October ‘Inside Track on Music Row’ posted

Big & Rich, Craig Wayne Boyd, EXILE and more

My column, ‘Inside Track on Music Row,’ is America’s longest-running monthly country music column, and here’s a ‘heads up’ to let you know that the full October 2017 column is now posted at my other website, I Know Country.  Meanwhile, here’s a taste of a few items from the column…

Big & Rich are doing it for the party!

Big & Rich, Did It For the Party

Big & Rich have released their sixth studio album DID IT FOR THE PARTY, guesting on several national TV shows and a major media blitz. They will also be the musical guest on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” October 2.

The new project features 13 new songs, all produced by Big Kenny and John Rich. Fans, who are dubbed the “Freak Parade,” can order the album now on Apple Music / iTunes, Amazon and Google Play, as well as pick up a CD at major retailers nationwide through a partnership with TWIX®.

In addition to the lead single “California,” the album is classic Big & Rich, featuring a combination of upbeat anthems like the “Congratulations (You’re A Rockstar)” and “No Sleep,” while also showing their softer side with the heartfelt tribute to their sons, “My Son” featuring The Isaacs. Thirty Tigers and The Orchard are handling marketing and distribution for the album. Tour dates and more at bigandrich.com

Craig Wayne Boyd’s TOP SHELF

Craig Wayne Boyd, Top Shelf

Fans who pre-order Craig Wayne Boyd‘s new album, TOP SHELF, will receive an instant download of Boyd’s never-before-heard new single, “Stuck In My Head.” The album will be released everywhere Oct. 27 by Copperline Music Group and is available for pre-order at iTunes.

Those who pre-order can also receive Boyd’s “We Sweat” through instant download from September 29, and will receive the track “Better Together,” which Boyd co-penned, on October 13. TOP SHELF has been described as ‘a musical kaleidoscope – a whirl of celebration, heartbreak, the sweet pain of love, and the comfort of faith’s embrace.’

During his rise to fame after winning Season 7 of NBC’s “The Voice,” Boyd’s “My Baby’s Got a Smile on Her Face” debuted at No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs chart, becoming the second song (following Garth Brooks’ “More Than a Memory”) to achieve that level of chart success. More at craigwayneboyd.com.

EXILE’s ‘Fan Appreciation’ show set for Oct 17

EXILE

EXILE will stage a fan appreciation concert at the Wildhorse Saloon October 17. Soon-to-be announced special guests will help the band kick off the road to their 55th anniversary “No Limit Tour” in 2018.

Partnering with WSM-AM for the free show, Exile is set to perform at 6 p.m. CT with special guests starting at 4 p.m. CT. Concert details at WildhorseSaloon.com. 2018 will be the 55th anniversary for the band, which formed in Richmond, KY. Since beginning in 1963 the band has had No. 1 hits on both the pop and country charts, achieving ten No. 1 hits on the country chart. Today, the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame members continue to tour performing their greatest hits and fan-favorite on-the-road songs from over the years. More at Exile.biz and Facebook/Twitter.

A personal note: Growing up in Kentucky, in the late 70’s to the mid 80s, a day didn’t go by without hearing Exile on the radio. So to be able to celebrate their ’55 years in the business’ kick-off concert is like one item marked off my bucket list!

Read the complete column, and an archive of many previous columns, at iknowcountry.com and check out my music Q&A book, “I Know Country!”

Logan Mize inspires singers, songwriters: Never give up

New video series: “Somebody to Thank”

If you’re a singer or songwriter and thinking that you should forget your dream and go get a ‘real’ job, take heart from Logan Mize’s story.

Click to watch Logan Mize’s new “Somebody to Thank” video

His new album, COME BACK ROAD, notched up a Top 20 debut on Billboard and iTunes’ All Genre charts, but his personal road has not been an easy one, filled with roadblocks that would have stymied lesser beings.

Logan, a native of Clearwater, Kansas, came to Nashville with the goal of becoming a success in the music business.  But that success seemed to slip from his grasp at every step of the journey. He was turned down again and again by every music publisher and record label on Music Row.

