Kenny Chesney, Lady Antebellum, The Band Perry, Matraca Berg Comment On Their Nominations
Written nearly a decade ago by Matraca Berg and Deana Carter and then left idle, “You & Tequila” got two shots at exposure this year, first appearing on Berg’s critically-acclaimed “The Dreaming Fields” album, and then released as a single from Kenny Chesney, who recorded it as a duet with Grace Potter for his “Hemingway’s Whiskey” set. Now, the Chesney/Potter (pictured) version of the song has earned two Grammy nominations, one for best country duo/group performance and one for best country song.
Chesney declared himself “thrilled” by the nominations. “As a songwriter, I’m always happy to see great songs get their due, and I’m happy for Matraca and Deana that this song is getting the respect it deserves,” he says. “I’m also thrilled to have recorded this song with Grace Potter, who is so talented, and be a part of her first Grammy nomination.”
It is Berg’s third nomination for country song of the year, having previously been nominated for “Strawberry Wine,” a hit for Carter, and Gretchen Wilson’s “I Don’t Feel Like Loving You Today.” Reba McEntire (“The Last To Know”), Patty Loveless (“You Can Feel Bad”), The Dixie Chicks (“If I Fall”), Martina McBride (“Wild Angels”) and Trisha Yearwood (“Wrong Side of Memphis,” “Xs+Os”) have all received Grammy vocal performance nominations singing Berg’s songs.
“You don’t write songs for nominations, you write to make things clear, to sort stuff out, to really feel the feeling,” says Berg. “But when you get nominated, don’t kid yourself, it feels great, ’cause to me, it means you hit the bullseye for so many other people, too. That’s the greatest feeling.
“When Kenny and Grace cut ‘You & Tequila,’ they did an amazing job,” Berg continues. “They found that sweet/sore spot of wanting and remembering, that knowing how much you shouldn’t, but sensing how good you know it’s gonna feel . . . Fighting that is tough, and you can hear it in their voices.
“I never heard it as a duet, only a personal struggle,” she adds. But, man . . . ”
Meanwhile, Lady Antebellum’s “Own The Night” snagged a Grammy nomination for best country album. Says the band’s Dave Haywood, “We’re still on a high from getting this album released and in our fans’ hands. We’ve been out on the road every night witnessing first-hand how it’s been embraced, but . . . now getting a Grammy nomination for the album takes it to another level.”
The Band Perry got news of its Grammy nomination in the all-genre best new artist category at about the same time the trio found out its debut album had gone platinum.
“We are excited and honored beyond belief,” they said, in a prepared statement attributed to all three band members, Kimberly, Neil and Reid Perry. “A Grammy nomination is like a gold star from the people you most look up to. As we begin our next album, this is a great vote of confidence. To both the music fans who bought our album (and told a friend), and to the creative community that has welcomed us in; we promise not to let you down.”
The 54th annual Grammy Awards will air next February.
Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, Eric Church, Thompson Square and Vince Gill Weigh In
Wednesday night’s Grammy nominations announcement brought good news for lots of country artists, and their reactions have been trickling in all day.
Jason Aldean (pictured) earned three nominations, his first ever recognition from the Grammy voters. He scored for best country album (“My Kinda Party”), best country solo performance (“Dirt Road Anthem”) and best country duo/group performance for “Don’t You Wanna Stay” with Kelly Clarkson.
During Wednesday night’s “Grammy Nominations Concert Live!” TV special, Aldean got a standing ovation for his performance of “Dirt Road Anthem,” where he was joined by fellow Georgia native Ludacris.
“I was totally stunned last night, and it all happened so fast,” Aldean says of his nominations. “I was feeling a pretty big adrenaline rush from our performance with Luda, and then to be told we had three nominations was just crazy. We were flying pretty high all night. There was definitely some celebrating on the flight back to Nashville. That album nomination is what artists dream of their whole career. And then for both the duet with Kelly and ‘Dirt Road’ to get some recognition, which were both different kinds of songs for us this year, it’s just incredible.”
