Archives for November 2015

Blake Shelton & Gwen Stefani: How Did This Happen?

Maintaining love, trust, and a marriage is possibly the equivalent to climbing Mount Annapurna. Annapurna looks so majestic and breathtaking. Many muster up the courage to attempt to conquer the Nepal wonder, but very few survive the journey to the top. Known as the most deadliest mountain known on Earth, people still want to give it a shot to see if they can make it. When an adorable soul loved by millions like pop star Gwen Stefani gets pummeled by her soon-to-be-ex-husband Gavin Rossdale, marriage does not look so regal. Matter fact, love begins to look like a junk yard. Then in the midst of all the mess, the universe sends another beautiful mountain name Blake Shelton.

Stefani and Rossdale appeared to be the ideal rock n’ roll couple. Rossdale, the frontman for the band Bush, fell in love with Stefani during a No Doubt sound check. Mesmerized, he watched Stefani from the side of the stage. The strikingly beautiful blond bombshell took command of the stage with much energy and power. It was love at first sight for the both of them. Inseparable, the couple married in 2002 and the world thought they would be forever.

strumThree children later and a gorgeous home in Rossdale’s native hometown of London in the United Kingdom, the couple’s marriage was suddenly being tested. Rossdale’s former five-year relationship with a cross dresser by the name of Peter Robinson, also known as Marilyn, surfaced claiming to still be in love with the Rossdale. Standing by her man, Stefani stuck it out with Rossdale through the social humiliation. It was not until the discovery of a seven-year affair with nanny Mindy Mann that Stefani could no longer stay on the Rossdale mountain. She was exhausted and done. As more skeletons danced their way out of every closet in the Rossdale home, including Stefani finding out her husband’s former gay lover Robinson was an invited guest to their wedding, The Voice star finally filed for divorce from Rossdale in 2015.

Stefani, a cool glass of water, never let the world see her sweat. Continuing to work and flashing that Hollywood smile for her fans, Stefani did not skip a beat. A fan favorite on the hit television show The Voice, the universe introduced her to another star. Steering clear of any more rock stars, no one in a million years would have ever imagined Stefani tuning into country music. Falling in love with her fellow co-star award-winning mega country star Shelton, Stefani is definitely exploring a mountain in a new territory.

Newly divorced from country star Miranda Lambert, Shelton wasted no time moving on. Known for his great sense of humor and superb eye for talent, it does not seem too far-fetched that he fancied Stefani right away. Both extremely successful and always laughing, having a good time, many believe it could possibly be a match made in heaven.

Pop meets country with two high-profile figures loved by millions, maybe this mountain will be easier to climb for the both of them. No competition between them in the same genre of music. They can each bring completely different backgrounds to create something special. Stefani’s fans reportedly seem to be happy for their idol who they believe deserves better than Rossdale. Shelton’s country fans, however, are not as quick to embrace what they possibly perceive to be a wild-child of a woman in Stefani.

Shelton and Stefani seem to be in their own world, enjoying one another’s company and having a blast. Though both have fallen off the cliff of previous monstrous mountains, they appear to still believe in love. Mountain climbing is a death-defying act, indeed, but breathtaking all at once.

 

Country Music Albums You Need to Listen To

Some people grow up listening to country music. For others, country music is more of an acquired taste. Country music runs the gamut from folksy acoustic ballads to musical anthems with rock and roll undertones. Whether you’re new to country music or are a long-time fan, be sure to give these country music albums a nice, thorough listen:

Hank Williams: 40 Greatest Hits

Released in 1990, this collection celebrates one of country music’s most well-known and beloved singer-songwriters. Though Williams died young at the age of 29, he managed to shape country music as we know it. In his short life, Williams managed to record 35 singles that would ultimately rank in Billboard Country & Western’s top 10 singles, including 11 hits that managed to reach number one. Classics featured on the album include “Honky Tonk Blues,” “Ramblin’ Man,” and “Move It On Over.”

Patsy Cline: 12 Greatest Hits

Released in 1967, this album makes it clear why Patsy Cline was such a legend in her time. Before her tragic death at age 30, Cline graced the country music scene with her remarkable voice and classic delivery. Amazingly, many of Cline’s top hits fared just as well on the pop charts as they did on the country music charts, making her one of the first country artists to successfully cross over into the pop music field. In 1973, 10 years after her death, Cline became the first female solo artist to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Her Greatest Hits album features some of her most well-known tunes, including “I Fall To Pieces” and “You’re Stronger Than Me.”