Logan Mize. Photo: Montgomery Lee

To make ends meet, he took on day jobs, including driving a party bus and even a dump truck, while writing songs and playing club dates wherever he could snag them. Then in 2010, several years after arriving in Nashville, he signed a publishing and record deal with Big Yellow Dog Music, and a booking deal with a major agency.

Many artists would look at those contracts and figure they’d achieved their goal, but Logan knew that this was only the beginning. He spent the next seven years playing seemingly every venue in every town across the United States, building his fan base at every stop along the way.

Use the power of social media

Logan understands the power of social media. In 2016, he undertook a solo acoustic tour, promoted entirely via social media, traveling more than 20,000 miles in less than two months in a 1989 station wagon that he named ‘Glenn.’

He ran his own sound and lights at each show, performing 3-hour sets, before packing everything back in the car and moving on to the next venue.  He knew that every stop along the way added to his fan base, and each fan was a potential buyer of his music and would probably spread the news to their own social media contacts.

Thankful to those who have helped

As well as knowing the importance of sheer hard work in developing his music career, Logan is also deeply thankful to those who have helped him along the way. He has now partnered with Budweiser to create a new monthly video series based around his song, “Somebody to Thank.”

“It is so important that we always remember and give thanks to those who helped us get to where we are,” he said. “Even the smallest gesture of gratitude can make a big difference in someone’s life.”

A new video will be released monthly via Logan’s YouTube channel and Facebook spotlighting the relationships built around the struggles, gratitude and opportunities that have helped shape Mize into who he is as a person, artist, husband and father. He hopes it will also remind everyone to always say thank you to those who were a part of one’s journey.

Persevere despite the setbacks

There are two lessons that can be learned from Logan’s story. Firstly, if you believe in your music, persevere. Keep going, despite the setbacks and treat each roadblock as a ‘learning experience’ while you steadfastly follow your dream.  It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.

Secondly, take charge of your own destiny.  Don’t put your career entirely in the hands of others. Certainly, seek guidance and develop business alliances with those who can help you, but understand that only you can make the decisions and take the steps to achieve your goals.

COME BACK ROAD includes the hit single “Ain’t Always Pretty” which has been featured on major playlists across digital streaming platforms garnering over 25 million streams on Spotify alone.

More information at loganmize.com and on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

‘Bump, Bump, Bump’ hits country radio

Song shows lost love can lead to freedom

Re Mattei is a particularly unique talent that stands out even in a city that is filled with unique talents. If any proof of that is needed, give a listen to Re’s new single, “Bump, Bump, Bump,” hitting country radio on September 18, 2017.  Meanwhile, the track will be available via all major digital retail and streaming outlets (Amazon/iTunes/ Pandora/Rhapsody/Spotify) on Sept 15.

The single is a taste of what’s to come with her album, BELIEVIN’ IS SEEIN,’ due out in the early spring of 2018.  It will be released on TrendyGirl Records, for whom Re is their flagship artist.

I’ve known Re for several years now, as a friend and – full disclosure – as a client, while we worked together to move her career forward.  I’ve seen her songwriting and her stagecraft develop to the point where she’s a star in the making.

Re wrote the “back-in-the-swing” tune with Danielle Todd and co-produced the track alongside Bartley Pursley (who has also produced notable, award-winning artists such as Big & Rich, Gretchen Wilson and Liz Carlisle, and has engineered projects for Blake Shelton and Montgomery Gentry).

Re Mattei

The song’s storyline transforms the darkness of love-loss and heartache to an illuminated freedom. Re’s musical influences include the traditional country of artists such as Tammy Wynette, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and Johnny Rodriguez, but also gravitate toward 80s pop rock trendsetters, eerie steel and electric guitar riffs. She brings those influences together in this song (as I said, she’s unique) setting the tone for this ‘failed love’ story, while the chorus brings to life a revived spirit portrayed by a powerful bass drum.

“Of all things, a Budweiser truck on the roadway reminded me that music has been my medicine,” said Re. “I recalled heading downtown with a group of girlfriends after a hurtful breakup and getting lost in the beats of my favorite tunes—what I call the ‘bump.’ Music can make people feel alive even in the darkest of moments; ‘Bump…’ paints both a gray emotional intensity contrasted by an enlightenment and glimpse of hope. …and that’s the magic of music.”

