Aaron Tippin deserves Working Man’s PhD

He wrote his way to a record deal

A learning moment for aspiring artists


When Aaron Tippin sings about the life of a working man, he speaks from experience. This is a guy who has got his hands dirty working up a sweat to earn his paycheck while writing his way to a record deal.

Aaron Tippin and Preshias at the 2016 CMA Music Festival
Aaron Tippin and Preshias at the 2016 CMA Music Festival

Born in Pensacola, Florida, but growing up in South Carolina, he was earning his living singing in local bars and working on getting his pilot’s license. By the age of 20, he had already found employment as a commercial pilot. Flying may be one of Aaron’s passions, but an even stronger one is music, leading him in 1986 to Nashville with his eyes on the prize of a record deal.

Once in Music City, he began to develop his craft as a songwriter, landing a song publishing contract with Acuff-Rose in 1987. Before long he was co-writing songs for Charley Pride, Mark Collie and David Ball among others. But a publishing deal and cuts by well-known artists didn’t exactly mean Aaron was on Easy Street. As the sun went down each day, he was driving north to Logan County, Kentucky, working a night shift at Logan Aluminum.

Aaron did not give up on his goal of being a recording artist and he developed his stage skills in Nashville clubs and honky tonks while continuing to write and sing demos of the songs he’d written or co-written. One day, RCA’s legendary A&R exec, Mary Martin, heard his voice on a demo and asked who he was. She was told, “It’s that Tippin guy down there who writes for Acuff-Rose – the muscle guy.” Martin said she wanted to hear what else he’d got.

His first record deal

A few days later, Aaron met with RCA’s label head Joe Galante who signed him to a record deal, adding him to a star roster that, at that time, included Clint Black, Keith Whitley and the Judds. Aaron’s first RCA single release, “You’ve Got to Stand for Something,” (co-written with Buddy Brock) was an immediate hit, peaking at number six on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in 1991. The patriotic theme of that song led to Bob Hope inviting Aaron to join him on a USO Tour, the first of many.

Other hits followed both at RCA and later at Lyric Street, including “I Wouldn’t Have it Any Other Way,” “There Ain’t Nothin’ Wrong With the Radio,” “When the Stars and Stripes and Eagle Fly” and “Working Man’s PhD.”

Stonehouse Winery's Aaron Tippin Country Jam wine
Stonehouse Winery’s Aaron Tippin Country Jam wine

In 2016, Aaron is celebrating his twenty-fifth year as a recording artist. To mark the occasion, he has teamed with Stonehouse Winery (also celebrating their twenty five years in business) who launched the ‘Aaron Tippin Country Jam’ blackberry wine.

Aaron’s unflagging determination is an inspiration to aspiring artists who can begin to feel disheartened when their careers seem to be heading nowhere. It would have been easy for Aaron to throw in the towel, quit songwriting and maybe take that full-time position at Logan Aluminum. But he didn’t. He kept at it; stayed ‘in the loop,’ continued co-writing, performed at bars and clubs, recorded demos for himself and other writers.

Success takes time

Many aspiring artists – and sometimes their families – come to Nashville and assume that if they haven’t ‘made it’ in six months or a year, then they don’t have what it takes. What it actually takes is perseverance, and Aaron Tippin is the poster child for stick-to-itiveness.

He was in Nashville for four years – four long years, it must have seemed – before he sat in Joe Galante’s office and signed his first record deal. If he had quit after six months or a year, nobody today would know the name Aaron Tippin. But after a quarter of a century he’s still going strong, recording new albums and touring year-round. At his shows, after he’s performed for ninety minutes or so, he always stays around until everyone who wants an autograph or a hug and a photo has had a chance to meet him – another lesson on how build an unshakably loyal fan base.

Aaron says, “I’m the luckiest hillbilly that ever lived.” But he is one of those people who makes his own luck. Remember the saying: Luck is what happens when Preparation meets Opportunity.” Aaron spent years preparing: writing, performing, recording demos. When the opportunity to meet the head of RCA came up, he was fully prepared and was launched on a twenty five year recording and performing career.

The psychologist Richard Wiseman carried out a ten-year study into the nature of luck that suggests that, to a large extent, people make their own good and bad fortune, and that it is possible to enhance the amount of luck that people encounter in their lives. Wiseman states:

“Lucky people generate their own good fortune via four basic principles. They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.”

If you are an aspiring artist, Dr. Wiseman’s findings are words to live by. And Aaron Tippin’s career path, his strong determination and his preparation to seize the opportunity when at last it was presented to him prove that luck is what you make it.

