Kicker Country Stampede 2015 June 25-28 http://countrystampede.com Fri, 30 Jan 2015 03:21:26 -0600 MYOB en-gb stampede@kansas.net (Country Stampede) Vendor Documents http://countrystampede.com/vendor-documents.html http://countrystampede.com/vendor-documents.html To view the below documents click on the link.  To save it to your computer, right click on the link and select "Save As."  

2015 KICKER COUNTRY STAMPEDE VENDOR Rules & Regulations

Insurance Requirements]]>
crouse@countrystampede.com (Chris Rouse) ROOT Mon, 10 Nov 2014 15:38:20 -0600
For Constant Contact Images http://countrystampede.com/constantcontact.html http://countrystampede.com/constantcontact.html 2014 Email Header3 CMT EmailBuyTickets

FGLAnnouncmentEmail

2014 Email Header copy

NovemberLineupAnnouncment

Thanksgiving20152

BlackFriday

BlackFridaySunday

 

JanuaryLineupAnnouncement2014 Email Header2

]]>
jmg@interkan.net (Justin Geering) ROOT Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:15:07 -0500
Blake Shelton http://countrystampede.com/2-uncategorised/99-constant-contact-2.html http://countrystampede.com/2-uncategorised/99-constant-contact-2.html BlakeShelton BLAKE SHELTON

Website  Facebook  Twitter  Youtube

Blake Shelton is many things. He is the hugely popular coach on the top-rated television music competition show The Voice, where singers he's mentored have won three of six seasons. He is the reigning CMA Male Vocalist of the Year. He's the charismatic live entertainer performing to packed houses in arenas, amphitheaters and stadiums across the country. He's husband to country superstar Miranda Lambert, together inspiring endless public fascination as country's "Power Couple."

But the one overriding facet of who Blake Shelton is led him down a path that made all these other designations possible. Blake Shelton is a Country. Music. Singer.

Shelton is in a league of his own among contemporary country artists as a top-shelf interpreter of true country music songs, and Shelton's 11th studio album, BRINGING BACK THE SUNSHINE, marks a return to showcasing that talent with an album that sonically represents the best contemporary country has to offer, yet feels like the classic cuts served up by the heroes that inspired Shelton as young boy in Ada., Oklahoma some 30 years ago. It's a journey that includes a CMA Entertainer of the Year trophy, three RIAA certified Platinum albums, five RIAA certified Gold albums, 17 total No. 1 country singles,7.6 million albums and 22.8 million singles sold, and a four-year run as reigning CMA Male Vocalist of the Year.

On BRINGING BACK THE SUNSHINE, producer Scott Hendricks, Shelton's longtime friend and collaborator, created an album that highlights what is arguably the most powerful vocals Blake Shelton has ever recorded. "If there's one thing that is important to me, no matter what, it's singing," says Shelton. "I'm a fan of a lot of artists, but I always gravitate to the singers, and that's why I always looked up to Earl Thomas Conley, Travis Tritt, Ronnie Milsap, Conway Twitty. These guys never went through the motions when it came to laying down a vocal."

"That's my job, to be the best singer I can be when I get in the studio," says Shelton. "I don't ever want someone to hear me on the radio and say 'yeah, he's singing okay, but where's the heart?' I want it all to be in there."

From soaring confessionals and convincing professions of love and loss in cuts like the steel-drenched nostalgia of "Good Country Song," the yearning "Sangria," and the vulnerability of "Anyone Else," to immediately memorable up- and mid-tempos such as the hilarious "Buzzin'," innocent romanticism of "Gonna" and the Southern rock/country blend of the title cut, SUNSHINE is an album of highlights, and the exact tonic country music needs right now.

In short, SUNSHINE is a sterling example of what contemporary country music can be at its best, unfettered by outside influences and trends. "Our goal every time is to make the best record we can possibly make, and not let any politics or anything else get in the way of that," says Shelton. "It's me coming in and trying to be the best singer I can be, and Scott pushing me to do that, along with all the other jobs he has of making a record."

Thirteen years since his first single "Austin" hit the top of the country radio charts, Shelton now holds 17 No. 1 singles to his credit, recently breaking his own record for most consecutive No. 1s at country radio. With 12 singles, including five from his last album alone, Shelton has the most No. 1s in a row on the country radio charts by any artist.

That unprecedented hot streak seems destined to continue on SUNSHINE, a recording process that begins with Shelton's and Hendricks' never-ending search for the perfect songs for Shelton's supple baritone and demanding lyrical standards. "The only thing I really knew I wanted to do for sure—and Scott agreed—was, 'let's make a 'country-er' record than we've made in a while," Shelton says, "and I do think we accomplished that. It definitely has elements of things you hear on the radio now, but I think it's more of a throwback to some of those earlier albums I made with [producer] Bobby Braddock, as far as the lyrical content and even the melodies."

The public's first taste of that focus was 'Neon Light," which Shelton describes as owning a "straight up George Strait, George Jones or Conway Twitty sounding chorus, mixed with the more recent stuff that I have recorded." Thematically, the always-confident Shelton knew what he wanted. "One of the things I felt like I should do as a country singer was record music again that's about breakin' up, and heartache, and going and getting drunk," he says. "The last two albums I made, one was just before I got married and one was just after I got married. I was in a really good place, and still am. But, at some point, I feel a responsibility to get back to, honestly, some of the more stereotypical things about country music. Those were the things that drew me to country music, so I wanted to sing about going to a bar, or somebody breaking your heart, singin' about girls and things. More classic country music topics, you know?"

But even with the familiarity SUNSHINE evokes, the album often surprises, as with the keenly insightful "Anyone Else," a song few artists would have had the courage to cut. Shelton says he "stole" that song from his wife. "She was going to record that for her Platinum album," Shelton reveals with a laugh. "I absolutely fell in love with that song, and I begged her for it. She owed me one anyway from 'House That Built Me,' so I quilted her on that to get the song I wanted."

