Also, David Nail Kicks Off His Own Fall Tour Next Month
Luke Bryan will embark on his fourth annual “Farm Tour” in October, with eight concerts planned, including five in his home state of Georgia.
Bryan, the son of a peanut farmer, devised the outdoor “Farm Tour” concerts as a way to give back to local farming communities. Proceeds from each show will go to a scholarship for a student from a farming family attending a local college.
The “Farm Tour” 2012 concerts will be held in the following cities, with locations to be announced soon:
October 3 Claxton (Statesboro), Ga.
October 4 Clemson, S.C.
October 5 Auburn, Ala.
October 6 Valdosta, Ga.
October 10 Villa Rica, Ga.
October 11 Colbert (Athens), Ga.
October 12 Tallahassee, Fla.
October 13 Macon, Ga.
In other news, David Nail (right) will kick off a fall tour of small venues Sept. 6 in Cincinnati. Dates are scheduled through Nov. 3.
The Grammy-nominated singer, who has previously opened larger tours for Taylor Swift, Lady Antebellum, Billy Currington and Gavin DeGraw, says in a press release, “I’ve been blessed with some pretty great songs, and you just can’t get them all in during a shorter set. The great thing about playing your own shows [is] you can play all the music you want to, and a lot of the great album cuts get to be heard, which is a lot of times what fans tell me they like the best.”
Along to clubs, small halls and festivals, Nail will also be in Pittsburgh on Sept. 26 for the Country For A Cure concert to benefit the Payton Wright Foundation and Cancer & Blood Disorders Auxiliary of the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
Plus, John Rich Is Back On TV; Paul Brandt Is Releasing His 11th Album
• Jake Owen (pictured with his dog, Merle) will release a four-song EP entitled “Endless Summer” on September 25.
Owen first announced that he was recording a four-song EP at his Fan Club party during CMA Music Fest in June, where he let his fans hear one song he had already cut for the EP entitled “Summer Jam,” written by the duo Florida Georgia Line (who also sing on the track) along with hit songwriter Craig Wiseman. Owen also takes his first executive producer credit on the EP, which includes a cover of Ben Harper's "Steal My Kisses."
To view Owen talking about his “Endless Summer” EP, click here.
• The Country Music Assn. has confirmed news first revealed on Twitter: Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood will be back to host the CMA Awards for the fifth time this year. “The 46th Annual CMA Awards” airs live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena Nov. 1 (8-11 p.m./ET) on the ABC Television Network.
“We’re waiting on someone to do something really stupid between now and then,” said 14-time CMA Award winner Paisley in a press release. “I have faith. We are excited. I think you walk out there with people expecting a certain thing now and that’s a great place to be. I think they know who we are. They know what we do up there together and we’ve become something different together than we are separately I think, which is fun.
“The reason that I think it has worked is because we both take it so seriously that we’re ready when we walk out there,” Paisley added. “We are focused on making sure that we’re not just crossing our fingers that it works, that what we have ready is ready.”
Underwood, who has received five CMA Awards in her career, says, “I feel like each year our hosting gets better and better. “We want to top that every year, so it's a good challenge.”
• Songwriter, producer and Big & Rich member John Rich will be featured in the new CW primetime music competition series “The Next: Fame Is At Your Doorstep,” premiering today (August 16) at 9 p.m. (ET/PT). As one of four mentors, along with Gloria Estefan, Nelly, and Joe Jonas, Rich travels across the country searching for artists on the verge of stardom.
Living with each of the aspiring talents for three days, Rich, who previously made a splash on TV as the winner of the 11th season of NBC’s “The Celebrity Apprentice,” prepares the hopefuls for a major performance, visiting cities such as Chicago, Dallas, New York and Los Angeles. The final contestants compete head-to-head in a singing competition in Los Angeles where viewers can vote for their favorite. The winner will be awarded a recording contract with Atlantic Records.
Meanwhile, Big & Rich are preparing to release their fourth studio album (and first in four years), “Hillbilly Jedi” on September 18. It includes a track featuring Bon Jovi, “Born Again,” as well as current hit single “That’s Why I Pray.”
• Canadian country music star Paul Brandt is preparing to release his eleventh studio album, “Just As I Am,” this fall. The album, which features popular gospel songs with a bluegrass treatment, includes collaborations with Patty Loveless, Gordon Mote, Ricky Skaggs, John Anderson and others. Brandt is best known in the U.S. for his mid-‘90s hits “I Do” and “My Heart Has A History.”
