Michael Ray helping animals in need

Collects animal shelter donations on 15-stop trek

Michael Ray with adopted dog Wrigley. Credit: Courtesy PAWS Chicago

I already knew Michael Ray was a great guy but he’s gone up even higher in my estimation as he proves how much he cares about animals that need a helping hand.

Inspired by his rescue dog Wrigley, Michael Ray has launched a special initiative, Wrigley Cares: Helping Animals In Need, just as he sets out on his “Get To You” Tour. The Gold-selling artist, whose latest single “Get To You” is currently climbing the charts, will collect donations with help from Zappos For Good and local animal shelters.

Wrigley Cares: Helping Animals In Need kicked off as Ray took the stage for the tour’s opening night in Tuscaloosa, AL. Since adopting Wrigley earlier this summer at Chicago’s Country Lakeshake Fest, Ray has been searching for impactful ways he and his fans can give back to rescued animals. Wrigley came to Michael from Paws Chicago, a no-kill animal shelter.

Changing lives of shelter dogs

“Wrigley is a huge part of my life – she’s on the road with us and she’s there for all the major moments,” shared Ray. “She changed my life back in June and I’m hoping we can change the lives of other shelter dogs by lending a helping hand.”

The Atlantic Records/Warner Music Nashville recording artist logged thousands of miles in 2017 and will wrap the year with his second headline tour. Already achieving two No. 1 singles, Ray’s anticipated lead single “Get To You” notched the most-added on the country airplay charts upon release and previews his forthcoming sophomore album.

Helping local shelters

Zappos for Good, the charity team at Zappos.com, will amplify Wrigley Cares by identifying local shelters in need and setting up donation stations at each tour stop. Concert attendees can drop supplies at the donation stations and receive a special discount code redeemable on Ray merchandise. All donations are welcome and each local shelter is specifically looking for: dry/wet dog and cat food in addition to new/slightly used towels and blankets which will be used to line shelter crates.

“We’re thrilled to work with Michael Ray and team to help support animal rescue,” said Steven Bautista, Head of Charity for Zappos.com. “We’re passionate about animal welfare and see this adoption event as an extension of our core, which is customer service.”

You can find out more about Michael Ray (and Wrigley!) and check out his full tour schedule here.

Midland’s debut single tops Airplay chart

“Drinkin’ Problem” first Number One for Midland

It was a five-man Number One party Wednesday afternoon: the three members of Midland and their two co-writers, jointly hosted by ASCAP and BMI.

Members of Midland at the Number One party, flanked by Shane McAnally (far left) and Josh Osborne (right). Photo credit: Preshias Harris.

They gathered with friends and music industry execs at The Sutler in Nashville to celebrate the band’s debut single which is also their first career Number One single. Titled “Drinkin’ Problem,” the track was originally issued on an EP and is now the lead-off single from their new album, ON THE ROCKS, released September 22.

“Drinkin’ Problem” was written by the three members of Midland, Mark Wystrach (lead vocals), Jess Carson (lead guitar & harmony vocals) and Cameron Duddy (bass & harmony vocals).  They share writing credits on the Number One with superstar writers Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne. (Osborne has fourteen Number Ones as a writer; McAnally has twenty-five Number Ones as a writer and eight as a producer!)

“Drinkin’ Problem” was produced by Osborne, McAnally and Dan Huff.

A ‘first’ for Big Machine, too

Notably, the song also scores another ‘First.’ It is the first debut single from a new act to top the Airplay charts for Big Machine Records and their roster of artists.

Commenting on how the song came about, Jess Carson said, “Three friends going in, all together. That was a lightning-rod moment.”

During the celebration, Huff said to Mark, Jeff and Cameron, “The fact that you have a very clear understanding of who you are makes me so proud to be part of this team.”

Co-producer Osborne said, “[We believed] somebody is gonna make this record with them and if we don’t, we are going to regret it.” He added, “The label allowed all involved to chase their passion.”

“This is soul music,” said McAnally. “I’m serious — it’s has a soul!”  He added, “Because it was embraced in a commercial sense, it’s wonderful. They didn’t have to compromise.making music. People are hungry for it.”

In addition to “Drinkin’ Problem,” ON THE ROCKS includes twelve more tracks, all written or co-written by members of Midland. The trio all hail from the town of Dripping Springs, Texas.

Midland’s follow-up single, “Make A Little,” is already impacting Country radio. On the CDXTRACtion chart for October 11, 2017, the new single was the “Most Added” song of the week, meaning it was added to the playlist of the most reporting radio stations.  You can find the video for “Make A Little” at YouTube here.

