With the release of The Underdog in February 2015, Aaron Watson made country music history by becoming the first ever independent artist to debut an album at #1 on Billboard Country Chart. This achievement was highlighted by the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016 with an installation commemorating this milestone showcasing some of Aaron’s artifacts throughout his career that brought him to this place. Since then he has gone on to take his tour around the world performing headline shows, many sold out, from Boise to Boston/San Diego to Chicago and across the pond in Italy, France, Sweden, and the UK. Press continues to praise his music as well…”a proud country traditionalist” - Rolling Stone, “winning in country music” -NPR, “one of the few real cowboys left in country music” -iTunes, “puts the bite back into traditional country music” -Rolling Stone are a few of the rave reviews his brand of country music has received. In a world where country music at times seems to have lost its identity and roots, Aaron remains firmly committed to staying true to his music and the brand; the epitome of representing Texas, cowboy hats, buckles, and fiddles that have served country music and country music lovers for generations while always staying focused on the core values that have brought his unprecedented success to this point….faith, family, and fans. Aaron is proud to align the release of his new record Vaquero with his inaugural San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo performance that will be a day after the record is available to the public.
Huey Lewis and The News are truly one of America’s great rock & roll bands. As they enter their 38th year together, their contagious brand of music has outlasted countless trends, and is as fresh today as ever. Formed from two rival Bay Area bands in 1979, they continue to thrill audiences worldwide, selling over 20 million albums in the process, earning them the right to mark their place on the pop history map.
These Grammy Award winners have written and performed such classic Top Ten Hits as “Heart of Rock & Roll”, “Stuck With You”, “I Want A New Drug”, “If This Is It”, “Hip To Be Square” “Do You Believe In Love” and “Workin’ For A Livin”. The group also wrote and performed “The Power of Love” and “Back in Time” for the hit film Back To The Future. “The Power of Love”, nominated for an Academy Award, went to #1 on Billboard’s singles chart, and was a smash hit worldwide.
As great a recording career as the band has had, there is something extra special about a Huey Lewis & The News live show. They incorporate a variety of musical influences including R&B and soul to create their own unique sound. Frontman Huey Lewis' unmistakable voice has a rich, textured quality that lends itself well to not just their hits, but also to the variety of other songs featured in the show. Lewis also brings some bluesy tones to the performance when he breaks out into his harmonica solos. One of the highlights of the show is their a cappella rendition of early rock n’ roll classics such as “It’s Alright”, “Little Bitty Pretty One” and “Sixty Minute Man”.
Huey Lewis & The News are: Huey Lewis (vocals and harmonica), Johnny Colla (saxophone, guitar and vocals), Bill Gibson (drums, percussion and vocals), Sean Hopper (keyboards and vocals), Stef Burns (guitars and vocals) and John Pierce (bass). The live show features their long time horn section of San Francisco bay area luminaries: Rob Sudduth (tenor saxophone), Marvin McFadden (trumpet), and Johnnie Bamont (baritone saxophone).
Huey Lewis & The News have a love of music that comes through in everything they do. Be it their albums, their live performances, or the way they interact with their fans, they are a band with “Heart and Soul”.
The much-anticipated new album American Love represents the best of Jake Owen both musically and personally, and that’s because the project is the result of a soul-searching journey that led him to explore the meaning of life and music.
While recording the album, he ventured down some enticing new musical paths, but eventually decided to return home to his Florida-inspired roots, embracing the unique sound for which he is popular. Personally, he worked through the pain and healing of a divorce and renewed his commitment to what really matters in life--hope, optimism and the power of love.
American Love is a new beginning for Owen, who has become a beacon of positive vibes through his uplifting lyrics and melodies, optimism, love of the beach and his youthful spontaneity. This begins the exciting new chapter in his award-winning career that has earned five number one hits-- “Barefoot Blue Jean Night,” “Beachin,” “The One That Got Away,” “Alone with You” and “Anywhere with You.”
“When you look at my first album, I am the same in the kind of guy that I am and the kind of songs that I love,” he says. “But I am different in the sense that I know who I am now, as opposed to who I was on my first album. I was 24-years-old and just excited to have a record deal and be on tour with Alan Jackson and Brooks & Dunn. I don’t think I put as much emphasis on what my music meant.
Now, it isn’t just about making music anymore; it is about recording songs that mean not only a lot to me, but to my fans, who are expecting a lot of me. "I have put a lot of thought into each of these songs and why they hit me the way they do and why I get excited when it comes up next on my set list. This is music I am honestly fired up to play for people. I don’t ever want to lose that excitement in my music.“
A decade into an already acclaimed career, Dierks Bentley hit a high point with 2014's Riser. The album was a critical and commercial home run, sending three consecutive singles to Number One while rounding up an armful of Grammy, ACM, and CMA Award nominations.
