Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Mid-week Country Music Countdown & Country Music News..April 12, 2017

COUNTRY CHART Weekend of April 1-2:

1 MICHAEL RAY Think A Little Less *
2 JON PARDI Dirt On My Boots
4 LAUREN ALAINA Road Less Traveled
5 JASON ALDEAN Any Ol’ Barstool
9 SAM HUNT Body Like a Back Road
10 JOSH TURNER Hometown Girl
12 CHRIS YOUNG Sober Saturday Night
13 KENNY CHESNEY Bar At The End of the World
15 LUKE COMBS Hurricane
16 DAN & SHAY How Not To
17 BRETT YOUNG In Case You Didn’t Know
19 TRENT HARMON There’s A Girl
20 RASCAL FLATTS Yours If You Want It



Alabama’s Jeff Cook Is Battling Parkinson’s Disease

Founding Member of the Band Will Step Away From Touring 
Jeff Cook, a founding member of the band Alabama, is battling Parkinson’s disease and is stepping away from touring.
Cook and the band’s co-founders Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry made the announcement Tuesday morning (April 11) in an interview with The Tennessean< newspaper in Nashville.
With hits such as “Feels So Right,” “Mountain Music,” “Dixieland Delight,” “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band),” Alabama became members of the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005.
In a video statement, Cook said he was diagnosed with the disease four years ago.
“This disease robs you of your coordination, your balance, and causes tremors,” Cook said in the prepared statement. “For me, this has made it extremely frustrating to try and play guitar, fiddle or sing. I’ve tried not to burden anyone with the details of my condition because I do not want the music to stop or the party to end, and that won’t change no matter what.
“Let me say, I’m not calling it quits, but sometimes our bodies dictate what we have to do, and mine is telling me it’s time to take a break and heal.”
The band kept the diagnosis private even when people began speculating that the 67-year-old musician’s demeanor onstage was the result of a substance abuse problem.
“That’s the part that hurts so bad, for people to think that he’s intoxicated or something,” Owen told the newspaper. “He’s not, and me and Teddy waited back … we wanted to say a lot of things to these people.
Gentry added, “I did tell one guy one time it was none of his damn business. I couldn’t help it.”
Other musicians will be enlisted to cover Cook’s vocal and instrumental parts when the band’s tour resumes on April 29 in Stockton, California. However, Cook plans to perform at the group’s May 27 show in Orange Beach, Alabama, and during its Fan Appreciation Weekend taking place June 16-18 in Fort Payne, Alabama.
With shows scheduled in the U.S. and Canada through November, Cook plans to attend some shows along the way. Owen and Gentry said Cook’s microphone will always be onstage should he decide to join in the performance.
“We could hire 10 people, but we can’t replace Jeff Cook in the group Alabama,” Gentry said.
Cook plans to continue working with Owen and Gentry in the recording studio.
“If I’m healed overnight, I’ll be at the next show,” Cook told the newspaper. “I do believe in prayer, and I’m not giving up.”


Outlaw Music Festival Tour Coming This Summer

Willie Nelson-Led Tour Includes Bob Dylan, Sheryl Crow, Jason Isbell, My Morning Jacket and More 

Willie Nelson and Blackbird Presents have partnered to launch the Outlaw Music Festival Tour this summer.
The initial lineup includes Willie Nelson & Family, Bob Dylan and His Band, The Avett Brothers, Sheryl Crow, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, My Morning Jacket, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Margo Price, Hayes Carll and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real. Additional acts will be announced in the coming weeks.

The tour starts July 1 in New Orleans with additional dates in Dallas (July 2) Rogers, Arkansas (July 6), Detroit (July 8) and Syracuse, New York (July 16). The traveling festival will close Milwaukee’s Summerfest on July 9. Tickets go on sale April 21.
Blackbird Presents is the media company behind concert tributes for Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and more. Last week, Nelson and the organization staged an all-star Nashville tribute to Merle Haggard on what would have been Haggard’s 80th birthday.
With Willie Nelson & Family appearing at all shows, here are the additional lineups for each date on 2017’s Outlaw Music Festival Tour:
July 1: New Orleans — Shrine on Airline
The Avett Brothers
Sheryl Crow
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real
(More to be announced)

July 2: Dallas — Starplex Pavilion
Sheryl Crow
The Avett Brothers
Hayes Carll
Margo Price
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real

