Lady Antebellum have been one of the highlights of country music in the pop world over the last few years, and with the release of their lyric video for “Downtown” today it seems likely they’ll stay atop the chart for the foreseeable future. The song has a relatively simple verse/chorus/verse pop structure, but there is a sincerity in the music that is near impossible to deny. Everything about your being will want to like this song, so stop waiting around and click below to enjoy “Downtown.”
“Downtown” will be available for purchase on all digital retailers beginning next Tuesday, February 5.
If you enjoy Lady Antebellum, check out OS act Bronze Radio Return!
Separately, Elora Taylor and Dee Filc are just two twenty-something ladies from Oakville, Ontario. Together, they become something even better, a folk duo called Tallulah Darling that plays stripped down, bare bones rock and country. Though the two cite influences like Miranda Lambert, Loretta Lynn, Dixie Chicks, and Toby Keith, you’ll find more street edge in tracks like Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop. There, a serpentine bass, buzzsaw guitar riffs, and cheeky lyrics are loosely combined for raw, unrefined rock. Metal Heart, on the other hand, is a more lackadaisical meditation on love, wrapped up in acoustic guitars and falsetto vocals. Finally, on This Is Not A Joke, those country roots are unearthed. With the wistful, confessional appeal of Taylor Swift, Mulligan delivers her simple request: This is not a joke so please stop smiling. Mute adoration, however, is permitted.
Not that brothers Tom and Mike Gossin and bandmate Rachel Reinert have ever offered anything but charitable words about former member Cheyenne Kimball who abruptly left the group in July 2011. But the departure left the three original members somewhat stumped ” Kimball had reportedly left without any notice ” and scrambling to finish the follow up to their self-titled 2009 debut album.
Although losing a member would cause some bands to fracture and others to completely fall apart, the three members of Gloriana soldiered on. The result is the award winning band’s July 31 release, A Thousand Miles Left Behind that debuted at #2 on the Billboard Country Album Chart and #10 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart. In addition, the single “(Kissed You) Good Night” debuted at #4 on the Billboard Country Singles Chart, marking the group’s first Top 5 single. (more…)
Chris Young is on fire and that’s not just because he’s on the Miranda Lambert tour of the same name. Young’s 2011 release Neon debuted at No. 4 and his last five singles have gone to No. 1 at country radio while Tomorrow, Voices, and You were certified Gold.
Just before hosting a recent online chat with hundreds of his fans, during which he debuted his video for Neon, the multi-award winner took time to talk a bit about his music, radio requests, and just how fans show their enthusiasm for his music.
OS: This has been quite a year or so for you. Looking at everything, all the songs, all the awards, what has been the best thing so far?
CS: Well, when you are booking [concerts] a year out, that’s really nice! I remember a time when we weren’t even booking weeks out.
CY: We have been out with her since January and it has been unreal! She is a sweetheart and one of the best people to tour with. Everything is what is mine is yours.
OS: So what does that allow you to do on stage?
CY: I love to mess with our intros and [the ends of songs] and do covers, and sometimes do a song in a show that is really broken down, have the drummer kick down the brushes and pull the acoustics out and kind of mess with some of our songs.
Let me note that it’s probably not cool to use myself as an example, but I’m guessing that a lot of folks wonder if the musical joy they experienced as kids can be recaptured. After attending this year’s DelFest during Memorial Day in Cumberland, Md., I have to believe it can.
I had originally intended to let Del McCoury tell you about DelFest, that just wrapped up its fifth season and is busting at the seams with attendees (the area’s local newspaper reports expansion plans are underway). We’ll let you hear from Del, of course, but after reading the non-stop CMA Fest coverage, the Bonnaroo dispatches, and the excellent Kindle single “The Same Coachella Twice” by Sean Howell, I thought some personal perspective might be useful, too.
Let’s start with some background about McCoury, who was a legend before the title was handed out like flyers advertising a tent sale. McCoury was first the banjo player, then lead singer and rhythm guitarist for Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys. We could go on and on about his career, which he put on hold for more than a decade so he could be close to home and help raise his family. Highlights include a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Endowment of the Arts, membership in both the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ol’ Opry, and that’s just for starters. You likely get the point.
Or part of it.
The real point is that although he’s a hero to many musicians”Bruce Springsteen, Jon Fishman of Phish, Paul Stanley of KISS”he has never chased musical trends. And from what musicians tell me, McCoury never held those who did in contempt. Instead, he takes enjoyment and inspiration from all music, including that which he wouldn’t play.
Bad news. We regret to inform our community that we must close the Capital Hoedown Showdown Competition on OurStage. In recent weeks, it has been revealed that the festival is experiencing financial difficulties, resulting in venue changes and the loss of multiple headlining acts, including Taylor Swift, Reba, and Brad Paisley.
We had hoped that the festival would rebound from these setbacks in time for us to confidently stage a great competition. But given these recent developments, we feel it necessary to manage the expectations of our artist community and close the competition.
This is a disappointment to us all, and we regret any inconvenience our artists have experienced. We want to thank you for entering the competition, and for being a valued member of the OurStage artist community.
As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It all started when long-time friends Luther Dickinson (lead guitarist of the Black Crowes and front man/lead guitarist of the North Mississippi Allstars), GRAMMY Award-winning blues/rock musician Alvin Youngblood Hart and critically-acclaimed musician Jimbo Mathus (of the Squirrel Nut Zippers) joined together musically. The trio had played together in various incarnations through the years but it wasn’t until they truly bonded over the music of their joint homeland, informally dubbed the Hill Country of Mississippi, that the South Memphis String Band was born.