Two Music Pioneers To Be Inducted Sept. 27 In Nashville
Bluegrass bandleader Doyle Lawson and the late folklorist Ralph Rinzler will be inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame at the International Bluegrass Music Assn. (IBMA) Awards Show at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium on September 27.
Lawson currently fronts Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, and had previously been a member of the influential bands Jimmy Martin and the Sunny Mountain Boys, J.D. Crowe and the Kentucky Mountain Boys (later the New South), and the Country Gentlemen. Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver have won the IBMA’s best vocal group an unprecedented seven years in a row.
Rinzler, who died in 1994, was a scholar, musician, writer, promoter, producer, social activist and onetime manager of bluegrass institution Bill Monroe. Rinzler was a member of the legendary Greenbriar Boys, and later won a Grammy award for his production work on “Folkways: A Vision Shared; Roots of Rhythm and Blues.” He also served as curator of American art, music, and folk culture at the Smithsonian.
60-City Outing Will Be Appropriately Tltled "The Grand Tour"
Singer Also Debuted New Single In Live Web Chat With Fans
Clad in a red dress, red earrings, red lipstick and blue nail polish, Taylor Swift hosted a live YouTube chat for her fans on Monday afternoon, revealing the details of her upcoming fourth album, “Red,” and its first single, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” Speaking from a small Nashville room filled with fans, Swift addressed a worldwide audience of Web viewers that grew to well over 75,000 people at various points during the 30-minute chat.
The 16-song album will be released on Oct. 22. The single, meanwhile, was available on iTunes by Monday night. A “country mix” of the pop-sounding song—which includes a spoken word verse—was shipped to radio programmers within minutes of the Web chat’s conclusion.
Swift played the song at the end of the chat, singing along with the recording at several points. Characteristically, Swift said she wrote the song (with collaborators Max Martin and Shellback) about an ex-boyfriend she did not identify.
The album’s title was inspired by her “tumultuous, crazy, insane, semi-toxic relationships” of the last two years according to the singer, whose output of relationship-themed songs suggests she moves through boyfriends at a lightning-fast clip.
“I called it ‘Red’ because of the tumultuous, crazy adventures in love and loss that it chronicles,” she said of the album. “In my mind, when you experience love that’s fast paced and out of control, and mixes infatuation, jealousy, frustration, miscommunication, and all of those lovely emotions . . . in retrospect, it all looks red.”
Swift said she culled the album down to its 16 songs from 30-35 she’d written for the project. One song that made the cut is a duet with British singer Ed Sheeran, who is likely to gain a vastly elevated profile in the U.S. as a result of the collaboration.
After writing her last album, “Speak Now,” solo, Swift opted on “Red” to collaborate with several artists, producers, and songwriters she admired, including Sheeran, with whom she wrote their duet while sitting on a trampoline, she revealed.
Swift’s YouTube chat can be viewed in its entirety here.
Singer Came Up With The Idea For The Show He Will Also Host
Trace Adkins has signed on to host a new GAC TV series debuting this month, titled “Great American Heroes.” The show, which was conceived by Adkins, follows the singer on his nationwide Songs & Stories tour as he takes time at each tour stop to pay tribute to ordinary people doing extraordinary things in their communities.
In each episode, Adkins visits with three hometown heroes to learn about and acknowledge their efforts, and then surprises each of them with something to help them continue their good work. He also hosts each of the profiled local heroes as guests at his concert in their hometown.
“A lot of people get attention for the wrong reasons but the true measure of a hero is serving others,” Adkins says in a press release. “On ‘Great American Heroes,’ I will introduce the real people who fit that bill. They devote themselves to others and deserve all the applause we can give them. These heroes will inspire you, make your heart swell and your eyes tear up. This show does more than tell some good stories, it affirms our faith in others.”
The series will highlight the work of local heroes in a total of 10 communities. They include a minister who started a carpentry shop to teach woodworking skills to homeless men, a 13-year old girl who creates community vegetable gardens and donates the harvest to feed people in need, and two sets of parents who develop programs for special needs children.
The show premieres Aug. 22 at 8 p.m. (ET). Episodes will re-air on Sundays at 8 p.m. (ET).
In the photo above taken from one of the episodes, Adkins helps a child learn how to use a fire hose while visiting with organizers of the Burn Foundation of Bakersfield, Calif. The foundation arranges ski trips and events, and raises funds to sponsor kids at summer camps while educating children and parents about burn safety. (Photo: Business Wire)
Changes Also Afoot For Ashton Shepherd And The JaneDear Girls
• Lee Ann Womack (right) is parting ways with her longtime record label, MCA Nashville, according to CountryWeekly.com. At MCA, and sister label Decca before that, Womack notched seven top 10 hits between 1997 and 2005 the most successful of which, “I Hope You Dance,” spent five weeks at No. 1 in the summer of 2000.