Inspiration can come from the strangest places: for Re it was the rhythmic rumble of a beer truck!

Berklee College of Music grad

Re (derived from her birth name Marie) is a Berklee College of Music graduate; she earned her bachelor’s degree in guitar performance. The New Jersey native began her pursuit in the live music entertainment sector just weeks before graduation.  Responding to a personal, hand-written invitation, Re auditioned for the all-female, Top 40, seven-piece band—the Uptown Girls. She landed the guitar-player/vocal gig on the spot and toured with the group in a three-year stint performing at nightclubs and military bases in Japan, the Philippines, Singapore and Hawaii.

Left to Right: Shane Allen, Re Mattei and Simba Jordan. Photo credit: Preshias Harris

Re moved to Music City in the early 90s with the goal of concentrating on her songwriting and recording skills to ultimately launch her independent solo career. She has performed at the Bluebird Café, Opryland Hotel and the Tennessee State Fair (WSM-AM stage) and, most-recently, Re made an impromptu appearance at NAMM 2017 (Nashville).  Teaming with producer Bart Pursley, she recorded and released her debut single, “Country Love,” in 2014.

‘Bump, Bump, Bump’ music video

In conjunction with the September 2017 country radio release, Mattei will introduce the corresponding “Bump Bump Bump” music video (created by Think House Productions/filmed in Columbia, TN and at The Country in downtown Nashville). You can find the video here on YouTube, among other places. Re will embark on her four-week radio tour beginning October 16, 2017.  Grassroots Promotion will spearhead the radio promotion campaign; Visual Image Marketing (Steve Baker) will oversee the video promotion.

In my opinion, success is on its way for Re Mattei. Yes, she has the talent, but equally important, she has the determination to find and hold that success.  I truly believe that music is part of her soul. Listen to “Bump, Bump, Bump,” watch the song’s music video and see if you agree.

Follow Re Mattie on Facebook here.

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Dolly Parton’s first children’s album

‘I Believe In You’ to benefit Imagination Library

Jim Catino (Sony SVP, A&R), John Zarling (Sony EVP, Marketing & New Business), Dolly Parton, Danny Nozell (President, CTK Management), Steve Hodges (EVP, Promotion & Artist Development), Kirt Webster (President, Webster PR) at the press conference

Dolly Parton remains one of the most innovative and creative personalities in country music and in all of the entertainment industry.  With all she has achieved, she could be forgiven for sitting back and taking a break from her busy schedule.  But that isn’t ‘the Dolly Way.’

At an August 15 press conference, Dolly announced the release of I BELIEVE IN YOU, her first album written and recorded specifically for kids (and presumably also for the young at heart). A digital release of the new album on Dolly Records/RCA Nashville will be available September 29 and the physical album will street worldwide on October 13. All 14 tracks on the album were written and performed by Dolly Parton.

An ‘amazing 50 years’

“My first album was released 50 years ago and it’s been an amazing 50 years since then,” said Dolly. “I am very excited that now I’m coming out with my first children’s album in all of those 50 years. I’m proudest of all that all of the proceeds from this CD will go to the Imagination Library.  It’s been 20 years since the Imagination Library was launched. We’ve seen 100 million books get into the hands of children and hopefully there will be many more.”

Since its beginning in 1996 in Dolly’s hometown of Sevierville, Tennessee, the Imagination Library has expanded into four countries serving more than one-million children by providing a brand new, age-appropriate book each month. In North America, every child’s first book is the classic Little Engine that Could.

I BELIEVE IN YOU Track Listing:

  1. I Believe in You
  2. Coat of Many Colors (new recording)
  3. Together Forever
  4. I Am a Rainbow
  5. I’m Here
  6. A Friend Like You
  7. Imagination
  8. You Can Do It
  9. Responsibility
  10. You Gotta Be
  11. Makin’ Fun Ain’t Funny
  12. Chemo Hero
  13. Brave Little Soldier
  14. Bonus track spoken audio: Coat of Many Colors (book read by Dolly Parton)

More information about Dolly Parton at www.dollyparton.com

August’s Inside Track on Music Row now posted

The August edition of America’s longest-running monthly country music column “Inside Track on Music Row” is now ready to read online at Nashville Music Guide and on my own “I Know Country” site as well as on websites in Europe.  Hard to believe I’ve been writing that column for around a quarter of a century! Whew!

