Monday, February 3, 2014


Lady Antebellum



Trio Nabs Four Nominations for Upcoming 49th Annual ACM Awards

Nashville, TN – Feb. 3, 2014 – GRAMMY winning trio Lady Antebellum’s North American TAKE ME DOWNTOWN TOUR visited Boston's TD Garden this weekend with a sold out crowd. Boston Herald noted "having the time of their lives…the Nashville-based trio delivered a 90-minute, high-energy show that was chockfull of golden moments.”

“And when their voices locked into pristine harmony on such tunes as foot-stomping opener 'Compass,' wistful 'Just a Kiss,' and propulsive 'I Run to You'…a sold-out crowd at the TD Garden Friday night was happy to take the ride.” – Boston Globe

“Compass” is driving through the Top 10 on the country radio charts as the trio recently received news of their four ACM nominations including a nod for “Vocal Group of the Year.” This weekend, the TAKE ME DOWNTOWN TOUR will stop in Minneapolis, MN and Grand Rapids, MI with special guests Kip Moore and Kacey Musgraves.


Nashville, TN – February 3, 2014 – On the heels of their dynamic performance on the NFL and Fox’s Super Bowl LXVIII Tailgate pregame show, it was announced today that sibling trio THE BAND PERRY will be advising Blake Shelton’s team during the “Battle Rounds” on Season Six of NBC’s The Voice.  Tune into the season premiere of The Voice, Monday, February 24, 2014 at 8PM EST / 7PM CST on NBC. 
“Blake didn’t have to ask us twice if we wanted to mentor his team this season on The Voice, “ said The Band Perry.  “It was so much fun to work with Team Blake, and after 15 years of receiving plenty of ‘constructive criticism,’ it was our turn to pay it forward.  We just hope we were as helpful to Blake’s team as our own mentors have been to us through the years.” 
It was also announced the award-winning family trio will be featured on the 40th Anniversary re-mastered edition of Elton John’s 1973 seminal breakthrough album, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, with their version of the song “Grey Seal.”  The reissued CD will be released March 24, 2014 by Universal Music Catalogue / Mercury on CD, vinyl, limited-edition yellow vinyl, and in a box set featuring recording of ‘Live At Hammersmith 1973’ on CD, a DVD of Bryan Forbes’ 1973 film ‘Elton John and Bernie Taupin Say Goodbye To Norma Jean and Other Things’, along with a 100-page illustrated hardback book packed with rare photos, memorabilia and new essay containing interviews with Elton John and Bernie Taupin.
 “Elton John is a musical hero of ours, and to be included in a project with him is something that is beyond our wildest dreams,” said the band. 
Last week, The Band Perry received two award nominations from the Academy of Country Music for “Vocal Group of The Year” and “Music Video of The Year” for their #1 smash “Better Dig Two.” In 2012 and 2013 the band received nominations in the “Vocal Group of the Year” category. In 2011, the award-winning trio was nominated for five Academy of Country Music Awards and won, “New Artist of the Year” and “best new vocal duo or group.” 

Erica Nicole is a Bad Girl

Erica Nicole Completely Redefines Her Style
with Release of Hard-Hitting New Single, “ I Listen To My Bad Girl”

Nashville, TN. Jan. 24, 2014  
Erica Nicole’s newest single, “I Listen To My Bad Girl,” is taking her music to a whole new level. A complete reinvention of her sound, Erica is breaking out of her mold and showing the world what she’s musically capable of producing.
What you see and hear in her new single, “I Listen to My Bad Girl,” showcases Erica’s vocal and musical strength, and working alongside producer Kent Wells of Nashville, TN, you hear that classic Nashville sound only Nashville musicians can give you.
In the new single, Erica is completely redefining her style and attitude.
“I am finally getting to be me. I am finally comfortable with who I am as a person in my own skin. It’s not so much the new me; it’s the real me. My new songs allow me to share more of myself with my audience and fan base,” said Erica.
Written by Debbie Pascarella and Dani Jamerson, “I Listen to My Bad Girl” tells of that little voice inside a women’s mind, to just go and have fun!
Nowhere is this felt more strongly than in the powerful bridge and chorus: “Most of the time I find myself listening to the good one/but sometimes she just ain’t no fun, so/I listen to my bad girl/the one who loves trouble/the one I shouldn’t hang around/Yeah you know my bad girl/she dares me to the double/hangs out with the rowdy crowd/Even though I know it ain’t right/I listen to my bad girl.”
These lyrics resonate with Erica. “I feel like every girl, all of us out there, feels like this. We’re good, but we have this alter ego, this little devil on our shoulder that wants us to go out and be a little more on the edge sometimes. Even though we’re not bad people, and we’re not going to do bad things, there’s this little person inside of us that says go be your bad girl,” she said.
Beyond the new single, Erica is also working on a new album that continues to stretch her music to places she’s never been before. Get ready to be blown out of your seat by the power in her new sound.

