Projects Scheduled From Kathy Mattea, Aaron Lewis And David Nail
• On Kathy Mattea’s new album, “Calling Me Home,” she delves even deeper into her Appalachian mining heritage than she did on her last album, “Coal,” released four years ago. The new project is due out September 11, and includes liner notes from bestselling author and Kentucky native Barbara Kingsolver.
“I feel like I just made the album of my life,” Mattea (right) says of the new set. “I articulated something I was put here to say. It’s my childhood and life experience of a sense of place and culture and history and family, and of all the music that I’ve learned and all I’ve learned performing all rolled into one thing.”
• Also due out September 11 is the second country project from Staind front man Aaron Lewis, titled “The Road.” Co-produced by Lewis and Nashville hit maker James Stroud, “The Road” follows Lewis’ debut solo EP, “Town Line,” which bowed at No. 1 on the Billboard Country Albums chart last year.
The forthcoming album contains 10 new songs, including first single “Endless Summer.” Also included is the Rhett Akins/Dallas Davidson/Bobby Pinson-penned “Granddaddy’s Gun,” the first song Lewis has ever cut that he didn’t have a hand in writing.
“This music and these songs represent who I am and where I come from,” Lewis says of the new album. “I hope people hear the record and realize that this is all me. “I’m writing songs about who I am and where I am, just like I’ve done my whole career. The setting for the songs might be different, but they’re as honest as anything I’ve ever done.”
While he has toured extensively for the last eight years, Lewis is about to embark on his first full-band tour as a solo artist this summer.
• David Nail will digitally release a three-song EP, titled “1979,” on iTunes July 17. The set, named for the year Nail was born, includes Nail’s cover of Adele’s “Someone Like You,” for which he recently released a video. Also included are the title cut from his album, “The Sound Of A Million Dreams,” and another track from that album, “Half Mile Hill.”
“It’s hard to believe the life that ‘Someone Like You’ has taken on,” Nail says of his viral version. “It’s proof that people hunger for great songs, and they are open to different interpretations of songs they love. I started singing it because it’s a great song to warm up with, and people who heard it liked it. And then, I guess, they told other people, who told other people.
“I think every singer hears songs that make you want to sing them,” he continues. “I got to the Adele album late, because I listen to so much sports talk radio. But the second I heard it, I was all about it. It was just one of those songs.”
Singer Partners With ConAgra For "Hunger-Free Summer” Program
Kellie Pickler has parted ways with Sony Music Nashville, her record label home since 2006 when she placed sixth in the fifth season of “American Idol.” She recorded three albums for the company, “Small Town Girl” in 2006, a self-titled set in 2008, and this year’s “100 Proof.” Her biggest hit was “Best Days Of Tour Life,” which peaked at No. 9 in 2009.
Pickler’s manager Larry Fitzgerald of Fitzgerald-Hartley says in a statement, “Kellie’s contract with Sony came to an end and they mutually decided not to renew.” She continues to tour in support of “100 Proof.”
In other Pickler news, the singer has partnered with ConAgra Foods Foundation’s Hunger-Free Summer program at the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. There, she and other local volunteers spent a day last week filling boxes with canned goods and other food items to be delivered to many of the 400,000 children who are in need across Middle Tennessee.
The Hunger-Free Summer program invites everyone with access to a computer and a Facebook account to download a free children’s activity book, The Hunger Avengers, at www.Facebook.com/ConAgraFoods. For every download or “share,” one meal will be donated to a child in need. Pickler, ConAgra Foods Foundation and Feeding America hope to reach their goal of 500,000 meals provided by the deadline of September 3.
Singer Opens Up About Future Acting Roles, And Rumors Of A Vegas Show With Faith Hill
With a brand new record deal under his belt, and a new single, “Truck Yeah,” going to country radio on July 3, Tim McGraw is at a good place in his career, and he’s excited about the new album he’s just finishing up and hopes to have out later this year.
Last weekend, just hours before he was set to play a Nashville stadium date with Kenny Chesney on the singers’ Brothers of the Sun Tour, McGraw hosted a crawfish boil for Nashville media and answered questions about a variety of topics, including the tour, his rumored Las Vegas residency with wife Faith Hill, his future film roles, and even his workout regimen. Here are some excerpts from the conversation.
On how the Brothers of the Sun Tour is going so far:
“It’s a big deal. It’s a big operation . . . It’s really a mini city that’s moving everywhere. We don’t get much time to goof around, to tell you the truth. I fly in and out most of the time, and Kenny flies in and out most of the time, so the most time that we get the chance to hang is when we’re doing our 30-minute set together at the end of the night, which is really the most fun.”