Indeed, it's hard to imagine anyone else singing "Anyone Else," a song of rare emotional nakedness to which Shelton brings a startling intensity. Shelton says it starts with the song, written by Luke Laird, Barry Dean and Natalie Hemby. With its gentle opening guitar notes, what first appears to be a chiming, easy-rolling ballad reveals itself with striking lyrics like "a jealous sky won't share the sun," resulting in one of the most powerful songs Shelton has ever laid down.

"'Anyone Else' is unlike anything else I've ever heard before," Shelton says. "I can't even tell you how much I love that song, I think it's one of the most important songs I've ever recorded. I've been the guy on both sides of that song. I've been the guy that's been jealous and hard on somebody, and not even know why, and I've also been the victim of that. The song is so relatable, and it's so sad. Every time I sing it, there's a different person that comes to mind that I'm singing it about, but it always includes me. But it hurts when people are hard on you, jealous or insecure, and won't allow you to just be. I've experienced more of that in the last few years of my life than I have the other 38 years all put together. And when I can find a song that I can dump all those thoughts and emotions into, it's a real big deal to me."

More treasures abound on BRINGING BACK THE SUNSHINE, often filtered through the astute ears of Shelton's in-house sample group, Miranda Lambert. "After I get some things I'm pumped about, I like to get Miranda in the truck and just play her stuff," says Shelton. "When she heard 'South Of Heaven,' she played it again and again, and I called Scott and said, 'man, we're cuttin' 'South Of Heaven.' Once we cut it, it became clear that this was one of my favorite ballads I've ever recorded."

"South Of Heaven" is one of three vastly different tracks on SUNSHINE co-written by Wiseman. "The way Craig Wiseman can write a song blows my mind," Shelton marvels. "He can not only put you in that moment, but in that person's brain and what they're feeling. ['South Of Heaven'] definitely takes me back to high school, or even a little after high school, those moments that just seem magical, whenever you had that girl and you went back-roadin', or whatever your particular version is—we all have a version of it—that song definitely takes me there."

Conversely, another Wiseman gem, "Buzzin'" conjures up a different feeling entirely. "What I love about Craig, and I think 'Buzzin'' is a good representation of this, he's so brilliant, so smart with his songwriting. "These songs are so genius and yet still so goofy at the same damn time. Every time I see his name on a song I can't wait to hear it."

Shifting gears yet again, Shelton believes "Sangria" is "one of the sexiest songs I've ever cut," he says. "It sounds like something that came from a different time, almost like something Chris Isaak would have had on one of his records at some point. It's just about one of those nights where you drink too much and you're gonna end up hookin' up with this person, it's just inevitable. It's not too over the top, but it's pure sex, that's the only way I know to describe that song."

"Lonely Tonight," a stirring duet with Ashley Monroe, was the "toughest vocal on the record for me," Shelton says. "That song is just so range-y and, on top of that, I knew Ashley was going to come in and sing on it, and I knew that people were gonna hear her singing in a way they'd never heard her sing before," he says. "We all know she's a singer/songwriter, and we've all heard that side of her, but I don't think people know the girl can wail like she can. I just wanted to step up to that level, so I was really hard on myself, and tried to make that as best as I could possibly get it."

Others came more easily, like "I Need My Girl." "That's right in my wheelhouse of what I do, along the lines of 'She Wouldn't Be Gone' or 'Over You,' some of those type of records that are kind of a power ballad," Shelton says. "That's my natural go-to, and that was fun for me to sing."

While Shelton is about as stone country as a singer can get, he is deeply immersed in all sorts of music due to his other gig on The Voice (the seventh season began Sept. 22), a dynamic that inevitably infuses those influences into his own work. "Anything that you take in is gonna come back out in some way, and it has been doing that, for sure," he says. Reflecting on that thought, Shelton adds, "I'm a country singer, and there's nothing I'll ever be able to do about that, or want to do about it. When I open my mouth, it's country, and always has been. I just wanted to embrace that, embrace exactly who I am, to make this record. If somebody wants to get the gist of who I am from start to finish, I think this album musically encompasses all the roads I've explored as an artist."

With its spirit of optimism, the song made perfect sense to Shelton as the title for the album. "I love the message of the song. It's about a couple that's gone through something, probably separated, and just decided to get back together, what's most important is their love," Shelton explains. "There's something magical about that title, and given what this album is all about, I thought 'BRINGING BACK THE SUNSHINE' is like I'm bringing back some country music, some of these sounds we don't hear that much anymore in country, at least in the mainstream," he says. "Country is sunshine to me."

Perhaps the defining track on SUNSHINE is "A Good Country Song," a bittersweet, breathtaking slice of nostalgia written by Tommy Lee James, Matt Jenkins, and Jessi Alexander. "Jessi Alexander is a great friend of mine, and she got in touch with me when she heard we were cutting tracks and said, 'I heard you're recording, can I start writing for your project?'" Shelton says. "I said, 'hell yeah.' She's written some very important songs in my career, like 'Drink On It,' she co-wrote 'Might Only Be You.' When she writes for me, she literally writes for me, and if you ever question that, you only need listen to the lyric of 'A Good Country Song.' When I heard the lyric, it was almost as if she grew up in the same house I grew up in, from shifting the gears in my dad's truck to listening to Earl Thomas Conley on a station out of Tulsa. There has never been a more accurate song about me that I have recorded."

That's it, in a nutshell. BRINGING BACK THE SUNSHINE showcases the many facets of a complicated person with a simple mission: creating a diverse, powerful country music album.

SUNSHINE taps into Shelton's innate vocal rhythm, resulting in songs that are more pulsing than pounding, tempo notwithstanding. "It's an accident, but it's still by design of trying to keep the pulse up a little bit," Shelton says, "while not getting too boring, because I do tend to be a ballad singer."