For Bentley — a songwriter who'd spent the past 11 years exploring the heartfelt highs of modern country, the depths of traditional music, the twang of bluegrass and everything in between — Riser was further proof that his fans were happy to follow him wherever he wanted to go. He didn't have to follow trends; he could challenge them and create his own. A less-ambitious singer might have enjoyed that limelight a little longer, knowing he could always prolong his success by making a very similar-sounding record. But not Bentley. He wanted to grow, to expand, to break new ground. Besides, Riser wasn't really a destination; it was just another stop on one of the most interesting journeys in country music.
The journey continues with Black. Bentley calls it "a dark, mysterious, after-hours kind of record," filled with songs that take a look at the way romance and relationships evolve over time. "It explores some of the darker shadows of love, the edges of the heart, and the things that don't happen in broad daylight," he adds. "To me, that's the more interesting side of love."
Bentley again turned to his longtime friends and collaborators, Ross Copperman and Arturo Buenahora Jr, to produce Black. "All the guys in the studio know that I’m constantly chasing a bigger idea and they are too. I think this one really flows – sonically, lyrically, thematically. The same guy who sings 'Somewhere on a Beach' winds up growing, maturing, and having enough perspective to sing something like 'Different for Girls.' And by the last song, he's able to take a look back on love and life.”
And so the journey continues. For musicians like Bentley — musicians who are always moving ahead, looking to push their music into new areas — the road goes on forever. Black is the newest mile-marker of that journey…and while it might be a temporary destination, it's a colorful place to spend some time.
Fifth Harmony’s record-breaking success on the charts with their sophomore album 7/27, released May 27 on Syco Music/Epic Records, adds to an already award-winning 2016, with the group’s first-time wins at the iHeartRadio Music Awards, People’s Choice Awards and iHeartRadio Much Music Video Awards; their second win at this year’s Kids Choice Awards, and two wins at the Radio Disney Music Awards. Rolling Stone recently included 7/27 as one of the best albums of 2016 so far. Fifth Harmony boasts 4.9 million followers on Instagram, 3.1 million on Twitter and 6.8 million fans on Facebook.
Dan + Shay’s recently released album Obsessed, featuring their second consecutive Gold-certified chart-topping single “From The Ground Up,” and newest single “Nothin’ Like You,” follows their 2014 debut Where It All Began, which made them the first new country duo in SoundScan-recorded history to debut at No. 1 on Billboard’s Country Albums Chart. The album included the debut single, “19 You + Me” which earned RIAA Platinum certification, and their first No. 1 single, “Nothin’ Like You,” which earned RIAA Gold certification. Racking up more than 48 million YouTube views, the pair has impressively sold more than two million digital tracks and more than 500,000 album equivalents to date, including 200 million streams. They just collected their third consecutive nomination for CMA’s Vocal Duo of the Year award and have previously earned three nominations for ACM Vocal Duo of the Year as well as nods for American Country Countdown Awards, CMT Awards, and Radio Disney Music Awards. The pair recently announced the Obsessed Tour with 15 dates across the U.S. and Canada this November and December.
Warner Bros. Records/Warner Music Nashville country artist Chris Janson was born to entertain crowds. Last year, his breakthrough #1 Platinum single “Buy Me A Boat” was the 7th bestselling country song of the year, although his professional music career began more than 10 years ago.
The “Holdin’ Her” singer has written multiple top-charting hits including “Truck Yeah” (Tim McGraw), “That's How I'll Always Be” (Tim McGraw), “I Love This Life” (LoCash), and over 25 additional hit songs recorded by a long list of established artists.
Janson has been nominated for multiple awards and won Country Song of the Year (“Buy Me a Boat”) at the iHeartRadio Music Awards. Janson is currently featured in the Country Music Hall of Fame as part of the ACM Gallery. He plays every instrument on stage, and is best known for his signature harmonica playing.
Additionally, Janson has played the Grand Ole Opry more than 145 times to date, and made numerous television appearances including: The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Meyers, CONAN, The Today Show, ACM Awards and ACCA Awards.