On feeling rejuvenated by his new deal with Big Machine Records:
“Certainly there’s a freshness and a new energy around everything that I do. I feel inspired, and I feel like there’s a brand new world opening up. I think that there’s so much more left in my career. I think there’s more ahead of me than there’s ever been behind me.”
On now being on the label that launched with a single named for him, Taylor Swift’s “Tim McGraw”:
“I haven’t thought about that. I’m just waiting on my check.” [Laughs]
On new single “Truck Yeah”:
“‘Truck Yeah’ sort of goes back a little bit to the beginning of my career, a little bit of the attitude, which I kind of like.”
On his rumored Las Vegas show with Hill:
“There’s some cool things happening. Not ready to say for sure what it is yet, but we’re working on some ideas for sure. Whatever we do it will be interesting and fun, and very limited.”
“It certainly, for our family, would work well. For us to be able to do something together is a pretty good situation . . . Faith and I really look at our careers in three different ways: she has her career and I have my career, and we have a third act, really, which is our career together, Soul 2 Soul.”
On his future film acting plans:
“There’s two or three things floating around that I really like. The hardest thing is timing. You can read 50 scripts and not find anything that you like. It’s much like finding songs. You listen to thousands of songs and you find those magic things, and for me, it all has to start with a script, of course. If that’s not right, then nothing’s right. Then I have to find a script that’s going to be done with the [available] window. It’s a two to three month commitment to a movie when you decide to do one, not to mention the preparation before, and you don’t want to short change anybody. So [it’s about] finding something that you like, finding something that’s being done in the time that I have available, and then if those two things line up, them really wanting me to do it. I’m not at the point yet where I can just go say ‘I want that role’ and its mine. I have to work for it.
“This year is going to be tough because we have two daughters in high school this year. And Faith’s making an album [that is] practically done and will be coming out soon, hopefully. And I’m in the middle of my album. So it’s going to be tough to find time to make a movie. But that being said, there’s two or three things floating around that, if they fall into place, then they’ll be fun to do.
“I’d love to do a baseball movie. It would have to be an aging baseball player [role] now. Better do one before I’m the coach.”
On keeping fit despite his busy schedule:
“I was an athlete growing up, so I’ve always sort of been a gym rat. There’s been times in my life and career where I’ve let it slide a little bit, but I just like being healthy. I quit drinking four years ago because I wanted to be healthy and because I wanted to be around for my grandkids. I think more than anything, I want to live a long time and I want to see my kids grow up and I want to meet my grandkids and hopefully my great grandkids, so I just try to be healthy.”
On why he uses Twitter so little:
“I don’t have time. That’s the main thing. We’re just so busy. I’m sure that’s probably a lame excuse. Part of me is like who cares? Who cares if I’m going to the grocery store? I just really haven’t bought into that. Plus, I like privacy a little bit, too. But I do a little bit, and a try to do a little more every now and then [if] something is interesting. But I really can’t get into the mundane, everyday things that everybody does in life that everybody else wants to hear about.”
On looking back over his career to date:
“I’m not very good at looking back. I’m always looking forward, so I’ve never really sat down and looked at my career in retrospect. I think if I did that I might just say ‘well, hell, that’s enough’ and quit. I don’t know. I want to keep moving forward. I’ve still got a lot more to do.”
Plus, The Time Jumpers Sign With Rounder Records
• Rascal Flatts’ Jay DeMarcus will host a weekly radio show, beginning June 28, on the Big Machine Radio channel on digital platform iHeartRadio. “The Jay DeMarcus Show: Live From Flatts Shack” will first air Thursdays at 5 p.m. (ET), and will feature guests as well as DeMarcus’ stories from the road during the 60-minute show.
“I’m very excited for the opportunity to have my own radio show,” DeMarcus (pictured) says in a press release, joking that, “It’s going to be fun to have the forum to discuss whatever I want to, without two other rascals constantly interrupting me!”
In the inaugural show, DeMarcus welcomes guests Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen and hit songwriter James Slater. DeMarcus’ wife, CMT correspondent Allison DeMarcus, will join the program each week for the show’s entertainment reports. Listen here.
• Colt Ford’s fourth studio album, “Declaration of Independence,” is due out Aug. 7. The 15-track album features collaborations with Jason Aldean, Kix Brooks, Montgomery Gentry, Jake Owen, Darius Rucker and others.
