VERSE OF THE MONTH:
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. – Saint Theresa.
John Conlee shows no sign of slowing down. At age 71, the Grand Ole Opry member is set to release a new album, CLASSICS 3, that includes some of his signature hits as well as a few new cuts. The album is set for release on Friday, January 26 on his own Rose Colored Records and is now available for pre-sale via his website and iTunes. The album includes hits such as “Working Man,” “The Carpenter” and the No. 1 single “Got My Heart Set On You.” Two new tracks, “Learning How To Love” and “Unborn Voice” are from the pen of Songwriters Hall of Fame member Hugh Prestwood. This album is the third and final installment of Conlee’s Classics CD set. More info at johnconlee.com and on Facebook.
Shenandoah has announced an extension of its 30th Anniversary Tour into 2018. The band unveiled its first round of live concert dates scheduled to take place next year as a continued celebration of Shenandoah’s three decades of music. A total of 21 extended tour concerts were announced with stops in Green Bay, WI, Bremen, GA, Hinton, OK, Lubbock, TX, Pigeon Forge, TN, Greenville, AL, and more. In November, Shenandoah premiered a new song, “Noise,” on SiriusXM Prime Country, marking the group’s first single released to radio in 20 years. The track, available through BMG, and produced by Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts fame serves as a preview to an upcoming full-length album, currently scheduled for an early 2018 commercial release. “Noise” is available for digital download now at iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon and Google Play. Tour dates and more at shenandoahband.com and Facebook.
Thomas Rhett’s newest single “Marry Me” is now at Country radio, following a hot streak with “Craving You” and “Unforgettable” – the first two singles from his Billboard 200 Chart-Topper LIFE CHANGES (The Valory Music Co.) – soared to No. 1, each faster than the one before and with RIAA GOLD certification. Rhett often draws from personal experience when it comes to penning a new song, but for “Marry Me,” he flips the tables alongside hit co-writers Jesse Frasure, Ashley Gorley and Shane McAnally, presenting a non-autobiographical twist to the track. Rhett’s third album LIFE CHANGES debuted at No. 1 on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart, marking the first Country release to take the top spot in 2017. His LIFE CHANGES TOUR 2018 is set to kick off in April. Tour info and more at ThomasRhett.com and Facebook.
Legendary Country music singer, songwriter and animal advocate, David Frizzell, is supporting animal rescue with his new 10-song CD and storybook, Barnyard Christmas. This original project presents the story of the birth of Christ as told by animal characters that were present at the manger. Pre-orders for the CD and storybook are available now. Visit www.davidfrizzell.com for more information. During the month of December, those who adopt an animal through Music City Animal Rescue, or make a minimum donation of $20, will receive an autographed copy of David’s CD/storybook (while supplies last). There are other perks for those purchasing the CD with information available on the organization’s website, musiccityanimalrescue.com.
The December schedule for Reno’s Old Time Music Hall includes a new show, WELCOME BACK TO THE VALLEY (with new performances taped at the world-renowned Renfro Valley), and all new episodes of BEST OF BLUEGRASS and FRONT PORCH GOSPEL (a compilation of some of the best Bluegrass and Gospel performances from the show’s nearly 25-year history). Rhonda Vincent, will join host Ronnie Reno to celebrate Christmas with a ROTM “Christmas Time” special. Finally, Grammy-nominated, IBMA “Mandolin Player of the Year,” Sierra Hull will return to host another episode of HATS OFF TO BLUEGRASS to usher in the year. ROTM airs weekly on Saturday night at 7:00 P.M. Eastern and Thursday morning at 6:30 A.M. Eastern on RFD-TV. Details at www.ronniereno.com.
Singer/songwriter Tucker Beathard released his debut studio album, DEAR SOMEONE, November 17 on Big Machine Records. A prolific songwriter, Beathard has writing, as well as drums, electric and acoustic guitar credits on the album that captures the friction and fuel that fires an artist coming into his own on his own terms. Having spent three years criss-crossing America, often in a van, Beathard knows what his music is worth. He says he’s not trying to tell other people what to do, he just knows what he can’t be. Album and tour info at tuckerbeathard.com and Facebook.
