Monday, June 2, 2014

Big & Rich Kick-Off

Big & Rich Set to Kick-Off CMA Music Fest on Thursday, June 5th

Duo Celebrates Being Part of ESPN's College GameDay For Nearly a Decade
  NASHVILLE, Tenn. (June 2, 2014) – Big & Rich – Big Kenny and John Rich – will be celebrating CMA Music Festival unlike any other artists.  Watch the streets of Nashville on Thursday, June 5th as the electrifying duo bring the party to downtown Music City and unlock the gates to Riverfront Park before taking the stage and officially kicking-off CMA Music Festival.  Be sure to catch Big & Rich’s performance, which will include a live rendition of their latest hit single, “Look At You.”  Fans will be able to look at them, while they “Look At You”!!!!

"Can't wait to rock the stage with CMA Fest!,” says John Rich. “After show party is at Club Redneck Riviera! See y'all there!"  Big Kenny adds, “Bring on the Clydesdales!! Looks like we're gonna be kicking off the greatest music celebration in true Big & Rich style.”

Beginning in 2005, Big & Rich have provided the opening theme to ESPN College GameDay Built by The Home Depot, which is entering its 29th season.  The duo recently recorded their latest version of “Comin’ To Your City,” and filmed the weekly opening in Nashville.

About Big & Rich:
Big & Rich is comprised of Kenny Alphin and The Celebrity Apprentice winner John Rich. The multi-platinum hit duo have garnered multiple GRAMMY, ACM, CMA and CMT Music Award nominations and were recently nominated as the 2014 ACM Vocal Duo of the Year. Their current single "Look At You" which is racing up the charts is from their forthcoming studio album to be released this Fall.  Their first studio album, Horse of a Different Color, includes their hit infectious single, "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)." Other hits include, "Comin’ to Your City," "8th of November" and their #1 hit "Lost in this Moment." "Comin’ to Your City" is nearing a decade as the theme song for ESPN’s College GameDay show.

KIP MOORE FIRES UP IN SMOKE



KIP MOORE FIRES UP 1ST HEADLINING TOUR FOR CMT ON TOUR 2014: UP IN SMOKE

Moore Set To Perform His New Single "Dirt Road" Tonight On Late Night With Seth Meyers


Nashville, TN- June 2, 2014- PLATINUM-selling singer/songwriter Kip Moore will headline the CMT ON TOUR 2014: UP IN SMOKE this fall.  The tour will kick off on Sept. 25 in New York, NY and will hit over 20 cities through November.  Moore has tapped newcomers Charlie Worsham and Sam Hunt to come along for the ride.  Tickets go on sale this Fri., June 6. 

"We've been on the road pretty much non-stop for the past four years playing as much as we can wherever we can," said Moore.  "When we started out sometimes there would only be five people at a show, and seeing the crowds grow over the years is really humbling and encouraging.  And now to be teaming up with CMT for a tour is a really exciting moment in my career.  We'll definitely be playing lots of songs from the new album out on the road so it will be fun to test those out and see what the fans think."

“Kip’s UP ALL NIGHT album swept us away with an edge and swagger that put him in a class of his own, coupled with three back-to-back No. one singles,” said Leslie Fram, SVP of Music Strategy, CMT. “The rest of the story is happening now and we’re proud to have him headline our 13th annual CMT On Tour, along with CMT Listen Up artist Charlie Worsham and hot newcomer Sam Hunt.”

Tonight, Moore will perform his new single "Dirt Road" for the first time on television when he stops by Late Night With Seth Meyers.  From there, he heads full force into CMA Music Festival week with a special performance outside Bridgestone Arena for fans to kick off the CMT Music Awards Red Carpet pre-show Wednesday night and will present later during the live awards telecast.

The Washington Post calls Moore "one of Nashville's breakout stars…" while his album UP ALL NIGHT was the best selling debut album from any solo male country artist released in 2012 and 2013, and produced three back-to-back No. one singles with the PLATINUM-selling "Somethin' 'Bout A Truck," "Beer Money" and "Hey Pretty Girl."  His current single, "Dirt Road," is from his upcoming sophomore album due out on MCA Nashville. 