Country Music News International February 3. 2014

Country Music News International February 3. 2014

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CD: MARY BETH CROSS Beyond Good And Evil

Beyond Good And Evil
Babes In The Wood - Beyond Good And Evil - Kiss You Goodnight - I Don't Feel No Ways Tired - Liza Jane - Stories Never Told - Caledonia - Land Of The Midnight Sun - Feels Like Home - Our Love Is Here To Stay
"Babes In the Wood" that's another story, for sure, but not a Mary Beth Cross original.  All the rest of the songs are. Mary Beth is a folk singer, well yes, but she's also a soft country singer, well yes she's also her own distinctive self.  My instant attraction to the songs, and their beautiful mix, is the addition of Stuart Duncan, an incredibly gifted bluegrass fiddler.  Mary, originally from Wisconsin, now living in the Rocky Mountains, has created a traveling adventure of soul, sorrow, happiness, and certainly discovery and opportunity, as she dedicates this project to the pioneers that blazed the trail, from Wisconsin to Colorado, as she has done, and the beautiful adventure and the chance to have land, that becomes the pioneers own, which is what they treasured most.  Mary, much like another Wisconsin folk singer that draws heavily from the woodlands and farm lifestyle for inspiration, Sue West, uses the words of rural America to describe and depict a wholly different lifestyle and environment that many of us neither know very much about, and certainly have not experienced.  The musical expressions expressed here are worthy of note, especially since they have been made by such excelled musicians in Nashville, as Stuart Duncan of course on fiddle, but he adds mandolin and banjo on some cuts.  Matthew Pierson on bass, Mile Payne on guitar and 6-string banjo, Blair Masters on piano, organ, accordion, and melodica, Ken Lewis on drums, Paul Nelson on cello, and Michael Douchette on Dobro.  In combination it's easy to see how this particular session turned into a 'soulful' gathering, and some excellent original songs I would sometimes label Americana, but more often pure rural-soul music.  Like Mary Beth, we both have liked and appreciated the music of Kate Wolf, one of California's most productive folk singers. I realize that Mary Beth is not reaching for an older audience, but if she ever does, enunciation is very important to them.  Even the Broadway show tune "Our Love Is Here To Stay" is interesting with a 6-string banjo (though it 'squeaks' a bit) but the whistling is great.  In total, this CD is worthy of being submitted to the Rural Roots Music Commission for their take on 'Americana CD of the Year.'  We'll have to wait to see what happens.  In the meantime, I hope Mary Beth Cross will continue her journey, perhaps not in a covered wagon, but certainly in spirit.  Thar's 'gold' in them thar hills Mary Beth.  
Record review by Bob Everhart, President National Traditional Music Assn., for Country Music News International 


The Gift
The Gift - How Blue - Take This Rosary - I'll Give You A Daisy A Day - Wall of Tears
Every time I hear an Irish singer or songwriter, I seem to be impressed.  This beautiful young woman is astonishing as a classic country singer as well as a classic country songwriter.  You may say, how can an Irish woman be 'country?'  Very easily if you 'listen' to what is involved; in the lyrics, what musical instruments are playing, how it's arranged, how it's sung....easy.  Fiddle and guitar predominate in the first two songs.  Kate had some vocal help from Richie Penrose on the first song, and he too is an excellent classic country singer, very unlike the "wish they were" country singers in Nashville, who are really simply 'pop' singers.  These songs come in pairs, all of them a bit different, all of them sounding like they were cut in different studios with different musicians, although I can't say that for sure since I don't have the participants.  I like "Take This Rosary" but I like the way Kate does "Daisy A Day."  It opens with a very nice Irish sounding fiddle.  And, her voice takes us on a journey into the memories of someone thinking of another time, another place, another person.  "Wall of Tears" has some terrific steel on it, and all of the songs are extremely well mixed with Kate's voice in the spotlight, exactly where it should be.  There's an additional CD with an additional six songs on it without names, musicians, writers, or anything, but like the first five, it's once again super great classic country music with some incredible fiddle in it.  The other four tracks wouldn't come up so I'm not sure what they were, and quite obviously these tracks were not intended for review, but I thought they were great anyway.  We hardly ever get a really really good CD to place before the Rural Roots Music Commission for "International Classic Country CD of the Year" but this collection of songs prompts me to do that.  Kate will have her new CD out any day now, and I hope to be able to take a listen when it's available and bring you up to date.   Kate is at  
Review by Bob Everhart, President NTCMA
for Country Music News International