So even if SUNSHINE finds Shelton entering a new phase of his career, the record still finds simultaneously him looking back and forward, in tone if not overall musicality. He's still that guy who forfeited high school athletics to play gigs, who obsessed over the liners of each new country album he bought, who took off for Nashville at 17 armed with nothing but a dream and a country voice for the ages.

"It's very important to me to push myself and push boundaries, musically and artistically, and always be looking for what's next," he says. "But it's also important for me to come back and touch home base every once in a while, to be sure there's always a firm foot planted in country music. Country's defined a lot of different ways by a lot of different people, and I'm sure there are other people out there that will listen to 'A Good Country Song' and say 'aw, that ain't country.' But country's defined by each individual, and this is my definition of stepping back a little bit, let's make a record that represents the beginning of my career, but also blending with where I've ended up. I think there's still a place for that in country radio, and it's important as an industry that we all don't get too far away from home."

This past summer, Shelton has been away from home performing before hordes of fans who have turned out for sold-out shows at iconic venues like New York's Madison Square Garden, LA's Hollywood Bowl and Chicago's Wrigley Field. Shelton is wrapping the biggest tour of his career, but finds getting face-to-face with fans rewarding on multiple levels. "It's so exciting to look down and see a six year old girl singing the words to 'Ol' Red' or 'Austin,' and then look over and see a 60 year-old woman singing 'Boys 'Round Here,' singing 'backwoods legit, don't take no shit.' I always said my ultimate goal is to have a career like George Strait, and although I haven't done that—and nobody probably ever will—that is my goal. And to step out there and see that it's going from one generation to another, that's the most satisfying and exciting thing that any artist can accomplish."

So if the more seasoned and savvy TV era Blake could tell the driven 17 year-old Blake that headed off to Nashville anything, "I'd tell him just to relax and stop worrying so much," he says. "I knew the one thing that I wanted to do with my life was country music, it worried me to death. I was never one of those people who was like, 'I'll give it a shot for a while and then move on.' It never was that for me, it was 'how am I gonna get this done, how am I gonna get my foot in the door?' Even after I had a hit or two, it was worry of 'how can I keep this going?' It wasn't until the last three or four years that I finally started taking a deep breath and going, 'man, I get to be a country singer, and it's OK.' I get to do it now. I don't care at what level, as long as I get to be country singer,' that's all I ever wanted to do."

]]>
jmg@interkan.net (Justin Geering) ROOT Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:15:07 -0500
Florida Georgia Line http://countrystampede.com/2-uncategorised/100-florida-georgia-line.html http://countrystampede.com/2-uncategorised/100-florida-georgia-line.html FLG FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE

Website  Facebook  Twitter  Youtube

In country music, there are the rule breakers and the rule makers – artists who defy trends to pave something new, something original, something maybe a little shocking at the time. Johnny Cash. Lynyrd Skynyrd. Alabama. Waylon Jennings. Garth Brooks. These are the forces who took the bones of an American musical legacy and burst through with their own unique voice – leaving, in their wake, the seeds of the future. And now, on the tail end of a whirlwind few years that catapulted them to the top of the charts and to the center of fans' hearts across the world, is Florida Georgia Line, claiming their spot in the grand tradition of these Music Row renegades. How'd they do it? One simple mantra, really.

"ANYTHING GOES," says the Georgia half of FGL, Tyler Hubbard. "It says it all. No boundaries, no genre, no rules." Living according to their own doctrine, in their own completely singular creative space, has become the lifeblood of Florida Georgia Line. So much so, that when it became time make the follow-up to their smash trendsetting – not to mention chart-topping, 2X Platinum debut – HERE'S TO THE GOOD TIMES, there was only one option: ANYTHING GOES.

"There's a little something for everybody in there," says Hubbard. "If that helps shape where country is heading, or breaks down walls, then great. But it's just what Florida Georgia Line has always done."

Since forming in 2010, Florida Georgia Line has taken the songwriter skills honed from their early days in Nashville and shredded them to bits, all while simultaneously using the deep roots of country music to build something new and totally thrilling. From the most raucous party moments to unexpected self-reflective odes, FGL is an unstoppable powerhouse only looking to answer to themselves, and, perhaps most importantly, their fans.

"We've always been comfortable doing something that may or may not be accepted," says Brian Kelley, the Florida side.

And ever since the two met while attending Belmont University, they've been following that credo – going from songwriting workrooms with nothing more than an acoustic guitar or two, to a headlining tour, crisscrossing the nation, collecting awards, bringing people up when they need to "Cruise," lifting them out when they're deep in the "Dirt."

Except, of course, their music wasn't just haphazardly accepted: it was embraced with open arms. Their signature anthem "Cruise" was certified 8X platinum and became the best-selling Country single ever (according to SoundScan) – and the remix with Nelly rocked both the charts and eager genre-taggers. With their Republic Nashville debut, FGL is the only artist in history to join legends Brooks & Dunn in achieving four back-to-back, multi-week #1 singles. They've taken the "anything goes" approach with them from day one – never once, however, compromising their vision.

"We've built this from the ground up," says Kelley. "That's something we never take for granted. Tyler and I are hands on with it all, from set list to email. Everything we do, we have put the FGL stamp on it. This is our love and our passion. We run it as a business...and a party."

And FGL is indeed a party. ANYTHING GOES is full of odes to the good times, from the twang-reggae "Sun Daze," to the wickedly delicious "Good Good" to the rowdy title track that's both rock and bluegrass. But that doesn't mean there aren't more serious, sincere moments: take the lead single "Dirt," for one.

"It's a little unexpected, sure," says Hubbard. "But I think we we're at a spot in our life where we wanted to show that side to people. It's how we started as songwriters. We felt it was time to release something like that." The fans agreed: it's already been certified platinum for over one million downloads sold and topped both Country radio charts to become their fifth #1 single.

