Singer Planning USO Tour For 2012
Rodney Atkins has partnered with Applebee’s to launch a military thank you campaign aimed at honoring veterans and active duty soldiers worldwide. As ambassador of the “Thank You Movement,” Atkins officially launched the campaign this week during an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show.
The goal of the Thank You Movement is to create a groundswell of gratitude for our nation’s military. Civilians can post message at ThankYouMovement.com, on Applebees’ Facebook fan page, on Twitter using the hashtag #thankyoumovement, or on YouTube. The Web site hosts a live rolling counter of ongoing “thank yous.” Veterans and active duty troops can then go online anytime to see and hear these heartfelt thanks from the people they serve.
In 2012, Atkins will participate in a USO tour of military bases abroad.
His latest album, “Take A Back Road,” was recently released on Curb Records.
Unveils Latest Installment Of ‘Scattered, Smothered & Covered’ Series
The band recorded the song backstage at a recent tour stop in Iowa, with Jimi Westbrook taking lead vocals. Watch the black and white clip by clicking on the image above.
Project Includes Duets With Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton And More
Pop star Lionel Richie is going country.
In March, 2012, the five time Grammy Award winning singer will release a country duets album, titled “Tuskegee” after his Alabama hometown. But next month, he’ll be debuting three songs from the album on the “45th Annual CMA Awards,” airing live from Nashville Nov. 9 on ABC.
During the broadcast, Richie will perform duets of his hits with Little Big Town, Darius Rucker, and Rascal Flatts. The show will mark a return to the CMA Awards stage for Richie, who previously performed “Lady” with Kenny Rogers in 1984 and “Deep River Woman” with Alabama in 1986.
In addition to the artists he’ll be performing with at the CMA Awards, the album includes duets with Jason Aldean, Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Chesney, Billy Currington, Tim McGraw, Willie Nelson, Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles, Rogers, Blake Shelton and Shania Twain.
“As my songwriting progressed, I realized that my songs perfectly translated to the country genre,” Richie says in a prepared statement. “I was born and raised in Tuskegee, Alabama. I am a country boy and proud of it. To do this project just felt natural.”
Here’s the full track listing for “Tuskegee”:
"You Are" with Blake Shelton
"Say You, Say Me" with Jason Aldean
"Stuck On You" with Darius Rucker
"Deep River Woman" with Little Big Town
"My Love" with Kenny Chesney
"Dancing On The Ceiling" with Rascal Flatts
"Hello" with Jennifer Nettles
"Sail On" with Tim McGraw
"Endless Love" with Shania Twain
"Just For You" with Billy Currington
"Lady" with Kenny Rogers
"Easy" with Willie Nelson
"All Night Long" with Jimmy Buffett
Re-formed Band Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary In 2012
Four years after Lonestar lead singer Richie McDonald left the band to pursue a solo career, he’s now returned for a new album and tour to mark the band’s 20th anniversary in 2012. The move reunites McDonald with original band members keyboardist Dean Sams, drummer Keech Rainwater and lead guitarist Michael Britt, who had continued on with the band and a different lead singer, Cody Collins, following McDonald’s departure. Collins has since parted ways with the band. (Another of the band’s original members in its early days was John Rich, now half of the duo Big & Rich.)
The first announced concert dates for the reunited group will take place overseas, with shows scheduled for Feb. 26-March 4, 2012 in England, Ireland, Switzerland and Germany on a multi-artist bill with Reba McEntire, Little Big Town and Ricky Skaggs. North American tour dates will be announced soon. A new album is also in the works, although no record label deal has been announced.
While the band was together the first time around, it notched nine No. 1 hits including the pop crossover hit “Amazed,” which spent eight weeks at No 1 on the Billboard country chart in 1999. Another big hit, “I’m Already There,” spent six weeks at No. 1 in 2001.
Sams says the reunion followed “a lot of soul searching and long conversations between all of us involved,” adding “We are energized and excited to be writing and recording new music together again.”
Adds Rainwater, “It always seemed like the original Lonestar as a whole was better than the sum of its parts. With Richie back in the band, fans can enjoy new music and again experience the sound they are used to hearing at our shows . . . I am excited to see and hear what comes out of this reunion and upcoming album. I think that having a break for a while, will have sparked new ideas and great music, both live and in the studio.”
