Scotty McCreery returns with a stirring new coming of age anthem, sending “In Between” to country radio as his next single. Placing McCreery’s butter-smooth baritone out front and featuring a true-to-life theme, McCreery sings about not being a kid anymore – but also not being ready to slow down. “I ain’t all holy water, I ain’t all Jim Beam / I’m somewhere in between,” goes the satisfying chorus.
“For me, the theme of ‘In Between’ is all about balance,” McCreery says. “Everyone’s not all one thing or all the other. We all have many facets to our lives. It’s about knowing who you are and finding the balance that’s right for you.”
“In Between” was co-written by the singer and former American Idol champ with Frank Rogers, Jessi Alexander and Jonathan Singleton more than four years ago. At the time, McCreery and his new wife, Gabi, were still just dating. They were married last June.
“I wrote it the very same week as we wrote ‘Five More Minutes,’” he explains. “I find it a bit funny because I wrote the lyric ‘I ain’t ready for a ring on my hand’ back then, and now when it’s my current single, I am a newly married man. But ‘In Between’ tells the story of where I was in my life at that moment, and I think that’s what makes it so personal to me.”
The track follows McCreery’s Gold-certified “This Is It” and Platinum “Five More Minutes,” both of which hit Number One on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart. All three songs are featured on his deeply personal Seasons Change album, released in 2018 and produced by Rogers, Aaron Eshuis and Derek Wells. McCreery is currently out on a headlining club tour, and hinted earlier this year that he’s in talks to support a fall arena tour “with some guys that I love their music.”
It’s somewhat of a dramatic statement, but nobody in country music has revolutionized the live performance quite like Garth Brooks. There were others before him – Hank Williams, Jr. and Ricky Skaggs come to mind – that brought high energy to their stage shows, and Keith Urban also is in a class of his own, but Garth Brooks was a game-changer in the way we think of Country stars on tour.
His new five-disc collection, The Anthology Part III Live, is a reminder of just what makes Brooks so unforgettable. First of all, there’s the music. He – and producer Allen Reynolds – were masterful in collecting a group of songs that people could identify with. That’s the first step. Without the fan interest, you would have nothing. But, hit singles such as “If Tomorrow Never Comes” and “The Thunder Rolls” kindled a passion from listeners – who started coming out to see Brooks as he opened for artists such as The Judds, Kenny Rogers, and Ricky Van Shelton. Then, in the fall of 1990, a song called “Friends In Low Places” broke his career wide open. Before too much longer, the Oklahoma native was fronting his own shows – with an energy level that the genre had rarely seen before.
That adrenaline can be heard throughout this five disc set. The first two chapters are a commemorative edition of his landmark album Double Live – which stands as the biggest-selling concert album in Country Music – if not all formats – history. Celebrating its’ twentieth year of release, the album’s magical moments include such Brooks classics as “Two Of A Kind, Workin’ On A Full House,” “Longneck Bottle,” “Rodeo,” and “It’s Your Song.”
The final three discs contain footage that was compiled from Brooks’ landmark 2015-2017 comeback tour. The stint proved once again what a magical hold that Brooks has on an audience. Much of the output features crowd sing-a-longs on such fan favorites as “Friends In Low Places” (which comes ‘complete’ with the famed ‘third verse’ of the song), “Unanswered Prayers,” and “Two Pina Coladas.” There are also a few nuggets from that might surprise listeners, such as his takes on “Fishin’ In The Dark” and “The Fireman.” He also tips the hat to newcomer Ashley McBryde with a stirring version of her “Girl Goin’ Nowhere” by changing the title to “Guy Goin’ Nowhere,” and a duet performance on the underrated gem “Whiskey To Wine” with wife Trisha Yearwood that there aren’t enough superlatives to fully appreciate. Trust us, it’s simply that good.