July 6: Rogers, Arkansas — Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
Sheryl Crow
Margo Price
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real

July 8: Detroit — Joe Louis Arena
Bob Dylan and His Band
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
Sheryl Crow
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real

July 9: Milwaukee — Summerfest
Bob Dylan and His Band
Sheryl Crow
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats
Margo Price
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real

July 16: Syracuse, New York — Lakeview Amphitheater
My Morning Jacket
Sheryl Crow
Margo Price


Brett Eldredge Show a Home Run for Cubs Fans

Country Music Preps Chicago for First Home Opener
There were no fair-weather fans in Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood on Monday (April 10).
Not at the Chicago Cubs’ home opener. And not at the surprise Brett Eldredge show across the street from the Wrigley Field baseball park.
A little rain, a quick hail storm, and plummeting temperatures were not about to keep fans away from either one.
Eldredge’s show had to be moved from the roof of the Old Crow Smokehouse to the stage downstairs because of the weather, but his willingness to show up and sing wherever he was just made country fans out of the Cubs fans in the bar.
He opened with “Lose My Mind” and closed with Steve Goodman’s “Go Cubs Go.”
“Before I leave here and start partying with all of y’all, I have to say, we are the World Champions,” Eldredge told the fans who packed the place a few hours before the game was supposed to start. “They can never take that away from us. We’ll always have that.”
Between songs like “Beat of the Music,” “Drunk on Your Love,” and “Wanna Be That Song,” Eldredge shared with the crowd how he ended up being the country singer with the biggest love for the Cubs.
“I’m from a little town in Illinois, and I went to Elmhurst College just down the road,” he said of his Chicago-area roots. His video for “Wanna Be That Song” was actually filmed inside Wrigley Field, and he’d told at the time that the ballpark had a magic aura about it.
The same could be said for LOCASH‘s Preston Brust, who grew up on the Cubs in nearby in Kokomo, Indiana. When LOCASH took the stage for a short set before Eldredge came on, Brust told the crowd he was wearing his Cubbies underwear.
“I say we go back to back this year,” Brust said, and the fans agreed wholeheartedly that two World Series wins would be better than one.
LOCASH played their own recent hits–including “I Know Somebody” and “I Love This Life” — plus a cover of the Keith Urban song they wrote “You Gonna Fly,” TLC’s “Waterfalls,” and an orchestrated singalong on “Take Me Out To the Ballgame.”
That song was written back in 1908, which is incidentally the same year that the Chicago Cubs had won their last World Series. Later that night — actually the game wasn’t over until 12:38 a.m. on Tuesday morning (April 11) — the Cubs beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 before a crowd of more than 41,000 people.


Maren Morris on Songwriting with a Buzz

Tequila Washed Away the Filters

You wouldn’t know it to hear the song, but when Maren Morris wrote “I Could Use a Love Song,” she’d had some drinks.
“I had never written a song having a little buzz before. I had always been sober writing, but you know, having that little tequila just got rid of our filters, and it allowed us to be straight from the heart, which is hard to do,” Morris told Billboard Country Update about the songwriting session.
Morris, Jimmy Robbins, and Laura Veltz wrote part of the song at Losers Bar & Grill, right near Music Row.
“It’s just about trying to remain optimistic (regarding) a very complicated subject, when you’re single and you want to be cynical and fighting through that, trying to hold the belief that love is not this foreign, cheesy concept,” she said.
What she wanted for the song, she said, was for it to be vulnerable and heartbreaking. And what she didn’t want was for it to turn into some kind of a soaring anthem-type ballad.
So what is Morris’ definition of a Really Good Love Song?
“A really good love song is that reminder that it’s not unattainable to fall in love again and it’s not cliché, or it’s not going to be like the last time. Sometimes you just have to hear a good love song to remind you it’s still a possibility,” she said.
And when she sings it now — even though she and boyfriend singer-songwriter Ryan Hurd are not having a heartbreak moment — she tries to maintain the pain of the story.
“To retain that pain and vulnerability, but then also have hope that comes at the very end, I had to get into a certain head space where I could try to replicate the head space I was in the day that we wrote it,” she said.


