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
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.
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., 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
The 52nd Annual ACM Awards will air live on CBS on Sunday, April 2nd at 8 p.m. ET, from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley will once again serve as hosts.
Scheduled performances include FGL and the Backstreet Boys who will perform their new single, “God, Your Mama and Me.” Also performing: Faith Hill, Sam Hunt, Tim McGraw, Reba McEntire, Thomas Rhett, Chris Stapleton, Cole Swindell, Jon Pardi, Kelsea Ballerini, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban (who has SEVEN nominations in five categories!) and Contemporary Christian artist Lauren Daigle.
Here is a list of all the 2017 ACM nominees, so you can keep score during the show.
Here are just a few ‘teasers’ from the October 2016 edition of my monthly column, ‘Inside Track on Music Row,’ the longest-running country music column in America. You can read the entire column in the Blog section of my website www.iknowcountry.com
CHRISTMAS CD RELEASES
Chris Young is releasing “It Must Be Christmas” on RCA Records Nashville, and Loretta Lynn is releasing “White Christmas Blue” on the Legacy Recordings label. On a SPECIAL NOTE: Rascal Flatts will release THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL, their first-ever Christmas album, on Oct. 21. The much-anticipated 10-track collection was produced by Rascal Flatts and features moving and powerhouse performances that the trio is known for, while offering personal touches to some fan-favorite staples of the festive season. The album is available for pre-order at rascalflatts.com. The album opens with a rousing rendition of “Joy To The World and features a sentimental version of “Silent Night” opening with vocals from the children of all three band members, and Stevie Wonder’s “Someday At Christmas.”
NUMBER ONE NEWS
Hailed as “King of the Breakup Song,” Dierks Bentley notched his 15th career No. One with “Different for Girls” (featuring Elle King) on both the Billboard Country Airplay and Mediabase radio charts. It is the second consecutive No. One hit off his critically acclaimed album BLACK (Capitol Records Nashville).“This is one of those ‘once-in-a-career’ songs, and I’m so glad we decided to take a risk and release it as a single,” said Bentley. “Being part of Elle’s first No. One country song is a really cool thing too.” Bentley’s ‘Somewhere On A Beach Tour’ was recently extended into the fall with arena dates scheduled through the end of October. More info and tour dates at dierks.com.
Traditional country music fans can rejoice because, due to high demand, sold out shows and the success of his brand new album, Mark Chesnutt is extending his Tradition Lives Tour into next year. In celebration of his first album of all-new material in eight years, Tradition Lives, Chesnutt has hit the road to share songs from the new release, as well as his biggest hits, with concert-goers around the U.S. Tradition Lives is available on iTunes, Amazon and at MarkChesnutt.com. Here’s another item that will be featured in more detail in the November edition of my Inside Track on Music Row column: Chesnutt has been named the official spokesperson of the recently established Texas Country Music Association (TCMA). He is also spokesperson for the TCMA’s charity,Texas Country Cares. More about TCMA here.
Grammy-nominated hit singer/songwriter Brady Seals from Little Texas (God Blessed Texas, Kick a Little, My Love, What Might Have Been and Amy’s Back in Austin) and award-winning songwriter/producer Gordon Kennedy (Change The World by Eric Clapton) are kicking off a new weekly concert series, Music City Pickers LIVE! The opening night will be Thursday, November 3, 2016 with two shows (6-7:30pm CST and 8:30-10pm CST), followed by a special performance on Tuesday, November 8th and then two shows every Thursday evening starting in December.
This weekly singer/songwriter show will be held at The Factory at Franklin (230 Franklin Road/Franklin, TN) at The Little Brick Theater and will consist of hit writers, prominent artists and guitar pickers. Tickets are on sale now. Schedule for opening night (November 3, 2016) is as follows: 6-7:30pm: Brady Seals, Gordon Kennedy and Larry Stewart (Restless Heart) 8:30-10pm: Legendary mega-picker Ricky Skaggs, Brady Seals and Gordon Kennedy. Full details here.
My monthly column, ‘Inside Track on Music Row,’ is published in magazines and on websites worldwide. To read archived columns, go to www.iknowcountry.com and click on the ‘Blog’ link. You can also find out about my new e-book, “I Know Country!” – a collection of 366 country music Q&As – and follow a link to where you can buy your own copy.
