Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews To Headline
The annual Farm Aid benefit concert has been scheduled for Aug. 13 and moves to Kansas City this year. It will be the first concert event at the new Livestrong Sporting Park, which opens June 9.
As always, the concert will be headlined by organizers and Farm Aid board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews (pictured). Additional artists will be announced soon.
Since 1985, Farm Aid has traveled the country, staging annual concerts and supporting organizations that work to strengthen family farms. Farm Aid's annual benefit concert is its primary event to raise funds in support of the organization's work, and has raised more than $39 million since 1985.
“I’m looking forward to bringing my friends together in Kansas for the first time to honor family farmers,” said Farm Aid president Nelson in a press release. “Farm Aid celebrates the independent family farmers and ranchers who make this country strong, and we know we can only fix the challenges our country faces with the know-how of family farmers.”
In addition to the performances, the event will again feature organic food concessions. Farm Aid's Homegrown Village will showcase hands-on activities that give concertgoers a chance to meet farmers and get their hands dirty.
Tickets for Farm Aid 2011 will go on sale May 20, at 10 a.m. (CT) and are available by phone at 1-800-745-3000 or online at www.ticketmaster.com. Additional ticket information can be found at www.livestrongsportingpark.com and www.farmaid.org.
Singer Hits The Road With Tim McGraw This Summer
Luke Bryan revealed details today about his upcoming album, “Tailgates & Tanlines,” via a live stream on his Facebook page. The album will be in stores and digital retailers Aug. 9. Bryan also performed a couple of new songs from the album—“Drunk On You” and “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye”—during the streaming announcement. He also revealed exclusive behind the scenes footage shot during the making of his new video, “Country Girl (Shake It For Me).” The single of the same name sold 105,498 downloads in the U.S. in its first week.
“Tailgates & Tanlines” will be Bryan’s third studio album for Capitol Records Nashville, following up his Gold-certified 2009 sophomore album, “Doin’ My Thing,” which netted three back-to-back No. 1 singles” “Do I,” “Rain Is A Good Thing” and “Someone Else Calling You Baby.” His first album, “I’ll Stay Me,” was released in 2007.
“Writing and recording this project has been a blast,” Bryan said of the new project. “I feel like I continue to grow in my artistry and I hope that feeling never goes away. I think being out there on the road so much and seeing what the fans want makes it much clearer for me to know what to give them.
“Tailgates & Tanlines pretty much sums up a good time and that is what I go out there every night wanting to accomplish,” he continued. “I want everyone that hears my music to forget about all the other things in their lives that might stress them out and just raise their hands and sing along!”
Fans can catch Bryan on the road this summer on Tim McGraw’s “Emotional Traffic” tour.
It’s The Third Nashville Record Contract For Fowler
Texas country favorite Kevin Fowler has a new record deal with Nashville-based Average Joe’s Entertainment, a label co-founded four years ago by artist Colt Ford. Fowler previously had two other record deals on now-defunct Nashville labels, most recently with Lyric Street Records, the former home of Rascal Flatts. Before that, he was signed to Clint Black’s Equity Records.
In addition to Ford and Fowler, the Average Joe’s artist roster includes Montgomery Gentry, former “American Idol” finalist Josh Gracin, former Trick Pony member Ira Dean, newcomer Corey Smith, and several others.
No word yet on when the label will have new music from Fowler.
Singer’s ‘Neon’ Set For Release July 12
Chris Young has revealed the cover art and release date for his new album, “Neon.” The project will hit stores and digital retailers July 12. Seven of its 10 songs were co-written by Young, including the album’s hit first single, “Tomorrow,” currently at No. 13 (and climbing) on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.
It will be the third studio album from the Grammy Award-nominated singer, following his 2006 self-titled debut and the follow-up, 2009’s “The Man I Want To Be.”
Young is gearing up to head out on the road with Jason Aldean on his My Kinda Party Tour this summer.
Free Download Of His Best-Loved Song Offered To Book Buyers
Lee Greenwood’s patriotic anthem, “God Bless the USA” stalled at No. 7 on Billboard Top Country Songs chart in 1984, but the song has had an enduring life, particularly during times of national pride. A new version of the song hit the chart again in 2001 in the wake of the 9-11 attacks, reaching No. 16 the second time around.
It could be heard again this month following the May 1 death of Osama bin Laden. Last month, it was even danced to on a patriotic-themed episode of ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars,” although the show’s cast members oddly referred to it by the wrong title, twice calling it “Proud To Be An American.”
Now, Greenwood is capitalizing on the lingering success of that song by authoring a new book titled “Does God Still Bless The USA?” Subtitled “A Plea For A Better America,” the book will be released nationally July 4 by Tate Publishing.
To promote it, Greenwood is offering a free download of yet another new version of the song here.
Along with the new version of “God Bless The USA,” book buyers get a download of Greenwood’s new single, “Show Me the Way.”
While he’s best known for “God Bless The USA,” Greenwood has an impressive chart history. He’s had seven No. 1 country hits, and notched 13 more top 10 singles between 1982 and 1990.
