Saturday, July 22, 2017

Week-end Country Music Countdown & Country Music News..July 22, 2017 (Now with links)

American Country Countdown Chart
Week of July 24, 2017

This Week
Artist & Song Title
Dylan Scott
My Girl
Thomas Rhett ft. Maren Morris
Craving You
Rascal Flatts
Yours If You Want It
Keith Urban ft. Carrie Underwood
The Fighter
Blake Shelton
Every Time I Hear That Song
Billy Currington
Do I Make You Wanna
Cole Swindell ft. Dierks Bentley
Drinkin’ Problem
Lady Antebellum
You Look Good
Justin Moore
Somebody Else Will
Old Dominion
No Such Thing As a Broken Heart
Dustin Lynch
Small Town Boy
Brothers Osborne
It Ain’t My Fault
Jon Pardi
Heartache on the Dance Floor
Kip Moore
More Girls Like You
Chris Lane
For Her
Zac Brown Band
My Old Man
Jason Aldean
They Don’t Know
Carly Pearce
Every Little Thing



A Journey Through Sara Evans’ Words

“The Lyrics Are Everything to Me” 

Rooms of razors, love lights shining, soul cleansing, walls of lies, bottomless pits and fiery hells … .
They all exist in the musical realm of Sara Evans’ new album, Words. And she made every word count for her eighth studio release.
A fiery hell is what awaits a cheating man in the opener “Long Way Down,” which revisits melodies reminiscent of Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton and Linda Rondstadt’s “Those Memories of You” from their 1987 Trio album. Evans wishes bad people came with a warning label in the lead single “Marquee Sign.” Then she goes merengue in the lighthearted “Diving In Deep” about loving someone for everything they bring to the table, flaws and all.
The counterpoint in “Like the Way You Love Me” and melodic lines in “Rain and Fire” will allure any listener, and then she pours on the drama in “I Don’t Trust Myself” as she sings in the first person about being tempted by a former flame. The title track is a striking acoustic number that explores the hidden power of words through the course of a relationship. “Letting You Go” expresses the emotions every parent goes through as they watch their children grow into adults.
“The lyrics are everything to me,” Evans said during our interview. “It’s so weird that it’s not everything to some artists. There are songs that call for simple … it says nothing, but it’s just fun. But for what I do, I’m all about what I’m saying in the melody and the feeling and the emotion that’s going into it.”
Evans’ goal is to carry on the tradition of creating country music that stands up to the timeless storytelling that makes the genre what it is.
“I’ve been onstage since I was 5 years old, covering every great country song,” she said. “So back in the days, when Reba [McEntire] would sing, ‘Somebody Should Leave,’ for instance, that was one of the songs that gives me chills thinking about it. That’s what country music was known for for so many years — just the great writing and how it just tears your heart out.”
Including “Marquee Sign,” Evans co-wrote three songs on the album, and it’s only coincidence that the final track listing represents a total of 14 female songwriters, including Hillary Lindsey, Ashley Monroe, Hillary Scott, Caitlyn Smith, Liz Hengber and Sonya Isaacs.
“When we were done with the album and we were talking about the star power of the writers,” she added, “someone had brought it up, ‘Do you realize that there are 14 women?’ Because I’m not like that. I would never make an album and choose female writers just to make a point. I just chose the best songs. So, it makes me proud that it is 14 female writers.
“When people send me songs, I never want to know who wrote them,” she added. “When we were getting pitched songs, sometimes people will say, ‘Well, this is a really pop song. Are you open to listening to a really pop song? This one is kind of bluegrass. Is that OK?’ Just play me the song, because any song can be changed musically. But if the words are great, that’s all that matters.”
Words is the flagship release from her new independent label Born to Fly Records, and she is enjoying the creative freedom that comes with being your own boss.
“There’s also an incredible fear because for all of my career, I’ve been on a huge record label and had this safety net,” she said. “‘Oh, we’re going to do Regis and Kelly,’ and the label arranges everything. Now it’s all on me. But I also believe that it’s going to be great, and I have a great team around me.”
Evans will celebrate the release of Words by headlining a show at Billy Bob’s Texas in Forth Worth, Texas on Friday (July 21). 