Here are just a few ‘teasers’ from the full column…

CHARITY NEWS

My dear friend Lisa Wysocki reminded me about Colby’s Army, an organization that supports children and adults with disabilities, special needs, and life challenges through education, the teaching of life skills, and job training. Participants also gain physical strength by learning to ride a horse and through organic gardening, and our homeless friends are supported through the gifts of nutritious food from the garden, and first aid and street supplies. There are two new opportunities for you to support their programs:

1. Gift and organic products sold through EllisJaxonFarms.com on a “name your own price” model now benefit Colby’s Army! Please take time to check out this wonderful site. Anything paid over wholesale cost comes to Colby’s Army. Please also take time to thank this very generous company for their support!

2. Memory/honor sponsorships in the organic garden, on their trails, and along the beautiful creek. Your sponsorship in memory of a loved one includes a bench with your loved one’s name on it. Signage to read similar to: “Donated by _______ in memory (or honor) of ______” These sponsorships are only $400 and include the cost of a bench. You also receive a beautiful photo of your bench and signage. To participate, just click on the yellow donate button at colby’sarmy.org.  Colby’s Army is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, and financial gifts are tax deductible according to applicable laws.

INDIE ARTIST NEWS

EmiSunshine, the extraordinary talent who burst into stardom four short years ago as a nine-year-old via viral video, is set to release her new album, RAGGED DREAMS (her fourth studio recording), on August 25, 2017. The little girl with a big voice, who recently celebrated her 13th birthday, has made her mark shattering preconceived notions of youthful imagery that embraces gleeful innocence and optimism.

The 15 tracks on the album (written/co-written by Sunshine) touch on Autism, close-to-home tragedies (the Gatlinburg fires and TN floods) and tell tall tales that portray colorful stories illuminating murder, deceit, vengeful spirits and incarceration. Produced by Sunshine and backed by her family-band, The Rain (father, Randall Hamilton-bass; brother, John Hamilton-mandolin; uncle, Bobby Hill-drums), the album spotlights cameo performances by notables Randy Kohrs (resonator guitar), Tim Crouch (Mandolin/Fiddle/Guitar), Justin Moses (Fiddle/Guitar/Dobro/Banjo), Hitoshi Yamaguchi (cello), Ben Probus (fiddle) and others. Her social stats are: 14 million digital views, 500,000 Facebook followers, hitting close to 25,000 Instagram followers, 13 Grand Ole Opry performances, and appearances on THE TODAY SHOW, Stagecoach, and WOODSONGS. Details at emisunshine.com.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

The Kentucky Headhunters ‘On Safari’

Known as “southern rock royalty,” The Kentucky Headhunters are gearing up to take their rowdy, high-energy live show across the pond, as they return to the U.K. for a string of performances this fall. Supporting the American band will be U.K. rockers Bad Touch, who will join the Headhunters on all 8 shows this October. “We first met Bad Touch when they were chosen as our support act after my son John Fred Young’s band, Black Stone Cherry, convinced us to do our first-ever U.K. tour in 2016. In a mere week of touring, the Headhunter’s and Bad Touch became like a band of brothers,” said Richard Young of The Kentucky Headhunters. The Kentucky Headhunters have been crisscrossing North America fresh off the 2016 release of On Safari, the band’s 12th studio album. U.S. and U.K. tour updates at kentuckyheadhunters.com

Thomas Rhett’s ‘Craving You’ single tops Airplay charts

Dave Barnes and Julian Bunetta write Rhett’s 8th Number One

Thomas Rhett

Congrats to Thomas Rhett for his single “Craving You” hitting Number One on both the Billboard Country Airplay and Mediabase charts, sky-rocketing to the top in just 15 weeks as the fastest-rising song of his career so far.

And, of course, special congrats to the song’s writers, Dave Barnes and Julian Bunetta!  Dave’s other songwriting credits include tracks recorded by Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton and Billy Currington. He is also a recording artist with nine studio albums to his name. Julian has cuts on artists as varied as Harry Styles, One Direction and Little Big Town.