Nashville's rising singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Charlie Worsham is currently on tour celebrating his new single “Want Me Too” off his critically-acclaimed album Rubberband. The album impressively landed on several of 2013 Best Of lists; including Spin’s “Best Country Albums,” American Songwriter’s “Top 50 Albums,” and Billboard’s “Top 10 Country Albums.” 
 Sam Hunt is quickly becoming one of Nashville's most talked about young talents. With a string of songwriting hits under his belt already, including Kenny Chesney’s No. one single “Come Over” and Keith Urban's smash hit "Cop Car."  As one of Rolling Stone’s “Ten Artists You Need to Know," Hunt's first commercial radio single “Leave The Night On” launches nationwide mid-June. 

Sherry Lynn Performing During 2014 Special Olympic

SHERRY LYNN To Perform Two Shows During 2014 Special Olympics USA Games

Nashville, TN (June 2, 2014) - Country entertainer SHERRY LYNN will perform two shows during the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games being held in the Princeton, New Jersey area. The eight-day event (June 14-21) features sports competitions and activities at venues throughout Mercer County, New Jersey, including Princeton University, Rider University, The College of New Jersey, Mercer County Park and several area private schools.  Lynn will entertain June 16 from 3-4 p.m. at "Corporate Park" within Mercer County Park and on June 19 from 4 - 5 p.m.  at  "Special Olympics Town" on the campus of College of New Jersey for  participating athletes and coaches only.  In addition to the many showcased sports, Special Olympics athletes will participate in multiple events including an opening ceremony at Prudential Center, closing ceremony at Sun National Bank Center, a boardwalk themed Special Olympics Town, a Special Olympics Unified Sports® Festival, and much more.

Sherry is excited to share her music with the athletes and supporters involved in the Special Olympics and the engaging songstress notes, "This is a cause that's dear to my heart and it is an absolute honor to be included."

Lynn will travel to New Jersey straight from her second consecutive year of performances during Nashville's CMA Music Festival.  Her hot new single, "Girls Will Be Girls," from her sophomore CD, A BEAUTIFUL LIFE, has club-goers hitting the dance floor as it rockets up the Country charts, and the fun-filled video is airing on CMT.com, ZUUS Country TV and regional video outlets across America.  Last year Sherry made her Grand Ole Opry debut as she sang with superstar Crystal Gayle on their hit duet, "Beautiful Life."

The Woodbury, New Jersey native is currently splitting her time between Sewell, NJ and Nashville, TN.  Sherry began her career in 2006 when she opened for Sammy Kershaw at Pitman, New Jersey's historic Broadway Theatre.  Since then, she has shared the stage with Miranda Lambert, Crystal Gayle, the Oak Ridge Boys, LeAnn Rimes, Randy Hauser, Gene Watson, John Rich and Chris Young.

Country Music News International Newsletter June 2. 2014

Country Music News International Newsletter June 2. 2014

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Mark Bray Video Interview by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International

Mark Bray Video Interview by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International

CD: LEX K This Place That I Call Home


LEX K
This Place That I Call Home
 
A Hundred Years Ago - Droving In The West - City Boys Dream - I Just Want To Spend My Life With You - Goodbye to Australia - This Place That I Call Home - Good To Be Back Droving Once Again - Old Bob - Under Kimberly Skies - Munna Creek - A Special Club - Without A Load Of Care - The Shadow
 