It's some personal moments and milestones – marriage, engagements, loss and mourning – that spurred some of ANYTHING GOES' contemplative notes, like "Angel" or "Like You Ain't Even Gone." But it's all part of FGL's mission to show a complete package to their fans, and to be with them at every moment in their lives, from the good to the bad.

"We like to be serious, and we like to take people to church on a Wednesday night in our live set," says Hubbard. "We like to have songs that mean something, that make you feel something. And, of course, we like to have it be party."

Adds Kelley, "you can tell by listening that we felt no pressure. We wanted to push ourselves lyrically and vocally. It's very evident in the sound and the vibe. We took the confidence that country radio and the fans gave us, and made it into something that is pure FGL."

From coast to coast with national TV appearances, the FGL machine has been rolling nonstop, and sees no sign of slowing down. At the core, is the brotherhood between best friends and creative partners Hubbard and Kelley – theirs is a bond that exists past the musical realm. At the same time, they love to embrace the most thrilling minds working in Nashville today as writing partners, and recruited names like Rodney Clawson, Ross Copperman, Dallas Davidson, Chris Tompkins and Chris DeStefano to help pen the hits on ANYTHING GOES.

"The biggest thing for us was just staying in the creative zone," says Kelley. "From the best writers in town, to a producer (longtime collaborator Joey Moi) who is like a wizard on steroids. Nothing was stopping us. This record is a representation of exactly where we are in our lives. Want to know me and Tyler more? Just listen to ANYTHING GOES."

And, of course, they kept those country music renegades – Cash, Alabama, Skynyrd, Jennings – top of mind. But like those brilliant creative outlaws before them, the best way they could pay tribute to the rule-breaking tradition is just by being completely themselves.

"When you get in a creative space and you know your influences, that's when you let your natural talent come out in ways that are organic," says Kelley. "That's when the freshness comes."

Fresh, new: that's ANYTHING GOES – a new force for Nashville, a new life for country music. And a duo that is totally unafraid to take risks and innovate, every step of the way.

"There are party moments, there's loss, there are odes to amazing times on ANYTHING GOES," Kelley adds. "Just lots of real life. Now THAT is country music."

]]>
jmg@interkan.net (Justin Geering) ROOT Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:15:07 -0500
Blackjack Billy http://countrystampede.com/2-uncategorised/101-blackjack-billy.html http://countrystampede.com/2-uncategorised/101-blackjack-billy.html Blackjackbilly BlackJack Billy

Website  Facebook  Twitter  Youtube

Once upon a time...

...them boys started jammin' and God looked down and said, "It is good."

Blackjack Billy is a Country Rock band composed of Rob Blackledge (vocals, guitar), Noll Billings (vocals), Jeff Coplan (electric guitar), and Brad Cummings (drums). Based in Nashville, they describe their music as "Redneck Rock."

Their debut single, The Booze Cruise, was independently released in March 2013 and Sirius XM Satellite Radio's new country channel The Highway began playing it as a 'Highway Find'. Combined with BjB's heavy touring schedule The Booze Cruise took off and has sold more than 250K digital downloads, even reaching Platinum status in Canada.

In September 2013, Blackjack Billy signed a US record deal with Bigger Picture Group. On top of their regular load of shows they are currently on their radio promo tour promoting their brand new single Get Some. Get Some is currently climbing the charts.

BjB played over 300 shows in 2013 and 2014 between festivals, clubs and fairs to well over 200K fans at some of the Summer's biggest festivals including WE Fest (MN), Hodag (WI) , Taste Of Country Music Fest (CT), Sturgis Bike Week (SD), Toadlick (AL), Country Concert (OH) and some of the largest Canadian festivals including Cavendish, Calgary Stampede, Havelock Jamboree, and Big Valley Jamboree.

Several country music websites including countrymusicrocks.net, roughstock.com and cmchatlive.com have listed Blackjack Billy as ones to watch.

]]>
jmg@interkan.net (Justin Geering) ROOT Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:15:07 -0500
Dallas Smith http://countrystampede.com/2-uncategorised/102-dallas-smith.html http://countrystampede.com/2-uncategorised/102-dallas-smith.html Dallas Dallas Smith

Website  Facebook  Twitter  Youtube

Hailing from British Columbia, Dallas Smith is skyrocketing to the very top of the Country music scene. His 2012 debut album "Jumped Right In" generated 5 singles in the Canadian Hot 100, including the GOLD selling title-track, garnered five CCMA Award nominations and was nominated for Country Album of the Year at the 2013 JUNO Awards. Following a slew of sold out tour dates with Florida Georgia Line and Bob Seger, Smith released 2013's "Tippin' Point EP", making his debut in the U.S. and setting the bar high while representing Canadian Country music's cutting edge sound. Co-written by Florida Georgia Line's Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard along with The Cadillac Three's Jaren Johnston, "Tippin' Point" set the record as the fastest Canadian country single to go GOLD in history. Additionally, Smith topped SiriusXM's The Highway Hot 45 Countdown and most recently added the title of 'platinum-selling country artist' to his repertoire with the announcement that "Tippin' Point" had been certified PLATINUM. Amassing national appeal, Smith netted three 2014 CCMA Award nominations including Single, Album and Male Artist of the Year and is the first Canadian country artist to have 8 singles reach the Top 10 at radio in Canada. Following a summer of notable festival dates, including an outstanding headline performance in front of 25,000 fans at the Boots And Hearts Music Festival, and a record breaking performance at the Craven Country Jamboree where he drew over 12,000 fans and shattered attendance records, Smith announced the release of his second full-length country album Lifted on November 25th. Smith has appeared on Canada AM, Breakfast Television, CMT Canada, CTV Morning Live, Global Morning, CBC, TSN, SiriusXM and more. Lifted reunites Smith with prized producer Joey Moi (Florida Georgia Line, Jake Owen) and is followed by the 2015 headline "Tippin' Point Tour". For more information visit DallasSmithMusic.com.]]>
jmg@interkan.net (Justin Geering) ROOT Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:15:07 -0500
Sara Evans http://countrystampede.com/2-uncategorised/105-sara-evans.html http://countrystampede.com/2-uncategorised/105-sara-evans.html SarahEvans Sara Evans

Website  Facebook  Twitter  Youtube

Confidence is sexy and creativity is empowering. Rarely have those qualities merged into a more potent package then on Sara Evans' new album Slow Me Down. From the simmering title track, which provided her biggest first week ever at country radio, to the life-affirming message of the album's closing song, "Revival," Evans has crafted a compelling body of work filled with the kind of slice-of-life vignettes that fans expect from the award-winning vocalist.

