Wednesday, May 24, 2017

MID-Week Country Music Countdown & Country Music News..May 24, 2017 Country Music Artists React to Manchester Bombing (Now with links)

COUNTRY CHART Weekend of May 20-21:

1 SAM HUNT Body Like a Back Road
2 LUKE COMBS Hurricane *
4 BRETT YOUNG In Case You Didn’t Know
7 DAN & SHAY How Not To
9 JOSH TURNER Hometown Girl
10 FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE God, Your Mama, & Me
11 KEITH URBAN The Fighter w/Carrie Underwood
12 BLAKE SHELTON Every Time I Hear That Song
13 RASCAL FLATTS Yours If You Want It
16 COLE SWINDELL Flatliner w/Dierks Bentley
17 MIDLAND Drinkin’ Problem
18 THOMAS RHETT Craving You w/Maren Morris
20 JUSTIN MOORE Somebody Else Will



Jason Aldean Salutes Farmers in New Single

“Those Are Some of the Hardest-Working People in the Country” 

Jason Aldean’s new single “They Don’t Know” is the latest in a long line of his rural anthems. And nobody does those songs better.
This one is a farmer’s take on any outsiders’ narrow-minded assumptions about the town, the life, and the back-breaking work. Among the lyrics:
“They ain’t seen the blood, sweat and tears it took to live their dreams when everything’s on the line/Ain’t just another field, just another farm/No, it’s the ground we grew up on/They think it’s a middle-of-nowhere place where we take it slow, but they don’t know.”
And in the new issue of Billboard Country Update, Aldean reveals how he grew up knowing just how tough a farmer’s life was.
“When I was a kid, my mom worked for the Farmer’s Home Administration. I was around that stuff a lot growing up and realized how hard those guys had it, you know,” Aldean said of the song written by Kurt Allison, Jaron Boyer and Josh Mirenda.
“It’s just hard to make a dollar growing crops, so it was just something that I always had a lot of respect for. Those are some of the hardest-working people in the country, and they don’t get a lot of attention for the things they do.”
According to Billboard, when he was young, Aldean’s mom took him to his cousin’s farm to pick vegetables that she’d serve at home or freeze for later.
“People in the big city go to the grocery store. I guess they assume that all those vegetables and stuff they eat just magically appears in the produce department,” he said.
“But, no, there’s a guy busting his ass to grow all that stuff.”


Brent Cobb and the Cadillac Three: Stand With Fans Abroad

Shows Overseas Will Go On Following Manchester Attack

Shows in Manchester, England will go on as scheduled following Monday’s (May 22) deadly attack at an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena.
That includes Tuesday’s Brent Cobb performance at the Deaf Institute, which is three miles away from the arena. The singer-songwriter is on a two-week tour overseas with shows in Ireland, the U.K. and Europe. He resumes Chris Stapleton‘s All-American Road Show on June 9 in Southaven, Mississippi. 

The Cadillac Three have performances at the Download Music Festivals in Donington, England and Paris in June and have no plans of backing out of them. When asked last August whether they worry about a similar tragedy happening at one of their shows, they said they don’t give those thoughts any power.
“Every now and then, it does cross my mind,” Johnston told “You think about it especially when we play for these really large crowds and you can’t see everybody, or those sweaty club shows where there’s no clear exit. You try to not let it get to you because if you do that, obviously they win — the crazies win.”

The Download Festival website and social media accounts have gone dark for 48 hours in a show of silence in sympathy for those affected by Monday’s attack.
According to CNN, the terror group ISIS has claimed responsibility for the explosion, which has killed 22 people including the suspected bomber, 22-year-old Salman Abedi. But it has offered no evidence to support its claim. It is the deadliest terror attack on British soil since the London bombings in 2005.
President Donald Trump slammed the attack in a press conference from Israel while on his first tour of the Middle East since taking office. “So many young beautiful innocent people living and enjoying their lives murdered by evil losers in life,” he said. “I won’t call them monsters because they would like that term. They would think that’s a great name. I will call them from now on losers because that’s what they are.”
Grande has suspended her Dangerous Woman Tour in the wake of the tragedy. “Broken,” she shared online. “From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don’t have words.” 


