Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Mid-week Country Music Countdown & Country Music News...Wed. December 28, 2016

COUNTRY CHART Weekend of December 17-18:
The Top 30 Resumes January 7-8

2 OLD DOMINION Song For Another Time
3 BRETT ELDREDGE Wanna Be That Song
4 BRETT YOUNG Sleep Without You
5 KEITH URBAN Blue Ain’t Your Color
6 TIM McGRAW How I’ll Always Be
8 JASON ALDEAN A Little More Summer Time
9 BLAKE SHELTON A Guy With a Girl
10 GRANGER SMITH If The Boot Fits
11 THOMAS RHETT Star Of The Show
12 MAREN MORRIS 80s Mercedes
13 DUSTIN LYNCH Seein’ Red
14 ERIC CHURCH Kill A Word
15 CHRIS YOUNG Sober Saturday Night
18 LAUREN ALAINA Road Less Traveled
20 MICHAEL RAY Think A Little Less


Cole Swindell: The Songs You Pray You Get

One Tune Proves the Power of Music
 “I can’t believe that is my job. But it’s a job I take very seriously.”
That’s how Cole Swindell explained it to me the last time he was in Chicago where we talked about all the phases his career has gone through since he first arrived in Nashville with the quintessential country music dream.
“I’ve been in Nashville for nine years now,” he said. “But it all still feels new to me because my career has come in different phases: I sold merch, I started writing songs, then I got my record deal. I couldn’t have planned any of that out any better.”
He was quick to add that his job never feels like a job because he loves what he does every single night.
“Even more so now than after ‘Chillin It,'” he said. “Because after ‘You Should Be Here,’ I now know how powerful music can be. I think I’d always known that, but I’d never been the guy behind one of those songs. I feel it was a big responsibility to release that one.
“Every song can’t be like that. But when you grow up wanting to be an artist, those are the ones that you pray that you get. Those are the ones that last.”


Jennifer Nettles’ “Hey Heartbreak” Shows Who’s Boss

Shares Personal Advice for Getting Over Heartbreak 
 Jennifer Nettles’ “Hey Heartbreak” has everything fans need to get over a broken heart. And it plays out like a timely gift for anyone who has one in the height of the merriest time of the year.
Written Sarah Haze, Shane McAnally and Jimmy Robbins, it’s all about reclaiming one’s emotions from all the crazy feelings and sleepless nights that follow a heartbreak.
The mantras in the bridge are positively infectious. Nettles sings, “Everything I thought I needed, turns out I had/Everything I thought that I wanted, I’m giving back/Starting a mend, that’s beating again.”

“I love that it really takes and sort of personifies and animates all these different aspects of what heartbreak is — the sleepless nights, the feeling crazy, the loneliness and wanting to go out but having to get over those feeling,” Nettles said during an interview with “That’s really what this song does is call out all these different emotions and basically say, ‘I’m going to let you each go.’ I love that take on it.”
When conversation turned to her personal advice on getting over heartache in the holiday season, she agreed it’s best to just face it, embrace it and erase it.
“Life is so short, geez,” she said. “I don’t know why we make it so hard. I struggle with this myself in really trying to maintain a perspective. Of course it is a hard thing to go through a loss of a relationship. But at the end of the day we are here for such a blip of time, just be happy. Don’t make it so hard. Everybody move on. Tend to your business. Be happy.”


Carrie Underwood: George Michael’s Influence

"I Cried When I Saw Him in Concert"

After word spread on Christmas day (Dec. 25) that pop icon George Michael had died, artists from every genre spoke out about the influence he’d had on their music.
Carrie Underwood was one of them, and according to her social media post, it was an influence she hadn’t shared before. 
Michael, 53, was first famous as one half of the British pop duo Wham! in the early ’80s, and then as a solo artist in the late ’80s and beyond.