After some turmoil about a hoax on the Internet, it was confirmed by the New York Times that America's best known living folk singer had passed away in New York City at the Presbyterian Hospital late Monday, January 27 at the age of 94.  For Pete Seeger, folk music and a sense of community were one and the same, and when he saw a community, he saw political action.  Seeger, a close friend of Woody Guthrie, was himself a songwriting mover and shaker in the folk revival with songs he wrote like "If I Had A Hammer," "Where Have All The Flowers Gone," and "Turn Turn Turn."  Although he recorded more than 100 albums, Pete distrusted commercialism and was never comfortable with the idea of stardom.  We both recorded for Smithsonian-Folkways, though my records never sold as much as his did.  He invariably used his celebrity to bring attention the causes he supported.  I asked him in the early years of our Old-Time Music Festival, if he would be a judge of the Folk Singers Contest.  He refused, telling me he could never be the kind of person who would tell one artist he/she was better than another artist.  He was born May 3, 1919 into a wealthy family.  He attended Harvard University where he founded a radical newspaper and joined the Young Communist League.  He later quit the Communist Party, but he bravely refused to tell Congress what his personal, religious, or political beliefs were.  He contended those were private and part of his constitutional right to freedom of speech AND thought.  It resulted in a 'contempt of congress' citation with a threat of prison, but it was withdrawn.  Without a doubt, Pete Seeger was one of America's true 'folk' artists, the voice, the music, the essence of him will be missed in many many ways for many many years.  President Obama said... "Once called 'America's tuning fork' Pete Seeger believed deeply in the power of song, but more importantly he believed in the power of community.  To stand up for what's right, speak out against what's wrong, and move this country closer to the America he knew we could be.  Over the years, Pete Seeger used his voice, and his hammer to strike blows for workers rights and civil rights; world peace and environmental conservation.  And, he always invited us to sing along.  For reminding us where we came from and showing us where we need to go, we will always be grateful to Pete Seeger."  In closing, I'd like to say, do not honor Pete Seeger with a moment of silence, but rather honor his memory by refusing to be silenced.  Not sure where that came from, but it's what I feel.
Bob Everhart for Country Music News International