It was electric, said Dickinson of the trio’s combined music for South Memphis String Band, which combines traditional string numbers with original songs primarily written by Mathus. It just came together right away. That’s something that doesn’t happen very much.
GRAMMY Award winner Marty Stuart has been way off the radar as of late. We haven’t seen him at award shows. He isn’t on late night TV. And we don’t see him playing the big country musical festivals. Just last week, Stuart released his new, ten-song album Nashville, Volume 1: Tear The Woodpile Down that is some of the most traditional country music released by a major artist arguably in years. The music is a pure joy with plenty of steel guitar, fiddles and harmonies. But just why has this member of Nashville royalty, who has played with everyone from Lester Flatt to Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard, purposely taken himself out of the eye of the mainstream public? Stuart took some time out of his busy schedule to tell us just that.
OS: Your last album, Ghost Train, was so well received. What was the plan with this album Tearing Down the Woodpile.
MS: Just carry on because Ghost Train was part of a lineage. This whole traditional country music trajectory that I seem to be on right now, it’s where my heart led me. It was a long time coming. When I started [my current band] the Superlatives about eleven years ago now I knew it was the band of lifetime. We found ourselves in the role of cultural missionaries.
Other than the Grand Ol’ Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, we were kind of not part of the system of trying to chase hits or awards or [appear on] red carpets.
In the beginning we were simply looking for a place to play. My only request of our booking agent was to book us as far back in the woods of America as you can. I don’t want to mess with charts. I don’t want to see demographics. I don’t want to see numbers. I just want to play music. We will play ourselves right back to the light or as Merle Haggard said we have found ourselves right square in the middle of the forgotten land.
KC: Making the record came from my desire to play live wherever I want hanging out. I didn’t see it translating into a tour. I found myself at golf tournaments and charity events, and I would be more comfortable onstage [performing] than standing out there signing autographs. I wanted to be part of the party instead of a prop. I have always loved performing and I love performing original music. There was no end game. This was not the idea, to tour. It was not the idea to make a record. Things unfold and I bent with the wind.
OS: And now you have this major record deal.
KC: I do not have a major record deal. I have to be very, very clear. There is no machine behind me, behind us. That has been the heart burn for the guys in the band. We could play 200 or 300 nights [a year], and that would change the lives of everyone in the band. I don’t want to do that. So one satisfaction has led to others’ dissatisfaction.
OS: So it seems everyone in the band writes?
KC: I write a lot of lyrics and occasionally I do a melody line. It all depends on how I’m feeling. More [of my] songs get tossed than are kept. Most often one of the guys [in the band] writes a song based on something I say. I might say “Hey, that is catchy,” and they’ll say “those first four lines are what you said.” Then we flesh the song out. That’s how our band operates.
When For King & Country become major recording artists”which, quite candidly, is bound to happen sooner rather than later”remember that you read about them on OurStage first”or at least as one of the first.
Think that the prediction is a stretch? You won’t when you hear the duo’s debut album Crave that is set for February 28 release. When you experience the songs written by two Australian-born brothers whose family moved to Nashville in the ’90s, you’ll understand what all the fuss is about.
Luke and Joel Smallbone’s brand of music”full of throbbing percussion, masterful guitars and liltingharmonies wrapped around emotionally haunting stories”has led some critics to compare them to Coldplay and other major musical talents. But, in a way, even such flattering comparisons are unfair to For King and Country.
First, the music has plenty of pop, alt-country and Christian influences, too, bringing artists such as Amy Grant to mind. And the brothers’ songs are truly gripping, almost like vignettes about their own lives.
Consider Busted Heart (Hold On to Me), which was inspired from a conversation on the brokenness that every person feels at some point in their life. That feeling comes at different points and in different ways, but it revolves around needing “something greater than myself” to hold onto, said Joel.
“We called the record Crave because it’s all about hope and what we crave and why,” said Luke. “We are creatures looking to put our trust and hope in something. The underlying thread is that there is hope and we are all looking for something we can grab hold of to live.”
The depth of the duo’s music isn’t surprising when you realize the Australian brothers are from a somewhat storied musical background. Their father was a major rock promoter in Australia. Their sister is celebrated contemporary Christian singer Rebecca St. James. And the duo started their music career as a grassroots band called, simply, Joel and Luke.
With first memories that involve all things music, the brothers formed a natural writing partnership early in their lives. “Joel and I pretty much always write together,” said Luke. “We really grew up together working on music.”
That’s resulted in a plentiful supply of songs for the group. If the songs on the album are any indication, they are mainly in the style of some past songs the brothers wrote that have already received popular success. Love’s to Blame and People Change have been featured on the the CW series, The Vampire Diaries and Light It Up and Sane were on the Lifetime network’s show Drop Dead Diva.
It’s likely fair to say that the brothers went into creating their debut album with plenty of success under their belts, but they still found the process a bit unnerving.
“We wrote about 130-140 songs,” said Luke of the project. “We put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into it.”
A lot of that emotion came when choosing the songs that would eventually go onto the album but they relied on each other and their musical team to come to a conclusion.
“I think it is sort of like a family , where you’re only as strong as next guy. In a family, you hold each other up,” said Joel. “One of the most interesting points of the recording process was that during the song selection we [chose]eleven songs were written over a span of three-four years. The beauty is that they all have this very cohesive feel and really work well together as a true record.
Others already agree. Busted Heart (Hold On To Me) is the fastest-rising debut single for 2011 on the Billboard Hot Christian Songs chart. Billboard also recently called the group’s upcoming album one of the most hotly anticipated debuts of 2012.
Remember, you heard it here first.
Find out more about For King and Country, including tour dates, on their website.