February 15, 2009

Open auditions for 'Can You Duet' on March 7

The popular TV-talent show for country crooners who come in pairs, Can You Duet, will return for a second season, and that said, they’re looking for some top-notch duo talent.

The CMT-broadcast show, which earned the highest-rated series premiere ever for the country audience-targeted network, will conduct an open call audition on Saturday, March 7,Wildhorse Saloon, 120 2nd Ave., in Nashville. for thousands of country star hopefuls at the Wildhorse Saloon on 2nd Avenue in Nashville.

The show’s producers—the same folks who bring viewers the North American version of American Idol—are hoping to find the next Johnny Cash and June Carter, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Brooks & Dunn, Dailey & Vincent, or even the new Dolly and Porter, they reported in a recent e-mail.

SLATED TO BEGIN airing its second season this summer, the weekly series is designed to find America’s next great country music duo. Unlike other talent competition shows, each contestant will compete as part of a duo. As a result, viewers witness, first-hand, all the on- and off-stage drama that comes with creating a dynamic musical duet.

  • To get the full scoop, including news about past contestants' industry success and info on all the details one needs to complete to complete, please click here.

February 13, 2009

Cupid's top hits: 14 of country's best couples

FROM THE ROLLER-COASTER HIGHS that love can bring to the heartbreaking devastation it leaves in its wake, country-music stars, like the songs they sing, are among the most passion-filled souls around all year, not just on Valentine's Day.

Their romances and break-ups, in fact, inspire some of the most heartfelt artistry our culture has known. And country fans, in turn, revel in happiness when a favorite country-music couple stands the test of time, just as they mourn when their favorite artists endure heartache from a love gone wrong.

  • To see Lisa's list of 14 of the top love matches in country music, please access Cupid's arrows aim for the (country) stars, too by clicking here.

February 11, 2009

Free Feb. 12 talk on Nashville's record industry

Music journalist Craig Havighurst will be a featured guest speaker beginning at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12, at Middle Tennessee State University, where he'll present his Music City Remixed series.

Free and open to the public, the six-part series will focus on the recording industry, and in particular, Nashville's Music Row, and the historic changes buffering the music industry, especially in regard to the city's country music industry.

Last fall, Havighurst reported and produced the series for Nashville Public Radio. During his upcoming MTSU visit, Havighurst will present the documentary report, which has a run time of about 30 minutes, and then participate in open discussion, including Q&A, moderated by Michael Fleming, assistant professor of audio production at MTSU.

Havighurst's participation in the community series is sponsored by the MTSU Audio Engineering Society, a group that comprises students enrolled in the Department of Recording Industry at the nearby Murfreesboro university.

Based in Nashville, Havighurst is an independent journalist and producer who has won awards for his work in print, radio and television. He's a regular public radio contributor on Nashville's WPLN and specializes in music documentaries through his company, String Theory Media.

From 2000 and 2004, Havighurst was a staff writer covering music and the music business for The Tennessean, where his feature writing was recognized with the 2004 Charlie Lamb Award for Excellence in Country Music Journalism. Havighurst also is the author of Air Castle of the South: WSM and the Making of Music City, which was published in fall 2007 by the University of Illinois Press.

  • To view an overview of the session titles or get more info on the free talk, please click here.

February 8, 2009

Lady Antebellum goes gold on the 'Ellen' TV show

On the eve of the 2009 Grammy Awards, hot-country trio Lady Antebellum learned their self-titled debut album for Capitol Records had secured gold status, signifying sales in excess of 500,000 copies.

Nominated in the two categories in this year's Grammy Awards, Lady Antebellum's members were surprised with a gold plaque during a Feb. 5 taping of the Ellen TV-talk show.

Host DeGeneres hit the trio with the news just after they completed a performance of the act's latest single, "I Run To You," which is contained on the self-dubbed Lady Antebellum CD. (The disc also contains the group's prior hit singles, "Love Don't Live Here" and "Lookin' For A Good Time.")

"Of course, leave it to the girl in the group to cry," laughed Lady Antbellum vocalist Hillary Scott, regarding the on-air "gone gold" announcement.

"We were so caught off guard, but it was such a special place for this to happen since our first national television performance was on Ellen back when our album was released," she continued. "It was a really cool moment for us to be able to stop and reflect on how amazing the last nine months have been," she added.