Grammy®Award winning superstar sibling trio The Band Perry are an unstoppable presence in music. On their 2010 self-titled debut, they delivered five hit singles: the sextuple-platinum chart-topper "If I Die Young" (whose video is now Vevo-certified for reaching 100 million plays), the platinum-selling "You Lie" and "All Your Life" (a #1 single), "Hip to My Heart," and the gold-certified "Postcard from Paris." For their gold-certified 2013 follow-up "Pioneer," The Band Perry offered up the platinum-selling #1 singles "Better Dig Two" and "DONE." (a first for Reid and Neil as songwriters), as well as smash hits "Don't Let Me Be Lonely" and "Chainsaw." In February 2015, The Band Perry won their first Grammy®Award for Best Country Duo/Group Performance and have also earned multiple awards from the likes of The Country Music Association, CMT Music Awards, the American Country Awards, and the Academy of Country Music. Recently named ambassadors for Teen Cancer America (a charity founded by The Who's Roger Daltrey), The Band Perry recently signed a new recording contract, a joint venture with Interscope Records and Mercury Nashville. Their single “Live Forever” was the official song of Team USA at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. The Band Perry are putting the finishing touches on their third studio album.
With a six-decade career and 200 plus albums, this iconic Texan is the creative genius behind the historic recordings of Crazy, Red Headed Stranger, and Stardust. Willie Nelson has earned every conceivable award as a musician and amassed reputable credentials as an author, actor, and activist. He continues to thrive as a relevant and progressive musical and cultural force. In the last five years alone he delivered 10 new album releases, released a Top 10 New York Times’ bestsellers book, again headlined Farm Aid, an event he co-founded in 1985, received his 5th degree black belt in Gong Kwon Yu Sul, headlined the last three years of the on-going Luck Reunion food and music festival at his ranch in Luck, TX during SXSW, announced the launch of his cannabis company Willie’s Reserve, and graced the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. In 2015, Nelson added two more titles, “It’s A Long Story: My Life,” the unvarnished and complete story of Willie, hit bookshelves and landed him on the New York Times’ bestsellers list; and the new studio album with Merle Haggard titled Django And Jimmie, which debuted at #1 on Billboard‘s Country album chart and #7 on Billboard‘s Top 200 album chart. In November 2015, the Library of Congress honored him with their Gershwin Prize for Popular Song for his contributions to popular music. He is the first country artist to receive the distinguished award. And this year began with the release ofSummertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin, a collection of 11 newly recorded Gershwin classics. The album debuted at #1 on both the Top Current Jazz chart and the Top Traditional Jazz chart.
Chris Young is in complete control.
As the RCA Records Nashville recording artist prepared to release his fifth album, which released November 13, 2015, Young had taken over responsibility for conceiving, writing, producing and recording the highly anticipated, I’m Comin’ Over.
Looking for a new approach on an album he knew was extremely important, Young hedged his bet by personally writing a check and quietly cutting six songs. When he played the music for surprised Sony Music Nashville executives, there was one simple response: “Keep going.”
Young, a native of nearby Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and a fixture on the scene since his teens, could easily have approached his latest album on auto-pilot. After all, few have had the kind of run he has. This is his fifth major-label album by the age of 30 — a feat rarely accomplished in modern country music — and his first project to debut at No.1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart. He’s ratcheted up eight No. 1 singles — including I’m Comin’ Over’s title track, which earned three weeks at the top of the charts and “Think Of You” with Cassadee Pope, the fastest rising song of his career — 14 Gold and Platinum certifications, and been nominated for the industry’s most prestigious awards – Academy of Country Music, Billboard Music Awards, Country Music Association and The Grammys – taking home a handful of notable trophies, including the American Country Countdown Awards’ Breakthrough Artist of the Year and Single of the Year, and the Country Music Association’s Triple Play Award, given to songwriters who have co-authored three or more chart-topping hits in a year.
Young admits, I’m Comin’ Over is the most personal album he has recorded, full of accessible moments that grow out of small things like a look, a touch or a broken bond. And for the first time he’s responsible for almost every hook, solo and lyric, right from the start.
They’re twins! No, not Joel and Luke Smallbone, the Australian brothers who are at the core of the band for KING & COUNTRY. We’re talking about the dual Grammy trophies that the band took home in February 2015, triumphing in both of their nominated categories with their sophomore album, Run Wild. Live Free. Run Strong.
“When we won those awards, it was obviously shocking,” says Luke Smallbone, noting the better-‐established acts they were up against. “The songs from the album are very personal and maybe the Grammy voters could sense that?” Naturally, the guys in for KING & COUNTRY weren’t actually doing it for glory or Grammy, but if their candor happens to be validated with kudos, they’ll take it.