Johnny Cash: The Essential Johnny Cash

Released in 2002 to commemorate Cash’s 70th birthday, this album is a true testament to the legend that is Johnny Cash. Known for his unmistakable voice and unique vocal style, Cash transformed the country music scene throughout his long, rewarding career. Though much of his music does have a somber undertone, Cash had a way of touching his audience like few other musicians could. And he managed to win the hearts of so many despite his frequent outlaw status. Songs on this collection include “Ring of Fire,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” and “A Boy Named Sue.”

Shania Twain: Come On Over

Released in 1997, Come On Over was the best-selling country music album of the 1990s. In fact, the album helped Twain solidify her position as the Queen of Country-Pop. Though some criticized Twain for her particular style of music, it’s hard to argue that fact that she remains one of the most influential country artists of all time. In fact, Twain is known to have inspired modern crossover female performers like Taylor Swift. The album features the feminist anthem “Man! I Feel Like a Woman” and the classic love song “You’re Still the One.”

Of course, these are just a few of the best country music albums ever released. Even if country music isn’t your thing, once you give these a listen, there’s a good chance you’ll be hooked.

Six New Country Albums to be released in November

There are millions of country music listeners across the globe, so it is no wonder that many fans are excited for the release a few albums next month. These albums come at a great time of the year. Christmas is still over a month away, but these albums might be a great gift idea for the holiday season. For those who just can’t wait to hear songs off of these albums, they will be made available for purchase or download at the beginning of the month. Here is a look at the top country artists who are releasing an album in the month of November.

Alan Jackson

On November 6th, Alan Jackson’s newest album, titled Genuine: The Alan Jackson Story, will be made available to country fans, exclusively through Walmart. Alan Jackson has been a country superstar for the past 25 years, and fans are excited to see another new release from the artist. This album will actually be a three-album collection of music, featuring rare live versions of songs he has performed in the past. The collection will also include previously unreleased songs, as well as some of his most famous hits, such as “Chattahoochee”. Tributes to Jackson by some of the best in country music give diehard fans a look into Jackson’s stellar career in the country music industry. To learn more about all tracks available on each disc, you can visit the official Alan Jackson webpage.

Hunter Hayes

Hunter Hayes is a young musician who made his name in the country music world in 2011. Since then, his career has grown and flourished because he writes his own music and can play several different musical instruments. On November 6th, he will be releasing a special three- disc set titled The 21 Project. This set will feature a unique look into Hayes and his acoustic, studio, and live recordings. It will also include seven new songs, one titled “I Mean You”, as well as his number one single “21”. Hayes decided to release this three- disc album to showcase how his music grows from its original form into music played live on stage. His fall tour began on October 22nd and will continue through the release date of this new album. To learn more about this project, follow this link.

Josh Abbott Band

The Josh Abbott Band was founded in Texas in 2006 and began touring in 2008. Throughout the years they have changed and grown, releasing new albums in 2010 and 2012. In August of this year, the band announced they would be releasing their fourth album, titled Front Row Seat. This album will also be available on November 6th, and can be preordered on iTunes. Josh Abbott, lead vocals for the band, developed a 15- song album, which is broken up into five cinematic acts. There are some unfortunate real life events behind this album, which involve the story of a failed relationship and divorce. You can learn more about this album at the bands website.

Old Dominion

Old Dominion was said to be the band to watch in 2015 and they are finally releasing their debut album, titled Meat and Candy, which comes out on November 6th.  The album will feature their top-15 single, “Break up with Him.” This rising country group is hoping the album stands out from the rest of the pack so they can continue to grow in the country world. The band hopes that this album will prove they are a group that deserves a spot in country. Track list for the album include songs titled, “Wrong Turns”, “Said Nobody”, and “Beer Can in a Truck Bed”. To learn more about the album release, as well as information on the band, you can visit their website.

Tim McGraw

A popular solo artist for years, Tim McGraw is releasing a new album on November 6th, titled Damn Country Music. This title is said to symbolize making a decision to pursue something that might have a heavy price to pay later. This is McGraw’s 14th studio album, and will also have a deluxe edition featuring three bonus tracks. The main single off of this album is titled “Top of the World”, which is a love song. To celebrate the release of his new album, McGraw has teamed up with the popular website, Pandora, to develop a mixtape and album release party. The mixtape will also be released on November 6th and will feature music that inspired McGraw throughout his career. For preorder information, including other items besides the album, visit the following link.