Blake Shelton landed two nominations: best country solo performance (“Honey Bee”), and best country album (“Red River Blue”), and his song, “God Gave Me You,” earned a best country song nomination for writer Dave Barnes.
“It’s one thing to be acknowledged by the Grammy voters for one of your songs, but to have two songs nominated, and the album that they’re both off of, is an emotional experience,” Shelton says. “I may never have something like this in my career again, and I’m darn well going to enjoy it!”
Eric Church landed his first ever nomination, and he’s excited about the category he’s in: best country album for “Chief.”
“The Grammys are the ultimate honor for any recording artist,” he says. “It’s very cool that they recognized ‘Chief’ in what I feel is the most coveted category. I got into the music business because of great records and the feelings they imparted on my heart. I’ve poured everything I am into making those kinds of albums, and I am very thankful for this nod.”
Also earning their first ever Grammy nod is Thompson Square, which scored a nod for best country duo/group performance for “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not.” The song is also nominated for a best country song Grammy for writers Jim Collins and David Lee Murphy.
“We both could not believe the news of our Grammy nominations,” says the duo’s Keifer Thompson. “When our manager told us, we really thought he was playing some sort of sick joke on us. We can’t thank the Grammys enough for such a prestigious honor!”
“If I’m asleep please don’t wake me up, cause this is a dang good dream,” adds the duo’s Shawna Thompson.
Not so new to the Grammy game is Vince Gill, whose “Threaten Me With Heaven” received a Grammy nomination for best country song. This is the 41st career Grammy nomination for Gill, who has won 20 Grammys.
He co-wrote “Threaten Me With Heaven” with his wife, Amy Grant, Dillon O’Brian and Will Owsley. The latter took his own life since the song was recorded for Gill’s new album, “Guitar Slinger,” and Gill believes the song will serve as a lasting tribute to Owsley.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled for my late friend Will,” Gill says. “This would have meant the world to him.”
Gill says the song has a profound impact on him because of Owsley’s death. “In my lifetime, ‘Go Rest High On That Mountain’ has been the song that helped a lot of people through their grief,” he says. “I think this one will, in turn, hopefully do the same thing. It’s a powerful, powerful song.”
Meanwhile, News Surfaces That She’s Pregnant With Twins
Onetime country singer Mindy McCreedy foisted herself into the news cycle again this week by having her Nashville publicist issue a press release denying that McCreedy had kidnapped her own son, five-year-old Zander, who is in the legal custody of McCreedy’s mother.
The release followed news reports that McCready and her son disappeared after she picked him up from her father's house in Cape Coral, Fla., on Tuesday, according to local police.
But McCreedy, 36, withheld a blockbuster in her release—news that she is five months pregnant with twins. The same publicist confirmed the news to People.com yesterday. The identity of the father of the twins has not been revealed, but she tells the Associated Press he's a music producer named David.
The press release, meanwhile, asserts that McCreedy and her son “are safe, healthy and comfortable.
“No Amber Alert has been issued; this is not a missing child case,” it reads. “Ms. McCready has not been charged with illegal wrongdoings. Ms. McCready’s No. 1 priority has always been, and continues to be, the safety of her son. The 5-year old boy has been with his mother for more than 30 days; law enforcement officials spoke with the child and saw Zander via Skype yesterday.
“Ms. McCready has been awaiting an order following recent court hearings which concluded on November 4, 2011 regarding whether her child could be returned to her, and if not, whether he (Zander) would continue in the care of her mother, Gayle Inge [NOTE: Ms. McCready is currently involved in litigation with Ms. Inge surrounding Inge’s false statements as published by the National Enquirer.]
“Since, at least January 2011, Ms. McCready has been desperately advising the court, and others involved in the Fort Myers, Fla., proceedings, that Zander is in danger, both physically and emotionally, at Inge’s home. As a direct result of being a mother (not an actress, not a singer), Ms. McCready took action to ensure her son’s safety.