Sam Hunt Talks OutKast, Married Life and New Music on 15 in a 30 Tour

All-New CMT Hot 20 Countdown Airs This Weekend 

A newly-married Sam Hunt is having one hot summer on his 15 in a 30 Tour and “Body Like a Back Road” holding at No. 1 on Billboard‘s hot country chart for an impressive 24 weeks.
Hunt invited CMT Hot 20 Countdown to hang out in West Palm Beach, Florida, for an all-new episode airing this weekend. Backstage in the VIP “House Party” area, Hunt told Alan he did not anticipate “Body Like a Back Road” becoming a runaway smash.
“It has connected in a way I couldn’t have predicted,” Hunt said about writing the song. “I try to think back to the whole process just so I can replicate it. But ideas come along, and sometimes they connect better than other ideas with a broader audience. So it’s been cool.”
Hunt is also having a blast collaborating with his openers Maren Morris, Chris Janson and Ryan Ryan Follesé at his concerts. There is a special moment during Hunt’s show when he invites them onstage for a cover of OutKast’s 2003 hit “Hey Ya!”
“I typically don’t like to do covers, but that OutKast song is a song I’ve always been a fan of,” Hunt said, “and it works into the theme of the night and the show. The show itself kind of reflects on the influences in my music and the evolution of music over the last 15 to 20 years. [“Hey Ya!”] was a big influential song for my whole generation.”
Hunt did mention that his wife Hannah has joined him on the road. But they just settled into a new home and she’s been overseeing the move.
“She’s great,” Hunt said. “We’re both enjoying the summer. She’s been nice enough to help facilitate a lot of the ins and outs of moving in together for us. I try to help that when I’m back, but she’s come out some. So we’re having a good time.”
Alan also got an update on more new music from Hunt, plus exclusive interviews with Morris, Janson and Follesé. The all-new Hot 20 episode from the 15 in a 30 Tour airs Saturday and Sunday (July 21-22) at 9 a.m. ET/PT.


Devin Dawson’s Bubbly “All on Me” Takes a Brooding Turn in New Video

Singer-Songwriter Flips the Script in a Fantastically Ominous Way

Devin Dawson burst onto the scene with his effervescent debut single “All on Me,” an ode to leaning on your love and letting them shoulder the burden when times get hard. So when it came time to create a music video for the rising single, Dawson decided to let his creativity run wild … and into a darker place.
Enter the brand new, high-contrast, black-and-white video for “All on Me,” which boasts a brooding, slightly apocalyptic theme complete with rolling clouds and thunder and lightning — but even in the midst of the impending doom, you can’t get these lovebirds down, which is exactly the visual Dawson wanted.
“It’s like the world’s about to end and it’s just me and the girl,” Dawson told People magazine. “I wanted the visuals to contrast this bouncy summer kind of driving song. It’s playing off of that first line like, ‘Hey, I know the woes and the weight of the world can get you down, but don’t let it.’ So essentially, it’s like ‘Hey, I know it’s the end, and there’s nothing we can do about it, so I’m here for you, come lean on me.”
And he couldn’t have found a more sinister or haunting location than the infamous Tennessee State Prison in Nashville, which is where Tom Hanks’ film The Green Mile was shot.
Positively and delightfully spooky indeed.
Dawson is gearing up to join Tim McGraw and Faith Hill next week for select dates on their Soul 2 Soul Tour.