Kenny Chesney Unveils His Final Four

New Dates Set for Alabama and Connecticut 
 Fresh off closing Florida’s fifth annual Tortuga Music Festival on Sunday (April 9), Kenny Chesney revealed his final four tour dates in 2017.
He will headline Alabama’s Tuscaloosa Amphitheater on Aug. 4 and the Wharf Amphitheatre in Orange Beach on Aug. 5. A two-night stand at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut starts Aug. 10. Tickets for the new shows go on sale April 14.
Chesney is scheduled to perform at four music festivals this summer including the Stagecoach music festival in Indio, California on April 30 and the Buckeye Country Superfest on June 11. His 2017 concert schedule wraps with two shows at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts starting Aug. 25.


Ryan Kinder Leaves It to Chance in New Video

“Close” Takes on Love and Fate 
 Do you believe in second chances in love? Ryan Kinder does.
“The universe has a way of getting what it wants, and that’s what this song is about,” Kinder says in the video for “Close,” a groovin’ track about a love that circles back around and simply lets fate take the wheel.
We see two old friends/flames have a fortuitous meeting while one is on tour, and the sparks are flying from the moment she accidentally causes him to spill his coffee. They take a chance, spend the day together and see where it goes, all by simply allowing the universe to work its magic, as Kinder implied in his opening line.
My mama has always told me that if something is meant to be, it will always find its way back to you. And for the lovebirds in this song, that certainly seems to be the case.
But then the mysterious cliffhanger comes. At the end of their romantic day, do they make their own choice to stay together? Or do they let chance decide?
What happens at the end?! I’m so invested — there’d better be a sequel, Ryan Kinder!

Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney Get Visit From Matthew McConaughey

Actor and His Wife Spend the Weekend in New Orleans

The stars were out in New Orleans over the weekend.
On Friday night (April 7), Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey showed up for the opening night of Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s Soul2Soul World Tour at the Smoothie King Center. The actor’s wife Camila Alves posted a backstage photo of the group, which also included New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and his wife Brittany Brees.
Then on Saturday, McConaughey and Alves hit the House of Blues in the New Orleans French Quarter, where Chesney was performing a benefit show for the American Race, a joint fundraising effort of the Brees Dream Foundation and McConaughey’s Just Keep Livin’ Foundation.
Brees got onstage to back Chesney and shared a photo on Twitter.
Rockin' on stage last night w Chesney & McConaughey for our charity event at New Orleans House of Blues. Unreal time!


Scenes From Tortuga Music Festival 2017

Luke Bryan, Chris Stapleton, Kenny Chesney and More Hit the Beach with 100,000 Fans 

Live music by Luke Bryan, Chris Stapleton, Kenny Chesney and more wrapped the fifth annual Tortuga Music Festival in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, over the weekend.
According to the festival’s producers, more than 100,000 fans turned out for the 2017 event. A portion of the ticket proceeds went to support the conservation of the world’s ocean through the environmental non-profit, Rock the Ocean Foundation.
Highlights included Chesney singing “Save It For a Rainy Day” with Old Dominion, Stapleton premiering four new songs from his upcoming album From a Room: Volume 1, a hit-filled set by 2017 Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Alan Jackson and more unforgettable live music moments from Darius Rucker, Maren Morris and Nelly.


Florida Georgia Line on God’s Magic

"It’s a Beautiful, Beautiful Thing"
There’s a new song on country radio right now, from Florida Georgia Line and the Backstreet Boys. It’s “God, Your Mama and Me.”
But the duo still can’t believe what happened with their last single, the ballad titled “H.O.L.Y.”
“I think we knew it would connect, but we make these plans and we think they’re big and we dream these dreams,” FGL’s Brian Kelley said in a recent radio interview.
“And God’s like, ‘Nah, I got something way bigger in store. Let me do my magic.”
Kelley and Tyler Hubbard think that’s what happened with “H.O.L.Y.”
“It’s something so much bigger than Tyler and I,” he said, “and that’s why it is so special and it’s beyond our control and it’s magical.”
When they perform the song live during shows, it turns into something of a religious experience.
“Every night we have church up there onstage, and it takes us to a place that we’ve never really gotten to go in our show,” Kelley said.
“It’s a different dynamic and you see people worshipping out there, you see people cryin’, dancin’, fallin’ in love again. And it’s a beautiful, beautiful thing. We’re so thankful for that song. We know the power of a song.”

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