Thursday, January 31, 2013

Randy Travis pleads guilty to DWI, gets probation

CBS reports that as the singer walked out of the Grayson County Courthouse, he thanked the court, supporters and the two patrolmen for "obviously taking care of me that night." He said he met with those officers Thursday.

"I'm glad it's behind me," he said of the case.

Travis pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated Thursday in a case that began last summer when the country music star crashed his Pontiac Trans Am while naked.

Travis received two years of probation, a $2,000 fine and a 180-day suspended jail sentence. If he doesn't successfully complete the probation, he will face the jail time.

He was ordered to spend at least 30 days at an alcohol treatment facility, complete 100 hours of community service and have an ignition interlock device on any vehicle he operates while on probation.

Travis, 53, entered the plea in a court in the North Texas city of Sherman. The misdemeanor was punishable by up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

For Kenny Chesney, It's All About Life On A Rock

When Kenny heard "Pirate Flag," he knew it was an anthem for his No Shoes Nation. With its driving beat, the song of eschewing it all struck a chord with the 4 consecutive Academy of Country Music and 4 time Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year who's made a career out of coloring outside the obvious - and his instincts have been validated by USA Today five days before "Pirate Flag" even hits the airwaves.
"Every now and then, you come upon a song that says everything you feel," Chesney admits with a laugh. "For me, when I heard it, I just went, 'Yeah...' Because it captures the way freedom feels, that pumping in your blood when you know you've got two days and nobody to answer to.  I'm glad to know USA Today hears what I felt... It's easy to just shrug stuff off, act like 'Been there, done that.' But sometimes you've got something, and it won't let go. I guess they sense that hold (this song has), too."

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Kelly Clarkson Can Sing

... even with a former President looking over her shoulder.

A&O&B received the photo from her label, Columbia/Nashville, with this caption:  I bet THIS guy downloaded "Don't Rush."

Monday, January 28, 2013

Taylor Swift Wins International Award, Speaks Spanish, Has A Coke (Endorsement Deal)

Muchas Gracias Senorita Taylor for all you've done for country music and radio!

Greg Bates Prepares For The End Of Football Season

Bates is a huge football fan and more specifically a huge Tennessee Titans fans. His family has season tickets to the games, and while the Titans didn’t have such a great year and Greg is looking forward to next year when they might be a little better, he’s still bummed to see another football season come to an end. 
“They always say that there’s 2 seasons,” Greg jokes. “There’s football season and waiting on football season. So I think we’re all getting to that point where we’re excited but we know the end is coming soon and it’s gonna be a long off-season for a lot of football fans, for sure.” As for the Super Bowl, which will see the Baltimore Ravens taking on the San Francisco 49ers this coming Sunday, Greg says cautiously, “If I had to make a prediction I think the 49ers just look great this year. They’ve got a young quarterback that is just killing it right now. So if I had to pick a winner, I’d say the 49ers this year.”

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Vince Gill, Kenny Rogers, Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers, Patty Loveless, Jo Dee Messina, Ronnie Milsap, Restless Heart and Many More To Set Sail

The very first Country Music Cruise will launch in early 2014 and sail through the Caribbean with an incredible group of superstars and much-loved fan favorites onboard including Vince Gill, Kenny Rogers, Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers, Patty Loveless, Jo Dee Messina, Ronnie Milsap, and Restless Heart with television personality Lorraine Crook hosting the entire journey.  The vacation of a lifetime for country music fans, the cruise will hold intimate concerts every day, exclusive events not available anywhere else, activities, comedians, world class dining, deluxe accommodations, and much more for seven luxurious days aboard Holland America’s MS Eurodam.  All concert tickets, activities and meals are included, with further information available at