There's something very special about country music that comes from Australia.  There's a lot of very gifted performers, recording artists, and composers that keep 'creating' real country music, much like it was some years ago in America.  I wouldn't want to say as much as a hundred years ago, but Lex K certainly has hit the nail on the head with his first song out of the chute on this wonderful CD.  I believe the 'secret' of this craft coming so nicely from Australia is that Lex K, much like our original really good songwriters tell stories with their songs.  That isn't really the case with most so-called country songs on the so-called top-40.  These new 'lets pretend we're country' artists just don't get it.  Country music has never been pick-up trucks, beer, and sex, or at least very little of it was dedicated to just those categories which dominate the so-called top-40 today.  Every one of these so called country music stars need to listen to just one of Lex K's CD's.  They will instantly discover what a 'story song' is all about. Lex K is not only a dedicated and sincere writer, he writes about what he knows, his life in Australia out on the range, especially living at Munna Creek, the place where his grandfather settled in 1896.  Grand-dad called it 'Sunny Side' which is called still.  Lex also used some very good country music makers to record this lovely CD.  Lindsay Waddington, Jamie Davis, and Lex himself on guitar; Lindsay Waddington and Peter Salata on bass; Lindsay Waddington on drums; Hugh Curtis on fiddle and mandolin (excellent I might add); Larie Minson on steel, Dobro, and Harp (again excellent); Tony Wagner on Piano & Strings; and Jamie Davis on backing vocals.  All around super well done studio work. One of my favorites is "Old Bob," not because it's my name, but because it's about Lex's dog.  And this is a darn good dog.  This CD is going off to the Rural Roots Music Commission, but I doubt Lex can make the journey all the way from Australia to LeMars, Iowa (Aug. 25-31) to accept any CD of the year award???
Lex K, 583 Blowers Road, Munna Creek, Queensland, Q 4570, Australia  info@krosskutrecords.com.au
 
Review by Bob Everhart, NTCMA, www.ntcma.net 
for Country Music News International Magazine

CD: GARY VAN PATTEN Freedom To Love


GARY VAN PATTEN
Freedom To Love
 
Truck Drivin' Man - Kiss an Angel Good Morning - Indpendence Day - I Walk The Line - The Wall - The Fightin' Side Of Me - I'm So Afraid Of Losing You Again - Folsum Prison Blues - Snow In His Hair - Silver Wings
 
This is the kind of music that I learned to like immensely.  It was only after I started recording for the Smithsonian Institution that I began to research, perform, and record America's more traditional acoustic music, however that did not dampen my affection for this kind of country music.  This is a good example of when country music was still labeled 'country' and it was 'country.'  Not long after this selection of songs was recorded and made it to the top of the charts, the music started changing considerably with the influx of huge wealth and untalented singers pretending to be country.  Every one of the songs listed here are typical of that last dying breath of 'real' country.  Gary Van Patten spends a good amount of his time in Weslaco, Texas, but he's an Iowan at heart and I believe he lives in two locations in Iowa, one in Cherokee and one in What Cheer.  If he's in What Cheer I sincerely hope he is part of the country group there that performs in that wonderful opera house.  The acoustics in that particular venue is about the best that I've ever heard anywhere, and I especially enjoyed playing acoustic music there without amplification.  Gary recorded this neat CD in Texas at the King Studio in Monte Alto, Texas.  He utilized the very nice talent of Jim King on lead and bass guitar.  Sonny King was percussion.  He did this entire project in memory of all Veterans, so thank you Gary very much for that.  I can't find much to criticize here, mostly because I love all these songs.  There's an occasional spot where Gary is changing chords that he struggles a bit to hit the right note, but he covers extremely well, so that's not even a legitimate negative.  Keep up the good work Gary, we don't have nearly enough performers and recording artists like you keeping America's real traditional and classic country music alive.  Thank you!
Gar Van Patten, 1956 500th St., Cherokee, Ia 51012 or 706 W Washington, What Cheer Ia 50268  sandyvanpatten@iowatelecom.net
 
Review by Bob Everhart, NTCMA www.ntcma.net
for Country Music News International Magazine

CD: HARRY RUSK With The Rainbow Ranch Boy's


HARRY RUSK
With The Rainbow Ranch Boy's
 
Vaya Con Dios - Blue Spanish Eyes - Whispering Winds - Oh Wonderful World - Sweet Fern - Rainbow Pickin' - La Paloma - Jesus I Come - Reminiscing With Jesus - What Then
 