Slow Me Down is Evans' seventh album for RCA Nashville Records and never has she sounded more self-assured and in control of her artistry. "I have a lot of strong opinions because I've been doing this my whole life and I know what I want," says Evans, who co-produced the album with Mark Bright, who helmed her platinum album Real Fine Place and is also known for his work with Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts and Reba McEntire. "I just love him. I really wanted Mark's type of personality and production on this. He's so bright and chipper and is always there to give support, direction and his expertise."

On Slow Me Down, Evans has delivered an album that reveals a vibrant tapestry of emotion from the truthful resignation of "Good Love is Hard to Find" to her autobiographical ode to contentment on "Sweet Spot." "You Never Know" is a cautionary tale about the fragility of relationships. Love, heartache and desire swirl throughout the album. "That's intentional and it's pretty typical for me," says Evans, who co-wrote three of the 11 songs on the album. "I try to give my fans a little bit of everything that I am and everything that I like, but nothing is ever contrived."

In serving up this emotional tour de force, the Missouri native enlists a diverse line-up of special guests including The Fray's Isaac Slade, who duets with Evans on "Can't Stop Loving You" and Gavin DeGraw who joins Evans on her cover of his pop hit "Not Over You." Longtime pal Vince Gill lends his voice to the stone cold country "Better Off".

"Slow Me Down" was recently named one of Billboard's "10 Best Singles of 2013". "It's got a great lyric. It's got a fabulous melody and they set the tempo just perfectly," Evans says of the song, which was penned by Marv Green, Jimmy Robbins and Heather Morgan. "I love what the song says. 'hurry up and slow me down' is obviously a great play on words, but it means so much more than that. She is basically saying, 'I need you to know that I'm willing to give this relationship a chance, but if you don't change your ways, I'm leaving. But when I'm walking away, I want you to hurry up and slow me down. I want you to pursue me.'"

Over the years, Evans has developed a reputation for delivering thoroughly satisfying albums full of great songs brought to life by her distinctive voice. She has that heart-in-the-throat quality that turned Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn into legends coupled with an edgy contemporary sensibility that keeps her at the vanguard of today's successful country performers. She's sold nearly six million records and her last four albums have been certified Gold, Platinum or multi-Platinum. She's scored five No. 1 hits, among them "Suds in the Bucket," "A Real Fine Place to Start," "No Place That Far" and "A Little Bit Stronger," the title track of her chart-topping 2011 album Stronger. The single was No. 1 for two weeks and was certified platinum by the R.I.A.A. Evans has amassed an impressive collection of awards, including female vocalist from the Academy of Country Music and video of the year from the Country Music Association for her ground breaking clip "Born to Fly."

"I'VE ALWAYS FELT LIKE I'M A VERY LUCKY PERSON..."

At the root of all those accolades is a God-given talent fueled by an impressive Midwestern work ethic instilled by her parents. She grew up singing in her family's band and then moved to Nashville looking for a record deal. Legendary songwriter Harlan Howard heard her on a demo and helped open a door for her at RCA Records where she's been ever since. "I've always felt like I'm a very lucky person," says Evans. "To be given a gift to sing, I don't know why the Lord has blessed me with this talent, but it has always made me feel lucky. I always appreciate those special moments like having a No. 1 record or doing a great show."

Seven albums into an already impressive career and Evans has never been more excited about the music she's making. "I feel like I sang with a ton of confidence this time around," she says. "You always want to get better with your craft and your art. I'm always striving to sing better, write better, and perform better because I'm very competitive with myself."

After enduring a divorce, Evans rebounded personally and professionally. She and her three children are now settled in Birmingham with former pro quarterback-turned-sportscaster Jay Barker, whom she married in 2008. "Everything in my professional life is a reflection of my personal life and I feel confident, happy and settled," she says of life in Alabama with the blended family that includes her three children and Barker's four.. "I'm secure in who I am and where I'm going and I always do better in my career when life isn't stressful."

In addition to her music, Evans is an accomplished author of three books with co-writer Rachel Hauck and writes a lifestyle blog, "A Real Fine Place," with her sister-in-law Kaelin "K.K" Evans where they share their passion for fashion, beauty, travel and food. She was the first country artist to compete on ABC's popular "Dancing with the Stars" and she's been named one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People." A tireless philanthropist, Evans is involved in several charitable endeavors and has been awarded the Crystal Cross by the American Red Cross. Last year she and Barker launched Rock the South. The festival attracted 50,000 country music fans and raised money for the Children's Hospital of Birmingham and Alabama Forever, a charity formed to help rebuild the areas in Alabama that were struck by devastating tornados.

I KNEW THAT WHEN I STARTED TO MAKE THIS RECORD THAT I WANTED TO GO FURTHER THAN I HAD EVER GONE BEFORE WITH MY MUSIC

Though her new album is titled Slow Me Down its obvious Sara Evans isn't even taking her foot off the gas these days. "I knew that when I started to make this record that I wanted to go further than I had ever gone before with my music," she says. "Vocally I wanted to challenge myself. I'm super happy with the outcome."

