Saturday, August 12, 2017

Week-end Country Music Countdown & Country Music News..August 12, 2017 (Now with links)

COUNTRY CHART Weekend of August 12-13:

1 KEITH URBAN The Fighter w/Carrie Underwood *
3 COLE SWINDELL Flatliner w/Dierks Bentley
5 JUSTIN MOORE Somebody Else Will
7 MIDLAND Drinkin’ Problem
8 OLD DOMINION No Such Thing As a Broken Heart
9 DUSTIN LYNCH Small Town Boy
10 RASCAL FLATTS Yours If You Want It
11 JON PARDI Heartache On The Dance Floor
12 JASON ALDEAN They Don’t Know
14 KIP MOORE More Girls Like You
16 CARLY PEARCE Every Little Thing
17 KENNY CHESNEY All The Pretty Girls
18 KANE BROWN What Ifs w/Lauren Alaina
19 GARTH BROOKS Ask Me How I Know
20 BRETT ELDREDGE Something I’m Good At



A Conversation With the Unsinkable Will Hoge

New Album Anchors Arrives Aug. 11 

Will Hoge fans can thank the Lonely Man, the name of his sons Liam and George’s first band, for pulling the Nashville rocker out of a creative funk.
Without them, Hoge’s latest album Anchors, his 11th full-length collection, probably wouldn’t exist.
Hoge was fresh off a successful tour to support 2015’s Small Town Dreams, and he had a few songs left over that needed a home. But at the time, Hoge was burnt out by the struggles that sometimes come with being in the music industry, and he found himself at a loss of what do to next.
“There was fighting in the band that everybody deals with at times,” Hoge tells “So I let everybody go, and I went out on my own and kind of started wanting to write songs again. But I was at a point where I didn’t even know what I wanted to do anymore.”
That’s a big statement coming from a music creator who has writing songs about everyday life down to a fine art. It’s hard to imagine such a prolific music maker ever having a bad day at the office. But that happens occasionally.
For our interview, Hoge sits at an East Nashville coffee shop on a July afternoon and picks at a blueberry muffin as he shares the story behind how Anchors came to be. He and Eric Paslay are the Grammy-nominated songwriters behind “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” which originally appeared on Hoge’s 2009 album The Wreckage and later became a No. 1 hit for Eli Young Band.
In 2008, Hoge survived getting hit by a 15-passenger van while driving his moped to get milk on his way home from the studio. On his forearm, Hoge has a tattoo of a scooter in a circle with a slash through it as a reminder to never ride one ever again.
After letting his band go, Hoge toured independently for a year with just a guitar and a keyboard.
“In the middle of not knowing what I wanted to do, I hated everything I was writing,” Hoge said of the time following Small Town Dreams. “I didn’t like the boots I was in, but my songs started with [the Lonely Man] and their rehearsals in my garage.”
George was 6 at the time, and he was the singer. Liam was 9, and he played guitar. And they had recruited a neighborhood friend to play drums.
“I was really depressed one day in my bedroom, thinking about all this, and they started playing,” Hoge recalls. “I watched from the bedroom window and it was like a portal back to the time when you’re not thinking about touring companies or LLCs or insurance for employees. You just want to write songs and play music. I wasn’t that young when I started a band. I was 16 or 17 when I got my first guitar and wanted to write songs and wanted to do this professionally. Seeing them really over the next couple of days helped me re-center what I wanted to do and I wrote that song, ’17.'”
The coming-of-age acoustic rocker was the first song Hoge had written in a while that he really felt good about, and he added it to his list of songs for a potential album.
“I put ‘Young As You Will Ever Be’ on the list and then over the next few weeks, the rest of the songs started coming,” he said. “I went back to making myself write by myself every day.”
The result is Hoge’s strongest material to date. Sheryl Crow is the Bonnie Bramlett to his Delaney on the lead single “Little Bit of Rust,” which was co-written with James LeBlanc (Gary Allan’s “Learning How to Bend,” Kenny Chesney’s “I Remember”).
Hoge partnered with hit-maker Adam Hood (Little Big Town’s “Front Porch Thing,” Frankie Ballard’s “Grandpa’s Farm”) to write the acoustic ballad “Angel Wings.” He co-wrote “Baby’s Eyes” with Brendan Benson (the Raconteurs and Ashley Monroe’s “Mayflowers”). “Young As You Will Ever Be” was co-written with Dylan Altman (Jason Aldean’s “Take a Little Ride,” Tim McGraw’s “Watch the Wind Blow By”).
Hoge will tour Anchors through January 2018. On Sept. 15, he will perform at the Rhythm and Roots Reunion in Bristol, Tennessee. What made “Anchors” the perfect title songs for this collection?
Hoge: “Anchors” is sort of a double-edged thing. It can be something that holds you and keeps you rooted in things that are important. Anchors can also be something that tethers you to the ghosts and demons from the past that you want to shake but can’t.
If there’s a theme in the record, there are real-life moments and a lot of them aren’t one of those two things. But there are little bits of both those things in everyday life. I thought it kind of encapsulated the whole record in one word.
Had you toured with Sheryl Crow before?
We’ve done random shows over the years. We got to know one another more through our kids. Her boys are the exact same age as mine. My wife Julia is good friends with Cass Bentley, Dierks’ wife. And then she’s friends with Sheryl, and so Julia had met them through the wives circle of friends.
The boys had a play date and we started seeing them more through that, and then we randomly started talking about different things. She had mentioned at one point that if I ever wanted to use her studio — and she’s got an incredible setup — I could use her place because that’s just the kind of woman that she is. She’s always trying to pull people forward and make great art. The studio didn’t make sense, but it did make sense to call and ask if she would sing on a song. She didn’t even seem to hesitate. She’s just so good. 

