Country Music News
Blake Shelton is bringing back the sunshine  2014-10-09
Blake Shelton brings sunshine to the top of the charts this week as BRINGING BACK THE SUNSHINE debuts at #1 on The Billboard 200 and Billboard’s Top Country Album Chart with 101,000 albums sold. SUNSHINE is only the third country album to top The Billboard 200 this year. The CMA Entertainer of the Year nominee and reigning Male Vocalist debuts at #1 with only six short weeks of airplay on his hot Top 5 single, “Neon Light.”

“With his third consecutive # 1 album debut, Blake continues to make magic every time he records a song,” said Warner Music Nashville President & CEO, John Esposito. “He's made another masterpiece with BRINGING BACK THE SUNSHINE that is resonating with fans, critics and the industry. We are so blessed to have Blake in the Warner Music Family and be a part of his historic career.”

SUNSHINE finds Blake coast to coast with performances of “Neon Light” on The Today Show, Live With Kelly and Michael, The Tonight Show Featuring Jimmy Fallon and his sold-out show at the Hollywood Bowl last Saturday night. With features in USA Today, Entertainment Weekly plus reviews from People Magazine the Los Angeles Times, AP and more, SUNSHINE is “One of Shelton’s strongest recent efforts,” (Billboard Magazine).


Bringing Back The Sunshine
Neon Light
Lonely Tonight feat. Ashley Monroe
A Girl
Buzzin’ feat. Rae Lynn
Just South of Heaven
I Need My Girl
Good Country Song
Anyone Else
Just Gettin’ Started

BRINGING BACK THE SUNSHINE is produced by longtime friend and collaborator Scott Hendricks. Shelton recently wrapped up his sold-out Ten Times Crazier Tour 2014, which included performances at NYC's Madison Square Garden, LA's historic Hollywood Bowl and Chicago's Wrigley Field Stadium (playing to a capacity crowd of over 40,000 fans as only the fourth country artist to have ever played the iconic 100 year-old ball park). Celebrating thirteen years since his first single "Austin" hit the top of the country radio charts, Shelton holds 17 No. 1 singles to his credit, recently breaking his own record for most consecutive No. 1’s at country radio. With 12 singles, including five from his last album alone, Shelton has the most No. 1's in a row on the country radio charts by any artist. Joining the ranks of the Grand Ole Opry as a member since 2010, Shelton has earned a host of awards and nominations throughout his career, including three new CMA Award nominations this year for Entertainer of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year and Song of the Year for "Mine Would Be You." Shelton returned as a coach for his seventh season of NBC’s Emmy winning reality competition series, The Voice, which premiered September 22nd.

For more information and upcoming tour dates, please visit: www.BlakeShelton.com and follow @BlakeShelton.
Randy Travis gives rare appearance since recovering from stroke  2014-10-09
Many have been asking how the iconic Randy Travis is doing since his stroke from last year.  The singer has rarely been seen in public since being discharged from his three-week hospital stay in July 2013.

However, last month in a North Texas benefit for charitable Four Rivers Outreach organization, the singer was seen walking with the aid of a cane.

His fiancee Mary Davis has shared that the performer's vocals are better with singing than talking.

"Every day we go to speech therapy and physical therapy and occupational therapy," she told KTEN-TV Texoma. "We're learning words and phrases, learning to sing, of course, the music and the songs come easy for him, just the enunciation of words. But he's working on it! He's got the heart of a warrior and he doesn't stop."

Even though Travis has a long ways to go, he remains positive and we wish him the best!

Alan Jackson gave his first show for the Artist in Residence series  2014-10-09
Photo credit: Rick Diamond / Getty Images

Alan Jackson mixed rarities, hits, and a new song that his band had not yet learned during a two-and-a-half-hour concert on the opening night of two special performances as the 2014 artist-in-residence at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

Expanding his set to twenty-nine songs, Jackson spotlighted well-known radio hits from his twenty-five-year career, ranging from early gems like “Here in the Real World,” “Home,” and “Chattahoochee” to more recent songs like “Good Time,” his Grammy-winning Zac Brown duet “As She’s Walking Away,” and the Grammy-nominated “So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore.”