February 6, 2009

Legendary steel player Tom Brumley dies

Legendary pedal steel guitarist Tom Brumley, 73, who’s best known for his stellar musicianship as a member of the late Buck Owens’ band, has died of a heart attack in a San Antonio, Texas.

A member of Owens' hot-pickin’ Buckaroos band from 1963 to ’69, Brumley suffered a heart attack on Jan. 26 and was taken to Northeast Baptist Hospital in San Antonio, where he died Tuesday, according to his wife, Rolene Brumley. He was 73.

Born Nov. 12, 1935, as the third of six children, Brumley played steel guitar with Buck Owens and the Buckaroos from 1963 to 1969 and with Rick Nelson for a decade, including on the late singer’s crossover hit, “Garden Party.”

The son Albert E. Brumley, a legendary gospel songwriter who wrote "I'll Fly Away" and "Turn Your Radio On," a 14-year-old Brumley began his music career as a bassist in his brothers’ band. He went on to become a much-celebrated, award-winning steel guitarist and was inducted into both the Texas Steel Guitar Hall of Fame, which is part of the Texas Steel Guitar Association, and the International Steel Guitar Hall of Fame, among other honors. He also was awarded an Academy of Country Music honor for being the genre’s No. 1 steel player.

  • To read the full story and view music videos featuring Brumley performing with the Buckaroos, please click here.

February 3, 2009

Country music's 2009 Grammy Award contenders

There’s a healthy showing of country-music talent nominated in this year’s 51st Grammy Awards, which will be broadcast Sunday, Feb. 8, from Los Angeles on CBS beginning at 8 p.m. (Eastern/Pacific).

In fact, one knows it’s going to be a great Grammy year for the genre when the powers that be select a country artist to help announce the nominations, and this go around they elected to have country starlet Taylor Swift serve as co-host for that prime-time broadcast event, where all learned who had been given the nod.

There are a number of compelling contests in this year’s Grammy event, but among the 2009 nods that may of particular interest to country fans are the nominations held by longtime Lone Star country-music icon George Strait,who's nominated in four categories this time.

Somewhat surprisingly, in all his years of chart-topping, record-breaking recording artist and big-arena concert draw, the singing cowboy's yet to win a Grammy over the course of his three decades on the country-music scene. Although this writer isn't the gamblin' kind, my bet is on Mr. Strait to rope one in this year; thus, "Grammyless George" shouldn't be an accurate moniker for the white-hatted one this time next year. (Cross your fingers, George fans.)

Also in this year’s contest, this writer is especially hoping to see Tompkins Square recording artist Charlie Louvin, who made his name as one-half the Country Music Hall of Fame-inducted duo The Louvin Brothers, score a much-deserved Grammy in the Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album area. (He was nominated last year, but it managed to elude him. My money’s on Charlie to take this one, and if not, call 9-1-1 so 'cause someone's been robbed!)

Of course, the country masses are rootingfor newcomers Lady Antebellum to pull it out on the trio’s first go at the Grammy this year. The players—Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood—are the lone country act in their category, and let’s face it, if they lose to The Jonas Brothers, there could be rioting—in my living room, if nothing else. (It's probably relevant to note here that I have a teen son, not a daughter, so Lady A's music rules at our place, not the Jonas boys.)

This writer is also closely watching the songwriting category, where every nominee is a winner. However, Nashville tunesmith
Lee Thomas Miller, who pens under the BMI publishing umbrella, has not one, but two songs nominated in the Best Country Song contest; namely, "You're Gonna Miss This," which was recorded by Trace Adkins, and "In Color," a track he penned with co-writers/recording artists James Otto and Jamey Johnson. ... Looks like it will be a double nail-biter in the Miller home these days.

As for Grammy-trivia buffs, it may be of interest to note that bluegrasser/country artist Alison Krauss has won more than 20 Grammys to date, which is more than any other female in Grammy history, thanks to her talents as a solo artist, producer, collaborator and member of Union Station.

For a full overview of the country, bluegrass and country-gospel artists, albums, songs and songwriters in this year’s contest, as well as their competition, please access 51st Grammy Awards: 2009 Country Music Nominees.

