Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Mid-week Country Music Countdown & Country Music News..February 1, 2017

 COUNTRY CHART Weekend of January 28-29:

2 BLAKE SHELTON A Guy With a Girl
3 KEITH URBAN Blue Ain’t Your Color
4 THOMAS RHETT Star Of The Show
7 GRANGER SMITH If The Boot Fits
8 CHRIS YOUNG Sober Saturday Night
9 MAREN MORRIS 80s Mercedes
10 ERIC CHURCH Kill A Word
12 MICHAEL RAY Think A Little Less
13 JON PARDI Dirt On My Boots
14 LAUREN ALAINA Road Less Traveled
18 GARTH BROOKS Baby Let’s Lay Down & Dance
19 HIGH VALLEY Make You Mine


William Michael Morgan Celebrates “I Met a Girl”

ASCAP Salutes Songwriters Sam Hunt, Shane McAnally and Trevor Rosen 

ASCAP, the performance rights organization, hosted a party at the South bar in Nashville on Monday afternoon (Jan. 30) to honor singer William Michael Morgan and the writers of his first hit, “I Met a Girl.”
Written by Sam Hunt, Shane McAnally and Trevor Rosen, “I Met a Girl” peaked at No. 2 in Billboard in 2015.
 Hunt did not attend the celebration, but ASCAP’s Mike Sistad reminded the partygoers that Hunt’s first album, Montevallo, had spun off four No. 1 singles and that he had been named ASCAP’s songwriter-artist of the year in 2015.
Also speaking for ASCAP, Beth Brinker lauded McAnally for having written and produced “more than 25 No. 1’s,” including the multi-artist “Forever Country” single used to promote the 50th anniversary of the CMA Awards show.
Brinker also noted that McAnally has been named co-president of the newly revived Monument Records.
She tipped her hat to Rosen for having co-written such hits as Blake Shelton’s “Sangria,” The Band Perry’s “Better Dig Two” and Dierks Bentley’s “Say You Do.” In addition to penning hits for other acts, Rosen is a member of Old Dominion, which last year won the Academy of Country Music award for best new vocal group.
Brinker described Morgan’s singing style as “a fresh take on a classic kind of sound,” a style he developed and refined while performing in Mississippi bars as a teenager and covering songs by such immortals as Merle Haggard, George Strait and Waylon Jennings.
Other speakers joined Morgan and the songwriters onstage to remark on the tenacity and longevity of “I Met a Girl” as it inched its way up the charts, once falling off entirely, before returning to the climb. In all, the song was on the charts for 58 weeks.
“When ‘Little Willie’ came into our office, that voice just rocked our soul,” said John Esposito, head of Warner Music, Morgan’s label. He announced that Morgan will sing on the New Faces Show during the upcoming Country Radio Seminar.
“I could be cheesy and thank the Good Lord first,” said Morgan when it came his turn to address the crowd. “I’m a grown man, and I’m about to tear up.”
Instead, he directed most of his thanks to the songwriters, his producers Scott Hendricks and Jimmy Ritchey and the promotion department at Warner Music.
He also saluted his fiancée, Runaway June‘s Jennifer Wayne, who stood in the crowd, and briefly held his infant daughter, Presley, for everyone to admire.


Maggie Rose and Post Monroe Join CMT Next Women of Country Tour

New CMT Next Women of Country Tour Starts Thursday (Feb. 2) in St. Louis 

Maggie Rose and Post Monroe will join Martina McBride and Lauren Alaina on the third annual CMT Next Women of Country Tour, launching Thursday (Feb. 2) in St. Louis. The new tour is an extension of McBride’s Love Unleashed Tour.
“We are so excited to include more artists from CMT’s Next Women of Country franchise for this tour,” said CMT senior vice president of music strategy Leslie Fram. “It’s a great opportunity for Maggie and Post Monroe to share the stage with Martina and have the opportunity to be on such an amazing tour.”
Both acts are part of the newest CMT Next Women of Country class including Logan Brill, Jillian Jacqueline, Kree Harrison, Margo Price, Runaway June, Lucie Silvas, Caitlyn Smith and Jamie Lynn Spears. All 10 acts were added to the program in Oct., 2016.
Rose’s music has been a Music Row staple for the better part of the current decade. “I Ain’t Your Mama” from Cut to Impress was among country radio’s most-played songs by a solo female artist in 2013. Released in April, 2016, her latest collection, The Variety Show, Vol. 1 EP, features the infectious “Same Sky” and the moving ballad “Love Me More.” When she’s not working on her own music, she is producing the rising group, the Morrison Brothers Band.
 Post Monroe are Whitney Duncan, Ashley Hewitt and Shelby McLeod. Lady Antebellum’s Dave Haywood produced the group’s self-titled EP, which was released in May, 2016.
 Tickets for the new tour on sale now. Available through McBride’s website, VIP packages for select shows offer a meet-and-greet, Q&A session, autographed gift and premium seats. 