Says McDonald of the reunion, “We’ve all tried other avenues and the fact remains that some things were just meant to be. With the Lonestar 20 year reunion approaching, Dean, Michael, Keech and I got together and have decided we have some unfinished business to take care of. I miss those crazy nights running around on stage making music with my band of brothers. Looking forward to a new chapter in the book of Lonestar and reliving some old memories and also making some new ones for the fans that have been loyal to us through thick and thin.”
Illness Forced Her To Miss Two Performances
Loretta Lynn is now recovering at home following her hospitalization in Kentucky over the weekend for pneumonia. That illness forced the cancellation of shows in Ashland, Ky., and Durham, N.C.
According to a statement posted on her Web site today, “Around 1:30 AM Saturday morning, Loretta awoke on her tour bus complaining that she was having a hard time breathing. They admitted her into a Bowling Green, Ky., hospital, where she was treated over the weekend for the beginning stages of bacterial pneumonia. Loretta has been released from the hospital and is now back at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tenn., recovering.”
Lynn said in a statement, “It was one scary night, but I am feeling better and just gonna take it easy for a couple of weeks.”
She is scheduled to resume touring November 3 in Knoxville, Tenn.
Singer Has A Persona Connection To The Sport
Reba McEntire is set to host the annual NASCAR Spring Cup Series Awards Ceremony taking place Dec. 2 during Sprint’s Cup Series Champion’s Week in Las Vegas.
McEntire, whose son Shelby is an up-and-coming driver in the racing world, will be master of ceremonies for the year-end awards ceremony, which will be broadcast on SPEED-TV and MRN Radio.
The event will be held at the Wynn Las Vegas, the same casino where Garth Brooks performs in residency.
Band Will Play Stagecoach Festival, Then Launch A Summer Tour
Three original members of groundbreaking ’90s country band the Mavericks have re-formed and are planning a summer 2012 tour of North American and Europe. First, though, Raul Malo (vocals, guitar), Robert Reynolds (bass) and Paul Deakin (drums) will make their debut during the Stagecoach Festival, set for April 27-29, 2012 in Indio, Calif.
The Grammy-winning group hasn’t performed together since their 2003 dissolution. Before then, they’d earned critical acclaim and a loyal following for their fun and energetic live shows. They were named the Country Music Assn.’s vocal group of the year in 1995 and 1996. Also in 1995, they won a Grammy for best country performance by a duo or group with vocal.
Radio success, however, largely eluded them. The band landed 14 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart between 1992 and 2004, but only three cracked the top 20, the most successful of which was “All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down,” which peaked at No. 13 in 1996.
Lead singer Malo says in a press release, “I’m excited to get back together with the band . . . This time out, we’ll get to do things right and finish what we started on our own terms — not subject to the powers that be.”
Reynolds adds, “Time away has really allowed me to miss the guys and the music we made together. We owe it to the fans as a thank you. The thing that saddened me was trying to imagine never playing those songs with my fellow Mavs, and for the fans that showed us such love. Its time to correct that, here we come again.”
And according to Deakin, “I’ve always thought of the Mavericks as one of those bands that had an inexplicable chemistry that resulted in a kind of magic on stage. Possibly the relentless pursuit of fun helped the mojo along. The stage is one of those rare places that you instantly get back what you put out. The Mavericks had a lot of fun putting out over the years. I can't wait to get back on this horse again.”
Singer Is Filling In For Ailing Joshua Scott Jones On Reba McEntire Tour
Singer James Otto is filling in for Joshua Scott Jones of the duo Steel Magnolia opening certain dates on Reba McEntire’s current “All The Women I Am” tour. Jones announced late last month that he’d entered rehab for drug and alcohol treatment, leaving his fiancée and band mate Meghan Linsey on her own for the time being.
Now comes word that Otto has been joining Linsey on select tour dates.
The McEntire tour began Oct. 6, six days after Jones’ rehab revelation.
Says Otto, “When I got the call from Meg, I thought it was a great idea. I thought that our voices would blend really well. I know that our musical tastes are very similar, and we’re coming from the same place . . . Man, who wouldn’t want to be out on tour with Reba McEntire? That was one of those things that, you know, it’s a no-brainer.”
And Otto says he’s enjoying playing for McEntire’s audiences.
“Playing in front of Reba is awesome,” he says. “Her fans, they come there for a show, they come there to be entertained, and if you give ’em all that you have, you go on out there and lay it out there on the line, you feel the love back from ’em . . . Meg and I are really enjoying ourselves playing for that crowd.”
Otto (pictured) formerly recorded for Warner Bros. Records and is best known for his 2007 No. 1 hit, “Just Got Started Lovin' You.”
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.