Nashville’s biggest stars united for COUNTRY RISING, presented by Hilton and Dollar General, raising more than four million dollars to support charitable initiatives for those affected by the September 2017 hurricanes as well as victims of the recent shooting in Las Vegas. From top to bottom, the production was as big as the talent that took the stage at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, including host Bobby Bones and performers Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Sam Hunt, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Chris Stapleton, George Strait, Keith Urban and surprise guest Jon Pardi. Additionally, Garth Brooks sent in a special video from Spokane, WA where he donated proceeds from the night’s two shows. Donations to the fund can be made at countryrising.org.
Some advance notice about a special evening with CMA and Grammy Award-winning country artist, Travis Tritt at the CMA Theater, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, March 3, 2018. Experience this rare opportunity featuring the multi-platinum artist in an intimate solo-acoustic setting where his powerful voice and his guitar are the subject of the spotlight. An up-close and personal event punctuated by personal stories and anecdotes about his life and musical influences. Performing some of his biggest hits, including “T-R-O-U-B-L-E,” “It’s A Great Day to Be Alive” and “Best of Intentions;” the Grand Ole Opry member will bring his award-winning songs to life and leave the audience with a truly memorable experience. Tickets start at $49.50. Tickets to this and all upcoming on sale now at cmatheater.com
Garth Brooks is on his 2017 World Tour Sponsored by Amazon Music Unlimited with Trisha Yearwood and plays concerts at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN Saturday, December 9, Sunday, December 10, Friday, December 15, Saturday, December 16, Sunday, December 17 & Friday, December 22, 2017. Garth’s fans can get tickets for the shows before they sell out (if they haven’t already) with no busy signals or waiting rooms, by going to garthconcerts.com. No password, offer code or fan club membership required.
Christmas Before You is the title of the new EP from emerging artist Amanda Winter. The title song depicts the yearnings of a young child and those of a childless couple during the Holidays. The six-song project was produced by Grammy-nominated producer Kent Wells and includes five seasonal Christmas favorites. Proceeds from the sale of the music will be donated to a local foster care organization. Foster care is close to Amanda’s heart: Before she was two years old, she was removed from her birth mother who was a drug addict and alcoholic. She was in eight different foster homes before the age of five. Details at amandawintermusic.com and Facebook.
Craig Wayne Boyd, season 7 winner of NBC’s The Voice, has signed on with Nashville-based Absolute Publicity for exclusive public relations representation. “Craig Wayne Boyd is a phenomenal talent, as proven on NBC’s The Voice,” said Absolute Publicity company president Don Murry Grubbs. “He’s a welcome addition to our roster.” Boyd recently released his new album, TOP SHELF.
Millions of Americans watched the Texas native’s journey on “The Voice,” but for Boyd, that was only one chapter in a long journey that resulted in the release of an album that is a celebration of heartbreak, the sweet pain of love, and the comfort of faith’s embrace. More info at craigwayneboyd.com and Facebook.
The Bellamy Brothers are performing in South Africa, Namibia and Sri Lanka as the international icons add dates to their current world Let Your Love Flow Tour. They returned to South Africa and Sri Lanka for the second visit during their 40+ year career. The Bellamy Brothers added five stops which included their first concerts for the fans in Windhoek, Namibia as well as a visit to South Africa for a show in Cape Town and two performances in Johannesburg. They return to the USA for a packed tour schedule beginning in Corsicana, Texas. In 2018, the duo is also gearing up for the release of their autobiography “Let Your Love Flow – The Life and Times of The Bellamy Brothers.” More at bellamybrothers.com and Facebook.
(Broken Bow Nashville)
Chase Rice’s new album, Lambs & Lions, dropped November 17 and he has been steadfast in his desire to bring his new music directly to his fans, throwing ‘Lambs & Lions’ listening parties for fans across the country and unveiling the “We Are Lions” contest, which calls on students to show their school spirit by entering for a chance to win a free Chase Rice concert at their school. Rice has partnered with the CMA Foundation, the charitable arm of the Country Music Association, to help fund music education programs across the U.S. To that end, Rice will be donating the profits from album sales at listening parties in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, New York City, and Phoenix to the Foundation, along with the proceeds to his sold-out shows at the celebrated Grizzly Rose in Denver. Produced by Ross Copperman, Chris DeStefano, Mac MacAnally and Jacquire King, ‘Lambs & Lions’ reflects the unconventional path that led Rice to make music in the first place. Music, tour info and more at chaserice.com and Facebook.