As much your life informs your art, how much of what your fans go through every day — watching it on the news or seeing it play out at your shows — informs your music?
A ton. I feel like in a lot of ways, it’s a peer group. There are people who are older in the fan base and people who are younger. But I feel like the idea of trying to find love and hold a relationship together is really not any different than when you’re 60 or 18. Hopefully, you know more about it at 60 than you do 18.
But that’s pretty universal and timeless I think. It informs it quite a bit. I consider my fans to be an extended group of friends and family. It plays into it.
The thing I love about music now and making it is the same thing I loved about listening to it when I was a kid. There were moments when someone on a record conveyed exactly what I felt. And that could be something as benign as thinking a girl was pretty or something as heavy as social commentary. A great social commentary song is not more important as a great cruisin’-around-in-a-car-with-a girl song.
I always hope that the records I make will reach somebody in the same way records I loved reached me as a middle class white kid growing up in Franklin, Tennessee. What are the things that open your eyes to a bigger world than the 25 miles most of us spend our lives growing up in? I guess in some way I hope that what you do as an artist provides that same escapism for somebody else.
How do you not lose touch with the needs of your audience?
I think if you’re in tune with yourself and the universe at large, it’s not a hard thing to stay in touch with. This is where we get all [screwed] up with conservatism and what’s real America and what’s not.
We all want clean water, a safe place to raise a family, education for our kids, food. We all want to be able to put a little bit of money away, take your family on a vacation here and there and live a happy and healthy life. I mean, really and truly, that’s not a crazy concept. And that’s not hard for me to stay in touch with. That’s the same thing I struggle with every day in my own life, and so I think it’s a pretty universal thing if we can cut to that every time.
Going back to your kids playing in your garage, what kind of music were they playing and was it original or covers?
They have two original songs. One is called “Into Darkness,” which is a song about going into the darkness. And that one is kind of dark and brooding. Then the other one is like a Ramones kind of song called “George, You Are Under Arrest.” My youngest son’s name is George, and so that one makes me a little nervous. The chorus goes, “George, you are under arrest/George, you are under arrest/George, you are under/George, you are under/George, you are under arrest.” That’s really one of my favorite songs I’ve ever heard. Now George is going to do drum lessons because he really wants to get better and maybe sing and play drums.
Sounds like a Levon Helm in the making.
Liam wants to take trumpet lessons, so they can add that in, too. I don’t know what the hell the kind of band it’s going to be.


