Amanda Winter proves determination can overcome challenges

New Christmas EP, release party set for Dec 4

As any successful artist or songwriter will tell you, they faced a lot of challenges on the way to the top.  They got where they are today because they didn’t give up on their dreams, despite the setbacks.

An emerging artist who has endured more than her share of challenges in her life is Amanda Winter. Born to a drug-addicted mother, Amanda was shuttled between foster homes as a child with only her growing love of music to keep her focused.

She is set to release her first Nashville Christmas EP, “Christmas Before You,” on December 4th. The project showcases a heart tugging tune co-written by Amanda and Mikalene Ipson. The title track depicts the yearnings of a young child and those of a childless couple during the Holidays. The six-song project was produced by Grammy® nominated producer Kent Wells and also features five seasonal Christmas favorites. Proceeds from the sale of the music will be donated to a local foster care organization. The EP is available on all digital platforms.

Release party at The Studio

Amanda will celebrate the release of her new EP with a special concert at 6:00 pm on Monday, December 4 at The Studio, 3315 Charlotte Avenue, Nashville.  Doors open at 5:30; free admittance with donation.  The release party will also feature special guest Allie Colleen.

Amanda Winter. Photo credit: Moments By Moser Photography

Amanda is no stranger to challenges. When she was eighteen-months-old, Amanda, was taken away from her mother by the state. She had eight different foster homes by the time she was five. In fact, Amanda had been born prematurely as a result of her mother’s abuse of drugs and alcohol. As a result, she was born with severely underdeveloped lungs.  When you hear her sing now, you wonder what her voice would have sounded like if her lungs had developed normally!

Amanda was one of six siblings, all of whom had different fathers. At the age of twenty, Amanda contacted her biological father for the first time. He was surprised to see her as, he said, he’d given Amanda’s mother money for an abortion. Fortunately for Amanda, her mother had spent the money on something else. Despite her harrowing early life, Amanda found her passion in music, joining the Nebraska Country Music Foundation and winning first place in an amateur vocalist contest at the age of nine, the first of many such awards.

Taking the dream to Music City

When her mother passed away from liver and kidney failure, Amanda packed all her belongings in her car and drove to Nashville in 2013, following her dream of a career in music.  She arrived in Music City without knowing anybody and no job prospects – simply a burning desire to achieve her goal.

In May of 2015, Amanda released her very first Nashville EP, consisting of 7 original songs, 2 of which she co-wrote.  Her first original song “Little Girl…Big Dream” became an anthem for her life. A song to tell the world that no one can define you; if you really chase after your dreams, anything is possible.

And now comes the new project, her latest music career achievement that she combines with her love for children facing challenges in their lives.  She is currently working towards a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and is a supporter of the US Military, Habitat For Humanity, Big Brothers & Big Sisters programs and Nashville’s Foster Care services.

“Work hard and dream big”

Growing up herself as a foster child, she continues to be an activist for children everywhere, and hopes to be living proof that it doesn’t matter where you come from, that you can achieve it all if you work hard and dream big.

Find Amanda Winter’s music and tour updates here.

“I have been very blessed in my life with a very strong group of friends who have helped me through each stage of my life. I met the people refer to as my ‘adoptive family’ as an adult and they have taught me what being in a family is all about. I have been through hell and back, but it has taught me how short and precious life is, and how important it is to love above everything else.” –Amanda Winter

 

Mel Tillis: Amazing 60 year career

Funeral set for much-loved singer/songwriter

Mel Tillis. Photo: Wikipedia

Mel Tillis, a true country star with one of the longest careers as both a recording artist and a songwriter, passed away on Sunday, November 19. He was 85. Funeral arrangements have now been announced.

Visitation will be held on Monday, November 27 from 11 AM to 2 PM at Sykes Funeral Home (424 Franklin St.) in Clarksville, Tennessee. A public funeral service will begin promptly at 3 PM at Mount Hermon Baptist Church (2204 Jarrell Ridge Rd.) with a private burial to follow.

A preceding service will take place at the Ocklawaha Bridge Baptist Church in Silver Springs, Florida this Saturday, November 25 at 3:00 PM.Out of respect for the family, attendees are asked to refrain from photographing, filming, or live streaming either service.

Public memorial service planned for January

Additionally, the Tillis family is planning a January public memorial service open to fans and the music industry. The event will be held in Nashville with details to be announced in the coming weeks.

Following a lengthy struggle to regain his health, country music legend Mel Tillis passed away at the Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Florida. Tillis battled intestinal issues since early 2016 and never fully recovered. The suspected cause of death is respiratory failure. Tillis was 85.

When Mel met my dad

Mel Tillis. Photo: meltillis.com

I have fond personal memories of Mel, whom I met several times over the years. One day, I took my father backstage at one of Mel’s shows and I told Mel that this was the best dad in the world as he had saved my life by donating a kidney to me. “Well,” said Mel, “I just have to meet the best dad in the world!”  He graciously visited with my dad for several minutes and dad has always remembered that meeting.