Kenny Rogers has received an honorary Master of Photography Degree from the Professional Photographers of America during their convention on January 14 in Phoenix, Arizona.  Rogers has a new photo book out called "Places I've Been, Things I've Seen."
Our favorite mando-picker, Jesse McReynolds had a minor cardiac procedure at St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville, for an electrophysiological (yes, that's a real word) study to determine the cause of dizzy spells and accelerated heart beats.  Jesse will be 85 this summer.  We extended an invitation for him to be with us in LeMars this year, but haven't heard anything back yet.
The Oak Ridge Boys have never had a 'live' album of their hits, even after 60 years in music, but it's coming out now, on vinyl no less, along with CD too, but what's interesting is they managed to get some really good portable recording equipment and taped every show they did recently while on the road, and then pulled the best takes off for an album, simply called "Boys Night Out."  Should be good.
For those of you who have worried about Clay Walker, and the lady in charge of a huge radio station in Australia, both of whom have said country music is dead in urban areas....  listen up!  Rural Rhythm Records is releasing a Heritage Collection series which includes 'authentic' old-time and traditional country music, bluegrass, folk, even waltzes, fiddle tunes, and Lord Bless them, Gospel music too.  All performed by many legends and pioneers.  To be sure, 'so-called' country music today is dead.  So what's so bad about that, they have never been alive, they are just actors 'pretending' to be country.  You can find Rural Rhythm Records easy on the Internet.
Speaking of the wanna-be 'so-called' country artists of today, one of them, Eric Church responded to a reporters query about what he thought of reality singing competition shows.  His response was, and I quote..."Honestly, if Blake Shelton and Cee Lo Green turn around in a red chair, you got a deal?  (What he means here is that if these two  'judges' turn around in their red judges chairs, it means they have a winner??? and a shortcut to fame and fortune? for that contestant) Continuing with Eric Church... "That's crazy.  I don't know what would make an artist do that.  You're not an artist."  Shelton's wife, Miranda Lambert fired back, and I quote.... "Thanks Eric Church for saying I'm not a real artist.  Or Kelly Clarkson, or Carrie Underwood, or Keith Urban."   WELL, DUH!  You're right Mrs. Blake Shelton, you are NOT a country music artist, real or otherwise, well maybe in your dreams.
Even though California is going through a drought, Southern California is beautiful.  Roy Orbinson's great song, "California Blue" is true almost every day.  Drought we have, and without large quantities of rain, we have conflict all the time.  For instance, reading the San Diego Union Tribune, there's a stunningly beautiful ad announcing the certain possibility of experiencing (and this is in huge red letters) The American Dream.  On the other side of the same page is a huge story about the 8,000 homeless living in the streets and gutters of the same town.  Aaaaa California.
Willie Nelson is known for his outlaw image, and he got a little philosophical when asked about Justin Bieber's recent drunk driving arrest.  "He'll be all right."  Willie said of the 19-year old pop star.  "Let him grow up and then we'll talk about him."  Willie has been picked up several times for marijuana possession, and just appeared last week on the Grammy Show in Los Angeles.  I always thought the Grammys was about good music.  Now it's about gay marriages. Whaaaat?
Music from Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, will be featured at the Old Avoca (NEBRASKA) Schoolhouse, Wed-Fri, March 12-14, beginning at 9am each day.  This is a Celtic Fiddling Camp led by championship fiddler and author Deborah Greenblatt.  More info at:
"Hee Haw The Musical" is headed for Broadway, produced by Gaylord Entertainment of course.  Robert Horn wrote the script with music and lyrics by Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally.  Gaylord Entertainment said, "Our writing team is extraordinary and perfect for this original work.  We will hold readings in New York City and received a wonderful and very encouraging response from the Broadway community."  Don't forget, if you want to see some of the 'real' Hee Haw, all you have to do is come to LeMars this year and listen to LuLu Roman sing some of her beautiful gospel songs.  She's scheduled for Tuesday, August 26.
Ronny Cox is going to be at LeMars this year.  He's the actor/guitarist that played "Dueling Banjos' in the movie "Deliverance."  You can see this at  You may, or may not, know this, but the footage as it appeared in the movie was not staged, it was pure accident.  The film company had stopped at this old gas station for refreshments.  Ronny Cox took his guitar out and began to strum, and much to his amazement, the 15-year old autistic boy (Billy Redden) joined him on the banjo, completely unrehearsed.  Through the entire three minutes you can see the happy thrill of this boy who can't even talk, and pay attention to the end, he reverts back to his autistic being.  The Director and Camera Operators were smart enough to catch it all on film, adding some cameos while it all happened.  This was Ronny Cox's first movie, and he went on to more super-good roles.  The autistic boy, Billy Redden, lives in Georgia, where he now works at the Wal-Mart loading and unloading freight, and sometimes as a greeter.  Snopes has a different version of this story, so we're going to ask Ronny Cox straight out, how did that song all come about in that film.  Snopes also went on to say that Billy Redden appeared in several more films too.
Our buddy Johnny Houser, who used to play Dobro for us at the Oak Tree Opry ( I believe he still lives in Red Oak, Iowa) will be doing some filming in February for the History Channel.  He's not saying what show yet, but he'll let us know when it's a done deal.  Can't wait!
Urban-Country is a contradiction of terms, thereby invalidating anything on the so-called Top-Ten Country Charts.
If you are a guitar picker, you have a choice.  Martin or Taylor.  Well yes, of course Gibson, Fender, etc etc etc, but if you're a serious acoustic player, it's Martin or Taylor.  I picked a Martin 12-string (Sheila got it for my birthday a long time ago) because I believe the low notes and range sound a bit better than the Taylor.  Be that as it may, Bob Taylor, the founder of the company was in Washington DC recently to accept the State Department's prestigious ward for Corporate Excellence (ACE) for fundamentally changing the entire ebony trade with an ebony mill it co-owns and operates in Yaounda, the Capital of the African country of Cameroon, one of the last places on planet Earth where they still harvest ebony.  Secretary of State John Kerry made the award, himself a guitarist (I didn't know that?) and praised Taylor for its sensitive use of ebony, a prized and increasingly endangered material in guitars.  He also credited Taylor for making the ebony trade safer, more ethical, and more lucrative than ever, and for encouraging other guitar manufactures to come on board, and  for also offering educational opportunities and improved working conditions to ebony mill employees.
John McCutcheon, a very gifted hammer dulcimer player, as well as guitar, fiddle, banjo, and a few others along the way, will be doing a concert for LAFTA in Lincoln, Nebraska at the 7th St. Loft, Friday February 7th at 7:30pm
Bob Everhart for Country Music News International

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