Midland are currently touring as part of the ‘CMT On Tour Presents Jon Pardi’s Lucky Tonight Tour’ (Surely this year’s most awkwardly-titled tour) and in early 2018 are scheduled to be part of The Breakers Tour with Little Big Town and Kacey Musgraves. See Midland’s full tour schedule here.

Bluegrass goes ‘Boo-Grass’ for October

Tribute to Merle Haggard to re-broadcast

Ronnie Reno

Bluegrass fans who have access to RFD-TV have a treat in store this month. Reno’s Old Time Music is reaching into its bag of “tricks” to “treat” fans to hauntingly good “boo-grass” throughout the month of October.

Tune in for a new episode of BLUEGRASS HALL OF FAME spotlighting inductee, the late Charlie Waller & The Country Gentlemen, FRONT PORCH GOSPEL and BEST OF BLUEGRASS.

Additionally, show host and SPBGMA Preservation Hall of Greats inductee, Ronnie Reno, will introduce a brand new series demanded by fans of the show. SUPER PICKIN’ will feature the best bluegrass pickers in the business for an all-instrumental show. Tune in this October for Part 1.

Merle Haggard Tribute

Merle Haggard

Finally, Reno’s Old Time Music will re-air the highly-demanded TRIBUTE TO MERLE HAGGARD to close out the month.

If that wasn’t enough good news, Reno’s Old Time Music is now available to over 18 million DIRECTV subscribers via the new RFD-HD platform in high definition, giving even more fans a chance to enjoy the fantastic October line-up.

Reno’s Old Time Music – October Lineup

Sept. 30 – Oct. 5: Best of Bluegrass

Charlie Waller

Oct. 7 – 12: Bluegrass Hall of Fame Series–

Charlie Waller & The Country Gentlemen

Oct. 14 – 19: Front Porch Gospel

Oct. 21 – 26: NEW SERIES–Super Pickin’ (Part 1)

Oct. 28 – Nov. 2: Tribute To Merle Haggard

“Reno’s Old Time Music” airs weekly in prime time on Saturday night at 7:00 P.M. Eastern and Thursday morning at 6:30 A.M. Eastern on RFD-TV and is sponsored by Derksen Portable Buildings, The Crooked Road-Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, Hadley’s Southern Kitchen and the Old Time Music Store (click HERE for more information and for exact times in your area).

For more information on Ronnie Reno or “Reno’s Old Time Music,” go to www.ronniereno.com.

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.

Brett Young gets RIAA GOLD, PLATINUM Awards

Number One single and smash hit album honored 

(L-R) EVP Big Machine Label Group/BMLG Records President Jimmy Harnen, Brett Young, Big Machine Label Group President/CEO Scott Borchetta, Photo Credit: BMLG Records

Brett Young is collecting Gold and Platinum Awards like a seasoned veteran. I have to remind myself that he’s a relative newcomer to Nashville with, essentially, one major label album and an EP to his name.  But don’t let that fool you.  He’s proving to be a hit machine.

CMA New Artist of the Year Nominee Young’s self-titled album has been certified GOLD by the RIAA. The album’s first single, “Sleep Without You,” achieved RIAA PLATINUM status, and another single, “In Case You Didn’t Know,” snapped up a RIAA 2X PLATINUM award.

Bridgestone Arena surprise for Brett

A few days ago, Young was surprised onstage at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, where he was appearing on the last stop of Lady Antebellum’s ‘You Look Good’ world tour. Big Machine Label Group President/CEO Scott Borchetta and EVP Big Machine Label Group/BMLG Records President Jimmy Harnen stepped on to the stage to honor the rising star with his awards in front of a cheering crowd of fans.

Michael Martin, ASCAP

Young is quick to recognize those who have been instrumental in the development of his career.  I was present at his first Number One party, held at the new FGL House, and he made a point of singling out Michael Martin, ASCAP’s Vice President who heads up Nashville Membership office. He said, “Meeting my mentor Michael Martin and his advice and wisdom is what brought me here.”

During the RIAA presentation at Bridgestone Arena, Young said, “I’m just doing what I love, so it’s cool to see this music mean something to other people too,” He added, “I’m so honored and thankful for the support of my fans, my team and Country radio for making all of it possible.”

“In Case You Didn’t Know” instantly soared up the charts, earning the title of the first Country song released in 2017 to hit PLATINUM status. The song thrived in the video format as well, landing a place in Vevo’s Top 10 Videos of 2017 (so far), surpassing 100 million views, joining the rankings with Zayn and Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar and DJ Khaled.