Along with the music there’s a gorgeous 256-page book that shows the growth Brooks has made as a recording artist and a live performer. The book begins with a nostalgic look back at his 1997 Central Park concert in New York City – a night that still stands as one of his benchmark achievements. From there, the reader is taken back in time to the beginnings of Brooks’ performing career. Garth talks about being hired by Opryland to perform at the former musical amusement park – complete with the 1981 contract that was sent to him – only have the job nixed by his parents in lieu of his going to college. As it turned out, Oklahoma State proved to be great for Brooks – in more ways than one. In addition to getting his education, he would meet Ty England and Brian Petree – who would help him sharpen his musical focus. There are many stories about his days playing in Santa Fe, a local band around town that made more people aware of Brooks and his budding talents.
From there, Brooks’ story heats up considerably. A meeting with future manager Bob Doyle led to Brooks’ playing at the heralded Nashville songwriters’ haven The Bluebird Café. Soon his star was on the rise, eventually landing a recording deal with Capitol Records. The book contains many of the highlights from Brooks’ first touring phase – his early stints opening for artists – such as The Judds’ historic 1991 “Farewell” concert to his seminal 1992 NBC TV-special filmed at Reunion Arena in Dallas. Suddenly, Brooks was selling tickets – and albums – at a breakneck pace, and the stages only got bigger for the singer. He returned to the city for another special for the Peacock network – this time at Texas Stadium. Brooks shares details of the accident that could have halted the show – but in the end, the night was another dose of electricity that only the singer could provide – including a performance of “Ain’t Goin’ Down Till’ The Sun Comes Up” that featured the singer rise into the stratosphere at the former home of the Dallas Cowboys.
Also detailed is his 1997 venture into foreign soil – again, a resounding success. The performer made stops in cities such as Dublin, Munich, and Glasgow seem just like playing for fans in Atlanta or Tulsa, proving that music can be a universal uniting factor.
Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood on the Red Carpet at The 52nd Annual CMA Awards, on Wednesday, November 14, 2018 in Downtown Nashville. Photo courtesy of CMA
And, at the end of the day, that’s what sets Garth Brooks apart. Sure, there are stories of him selling out five shows in twenty minutes, the incredible sales numbers, all of which have added to sheer magnitude of the star he has become. But, it’s what he has managed to do with a pen and paper that has endeared him to fans around the world. The songs on this collection matter to people, and when he performs them live, that connection between artist and audience runs very deep – whether it’s a one-on-one meeting or a show in front of tens of thousands. Accessibility. That’s the magic of Garth Brooks, which is in full evidence on this collection!
PARIS, April 15 (Reuters) – Notre-Dame Cathedral went up in flames on Monday in a roaring blaze that devastated the Parisian landmark, a searing loss for the city and for France. Flames that began in the early evening burst through the roof of the centuries-old cathedral and engulfed the spire, which collapsed, quickly followed by the entire roof. A huge plume of smoke wafted across the city and ash fell over a large area. Parisians watched on, many of them lost for words.
“Like all our compatriots, I am sad this evening to see this part of all of us burn,” President Emmanuel Macron tweeted.
“Basically the whole rooftop is gone. I see no hope for the building,” said witness Jacek Poltorak, watching the fire from a fifth-floor balcony two blocks from the southern facade of the cathedral, one of France’s most visited places. Firefighters tried to contain the blaze with water hoses and cleared the area around Notre-Dame, which sits on an island in the River Seine and marks the very center of Paris.
Nobody was injured, junior interior minister Laurent Nunez said at the scene, adding: “It’s too early to determine the causes of the fire.” France 2 television reported that police were treating it as an accident. “Everything is collapsing,” a police officer near the scene said as the entire roof of the cathedral continued to burn. Macron canceled an address to the nation that he had been due to give later on Monday evening. A presidential official said Macron was to go to the scene of the blaze.
The cathedral, which dates back to the 12th century, features in Victor Hugo’s classic novel “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.” It is a UNESCO World Heritage site that attracts millions of tourists every year. The Gothic cathedral is famed for its many carved stone gargoyles, stunning stained glass windows and the flying buttresses that hold up its walls.