Glen Campbell’s Daughter Shares Memories, Personal Photos

Ashley Campbell Remembers Her Father in Letter to Fans
 Ashley Campbell, Glen Campbell

Ashley Campbell, Glen Campbell’s daughter, shared family photos and a letter to fans on Friday (Aug. 11).
Glen Campbell died Tuesday in Nashville at age 81 following a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s disease. The Country Music Hall of Fame member was laid to rest on Wednesday during a private ceremony in his hometown of Delight, Arkansas.
In addition to Ashley, he is survived by his wife Kim Campbell and their sons Cal and Shannon. Other survivors include his children from previous marriages — Debby, Kelli, Travis, Kane, and Dillon — and 10 grandchildren, great- and great-great-grandchildren.
In her letter to fans, Ashley wrote about being with her father as his health declined and how music kept him connected to his family.
 Ashley Campbell letter 

Ashley, Cal and Shannon were members in their father’s band during his 2012 Farewell Tour.
 She released her autobiographical single, “Remembering,” in 2015,


Luke Bryan: A Decade of #TeamFishin’

A Few Lessons in Trout Fishing 

Just about everything I know about fishing I learned from Luke Bryan’s “Tackle Box.” (I grew up with a single mom in the suburbs of Detroit, so we just weren’t part of that outdoorsy huntin’ and fishin’ life.)
“Tackle Box” is a fishing song Bryan co-wrote that I first heard almost exactly 10 years ago. The ballad about fishing with his grandpa was on his debut album I’ll Stay Me, released on August 14, 2007. And it’s all about how he’d bait his hook and “keep on tellin’ stories ’bout nickel Cokes, girls and sandlot glories” and, ultimately, how his grandpa would open up every time he opened up his old tackle box.
So when Bryan posted a video on Facebook on Thursday (Aug. 10), saying, “We are definitely #TeamFishin this week,” I knew I’d learn even more about fishing. 

After watching about five minutes of the trip that Bryan, his family and his friends took, here’s what I learned:
The North Platte River in Alcova, Wyoming, is one of the best places to catch (and release) wild brown and rainbow trout.
There’s usually an average of about 3,000 trout — mostly rainbow — per river mile.
You can wade or fish from your boat, and it looks like Bryan did a little bit of both. 