(Warner Bros. Nashville)
In just six weeks on the road, Michael Ray and his fans have collected 109,325 meals to donate to animals in need, based on one cup of food as an average per food meal size. As noted in last month’s column, life-long animal supporter, Platinum-selling recording artist Michael Ray launched ‘Wrigley Cares: Helping Animals In Need’ earlier this year as a philanthropic component to his 15-city ‘Get To You’ Tour. Named after his rescue dog, Wrigley, the chart-topping singer/songwriter teamed up with Zappos For Good and local animal shelters to set up donation stations at each of his ‘Get To You’ Tour stops. “We set out to see how we can help animals in need and we are blown away by the huge response,” shared Ray. “When we’re on the road, we stop in each town and become a part of the community for a night while on stage. It’s inspiring to see the ‘Get To You’ Tour can leave a lasting impression and feed so many shelter animals. Wrigley’s stoked too.” Tour & ticket info and more about donating to ‘Wrigley Cares’ at michaelraymusic.com and Facebook.
NOTE: Michael Ray has also partnered with GIVN Water as a brand ambassador. Michael’s sophomore album is due for release in 2018 through a collaboration with GIVN to help provide clean water to communities around the globe.
The Oak Ridge Boys have joined forces with American companies to place a new emphasis on buying products made in the United States. The Liberty Legends USA program debuted in 2015 and have now announced the launch of their second Legends Series, the “American Made Collection” by The Oak Ridge Boys. The collection will debut with a line of high quality suits, Made in the USA. The Liberty Legends USA Series is a collaboration of Made in America businesses and leaders promoting a movement to buy American, bringing jobs and profits back to American soil. The American Made Collection is now available through the link provided at oakeidgeboys.com and Facebook.
The hard-charging quartet, A Thousand Horses, is hitting the trail with a defiant, genre-busting icon in the new year. They’ve been selected by the “American Badass” himself – KID ROCK – as direct support for his ‘Greatest Show on Earth Tour 2018. Set to take the stage for massive arena concerts, A Thousand Horses can’t wait to showcase their “hard, Southern-rock edge” (Entertainment Weekly) to the rowdy fans of their provocative host. Huge crowds will be looking to turn loose, and the band is more than happy to oblige with fist-pumping hits like their GOLD-certified #1 debut, “Smoke,” and good-timing latest single, “Preachin’ To the Choir.” Tickets are on sale now with the tour kicking off in Nashville on January 19 and includes dates from New York to Nevada, culminating with a show at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Events Center on March 24. Info, tour dates, etc, at AThousandHorses.com
The Nashville Association of Talent Directors’ (NATD) 7th Annual Honors Gala recognized some of the best in their respective fields for their accomplishments and service to the Nashville entertainment industry. The event was presented by the Grand Ole Opry and Springer Mountain Farms. Awards were presented to Nashville Predators CEO Sean Henry, David Corlew, president and co-owner of Blue Hat Records, Barbara Hubbard, Executive Director of the American Collegiate Showcase, United Talent Agency’s Bobby Roberts, country legend Charley Pride and ‘Miss Country Soul’ Jeannie Seely. Celebrity presenters and performers at the Gala included Charlie Daniels, Foc McGhee, John Anderson, Bobby Bare, Robert K. Oermann, Bill Anderson and Lorrie Morgan. Full details at n-a-t-d.com
Lorrie Morgan and Pam Tillis are joining forces on a new album, COME SEE ME AND COME LONELY (Goldenlane Records). Both members of the Grand Ole Opry, Morgan and Tillis have been on the road with their Grits & Glamour Tour. Now, the two singers deliver an album that combines their expressive voices with timeless songs and creative vision – plus special guest appearances by Joe Diffie and Darryl Worley. They sing country classics including the title track, originally made famous by Dottie West, Dwight Yoakam’s “Guitars, Cadillacs,” and Billie Joe Spears’ “Blanket On The Ground.” The ladies bring it home with early rock favorites such as Roy Orbison’s “It’s Over,” and the Everly Brothers’ “Walk Right Back.” Fans can catch the Grits & Glamour Tour as Lorrie and Pam continue to perform dates throughout December, and into 2018.
Following the overwhelming success of his two-year ‘Strait to Vegas’ concert series, the King of Country George Strait has announced two additional performances over Big Game Weekend, February 2-3, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Opening the February shows for Strait will be special guests Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen. Strait previously announced two 2018 shows including June 3 at Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas, and June 1 and 2 at BOK Center in Tulsa, OK. Strait has an unmatched 60 singles hitting the top of the charts – more than any other artist in any genre – and has collected 33 Platinum or multi-Platinum-selling albums. Tickets for all shows at GeorgeStrait.com.