Born Lonnie Melvin Tillis in Tampa, Florida on August 8, 1932, Mel enjoyed a 60+ year career.

The Grand Ole Opry member recorded more than 60 albums, had 35 Top Ten singles, six #1 hits (“I Ain’t Never,” “Coca-Cola Cowboy,” “Southern Rains,” “Good Woman Blues,” “Heart Healer,” and “I Believe In You”), was named CMA (Country Music Association) Entertainer of the Year in 1976, and was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame the same year.

Mel Tillis wrote 1,000+ songs

Mel was elected a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007. He wrote over 1,000 songs, 600 of which have been recorded by major artists including Kenny Rogers (“Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town”), George Strait (“Thoughts Of A Fool”), and Ricky Skaggs (“Honey, Open That Door”). Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) named Tillis Songwriter of the Decade for two decades. In February of 2012 President Obama awarded Tillis the National Medal of Arts. He is survived by his six children, including singer/songwriter Pam Tillis and songwriter Mel ‘Sonny’ Tillis, Jr.

“Mel Tillis was a guy who had it all: He could write, he could sing and he could entertain an audience, there’s a big difference between a concert and a show. Mel Tillis always put on a show….You always felt good about being around him.”

  • Eddie Stubbs, Grand Ole Opry announcer and WSM DJ

“Mel Tillis spent a lifetime giving us joy and laughter and music, which is why his death brings such sadness.”

  • Kyle Young, CEO Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

 

Songwriters: ‘hard work’ is the key

Hall of Famer Gary Burr’s advice to rising songwriters

 “You have to go to work every day. You just have to go to work.  I went to the office every morning, I went to the office every afternoon.  If I had something good, it wasn’t going to be good enough ‘til I went over it with a fine-tooth comb several times.  You just work hard.  The ones [songwriters] who are making it today are just working really, really hard.”

Gary Burr. Photo: Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame

Those words came from Gary Burr, a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame during an interview on the Public Television show, The Songwriters, produced the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in conjunction with Middle Tennessee State University. MTSU professor Robert Gordon Jr. directs the episodes, which are filmed by students from the school’s College of Media and Entertainment. Ken Paulson, Dean of MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment, hosts the new show and interviewed Burr during a recently televised episode.

Songs for Garth, Ringo, Skynyrd and more

Gary Burr backstage with Ringo Starr. Photo: Mark Mirando

Burr has been honored with Songwriter of the Year Awards from Billboard Magazine and ASCAP in addition to the Hall of Fame recognition. In a 40+ year career, he has written or co-written literally hundreds of songs that have been cut by major artists including Garth Brooks, Collin Raye, Kenny Rogers, Randy Travis, Tim McGraw, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ringo Starr and more. Many of those cuts are also Number One hits. Take a look at the Discography at his website.

In his interview with Paulson, he emphasized that there’s no ‘trick’ to songwriting. As with any other creative enterprise, it takes a commitment to working at it every day, just like a ‘regular’ job because it is your job.  You can’t wait for inspiration, said Burr. You simply sit down, either alone or with your co-writer and start work.  That’s where hits are born.

‘The Songwriters’ currently airs in Nashville on WNPT Channel 8 on Saturday evenings. Check local TV schedules for air dates and times in other areas.

Tracy Lawrence makes ‘Good Ole Days’ new again

11 duets with top stars on new album

Tracy Lawrence is a one-man hit record machine with a bunch of Number One songs, twenty-two songs on the Billboard Top Ten charts. A Grammy nomination and enough CMA and ACM Awards to make his mantle sag under the weight.

But he’s not resting on those laurels. With his new album, GOOD OLE DAYS, produced by Julian King, Tracy is joined by some of the biggest names in contemporary Country, lending their voices to duet with him and bring a fresh take on familiar songs.

Tracy and I arrived in Nashville round about the same time, Tracy coming from Foreman, Arkansas while I hailed from Brownsville, Kentucky.  Our paths crossed while we both setting out on our careers in Music City. I was interning at Atlantic Records and even then, I could see ‘star quality’ in Tracy and a determination to succeed. We have remained friends ever since.

Luke Bryan joins Tracy for ‘Sticks and Stones,’ his first Number One, back in 1991, shortly after he signed that first record deal with Atlantic.  (On a side note, Tracy almost didn’t live to see his first chart topper.  Shortly before the song’s release, he and a friend were attacked by three armed robbers. While protecting his friend, Tracy was shot four times, necessitating emergency surgery. One missing his artery by a HAIR and one bullet remains lodged in his hip.) Continue reading “Tracy Lawrence makes ‘Good Ole Days’ new again”

‘Songwriting picked me,’ says Walt Aldridge

Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame 2017 inductee talks to Country Aircheck

Walt Aldridge shared his thoughts about how he evolved from a recording engineer to a major hit writer in this interview from the Sept 25 issue of Country Aircheck, where you can find the original story. More about Aircheck at the foot of this article. Walt is a great songwriter and has always been generous with his time, sharing his experience and knowledge of the music industry and the process of songwriting.