Harry Rusk, from Carrot Creek, Alberta, Canada, is one of our celebrities inducted into America's Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame.  He is a very energetic and resourceful performer of America's traditional and classic country music.  This particular CD is a re-mastered and digitalized recording originally released in 1972.  First off, the Rainbow Ranch Boys are a very gifted and talented group of musicians.  Harry Rusk, as we know him best, is a wonderful vocalist, but on this CD he is playing acoustic lead guitar with the Rainbow Ranch Boys, with the numbers being instrumentally recorded.  Harry is a gifted guitarist, and he plays much like the music that was so popular in the 70's.  He never stalls, he never stumbles, he never lets his interpretations of these beautiful songs go unheralded. He adds his own personality to each and every song.  I found "Whispering Winds" cleverly picked, and on top of that it is an original by Harry.  Being a Canadian, it is no surprise that Harry eventually teamed up with Hank Snow, another famous Canadian, and it was Hank Snow that took Harry to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry.  Another song Harry picks that I like, which has a little 'rag' sound to it, is "Rainbow Pickin' super and well done.  Having spent a lot of time in Mexico at my own little casa in Veracruz, I was also impressed with Harry's pickin' on "La Paloma" and once again he showed his own personality on this lovely Spanish song.  I believe Harry does his best pickin' when he's doing something that he wrote.  "Reminiscing With Jesus" is another of those great melody lines, that just sort of sticks with you.  We finally hear the voice of Harry in a recitation he does with "What Then."  It's beautifully done, much like those very popular pieces from the 70's.  It's a great treat to get to listen to the 70's once again, it's so much more 'country' than anything that is being produced today, which lands on a top-40 chart that is also not country.  After 60 years of loving and playing country music myself, I would much rather listen to Harry Rusk than anything coming out of Nashville today called country.  This one goes to the Rural Roots Music Commission
Harry Rusk, Kahntah Ministries, P O Box 630, Carrot Creek, Alberta, Canada T0E 0G0 kataministries@gmail.com
 
Review by Bob Everhart, NTCMA, www.ntcma.net
for Country Music News International Magazine

DOLLY PARTON & PORTER WAGONER

DOLLY PARTON & PORTER WAGONER
The Complete Duet Recordings Released By Bear Family


Duets have always had a place in country music but, during the 1960s-80s, they enjoyed even greater popularity thanks to the star teamings of such as George Jones and Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty and, preceding either of them and the most successful of all, Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton who scored 21 chart singles and released 13 albums.

Now Bear Family presents the duo’s complete recording collection, together (as can always expected from this label) with some extras that include rare cuts and live recordings, in a 6 cd box set accompanied by a 80 page hardcover book.

DOLLY PARTON & PORTER WAGONER    Just Between You And Me
(Bear Family BCD 16889 FK)

By the time Dolly Parton had joined forces with Porter Wagoner, he was already well established with some 15 years of hits, a weekly tv series and an immensely popular roadshow to his credit. She was still a relatively newcomer in Nashville, recording for Monument Recordings and pitching her songs around town.

Porter started his rise to national fame in 1954 with Company’s Coming on RCA Victor and hitting the top the following year with Satisfied Mind.  Nicknamed the “Thin Man from West Plains” (that’s West Plains, Missouri), he always possessed country music ambitions and became one of the premier characters of the post-war hillbilly movement. He was immediately identifiable with his down-home humour, true-to-the-roots country sounds, high rising pompadour and glitzy rhinestone suits performing songs that often revealed the sadder side of life, among them Skid Row Joe, Cold Hard Facts Of Life, Carroll County Accident and Green Green Grass Of Home. His success led on to the launch of the syndicated Porter Wagoner Show in 1960, a show was seen by some four million viewers in over 100 areas and also featured his band, the versatile Wagonmasters and a girl singer, for many years, Norma Jean.