The stars scheduled to perform on the 2014 Country Music Cruise have an astounding 350 hit singles between them, with nearly 90 #1 hits.  In addition to the headlining concerts, clubs on the ship will host performances by even more artists such as Andy Griggs, Wade Hayes, Ty Herndon, Jamie O’Neal, The Warren Brothers, Bryan White and others.  Chuck Mead from BR549 will be playing daily poolside.  Amidst the music, guests will be invited to a beach party on their very own private island, line dancing events, cooking exhibitions, wine tasting, songwriter workshops, spirited trivia contests, exclusive screenings of country music films and documentaries, games and more.  The ship will also dock in several ports, where guests can explore the majestic beauty and vibrant culture of Grand Turk (Turks and Caicos), San Juan (Puerto Rico), Philipsburg (Saint Maarten), and Half Moon Cay (Bahamas).  Not only will the voyage give fans the rare opportunity to see so many of their favorite singers all in one location, it all takes place among breathtaking ocean and island vistas on one of the most magnificent ships at sea.

“Country music fans are in for something really special,” says Vince Gill.  “Not only will they get to experience a luxurious ocean cruise, but they can enjoy exclusive concerts by country music’s iconic superstars.  The cruise is destined to become a vacation destination in the years to come.”  “I couldn’t be more excited about performing on the Country Music Cruise and being a part of a vacation that my fans will never forget,” adds Kenny Rogers.

“This will be the Country Music party of a lifetime. Real stars, real music and real friends, both old and new” said Mike Jason, Senior Vice President Retail, StarVista Entertainment/Time Life. ”We have produced over 35 full ship charter music cruises and ‘Country Music’ is a perfect genre for an exciting and overall cruise experience,” said Michael Lazaroff, Executive Director of Entertainment Cruise Productions. The programming and entertainment opportunities for the Country Music Cruise are unparalleled.  It will be so much fun.”

Cabins are available now at or by calling (toll free) 1-855-332-6868.  Early reservation Country Music Cruise fan rates start at just $1,925 per person and include all meals, concerts, entertainment and on-board activities.

For additional information, please contact:
Webster & Associates Public Relations & Marketing
Caitlin DeForest / 615-777-6995 x240 /
Kirt Webster / 615-777-6995 x230 /

The Brookes Company
Jolyn Matsumuro / 310-558-3000 x202 /

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

"God Bless The USA" Turns 30

From times of great national tragedy to times of joyous patriotic celebration, the words of “God Bless the USA” have stood as one of our country’s most beloved anthems and the cornerstone song of those that best encompass pride in America. So much so, that called the song, “the most recognizable patriotic song in the country.”

Written by Grammy Award winning country star Lee Greenwood in 1983, the iconic song marks its 30th anniversary this year. Its life to date includes the distinction of being the only song of any genre to skyrocket up the sales charts multiple times since its original release in 1984. Radio stations and fans alike returned to the song in 1991 during the Gulf War, in 2001 following 9/11, in 2003 during the war in Iraq, and in 2009 following Hurricane Katrina.

“God Bless the USA” had a resurgence in 2011, when BeyoncĂ© recorded the song offering proceeds of the download to benefit the New York Police & Fire Widows' & Children's Benefit Fund. That same year, it was the winning song on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” and performed on “American Idol.”

Greenwood wrote “God Bless the USA” in response to the hurt and anger he felt following the downing of a Korean jet on a flight from New York to Seoul with 269 passengers aboard, including 63 Americans. Russian authorities shot the plane from the sky, killing all aboard because “they thought the airliner was on a spy mission.”

“I saw the senseless strike as a personal attack against our countrymen and it moved me to put pen to paper,” says Greenwood. “The song came so easily, it nearly wrote itself.”