Jake Owen Is One #ProudPapa

Daughter Pearl Is a Natural in the Studio 

Christmas 2016 may be over, but that doesn’t mean I am going to stop listening to Jake Owen’s daughter singing “Jingle Bells” over and over and over again. Maybe even every day until Christmas 2017. It’s just that heartwarming.
Pearl, 4, is singing her ever-lovin’ heart out on the Christmas classic, while Owen captures the performance on video and feeds her words of encouragement. She’s wearing a vintage jersey style T-shirt from the California ska punk band Sublime and is using a tambourine for some festive percussion.
When Owen posted the video on Instagram on Monday (Dec. 26), you could almost hear how pleased he was that his little girl is starting to show signs of following in his artistic footsteps.


Two Engagement Rings and a Baby

For Kelsea Ballerini, Kacey Musgraves and Ashley Monroe

You know it’s going to be a great new year for country music when the old year goes out like this.
On Christmas morning (Dec. 25), Kelsea Ballerini shared the best gift she received — an enormous diamond ring on her left ring finger and the Aussie who gave it to her, singer-songwriter Morgan Evans.
She revealed the news via social media. 

I GET TO MARRY MY AUSSIE. my heart is bursting from loving this human so much. luckiest girl in the world.

 At the same time, he tweeted …

When you know, you know ... she's perfect.

 Kacey Musgraves also had big news to share on Christmas Day.

I'M ENGAGED, Y'ALL! To the most uplifting, thoughtful, amazing human. My best friend. He asked in my childhood room.

Musgraves tweeted of that bedroom, the ring on her left hand, and the two of them embracing.
Kelly, a Nashville-based singer-songwriter/musician tweeted …

I ASKED AND SHE SAID YES. Luckiest and happiest man in the universe today. I love you, for all time.

Even earlier in the day, Ashley Monroe shared her big — well, actually tiny — news. She is pregnant.

 Best present ever. Merry Christmas everyone.. So many new things coming in 2017!!

Monroe’s husband of three years, John Danks, is a pitcher for the Atlanta Braves.


NASHVILLE SKYLINE: Willie Nelson’s Timeless Christmas Song 

 (Editor’s note: During the holiday season, thoughts turn to fond memories of friendships past and present. Chet Flippo, CMT’s longtime editorial director who died in 2013, will always be remembered as a friend of country music and its artists. To celebrate his life and legacy, we’re continuing a holiday tradition by sharing one of his classic Nashville Skyline columns first published in 2009.)

Roy Orbison made it a standard of his forever when he recorded it, but Willie Nelson wrote his lovely Christmas song, “Pretty Paper,” about a guy I knew slightly. He was a man who had lost both his legs above the knee and — in those pre-miracle artificial limbs days — had his leg stumps covered with heavy leather padding and wore thick gloves to pull and slide and scoot his way up and down the sidewalk by the palms of his hands and on his stumps.

He sold pencils from a tin cup affixed to his back and also peddled paper and ribbons at Christmas time, as I recall. He mainly worked the sidewalks by Leonard’s Department Store in Fort Worth, Texas, where I was working part time in high school. I have sadly forgotten the man’s name, but he always had a smile for everyone and a great sales pitch, and I sometimes would stop and say hello when I would see him. Every time I hear “Pretty Paper,” I see this man in my mind’s eye, to this day.
Willie, who was then also living in Fort Worth (I met Willie years later and asked him about the source of “Pretty Paper”), obviously noticed this man, too, and was affected enough to write a lasting tribute to this now-anonymous, handicapped street peddler. Willie later recorded the song, but when Orbison found it in 1963, he made it famous worldwide. Other artists who have recorded the song include Glen Campbell, Kenny Chesney, Chris Isaak and Freddy Fender.
Here are some of the lyrics to “Pretty Paper”:
Crowded streets busy feet hustle by you
Downtown shoppers, Christmas is nigh
There he sits all alone on the sidewalk
Hoping that you won’t pass him by
Should you stop better not much too busy
Better hurry, my, how time does fly
And in the distance the ringing of laughter
And in the midst of the laughter he cries
Pretty paper, pretty ribbons of blue …
Merry Christmas.


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