Alex Williams’ Cosmic Country Flows on Better Than Myself

What the His Debut Album Says About the State of Country Music 

Depending on the artist, it’s every music maker’s dream to create songs that are bigger and better than themselves — music that withstands the test of time long after they’re gone.
Alex Williams, a 26-year-old native of Pendleton, Indiana, did just that with his full length debut album Better Than Myself. The 12-song collection is a colorful mix of honky-tonk and cosmic country that stands up to the material heard on impactful debuts such as Guy Clark’s Old No. 1, Steve Earle’s Guitar Town and Todd Snider’s Songs for the Daily Planet.
The timing of Williams’ music could not be more perfect. He is part of an undercurrent of rising hard country stalwarts like Paul Cauthen, Cody Jinks, Cody Johnson, Nikki Lane and Margo Price who are all gaining in popularity by the minute. Contributing to this honky-tonk movement is a combination of defining moments that occurred within the last decade.
Jamey Johnson laid the foundation for this return to hard country with 2008’s That Lonesome Song and his 2010 double album The Guitar Song. Now clean and sober, Johnson continues to create and plays to packed audiences every time he tours. This summer, he added a horn section to his band.
Chris Stapleton sweeping the 2015 CMA Awards and his following success at the 58th annual Grammy Awards catapulted him to superstardom and exposed a greater fan demand for more country music that speaks to everyday life (and not just what happens on Friday and Saturday).
Kacey Musgraves and Jason Isbell each delivered career-defining albums such as Musgraves’ Same Trailer, Different Park and Pageant Material; and Isbell’s Southeastern, Something More Than Free and The Nashville Sound.
In February, Sturgill Simpson picked up his first Grammy for best country album for A Sailor’s Guide to Earth, which was also nominated in the all-genre album of the year category.
Miranda Lambert poured her heart out on The Weight of These Wings, her first double album following her split from her ex-husband Blake Shelton. The collection has gone platinum since its 2016 release.
Storytellers like Brandy Clark, Ashley Monroe, Angaleena Presley and Charlie Worsham continue to captivate with their distinctive imagery in song. Then there’s the Texas contingent represented by the Randy Rogers Band, Turnpike Troubadours and others whom fans can trust to tour and play until the day they die.
All of this has essentially happened without the support of corporate country radio, which continues to favor pop and rock-influenced country by predominantly male artists.
During our cold beer conversation for at Williams’ home away from home, Nashville’s Red Door Saloon on Division Street, he said he believes his career off to a good start. At the time, Williams was fresh off a six-month tour with Aaron Lewis where he was introduced to hundreds of loyal hard country fans night after night.
“I’m happy that there’s people who are doing traditional stuff and making a living out there playing music,” Williams said. “I’m just doing what inspires me. It’s always come full circle to me. I might be wrong. But it feels good that people still care about traditional sounding shit.”
They certainly do. Millions of fans from around the world continue to make pilgrimages to America’s music capitals to satisfy their love for traditional roots music. For jazz, they travel New Orleans or New York. For blues and soul, there’s Chicago, Memphis, Muscle Shoals, Alabama or Clarksdale, Mississippi. Bristol, Tennessee has bluegrass, traditional folk and country, while Austin and Nashville offer a taste of everything.
“I love country music that sounds traditional, and I always have that quirky mentality on things,” Williams said. “I love Jerry Jeff Walker and all the ’70s Texas guys. I think that really translates to my mindset as far as where my head’s at. I’m not trying to bash pop country music because there’s a market for everything. But I think being safe, that’s been a huge problem.
“I’m not trying to be an outlaw or whatever,” he added. “I just love thinking outside of the box. Cosmic country is my deal. There’s definitely a spacey vibe with this album. I think we’ve captured that, and I hope we capture it more on the next one.”
Most of the songs on Better Than Myself are inspired by Williams’ life within the last decade, and some were written within the two months leading up to his two-day recording session with Grammy-nominated producer and songwriter Julian Raymond.
Basic tracking was done live with an all-star cast of session players including drummer Victor Indrizzo (Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris), keyboard player Matt Rollings (Lyle Lovett, Mark Knopfler), bassist Joeie Canaday (Leann Rimes, Steven Curtis Chapman), pedal steel player Dan Dugmore (James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt) and guitarists Tom Bukovac (Don Henley, Stevie Nicks) and J.T. Corenflos (Dolly Parton, Alan Jackson).
The high lonesome harmonica solos on the title track is by Willie Nelson’s longtime harp player Mickey Raphael. The song’s lyrics are loosely inspired by a comment the drummer of Williams’ former band once said to him.
“My old band hated me for a minute,” Williams admitted. “But it was really my drummer that was like, ‘Hey, man. Your songs are better than you are.’ That was kind of hard to hear, but I was like, ‘Dude, I’ve got to write that down and do something with it.’ And so I wrote it and it just felt right. It’s not necessarily about that. I just feel like it signifies a new beginning.”
Co-written with Marshall Altman, the fiery “More Than Survival” insists on living a life that’s more meaningful than just getting by. Altman also co-wrote “Strange Days” and “Freak Flag,” the latter of which is an ode to self-acceptance.
“I want to write songs that make people feel like they don’t have to do everything this world tells you to do because there’s a lot of expectations,” Williams said. “I might be a douche when I say that. But that’s how I feel.”
“Few Short Miles,” which draws inspiration from someone Williams met at one of his first gigs in Texas, and “Old Tattoo,” which is a tribute to his late grandfather and the strength of his mother and grandmother following his passing, were written solo.
“I didn’t know my grandpa that well,” he said. “I just saw my mom and my grandma and how they dealt with that so easily. It’s really hard to do for somebody that can just hide that and keep moving on. It was just one of those things I wish I knew him better than I did.”
When asked which artists Williams hopes fans discover when listening to Better Than Myself, he responded by kidding around about the subject. Practicing brutal honesty and joking around with people are essential to who he is. And he loves to do both much as he loves smoking Camel Blues.
“I hope people discover people that are actually cool and not fucking idiots like myself,” he joked. “It’s good to be surrounded by people who are doing the same things you’re doing. I love what Cody Jinks is doing. I dig what Margo’s doing. Jamey Johnson, Jinks, Paul Cauthen — I would love to be into that world. I’ll play with anybody.”
Williams will celebrate Friday’s (Aug. 11) release of Better Than Myself with a headlining show at Nashville’s Basement East. He is on tour through fall, opening for Lynyrd Skynyrd, Blackberry Smoke and Aaron Lewis.