  • This year's Grammys air Sunday, Feb. 8, on CBS. Check local listings to ensure accuracy of live broadcast time.

February 2, 2009

Little Texas plays Feb. 6 benefit near Nashville

Platinum-selling country group Little Texas will perform a Feb. 6 benefit show to the Nashville-area community of Watertown and honor the memory of one of its young residents.

Beginning at 6 p.m., the country-rockers, along with openers The O'Donnells and Doug Collins, will hit the stage at Watertown High School,
515 West Main St.

Little Texas bassist Duane Propes, in a Feb. 1 interview, said he and fellow LT founding members Porter Howell (lead guitar/lead vocals), Del
(drums/backing vocals) and Dwayne O'Brien (rhythm guitar) jumped at the chance to perform the fundraising show which will aid Watertown Elementary, a small-town school that is sorely in need of athletic facilities for its K-8 students.

“This all-ages concert is being held to raise funds for athletic facilities … for games and practice for this Wilson County elementary, which hosts kindergarten through 8th grade,” explained Propes, who added that a former student at the school, Cody Choate, worked hard to draw attention to the school’s need for such facilities.

“Cody Choate was a sixth-grader at Watertown Elementary who was killed in an ATV accident in summer 2007,” Propes shared. “(And) while he was alive, he championed the cause to have a football field at the school for the seventh- and eighth-grade teams."

For more details about this story, including where to buy tickets for the performance, please access the full story here: Little Texas performs benefit show for Cody, community.

February 1, 2009

Montgomery Gentry hosts 1st Country on the Beach

Columbia Nashville recording artist Montgomery Gentry announced that they will host the inaugural “Country on the Beach,” the ultimate beach event for country music fans, scheduled for Dec. 3-6, 2009, at the Beach Palace Resort in Cancun, Mexico, benefiting the T.J. Martell Foundation.

The Country on the Beach “all-inclusive” trip will feature activities such as local tours, celebrity auctions, volleyball, karaoke, a poolside/oceanside clambake, celebrity bartending, spa experiences, water sports, all meals and adult beverages, a celebrity golf tournament at the Riviera Cancun Golf Resort (a Jack Nicklaus Signature Course), private receptions and performances by Montgomery Gentry and special guests.

“We wanted to do something fun to help raise vital dollars for the T.J. Martell Foundation’s mission of funding ground-breaking cancer research,” said Troy Gentry. “A warm weather event will be great especially at the end of the year when it’s cold in Nashville.”

“We will have some special guests joining us for the private performances, celebrity golf classic and the celebrity bartending activities,” said Eddie Montgomery. “This will be the ultimate country music experience all for a great cause.”

Packages based on double occupancy (excluding air transportation) are $1,100 per person and include all activities, meals and beverages. The Celebrity Golf Classic is an additional charge of $250 per person. Space is limited and participants should sign up early to get room preferences. To make reservations contact Travelin’ Inc. at www.travelininc.com or (888) 473-8856.

The T.J. Martell Foundation is a national 501 (c)3 organization that supports innovative research for leukemia cancer and AIDS through eight top research hospitals in the United States. In Nashville, the Foundation supports the Frances Williams Preston Laboratories at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.

For more information about the T.J. Martell Foundation, log onto www.tjmartellfoundation.org or call (615) 256-2002.

Toby Keith & Taylor Swift on the fashion runway

A few years back, country superstar Reba McEntire launched her REBA brand, a line that includes clothing, footwear, home collections and other products. But now, two more country stars are looking be fashionistas, too.

Toby Keith and Taylor Swift each recently announced they’re expanding the already-diverse scope of their respective celebrity brands by jumping into the fashion biz with their own self-approved lines.

Specifically, Keith has created a new clothing line called TK Steelman that was developed in partnership with Royal Merchandising Group—a company that already produces merchandise for the country star’s restaurants. The line debuts Feb. 18 in Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, country-pop princess Swift is sticking with what she knows; namely, sundresses. On Feb. 1, the starlet's economically priced line of sundresses will debut at and be sold exclusively through Wal-Mart.

Swift says she will be among the first to don the self-approved designs, which are marketed by L.e.i., whose L.e.i. jeans Taylor endorsed in the brand's extensive 2008 ad campaign. (The dresses will run $14-$20, according to early reports.)