Exclusive Q and A: Kip Moore Talks Trucks, Touring and Eric Church

OurStage Exclusive InterviewsKip 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…)

Exclusive Q and A: Trisha Yearwood Talks About Her New TV Show, Next Album, and Garth

OurStage Exclusive InterviewsTrisha Yearwood definitely doesn’t want to be thought of as “that cooking woman.” Sure, she wrote two cookbooks that made it to No 1 on the New York Times’ Bestseller List of Advice, How-To and Miscellaneous, but music is her true passion. That’s not surprising for this star whose accolades include three GRAMMY Awards, two Academy of Country Music Awards, three Country Music Association honors and had nineteen Top 10 singles.

It might seem odd, then, that she has agreed to star in a cooking show titled Trisha’s Southern Kitchen that debuts at 10:30 a.m. ET/PT on Saturday, April 14 on the Food Network.

Of course, the program is something of a natural extension of her two successful cookbooks, Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen” the 2008 cookbook which references her Georgia roots and the state where she and husband Garth Brooks and their family make their home”and Cooking for Family and Friends released in 2010. But it was the death of her mother, Gwen Yearwood, last October that convinced the much-loved country singer to keep her music on the back burner for just a bit longer and do the show.

For me, cooking is very connected to my family and friends, said Yearwood.   Every recipe on the show carries wonderful memories with my loved ones…I really see this as a tribute to my mom.”

The six-episodes of the show were all filmed in a Nashville home and Yearwood has special guests including family and some of her dearest friends.

Just before the show debuted, Yearwood talked to OurStage about what viewers can expect, her mother and just why the daughters she shares with husband Garth Brooks likely won’t be on the show.

OS: You have been offered cooking shows in the past. Why didn’t you do them?

TY: I was just not interested. I fell into the cookbook [writing] and enjoyed doing it, but never thought I’d continue. I don’t want to be known as always standing behind a cup of sugar. When this came up, I thought if we could make the show like the books, like the story about families, if I could make it a show with sister and uncle and friends it could work. We did that and it was so much fun!


Exclusive Q&A: Zac Brown Band's John Driskell Hopkins Talks Music, Eats and Garth Brooks

OurStage Exclusive InterviewsZac Brown Band’s newest single””No Hurry””seems perfectly suited for the band. When I spoke to Zac and his closer-than-family band mates  the year before the band”in the musical vernacular””blew up” after the release of the 2008 album The Foundation, lack of time with fans was their biggest worry.

That’s understandable when you consider the band is comprised of friends that think of each other”and their followers”as family. Just a few years ago, Zac was immersed in trying to develop a way to change that dynamic. Sure enough, he and his musical family developed the now famous “Eat & Greet” concept that allows fans to mingle with the band as well as enjoy the show.

The idea is really an extension of the band’s earliest days, playing as the house band for Zac’s Place, the restaurant Brown and his dad ran not far from Atlanta. The bottom line: Think of the Zac Brown Band as country’s version of Grateful Dead or maybe Fairport Convention and other bands that never met a stranger.

John Driskell Hopkins, producer, engineer and bass player for the band, took some time out of his busy schedule to talk with OurStage about just where the band is now and where it’s going.

OS: Wow, what a few years you’ve had!

JDH: We can’t believe all the things we have to celebrate!

OS: It’s funny because when you guys started out, it seemed you didn’t want to be classified as “country” and now you’ve been embraced in that format.

JDH: It’s not that we didn’t want to be considered country. We’ve been embraced by the country community and we’re very pleased. It’s just that we are a little too schizonphrenic to be under one name, in our minds. There are many facets of our musical influences. We all love different styles of music but it really seems what we do works great on country music and country fans like it. We’re glad to have that. We are all a product of all our influences, mostly southern rock. We are all country boys from the south in one way or another.

OS: So how did you, as a country boy, get into music?

JDH: I was always a singer in the choir. We have videos of me singing at the age of three. I think the first time I ever really considered a musical instrument was in the fifth grade, when I was taking piano. Then I got my dad’s guitar out from under the bed and taught myself how to play that. I got a bass soon after that.

OS: I know you started writing songs when you were really young and you were already playing. Is that how you got to work with Zac?