Jana Kramer: “Love Was My Drug”

“I’ve Done Love” Was a Song Waiting for Her 

When Jana Kramer planned a lunch date with songwriter Nicolle Galyon, she probably never imagined it would come to this: her brand new single, “I’ve Done Love,” to be released Aug. 18.
But after a couple of glasses of wine at Midtown Nashville’s Tavern, and before their food even arrived, the two women had told each other their life stories. And where there are life stories, there are country songs.
Kramer told me about the instant connection the two women had that day.
“I told her my story and touched on relationships and my journey, and she told me hers. And the next day, she said, ‘I have this song,'” Kramer recalled.
Her next thought — after hearing it — was, “This is the song. This is so me. I’ve been tipsy but never drunk. And I don’t have the sting of needle, and I haven’t woken up with a bottle, but I’ve done love.”
“Love was my drug,” she said when we caught up on her tour bus before a recent show.
Galyon looks back on that lunch just as fondly.
“After about two glasses of wine, we were more than friends,” Galyon told me. “We had shared our whole life stories. All the messy, raw, real life stories.
“Then not long after, I was writing with Shane McAnally and he brought up ‘I’ve Done Love,’ a song that had been written for at least a year already. And after knowing Jana’s story, it felt like it was just sitting there waiting for her.”
The lyrics compare the ups and downs of love with the ups and downs of the hard stuff. As in, you can take hits, wake up hungover, go on midnight binges and get your fix in a back alley even if you’ve never touched a drop or a drug.
The song — written by Galyon, McAnally and Josh Osborne — is one that Kramer says has a groove to it, but it’s definitely a country one.
“I’ll always do country music,” she said. “I sing the songs I want to sing. I’m doing me now.
“I’ve grown a lot from where I started, and I’m excited for people to hear that. This is the start of something really great.”


Dan + Shay Throw Caution to the Wind in “Road Trippin'”

They Hit the Road for the Perfect End-of-Summer Jam 

With summer coming to a close, there’s no better song to help keep its soon-to-be-memory alive than Dan + Shay’s “Road Trippin’.”
And can you think of more fun people to take a road trip with?
The grooving, summertime jam is as breezy as the wind blowing through that turquoise Bronco convertible they’re driving as they cruise the highways with their friends.
Shay Mooney’s voice once again takes center stage, and his dance moves aren’t too shabby either.
“Road Trippin'” is the latest from their album Obsessed, which also boasts the No. 1 single “How Not To.”
Dan + Shay’s will spend Friday (Aug. 11) in Oro-Mendonte, Canada, to play the big Boots and Hearts Festival that also features Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Brantley Gilbert and Brett Eldredge. The duo have a busy schedule through the end of the year, including stops on Thomas Rhett’s Home Team Tour.
P.S. We need to borrow that Bronco ASAP, boys.

Miranda Lambert: “It Sometimes Overwhelms Me”

How She Feels When Fans Know the Words to Her Songs 

Some of my favorite Miranda Lambert songs were never singles. They were just the album cuts that never made it to the radio, but they made it to my heart.
Songs like “What About Georgia,” “Greyhound Bound for Nowhere,” “Guilty in Here,” “Airstream Song,” “Love Song,” “Dear Diamond,” “Two Rings Shy” and, most recently, “Ugly Lights.”
Those are the songs I turn up and belt out every time they come on. And I know I’m not alone, because at her concerts, fans sing along with all her songs. Not just the hits.
And Lambert notices.
In a recent radio interview, she said that hearing the crowd back her up never gets old.
“They sing ever word to every song, not just singles,” she said. “You know, album cuts. It’s just a feeling of, ‘Wow, this is why I do this in the first place.’
“It takes you back to the first time that you were onstage for four people, singing over beer bottles,” she said, “but then you’re like, ‘Wow, I’ve come to this, and people really know me, and know my music.’
“I don’t know … it just sometimes overwhelms me.”
Lambert just wrapped a two-night stay at Red Rocks in Colorado on Wednesday night (Aug. 9) and has a few days off before she heads to the Netherlands to begin a string of dates that also include stops in England, Scotland and Ireland.