The song hit an emotional chord with the American populace as well and “God Bless the USA” was named “Song of the Year” in 1985 at the CMA Awards.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hunter Hayes = Double Platinum

(L to R: Dan Huff-Producer, John Esposito-President & CEO WMN, Betsy McHugh-Martingale Ent, Ansel Adams-Martingale Ent, Hunter Hayes, Scott Hendricks-Sr. VP A&R WMN, Peter Strickland-Sr. VP Sales & Marketing WMN, Justin Luffman-VP Brand Management, Chris Stacey-Sr. VP Promotion WMN)

Atlantic recording artist Hunter Hayes recently earned Double Platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), selling over 2 million copies of his multi-week #1 hit single “Wanted.” After a performance on Ryman at the Opry last Friday, Hayes was also surprised with a plaque from Warner Music Nashville to celebrate his self-titled debut album selling over half a million copies and receiving a career first RIAA Gold album certification. In addition, Hayes is up for the Academy of Country Music’s New Male Vocalist Award and is reaching out to fans about the fan-vote-only award with a new promo video that can be seen HERE. Voting for the ACM Awards started Monday, January 21st, ending Feb. 4th at 3 p.m. ET and can be found HERE. The winners of the three newcomer categories (New Male, New Female and New Vocal Duo/Group) will be announced in early February during the annual ACM Award nominees press conference, date TBD. The winners in these three categories will go on to compete for overall ACM New Artist of the Year, which is also fan voted and will be announced live on the ACM Awards on April 7th.

This nomination comes on the heels of Hayes receiving his first GRAMMY® nods in the categories for “Best New Artist,” “Best Country Album,” and “Best Country Solo Performance” for “Wanted.” Recently winning the coveted honor as CMA's Best New Artist of the Year Award, Hayes continues to rise as one of the most celebrated new talents in music this year.

Jewel Crowns Texaco Country Showdown Winner

It was a great show! The Brothers Roberson, Kate and Corey, Kassie and Ben, Deidre Thornell and Poor Man's Poison all did a great job and delighted the capacity crowd gathered at the Ryman Auditorium with a wonderful performance.

When it came time for the judges to determine the winner, while it wasn't an easy decision, it was Poor Man's Poison that was proclaimed the "2012 Texaco Country Showdown Grand Prize Winner."

They join an exclusive club of musicians and performers who have triumphed over the course of a year's worth of competition. Truly a noteworthy accomplishment and we'll be looking forward to seeing their star continue to rise in the months and years ahead.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

George Strait Sets Tone For Tour With Music Spanning 30+ Years At First Stop

Friday night, January 18, 2013, the King of Country Music, George Strait, kicked-off the first of 21 tour stops on his 2013 The Cowboy Rides Away Tour in Lubbock, Texas at United Spirit Arena with special guest Martina McBride.  An audience of 15,326 was afforded what will soon be a rare occurrence--seeing Strait and his Ace In The Hole Band live in concert.

The evening began for many with a VIP reception in the aptly named “The King’s Tavern” which features multiple traveling memorabilia cases on display as part of “The King’s Exhibit” with featured items ranging from Dusty Chandler’s jacket, Strait's lead character in Pure Country, to his Country Music Hall of Fame medallion from his November 2006 induction.  

After a riveting set from McBride, Strait sauntered to the stage and opened his nearly 100 minute set with his 2011 anthem and the title of his last recording, “Here For A Good Time.”

Partway through the show Strait broke stride after he performed his current single, "Give It All We Got Tonight,” and introduced U.S. Marine Corps E-3/Lance Corporal Christopher Allen to a captivated audience.  Allen was then recognized as the 287th recipient of the Military Warriors Support Foundation’s (MWSF) “Homes 4 Wounded Heroes” (H4WH) program and the first awardee to receive a key directly from Strait.  The presentation was made possible through Strait’s longtime friend, Lieutenant General Leroy Sisco, U.S. Army (Retired) who shares, “Our foundation is thrilled at this opportunity to work with such an incredible patriot as George Strait and with his help we are going to change the lives of the heroes and their families by awarding 100% mortgage-free homes at the next 20 concerts on George’s ‘The Cowboy Rides Away’ finale tour.”