Aaron Tippin's new double album, '25'
Aaron Tippin’s new double album, ’25’

Visit Aaron Tippin’s website to read more about his life, his music and his tour schedule. And check out his new CD titled ‘25,’ a 2-disc album of his hits and brand new songs.


‘Nashville’ will stay in Nashville and on TV

CMT picks up 5th season of Nashville

Great news for songwriters

The stars of 'Nashville' celebrate the good news
The stars of ‘Nashville’ celebrate the good news

When Nashville was canceled by the ABC TV network, it was a gloomy day for fans who had followed four seasons of the television show. But it was also bad news for a lot of people (both business and creative) who had benefitted from the show.

So it was a ray of sunshine – on an already very sunny day – when three Nashville stars gathered onstage June 10 at the CMA Music Festival to spread the word that the popular TV series has a new home on CMT. Earlier in the day, CMT, Hulu, Lionsgate and ABC Studios announced that the critically acclaimed and fan favorite Nashville will return with a brand new season on CMT. Hulu will continue to bring fans the series by making all Nashville episodes available to stream the day after they air on CMT, according to a statement released by CMT.

Nashville star Charles Easten was performing on the Riverfront Park stage when he was joined by castmates Clare Bowen and Chris Carmack and CMT personality Coly Alan. They shared the good news with cheering fans as a banner rolled out to proclaiming the hashtags #NashvilleSaved and #NashvilleCMT.

But this was also great news for the Nashville business and creative communities.

'Nashville's stars announce show's move to CMT
‘Nashville’s stars announce show’s move to CMT

The show began as the brainchild of Ryman Hospitality, a Nashville-based tourism and entertainment company that pitched the concept to ABC. The show has been syndicated to 100+ countries and is widely regarded as promoting Nashville as a tourist destination. In fact, the State of Tennessee and Metro Nashville viewed Nashville as a weekly hour-long commercial for visiting the city.

In addition to tourism dollars, Nashville has had a major impact on those employed in the local film and entertainment industry, providing employment for up to 500 people during the 200 days of filming each year.

It was great news for songwriters when Nashville got green lighted for a fifth season, too.

Nashville is a rarity among TV shows in that it regularly features new songs, mostly from Nashville songwriters, that are performed by the cast members. The show’s producers keep a stockpile of songs for each of the show’s characters that they can work into the storyline. When they are hunting for a new song, they’ll contact 25 or more song publishers and listen to a lot of demos.

Getting a song on a hit TV show like Nashville can lead to a nice payday for a songwriter. Even so, publishers are sometimes leery of granting a license to a TV show if they believe the song has a shot at being a big hit on Country radio for a major artist, because that’s still where the big paydays start.

The show has spawned around 16 soundtrack albums (all of which have been released via Big Machine Records) so in many cases songwriters benefitted from both the song being licensed to the show and the record release. Several of the soundtrack albums have peaked in the top ten on the Country album charts.

So the renewal of Nashville on CMT and Hulu is good news for the shows fans, Nashville-based film crew, the tourist industry and particularly for songwriters.

So… get in those Writer’s Rooms, familiarize yourself with the type of songs that make the cut to become part of the show, and get your creative juices flowing! Nashville is back in Nashville and that’s good news for everyone.


Kevin Montgomery travels worldwide with house concerts

Kevin Montgomery will play for you, anywhere in the world

Kevin Montgomery, world traveler
Kevin Montgomery, world traveler

My dear friend Kevin Montgomery has to be one of most traveled singers in the world. As well as appearing at ‘normal’ music venues, Kevin specializes in house concerts. And house concerts are exactly what the name suggests: he will come to your house, anywhere in the world.

In his blog at his website, Kevin explains it like this: “16 years ago when I started doing house concerts I would get some strange looks, especially from artists that were on the more traditional path. Now, it seems everyone wants to do them. Why? Because they are awesome. I bring a small sound system, set it up in a living room, or whatever space is appropriate, and do a show. The host brings their friends, co-workers, family, etc …and we have a party… with a human CD player… me.”

He is prepared to go anywhere. He’s been as far as the Outback of Australia, where he traveled 13 hours (seven of it down a dirt road) to get to a farm where he performed on a flatbed trailer for folks that had driven from as far away as 250 kilometers. He went there after a fan bought his CD from Amazon and then got in touch with him about hosting a concert. He has performed frequently in all parts of the United Kingdom, including Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. I managed to catch up with him at a show in Maidstone, England, a few years ago.

“At this point I’ve probably done 300 house concerts,” he noted. “Four ‘50 States in 50 Days’ tours brings that number up to 200 alone.”