JDH: I got into producing in the early to mid 1990s. Zac and I produced his [first albums including the 2005 album Home Grown and then I joined the band.

OS: It seems like you do everything in the band, but everyone else does too!

JDH: I remember hearing a story about the first time [Garth Brooks] went on tour. He showed up at 7 a.m. with tool belt and drill [ready to build the set]. He still probably shows up at 7 a.m. with a drill in hand! We have that kind of mentality. We don’t necessarily go that far but we always have done all we could ourselves. It wasn’t that long ago that we were taking our own sound system [to gigs]. Until recently, the [public address] system we used belonged to me.

OS: It seems like you’re always working, even when you’re home.

JDH: It’s funny, people believe I just come home and lounge and that’s not what I do. Recently, I was in Nashville for a couple days writing with the guys up there. My wife works, too, and over the weekend I try to be with her.  But during the week I’m in my studio working. I did have a day to ride motorcycles with friends of mine, but I don’t have every day to do that.

OS: You and Zac are very involved in the record label you all started, Southern Ground, too. I know one of your brightest stars in Sonia Leigh. Why was she the first artist you signed to the label?

JDH: I don’t want to compare her with other artists but what she brings”and here’s what some artists don’t bring”is that she writes and she is an incredible writer plus a great singer and an accomplished instrumentalist. She is an outstanding writer and paints incredible pictures [with her music]. She deserves every bit of recognition she gets. She has really earned what is coming her way. We couldn’t be prouder of her.

Find out more about the Zac Brown Band, Sonia Leigh and more at the band’s Web site.

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Your Country's Right Here: Jason Boland & the Stragglers Band Relish Red Dirt

Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw, Sugarland and other big-name country musicians makes it easy to overlook some of the considerably less flashy but incredibly substantive performers”and that’s really a shame.

Consider Jason Boland & The Stragglers that surely embody the heartfelt country sound”for lack of a better term”and spirit of such artists as Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Jamey Johnson.

Ever notice that the myriad of country music award shows almost never even give a nod to the aforementioned artists, despite their virtuoso playing and heartfelt, often profound, musical offerings?

Perhaps that’s a conversation for another day, but the point is that only the drive-by fan should turn to such all-star entertainment extravaganzas to completely guide their music choices.

Before readers throw up their hands in disgust, please note the term “completely.” I enjoy mainstream artists as much as the next person, but I’m likening them to exclusively eating one type of food”such as meat. Aren’t you glad you also know about grains?

That’s where Jason Boland and his band, perhaps one of the best-kept secrets out of Texas, come in. Although he and his band are well known on the Texas circuit, they are hoping to expandbeyond with their latest album Rancho Alto.

“We went in there and tried to get live tracks,” said Boland of the eleven-track album. “A lot of current music today is overdone. We try to get live drums, live bass, and [other live instrumentation] in there.”


Karen O's "Psycho Opera" And The Other Crazy Side Projects Of The Artists We Love

Karen O, Karen O, Karen O. We love your crazy fashion sense, we love your music, we even love saying your name. But how far will this love go? We’d love it if you put out another record with Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but a “psycho-opera”?

According to a release from The Creators Project via Twentyfourbit, the as-of-now untitled work will be about “an assault on the tragic joys of youth” and will be premiering in mid-October as part of the The Creators Project’s big homecoming after travelling the world (kind of) doing very artsy, very cool things. The opera will be presented alongside numerous other art installations and multimedia performances, so all in all in sounds like a pretty sweet shindig. But still, “psycho-opera”. What does that even mean? What could such a performance possible entail? Are we going to go crazy if we watch it more then three times or something?

Many of our favorite musicians are creative dynamos, unable to be bound by the limitations of one inspirational outlet, branch out into other mediums non-stop. Sometimes it’s amazing! And occasionally it’ll leave us more “innovatively-challenged” types scratching our heads. Like some Garth Brooks/Chris Gaines type stuff.

Weezer have made a career out of churning out endless amounts of good time, fun rock and they’re better at it then pretty much anybody else. So it must’ve been interesting for fans back in 2000 to see the group, performing under the moniker Goat Punishment and performing covers of Oasis and Nirvana tracks. And not just the obvious singles, but some deeper cuts as well. All that adds up to some sweet ’90s alt rock goodness.