Send me music stuff, I love to get it! / Preshiaswriter@hotmail.com TN/USA. Google “Preshias”
VERSE OF THE MONTH
“When I am afraid, in you I place my trust.” – Psalm 56:4
John McEuen, the Grammy-award winning producer, songwriter and musician, has announced his plans to release his sixth solo album titled MADE IN BROOKLYN (Chesky Records). The 16-track collection was created in similar fashion to the landmark ‘Will the Circle Be Unbroken’ that McEuen initiated in 1971. The new album is scheduled for a September 30, 2016 release. McEuen convened an exceptional group of musicians, all of whom have been instrumental in molding American Music in their own right, for a project produced to give the listener an “in-studio experience.” The album is part of Chesky’s Binaural + Series: the live performances were captured in high-resolution (24-bit/192kHz) with the single “Dummy Head” microphone system. The dummy head’s ear microphones are specially calibrated to recreate the spatial characteristics of human hearing to offer a spacious, lush and multi-dimensional listening experience. More at chesky.com
Without a doubt, Dolly Parton continues to be one of the most aggressive artists in music when it comes to marketing themselves, and the Country Music Hall of Fame member continues that trend with the upcoming August 19 release of her new disc Pure & Simple – with four different pre-order bundles to help promote the album. The bundles range from the Standard Bundle ($40) to the Commemorative Bundle ($400). Fans can go to shop.dollyparton.com for more information regarding the bundles. In other Dolly news, the entertainment icon has just released the title track lyric video, which can be viewed at dollyparton.com.
Many of the top nominees for the 2016 IBMA awards are among the featured guests on “Reno’s Old Time Music” show throughout the month of August. This year’s Entertainer and Vocal Group of the Year nominee, Balsam Range will kick off the month with a “Reno’s Old Time Music” full-performance show, followed by the “Queen of Bluegrass” and Female Vocalist of the Year nominee, Rhonda Vincent. Rhonda returns as to guest co-host the “best-of” series, “Hats Off to Bluegrass,” as does Sierra Hull, who is poised to be the to take home Album of the Year and Mandolin Player of the Year honors. To fill out the month, “Reno’s Old Time Music” has compiled all of the fan-favorite performances from its popular “Front Porch Gospel” series. For a full schedule and show times visit ronniereno.com.
Jimmy Wayne’s three-time New York Times best-selling book, Walk to Beautiful, has celebrated a milestone as it crossed the 100,000 sales mark for print copies. Jimmy’s memoir, released in October of 2014, has not only captivated readers, it has inspired positive change in the foster care system and compelled individuals to get involved in helping at risk foster kids. “I wrote Walk To Beautiful with best-selling author Ken Abraham after walking from Nashville to Phoenix to raise awareness for at-risk foster children,” says Jimmy. “When I was 16, I was given a home by Bea and Russell Costner, and I wouldn’t be here today if not for their kindness and generosity.” More at jimmywayne.com.
Shooter Jennings and BCR Los Angeles will re-release his 2010 album, Black Ribbons, in a limited-edition package that includes vinyl, cd and unreleased tracks. The reissue comes in at the perfect time for the genre-breaking, dystopian concept album… Election Day, November 8, 2016. Narrated by famed horror author Stephen King, Black Ribbons is a concept album set in the near future, when the U.S. Government has control over the airwaves, and a lone radio DJ vows to play the one band the authorities don’t want him to play. Along with the re-release, Jennings announced a limited series entitled “Beyond The Black,” which takes music lovers song by song through the story of Black Ribbons and how the concepts and theories behind the project still ring true today. Album info and tour dates at shooterjennings.com.
Kiefer Sutherland’s second music video, “Can’t Stay Away,” premiered during CMT’s Hot 20 Countdown in late July. The track is the latest release from Sutherland’s debut album Down In A Hole, which will be released August 19 by Warner Music Nashville/Ironworks Music. Down In A Hole will be available for pre-order August 5. Sutherland, who co-wrote every song on the upcoming 11-track album with producer Jude Cole just wrapped up a North American tour that included sold-out dates across the U.S. and Canada. Updates at kiefersutherland.com.