]]>
jmg@interkan.net (Justin Geering) ROOT Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:15:07 -0500
Thomas Rhett http://countrystampede.com/2-uncategorised/108-thomas-rhett.html http://countrystampede.com/2-uncategorised/108-thomas-rhett.html
ThomasRhett THOMAS RHETT

Website  Facebook  Twitter  Youtube

It's futile to fight destiny. Plenty of people do, of course, battle against their future, but if something is truly inevitable, fighting just delays the outcome.

Funny thing about destiny. If something is truly designed to occur – particularly a career choice – the path is often extraordinarily easy once the resistance is dropped. Just ask Thomas Rhett.

The singer-songwriter spent most of his teens figuring out what, other than music, he could do for a career. Kinesiology, business, anatomy, media – anything but music. None of those rather ordinary pursuits seemed to work out.

But a songwriting deal? Heck, Thomas Rhett stumbled into that. And nine months later, he had a song on Jason Aldean's My Kinda Party, a double-platinum project that became the best-selling country album of 2011.

A recording contract? Thomas Rhett auditioned for at least seven record companies, and every one of them wanted to sign him.

Valory – the home of Reba McEntire, Brantley Gilbert, Jewel and Justin Moore – won out, and now it's seemingly just a matter of time before the general public discovers the quirky word jumbles and infectious grooves that had Music Row salivating over Thomas Rhett's future. The one that, in retrospect, seems as if it were always supposed to happen.

Even Thomas Rhett doesn't completely understand it. "I don't have a clue where it's going to go or where it'll end up, but the journey is cool enough for me," he muses. "I'm here for the ride and to entertain people."

And entertain he does. His first single, "Something To Do With My Hands," reveals Thomas Rhett as a solid country guy with a distinct urban streak. Other tracks from his debut show someone who's clever enough to rhyme "Ryman" with "diamond," who mulls chatting with Jesus over beer, who throws AC/DC hard-rock chants and Coolio hip-hop phrasing into songs that are otherwise country.

It's as if Roger Miller had been reincarnated and gone on a songwriting retreat in the 'hood.

"Country, rock and hip-hop were what I was raised on," Thomas Rhett says. "It's a strange combination, but it all leaks into what I write."

Thus, Thomas Rhett mixes burning slide guitar, Southern drawl and Little Feat-ish rhythms in "Whatcha Got In That Cup"; redneck lyrics, crunchy chords and a reference to hard-core rapper DMX in "All-American Middle Class White Boy"; and a magnetic brew of Robert Johnson blues, Appalachian harmonica and Common hip-hop phrasing in "Front Porch Junkie."

Odd as that blend might seem, Thomas Rhett's twisted sonic concoction is part of a natural progression, one that saw him exposed to tons of music by a famous father whose own rocky experiences with the music business made Thomas Rhett wary of investing his talents in such an emotionally difficult vocation.

Thomas' full name – Thomas Rhett Akins Jr. – forever connects him with his dad, Rhett Akins, who earned a trio of Top 20 hits in the mid-1990s. Those songs – including the Top 5 "That Ain't My Truck" and the No. 1 single "Don't Get Me Started" – made an indelible impression, inspiring several other southern Georgians, such as Luke Bryan and ace songwriter Dallas Davidson, to pursue their own country ambitions.

Concert tours took Rhett Akins away from home often, beginning just a year or two before Thomas Rhett enrolled in school. But there was no father-son rebellion in the Akins household. Despite his tour schedule, Dad made it a point to be there for his son's football games. And Thomas Rhett loved his father's music – "I was five, jamming out to his records, going to kindergarten," he recalls.

Thomas Rhett went on the road with the elder Akins, too. Sometimes his dad would bring the kid out to play drums during the encore at his shows. And there was a period when Thomas Rhett was eight or nine that he popped on stage to cover Will Smith. "I came out in a Green Bay Packers toboggan, a big shirt and baggy pants, and rapped 'Gettin' Jiggy Wit It,'" he remembers.

There were other perks. Thomas Rhett went to Reba McEntire's Halloween parties. And he once got help on his English homework from some guy named Blake Shelton.

Seems glamorous from the outside, but the entertainment business can be ruthless. And the good times soon soured for his dad. Rhett Akins eventually rebounded, but in the meantime, that period in his dad's career soured Thomas Rhett on that pursuit. "My whole life," he insists, "I swore I was never going to do music."

But that destiny thing kept guiding him in that direction.

For starters, Thomas Rhett took up drums during junior high in a band called the High Heeled Flip Flops.

"We were a punk-rock band, there were four of us and we were terrible," he laughs. "Our lead singer sang in a British punk accent, and we all dyed our hair black. My Uncle Eli, who does work for Zac Brown now, came into Nashville and we recorded our first record in my dad's living room."

Thomas Rhett's focus, though, remained on a more conventional future. He played sports in high school, and ripped up his knee in one major accident. That set his thoughts on kinesiology – the study of human movement – when he enrolled at David Lipscomb University in Nashville.

He soon changed his mind about kinesiology and shifted direction – in fact, he ran through four different majors at David Lipscomb, none of which quite fit. Meanwhile, a friend had roped him into playing a frat party at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, which led to more frat parties – at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and the University of Georgia in Athens. In the process, he was able to mesh those seemingly disparate parts of his musical influences: country, hip-hop, classic rock and modern rock.

"Frat parties can be awesome or tragic," he says. "Those dudes just get so drunk, and they get on stage with you and take the mic from you. All of a sudden, you're at the back of the stage and just playing so they can have a good time."

Helping them have a good time is, of course, what the gig is about. And Thomas Rhett picked up that ability in short order. He also discovered there was a whole culture of kids who'd been raised on the same improbable mix of musical cultures – kids who had been looking for someone like Thomas Rhett, or Brantley Gilbert, or Jason Aldean, who could put all those influences together.