Baseball injury leads Brett to Nashville

Brett Young happens to be one of several singers and songwriters I know personally who can attribute their decision to switch career paths from sports to music as a result of a baseball injury. Born in Anaheim, California, he went to Ole Miss on a baseball scholarship after turning down pre-draft selection by both the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Minnesota Twins.  However, his major league pitching hopes were dashed by an elbow injury and he returned to his first love: music.

The phrase “New Artist of the Year” doesn’t tell the full story of Young’s musical journey. After replacing baseball with music, he spent eight years in Los Angeles, performing and recording several albums.  But his decision to move to Nashville proved to be a wise one. He was signed to Big Machine Label Group in 2015 and his six-song self-titled EP was released in February 2016. Young co-wrote the hit single “Sleep Without You” with Justin Ebach and Kelly Archer. “In Case You Didn’t Know” followed in January 2017.  A month later, BMLG released Young’s self-titled album, produced by the legendary Dan Huff.  A third single, “Like I Loved You” was released to country radio in July.

A baseball injury that probably seemed like a career killer at the time proved to be the catalyst to a successful new career, GOLD and PLATINUM awards, a nod from the CMA and millions of fans.

You can find tour dates and music at Brett Young’s official website here and follow him on Facebook here.

‘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.

# # #

Country’s ‘Gentle Giant’ passes

Don Williams, May 27, 1939 – September 8, 2017

The world of country music will miss Don Williams. I know I will.

Don Williams. Photo: don-williams.com

His unique voice, both deep and mellow; his endearing smile and winning personality; even his ‘scrunched-up’ signature hat, so different from the pristine Stetsons worn by many of his contemporaries.

Don truly was the ‘Gentle Giant’ who gave us seventeen Number One country chart toppers, along with many other hits and numerous albums. His style was so distinctive because, in a way, his subtle, laid-back delivery differed from most of the sounds coming out of Music City back in the 70s.

Signed by ‘Cowboy’ Jack Clement

Although the Floydada, Texas, native had been singing and playing throughout his childhood and teenage years – allegedly winning an alarm clock in a talent contest at the age of three – his break came when he moved to Nashville and secured a songwriting deal with legendary music publisher and songwriter ‘Cowboy’ Jack Clement. Clement later signed Williams to a recording contract and the chart hits began with “The Shelter of Your Eyes.”

His first Number One was 1974’s “I Wouldn’t Want To Live If You Didn’t Love Me,” and from that date through 1991, every one of his singles would make the Billboard Country Top 40 chart. He became an international star: he was popular in England at a time when most radio listeners could only name Jim Reeves and Dolly Parton as country artists.  Hits such as “Tulsa Time,” “It Must Be Love” and “She Never Knew Me” established him as a consistent presence on stage and on the radio. However, Williams’ popularity also got him cast on the big screen in “W.W. and The Dixie Dancekings” and “Smokey and the Bandit II.”

“I Believe In You”

His most memorable – and most iconic – song was recorded in 1980: “I Believe in You.”  His eleventh Number One on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, it was also a crossover hit peaking at number 24 in Billboard’s pop charts. To this day, it has remained a well-loved romantic ballad, popular across succeeding generations. The song was written by Roger Cook and Sam Hogin.  Whenever I see Roger performing at Writers’ Nights around Nashville, he only has to sing: “I don’t believe in…” for the crowd to start cheering, whistling and applauding before he even finishes the first line.  (On a sidebar, Roger was a popular recording artist in his own right back in his native England. His voice has matured to become similar to Don’s and I’m guessing Roger sang the demo that Don and his A&R team recognized immediately as hit material for Don.)

Don continued to be a major crowd-pleaser, touring and performing for sell-out crowds, even after radio programmers had decided to no longer put his songs in the ‘add’ column. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010.  His final performance was in 2016. He said, “It’s time to hang up my hat and enjoy some quiet time at home.”  Don passed away September 8, 2017 in Mobile, Alabama.

More about Don at his official website.

September’s ‘Inside Track on Music Row’

September’s “Inside Track on Music Row” is now posted and ready to read. It’s my monthly roundup of country music news and is the longest-running monthly country music column in America.  You can read the entire column (and previous columns) at my “I Know Country” website, and it is also posted at Nashville Music Guide.  (Thank you, NMG, for the Inside Track logo, above!) Here are three quick column items as a ‘teaser.’

