I wonder how long country music awards shows think they’re going to be able to claim Taylor Swift as a country artist. I think that train has sailed. Swift was among this year’s nominees for Album of the Year at the Country Music Awards for her shit-kickin’, twang fest Red, and garnered four other nominations, including Entertainer of the Year. Miranda Lambert, another Entertainer of the Year nominee, ties Swift with a total of five nominations.
The big leaders, though, are Eric Church, with seven nominations around his album Chief, and Hunter Hayes, with six, including Song of the Year and Single of the Year (because maybe the Song of the Year will be a deep cut, right?) for his song “Wanted.”
The 48th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards will be broadcast live on CBS on April 7th and will be hosted this year by Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton.
See the full list of nominees below.
Brantley Gilbert is the opposite of a divo (that’s a male diva, in case you didn’t know).
That’s why it’s gratifying to see him grab so much success this early in his career. Last year, the now 27 year-old singer/songwriter was a bit bummed that many music journalists didn’t seem to want to talk with him. This year, he hardly has time to talk to anyone.
With a nomination for the 2012 Country Music Association (CMA) New Artist of the Year Award, Gilbert is launching the “Hell on Wheels Tour.” It’s the first headlining tour for Gilbert, whose sophomore album Halfway to Heavy debuted at #2 on the Billboard Country charts and who has written a host of #1 singles including “Country Must Be Country Wide,” “You Don’t Know Her Like I Do,” along with Jason Aldean‘s songs “My Kinda Party” and “Dirt Road Anthem.” He’s also won plenty of fans during his recent tours, including supporting spots on Eric Church‘s “Blood, Sweat & Beers Tour” and Toby Keith‘s “Live in Overdrive Tour.”
Although he’s got some heavy competition for the CMA Award ” Love and Theft, Lee Brice, Hunter Hayes, and Thompson Square are the other nominees ” Gilbert seems to be taking all the excitement in stride. Although he was battling bronchitis on one of his recent days home, he took time out to chat a bit about his reaction to the nomination, his songwriting, and just what he’s learned on all the tours he has played.
In the past two weeks, Little Big Town earned it’s first No. 1 hit for the single “Pontoon,” received a Single of the Year nomination from the County Music Association, and watched as its just-released album Tornado ttook the No. 1 spot on the Billboard country chart and No. 2 on the Top 200 chart with 112,758 albums sold in its first week.
It’s almost too easy to say the vocal quartet”known individually as Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Phillip Sweet and Jimi Westbrook”is a prime example of the old adage “good things come to those who wait.” But consider that it has been 13 years since the band formed and it just hit No. 1. And even “Pontoon,” which was released in April, didn’t really soar until the song was performed in June at the CMT Awards.
In the middle of the swirl of excitement, Jimi Westbook took a bit of time out to talk about the band, its new music, and just where they will go from here. (more…)
Blackberry Smoke‘s recent release of The Whippoorwill has fans and critics calling the Georgia-based band the next generation of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Little Feat, Kid Rock, and other legendary southern rockers with a foot planted in the country. Since signing with Southern Ground Artists, the label founded by Zac Brown, the band have been on the road with Eric Church, the Zac Brown Band, and many other high-profile performers. It seems only a matter of time before Blackberry Smoke become headlining powerhouses themselves.
Charlie Starr, leader and main songwriter of the band, took time out from his schedule to talk about writing The Whippoorwill, how the songs were selected, and just what he hopes fans hear in the band’s latest release:
OS: You must feel great about having The Whippoorwill released.
CS: Yes, it was such a long time between making this album and the last album (Little Piece of Dixie from 2010). I had a lot of songs written that we had been playing live already. We were were excited to record those even though they weren’t new to us and our fans anymore. We definitely had those down!
OS: I’m always curious about the songwriting process. Are you the kind of writer who works on the road or do you have a certain place you prefer to write? (more…)
Kip Moore’s debut title Up All Night, is well named, because the newly minted country star hasn’t had much downtime since the album came out this spring. Not only did his single “Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck,” become a Platinum seller and summertime anthem but his next single “Beer Money,” is headed in the same direction. Always a road warrior, Moore has just signed onto Eric Church’s Blood, Sweat & Beers Tour and is making plenty of high-profile appearances, too. Recently Moore shared some of his precious downtime telling us about the past few month including the one thing he can’t get even though he tries and tries (hint: it’s got four wheels).
OS: So what is the story with the truck? Did you get it?
KM: I finally got a new truck! It’s great. I was driving around in it yesterday before I left and it’s great.
OS: So this is the kind of truck you sang about in “Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck?”
KM: No, this is a new one. That was an ’86 that I wanted. I still haven’t found one of those.
OS: “Beer Money” has been doing well on the radio. Congratulations! You wrote that one, didn’t you?
KM: I wrote all the songs on the record and, you know, just growing up in my hometown I just remember feeling that way all that way through college. The whole week was all about savoring what was coming, making just enough money for fun on the weekend. Small town life can be very suppressing for a young person. When you are older and settled down, that life make sense. When you are young, everybody lives for the weekend. It was all about Ramen noodles and we had a case of the cheapest most water downed beer. But it was all great. (more…)
Worley’s first album in two years, One Time Around, is slated for June release, the same month he’ll host the three-day BamaJam music extravaganza, and that’s just for starters.
The man behind more than twenty charted hit singles including A Good Day to Run, I Miss My Friend, Have you Forgotten and more took some time from his busy schedule to talk to OurStage about his latest single, his new album and more.
OS: We’ve missed you! Where have you been?
DW: I took a little time off. I have still been touring but I put the whole routine of grinding out one album after another on hold for a while. I have a little four-year-old daughter and I needed to eliminate something from my busy schedule to be a better dad. We toured pretty heavily last year and had a good year, but we’ve been off the radio for almost two years now. I got back in the mood to work on music. I made my own record on my own dime. I had no problem putting a deal together…with complete funding from outside sources.
We have a real determined team of people together that are excited to make this thing work and we’re having a blast working it. Watching it start to grow is a hoot. It’s your baby and people out there are very receptive.
Don’t get me wrong”I have nothing against mainstream performers including Blake Shelton, Toby Keith, Taylor Swift and Miranda Lambert or their music. They were all celebrated, and rightfully so, at the ACM. They’re great musicians and terrific entertainers. I was one of the first music journalists that had the pleasure of interviewing some of the now big-names in country, and found the majority of them to be down to earth and passionate about their music.
But I’m also one of those fans that thinks it’s something of a tragedy that so many widely loved and incredibly talented performers”think Willie Nelson, the Avett Brothers, Ricky Skaggs, and countless others”are, let’s say shunned, at these shows. We could go into all the reasons, but why? The bottom line is that they aren’t on the industry shows. I love KISS and LL Cool J and U2’s Bono, but really? They’re featured at the ACM awards?