Maren Morris Reuniting With Alicia Keys at Grammy Awards

And Why She Texted Kelsea Ballerini as Soon as the Nominations Were Announced 

Early Tuesday morning (Jan. 31), Maren Morris explained in two tweets what she’d been hinting around about on social media.
“Can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m performing at the #Grammys !!”
“AND I’m gonna collab with my girl @aliciakeys again for this incredibly special night of music. See you through the tv!”
Morris and Alicia Keys previously performed together during an episode of CMT Crossroads which aired in December.
While the two singers come from different genres, they have something very important in common. Morris is nominated for the Grammy’s best new artist, and Keys won that award back in 2001.
Morris is also nominated for three other Grammys: best country album, best country song, and best country solo performance.
She recently told CMT Hot 20 Countdown that when she got the news about the best new artist nomination, she grabbed her phone and started texting.
“I remember when I found out that I was nominated and Kelsea [Ballerini] was nominated. I texted her because I was like, ‘Wow, I have never seen two country artists in the history of the Grammys be nominated for this category at the same time,'” Morris recalled.
It sounds like Morris’ mind is also a little bit blown over how everything has happened so quickly.
“I just never thought I’d see myself at the Grammys. I think that’s something you hope for down the line, but I just released this album six or seven months ago,” she said.
With all of her nominations, the odds are quite good that she will win at least one. And if she does, she said that she will probably pass out from joy.
“I don’t know,” she said. “I haven’t I haven’t even wrapped my head fully around the fact that I’m nominated.
“So if I walked away with a Grammy in my hands, I’d probably have to like lock myself in a room for a few hours and just have like a therapeutic moment with God.”


Billboard Reconfigures Its Country Albums Chart

Blake Shelton, Chris Stapleton Still Top Country Songs, Albums Summits 

Hold onto your hats — or any other loosely-tethered garments. There’s been a major change in how Billboard ranks its country albums.
Starting this week, instead of showing rankings based on CD sales alone, the charts will also reflect track equivalent albums (that is 10 songs downloaded from a particular album) and streaming equivalent albums (1,500 songs streamed from a particular album).
But before we get deeper into this statistical morass, we should note that — to no one’s surprise — Chris Stapleton‘s Traveller and Blake Shelton‘s “A Guy With a Girl” continue to reign at the top of the albums and country airplay charts.
Because of the new criteria. a lot of albums that had dropped off the Top 50 charts as physical sales declined have now come back on.
And here they are: Sam Hunt‘s Montevallo returns at No. 7; Garth Brooks’ The Ultimate Hits (No. 18); the Zac Brown Band‘s Greatest Hits So Far … (No. 20); Toby Keith‘s 35 Biggest Hits (No. 21); Carrie Underwood‘s Greatest Hits: Decade #1 (No. 22); Florida Georgia Line‘s Here’s to the Good Times (No. 24); Luke Bryan‘s Crash My Party (No. 26).
Also, Chris Lane‘s Girl Problems (No. 29), Johnny Cash‘s The Legend of Johnny Cash (No. 30); Brett Young‘s self-titled EP (No. 31); Eric Church‘s Chief (No. 33); Tim McGraw‘s Number One Hits (No. 34); Florida Georgia Line’s Anything Goes (No. 35); Eric Church’s The Outsiders (No. 36); George Strait‘s Icon 2 (No. 39); Brantley Gilbert‘s Just As I Am (No. 40).
And, the Zac Brown Band’s Jekyll + Hyde (No. 42); Rascal FlattsGreatest Hits: Volume 1 (No. 43); Johnny Cash’s The Essential Johnny Cash (No. 44); Michael Ray‘s self-titled album (No. 45); Brad Paisley‘s Hits Alive (No. 46); Taylor Swift‘s Red (No. 47); Jason Aldean‘s Old Boots, New Dirt (No. 49) and Luke Bryan’s Tailgates & Tanlines (No. 50).
OK, now catch a breath.
There are four new songs to report — Easton Corbin‘s “A Girl Like You” (debuting at No. 56); Jackie Lee‘s “Getting Over You” (No. 58); Casey Donahew‘s “Kiss Me” (No. 59) and Midland’s “Drinkin’ Problem” (No. 60).
Love and Theft‘s “Candyland” rebounds at No. 57.
The No. 2 through No. 5 albums, in descending order, are Keith Urban‘s Ripcord, Thomas Rhett‘s Tangled Up, Florida Georgia Line’s Dig Your Roots and Jason Aldean’s They Don’t Know.
Rounding out the Top 5 songs cluster are Thomas Rhett’s “Star of the Show,” Dustin Lynch‘s “Seein’ Red,” Little Big Town‘s “Better Man” and Chris Young‘s “Sober Saturday Night,” featuring Vince Gill.