Lee Brice: Great Songs Won’t Leave You

Inside His Songwriting Session on Wheels 
It seems like every country star has a song that is a special, special song. If he/she is lucky, there are a couple of those in the repertoire. But for Lee Brice, that’s what he strives for with every song he records.
“I want the songs that will be remembered 10 years from now, not just 10 months from now,” Brice told me right before his show at the recent Windy City Smokeout in Chicago. “Great songs like that won’t leave you.”
And he would know. His song catalog is full of those.
Once a train gets going, headed toward a certain trend in music, he explained, a lot of songs will just follow that train.
“There’s actually pressure to follow that train. But then all of the sudden, everything is just vanilla. Vanilla, vanilla, vanilla, vanilla. Even if you love vanilla, you eventually want chocolate.”
That’s why Brice rarely stops writing. Even if it means bringing everything and everyone he needs out on the road with him. At his Chicago stop, Brice had singer-songwriter Lance Miller (“Drink to That All Night,” “Beer With Jesus”) with him, plus a bus full of instruments and recording equipment. Like a songwriting session on wheels.
“I’m a writer at heart. Making music is what I love. But when I’m working hard out here on the road, I feel like I don’t get to write as much in Nashville,” he said. “So I write and record out here.
“Then sometimes, if a song I write is extremely personal, it’s so hard to let it go.”
Some of the songs Brice has written and then let go — like Garth Brooks’ “More Than a Memory” and the Eli Young Band’s “Crazy Girl” — have wound up at the very top of the charts. And on his arm of fame.
Brice’s left forearm is covered with tattoos for what he says are the important dates in his life, including the birthdates of his children, his wedding date and the dates that “More Than a Memory” and “Crazy Girl” ended up in the No. 1 spot.
After our interview, Brice and Miller shared with me a little bit of a new song they’d been working on, tentatively titled “High School Heart.” As in, years later, you’re still love her with your high school heart and you still see them through your 18-year-old eyes.
Sounds like another great song that won’t leave you, and one that might even end up on Brice’s arm. 


What AJ’s Good Time Bar Is All About

See Inside Alan Jackson’s New Honky-Tonk
At AJ’s Good Time Bar, it’s all about the obvious, and that’s havin’ a good time.
Nashville’s new artist-owned honky-tonk offers four floors of fun on Lower Broadway for those who are 21 and older. The entire place is decked out in memorabilia from Jackson’s personal collection.

Floor one, the former home of The Wheel, is now home to AJ’s Honky Tonk, which offers live music nightly starting at 6 p.m. The Hero’s Wall next to the stage is covered in headshots showing some of Jackson’s favorite country singers. Nearby hangs Jackson’s red western shirt and jeans from the cover of 2008’s Good Time album.
What used to be a cigar lounge is now the second floor G T Bar, and it’s heaven for any sports fan. There are TVs and couches for game viewing parties, and the walls are decorated in jerseys from teams representing different sports venues Jackson has played.
The third floor is the Hullbilly Bar were fans can order drinks at a custom-made replica of Jackson’s Merritt Sportsfish Boat. For those who miss the Troubadour karaoke spot (which is now a Mellow Mushroom), the Hullbilly Bar has a stage for karaoke every night.
Everywhere at the Hullbilly Bar are personal photos of Jackson fishing, water skiing or proudly showing off the impressive catches from his various deep sea fishing trips. There is also the “fighting chair” from one of his Hullbilly boats. Jackson has owned three and all of them were vintage boats from the ’50s he’s had restored.
AJ’s Star Bar is on the fourth floor rooftop, which offers panoramic views of all the glowing neon lights on Lower Broadway.
AJ’s Good Time Bar is open daily at 1 p.m. This fall, Jackson will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame with fellow inductees Jerry Reed and Don Schlitz.