13,000 Fans Will Get To See The New Stage Show A Week Before It Launches
For the first time in her career, Taylor Swift will be opening up a tour rehearsal to fans as a way to raise funs for the victims of the recent deadly tornadoes in the Southeast. At the final dress rehearsal for the North American leg of her Speak Now Tour, 13,000 Swift fans will have the opportunity to be in attendance as part of an initiative she’s calling “Speak Now . . . Help Now!” That rehearsal takes place May 21 at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.
The U.S. leg of the tour—which has already run through Asia and Europe—launches May 27 in Omaha, Neb.
“I was watching the coverage of the tornadoes backstage at rehearsals, and I wanted to do something for the families affected by the damage,” Swift says in a press release. “I’ve never opened a rehearsal to the public before, but I felt that inviting my fans to the last rehearsal for the Speak Now Tour would be a great way to raise money. So, tickets will be available for people to come see us in the Bridgestone Arena, where we’ve been rehearsing for the last five weeks.
“We’ll probably still be doing some fine-tuning to the show that night, since this will be a true rehearsal,” she adds, “but I feel like it is so important for me and my fans to help if we can.”
Ticket information will be posted today on TaylorSwift.com. One hundred percent of the rehearsal ticket sales will go directly to help tornado victims.
Singer Gets Sudsy Revenge On His Opening Act
No one could ever accuse Dierks Bentley of not having fun on the road.
Because the singer has been known to prank his opening acts in the past, his current Jagermeister Country Tour mates, the duo Miss Willie Brown, decided to launch a pre-emptive strike, and solidly wrapped Bentley’s beloved Jeep in plastic wrap last month. After seeing it, Bentley said of his tour mates, “They’re so screwed.”
Watch the wrapping getting done here.
Later, while Miss Willie Brown’s Kasey Buckley and Amanda Watkins were in sound check, Bentley and his crew snuck onto their tour bus and hid 480 Bud Lights all over the vehicle—including several in the toilet—along with Easter decorations and a webbed obstacle course.
Watch Bentley exact his revenge here.
Meanwhile, the third artist on the tour, Josh Thompson, reports, “The girls approached me to see if I wanted to start an alliance with them. I told them ‘Hell, no!’ They are on their own for this one.”
Singer Says Album Was Made ‘From A Live Place’
Eric Church is set to release his third studio album July 26, and has revealed quote a few details about the project, which will be titled “Chief.” The singer is hinting at an album that pushes the envelope creatively.
“I have a theory that all of us [artists] only get a small window of time to make records when people will really listen and care,” says Church in a press release. “It’s up to us to move the needle. People like Waylon and Cash or Garth and Strait—they all took the format and said, ‘We’re going over here,’ and they each changed the direction of the music a little bit—helping to make it what it is today.”
Church released his debut album, “Sinners Like Me,” in 2006 and the follow-up, “Carolina,” in 2009. The new album’s title comes from a nickname given to Church’s grandfather, and which the singer has adopted for himself after years on the road.
“When it’s show time, I put on the sunglasses and the hat, and that’s how people know it’s game time,” Church says. “This album was made from a live place; we recorded it with the live show in mind, so it just seemed right to make that the title.”
To write the album, Church took a month off and went to a secluded cabin in his home state of North Carolina to reflect and write songs with such intriguing titles as “Springsteen,” and “I’m Gettin’ Stoned.” There’s also a pair of songs with Jesus in the title—“Like Jesus Does” and “Country Music Jesus”—plus a set of drink-fueled titles including “Drink In My Hand,” “Hungover & Hard Up,” and “Jack Daniels.”
He recorded the project in Nashville with his producer, Jay Joyce, who also helmed Church’s two previous releases.
The video for the album’s first single, “Homeboy,” debuts today on CMT and GAC. The clip was filmed at Nashville’s Tennessee State Prison.
Church is on tour with Jason Aldean through June 5, and then joins the Toby Keith tour beginning June 30 and continuing through the fall.
Here’s the full track listing for “Chief,” including songwriting credits:
1. Creepin’ (Eric Church / Marv Green)
2. Drink In My Hand (Eric Church, Michael P. Heeney, Luke Laird)
3. Keep On (Eric Church / Ryan Tyndell)
4. Like Jesus Does (Casey Beathard / Monty Criswell)
5. Hungover & Hard Up (Eric Church / Luke Laird)
6. Homeboy (Eric Church / Casey Beathard)
7. Country Music Jesus (Eric Church / Jeremy Spillman)
8. Jack Daniels (Eric Church / Jeff Hyde / Lynn Hutton)
9. Springsteen (Eric Church / Jeff Hyde / Ryan Tyndell)
10. I’m Gettin’ Stoned (Eric Church / Jeff Hyde / Casey Beathard / Jeremy Cradey)
11. Over When It’s Over (Eric Church / Luke Laird)
about the blogger
Veteran entertainment journalist Phyllis Stark has been reporting extensively on the music industry for two decades. As a freelance writer, her work appears regularly in numerous publications and sites. She previously was Nashville Bureau Chief at Billboard magazine.