Kevin has a notable musical heritage, being the son of the late, great songwriter Bob Montgomery, who got his start in Lubbock, Texas, as half of a duo with Buddy Holly. Bob co-wrote a number of Holly’s biggest hits, including ‘Heartbeat,’ ‘Love’s Made a Fool of You’ and ‘Wishing.’ He also wrote the pop standard, ‘Misty Blue’ that has been a hit for various artists, including Eddie Arnold, Joe Simon and Dorothy Moore.

This summer, Kevin Montgomery will be remaining in the US for a while, but says he is open to literally going anywhere, if he gets asked to perform at a house concert. You can find out where Kevin is in the world right now, learn more about his house concerts, check out tour dates and listen to some of his music here.

Dolly Parton renews her vows of 50 years to Carl Dean

Parton to Sell Ceremony Photos to Benefit Children’s Charities

(Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

If you see Dolly Parton, tell her congratulations of her recent wedding. Huh?! Well, not exactly a wedding, but the next best thing. Dolly and Carl Dean, who recently celebrated a sweet milestone of 50 years of marriage, will be releasing photos from their renewal ceremony to the highest bidder to benefit children’s charities. The couple tied the knot on May 30, 1966, and for their golden wedding anniversary, they renewed their vows during a private ceremony in Nashville, Tennessee.

“If I had it to do all over, I’d do it all over again, and we did,” says Dolly Parton. “I’m dragging him kicking and screaming into the next 50 years. Wish us luck. In all honesty, the only way I was able to get Carl to do any of this in the first place was that it was a great opportunity for us to raise money for some very worthy causes.”

Carl Dean, a man who has stayed out of the spotlight for many years, will soon be seen by all. In addition to being photographed, Carl has also agreed to do his first interview, where fans have submitted questions and Dolly has asked the questions. This exclusive interview will soon be released to coincide with the photos.

“My first thought was I’m gonna marry that girl,” says Carl Dean reacting to the first time seeing Dolly at the Wishy Washy Laundromat. “My second thought was, Lord she’s good lookin’. And that was the day my life began. I wouldn’t trade the last 50 years for nothing on this earth.”

The country icon will be selling those photos, which include images of her rarely seen husband Carl Dean. Interested outlets looking to obtain rights to the images can email: dollyweddingphotos@gmail.com

Parton recently kicked off the ‘Pure & Simple Tour,’ her largest North American tour in more than 25 years. Just a week after Parton announced the first leg, many shows have limited tickets available and additional dates have been added through November. CLICK HERE to view an updated tour schedule, purchase tickets and VIP packages.

Dierks Bentley’s ‘Black’ tops two Billboard charts

The top sales week of Dierks’ career

Dierks Bentley BlackIt’s been a good week for Dierks Bentley. In fact, as his latest album, BLACK, hit Number One on the Billboard Top Albums and Billboard Country Albums Chart, it was the top sales week of career.

BLACK (Capitol Records Nashville) moved over 101,000 units upon release with 88,000 of those as traditional album scans. The album has already produced the multi-week No. one hit “Somewhere On A Beach,” and its follow-up “Different for Girls” (featuring Elle King) debuts this week as the most added at Country Radio with more than 100 first week stations on board.

Bentley will join forces with Elle King for the television debut of “Different For Girls” at the 2016 CMT Music Awards on Wednesday (6/8 on CMT at 7P CT) before he kicks off the first night of CMA Music Festival Thursday (6/9) at Nissan Stadium and returns to his 2016 SOMEWHERE ON A BEACH TOUR this weekend. For more information on the new album and tour dates, visit www.dierks.com.

Stars come out for CMA Music Festival

Don’t miss chance to see Nashville’s rising stars, too

2016-CMAMusicFestival-Logo-Badge-4C-1It’s June in Nashville and that means it’s time for the CMA Music Festival. And as usual, it looks like the weather will be HOT and maybe a little stormy, but if it’s anything like last year, fans will be happy to brave the heat for a chance to get in front of their favorite acts.

One of the great things about the CMA Music Festival is that, in addition to the headliners, music fans get to see the rising stars and the breaking acts; often up close and personal.

Yes, Nissan Stadium (home of the Tennessee Titans) will be the place to see headliners such as Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Charlie Daniels, Chris Stapleton, Chris Young, Clint Black, Dierks Bentley, Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, Keith Urban and Kelsea Ballerini to name a few. But there is SO much more talent to be seen and heard around town. Many of the clubs and bars in downtown Nashville will be hosting shows all week, offering an unbeatable opportunity to see and listen to some amazingly gifted bands, singers and songwriters.