The Allen family will receive a one-story home with 1,717 sq. ft. of living space and is a spacious 3 bedroom/2.5 bathroom home in Bakersfield, California complete with a pool and a two car garage. The homes made available for the program are donated to MWSF through partnerships and, as unveiled at the show in Lubbock, will be awarded to one service member at every tour stop on The Cowboy Rides Away Tour.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Tim McGraw And Blake Shelton Tour Dates Announced

Click the links for the complete tour schedules.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Behind The Scenes - Zac Brown Band

Here's how it looked and sounded at the recording session for "Goodbye In Her Eyes."

Is their next one going to be "Jump Right In?"

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Blake And Luke Poke ACM Fun At Each Other

Wheat From Chaff

I just completed my annual clean up of my promotional music inbox.

All year, I hold onto everything - good or bad - because you never know if something that didn't seem like a hit at first listen surprises you and catches fire.

After filling a bookcase with wannabes for twelve months, each January I go through it all and recycle the huge number of CD's and other promotional materials from people and songs that failed to gain any meaningful airplay.

Last week, I had lunch with a longtime friend who has been doing music promotion for decades.  I asked him how the almost impossible odds against success affects the people he works with.

His favorite artists are the ones who take the budget from their hopeful backers and revel in the fun of traveling the country for a year, visiting radio and fans, enjoying the ride as they consume the more than a million dollars it can take.

Some have such a good time doing that, they almost feel like a real superstar and may find yet another backer for another run of the hospitality, pizza at lunch, dinners with music directors and acoustic performances with a traveling guitar backup musician.

CDX-CD exec Joe Kelly's "seven things you need to know" is a great start:
  • Make sure you have recorded music that is excellent and competitive.
  • Equally important is defining what will make you stand out as an artist.  
  • Have a written game plan.
  • Develop a fan base that you can grow as you take your music to bigger audiences with radio airplay.
  • When you’re planning the timeline for your promotion, build in several weeks to visit radio stations and meet programmers face-to-face.
  • For artists seeking to achieve charting positions on the Music Row CountryBreakout Chart or monitored Billboard and Country Aircheck charts, you may need multiple promoters on your single. Who’s on your team?
I have a 7th one:  visit your local country station programmer and ask them to give you the hundreds of throwaways that never made it last year.  Before you record, spend time listening and studying them.

Today, thanks to how inexpensive it is to put together a home studio, there's very little terrible music being released to radio.  It's all pretty good, by singers who sound OK, with songs that aren't bad.

It's easy to find folks who'll tell you how great you are when they are taking money from you.

It's harder to define what makes you different from the pack and to find songs that make a difference.

Get hot or go home
so I don't have to toss your product in my trash next January.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

CMHOF Attendance Up 15%

The Tennessean reports:  With a little help from friends Buck Owens, Taylor Swift and Patsy Cline, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum set an attendance record in 2012.

Nearly 565,000 people visited the museum in the year, an increase of 15 percent from 2011. Attendance was boosted by a trio of exhibits that together had broad appeal, museum director Kyle Young said.

The year featured exhibits about Swift, Cline and the Bakersfield Sound, a raw form of country music emanating from California in the 1960s that has faded some in popularity but drew thousands of curious country fans.

“It was a great mix,” Young said. “We were able to devote a lot of space to telling a story that a lot of people weren’t familiar with.”

Swift’s Speak Now Tour conquered the museum world, much as it did the touring charts. The exhibit, which included costumes and other memorabilia from the tour, drew families and young people, a demographic the museum is heavily courting.

“You should not be surprised if we replicate that exhibition or at least the feel of the exhibition in 2013,” Young said.

The museum had faced flat or declining admission from 2008 to 2010, the year of massive flooding in Nashville. In 2011, attendance shot up by 24 percent, compared with 2010, to 507,510.

  -- Jaquetta White

Friday, January 11, 2013

Lynyrd Skynyrd To Play At Military Heroes Inaugural Ball

The rock legends headline the "2013 Heroes Red, White & Blue Inaugural Concert Ball" honoring America’s Military Heroes in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2013. The invitation-only event is sponsored by Citizens Helping Heroes, DOG TAGS, a program of the Washington Humane Society, and Green Beret Foundation.