“There are a lot of art works inside…it’s a real tragedy,” Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo told reporters at the scene.
The cathedral was in the midst of renovations, with some sections under scaffolding and bronze statues were removed last week for works.
Watching it on the news, seeing the tall spire burning brings memories of 911, wondering when it’s going to fall. So, so sad, almost 1,000 years old. – Commenter
The wood and lead spire was built during a restoration in the mid-19th century, according to the cathedral’s website. (Reporting by Sybille de la Hamaide, Simon Carraud and Sudip Kar-Gupta Writing by Robin Pomeroy Editing by Frances Kerry)
– AOL (THOMSON REUTERS)
A big reason people love country music lies in the fact that the format, for the most part, respects its elders. That’s especially true when it comes to the late, great George Jones, who is widely considered to be the greatest male country vocalist in history.
That’s why it was so shocking when the CMA Awards wouldn’t let George sing his nominated hit “Choices” in its entirety back in 1999. Due to time constraints, producers wanted George to just sing a verse and a chorus of the song. That didn’t sit well with the Possum, so he opted to skip the awards show altogether.
It didn’t sit well with country superstar Alan Jackson, either.
After he sang his hit song, “Pop a Top,” on the show, Alan abruptly launched into a chorus of Jones’ “Choices.” After he finished, Alan walked off the stage in protest of the way the CMA handled the situation with George Jones.
That moment had tongues wagging all over Nashville and in office buildings across the country the next day.
In this latest installment of the CMA’s 50/50 video series, Sam Hunt recalls, “I know that was a controversial moment, but it was a very memorable moment. I think it was really awesome of Alan Jackson when he did that.”
– Rare Country
George Strait reminded everyone why he’s the King of Country Music with a solo performance at the 54th ACM Awards. Bringing a welcome dose of classy sophistication to a night of bombastic spectacle, his rendition of “God and Country Music” was an instant classic.
Standing tall alone at the front of the stage – just like the cowboy he is – Strait delivered a tribute to two things he figures are worth saving, no matter how much the world changes. Strumming his gleaming black guitar and dressed in his usual collared shirt and black cowboy hat, Strait refocused the MGM Grand Garden Arena’s attention on to the eternal things in life, while a simple video montage of horses and sweeping Western vistas played behind him. “God and Country Music” appears on Strait’s just-released Honky Tonk Time Machine– his 30th studio album. The track features his young grandson Harvey on album.
LURAY, Va. – Today, Ben “Crazy Cooter” Jones announced plans for the Good Ol’ Boys Fest, which will bring a fun weekend of “great music, hot cars, and good times.” Taking place at the Shenandoah Speedway on Highway 340 in Shenandoah, Virginia, on Saturday, August 10 and Sunday, August 11, the ‘Fest’ will be presented by “Cooter’s in the Valley” of Luray, Virginia.
Tickets go on sale Friday, April 5, with a limited number of tickets priced at $35 for the weekend. Once the limited quantity of advance tickets are sold, ticket pricing will increase. Tickets will also be available at all Cooter’s Place locations (Gatlinburg & Nashville, Tennessee and Luray, Virginia).
“This event will pay tribute to the 40th anniversary of America’s favorite family show, The Dukes of Hazzard,” says Ben Jones. “The Shenandoah Valley is the perfect setting for this event, and we are delighted to be presenting the Good Ol’ Boys Fest. We are going to have one more ‘Hot Time in Hazzard’!”
The Good Ol’ Boys Fest will feature cars and stars of the Dukes, plus a special lineup of country music stars and special guests. Among the Dukes cast who will be appearing are Tom Wopat (Luke Duke), Catherine Bach (Daisy Duke), Ben Jones(Cooter), Sonny Shroyer (Deputy Enos) and Rick Hurst (Deputy Cletus).
Ben “Cooter” Jones and his wife Alma Viator have presented a series of very successful “Dukes of Hazzard” events and are the owners of several “Cooter’s” shops and museums in Virginia and Tennessee.