"Those are the kids that are the trend setters," Thomas Rhett says. "Those kids are the ones downloading music on their iPod, jamming it in their car and playing it with their friends. Those people become loyal, and they want to be the people that said they found you first."

Nevertheless, Thomas Rhett didn't take any of that music thing seriously until his dad talked him into doing a one-time show. Rhett Akins had reinvented himself quite successfully as a songwriter – in fact, he would become BMI's Country Songwriter of the Year in 2011. And Rhett enlisted Thomas Rhett to open at a music-industry showcase for singer-songwriter Frankie Ballard. There was no pay for the gig – and Thomas Rhett got a parking ticket while loading his equipment into the venue. But it did pay off in other ways. EMI Music's Ben Vaughn liked what he heard and asked Thomas Rhett after the show if he'd be interested in a publishing deal. "Really!? I don't know what that is," Thomas Rhett says. "Well, if it pays more than me laying hardwood floor, then I'm in."

In February 2010, Thomas Rhett signed with EMI and soon had his first co-writing session with his dad and Bobby Pinson, who's written songs for Toby Keith and Sugarland. In short order, he was writing with the likes of Craig Wiseman ("Live Like You Were Dying"), Luke Laird ("Undo It"), Lee Thomas Miller ("You're Gonna Miss This") and Chris Stapleton ("Love's Gonna Make It Alright").

Things happened quickly. Aldean cut Thomas Rhett's "I Ain't Ready To Quit" for My Kinda Party, which was released in November 2010 – just eight months after Thomas Rhett signed his publishing deal. Even then, Vaughn was already taking Thomas Rhett around Music Row to play acoustic auditions as an artist in record-company conference rooms. And they always got some interest.

When he played for the Big Machine Label Group, which includes The Valory Music Co., it took only three songs before President and CEO Scott Borchetta announced he wanted Thomas Rhett on the roster. "Scott doesn't mess around," Thomas Rhett says. "The next day, my lawyer called and said Big Machine had made an offer."

That also gave Thomas Rhett the reins to make an album. They teamed him with producer Jay Joyce, who's worked as a producer and/or guitarist with Eric Church, Cage The Elephant and Miranda Lambert. The results on Thomas Rhett's debut are a rhythmic, grooving, infectious amalgam of styles that appreciates country's roots and challenges its perceived limitations at the same time.

The music was captured at Joyce's home studio, which provided a loose, informal ambiance that found its way into the tracks.

"It's recorded in his basement," Thomas Rhett says. "It's dark, a couple lamps on and candles burning and incense everywhere. We had some of the best players, and it was pretty much a big jam session until we found something that worked."

The album veers from the clever wordplay of "Would Ya" to the high energy of "Something To Do With My Hands" to the playful grooves of "Front Porch Junkie" and "All-American Middle Class American White Boy." But as much as he's about having a good time, "Beer With Jesus" – a rough-edged ballad that seeks elusive spiritual clarity – demonstrates the enormous depth that lies under all the fun stuff.

That's appropriate for Thomas Rhett, who's discovered that music – despite his insistence on avoiding it – is a central part of his destiny.

"I think I've been directed here for a reason," he surmises. "I still don't know why. I don't know if it's to be some big star or if it's to make a difference in somebody's life along the way or to make somebody's Friday night entertaining. It doesn't really matter. It's a journey, and I'm learning something new every step along the way."

]]>
jmg@interkan.net (Justin Geering) ROOT Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:15:07 -0500
Jerrod Niemann http://countrystampede.com/2-uncategorised/103-jerrod-niemann.html http://countrystampede.com/2-uncategorised/103-jerrod-niemann.html JerrodNiemann Jerrod Niemann

Website  Facebook  Twitter  Youtube

"On my first two albums, I tried to cover all the music I enjoy," says Jerrod Niemann. "This time, we mashed it all together and that's what you do when you're really attempting to create your own sound. And as it all gelled, I think it brought us into our own pure sound for the first time."

On High Noon, Niemann continues to pursue the innovative sonic approach that has defined his identity in today's country music, while bearing down even harder on the rock-solid songwriting that first brought him to Nashville's attention. The immediate response to the album's debut single, "Drink to That All Night," proves that Niemann's distinctive style still hits the mark. "My biggest obstacle," he says, "was to make sure this sounded different from everything else out there right now."

Jerrod Niemann exploded onto the scene with his chart-topping major-label debut, 2010's Judge Jerrod & The Hung Jury. The album, on Sea Gayle/Arista Nashville records, included the Number One smash and RIAA-certified Platinum digital single, "Lover, Lover," and the follow-up Top 5 single, "What Do You Want." Niemann—who has also written songs for and with such artists as Garth Brooks, Blake Shelton, and Lee Brice—returned in 2012 with the acclaimed, musically adventurous release, Free the Music. All the while, he's continued playing 200 shows a year on the road, year in and year out.

He credits the advances on High Noon to a new collaborator, producer Jimmie Lee Sloas—honored by the Academy of Country Music as Bass Player of the Year—who has worked with everyone from Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood to bluegrass bands and Megadeth. "We've been friends for years," says Niemann, "and I knew he wanted to get into producing. I called him out of the blue, we had lunch a few times, and I told him I'd love to bring him in to work on this project. We went in and instantly had a great connection."

Niemann also credits songwriter Lance Miller and engineer Corky ("Just call him Corky") with playing vital roles in the album's creation. "The magic came from those four minds—and those four livers! There was no ego, just pure fun. The friendships and feeding off of each others' ideas really created the vibe, and the more experience I have, the more I learn it's all about the vibe."

Before even entering the studio, though, Niemann recorded all of his own demos at home as usual. "That's where I go completely out of whack, take things to the furthest extreme," he says. "Then after I lay down the structure, we take that and start to build around it. We take my unique sounds and then we mesh that with acoustic instruments to come up with an organic approach for the loops and beats. When it all comes to life, it just makes you want to tap your foot."

