Set Is A Mix Of Standards And Vassar-Penned Originals
Phil Vassar is readying the release of his first holiday CD, titled “Noel.” The 10-cut collection includes five original songs and five holiday classics.
“I’ve always dreamed of making a Christmas record,” Vassar said in a press release. “From the time I was a boy-listening to Nat King Cole, Andy Williams, Bing Crosby and all the classic singers, I’ve wanted to do this.”
The original songs include “Doesn’t Feel Like Christmas Without You,” which Vassar wrote with the album’s co-producer, Dane Bryant. Texas swing artist Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel guests on “Big Ole Texas Christmas.” The irreverent “Santa’s Gone Hollywood” envisions St. Nick’s life if he hit the lottery and moved to Los Angeles. Another song, “I Saved Christmas,” was penned by Vassar solo. The fifth song is “Let’s Make A Little Christmas Tonight.”
Standards included on the set are “What Child Is This,” an “Oh Come All Ye Faithful/Angels We Have Heard On High” medley, plus “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” “Away In A Manger” (a duet with singer Kellys Collins) and The Carpenters’ “Merry Christmas Darling.”
The album will be available at all digital retailers, at PhilVassar.com and at his concerts beginning November 22.
All-Star Cast Headlines ‘CMA Country Christmas'
The Country Music Assn. recently taped its second “CMA Country Christmas” special in Nashville, and it’s set to air Dec. 1 from 9-11 p.m. (ET) on the ABC Television Network. Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles (pictured) is returning as host.
Artists who will perform on the holiday special and share Christmas songs and stories are “American Idol” finalist Lauren Alaina and winner Scotty McCreery, plus Amy Grant, Faith Hill, Little Big Town, Martina McBride, Brad Paisley, Kellie Pickler, Rascal Flatts, Darius Rucker, former Stray Cats member Brian Setzer, Sugarland, Keith Urban and Vince Gill in a duet with Muppet Miss Piggy that, at least at the show’s taping, ended in some heavy hog smooching.
Performing Title Track On ‘Jimmy Fallon’ This Week
Dierks Bentley will release his sixth album, “Home,” on Feb. 7, 2012
The title song has already been released to country radio and iTunes. The album also contains his last hit single, “Am I The Only One,” which he performed at last spring’s Academy of Country Music Awards.
“This album is more than a year’s worth of writing, recording and testing out material on the road in front of our hard core fans,” Bentley says in a prepared statement. “The end result is an album that runs through all the types of country songs and sounds I enjoy singing and playing. I can’t wait to share it with the fans!”
Bentley will perform “Home” on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” this Thursday/Friday at 11:35P CT/12:35P ET. He’ll wrap the first leg of his headlining “Country & Cold Cans” tour this weekend. The tour will resume in February 2012, with dates already scheduled in Canada and Australia.
McGraw Says Tour Mates Will ‘Make Each Other Better’
It’ll be black hat vs. straw hat when Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney hit the road together for next year’s Brothers of the Sun tour, an outing their publicists are already helpfully calling the “musical event of 2012.”
The 19-date stadium tour kicks off June 2, 2012 in Tampa, Fla., and runs through Aug. 25, where it wraps in Foxboro, Mass.
Brothers of the Sun will be the first time in 10 years that Chesney and McGraw have toured together. The tour will also feature opening acts rock band Grace Potter & The Nocturnals and country singer Jake Owen.
Chesney will close the shows, he tells Billboard.biz. “Technically I am closing, but Tim and I are going to give the fans their money’s worth,” Chesney says. “If I was being correct about it, I’d say me and Tim are closing. We’re going to try and change it up every night, have as much fun as we possibly can.”
McGraw, who has been friends with Chesney since they were both new artists in the early ’90s, tells Billboard.biz there is a competitive aspect to the relationship. “We’re great friends, but we're also competitive guys, too,” he says. “We played basketball when we were on tour last time, his guys against my guys, and got in heated competitions. Of course, you know we kicked their ass. But he’s a great competitor, as am I . . . The fun we'll have pushing each other [on tour], I think we’re going to make each other better."
“Tim and I have been great friends since we first toured together, and I can’t wait to get back on the road with him,” Chesney said in a press release announcing the tour. “He’s one of my closest friends in music and in life, and I know this tour is going to be something special.”
“Our friendship was forged on the road, so it’s going to be a blast heading out with Kenny again,” added McGraw. “We'll be having as much fun on stage as the fans will be having in the audience.”
Tickets for shows in Dallas, Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Chicago; East Rutherford, N.J.; Detroit; and Foxboro will go on sale December 3 through Ticketmaster. On-sale info for the remaining dates will be announced in the coming weeks.
Tells Fans 'You Have Made My Year'
After the show, Swift told the media, "The reason why we celebrate like we just won the Superbowl is because there are some many people involved in making something like this happen."
On her songwriting, Swift said, "The most amazing feeling is to see a song start out as an idea that hits you in the middle of your day and haunts you until you write it, and then you’re playing it in your living room, and then it goes out into the world and you can look out at a crowd of 50,000 people and they’re singing it back to you.
"You spend so much time daydreaming about your future and it’s a blast to call it a career."
It's a Repeat Win For Lambert
Thanks The 'Crazy People' For The Win
On a more serious note, he said, "Last year maybe I got the underdog vote, but this year I didn’t think I could get away with that." But now, with a second win under his belt, Shelton said, "For the first time I feel secure in the country music industry because it’s such a fickle industry. I feel like last year wasn’t just a fluke now."
One More Win For The Band Perry
Asked about their crossover success on pop radio, Perry said, "We sort of feel like we’re part of the country evangelism team. We like hearing country songs on pop radio."
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.