Honorary co-hosts include Speaker John Boehner, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon, Chairman Spencer Bachus and Chairman Bill Shuster. Esteemed guests include members from TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors), the Warrior Transition Brigade from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and the Tuskegee Airmen.

For Lynyrd Skynyrd, Contact:
Webster & Associates Public Relations & Marketing
Kirt Webster / / 615-777-9665 x230 /

For the Inaugural Ball, Contact:
Ron Bonjean / / 202-349-4096 /

Brad Paisley Reveals Next Album Title To Jimmy Kimmel

"Wheelhouse" is to be released April 9.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

It's Blake Shelton And Luke Bryan

The two superstars will co-host Country Music’s Party of the Year®, the 48th ANNUALACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS, honoring country music’s best and introducing the industry’s hottest emerging talent, broadcast LIVE from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas Sunday, April 7th, 2013 at 8:00 PM live ET/delayed PT on the CBS Television Network. The show is produced by dick clark productions, inc.  This year’s show will mark reigning ACM Male Vocalist of the Year Shelton’s third consecutive turn hosting the Awards and Bryan’s first time hosting a LIVE televised event.

Brad Paisley will host the 3rd Annual ACM Fan Jam, taking place at The Orleans Arena Sunday, April 7th, 2013. This live remote location gives country music lovers the ultimate fan-pass to be a part of the 48th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards! Throughout the three-hour Awards telecast from MGM Grand, there will be live ACM Fan Jam performances, via remote from The Orleans Arena, by Brad Paisley and other top-tier music acts.  The ACM Fan Jam continues after the Awards telecast ends, with performances by Brad Paisley and friends. Details and other participating talent will be announced soon but fans can tweet to unlock a special message from Brad, delivered to them immediately after they tweet, by visiting the ACM Social Splash page at  

As they have done for the past four years, the Academy and dick clark productions will once again tape an all-star concert TV special Monday, April 8, 2013 at 7:00 PM at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, featuring today’s top country acts and more. Talent announcements are forthcoming. The special will air later on CBS and ticket proceeds will benefit ACM Lifting Lives.

Country music fans “unlocked” this press release in the first-ever ACM “Tweet to Unlock” promotion, wherein fans were invited to send a minimum of 25,000 tweets before the date and host information would be released to the public.  Fans were alerted to the opportunity on Friday, and reached the 25,000 threshold in just less than 4 days.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Eli Young Band Admits To "Skeletons" In Closet

Their latest album, Life at Best, features the current single, “Say Goodnight,” but there’s also a song on their called “Skeletons,” which made us wonder if the guys have any skeletons in their closet, that say would keep them from ever running for political office. 


Jon Jones laughs and says, “I’m pretty sure it’s a walk-in closet full of skeletons that are keeping us from running for office.”

But then he thinks about some of the scandals that have come out about people who are in politics and he says, “You know, maybe not. I’m surprised at the skeletons that actually come out for the people that have made it into office. Some of those things are a lot worse than I’ve got in my closet, that’s for sure.”

Friday, January 4, 2013

Eric Church One Of Top Touring Acts Of 2012

It’s only fitting in a year that landed GRAMMY nominee and CMA Award winner Church at the top of the country singles chart with the two week No. 1 “Springsteen” that both Church and The Boss share something else in common – top placement on Pollstar’s Worldwide Ticket Sales Chart. Church joins the company of Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Coldplay, Roger Waters, Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour, Cirque du Soleil, Kenny Chesney/Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean, Metallica, and Dave Matthews Band.  With over 765,000 tickets sold, Church’s The Blood, Sweat & Beers Tour ranks at No. 11 on the chart published today at

“To be listed beside these acts—based solely on the number of tickets sold throughout the year on our tour—is just incredible.  I distinctively remember playing for eight people just over two years ago in a club in Texas, so to hear that that number has grown to what it was in 2012 is a true testament to the fans, their passion, and my band and crew’s dedication to making our show the best it can be night after night,” shares Church.
The number of tickets sold on The Blood, Sweat & Beers Tour in 2012, which covered 101 tour dates, matches what he sold in the prior six years of his touring career.
Church was also the only country artist to be mentioned by name in a recent The New York Times feature, “The Best Concerts of 2012, as Seen by Times Critics” noting his March 14 show at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York was “a mean show.” The recap further raved that Church delivered his “post-outlaw anthems” with “verve and tension, as if he might not be allowed to for much longer.” The list also includes Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Jay-Z and Radiohead, Mumford & Sons, and The Rolling Stones, among others.