• Rounder Records has signed the popular Nashville-based country/Western swing band The Time Jumpers, and will release a new album from the 11-piece band on Sept. 11. Formed in 1998 by a group of Nashville’s recording studio elite, the band began just as a jam session for the musicians, and evolved into a weekly, Monday night show, which recently moved to a larger Nashville venue to accommodate more fans.
In 2007, the group recorded a live album titled “Jumpin’ Time” that was nominated for two Grammy awards. The Rounder album will be the group’s studio debut.
The current lineup of 11 singers and musicians includes “Ranger” Doug Green of Riders in the Sky and front man Kenny Sears (one of the group’s three fiddle players) and his wife, vocalist Dawn Sears, as well as highly-regarded Nashville session and touring musicians Paul Franklin, Jeff Taylor, Andy Reiss, Dennis Crouch, Joe Spivey, and newest members Country Music Hall of Famer Vince Gill, Larry Franklin and Billy Thomas.
Check out the band’s performance of “I Ain’t Got Nothin’ but the Blues” (in a cave) here.
• Toby Keith has just opened the ninth restaurant in his nationwide chain, Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill. The new location is in Dallas. Additional restaurants are planned for Chicago and Newport News, Va.
In addition to food and live music, Dallas customers can also see Toby Keith memorabilia including a one-of-a-kind, 96 foot long, guitar shaped bar modeled after Keith’s red, white and blue guitar. Also on site is one half of a real Ford Truck that traveled on Keith's U.S. tours.
Singer/Actor Will Star In The Revival Of “Chicago”
Billy Ray Cyrus is set to make his Broadway stage debut this fall in the Tony Award-winning musical “Chicago.” Cyrus will star as slick criminal lawyer Billy Flynn in a limited, seven-week holiday engagement, which runs from Nov. 5 through Dec. 23 at Broadway’s Ambassador Theatre.
Over the last decade, Cyrus has established himself as a successful TV and film actor, performing in lead roles such as the title character of the PAX-TV series “Doc” and as Robby Ray Stewart, the father of daughter Miley Cyrus’ fictional character in the Disney Channel series “Hannah Montana.”
He appeared in and co-produced “Hannah Montana: The Movie.” His other theatrical film roles include parts in the Jackie Chan action-comedy “The Spy Next Door,” the critically acclaimed “Mulholland Drive,” and a role alongside comedian Bill Engvall in “Bait Shop.” TV movies include Lifetime’s “Flying By,” and Hallmark Channel’s original movies “Christmas in Canaan,” and “Christmas Comes Home to Canaan.”
Other TV roles have included hosting the TLC series “Surprise Homecoming,” hosting “Nashville Star,” and appearing as a contestant on ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars” in 2007.
His newest album, titled “Change My Mind,” is scheduled for release in late October/early November on Blue Cadillac Records.
Radney Foster, Joey + Rory, Kasey Chambers, Bobby Bare All Set To Release New Albums
• To celebrate the 20th anniversary of his acclaimed album, “Del Rio, TX, 1959,” singer-songwriter Radney Foster will release “Del Rio, Texas, Revisited: Unplugged and Lonesome” on his own Devil’s River Records on August 14. The album reinterprets the songs from his now classic solo debut album as an acoustic collection.
In early March, Foster recorded the album in Austin, Texas, in three days, along with Dixie Chick Martie Maguire (fiddle), Jon Randall Stewart (guitar), Glenn Fukunaga (doghouse bass), Michael Ramos (keyboard) and original “Del Rio” producer Steve Fishell.
“Things worked out beyond my wildest expectations,” Foster says in a media release. “Twenty years ago, I worried about every single detail. With this new record, you have these incredible musicians doing surprising things on the fly. There’s a looseness, yet remarkable precision.
“These songs are still as real to me,” Foster adds. “They take on different meanings because it is 20 years later, but the stories still resonate.”
“I don’t do a lot of sessions, but I was so flattered when Radney asked me,” Maguire says. “I actually had the original Del Rio on cassette, and it’s one of the handful of records in my life that I really, honestly wore out. When I went back and listened to the tunes, I knew all the words and chords. This record sounds very Texas in the chord progressions and the licks and these songs feel like how I learned to play fiddle. I felt very at home.”
• Joey + Rory will release their third studio album, “His And Hers,” on July 31. Joey Martin takes the lead on half of the album’s tracks, while her husband, Rory Feek, helms the rest. Feek also wrote or co-wrote much of “His And Hers.”