Chris Young

Chris Young hit the country music scene after winning the singing competition television show, Nashville Star, in 2006. Since then, he has released multiple albums with songs on the top 5 hits list. On November 13th, Young will release his fifth studio album, titled, “I’m Comin’ Over”. Young was a co-producer on this album and actually wrote nine of the eleven songs. Fans who pre-order the album will get an exclusive early listen to new songs on the album. One of the songs “Think of You” features a duet with Cassadee Pope, winner of popular television show The Voice. You can learn more about the album here.

There you have it, a complete list of amazing albums to be released in the following weeks. Some of these come from well-known country artists, while others are being released by bands new to the country world. Country music fans have a variety of options available in the month of November. Some might even wish to purchase multiple albums. We will be sure to keep an eye out for additional country music albums that might be released in the New Year.

 

Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Adds Four New Country Music Legends

Country music’s brightest stars convened at Nashville’s Music City Center on October 11th to usher in four of the newest names in the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. You’ll definitely recognized these four legends.

Rosanne Cash, Even Stevens, Mark James and Craig Wiseman were the latest additions to the hallowed Hall of Fame for country music songwriting icons. They were introduced in proper style with equally big names performing in honor of the occasion.

Country music stars including Tim McGraw, Hunter Hayes, Emmylou Harris, Ronnie Dunn, Vince Gill, B.J. Thomas, Paul McDonald, Jeffrey Steele, and the band Loving Mary all performed at Nashville’s Music City Center for the evening’s Hall of Fame inductees.

Loving Mary played Even Stevens’ hit, “Driving My Life Away,” and Paul McDonald performed “When You’re In Love With A Beautiful Woman” to introduce the inductee to the stage.

Even Stevens

In Stevens’ speech, he praised musical collaborators and fellow writers, saying that through the process, “you walk in with nothing, and you come out with something.”

Stevens has won 53 BMI awards in his successful country music writing career. He’s also been a partner in establishing a the Emerald recording studio, and founded the DebDave publishing company during his years in the industry.

Mark James

BMI’s vice president of writer-publisher relations, Jody Williams, introduced Mark James and told the story of how he came to be inducted into the Hall of Fame that night. Williams praised James, saying, “He’s experienced success over six decades. Even Jay Z has recorded one of his songs.”

Hunter Hayes performed “Suspicious Minds,” on the mandolin with a three-piece band, and B.J. Thomas performed his 1969 No. 5 pop hit, “Hooked on a Feeling,” which earned a standing ovation from those in attendance at the event.

James attributed his success to the power of a great song to cross genres and formats. According to James, “You didn’t put [music] into categories. You said, ‘What a great song. What a great performance.’” That belief is evident in his wide-ranging musical hits that span eras, genres, and styles.

Rosanne Cash

Rosanne Cash was heaped with praise by her introducing speakers. Vince Gill sang her first No. 1 hit, “Seven Year Ache,” before she took the stage. Gill thanked Cash for hiring him to be in her band 34 years earlier. Emmylou Harris joined Cash’s husband, John Leventhal, in performing “I Was Watching You.”

Cash’s former husband, producer, and co-writer, Rodney Crowell, gushed praise and recounted her history that led to her induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. When Cash herself appeared on stage to offer her thanks, she realized that she was now part of the only father and daughter set to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, following her father’s induction in 1977.

Cash wrote two Grammy-winning hits with both of her husbands; “I Don’t Know Why You Don’t Want Me,” with Cowell, which won in 1985. And again in 2014 for  “A Feather’s Not a Bird,” which she’d collaborated on with Leventhal.

Craig Wiseman

Craig Wiseman was the final inductee introduced that night. Bob DiPiero, a fellow Hall of Fame member, spoke on Wiseman’s behalf before Jeffrey Steele took the stage to honor his frequent co writer. He performed an impressively comprehensive medley of Wiseman’s hits, including “The Cowboy In Me,” “She’s Got It All,” “Hell Yeah,” “Love Is a Beautiful Thing,” “Young,” “Voices,” “Where the Green Grass Grows,” “It’s Summertime” and “The Good Stuff.”

Ronnie Dunn performed next with his cover of Wiseman’s “Believe,” followed by Tim McGraw with “Live Like You Were Dying.”

Wiseman came out to thank the performers and speakers who’d came onstage to honor his induction that evening, as well as his wife, who joined him onstage to recite “The Lord’s Prayer.” When Wiseman asked for anyone who’d written a song with him to stand up, dozens of audience members rose to their feet.