Plus… there are the ‘free’ stages! The seven ‘no ticket required’ stages allow visitors to enjoy music from legends to up-and-comers. The free concert stages include Chevrolet Riverfront Stage (gates open at 9:00 am for Festival four-day ticket holders, and 9:45 am for the general public), Chevrolet Cruze Park Stage located at the Park between Hilton Suites and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the AT&T Skyview Stage and the Budweiser Acoustic Stage (both at the Ascend Amphitheater), and the Gildan Broadway Stage at the Hard Rock Café, located at Broadway and First Avenue.

Where to start? Best bet: go to the CMA Music Festival website to see who’s playing when and where. And be sure to check out those bars and clubs where some of my favorite singer-songwriters will be playing!

Luke Bryan’s snafu provides learning moment for emerging artists

Luke Bryan is tagged
Luke Bryan is tagged

As ‘wardrobe malfunctions’ go, it wasn’t the world’s worst, but it was a bit embarrassing for Luke Bryan who was performing live on the Today show. He was singing “I Don’t Want This Night to End,” a song that was a Number One hit for him in 2011 and went on to be certified double platinum by RIAA. The rain was coming down as Bryan performed the song and, on impulse, he decided to peel off his damp jacket.

That would have been fine – except fluttering from his T-shirt were the white tags, still hanging from the collar. It took a minute or two before Bryan realized what the fans were pointing at, and he laughed as he stopped to pull off the tags and toss them into the crowd. For many, it was reminiscent of Minnie Pearl (Sarah Cannon) who would appear on the Grand Ole Opry stage wearing a fancy straw hat with the price tag hanging from the brim.

Luke Bryan is not easily flummoxed and, as an established star, can easily handle minor snafus such as a forgotten tag on a T-shirt. But if you are an emerging artist, there’s a learning moment here. Walking out on stage with an overlooked price tag or sticky size label attached to your clothing might be enough to throw you off kilter, just when you wanted to sound and look your best. There you are, starting your first song, and you notice audience members smirking and staring at… what? OMG! The price tag is still on my shirt!!

Unless you are at Luke Bryan’s star level, dealing with that kind of a moment is not something you’ll want to do. So let Bryan’s boo-boo be a reminder for you as you prepare for every performance: Are all the labels and tags removed from your clothes? Are zippers zipped up and buttons buttoned up? Is there toilet paper stuck to the heel of your boot? Something green stuck in your teeth?

Take a moment before every show to ensure your appearance is just the way it should be (better still, have someone else give you a quick visual once-over) and you won’t have a ‘wardrobe malfunction’ that throws you off balance at a crucial moment.

Confederate Railroad album out July 15

Confederate RailroadFans of Southern Rock/Country will be pleased to know that multi-platinum-selling Confederate Railroad will release their upcoming album, Lucky to be Alive, on July 15. The project features guest appearances by Willie Nelson, John Anderson, Colt Ford and former NFL coach, Jerry Glanville, on a special 20th anniversary version of their signature smash, “Trashy Women.”

The band is out on tour right now but will be in Nashville, June 10, for shows on the WSM Stage and Nashville Palace during the CMA Music Festival. The blockbuster tour will hit both the east and west coast and everywhere in between.

Confederate Railroad are perhaps best known for their hit single, “Trashy Women,” the fourth single from their self-titled 1994 album. That album had already been the source of three other singles (“She Took It Like A Man,” “Jesus and Mama” and “Queen of Memphis”) all of which sold well, but “Trashy Women” became their monster hit, earned a Grammy nomination and is regarded as their ‘signature song.’

Latest tour info and samples from the new album here.

Garth and Trisha heading to San Antonio

small-Garth_Brooks_-_Man_Against_Machine-minFrom the “Time Flies When You’re Having Fun” Department… Can it really be 18 years since Garth and Trisha played San Antonio, Texas? The answer is ‘Yes!’ The Garth Brooks World Tour With Trisha Yearwood World Tour will include two concerts in San Antonio Friday July 22 at 7:00 pm and Saturday July 23 at AT&T Center.

Tickets go on sale Friday June 3 at 10:00 am CDT. There’s an eight-ticket limit per purchase, and tickets can only be purchased at ticketmaster.com or ticketmaster.com/garthbrooks. Tickets (including taxes, facility fees and service charges) are $74.98.

BTW, Garth’s most recent album, 2014’s ‘Man Against Machine’ has been certified platinum by RIAA, making him once again the #1-selling artist in US History with 136 million sold. More about Garth here including latest tour dates

A Preshias Musical Definition

Preshias music notes graphic crop black pinkPitch Meeting

A meeting at which publishers or their song pluggers meet with record producers and/or artist management and play them demos of songs that they believe match the producer’s stated needs for an upcoming project. As a result, a song or songs might be put on hold.