Country Artists React to Manchester Tragedy

Blake Shelton, Darius Rucker, Rascal Flatts Martina McBride Offer Prayers 
As the news of the tragedy in the U.K., just outside an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena in England, hit the U.S., country stars were among the first to send their prayers out to the victims and their families.
According to CNN, at least 22 people were killed in the attack, including children and the attacker.
The Greater Manchester Police are reporting that the explosion came from a male suicide bomber.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has issued a statement saying it is monitoring the situation and that there could be increased security in public places and music events here at home.
Blake Shelton‏: “Just hearing about the explosions at the Arianna concert.. Praying for everybody!! Sick.”
Martina McBride: “Hard 2 find words.My thoughts and prayers are w/Manchester, the fans, victims, and families. I dont want 2 believe this can actually happen.”
Billy Ray Cyrus: “Thoughts and prayers for all who were at the @ArianaGrande concert tonight.”
Darius Rucker: “My heart and prayers go out to everyone in Manchester. I love that city. God bless you all!!”
Charles Kelley‏: “Thinking about all the victims at the Manchester concert attack. On a flight and heard about it just now. Praying for the families.”
Maddie & Tae: “Praying for everyone in Manchester tonight.. Absolutely heart breaking,”
Chris Young: “Terrifying to hear about everything in the U.K. at the Ariana concert… prayers to everyone there…”
Eli Young Band: “Absolutely heartbreaking to hear the news coming from #Manchester.Live music should be the escape from the madness. Let’s never forget that.”
Rascal Flatts: “Sending our thoughts and prayers out for @ArianaGrande and all of her fans tonight in Manchester U.K.”
Dan + Shay: “Concerts are supposed to be a place where people can go to escape the problems of this fucked up world. Thoughts and prayers. #Manchester.”
The Cadillac Three:
“Our thoughts are with our friends in Manchester, U.K. tonight”

Taylor Swift‏: “My thoughts, prayers and tears for all those affected by the Manchester tragedy tonight. I’m sending all my love.” 


Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors on Songs That Live Forever

Talk Souvenir and Reflect on 11 Years Together

Born on May 13, 1982, Drew Holcomb wasn’t around when Van Morrison released Tupelo Honey in 1971. But it’s that kind of timeless music Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors strive to create.
“It’s one of my favorite records because my parents introduced me to it,” Holcomb said during our interview with guitarist Nathan Dugger and bassist Rich Brinsfield. “We’ve never been a single-driven band. You can put out a song every couple of months, get one to hit and that’s what happens. But we make records. We want to make a body of work. We don’t want to write a bestseller. We want to write a classic — not that we have — but that’s our aspiration.”
That’s the best part about Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors. They continue bring out the musically curious in every fan they make.
They are song people, and that showed during the group’s two-night stand at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium recently. While the band filled the hallowed hall with live originals, fans listened intently in the pews and sang along to the music spanning the group’s 11 years together. Their latest album Souvenir was released in March.
“They’re not coming for the light show,” Holcomb said of the group’s loyal following. “We want to get better and push ourselves with records, but we love the work we’ve already done. I think the big difference with so many artists, instead of seeing music as a progression, they make a change and reject their former artistry. And that to me is when you lose fans, which is fine. I don’t think we’ll ever do that.”
The Tennessee band’s No. 1 goal from project to project is to make timeless music they would want to hear decades later. To achieve that with Souvenir, Holcomb for the first time in the band’s history relied on song contributions by Dugger and Brinsfield.
Together they co-wrote three of the album’s 11 songs including “The Morning Song,” “Black and Blue” and “Postcard Memories.” Holcomb’s daughter Emmylou is the inspiration behind the Dugger and Holcomb-co-write “Mama’s Sunshine and Daddy’s Rain.” Brinsfield and Holcomb co-wrote the anthemic “Fight for Love,” while Dugger is behind “Yellow Rose of Santa Fe,” a plaintive country ballad about a love that got away.
“I was emotionally and physically out of gas from all the touring to support Medicine,” Holcomb said of the time following their 2015 album. “We did almost 200 shows on that record, and I sort of hit a creative wall. So we’d start collaborating every Monday here in town and they brought some unbelievable songs and ideas to the table. It stretched our whole sound and made me learn chords I’ve never played before.” How did the collaborative experience bring out the best in your art?
Brinsfield: I think we kind of push each other, for sure. Everybody would bring a song to the table, and that would make somebody want to go home and write something else. It snowballed from there.
Holcomb: What’s interesting about being a band together for almost 11 years, we weren’t writing songs for random artists. We were writing songs for us. They know my voice and they know my point of view, so there was a lot of intentionality in the writing.
With “Fight for Love,” “New Year” and “Wild World,” there are a lot of themes of hope and love on this record. Was that an intention going into the studio?
Dugger: It was necessary. I don’t know if it was intentional, but it was necessary.
Necessary for the world?
Holcomb: This moment in time is sort of confusing and sort of hopeless in a lot of ways, especially as it relates to American politics. It’s a strange time to see so many of the things that you care about be thrown away in terms of institutions and points of view. Songs like “Wild World” and “Fight for Love,” I think, sort of dealt with that.
Some of the songs on the record are about dealing with the grief of getting older and time passing. “New Year” is about that. “Rowdy Heart, Broken Wing” is about a close friend who has been dealing with addiction and rehab. It was written specifically for him.
With “Mama’s Sunshine,” Nathan came to me with that chorus and was like, “I started a song about your daughter.” She calls him Dug-Dug. They’re buds. So it was really fun to write a song about a particular moment for me as a dad with my daughter, but it’s also hopefully timeless. Hopefully in five to 10 years, another person in my shoes can listen to that song, and hear, “That’s me also.” Maybe it was them 20 years ago. It’s where time and nostalgia cross paths. That’s a cool thing that happens in music.
Dugger: We let our songs pretty much dictate how they’re going to sound and how their presentation is going to be, which I feel like gives them shelf life. There’s nothing to date it really in that way. Things that are striving to be popular you can kind of peg them to a specific time, and it won’t necessarily last forever.
 When we look back on this time in music, will you be OK if the songs are remembered as being bigger than the band? Holcomb: Oh, yeah! I’d love it if people were singing one of our songs and say, “Who is that band? Because I love that song.”
Dugger: I feel like that’s the goal. Everybody knows who the Beatles are, but they wouldn’t know who they were without the songs.
Holcomb: Our sort of mythology is that we’re normal family men who make music that we love. Rich has two kids. I’ve got kids. Nate’s married. Everybody’s sort of happily domestic but still very musically ambitious. That’s an uncommon narrative in popular music.
One thing we struggle with, especially as it relates to press, is that we don’t have some big melodramatic story that’s like, “Drew got addicted to heroin and went to this mountaintop, and got the 10 Commandments of the next record from God.” But that’s what so many bios sound like. And I’m not saying they’re not true. But I know plenty of people in that world where sometimes the narrative is a little embellished.
To me, that’s the most inspiring part about your band is that guys like you achieving success, it shows that anybody can do this if they have the drive and determination. But it’s not an overnight success.
Holcomb: The angle we took was let’s just tour, and tour, and tour, and tour. We don’t have to wait around on radio, or press or TV or film placements. We can go tour. We can control that. We can go work and that’s how we did it. We’ve been through a lot of vehicles.
Brinsfield: We started in a Volvo.
Holcomb: When it died it had 357,000 miles on it. I had it for five or six years. A lot of it was when I was solo touring out of Memphis and Nashville. But then we’d do regional shows and we’d pile in, go to Birmingham one night, go to Atlanta and then drive home. We’d all pile in a Motel 6 and then we upgraded to a van once Live Forever happened. On our last tour, we went through three trailers in three weeks — broken axles.
Dugger: We always break down on a Sunday when no one is open. Whenever young singer-songwriters ask our advice, I always say, “You better be ready to work.”
Holcomb: It takes a massive amount of ego to play confidently to an empty room when you’re starting out.
Dugger: And then that show may be the best show of your tour.
Brinsfield: Those are also times that help you grow and get better as a band, too. Going through those times that are tough makes you stronger.