Former Hall of Fame Winners Honored, and Winning Songs and their Writers Applauded

Members of the Hall of Fame who’d died this year were also honored, including country music legends like Wayne Carson, Paul Craft, Wayne Kemp, Larry Henley, Red Lane, Don Robertson and Billy Sherrill. They also named the Hall of Fame’s 11 winning songs for the year, and the writers responsible for them.

All told, it was a long night! It began at 5 pm and didn’t wrap up until almost 11 that night. But judging by the long list of A-list country music stars in attendance who came to show their support for the four inductees into Nashville’s Songwriters Hall of Fame, it was an evening well spent in good company.

This Member of Lady Antebellum Goes Solo

Guess who’s branching off from Lady Antebellum to record their own solo album? Lady Antebellum frontman, Charles Kelley, has been making himself busy despite the band’s current state of “time off,” with a brave desire to “step outside of [his] comfort zone.”

Impending Parenthood, Writing a New Lady A Album… Now a Solo Career

It was recently announced that Kelley was going to be a dad for the first time, joining the other two members of Lady A and their respective spouses into parenthood status. As if that weren’t big enough news, Charles Kelley also revealed that he was going to be making his first solo album without his bandmates, Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood.

Although it’s not surprising, since any one of them is talented enough to tackle the country music charts along, can Charles Kelley pull it off?

Solo albums have often been the kiss of death for a group or been a black mark on the solo artist’s career if they fail to live up to expectations, or fail to find a new sound that works. So can Lady Antebellum fans love Charles Kelley all by his lonesome as much as they love him in the group?

Lady Antebellum Shows Their Full Support for Bandmate Kelley at Preview Event

He certainly has the support of his bandmates. Hillary Scott recently posted this Instagram photo (https://instagram.com/p/8R2eqsTOy-/?taken-by=hillaryscottla) with the caption, “So proud of my best friend and band mate Charles Kelley and excited for everyone to hear ‘The Driver.’”

The photo was taken at an exclusive, industry-only preview performance event to promote Charles Kelley’s solo album. In a speech to those in attendance, Kelley said, “I wouldn’t have done this without Hillary and Dave giving me their blessing.”

The whole Lady Antebellum gang was in attendance to show their support for Charles Kelley, along with country music celebs like Miranda Lambert, and John and Martina McBride. Charles Kelley has the full support of Lady Antebellum’s record label, too.

What To Expect from the Upcoming Solo Album

Capitol Records is backing Kelley’s solo venture, which is always a promising sign. If Lady A’s own record label wasn’t interested in producing his embarkment into solo-dom, (as is sometimes the case with artist’s first attempts at going solo) then it would be a tell that the album was quite up to snuff compared to Lady Antebellum’s legendary country music status.

But with the full faith and support of the country music industry at his back, Charles Kelley’s first solo album away from Lady Antebellum could establish him as a breakout solo country star. But will he stick to Lady Antebellum’s unique sound sensibilities, or will he experiment with a new direction?

The album itself will feature mostly original material written by Charles Kelley. We know he’s got the chops for it, with some serious hits under Lady Antebellum’s belt! There will also be an exciting cover featured on the new track: Tom Petty’s “Southern Accents” with the legendary Stevie Nicks providing harmony to Kelley’s sweet, sweet voice.

Despite the Hiatus, Lady Antebellum is Here to Stay (And So Is Charles Kelley)

But don’t fear for the fate of our Lady of Antebellum. “Lady Antebellum will always be my focus,” Charles Kelley insisted. “Lady Antebellum will never break up, mark my words.” They’ll be back from their breather soon enough. Hillary Scott says that the band’s resting period will “probably be a lot shorter than what [they] set out for it to be.”

Although country music will be elated to have them all back under the banner of Lady Antebellum, it seems like fans can get their fix through this latest solo project by Charles Kelley. Currently, there’s no album title or official release date announced for the upcoming album. But you don’t have to wait to hear a sneak preview.

Check Out Kelley’s Hearfelt Slowed-Down Single, “The Driver”

If you’re anxious to get a taste of Charles Kelley during Lady A’s downtime, here is his single, “The Driver,” which is what Hillary Scott was referring to in her Instagram post. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_byNyVlSQ0

The song features the angelic vocals of country music darlings Eric Paslay and Dierks Bentley. It’s slow, it’s sweet, and you have to listen to it right now. It feels heart-wrenchingly personal, and the lyrics are of Lady Antebellum’s signature quality and depth. Not to mention those gorgeous harmonies from Paslay and Bentley.

Although the details are still scant, country music lovers should get excited for this solo project. If it’s anything like this single that’s just been released, Charles Kelley has proven his worth; both with and without Lady Antebellum.