Meanwhile, the duo’s new weekly variety program, “The Joey + Rory Show,” debuts on RFD-TV in July. Filmed entirely at their Tennessee farm and in their community, its first 13 episodes will mix live performances of “His and Hers” tunes, recipes from the café they own, behind-the-scenes looks into their life together, and intimate acoustic performances from the duo and a select group of singers and songwriters that inspire them.
• Australian singer Kasey Chambers will release her latest album, “Storybook,” on July 30 exclusively on Amazon.com. The 15-song project is a collection of songs that inspired Chambers to become a musician. She covers songs by Gram Parsons, Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, John Prine, Townes Van Zandt and others. The album is the musical accompaniment to her autobiography, “A Little Bird Told Me,” which was recently published by Harper Collins in Australia. Chambers returns to the U.S. in August with a brand new run of tour dates in conjunction with the worldwide release of “Storybook.”
• Country legend Bobby Bare is recording a new album at Nashville’s famed RCA Studio B. While a release date has not been selected yet, the project will span a cross-section of traditional and contemporary blues and folk covers from songwriters such as Tom Waits, Alejandro Escovedo, Bob Dylan and Leadbelly, plus new, original tracks. It will feature contributions from Buddy Miller and Randy Scruggs on guitar, Marco Giovino on drums and Byron House on bass. Miller, Giovino and House were most recently with Robert Plant’s Band of Joy.
New Cuts Include An Ode To His Adopted Home Town
Tim McGraw enthusiastically shared rough mixes of four new songs for a small group of radio programmers and country music media Friday afternoon at a Nashville coffee house. The group of about 25 people also included representatives from McGraw’s management team and his new record label home, Big Machine Records, which plans to release a new single from the singer soon.
The four recordings McGraw played were “Mexicoma,” “One Of Those Nights,” “Nashville” and country rocker “Truck Yeah.” All were well received, particularly “Nashville,” which some members of the group gave a standing ovation to after hearing it.
McGraw has been performing both "Mexicoma" and "Truck Yeah" on his Brothers of the Sun tour dates with Kenny Chesney. The latter song's schoolboy naughty, "we're cursing without really cursing" title seems destined to become a catch phrase on McGraw t-shirts and other touring merchandise, if it's not already.
McGraw introduced "Nashville" as his “ode" to the city. Its clever lyrics reference numerous classic country songs, and even some of the format’s stars, including Johnny Cash and Hank Williams. Among the many songs referenced in the lyrics are “Ring Of Fire,” “Fancy,” “Crazy” and “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain.” The song’s hook wraps them all together as McGraw sings, “Nashville wouldn’t be Nashville without you.”
Plus, The Food Network Renews Trisha Yearwood’s Cooking Show
• No one could ever accuse Dierks Bentley of not having fun on the road. For the latest installment of his Web series, DBTV, the shirtless singer divides his camp up into band vs. crew for a full-on re-enactment of the battle scene from “Braveheart,” complete with face paint and motivational speeches. Check out the hilarious video here, and keep an eye out for a cameo from members of the Eli Young Band, who find themselves accidentally on the wrong side.
“We try to make those things really as entertaining as possible,” Bentley tells One Country about his DBTV webisodes. “You’re taking up two minutes of someone’s time, so you want to make it fun.”
• Kenny Chesney will perform on “Macys 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular,” which airs July 4 on NBC. The event, also featuring Katy Perry, will include more than 40,000 fireworks lighting up the sky above New York’s Hudson River during a 25-minute “Ignite The Night”-themed display, and is the nation’s largest Fourth of July fireworks display.
• Newcomer JT Hodges will release his self-titled debut album Aug. 21, and released the cover art (pictured) to fans this week via Instagram.
• The Food Network has both renewed and expanded Trisha Yeawood’s cooking show, “Trisha’s Southern Kitchen,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. The three-time Grammy winner and cookbook author’s daytime cable show will grow from six episodes to 13 for its second season, which begins airing in the fall. The new episodes begin production this summer.
“It was such a great experience, and the positive response from viewers was overwhelming and truly gratifying,” Yearwood tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I’ve always believed that food brings people together. I can’t wait to share more family memories and recipes with Food Network fans.”
Yearwood, who is married to Garth Brooks, has released two cookbooks, “Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen” (2008) and “Home Cooking With Trisha Yearwood” (2010). Both topped the New York Times best-seller list in the advice, how-to and miscellaneous category.
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