Dierks Bentley: You’ve Got Mail

The Letters That Mean So Much to Him 

At one of Dierks Bentley’s recent concerts, he got a letter.
It was from a fan, which is no big surprise. I’m sure Bentley gets a lot of those. But this one moved him enough to snap a photo and then post it on social media to thank the fans who go out of their way to share their words with him.
The letter is from someone who’d recently adopted a little girl after struggling with infertility. And it starts out by saying that he/she had heard that Bentley was always on the lookout for song ideas from anyone. So this fan penned a poem of sorts — loosely titled “Walk With Me for a Time” — about becoming a parent. The note to Bentley goes on to say that, from one Christian parent to another, if it happened to inspire Bentley in any way, it would be an honor to see the ideas end up in a song.
“I’m a huge fan and there’s no one whose hands I’d rather put them in,” the fan wrote at the end.


Nashville Predators Reach Stanley Cup Final to Trisha Yearwood

Yearwood Sings National Anthem Before Historic Night in Smashville

They did it.
For the first time in NHL history, the Nashville Predators will advance to their first Stanley Cup Final after beating the Anaheim Ducks 6-3 in Game 6 of the western conference final on Monday (May 22) in Nashville.
And they did it to the sounds of Trisha Yearwood singing the National Anthem before the game. Fans can be heard singing along with her throughout the Bridgestone Arena in video footage of the performance.

Nashville will face the winner of the eastern conference final between the Ottawa Senators and the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Cup Final, starting Monday (May 29).
Kelsea Ballerini, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Brett Eldredge, Thomas Rhett and Carrie Underwood were also in Smashville to witness the historic night. 