“She is encouraging a discovery investigation at this time. Mindy appreciates sentiments of interest, thoughts and prayers, and looks forward to a final, truthful resolution,” the release concludes.
People.com reports that a judge has given McCready until Thursday night to return the child.
McCreedy scored three top 10 country hits 15 years ago and charted for the last time in 2002. It is unclear what she currently does for a living.
Wins A Court Battle In Nashville Today Against Curb Records
Tim McGraw has won a legal battle with his longtime record label, Curb Records, and is now free to record elsewhere, according the Nashville newspaper The Tennessean and other media reports. He has been recording for the label for nearly 20 years, but has had a notoriously contentious relationship with label executives for the last several as he sought to get free of his contract. As a Curb recording artist, McGraw notched 24 No. 1 singles and 46 top 10 hits.
Today in a Nashville court, a judge ruled in McGraw’s favor, freeing him to record for another label, or independently. An additional trial in July, 2012 will determine damages, if any. The label had filed suit against the star earlier this year, claiming McGraw breached his contract by delivering a new album too early. McGraw responded with a countersuit.
Just a little more than two hours after the ruling, Curb released to country radio a new single from McGraw, "Better Than I Used To Be," touting it as McGraw's first new music in 11 months. The song's first two lines are "I know how to hold a grudge/I can send a bridge up in smoke."
Following the judge’s ruling, McGraw reportedly hugged wife Faith Hill and his attorney and declared that he was “just very happy.”
Curb's attorney, meanwhile, issued a statement saying the label “intends to continue to pursue these claims, including through the appeals process as appropriate in light of the importance of the underlying principles involved.”
Some Potential New Christmas Faves Are On The Playlist
With less than four weeks to go until Christmas, country artists have begun sending a steady stream of new Christmas singles to radio stations and digital retailers. Here’s a list of some of our favorite new holiday singles (so far).
• Little Big Town, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”
Yes, this vocal group could sing the phone book and make it sound gorgeous, but their harmonies really shine on this Christmas chestnut with the ladies of the band taking center stage, particularly Karen Fairchild, who sings lead. They’ll perform it on Thursday’s night’s “CMA Country Christmas,” airing at 9 p.m. (ET/PT) on ABC Television Network.
• Toby Keith and Sammy Hagar, “Santa’s Going South”
Keith teams with rocker Hagar for this lightweight but fun holiday romp. With lyrics that reference jet skis, margaritas and palm trees, Keith sings, “I’m packing my tank tops, my board shorts and my flip flops/Take a first class nonstop down Mexico way/Santa’s going South for Christmas.”
• Craig Campbell, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”
The singer of the tongue in cheek single “Fish” and the hit “Family Man” takes on more traditional material here with a straightforward reading of “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.” A portion of the proceeds from downloads of the single benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. The video features his wife and two daughters, Watch it here.
• Jerrod Niemann, “One More Drinkin’ Song (Mistletoe Mix)”
Niemann freshens up his current top 20 single with some cute new lyrics referencing Christmas lights, retail check-out lines, elves, malls, yuletide logs, eggnog, mistletoe (naturally), and even yellow snow.
• Phil Vassar, “Santa’s Gone Hollywood”
Phil Vassar has sent four tracks from his new holiday album, “Noel,” to country radio including three originals he co-wrote: “Santa’s Gone Hollywood,” the jazzy “Doesn’t Feel Like Christmas Without You,” and “Big Ol Texas Christmas,” the latter featuring vocals from Asleep at the Wheel’s Ray Benson. Also included is Vassar’s take on the standard “What Child Is This.” In “Santa’s Gone Hollywood,” the jolly old elf wins the powerball and leaves the North Pole to Rudolph and the tooth fairy as he heads to California where he gets himself a “deep dark tan” and courtside seats at Lakers games, and throws parties at the “Kringle crib.” The more bawdy lyrics reference “blue pills” plus a “new rack” and a “Brazilian” for Mrs. Claus. Good luck getting that image out of your head.