Reviver Records recording artist Michael Tyler is providing a glimpse of his Missouri roots in a CMT premiere of his debut single “CRAZY LAST NIGHT,” available now through digital retailers. The song was recently selected as one of Billboard’s Country Songs of the Summer Picks and is currently playing on country radio. Tyler, already a No. 1 songwriter, co-penned Dierks Bentley’s two-week No. 1 smash “Somewhere on a Beach” as well as cuts by Jason Aldean and LOCASH and the Aldean/Kelsea Ballerini duet “First Time Again.” See the video and check out tour dates at themichaeltyler.com.
CMH of FAME NEWS
The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum will examine the life and career of 2016 Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Charlie Daniels in the exhibition Charlie Daniels: Million Mile Reflections, opening Sept. 23, 2016, and running through March 2017. Featuring musical instruments, stage wear, manuscripts, awards, childhood mementos and previously unpublished photographs from Daniels’ personal collection, the exhibit will describe his significant impact on American entertainment and explore the new musical style and image he brought to country music. Daniels moved to Nashville in 1967 at the urging of Columbia Records producer Bob Johnston, who hired him to play on albums by Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Marty Robbins. See countrymusichalloffame.org.
Fans of American music superstars Dailey & Vincent will get an up-close and personal experience as the award-winning duo hits the road throughout 2016 with a jam-packed tour schedule which includes stops throughout North America. Fans will get the opportunity to meet the multi Grammy-nominated group during autograph sessions at venues and festivals. The Springer Mountain Farms sponsored tour kicked off earlier this year, with additional stops recently added. The dynamic duo will also host additional episodes of their hit music-driven television show, “The Dailey & Vincent Show.” The 30-minute program appears weekly on RFD-TV, which is available in 63 million households across all 50 states. For update tour dates and TV show info, go to daileyandvincent.com.
DVD NEWS & RELEASES
Music legend Brian Wilson and BMG, in collaboration with the groundbreaking television series “Soundstage” (PBS) have released Brian Wilson and Friends, a new live CD/DVD set and Blu-ray. Filmed live at the Venetian Theatre in Las Vegas on December 12, 2014, the 19-track CD and 26-track DVD/Blu-ray editions feature many of the top hits and fan favorites spanning Wilson’s 54-year career with The Beach Boys and as a solo artist. Brian Wilson & Friends originally aired on PBS nationwide throughout 2015. Details and track listing at BrianWilson.com.
Kenny and Amanda Smith have released the first single, “You Know That I Would,” from their forthcoming album, Unbound. The CD, the 7th release from the Smiths and their band, is set for release on September 23, 2016, and is available for pre-order now. Unbound features 13 remarkable cuts from some of today’s most prolific writers, including Ed Williams, Ronnie Bowman, Dennis K. Duff, Roger Helton, Barry Bales, Lisa Shaffer, Elli Rowe, Jason Burleson, Tim Stafford, Thomm Jutz, Kylie Sackley, Lacy Green, and Craig Market. The collection is described as “a warm and winning musical journey.” Kenny is a two-time IBMA Guitarist of the Year award winner, and Amanda won the 2014 IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year Award. More at kenny-amandasmith.com
Little Extra Music singer/songwriter Kelsey Waters has signed with booking powerhouse William Morris Endeavor Entertainment (WME) for representation. Raised in the 30-A region of the Florida panhandle, Kelsey was playing bars before she could even drive. She moved to Nashville at 20 and quickly began making inroads in the music scene. After signing her publishing deal with Little Extra Music, she was soon hard at work with some of her songwriting idols like Lori McKenna (“Girl Crush”, “Humble & kind”) and Tia Sillers (“I Hope You Dance”, “There’s Your Trouble”, “Blue On Black.”) She’s built a growing catalog of songs that are both universal and reflective of her unique slant on life. See LittleExtraMusic.com.
INSPIRATIONAL MUSIC NEWS
Hillary Scott & The Scott Family gathered with over two hundred of their closest friends and family at Nashville’s The Bell Tower, as they introduced music from their new album LOVE REMAINS (EMI Nashville). The album, a 13-track collection of faith-based songs, is a combination of hymns Hillary grew up singing in church, newly-written originals and songs made popular by other artists. With the help of producer Ricky Skaggs, the album blurs the lines between gospel, bluegrass, country and pop. It follows more than 11 million album sales worldwide for Hillary Scott as one-third of the one of the world’s most popular groups, Lady Antebellum. For more information on new music, a full list of upcoming tour dates and more, visit hillaryscott.com.