The awards came at the peak of a heady season for the brothers, who first caught the attention of the mainstream in America around the time that Billboard magazine named them one of the publication's "New Artists to Watch for 2012." They made good on that prophecy with a debut album, Crave that made them not just a blip on the radar, but put for KING & COUNTRY on the map with 410,000 track sales and 9.5 million streams. Two year later, Run Wild. Live Free. Run Strong. celebrated an even stronger start out of the gate. The sophomore effort debuted at No. 13 on the Billboard Top 200 and No. 2 on iTunes; the lead single, "Fix My Eyes," reached the top spot on several radio formats and landed the band on The Today Show and Jimmy Kimmel Live.
“We write music about the human experience, plain and simple,” Joel says. “Some of the songs are spiritually inclined. Some of the songs are romantically inclined. Some of the songs are about struggle. We want to include everyone who’s felt these things in the story of each song. I do believe that, in being honest in the arts particularly with where we’re coming from and where we’re going, we’re able to spur each other on. And then the beauty of music is that it has the ability to bypass the head and go straight to the heart.” For king, country, and a spot deep in the chest cavity it is, then.
Maddie Marlow and Taylor Dye never intended to hit a nerve when they sat down on St. Patricks Day and wrote “Girl In A Country Song.” Merely expressing their own reaction to the reductive tilt of today’s BroCountry, the pair and co-writer Aaron Schwerz shamelessly skewered its Xeroxed stereotypes; “Girl” was as much a lark as it was ever “meaningful social commentary.”
Yet the response was so instant and intense, there was no denying it. NPR’s “All Things Considered” cited Maddie & Tae for “turning heads in different ways with their very first single,” Rolling Stone cited them as one of “10 New Artists You Need to Know” and David Letterman couldn’t get the plucky duo to New York fast enough. Even elevated cultural think-tank The Atlantic marveled, “Cheekily appropriating much of the sound of modern country, the two young women directly quote well-known bro-country lyrics and titles...”
No one was more surprised than the natives of Sugar Land, Texas and Ada, Oklahoma. Still in the studio tracking overdubs for “Girl,” they signed their record deal before Dan Huff had even finished four sides on the sunshine’n’moxie pair.
While Rolling Stone observed, “Cheekily appropriating much of the sound of modern country,” there is so much more to Maddie & Tae than that. Independent thinkers, strong livers, hardcore dreamers, the pair are reaching for the sky – and winking at us all while they do it.
Sometimes, it’s the freshest faces and brightest sounds that pull us in. For Maddie & Tae, who embrace real country, it’s that merge of what’s right now and what they love that sets them apart/captures our imaginations in the best possible way.
At first glance, Sam Hunt might seem like a fairly typical young country singer—he grew up in a small Southern town; spent his school days concentrating on sports, but feeling his attachment to music grow deeper and deeper; and came to Nashville with little idea of how the music business worked, but with big dreams.
But a closer look instantly reveals that there is nothing typical about the music that Hunt makes, nor about the way he has introduced his work to the world. In a short time and on his own terms, he has become one of Nashville’s most hotly anticipated new artists, and his debut album, Montevallo, delivers on the buzz and the promise—and then some.
The album follows Hunt’s recent four-song album preview, X2C, led by the Top Five, gold-selling track “Leave the Night On.” Of course, even though he was a recording rookie, Hunt was no stranger to the country music charts, having already written hits for the likes of Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban and Billy Currington.
Some of the other songwriters were skeptical, but when Kenny Chesney recorded “Come Over” (written by Hunt along with Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne, who remain his close associates) and it became a Number One hit, he sensed that he was on to something. When the even more sonically daring “Cop Car” became a hit for Keith Urban, Hunt was convinced that he had found an exciting new direction, and began to shift his focus from being a songwriter to stepping out front as a solo artist.
Soon, Hunt’s songs were averaging over 300,000 streams per day on Spotify, and he won the latest cycle of Spotify’s “Emerge” program for new artists (previous winners include such notables as Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Bastille). After signing with Universal/MCA Nashville, he finished polishing some of the mixtape songs and fleshing out the remainder of debut album Montevallo.
As for the album’s title, Montevallo is the name of a small Alabama town where Hunt often retreated these past few years, to visit friends and escape from the pressures of starting a new career in Nashville. He also points out, however, that the word means “mountains and valleys” in Spanish—which, he says, “feels about right, too.” Because as his remarkable set of songs demonstrates, for Sam Hunt, contradictions are meant to be embraced, rules are meant to be broken, and creativity knows no limits.