KENTUCKY MUSIC HALL of FAME NEWS

Jackie DeShannon

In my homestate of KY, The Kentucky Music Hall of Fame has announced their ‘Class of 2018’ inductees. They are: Grand Ole Opry Star David “Stringbean” Akeman; 5-time IBMA Female Bluegrass artist of the Year Dale Ann Bradley; Grammy & Dove Award winner Jason Crabb; superstar recording artist Billy Ray Cyrus, hit songwriter and recording artist Jackie DeShannon; and “Boy with the Lute” Opry member Bobby Lewis. The induction ceremony will be held May 11, 2018, at the Center For Rural Development in Somerset, KY. The KMHoF honors Kentucky-born performers, songwriters, publishers, promoters, managers and other music professionals who have made significant contributions to the music industry locally and around the world. Former inductees include Loretta Lynn, Bill Monroe, Florence Henderson, Clarence Spalding, Rosemary Clooney, and many more.

ROAD NEWS:

Dierks Bentley

Dierks Bentley’s 2017 WHAT THE HELL WORLD TOUR has proven to be a force to be reckoned with as crowds of 25,000+, the biggest of his career, continue to flood arenas and amphitheaters across the country. He claimed the top spot on Billboard’s “Hot Tours” list selling more than half a million tickets before summer concert season even began.  From impromptu bluegrass sets in disguise to dancing in aisles with security guards, to touching salutes for military members to backstage antics with Jon Pardi, Bentley once again proves it’s the spontaneous moments that count. “I don’t want security, I don’t want anyone pushing people around. I’d rather risk bodily harm than have anyone be pushed or shoved,” said Bentley. “I’m dancing with girls in the aisles; I’m giving massages to the security people, like chop sueys on their backs.” Tour details at dierks.com.

R.O.P.E  AWARD NEWS:

Rex Allen Jr

Rex Allen Jr., noted as “the Golden Voice of Country and Western Music,” is among some of the most legendary names in music on the 2017 R.O.P.E. Award Show Ballot.  Allen is nominated for Entertainer of the Year, as well as Songwriter of the Year.  Allen is nominated alongside a long list of legends, including Leona Williams, Jeannie Seely, Gene Watson, The Osborne Brothers, Bill Anderson, Dallas Frazier and Willie Nelson. Voting is underway now.  Winners will be announced October 5th at R.O.P.E.’S 30th Annual Golden Banquet at the Al Menah Shrine Temple in Nashville, Tennessee.  The event will include a special tribute for Country Music Hall of Fame Member Mac Wiseman. Rex Allen Jr. is currently on his farewell tour, Sunrise to Sunset, but continues to record.  Tour info and more at rexallenjr.com

… and the full column can be found on the ‘blog’ page at iknowcountry.com.

 

It’s a bloomin’ boom in babies for country music moms and dads to be

‘Country’ babies on the way

Something in the water? Something in the air? Whatever it is, there will soon be several additions to the families of country artists in Music City. Baby bottles and diapers are in the future for these folks:

Photo: Cameron Powell

Dylan Scott had a chart-topper with “My Girl” but the Curb Records artist and his wife Blair are expecting their first child and nope, it won’t be a girl. The couple held a ‘reveal’ party, pulling poppers that showered out blue confetti. So the new addition will be … a boy!

 

Photo: People Magazine

Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard and wife Hayley announced that they, too, have Baby Number One on the way. The baby – a boy – is due in December. Hayley told People magazine that it’s something they’ve been looking forward to for a while, but “It’s all about God’s timing.”

 

Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty

Brantley and Amber Gilbert will also be shopping for baby clothes.  They are expecting their happy event in November.  Again, People magazine made the announcement (back in May) about the Gilberts’ good news after almost two years of trying.

 

 

Photo: Getty

Jason Aldean and wife of two years Brittany Kerr also found the path to parenthood threw them a few curves along the way. But former American Idol contestant Brittany took to social media to post: “Surprise! We are pregnant!” It’s blue bootees for the newest Aldean as the couple announce their first child will be a boy.

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/Getty

Chris Lucas – one half of the duo LOCASH – and his wife Kaitlyn are expecting their third child – a girl – in September.  The new baby will join six-year-old brother Caden and one-year-old sister Remi. Lucas told Nash Country Daily, “I think I’m done after that. My wife is done for sure!”

 

Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty/BMI

Meanwhile, Lady Antebellum is staging a one-band baby boom of their own. Hillary Scott and husband Chris Tyrrell are expecting baby number two in February next year.

 

 

Photo: Getty

And Lady A’s Dave Haywood and wife Kelli will welcome their second child (a girl) in December.  So, congrats and best wishes to all those proud parents to be and their babies.