Steve Earle Talks Nashville in the ’70s and So You Wanna Be an Outlaw

Headlines the Ryman Auditorium For the First Time 

When it comes down to writing songs, no subject is off limits to Steve Earle. He is just as comfortable writing about prison as he is writing about love, hardship, rambling and death.
“Writing prose and other stuff, you get into areas that you don’t get into in songwriting,” Earle said over the phone during our interview, “and some of that is tougher for me because it’s just not in my toolbox. But writing songs, I’m comfortable writing about pretty much anything you can write a song about.”
When Earle writes about jail, he writes from an authentic place. In 1996, MTV filmed an Earle concert special live from West Tennessee’s Cold Creek Correctional Facility two years after he served a short stint in the slammer for possession of narcotics and weapons.
“It was pretty scary,” Earle recalled of the show. “Any murderer who wasn’t on death row in Tennessee was at Cold Creek. That’s the kind of place it was. It was hotter than hell in there. And I hadn’t been out of jail that long and so it made me kind of nervous just going in there.”
During our conversation, Earle said Nashville shaped him into the storyteller he is today. A native of Schertz, Texas, Earle was 19 when he first moved to town in the mid-’70s. At the time, visionaries like Rodney Crowell, Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark and his wife Susanna were part of his community of creative friends.
“It was Paris in the ’20s,” Earle described of the Nashville he knew then. “The inmates were kind of in charge of the asylum for a minute when I got there. That window pretty quickly closed, but I just tried to keep up. There was always a group of people up with a guitar going around the room somewhere every night.
“That’s what we did. We tried to impress each other with what we had written in the days or weeks before, and a lot of that happened at Guy and Susanna’s house and Jim McGuire’s photography studio. Guy helped me get my first publishing deal, and everything I learned, I learned in Nashville from Guy and a few other people. It was a pretty good place to be for a 19-year-old wannabe songwriter.”
It was also a time when the Ryman Auditorium was sitting empty downtown. After hosting the Grand Ole Opry for almost 50 years, the venerable radio show had moved from the historic concert hall to the new Grand Ole Opry House at the former Opryland USA theme park outside of town. On Friday (July 21), Earle will headline the Ryman for the first time in his career.
“I hosted a benefit there that I had put together for a death penalty organization once,” he said, “but that was me, Jackson Browne, the Indigo Girls and Emmylou Harris. I was the host. But this is the first time I’ve headlined it on my own. So it’s kind of a big deal to me.”
Earle’s latest album, So You Wanna Be an Outlaw, is an intense 12-song homage to outlaw music. Listening to the lyrics is like hearing a warning of what an outlaw’s way of life can potentially lead to — heartbreak, loneliness, crime, prison, an afterlife in hell, and the only upside of it all is singing the devil out of the blues.
Two songs, “If My Mama Coulda Seen Me” and “Lookin’ for a Woman,” were commissioned by T Bone Burnett and Buddy Miller for previous seasons of the TV show Nashville and served as the catalysts for Earle’s new collection.
“I wrote ‘Lookin’ for a Woman’ and they didn’t use that,” he said. “In the middle of the [Shawn] Colvin and Earle tour, I had to start thinking about another record. I pulled out those two songs, and they sort of had this thread that ran through them. I thought, ‘Maybe this is the beginnings of an album. Why did these two songs that I wrote almost a year apart sound so good together?'”
Waylon Jennings’ 1973 album Honky-Tonk Heroes also served as an inspiration for the project. So You Wanna Be an Outlaw‘s opening title track, which features guest vocals by Willie Nelson, is Earle’s tribute to Jennings.
“There’s always a couple of records by the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Willie and Waylon that I sort of have in rotation in my life,” Earle said, “and Honky-Tonk Heroes is one of the ones that pops in and out. So, I just decided maybe that’s what this will be. And I got kind of got interested in playing an electric guitar for the first time in a while. I have been kind of scared of Fender Telecasters a lot of my career as a guitar player, and I got a really good one. I just thought I’d go that route and shamelessly channel Waylon Jennings.”
Miranda Lambert co-wrote and guests on the cheating song “This Is How It Ends.” He believes women in today’s country music like Lambert would have fit right in with his community of prolific songwriter friends in the ’70s.
“She definitely would have,” Earle said of Lambert. “She can write. She would have, Kacey Musgraves would have and Chris Stapleton certainly would have. The most important [music] right now at this moment is being written by women, and Brandy Clark is kind of in the middle of it all. Susanna Clark was a person we were all trying to impress when it got right down to it. And she had hits before any of us did and continued to have hits until she died.
“There were a few people like Linda Hargrove, but it was pretty male-dominated then like Nashville can be and like it is right now at this moment. That was probably its only weakness. It might have been really cool if we had a Miranda Lambert and a Kacey Musgraves at that point.”
“Goodbye Michelangelo,” a moving acoustic tribute to Guy Clark, closes the album.
“When people ask me what I learned from Guy,” he said, “the thing that always comes to mind is probably the first thing he ever told me which was, ‘Songs aren’t finished until you play them for people.’
“Because we’re all post-Bob Dylan singer-songwriters, and we didn’t come to Nashville, any of us, to write songs for other people. We didn’t come to be staff writers. It was a means to an end for my whole circle of people. That’s the difference. And so the job’s not done until you actually sing it yourself for an audience.”
Earle will tour So You Wanna Be an Outlaw through October. Shows on the schedule include stops at the Troubadour in West Hollywood, California, the Neptune in Seattle and the Georgia Theater in Athens. 