The resulting thirteen songs on High Noon represent not just a musical blend of country, pop, and rock with splashes of electronic, forward-looking beats, but also a wide emotional spectrum. The album takes the listener on a journey from the opener—the yearning, atmospheric "Space"—to the sexy, slow-burn menace of the last track, "She's Fine," which features a guest vocal from Colt Ford. "Some songs have those haunting melodies and chords—something to scare the kids a little bit!" says Niemann. "That one made me think of songs by Chris Isaak or the Mavericks, or the True Blood theme song. In some ways, we're all still a little feral and have those animal instincts."

"The Real Thing" offers the panoramic feel of a pop ballad from the '60s, while "I Can't Give in Anymore" takes a more traditional country approach, both in subject and style. "It's about that moment when you realize you need to move on from something unless things are going to get better—that point in time to either say goodbye or fix it," Niemann says. The arrangement features the old-school weeping of a pedal-steel guitar. "We had a guy in the band with a b-bender guitar, which can emulate that sound, but when I was listening to the real thing, I was like, 'Of course I'm going to use that, 'cause nobody else is doing it!'"

And then there's "Donkey," an uproarious, swaggering, double-entendre singalong about wrecking a truck and finding alternative, four-legged transportation to the local bar. "The first time I heard it, I thought, 'Oh, goodness,'" Niemann says. "But then I went back and listened another five or six times and thought, 'If I don't record this, I'm gonna end up kicking myself!' It's hilarious to me—I was raised in a family that wasn't afraid to laugh. Every time I played it on the bus, everybody stopped and asked, 'What is that?!' So I thought, I'm just gonna roll with it."

But most of High Noon returns to a single theme: drinking, partying, having fun. "This is a record to get you in the mood before going out on Friday or Saturday night," says Niemann. "I came up playing in bars, and that's always going to peek through in my music. A lot of the people we play for have a beer in their hand, and my job is to get whatever's on their mind off their mind. So always, at least half the songs are about partying—hey, it's better than crying, right?"

Kansas-born Jerrod Niemann—who once lived in the actual Dodge City—explains that there are a number of meanings to the album's title, but clearly, it stands as a challenge and a mission for his music. "High Noon represents taking chances," he says. "We live in a society where a lot of times you're forced to be the same—all copy-paste—and when you do something different, people dig in their heels.

"So High Noon means go out there and go for it. Get your game face on, walk ten steps, and pull the trigger. It's the next step into facing the future."

]]>
jmg@interkan.net (Justin Geering) ROOT Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:15:07 -0500
Old Dominion http://countrystampede.com/2-uncategorised/104-old-dominion.html http://countrystampede.com/2-uncategorised/104-old-dominion.html OldDominion OLD DOMINION

Website  Facebook  Twitter  Youtube

Old Dominion may not yet be a household name, but its members are behind many of the songs you hear in country music today. During the past 10 years of writing and honing their sound as a band, a number of their songs have been recorded and released by an impressive list that includes The Band Perry, Keith Urban, Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley, Chris Young, and Craig Morgan. And while it has been nice to experience radio success as song writers, the band has their scope unwaveringly aimed at delivering their music personally to the people.

Consisting of four Virginians and one Michigander, Old Dominion eventually came together in Nashville, Tennessee. But the seeds were sown years prior in Virginia where a few of the members grew up.

"I had been doing my own thing musically for a while, but I knew Geoff (Sprung- bass) and Whit (Sellers- drums), and I was always a big fan of their band," says frontman Matt Ramsey. "A few years after I moved to Nashville, they ended up moving here too, so of course it was a natural fit to play together."

In the fall of 2003, Matt was introduced to another Nashville newcomer, Detroit-area native Trevor Rosen at a songwriter round. The two had immediate musical chemistry, and soon forged a writing partnership that was to lay the foundation of Old Dominion.

"Matt had formed his band with Whit and Geoff, and I found myself jumping up on stage with them quite a bit," says Rosen. "At one point I said to Matt, 'I know all your songs and write half of them with you anyway, I should just be in your band'. I said it half-jokingly, and I'm not entirely sure he ever gave his official blessing, but I started showing up and just never stopped."

The final piece of the puzzle, Brad Tursi (lead guitar) was no stranger at all. Brad had attended James Madison University in Virginia with Geoff and Whit, where their bands crossed paths frequently. When Brad joined Old Dominion in 2012, he brought with him a melodic, hook-driven style of guitar that rounded out the OD sound. It also added another seasoned songwriter into the mix.

Out on the road, the live show is dialed in. Opening for acts like Trace Adkins, Brett Eldridge, and Jake Owen, their sound has tightened into a cohesive blend of country lyric and rock instrumentation, fused with pop and hip-hop sensibilities. It even led to a debut on the world-renowned Grand Ole Opry.

The extensive touring has also helped ease the transition into the studio. Working with Grammy Winning producer Shane McAnally and acclaimed studio veteran Ilya Toshinsky at the helm, Old Dominion is one of the few bands in country music to write, record, and perform all of its own music.

"For us it just made sense to play on the record," says Tursi. "We are a band. As a band you really want to try to capture the essence of what you do live on tape, and there's really only one true way to do that."

What they've captured so far has certainly buzzed a few ears, including that of XM radio programmer John Marks. Marks added their single, "Dirt On A Road" to rotation on Sirius XM's The Highway in early 2014. The song's impact with listeners was quickly evident at live shows.

"There's nothing like playing a song you've written and watching the crowd sing the words back to you," says Ramsey. "We've experienced it a bit when we play 'Wake Up Lovin' You' or 'Better Dig Two' and that's great, but it's that much sweeter when we are the artist releasing the song."

]]>
jmg@interkan.net (Justin Geering) ROOT Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:15:07 -0500