 * * *

Walt Aldridge

Alabama native Aldridge engineered more than 200 records during his time at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals and later, in Nashville. His cuts include Ronnie Milsap’s “There’s No Gettin’ Over Me,” Earl Thomas Conley’s “Holding Her And Loving You” and Tim McGraw’s “Some Things Never Change.”

I always had a fascination with making records. Writing songs allowed me to produce, play, sing on and engineer my demos. When I got started, the studio was a hallowed ground that you had to be invited to, or have a lot of money so you could rent one. So, by becoming a songwriter, it gave me the opportunity to do what I’d always been intrigued by – making music.

Rick Hall (right) signs Duane Allman as session guitarist at Fame, 1968. Photo: Getty Images

I remember walking into Fame and seeing the records hanging on the wall, thinking, “This looks like the set list for the band you were in, in sixth grade,” with “Mustang Sally,” “Land Of A Thousand Dances” – all these great soul records. Knowing you’re sitting where Duane Allman sat to play a guitar part on a Wilson Pickett record challenges you to dig deep and do your very best.

Rick Hall was my first my boss and mentor. Rick has always preached the preeminence of the song. Some of my favorite recordings are not technically or vocally the best, but they always connect and hit a nerve. Very often, you’ll have a fantastic singer with a great band and engineer, but if the song doesn’t hit that nerve with people, it doesn’t matter.

Songwriting picked me as opposed to me picking it. Tommy Brasfield was a writer in Nashville who was more experienced. He heard some of my songs and said, “You have a lot of ability, but I think I could help you frame your music more towards the radio.” If I ever did anything right, it was being open to that, rather than saying, “I like my music the way it is and I don’t need your help.”

No Getting Over Me

So Tommy and I started writing and eventually we wrote “No Gettin’ Over Me,” which was my first hit. That was back in the golden age of crossover, so it was a No. 1 Country record, a Top 5 Pop and No. 1 Adult Contemporary. After that hit I said, “Okay, it looks like I’m a songwriter – and a country songwriter, for that matter.”

My writing equipment is a guitar, a laptop and some kind of caffeine. I like to start in the morning when I’m fresh. But I’ve written all different ways.

“Power through writer’s block”

When I have writer’s block, I power through. So much of what we do is crafting, is a learned instinct. The old saying that sometimes inspiration comes after perspiration is very true. And you don’t know when the muse is going to visit.

Marty Stuart playing Hank’s guitar

One time I was writing with Marty Stuart and we were stuck. He said, “Why don’t we just swap guitars and see if that jogs anything loose?” I said, “Boy, this is a really cool old Martin guitar. What’s the story?” He said, “Well it was Hank’s guitar.” I said, “Hank Jr.?” He said, “No, that was Hank Sr.’s guitar.” I was holding the Holy Grail of guitars. “Your Cheatin’ Heart” could have been written on this guitar. So, I don’t know whether it’s imagined or whether there’s real energy coming from the wood and the wire. But different guitars inspire different moods and words.

I wish I’d written “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” Every line in it is absolutely perfect. Couldn’t have been better.

A song’s demo is a critical part of it. You’re not only writing the lyric and melody, you’re often writing the guitar intro lick that’s going to be a hook. You’re writing the production, somewhat. On “Holding Her And Loving You,” we just didn’t get it on the demo. But somehow, Earl Thomas Conley and his producer Nelson Larkin were able to hear through the demo and imagine it. When they played us the record, it sounded like a hit. When you heard Earl sing it, you believed it.

“Write to express yourself”

You don’t write songs for the money or the gold records. You write because you want to express yourself in some way that you’re unable to express yourself otherwise. Getting this induction means my colleagues who have written some of my favorite songs – people whose opinions I value the most – are willing to say, “Hey man, you did good.” It’s quite a club to be voted into. I’m deeply honored.

~~~

Again, my thanks to Lon Helton and all at Country Aircheck for allowing me to reprint this article. I recommend that you visit this link to the Sept 25 edition of Country Aircheck to read the original article and see why Country Aircheck is a ‘must read’ for anyone involved in Country radio and the music industry. – Preshias.

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.

Logan Mize inspires singers, songwriters: Never give up

New video series: “Somebody to Thank”

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

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

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

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

Logan Mize. Photo: Montgomery Lee

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

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

Use the power of social media

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

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

Thankful to those who have helped

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

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

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

Persevere despite the setbacks

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

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

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

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

‘Bump, Bump, Bump’ hits country radio

Song shows lost love can lead to freedom

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

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

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

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

Re Mattei

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

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

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

Berklee College of Music grad

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

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

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

‘Bump, Bump, Bump’ music video

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

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

Follow Re Mattie on Facebook here.

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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.