(UMG) Dierks Bentley has announced the extension to his 2016 SOMEWHERE ON A BEACH TOUR with the addition of arena dates following two nights at Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre (9/26 & 9/27). Beginning Oct. 13 in Ft. Wayne, IN, the tour will continue through the end of October with Randy Houser and special guest Drake White & The Big Fire. Fans can now purchase presale tickets to first announced dates at Dierks.com. “We’re about 30 shows in so far, and I feel like we are just getting started…the songs from the new album are really connecting like nothing I’ve experienced before, the band and crew are in a great groove and we’re having the time of our lives out there,” said Bentley.
‘Noise’ set a milestone for Kenny Chesney when the song became his ‘most added’ first week single ever; ‘adds’ indicating a song being added to country radio station playlists. The song was co-written by Chesney with Shane McAnally, Ross Copperman and Jon Nite. Chesney’s album, with the working title of ‘Some Town Somewhere,’ originally scheduled for a July 8 release, has been pushed to October 28 due to a collaboration with Pink on ‘Setting the World on Fire.’ Additionally, Chesney announced a change to the title of his new album. It will now be titled ‘Cosmic Hallelujah.’ Chesney said that album titles are around for a very long time and he tries to have titles that give people a sense of what the music is, and what the album is all about. He added, “When I pulled back and listened: these songs are all about taking ‘The Big Revival’ to the next level; that level is Cosmic Hallelujah.” Tour info, etc, at kennychesney.com.
Songstress Caitlyn Smith has spent the last several years behind the curtain, penning songs for artists such as Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton, Cassadee Pope, Kenny Rogers, Meghan Trainor and more. She has now released five tracks from her Paul Moak-produced, full-length debut album, Starfire, expected early next year. The five tracks, each co-written by Smith, are a sampling of what’s to come from the expectant mother’s full-length album. The five songs, available everywhere digital music is sold and streamed. More at caitlynsmith.com.
When you win a whole mantle full of awards – from both fans and critics – you must be doing something right. In the case of the Trinity River Band, they’re doing a whole lot of things right. Now, the Trinity River Band have released their brand new album titled Things We Do For Dreams (Orange Blossom Records). The first single from the album, “Come Back Train,” written by Jerry Salley and Cassidy Lynn Alexander, has already entered the Bluegrass Today Top 20 Chart and the Roots Music Report Top 50 Bluegrass Singles chart. The new project presents the band’s popular mix of inspirational country, acoustic roots and bluegrass that has created a loyal following of fans nationwide. For a current list of tour dates and more details about their albums, visit www.thetrinityriverband.com.
Jason Aldean’s SIX STRING CIRCUS TOUR launched May 19th in Rogers, AR, with support from Thomas Rhett and A Thousand Horses (A few dates with DJ Silver). As the first-ever Country artist to take the stage at Boston’s Fenway Park, Aldean will route the tour to the home of the Red Sox on Sept. 9 to co-headline with multi-Platinum award-winner Kid Rock. The tour is a 27-city run. The last date listed to catch his 2016 show is October 1st in Bristow, VA. **MUSIC NOTE EXTRA** “Lights Come On” marks the 17th career chart topper for Jason. Landing the # 1 position on the Billboard Country Airplay and Mediabase radio charts, Aldean also announced his seventh studio album THEY DON’T KNOW (Broken Bow Records) will be available Sept. 9th (Same day as album drops) and fans can pre-order the album at all available digital retailers. Aldean is currently headlining his Six String Circus Tour. For more information on new music and for a full list of upcoming tour dates, visit www.jasonaldean.com.
Dierks Bentley’s BLACK will be released on vinyl, available on Aug. 12. Bentley’s most personal record yet has already delivered a one-two punch of critical and commercial muscle with the multi-week No. one smash of the summer anthem “Somewhere On A Beach,” and the provocative and vulnerable “Different For Girls,” featuring 2x Grammy nominated friend Elle King. “When we created this album, I kept imagining the flow of this record being told with an ‘A’ side and ‘B’ side,” said Bentley. “With BLACK, every little detail has mattered to me and I can’t wait for fans to hear the whole album this way.” Details at dierks.com
It’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.