Julian Bunetta
Dave Barnes

Second Number One this year

“Craving You” (featuring Maren Morris) marks Rhett’s second Number One this year and the eighth of his career. It is the lead single from his upcoming third album due later this year. Rhett is continuing his HOME TEAM TOUR. After drawing capacity crowds overseas last year, he returns with plans to go back to Europe while also making his debut headlining run in Canada in addition to US dates. It’s one more success for Rhett who was named ACM Awards Male Vocalist of the Year.

For more information on new music and for a full list of upcoming tour dates, visit Rhett’s website. And be sure to check out the really creative music video for “Craving You,” designed to look like a movie trailer.

‘American Grandstand’ tops charts

Rhonda Vincent and Daryle Singletary’s new album shows traditional country alive and well

Rhonda Vincent and Daryle Singletary show that Traditional Country Music hasn’t gone anywhere as their new project ‘American Grandstand’ landed its first week on Billboard’s Top Current Country Albums chart at No. 10.

Back on July 8, I posted here on NashvilleMusicLine.com that Rhonda and Daryle’s collaboration had just been released, and it’s a pleasure to know that it has already made an impact on the charts. It also debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Bluegrass Chart, and No. 1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Album Chart for the week of July 29, 2017.

Not since George & Tammy and Conway & Loretta has there been a vocal duet performance like Rhonda Vincent & Daryle Singletary. Their chart success marks yet another indication that buyers love the authentic, unaltered voices of two great singers in this generation of country music. The album is available here and wherever music is sold.

Rhonda on tour in USA and Europe

Rhonda in Prague

By the way, fans can catch “The Most Award-Winning Band in Bluegrass Music History” Rhonda Vincent & The Rage on the road throughout the remainder of the year, as the IBMA “Entertainer of the Year” and 8-time “Female Vocalist of the Year” winner makes stops at festivals and venues throughout North America, plus a return visit to Europe’s Bluegrass Capital – Prague, Czech Republic www.rhondainprague.cz in September, along with a stop at Switzerland’s Most Prestigious Country Music Festival in beautiful Gstaad. More details on Rhonda’s website and social media.

Rhonda Vincent, Daryle Singletary team up on ‘American Grandstand’

New duet album is a fresh creation of real American music

Kentucky is known as the Bluegrass State. Growing up in Kentucky, my first memories of music in my home were the Bluegrass on my momma’s side and the rock ‘n’ roll (my daddy’s side) because of the Everly Brothers family tie. I do get excited when I see a Bluegrass record come out. Especially if they are from two of my all-time favorites: Rhonda Vincent and Daryle Singletary.

Rhonda Vincent and Daryle Singletary have released their brand new duet album titled “American Grandstand.” The album includes 12 traditional country songs, combining classic duets along with never before heard all-original music.

I’ve interviewed Daryle over the years and he is what he sings. He was raised on Bluegrass and Gospel and he credits his heroes as George Jones, Merle Haggard and Keith Whitley. What you see is what you get with Daryle. I wouldn’t be surprised if Webster’s Dictionary had Daryle’s photo beside the definition of “True Country.”

Daryle Singletary

Daryle is hitting the pavement hard with his summer tour in full swing. He is booked from Texas to West Virginia and everywhere in between.

Rhonda is one of the most awarded female artists ever in Bluegrass and she’s not even slowing down with this new album out. It definitely reveals a new level of her talent.  She is the leading lady of Bluegrass.

Rhonda Vincent. Photo: Webster PR

Rhonda will also appear on Heartland TV’s “Bluegrass Ridge,” where she will be the guest host for 4 consecutive weeks, beginning the week of July 10th. Throughout each episode, she will share some of her most career-defining moments, and what led her to the latest venture. She and Daryle are also giving fans an inside glimpse of tracks from the latest album with exclusive videos featured on The Country Note, The Daily Country, Roughstock, Nashville Country Club, Lovin’ Lyrics and more.