But the unexpected songs drew reactions just as loud from the audience. “Tonight I’m doing some songs I don’t always do,” Jackson said early in the program. “I’m going to try and do all that I can do. So we may be here awhile.”

After the concert, band members said they couldn’t remember any Jackson concert lasting more than two hours in all their years with him. A crew member clocked the evening at two hours and twenty-two minutes.

Among the surprises the singer presented was a new, unrecorded song, “Angels and Alcohol.” Jackson expressed surprise, and delight, when the performance drew a standing ovation—one of many throughout the evening. He thanked the crowd after saying he had been concerned that the subject matter might be too sad.

“But those are the kinds of songs I like best,” he added. “I don’t know why, but those sad ones are easier to write. I love listening to them, I love singing them, and I love writing them.”

See the press conference during CMA Fest Week that Alan Jackson gave for HOF:

The concert, in the museum’s new 800-seat CMA Theater, coincided with the new exhibition Alan Jackson: 25 Years of Keepin’ It Country, making the star the first artist-in-residence to be the subject of a major museum exhibit simultaneously.

Jackson spoke to the crowd much more than he typically does in his concerts, taking time to explain song ideas, talk about his pre-stardom days, about his mother and father and sisters, about struggling through his early years in Nashville, and about the importance of his wife, Denise, in his life. During many love songs, Jackson pointed to Denise, sitting in a lower balcony, and at one point had the spotlight turned on her.

Throughout, Jackson cited his love of true country music, getting cheers from the crowd and inspiring fans to shout out their appreciation of Jackson “keeping it country,” as the title of his exhibition underscores.

“When Alan Jackson started out, he was considered a traditional singer of old-school country songs,” Kyle Young, director of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, said in his introduction. “Twenty-five years later, he is still a traditional singer of old-school country songs—many of which we know by heart.”

Young later added, “Alan Jackson is who he is, and that is why we love him."

After performing his opening number, “Gone Country,” Jackson thanked Young for the introduction. “He made me tired back there, listening to all the stuff I’d done,” Jackson joked with the crowd. “But I tell you, it’s all been really special. Denise and I sit down sometimes and think about where we came from, and it’s hard to imagine all this has happened.”

The singer also told many funny stories, including one about how a brother-in-law kept suggesting that he should write a song called “I’m in Love with You Baby, and I Don’t Even Know Your Name.” Jackson eventually wrote the song—“just to shut him up,” he said—and was surprised when it became a #1 hit in 1995, under the shortened title “I Don’t Even Know Your Name.”

Another story found Jackson revealing that he wrote two of his #1 hits, “Wanted” and “I’d Love You All Over Again” (written for his wife for their tenth anniversary), on the same night. They came to him on a rainy evening in 1987, while sitting in a lonely hotel room in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, as he and his band waited to play a five-hour gig in a small honky-tonk.

Other songs Jackson added to his set included a cover of Rodney Crowell’s “Song for the Life,” a #6 hit for him in 1995, which he noted has always been one of his favorites. He performed it sitting on a stool as his band found parts to add to the impromptu performance.

Jackson regularly highlighted his exemplary band, the Strayhorns, many of whom have been with him for decades. Two members, steel guitarist Robbie Flint and bassist Roger Wills, joined the band a couple of years before Jackson signed with Arista Records. The group’s newest member, fiddler Ryan Joseph Ogrodny (a former employee of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum), also was featured with solos on several numbers.

But all the instrumentalists—including Monty Allen on acoustic guitar and harmony vocals, Scott Coney on acoustic guitar, Danny Groah on electric guitar, Bruce Rutherford on drums, and Joey Schmidt on keyboards—turned in tight performances, even when thrown tunes they hadn’t rehearsed or played in years.

“It’s such an honor to be here in the Hall of Fame tonight at all,” Jackson said. “But it’s so cool of them to make a big deal about my twenty-five years, and to have all these things of mine here on display, and to be an artist-in-residence … This has been such a good town for me and my family.”