Dolly, born into an impoverished family in Locust Ridge, Tennessee, also possessed country music ambitions and started things off at an early age, making her radio debut on Cas Walker’s Knoxville radio show (followed by guesting on the Grand Ole Opry) and her first record – an original song, Puppy Love – on the Louisiana based Goldband label when she was 13. With further small label recordings to her credit (among them a handful of Kitty Wells covers for Stereo Fidelity), she headed straight to Nashville after her high school graduation. Accompanied by her uncle Bill Owens, she started made the round of the music companies, and pitching songs that led on to a recording deal with Monument Records.

Although she scored two charts singles – Dumb Blonde and Something Fishy – Dolly continued to pitch her material, bolstered by the success of Put It Off Until Tomorrow (a 1966 Top 10 hit for Bill Phillips penned by her and her uncle), so when she received a call from Wagoner requesting a meeting, she thought that she may have struck lucky with a song for Norma Jean. Instead he asked if she’d be interested in joining his show, offering her $60,000 a year, an incredible amount back in 1967. “It was the most money I had ever heard tell of. And I could not believe it” she told biographer Alanna Nash, who has written the book notes in this box set collection.

Naturally Dolly agreed and Porter, immediately thinking about the duet potential, set about getting her off Monument and on to RCA Victor. Chet Atkins, who headed up RCA’s Nashville division, was not so completely enthralled with the idea, saying that he didn’t think Dolly could sing. Countering that, Porter said that if the records didn’t sell, Chet could take the losses out of his royalties. The story was subsequently denied by the label boss.
Dolly commenced the association by going out on the road where, reportedly, her performances were met with mixed reaction as audiences had grown to  like the very differently styled Norma Jean and Jeanne Seely, her predecessors. There was also the problem that she talked too fast and sounded nervous, a situation that Porter helped resolve by working on the duets that would soon be recording.

Their first session took place at the RCA Victor Studios on October 10, 1967, with Bob Ferguson producing although Porter played an integral role, before stepping into the studio, with rehearsals that ensured familiarity with the vocals as well as working on the arrangements. Well familiar with session, he used members of his band augmented by musicians from Nashville’s “A” team. Unlike later sessions where material penned by the two artists dominated, their earlier sessions combined original material alongside songs from other writers which, on their debut album, Just Between Me And You, included Before I Met You, Four O Thirty Three and the title track, with folk singer Tom Paxton’s The Last Thing On My Mind chosen as the first single release, resulting in a #7 Billboard chart position.

The duo’s second chart single was also a non-original, Holding On To Nothin’, written by Jerry Chestnut, scoring #7 in the charts, and appearing on their second album, Just The Two Of Us. That same album also contained their third single, a double sided (#5) hit, We’ll Get Ahead Someday c/w Jeanne’s Afraid Of The Dark, the latter penned by Dolly and finely displayed Porter’s superbly plaintive recitation skills. Such skills, already heard on several of his earlier solo recordings, well contrasted with Dolly’s vocals on the equally heart-rendering Mommie, Ain’t That Daddy, a song laid down on their first ever session.

Biographer Nash, in the accompanying book notes, divides their recording career into three chapters: Say Forever You’ll BE Mine (The Classic Years 1967-1972); I Will Always Love You (The Freedom Train – And The Split); Just Someone I Used To Know (Reunions and The Last Concert).

As their success developed the relationship changed, with Dolly felt hemmed in by Porter’s domination over her own solo career which soon began overtaking his in terms of high charting records. He was extremely strong-willed and as her producer, overrode her ideas for her own songs. She also resented “the girl singer” (in the band) mentality that existed back in that era of male dominated country music – and Dolly strived, like other female artists, to be recognised for their own abilities. In her case, her chart successes (like Joshua, Coat Of Many Colors, Touch Your Woman, My Tennessee Mountain Home and Jolene) well spoke for themselves.

There’s was also the personal situation: Porter loved her and was jealous of anyone getting near her. Yet Dolly had given Porter new life. Writes Nash: “Vocally, she had forced him to step up his game just to keep par with her, and her own brilliant songwriting had inspire him to write again, something he wasn’t sure he would ever do. He and Dolly had achieved a level of success that exceeded even what Porter had done on his own, and he fiercely intended to protect it, even if she completely eclipsed him”.