Chris Janson and Fellow Country Stars “Fix a Drink”

See Who Shows Up for the Party in His Brand New Video
 “What you see in the video is not acting,” Chris Janson assured me on a recent sunny afternoon in Nashville as we talked about his brand new video for “Fix a Drink.”
It’s a throwdown for sure: Janson and his crew really are fixin’ drinks, smokin’ cigars and gettin’ down on his farm.
“I wanted the ‘Fix a Drink’ video to be along the same lines as an everyday backyard party mixed with ‘All My Rowdy Friends’ because I’m such a fan of that era and that kind of music,” Janson said. “I grew up around that.”
So he sent an invitation out to several of his friends and family members to be part of the fun. And everyone came — even some super-famous people.
“I didn’t just want to get cameos,” Janson said. “If I had artists there or anyone famous there, I wanted them to feel like they were a part of the video and invested in the party — not like they were just there to show their face, say thank you and goodbye.”
There was a slim chance of that happening. Janson’s fellow country stars are, in fact, real friends.
“We legitimately talk outside of music,” he told me. “I’ve got some of my best friends in this video and some really big stars, quite possibly the biggest star in country music. He was there for several hours and has become a great friend to me, and my family. It’s a big deal to me.”
Can you spot the superstar in question?
For Janson, the handful of celebrity appearances speaks volumes to the camaraderie and sense of community in the country music world.
“It’s so cool to see the humility factor in all these artists who are genuinely proud of the success I’m having, the success that my team and camp are having,” he said. “And I’m equally excited about their success! It’s just really great.”
I won’t spoil it for you. I’ll let you watch and spot them all for yourselves.
So what’s Janson’s choice of beverage when he needs to kick back and “fix a drink”?
“A cold can of Mountain Dew in this ‘Fix a Drink’ cup,” he said with a laugh. “Or whatever my wife is drinking in her cup — peach martinis!”

I’ll raise my Manhattan to that. 


Rascal Flatts’ Night to Shine Coming to Las Vegas

New Eight-Show Sin City Residency Starts Oct. 6 at Venetian Theatre 
Rascal Flatts will return to Las Vegas in October for their all-new Night to Shine production.
The 1,800-seat Venetian Theatre will host the eight-show engagement, running Oct. 6 through 21. The Venetian Theatre has previously hosted Vegas shows by Diana Ross, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, the Judds and Willie Nelson and The Moody Blues.
Tickets for the new Rascal Flatts shows start at $49 and go on sale June 2 through Ticketmaster and the Venetian website. A limited number of VIP packages with meet-and-greets will also be available.
This is third Sin City residency for Jay DeMarcus, Gary LeVox and Joe Don Rooney. Their first was 2014’s Rascal Flatts Vegas Riot at the Hard Rock Hotel’s The Joint.


Little Big Town Welcome Famous Friends to the Ryman

Sold-Out Concerts Host Tori Kelly, Alison Krauss, Luke Bryan and Lee Ann Womack 

Album cycles for most Grammy-winning acts usually involve taking their music on the road on a national tour.
Little Big Town are doing the opposite for newest album The Breaker, forcing the party to come to them.
Their 2017 residency at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium continued this weekend (May 19 and 20) with two sold-out shows that featured surprise guests Tori Kelly, Alison Krauss, Luke Bryan and Lee Ann Womack.
On Friday (May 19), the band sang “Ghost in This House” with Krauss and “Should’ve Been Us” and “Hallelujah” with Kelly. A performance by Caitlyn Smith kicked off the night. 
 On Saturday (May 20), Bryan and Womack were each welcomed onstage for “Drink a Beer” and “Bees,” respectively. The Little Big Kids – Elijah Dylan Westbrook (7), Penelopi Jane Sweet (9) and Daisy Schlapman (9) – also crashed Saturday’s concert. The show was preceded by the Brummies, a new band fronted by John & Jacob’s John Davidson and Jacob Bryant, in their Ryman performance debut.

Little Big Town’s summer schedule includes 14 festival appearances including a performance at Chicago’s LakeShake Festival on June 24. A seven-city U.K. tour starts Sept. 27 in Glasgow.
Their next shows at the Ryman are July 28, 29 and 30.


Love Comes First for Blake Shelton

Was Gwen Stefani His Good-Luck Charm? 

Did you hear the collective sighs of all the women tuned in to the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday night (May 21)?
When Blake Shelton took the stage to accept his top country artist award, he gave his girlfriend Gwen Stefani the sweetest, most romantic compliment ever.
“Wow! That was pretty cool. I had a good feeling. I felt like I was the luckiest guy in the room anyway because Gwen is here with me, so I had a good feeling about it,” Shelton said.
It was as if he was trying to get nominated for some kind of a Most Loving Boyfriend award. Which he’d win, hands down.
Shelton went on to thank the people who put him there: the fans.
“I know this award is based on facts and industry things, sales and streaming and radio airplay and all that stuff,” he said. “But I think, if it weren’t for the fans, we wouldn’t have the sales and ticket sales and the airplay. Thank you fans, first and foremost.”
He beat out Florida Georgia Line, Keith Urban, Chris Stapleton, and Jason Aldean for the country honor.

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