A host of industry insiders and country music stars including Brandy Clark, Chris Stapleton, George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Lee Ann Womack, Mac Davis, Mo Pitney, Robert Earl Keen, Rory Feek and others, filled the Franklin Theatre for the premiere of “Tennessee Whiskey – The Dean Dillon Story.” The new film directed by Cole Claassen is about the life of prolific country music songwriter Dean Dillon. The documentary takes viewers on a journey through the life of a songwriting genius, showing his quick-witted sense of humor and big heart, but most of all his integrity, both creatively and personally. BMI Icon songwriter Dillon has written more than 26 #1 songs, with the majority of those recorded by his longtime friend and “king of country,” the great George Strait. Dillon has also written more than 53 Top 10 songs in his storied career thus far. The movie is available at iTunes. More at deandillon.com
My buddy Tracy Lawrence does it again for the Nashville Rescue Mission. Tracy Lawrence’s 12th Annual Mission: Possible Turkey Fry and 3rd Annual Concert raised more than $148,000 for the Nashville Rescue Mission.The evening concert at the Wildhorse Saloon, featuring Luke Combs, Clay Cormier, Ben Gallaher, Halfway to Hazard, William Michael Morgan, Jamie O’Neal and Lawrence followed the day of cooking and raised $28,787.19 in ticket sales alone. If you like to help feed the homeless please visit nashvillemission.org to see how you can help/give.
Murfreesboro TN’s own Chris Young has extended his headlining ‘Losing Sleep’ World Tour with twelve additional dates added in April and May. Joining him are RCA label mate Kane Brown, Warner Bros./WEA’s Morgan Evans and Dee Jay Silver. Updates are: Arista’s LanCo and Kane Brown will open the dates in January and February.
April 19 – Tuscaloosa, AL
April 20 – Orange Beach, AL
May 3 – Columbus, OH
May 4 – Toledo, OH
May 5 – La Crosse, WI
May 10 – Rapid City, SD
May 11 – Sioux Falls, SD
May 12 – Lincoln, NE
May 16 – Missoula, MT
May 17 – Yakima, WA
May 18 – Eugene, OR
May 19 – Tacoma, WA
Full lists of dates at www.chrisyoungcountry.com/events
WESTERN MUSIC NEWS:
Rex Allen Jr. was named Male Vocalist of the Year and awarded Song of the Year (for ‘Call of the Canyon’) by the Western Music Association at the annual convention. He is also a member of the Western Music Association’s Hall of Fame. The Song of the Year honor holds special significance. The song, Call of the Canyon, has received over six million requests worldwide since its release a year ago. The song was co-written with Rex Allen Jr.’s hero, Johnny Western and disc jockey O.J. Sikes, along with Dick Goodman who at the age of 85 won his first honor as a songwriter. Rex Allen Jr. continues to record, most recently releasing Garage Songs XI: Chico. Details at rexallenjr.com
Chase Rice “Lambs & Lions” / Tucker Beathard “Dear Someone”/ John Fogerty “Blue Moon Swamp” [20th anniversary digital/physical release, 180g black vinyl, limited-edition 180g blue vinyl] / Chris Stapleton “From A Room: Volume 2” / Luke Bryan “What Makes You Country” / Cole Swindell “Down Home Sessions IV” / Steve Earle “El Corazón” [Reissue] / Walker Hayes “Boom” / Danielle Bradbery “I Don’t Believe We’ve Met” / Tim McGraw and Faith Hill “The Rest Of Our Life” / Various Artists: ”A Tribute to Dan Fogelberg”
WHO’S LOOKING * WHO’S CUTTING:
Jason Aldean, Brooke Eden, Gyth Rigdon, Jon Pardi, Canaan Smith, LoCash and Justin Moore.
Have a Blessed & Merry Christmas and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!
News by Preshias Harris ~ “Send me music stuff, I love to get it!”
Preshiaswriter@hotmail.com TN/USA. Google “Preshias”
About Preshias Harris:
** Preshias Harris is a music journalist and music career development consultant with the emphasis on new and aspiring artists and songwriters. Her book, ‘The College of Songology: The Singer/Songwriter’s Need to Know Reference Handbook’ is available at www.collegeofsongology.com Follow her blog at www.nashvillemusicline.com