Billy Ray Cyrus Named 2018 Kentucky Music Hall of Fame Inductee

Still the King Star’s Induction Ceremony Set for May 2018
 CMT’s Still the King star Billy Ray Cyrus will join the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame during an induction ceremony on May 11, 2018 in Somerset, Kentucky.
A native of Flatwoods, Kentucky, Cyrus is part of the 2018 class of inductees with the late Grand Ole Opry and Hee Haw star David “Stringbean” Akeman, along with bluegrass musician Dale Ann Bradley, Christian performer Jason Crabb, singer-songwriter Jackie DeShannon and country singer-musician Bobby Lewis.
The Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Museum honors entertainers and music professionals from the Bluegrass state who have made significant contributions to the entertainment industry.
Previous inductees include Loretta Lynn, Bill Monroe, Ricky Skaggs, Tom T. Hall, the Judds, Patty Loveless, the Everly Brothers and the Osborne Brothers.
Cyrus is currently on tour through the fall. His next album Set the Record Straight arrives Nov. 11.


Chris Stapleton’s Traveller Returns to No. 1

Billy Currington’s “Do I Make You Wanna” Again Most-Played Country Song 

In its 118th week on Billboard‘s country albums chart, Chris Stapleton’s Traveller resides again at No. 1 this week.
It has switched places with Stapleton’s second solo album, From a Room: Volume 1, which held the prime spot last week.
What magic is going on here?
On the songs rankings, Billy Currington’s “Do I Make You Wanna,” claims its second straight week at No. 1.
The only new album to report is Joe Nichols’ Never Gets Old, which enters at No. 15. Nichols first riveted the world in 2002 with his magnificently hopeful single, “The Impossible.” Although that song peaked at No. 3, Nichols has since scored six No. 1’s, including that ultimate party song, “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off.”
Nichols’ last album, Crickets, came out in 2013.
Three albums return for your re-consideration — Rascal Flatts’ Back to Us (No. 28), George Strait’s 50 Number Ones (No. 45) and The Essential Johnny Cash (No. 48).
There are two new songs, the highest-debuting one being Josh Turner’s “All About You,” popping in at No. 56, and Florida Georgia Line’s “Smooth” (No. 59).
Celebrating a comeback are Gary Allan’s “Mess Me Up” (No. 52) and Lindsay Eli’s “Waitin’ on You” (No. 57).
The No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 albums, in that order, are Luke Combs’ This One’s For You, Sam Hunt’s Montevallo and Lucas Hoge’s Dirty South.
Montevallo, by the way, has been on the charts for 129 weeks, most of that time at or near the peak.
Rounding out the Top 5 songs are Cole Swindell’s “Flatliner,” Justin Moore’s “Somebody Else Will,” Thomas Rhett’s “Craving You,” featuring Maren Morris, and Dustin Lynch’s “Small Town Boy.”
Somewhere in Nashville this hot August day, they’re putting finishing touches on a Christmas album. My how the world does spin!


Old Dominion Bring Girl Power to New Music Video

ACM Winners Surprise Fans in Heartwarming “Be With Me” 

When you hear Old Dominion’s newest single “Be With Me,” it’s easy to get caught up in the groovy beat and uplifting, hooky chorus, but the song is more than just a feel-good jam. And the deeper meaning is a very important one for all the ladies out there.
“We’ve talked about that song — about it being on the surface and just being kind of a lighthearted song — but it does have this kind of undertone of girl power to it,” the group’s Matt Ramsey told
So when it came time to shoot a video for the single, the guys wanted to bring the female empowerment elements front and center.
“A lot of us have daughters,” Ramsey said. “I think that’s kind of an important message that we would like them to take away from it. So our director Steve Condon took that idea and ran with it and surprised us.”
In the video, we see ladies of all ages and backgrounds coming out to audition for a chance to star in the video — or so they thought. Sneaky Old Dominion pulled a fast one on them by using the audition footage in the final video.
The result is a real conversation with women and girls that will warm your heart, enlighten you and maybe even bring a few tears.
In the end, the guys themselves would get a big surprise, too, with four special cameo appearances by very special women in their lives.
“We didn’t know that behind our backs, he filmed our mothers,” Ramsey revealed. “It was cool. When we finally saw the finished product, it was very exciting to us all.”

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