Established in 2003, the museum’s artist-in-residence program annually honors a musical master who can be credited with contributing a large and significant body of work to the canon of American popular music. Honorees are given the stage as a blank canvas and are encouraged to lend their own creative brushstrokes to an up-close-and-personal musical experience. Previous artist-in-residence honorees include Cowboy Jack Clement, Earl Scruggs, Tom T. Hall, Guy Clark, Kris Kristofferson, Jerry Douglas, Vince Gill, Buddy Miller, Connie Smith, Kenny Rogers, and Ricky Skaggs.

Jackson has earned his place in such stellar company. Since signing his record deal in June 1989, he has sold nearly sixty million albums worldwide and ranks as one of the ten best-selling country artists of all-time. He has registered fifty Top Ten hits and won eighteen Academy of Country Music awards, sixteen Country Music Association awards, a pair of Grammys, and ASCAP’s Founders and Golden Note Awards. He is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry.

Jackson returns October 22 for a second, sold-out artist-in-residence performance, which promises even more surprises.

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®.
More information about the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is available at www.countrymusichalloffame.org or by calling (615) 416 2001.
Kellie Pickler & Amy Grant kick off Breast Cancer Awareness month  2014-10-07
Athena® bottled water kicked off Breast Cancer Awareness month with celebration and generosity with their “Eat. Drink. Party Pink!” event held in Nashville on Sept. 30 at Rosewall. The invitation-only festivities were hosted by Ashley Eicher of AXS-TV and featured performances from Athena® Warriors Amy Grant and Kellie Pickler. As part of the festivities, Athena donated $100,000 to the American Cancer Society to continue their fight to end breast cancer.

Athena is proud to announce an additional donation of $25,000 to the American Cancer Society thanks to the overwhelming success of their “#PARTYPINK” tweet campaign. For every tweet using that hash tag between Sept. 29 and Oct. 3, Athena pledged $5 to the organization, up to $25,000.

At “Eat. Drink. Party Pink!,” Pickler took a moment before her performance to relate the story of her close friend Summer Miller, who was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago. The two buddies shaved their heads in solidarity when Miller began chemotherapy treatments soon after the diagnosis. Gleefully, Pickler announced that Miller was now cancer-free, and Miller triumphantly stood up from the audience to the sound of uproarious applause.
Grant spoke about why she became an Athena Warrior, saying “They made it easy for me to do the right thing. Invite people to consider purchasing Athena Water because a portion of the proceeds go to fight breast cancer, a disease that touches all of us either personally or through someone close to us? I can do that!” Grant also performed her new song “Welcome Yourself,” which she debuted on NBC’s “Today” earlier that morning. The song, which was written exclusively for the Athena brand, is available for sale on iTunes, with seventy-seven (77) cents from each download (through December 31, 2014) going to support the American Cancer Society in the fight to end breast cancer. www.athenawater.com/download
PANDORA® Jewelry hosted the exclusive after-party, which included a jewelry lounge for attendees to view and try on the latest pieces from the PANDORA line.

Athena bottled water supports the American Cancer Society in the fight to end breast cancer. The company’s donation will benefit the Society’s groundbreaking cancer research, help those diagnosed with cancer, and ensure access to screenings and treatment. For breast cancer information or support, contact your American Cancer Society 24 hours a day at 800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.

Athena® bottled water donated $100,000 to the American Cancer Society during its "Eat. Drink. Party Pink!" event in Nashville on Sept. 30 to kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Photo on the right: (Left to Right): Event host Ashley Eicher, Athena® Warrior Kellie Pickler, American Cancer Society Board Chair Pamela K. Meyerhoffer, FAHP, and Athena Warrior® Amy Grant.
Photo: Courtesy of Athena® Water
Thomas Rhett Honors Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductee Paul Craft  2014-10-06

CMA "New Artist of the Year” Nominee Thomas Rhett was handpicked to honor Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductee Paul Craft last night, playing a tribute to the songwriting legend with performances of hits “Brother Jukebox” and Hank Williams’ “You Wrote My Life.”  
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