Keith Urban Cries Over Triumph of Love

He Explains His Lion Tears 

When Keith Urban saw the film Lion, he cried.
That’s how good his wife Nicole Kidman is in the movie (She is, after all, nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actress).
Urban called the film “really, really beautiful film,” and at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, he explained why he was crying at the end.
“I always want to stress that so much of the crying is really more about the triumph of the film and the triumph of love,” Urban said. “That’s really what it’s about.”
The movie tells the true story of an Indian boy named Saroo, who is adopted by Kidman’s character Sue Brierley after he is separated from his biological family.
“I knew we were onto a good thing when my sister and my husband saw the film and they both came out weeping and wanting to hug me,” Kidman said on the red carpet. “I thought that’s an amazing response to a film.”


Tucker Beathard Raises Cain in “Momma and Jesus”

Prefers Asking for Forgiveness Later 
 Tucker Beathard admits he’s the kind of guy who asks for forgiveness later.
“I don’t like to overthink things too much,” he said during our interview. “Most of the time, the dumb decisions are always the best stories — you can always talk yourself out of something. But then you’ll look back and regret not doing it. I think you always regret what you didn’t do more than what you did do.”
Kicking back at the Nashville media firm that oversees his publicity, evidence of his asking forgiveness later is written in permanent ink in the form of six tattoos on his body. One of the first he ever got was a matching Psalm 27:1 tattoo he bought with his brother, C.J. Beathard. On his left forearm, there’s a tattoo of a compass he shares with his kindergarten teacher. Below it are the notes of the first song he ever learned on guitar, Blink 182’s “Adam’s Song.”
If he didn’t have an afternoon stacked with media interviews, Beathard would be with friends performing crazy stunts like the ones he performed in the official “Momma and Jesus” music video. The clip has him raising Cain all over town — a male blow-up doll rides a goat, then Beathard gets shot with paint ball guns while dressed in drag, then he rolls houses with friends and pedals through Nashville’s Lower Broadway in the nude on a pedal tavern.

Is the video something you’d be doing if you weren’t working?
Beathard: Yeah. The video is honestly just an excuse to do what I think is fun doing. We used to do stupid stuff like that all the time growing up and make videos. I wanted it to be like the Jackass crew and stuff like that. So when that idea came up, I just got all my friends together and we were like, “Dude, we get to do this for work.” So it’s just a really good excuse to be able to do what is fun. I’ve always loved doing stuff like that. Everything is either me or my friends doing the full-on stunts.
You seem like the kind of guy that people would judge by the cover. But I feel like there’s a lot more to you than what’s perceived. We’ve barely scratched the surface with “Rock On,” too.
I agree, 100 percent. That’s kind of what got me into songwriting in the first place — just kind of feeling misunderstood, judged and what not. It’s like screaming on the inside, but the only way to let it out is by writing. And that’s tough to kind of be represented by one song. But I’m proud. I’m really thankful for the support of “Rock On.” But, yeah, there’s a lot more to the story.
Who were some of the people in your life who believed in you when there wasn’t necessarily a reason to?
Definitely my football coaches and baseball coach in high school — Brad Myers. He was a huge role model for me and really got me in line. The way he ran his team, he was a great molder of men. So he’s one that specifically stands out and he always supported me. He really taught me a lot about life and helped me mature a lot. He’s one I’m always going to be grateful for.
How do you take care of your mind and soul as a creative person? What feeds you?

Really anything. I don’t necessarily know where my song ideas they come from, but I like reading quotes and poems and stuff like that. You’re just always trying to keep your radar on for something that happens or a feeling that you felt from a scenario, situation or a movie you watched. Wherever you get emotion, jot it down. When you look back to write a song, you’d see this idea or this line you had. It can at least trigger that emotion again and you can write about it.

Since your dad Casey co-wrote Eric Church‘s “Homeboy” about you, does that affect the way you write about other people?
Naw. Not really. I actually like using names in songs even if I don’t know them. Half the time, I don’t even know if a song is being written about somebody. I don’t even know where a lot of my emotions come from, in general. I don’t think I’ve ever sat down and thought of a girl and wrote that song about her. I wrote songs about my dad when I was grounded in school because I was mad. But …
Was he a strict disciplinarian?
I didn’t plead my case well with him. I don’t think I can really argue much in my defense on me being grounded in school. But there’s a lot of stuff that I did that they were surprisingly pretty calm about.
As your career continues to grow, what about you do you hope never changes?

I definitely don’t ever want to feel like I’m too good or too big for anything. I don’t want people I actually care about — like family or close friends — say, “You’ve changed a lot. It’s getting to you.” I just always want to write songs that mean something to me. Hopefully, other people can relate to them. I just always keep in mind I’m very blessed to be able to do what I love every day. I don’t take it for granted, which is easy to do.

What is the No. 1 lesson Nashville music has taught you so far?

If you are an artist that’s passionate about who you are, don’t question your true gut just because some big business person says something. They’re not as smart as you think. It’s not that they’re always wrong. But nobody is going to know you better as an artist or what’s best for you than yourself at the end of the day.

Tucker Beathard starts Brantley Gilbert’s The Devil Don’t Sleep Tour Thursday (Feb. 2) in Reading, Pennsylvania. His full length debut is in the works with producer Angelo Petraglia.

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