“[I’m] so appreciative to the wonderful MCA staff for giving me their all from my first days at Decca, through ‘I Hope You Dance,’ [and] the awards for ‘I May Hate Myself In The Morning’ and ‘There’s More Where That Came From,’” Womack said in a statement obtained by CountryWeekly.com. “I am excited to see what comes next for so many people I think of as my friends, and am eager to see what life after ‘leaving home’ is like.”
• It also appears that Ashton Shepherd is off the artist roster of MCA Nashville after two albums, 2008’s “Sounds So Good” and last year’s “Where Country Grows.” She is looking for songs for a new album, to be produced by Mike McGuire, drummer for the country band Shenandoah. The label home for the project is listed in industry pitch sheet RowFax as “to be announced.”
Both Womack and Shepherd are still included on the artist roster at the Web site of MCA Nashville’s parent company, Universal Music Group Nashville.
• Following the apparent breakup of Warner Music Nashville duo the JaneDear Girls, one half of the group, Susie Brown, is working on a solo album, with industry veteran James Stroud producing. The JaneDear Girls, which also included Danelle Leverett, recorded one album for the label, which was released last year and spawned the top 15 hit “Wildflower.”
Another former Warner Music Nashville female duo, The Wreckers, also split up after one album and two hits.
Plus, News From Ricky Skaggs And Jana Kramer
• Jerrod Niemann has released the cover art and track listing for his upcoming album, “Free The Music,” due out Oct. 2. It includes a duet with pop singer Colbie Callait. Niemann co-produced the album, wrote or co-wrote all 12 tracks, and came up with the idea for the cover design, an illustration that shows him opening a set of doors, which he says symbolizes letting the music out and inviting the music lovers in.
“We’ve done our best to try and make room for everyone,” he says.
Niemann tells USA Today, “This album is my interpretation of how I feel about country right now,” and that means horns, fiddles and steel guitars. “I made this record in an effort to try and mix 1927 with 2027, but I didn’t want to disregard 100 years of what people have already done musically,” he says. “Instead, I wanted to take that and do it in a way that is also representative of the future.”
Here’s the track listing, including songwriter information:
1. “Free The Music” (Jerrod Niemann)
2. “Whiskey Kind of Way” (Jerrod Niemann, Randy Boudreaux)
3. “Get On Up” (Jerrod Niemann, J.R. McCoy, Jesse Clingan)
4. “I’ll Have to Kill the Pain” (Jerrod Niemann, J.R. McCoy, Arlos Smith)
5. “Only God Can Love You More” (Jerrod Niemann, Jon Stone, Lee Brice)
6. “Shinin’ on Me” (Jerrod Niemann, Rob Hatch, Lee Brice, Lance Miller)
7. “Honky Tonk Fever” (Jerrod Niemann)
8. “Guessing Games” (Jerrod Niemann, J.R. McCoy)
9. “It Won’t Matter Anymore” (Jerrod Niemann, Rob Hatch, Lance Miller)
10. “I’m All About You” [featuring Colbie Caillat]
(Jerrod Niemann, Richie Brown)
11. “Real Women Drink Beer” (Jerrod Niemann, Houston Phillips)
12. “Fraction of a Man” (Jerrod Niemann)
• Genre-straddling artist Ricky Skaggs (right), best known for his work in bluegrass and country music, has made a significant contribution to gospel music as well. That achievement will be recognized on August 14 when Skaggs is inducted into the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame. He joins fellow 2012 inductees Aretha Franklin, Dallas Holm, The Hoppers, Love Song and Rex Humbard.
“For someone who has spent my entire career playing music in the marketplace, not in the church, this is quite an honor,” says Skaggs in a press release. “I’ve always loved the Gospel and I sing about it in many different ways. I’ve never seen myself as a Christian artist, just an artist who is a Christian. I’m very grateful for this award.”
Skaggs is set to release his latest studio album, “Music To My Ears,” in September. It includes a duet with Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees on the track “Soldier’s Son.” Gibb made his Grand Ole Opry debut alongside Skaggs earlier this year.
• Singer/actress Jana Kramer has been signed by Nationwide Insurance to sing the company’s “On Your Side” commercial jingle. Kramer’s voice is featured in new television advertisements Nationwide launched as part of its national marketing campaign, Join the Nation, which debuted during the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics and will continue to air nationally throughout the next year. Meanwhile, Kramer’s debut single, “Why Ya Wanna,” broke into the top 10 last week on the national radio charts.
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