RaeLynn Calls on Her Friends in “Lonely Call” Video

She Reveals the Unlikely Source of Inspiration For Her Latest Anthem of Empowerment 

Listen to RaeLynn, ladies. When that ex phones you late night just because he’s lonely, let it ring. And after it goes to voicemail, immediately call your girls to come over and cheer you up.
In her stylish new video for “Lonely Call,” RaeLynn further establishes herself as a source of encouragement and empowerment. She keeps song and the video real by using her real friends, including Nashville artist Lindsay James “LJ” Hague, The Goldbergs actress and songwriter Hayley Orrantia and RaeLynn’s sister-in-law Heather Davis. And she tells a real story — her own.
It’s hard to believe that her now-husband Josh Davis inspired the lyrics to the song way back when the couple had taken a break in their relationship.
“We dates for eight months and broke up,” RaeLynn told Entertainment Tonight.
“This song is verbatim how I felt. I remember him calling me one night and … I was like, ‘I’m not your lonely call! I’m a Texas girl! Every time he hears it [now] he just laughs.”
And fortunately for the two, things worked out brilliantly. But if those lonely calls don’t turn back into real commitment for you, then we advise to just keep letting that phone ring … and ring … and ring.
On July 29, RaeLynn will be the opening act for Little Big Town as part of the group’s ongoing residency at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium


How Jake Owen’s Daughter Describes Him

“You Sing for the People”
 Jake Owen’s daughter Pearl is almost 5. So she’s old enough to enjoy FaceTime her dad but young enough to do it from her fort filled with glow-in-the-dark stickers.
When Owen was in Chicago for the Windy City Smokeout on Friday (July 14), he told me all about how fast Pearl is growing up, how much she’s just like him, how great of a singer she’s become and how she describes his career to her friends.
“I don’t ever want my daughter’s existence to be based on who her father is,” Owen said.
But she even at such a young age, Pearl does kind of understand what he does for a living.
“I asked her once, ‘Do your friends know what your dad does?’ And she said, ‘Yes.’ So I said, ‘Well, what do you tell them?’ She just said, ‘I tell them you sing for the people.'”
And now, when Owen thinks about Pearl’s future, he hopes to pass down the same wisdom his father taught him.
“Hopefully, the same values, morals and beliefs I learned are the ones I can instill in Pearl as much as I can. The love and life lessons she gets from me, I got those from my father, and I hope that’s what she’ll get from me,” he said.
“My hope is that she will do everything she wants to do, she’ll enjoy life, and she’ll live it with the best of intentions. And no regrets.”


Keith Urban Crossing Fingers for Killer Duet Partner

He's Finding Music Everywhere 

I can always tell exactly what’s on Keith Urban’s mind by checking out his socials. He’s very transparent like that. So this week, I know that he is all about music. His … and potentially yours.
Because first he posted a photo of a sound board and offered a simple caption.
That’s huge news, because it’s been more than a year since he released Ripcord.
Then there was a post about his involvement in YouTube’s first-ever singing contest.
Other artists involved in the contest include Katy Perry, Demi Lovato, Backstreet Boys, Charlie Puth, Flo Rida, Jason Derulo and Nicky Jam.
It works like this: The winner who uploads the best song to the designated channel will get the chance to perform that song with Urban (or the other artist they choose) and that performance will premiere on YouTube.
“The Internet is the ultimate vehicle for creative discovery. It connects people, lets their talents be heard and sometimes produces stars,” Urban said about the contest.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens — to hearing how people interpret my songs — and, fingers crossed, to find a killer duet partner.”
Urban is on the road playing a handful of fairs, festivals and casinos in the U.S. and Canada throughout the rest of summer and into fall.

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