Grammy Award-winning group, Little Big Town -- consisting of members Karen Fairchild, Phillip Sweet, Kimberly Schlapman, and Jimi Westbrook -- first entered the music scene more than 18 years ago with hits such as "Boondocks," "Bring It On Home," "Good As Gone" and the Grammy-nominated single "Little White Church." With albums Tornado and Pain Killer, they have seen massive success with #1 singles "Pontoon," "Tornado," "Day Drinking," and most recently the history-making, best-selling country single of 2015, with "Girl Crush.” In October of 2014, the group fulfilled a career milestone and lifelong dream when Reba McEntire asked them to become the newest members of the Grand Ole Opry; two weeks later, they were inducted. Little Big Town has earned almost 40 award show nominations and in the past five years has taken home nearly 20 awards, including multiple Grammy, CMA and ACM awards, and an Emmy award. They are the reigning CMA Vocal Group of the Year and have been nominated for the same award at this year’s CMA’s. At the 2016 Grammy Awards Little Big Town won “Best Country Group/Duo Performance,” and “Girl Crush” received the honor for “Best Country Song.” The group recently received honors from the Academy of Country Music for Vocal Group of the Year and Vocal Event of the Year with Miranda Lambert, and the group was also recognized with the Crystal Milestone Award. At the recent Billboard Awards Little Big Town and “Girl Crush” were nominated for Top Country Song as well as Chart Achievement Award, and the group was also honored as the 2016 Music Business Association Artist of the Year. Little Big Town recently released their brand new single “Better Man” to country radio. “Better Man” is the first single off of the group’s forthcoming seventh studio album entitled The Breaker which is set for release February 24, 2017. Next year, the Ryman Auditorium and Little Big Town will team up for the historic venues first-ever residency, “Little Big Town At The Mother Church.” The group will headline 6 nights throughout the year with the first one falling on the day of their album release.
When Cody Johnson’s Cowboy Like Me debuted in the Top 10 on the Billboard Country Albums chart in January 2014, jaws dropped in offices all over Nashville.
“I got a lot of ‘Who is this kid?’” Johnson says with a laugh two years later. “I love that. That was a new horizon. And I’m gonna work to make sure people know exactly who I am.”
Johnson does that from the start in Gotta Be Me, a follow-up project that’s loaded with solid country instrumentation and winsome melodies. In the first minute alone, he paints himself as a cowboy, raised on outlaw country, who drinks too much, fights too much and won’t apologize for having an opinion. By the time the 14-track journey is over, he’s shared his rodeo history in “The Only One I Know (Cowboy Life),” demonstrated his woman’s influence in “With You I Am” and paid homage to his gospel heritage in “I Can’t Even Walk.”
Johnson delivers it all with an uncanny confidence. His smoky baritone and ultra-Southern enunciation gives him a voice as uniquely identifiable as country kingpins Jason Aldean or Tim McGraw. And he uses it to convey a Texas-proud swagger, a real-man charm and an unwavering honesty about who he is, where he comes from and where he hopes to go.
“I’m a God-fearin’, hard-workin’, beer-drinkin’, fightin’, lovin’ cowboy from Texas,” he grins. “That’s about it.”
The hard-workin’ part is key. The other parts are easily found in his music. It’s intense, focused, sincere. And when he takes the stage, there’s a Garth-like conviction to his performances. Johnson inhabits the songs, recreates their emotions because they’re so familiar. And he’s willing to lay bare those emotions because he’s always been willing to risk. He lives in the moment behind that microphone, the same way he rode bulls in an earlier day.
Neal McCoy's Career Highlights:
With the allure of a modern day outlaw, Gary Allan has won over fans, peers and critics with his signature blend of smoldering vocals, rebellious lyrics and raucous live performances. While becoming a force on the country music scene, Allan has remained true to his artistic voice each step of the way. Allan just re-signed with Universal Music Group Nashville, the label home for the entirety of his twenty-year career. “Do You Wish It Was Me?”, the debut single from his upcoming EMI Nashville release, is set to hit radio this June. The single was co-written by Allan, Jonathan Singleton and Andrew Dorff and co-produced by Allan and Greg Droman. His last album, SET YOU FREE, topped the Billboard 200 (Pop Chart), a career first for Allan. The album also made its debut at the top of the Billboard Country Album chart (for the fourth time in a row), and produced his fifth #1 country radio chart topper with “Every Storm Runs Out Of Rain.” The California native released his first album, Used Heart for Sale, in 1996 and since then has released eight additional studio albums selling over 7 million albums, been certified platinum on three back-to-back albums, and been certified gold five times. Allan has five #1 hits at country radio, fourteen Top 10 hits to his credit and amassed over 270 million total streams. He’s described as “dark and dreamy” in Entertainment Weekly, “soulful and rough around the edges” in Playboy and deemed a “maverick” by Rolling Stone. He sells out venues as a headliner from NY to LA, appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Live with Kelly and Michael and Jimmy Kimmel Live. He has also landed on the covers of Country Weekly, Pollstar and People magazine.