In 2013, Church will release a live album and join Kenny Chesney for the stadium dates of his No Shoes Nation Tour, commencing March 16, 2013 in Tampa, Fla.

Media Contacts for Eric Church:

Essential Broadcast Media, LLC
Ebie McFarland/Amanda French
(615) 327-3259

EMI Records Nashville
Fount Lynch
(615) 524-7848

High School Talent Show Helps Pick Darius Rucker's New One

Rucker has just released his new single, “Wagon Wheel,” and it was because of his daughter’s high school talent show that he came up with the idea to record the Old Crow Medicine Show popular sing-along tune.
“We were watching my daughter, and the faculty band gets up. It’s just the faculty from her school, and they play ‘Wagon Wheel.’ And I’m sitting in the audience, and they get to the middle of the chorus, and I turned to my wife, and I go, ‘I’ve got to cut this song,’” recalls Darius. “I’m serious. This all happened in three-and-a-half minutes, four minutes, while they’re playing the song. And so I’m texting [producer] Frank Rogers, ‘Do you know this ‘Wagon Wheel’ song?’ He’s like, ‘Yeah. It’s by Old Crow Medicine Show.’ He said, ‘A lot of people have cut it.’ I said, ‘I don’t care! [laughs] I’m cutting it!’”
The song, which is based on a portion of the song “Rock Me Mama” written by Bob Dylan and later finished by Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show, has been recorded by numerous artists including Little Feat, Jeremy McComb and Mumford & Sons…and can be heard in just about every club in America.

You may recall Darius made a surprise appearance with Old Crow Medicine Show at the Grand Ole Opry last July for a special rendition of the song. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Scotty McCreery Lets Go Of His Wisdom (Teeth)

McCreery has enjoyed Christmas break from work like performing in the Disney Parks Christmas Parade and school (he’s a communications major at North Carolina State University), and before he headed back to class, he thought it would be a good time to get his pesky wisdom teeth removed. So, on Wednesday (January 2nd), he underwent minor oral surgery to remove his wisdom teeth. Prior to going under, he tweeted, “On the way to the doctor…Hopefully, there aren’t any strange tweets from me, ‘cause I will be out of it.”
When he came out of the anesthesia around 10am ET, the doctor and nurse had a big laugh. They said Scotty told them in a groggy voice, "I needed that little a big show tomorrow." However, Scotty doesn’t have a show until next month.

Post-surgery, he typed, “Wheeeeeeew wee…feelin’ good. It’s gonna be a Sports Center and couch day for me. Bring on the yogurt/jello/and most importantly, ice cream.”
Scotty has already received some care packages from fans with soup, Lucky Charms and Advil, which will help him get through the next few days.
The singer will be fully recovered when he returns to classes on Monday (January 7th), and he’ll be back on the road performing in February.

We wish Scotty a speedy recovery.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Dierks Bentley Is All Wet

His Tweets told the tale:
January 1, 2013annual lake jump in (Orlando) FL sponsored by @CapitalOneBowl. provided the sweeeeeet bathrobes for @fiddlindan @drfeasby and me.

Overheard today after we did our 2013 lake jump: "this lake ain't spring fed, it's street fed." explains @drfeasby rash... 

Zac Brown Band's New Years Eve

The Detroit Free Press was there and has some amazing photos of the show (click Zac Brown Band brings country music to Joe Louis Arena at New Year's Eve concert to view them all).

Next stop for Zac Brown Band:  North Carolina.