So the inevitable split happened and they performed their last concert together in June 1974, though Porter continued to produce her recordings until 1977. Their final album Porter & Dolly (comprising new overdubs for some old masters) was released in August 1980 and the last duet, If You Go, I’ll Follow You, which rose to #12 in the charts, followed in early 1981.

But, in spite of their irreconcilable differences, Dolly still cared for Porter and couldn’t have expressed her feelings better than in her heartfelt I Will Always Love, a song that Porter considered her finest work. It also became her most successful composition which, besides topping the charts in 1974, became a massive world-wide hit for Whitney Houston when featured in the film “The Bodyguard” and, more recently, enjoyed further country chart success when she recorded it as a duet with Vince Gill.  Nevertheless the break-up resulted in six years of lawsuits and counter suit, resulting in Dolly paying Porter one million dollars. “It took me a while to pay it off, but he got the first million dollars I ever made” she said.

After the break-up both artists went their separate ways, Dolly on to greater and greater heights (her pop-country phase, films, recording collaborations and more) while Porter, taking a little time to recover from his devastating loss, continued recording, brought James Brown to the Opry, produced Joe Simon and, in the 1990s, became the Grand Ole Opry’s unofficial Ambassador.

Happily there was a reconciliation and quoted Dolly to Nashville journalist Robert K. Oermann, “when we grew older, all those old hurts and aggravations faded away, and it turned into a pure kind of sweet love, peaceful and nice”. On May 19, 2007, a month after his final album Wagonmaster (produced by Marty Stuart) was released, Porter celebrated his 50th anniversary with the Grand Ole Opry and, in an emotional reunion, he and Dolly performed their old duet Just Someone I Used To Know before she sang I Will Always Love You while Porter watched with a tear in his eye. Then, five months later, Dolly visited Porter on his death bed, just four hours he passed away on October 27, 2007.

With this box set, there’s the chance to hear all their recordings, commencing from the early days of slipping around and cheating songs and tales of Appalachian heritage, mixed in with frivolous fun material, familiar revivals and originals from their ever expanding song catalogue which, as the years passed, dominated the recording sessions.

In all, Porter and Dolly enjoyed 21 chart singles – The Last Thing On My Mind (1967), Holding On To Nothin’ (1968), We’ll Get Ahead Someday/Jeannie’s Afraid Of The Dark (1968), Yours Love (1969), Always, Always (1969), Just Someone I Used To Know (1969), Tomorrow Is Forever (1970), Daddy Was An Old Time Preacher Man (1970), Better Move It On Home (1971), The Right Combination (1971), Burning The Midnight Oil (1971), Lost Forever In Your Kiss (1972), Together Always (1972), We Found It (1973), If Teardrops Were Pennies (1973), Please Don’t Stop Loving Me (1974), Say Forever You’ll Be Mine (1975), Is Forever Longer Than Always (1976), Making Plans (1980) and If You Go, I’ll Follow You (1980).

In addition to all the RCA recordings, this collection also includes The Freedom Train (1973), their only non-RCA release, which was a fundraiser for a bicentennial train that travelled the country with the nation’s historic documents in a museum car. There’s also a handful of unreleased duets and the set concludes with four songs recorded in concert.

For all their considerable successes, Dolly and Porter were well rewarded with accolades and trophies, including three time winners for both the Country Music Association and Music City News Awards as Vocal Group of the Year during the period 1968-71.

The six cd set is accompanied by the 80 page, full colour book in which Alanna Nash’s essay includes many comments by both artists as well as insights into their careers by banjoist Buck Trent, long-time member of the Wagonmasters, and Don Warden, Porter’s equally longstanding friend and business partner. There’s a mass of photographs, album cover reproductions, discography and an introduction by Emmyou Harris, “truly humbled by the high art and soul of duet singing and its power to tell the story of the human heart, broken and otherwise, but Porter and Dolly became the gold standard for me and remain so to this day.”

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