‘One,’ their tribute to George and Tammy

The seed was planted for what would become the lead single, “One,” when the dynamic pair performed the song together in 2016 at the legendary Grand Ole Opry.  The response to the performance ultimately led them to record the song. The song originally was made famous by country icons George Jones and Tammy Wynette. It was from their last album together called “One” which was released in 1995. It was written by Judith Bruce, Ed Bruce and Ron Peterson.  “One” was their last song together, before Tammy passed away in 1998. Daryle and Rhonda put their unique spin on the song and on each track on the new project, with their distinctive vocals and impeccable talent.

NOTE: In addition to upcoming tour dates, fans will be treated to multiple performances as both artists teamed up for their tour. Their concert during this year’s CMA Music Fest in Nashville was featured in Rolling Stone Country’s 20 Best Free Concerts. Fans can catch Rhonda Vincent, who the Wall Street Journal dubbed “The New Queen of Bluegrass,” at festivals and venues throughout North America, while fans in central Europe will get a chance to catch the most award-winning band in bluegrass music, Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, when they head overseas in September.

The new album, ‘American Grandstand’ can be purchased here.    Rhonda Vincent’s tour schedule and more can be found here.   Follow Daryle Singletary on Facebook here.

Track listing for ‘American Grandstand’

Continue reading “Rhonda Vincent, Daryle Singletary team up on ‘American Grandstand’”

Singer-songwriter Parker Willingham hosts listening party

Unveils new music at Nashville acoustic show

Parker Willingham hosted a New Music Review listening party at The Westin L27 Rooftop, July 5th. Willingham spotlighted tracks from his new recording project YOU GET ME EVERY TIME (Apple Row Music Group).

From Left To Right: Robin Majors/Robin Majors Management, Kat Atwood/Music City Media, Parker Willingham, Shelly Mullins/ProMO Image, Neal Spielberg/Spielberg Entertainment
Photo Credit: Karen Will Rogers Photography

Willingham gave an acoustic performance before friends, family, fans, peers and music industry execs. Featuring solo and co-writes titled “Raining Down,” “Flipside,” “All Over You” and the title track, YOU GET ME EVERY TIME is a canvas of Parker’s wit, grit, heart and soul, and offers an authentic insight to passionate, poignant, pivotal and painful pages of his life.

The ballads (such as “One Kiss At A Time” and “Hard To Say”) depict the innocence and confusion of falling in love, and love at the right time, while “Chase Her Dreams” and “Me Loving You” set love free. The beachy, true-to-his roots party anthem, “Cold Creek,” celebrates a spiritual freedom and “We Got It All Right” turns the page to a forever love potential.

Satisfying the traditional country music fan and country music enthusiasts with a more flavorful palate, YOU GET ME EVERY TIME has also garnered early applause from radio and the media with every noteworthy ingredient.

“Parker Willingham is absolutely incredible; this guy must be heard. He’s ‘Nashville’s best-kept secret’ and he’s going to be explosive!” — Seth Coburn, Morning Drive Host / KLAW101 (OK)

“I’m spinning Parker Willingham on CMR Nashville now and mark his new album with high ratings. He is a star in the making with a great voice.”  Lee Williams/CMR Nashville

YOU GET ME EVERY TIME is now available via all digital platforms (Spotify/Amazon/iTunes).

Charlie Daniels releases ‘Ragged Old Flag’ July 4th

Charlie Daniels’ version of Johnny Cash standard

A quick ‘heads up’ as we all get ready for July 4th. Charlie Daniels has a treat in store for us!

Few musical performers epitomize the American spirit with more passion and fervor than Country Music Hall of Fame member Charlie Daniels. The singer, who has sung of his unabashed patriotism time in and time out during his career, is showcasing his love of the Red, White, and Blue once again in his latest recording that will be available for sale via most digital platforms including iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon and GooglePlay on July 4th.

A music video featuring the song will also be released on the same day. Produced by d curlew films, the video will be featured on CMT.

Charlie Daniels

Daniels has recorded a stirring version of the Johnny Cash standard “Ragged Old Flag.” Written and recorded by Cash, the song hit No. 31 on the Billboard Country Singles chart in 1974. Charlie is joined on this track by Mark “Oz” Geist, Benghazi Warrior/Survivor and co-author of “13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi.” Read more about the special July 4th song, Charlie’s tour dates and more here.