9 ambulance transports – well below numbers for previous years, which typically exceeded 1,000 contacts and slightly above 20 transports.
People Power
For the fourth year, CMA enlisted volunteers for the Festival. More than 400 people stepped up from across the country and around the world to volunteer their time to fill 630 positions including the Fun Team, shuttle drivers, managing lines at the Fan Fair X, as well as balloon and banner holders for the Kick-Off Parade. The volunteers contributed more than 12,400 total hours.  
ABC Television Special
As previously announced, the Festival was filmed for a three-hour television special “CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock” airing Monday, Aug. 12 (8:00-11:00 PM/ET) and hosted for the first time by Little Big Town.  
This marks the 10th anniversary of the special, which aired for the first time in 2004. This is the ninth year the special will air on ABC. The primetime event features stadium concerts and intimate club-like performances with behind-the-ropes access to the artists.
Stay Connected
Fans can stay in the loop by visiting CMAfest.com, the official website of CMA Music Festival, where they can sign up for the CMA Exclusive e-news. Fans can also connect with CMA at Facebook.com/CMA, Twitter.com/CountryMusic, Pinterest.com/CMAworld, and Instagram.com/CMA.
CMA Music Festival – The Ultimate Country Music Fan Experience – is a celebration of America’s music. CMA Music Festival is a four-time winner of the International Entertainment Buyers Association’s LIVE! Award for Festival of the Year (2004, 2006, 2008, 2010). According to Budget Travel Magazine, Nashville is one of the Top 10 Best Budget Destinations and CMA Music Festival is “the” time to visit. Conde Nast Traveler selected Nashville as one of the Best Places to Go in 2013 citing easy access to “incredible live music.” And CMA Music Festival was named one of the Top 10 Summer Festivals of 2013 by Livability.com, a national website that ranks quality of life and travel amenities of America’s small and mid-sized cities.
Don’t miss it June 5-8, 2014!

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