• Joey + Rory, “Remember Me” and “Let It Snow (Somewhere Else)”
Two very different originals from the husband and wife duo have been sent to country radio from Joey + Rory’s new Christmas album, “A Farmhouse Christmas.” The first, “Remember Me” is a tender song told from the perspective of Jesus, with a reminder of the reason for the season. Meanwhile, “Let It Snow (Somewhere Else)” is a swinging number about a holiday vacation with mojitos, Christmas lights on a palm tree, Jimmy Buffett and “caroling bar to bar.”
• Lucy Angel, “Mr. Santa”
You may not be familiar with this family trio, which has been trying to make a dent at country radio for years, but their delightful re-make of the standard “Mr. Sandman” is worth a listen. The mother and two daughters deliver the two–minute track in three-part harmony.
Groom Appeared In Band’s ‘Want To’ Video In 2006
Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles married entrepreneur Justin Miller, her boyfriend of more than two years, Nov. 26 at a small, sunset ceremony in Tennessee, People.com reports. Miller is a former model who appeared in Sugarland’s 2006 video “Want To.”
It is the second marriage for the 37-year-old Nettles, who quietly split from previous husband, nightclub owner Todd Van Sickle, in 2007. Nettles and Miller had not publicly revealed that they were engaged.
According to People, Nettles wore an Alexander McQueen gown when she wed Miller at a chapel in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, in front of “an intimate group of close family and friends, including band mate Kristian Bush.”
Plaintiffs Claim Sugarland ‘Owed A Duty To Provide A Safe Concert Environment’
Sugarland is among the defendants in a lawsuit filed Tuesday by 44 survivors of the Indiana State Fair Stage collapse, as well as family members of four people who died, according to the Associated Press.
Attorneys representing at least 20 law firms from three states filed the complaint in an Indianapolis court, alleging breach of reasonable care to the victims. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages from Sugarland, along with several co-defendants including producers, stage riggers and others associated with the August 13 show where stage rigging collapsed into spectators following a wind gust of at least 60 mph, killing seven people and injuring more than 40 others.
According to the plaintiff’s attorney, Sugarland’s contract specified the duo had the final say on whether to cancel the concert due to weather, the AP reports. The complaint charges that Sugarland and the other entities owed a duty to provide a safe concert environment and use reasonable care in the direction, set-up and supervision of the concert.
Sugarland’s publicist didn't immediately return a call from the AP seeking comment.
At least two other lawsuits on behalf of other victims of the stage collapse have been filed against Sugarland and other defendants.
Group Will Also Perform, As Will ‘Idol’s’ Scotty McCreery
Country music super group Alabama has been selected to receive a special honor—the Greatest Hits Award—at the “American Country Awards,” set for Dec. 5 in Las Vegas. The show will be broadcast live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena on FOX from 8-10 p.m. (ET).
The Greatest Hits Award is presented to a country music act that has produced an extensive catalogue of No. 1 hits throughout its career. In its 30 years in the music industry, Alabama has notched 32 No 1 singles on the Billboard Top Country Songs chart. Alabama has more No. 1 records than any band in country music history and has sold more concert tickets than any other country group.
The veteran quartet (now a trio consisting of original members Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry and Jeff Cook) took a bow with its farewell tour in 2003, but the Grammy Award-winning band’s career has recently been revived by its collaboration with Brad Paisley on the hit single “Old Alabama.” I addition to accepting an award, Alabama will perform on the ACA telecast, as will another newly announced performer, “American Idol” winner Scotty McCreery.
As previously reported here, the second annual "American Country Awards" will be hosted by Trace Adkins and Kristin Chenoweth. Both will perform on the show, as will Blake Shelton, Pistol Annies, Thompson Square, Eli Young Band and the Band Perry. The special will also include appearances by Josh Turner, Jordin Sparks, the Big Show, the JaneDear Girls, Bill Engvall, Larry Mahan, Rodney Carrington, Lauren Alaina, actress Rachel Bilson, Miranda Lambert and the men of TV’s “Pawn Stars” (Richard Harrison, Rick Harrison, Corey Harrison and Austin Russell).
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.