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!”

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.

Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Class of 2017

Induction ceremony set for October 23

Four of Nashville’s finest will receive one of the music industry’s most coveted honors: induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. The class of 2017 consists of Jim McBride, Walt Aldridge, Tim Nichols and the late Vern Gosdin.

Pictured (l-r) are: Pat Alger, Buddy Cannon (representing the late Vern Gosdin), Jim McBride, Tim Nichols, Walt Aldridge and Mark Ford, executive director of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. (Photo courtesy: Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame)

The announcement was made at a news conference on August 9 by Pat Alger, chair of the organization’s board of directors. The induction ceremony will take place on October 23 at the Music City Center.

As in previous years, there are several categories for the new inductees. Aldridge and Nichols will be inducted in the Songwriters category, McBride is the inductee in the Veterans category, and Gosdin will be honored in the Songwriter/Artist category.

Walt Aldridge

Walt Aldridge

Walt Adridge has written hit songs for artists such as Ronnie Milsap (“There’s No Getting Over Me”), Earl Thomas Conley (“Holding Her and Loving You”) and Conway Twitty (“She’s Got a Single Thing In Mind”). Florence, AL, native Aldridge was also an integral part of the Muscle Shoals music scene, working at the aptly named Fame Studios.

Tim Nichols

Tim Nichols

Tim Nichols wrote “You’re Not in Kansas Anymore” for Jo Dee Messina, “I’m Over You” for Keith Whitley and “Cowboys and Angels for Dustin Lynch. One of his biggest hits was his 2004 song for Tim McGraw, “Live Like You Were Dying,” co-written with Craig Wiseman. That song won the Grammy Award for Best Country Song at the 47th Grammy Awards and was the ACM ‘Song of the Year.’

Jim McBride

Jim McBride

Jim McBride, the honoree in the Veteran category, has had a long career as a songwriter, having written his first song when he was twelve. Success eluded him until he moved from Huntsville, AL, to Nashville and began to get cuts including “A Bridge That Just Won’t Burn” for Conway Twitty. The song won McBride’s first BMI Award along with co-writer Roger Murrah. Other McBride hits include “Chattahoochie” for Alan Jackson and songs cut by John Anderson, Waylon Jennings and many more.

Vern Gosdin

Vern Gosdin

Vern Gosdin racked up nineteen Top-Ten Country chart hits between 1977 and 1990, including three Number Ones: “I Can Tell By the Way You Dance,” “Set ‘Em Up Joe” (a tribute to Ernest Tubb), and “I’m Still Crazy.” He faced several setbacks including signing with record labels that either shut down or went bankrupt. He almost left the music business entirely in the 1970s, operating a glass company in Cartersville, GA, before being coaxed back and creating a string of hits including 1983’s “Tennessee Courage,” a song Gosdin co-wrote with Louis Brown and Max D. Barnes.  Known to his many fans as ‘The Voice,’ Vern Gosdin passed away following a stroke in April 2009.

The Hall of Fame

The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to honoring and preserving the songwriting legacy that is uniquely associated with the Nashville music community. Its purpose is to educate, celebrate and archive the achievements and contributions made by members of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame to the world.  The class of 2017 will join be joining the 203 members previously inducted in the NSHoF.

Read more about the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and see photos and info about all the inductees here.

Triple Number One party for Aldean and songwriters

Celebrating three Number Ones from latest album

It was a songwriters’ night with a difference: each of the featured writers on stage was a co-writer of a Number One hit for Jason Aldean from his album, THEY DON’T KNOW. The event also marked some ‘firsts’ for some of the writers.

First row (L to R): Deric Ruttan, Brian Kelly, Tyler Hubbard, Jason Aldean, Josh Thompson, Michael Knox / Second Row (L to R): Wendell Mobley, Jimmy Robbins, Tony Martin, Brad Martin, Jordan Schmidt, Jerry Flowers, Brett Warren
Photo Credit: Steve Lowry

Two-time and reigning ACM Entertainer of the Year Jason Aldean took over Nashville’s Wildhorse Saloon August 2nd to celebrate each single off his seventh studio album THEY DON’T KNOW reaching No. One. Marking 19 career chart-toppers, Aldean gathered alongside friends and family to perform “Lights Come On,” “A Little More Summertime” and “Any Ol’ Barstool” with each of the tracks’ songwriters. For the event, fans were invited to Lower Broadway’s famed venue, which is the same place Aldean played the showcase that landed him his record deal with Broken Bow Records.

Lights Come On

Serving as the lead single and No. One hit from THEY DON’T KNOW, Jason Aldean performed the smash hit “Lights Come On,” sharing vocals with songwriters Florida Georgia Line’s Brian Kelley (BMI) and Tyler Hubbard (BMI), as well as Jimmy Robbins (ASCAP), Jordan Schmidt (ASCAP), Brad Warren (BMI) and Brett Warren (BMI). The hit serves as Schmidt’s first No. One as a songwriter as well as the first for Kelley and Hubbard’s Tree Vibez Music publishing company.

A Little More Summertime

Following suit, Aldean was joined on stage by songwriters Jerry Flowers (ASCAP), Tony Martin (BMI) and Wendell Mobley (BMI) to perform a stripped-down version of THEY DON’T KNOW’s second No. One single, “A Little More Summertime.”

Any Ol’ Barstool

To close out the round, Aldean invited Deric Ruttan (ASCAP) and Josh Thompson (BMI) to the stage who serve as the songwriters behind his “Any Ol’ Barstool.” It is the third consecutive chart topper off his seventh studio album. Aldean’s 19th career No. One serves as Thompson’s first No. One as a songwriter.

Aldean’s most recent album, THEY DON’T KNOW, follows each album release earning PLATINUM certification or better, tallying more than 15 million total album sales and 19 No. One hits. The longevity of his career reached new heights as he debuted at the No. One position on Billboard’s all-genre Top 200 Album chart for the third consecutive time. In addition to his THEY DON’T KNOW TOUR, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is showcasing a special exhibit titled  ‘Jason Aldean: Asphalt Cowboy,’ commemorating his wide-open sound that has been one of the defining influences on today’s Country Music. For more information and for a full list of upcoming tour dates, visit www.jasonaldean.com.

Information provided by the Green Room, Nashville.

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