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…)