– 2911 Media
A SONG FROM LIFE.
My sister was in a nursing home some time ago.
Her memory seemed selective, and conversations were somewhat confused.
Misty and I went to visit one afternoon and she wasn’t in her room.
We found her with a group of patients. and we watched from outside the door.
Someone, probably a nurse, was playing old time songs,
and the patients were smiling and singing along.
My sister was singing with enthusiasm, not missing a word.
The first time we’d seen her happy in too long.
More recently, I was thinking about that day,
and thought this should be a song, so I wrote and rewrote the words.
I thought of my friend, Michael Warner, a musician who lives in Australia.
We’ve written a few funny songs together, and I emailed him the words.
He wrote the music, sang it on a demo, and emailed it to me within three days.
Misty loves it and that’s good enough for me.
I did a mastering mix and today we’re sharing it with friends.
* * *
Mrs. Miller is singing the old songs
With the nurses at afternoon games.
She remembers the words to the old songs,
But forgotten her family’s names.
The past is just over her shoulder
And the music can turn back the years.
Old times flicker by the corner of her eye
When the old songs ring in her ears.
So, bring up the band and give them a hand.
While we can, let’s all sing along
And maybe we’ll find lost love in the memories
That live in the heart of old songs.
So, bring .. back.. the songs from the radio.
Leaving the cold of this old room behind.
The music we know will show us the way to go,
Take us to places that wait in our mind.
So, bring up the band and give them a hand.
While we can, let’s all sing along
And maybe we’ll find lost love in the memories
That live in the heart of Old Songs.
* * *
Listen to the demo here:
Words: Jack Blanchard, Music: Michael Warner.
Jack Blanchard Songs (BMI).
© Jack Blanchard, 2019.
Eddie Cunningham has the honor of being the first artist/songwriter to be inducted into the Independent Superstars Hall Of Fame for 2019. His inducted is now official which makes Eddie the latest Recording Artist to be inducted into the Independent Superstars “Recording Artist” Hall of Fame. Frans Maritz of Wildhorse Entertainment officially signed the certificate placing Eddie Cunningham into this prestigious organization located in South Africa.
“ Thank you Frans being in the Hall Of Fame is just so great! I’m honored” Eddie Cunningham
Eddie has the distinct honor of being inducted into the IDSS Hall of Fame for his life-time contribution to the Independent Music Industry. Eddie is seen holding his award in the picture while visiting the Songwriters Room at the Animated Hall Of Fame, confirming his induction into the Independent Superstars Hall Of Fame.
Biography of Eddie Cunningham:
Eclectic is an understatement when describing the singing, songwriting and song styling talents of Los Angeles recording artist and producer Eddie Cunningham, winner of the 8th Annual Independent Music Award for his heart blasting power gospel hit, “Jesus Is More Than A Name.” Conceived and recorded as part of the triple Grammy Award nominated Gram Parsons Notebook tribute CD, “Jesus Is More Than A Name” has continued winning awards and topping Americana and Faith Based charts ever since – with no sign of stopping. Prior to winning the Independent Music Award for Best Gospel, “Jesus Is More Than A Name” earned Cunningham three Grammy Award nominations for The Gram Parsons Notebook, The Southern California Music Award for Best Gospel, two nominations by The Los Angeles Music Awards for Best Gospel and Best Male Vocalist, The West Coast Songwriters International Award for Top Gospel, Honorable Mention in The Billboard World Song Contest, inclusion on the Top Ten …….Read More
EDDIE CUNNINGHAM HALL OF FAME AWARD
I could not help noticing that whenever Obama delivers a speech a young woman appears from nowhere to hug him, and if that does not happen he searches for a woman in the audience to go out and Hug. The pictures that i see of him hugging woman are a little over done it seems to me. So I am just wondering if the out going first lady should be concerned about the out going President and his hugging habit. I may be wrong but take a look at these pictures and you be the judge, and feel free to tell me that I am over reacting and if you are a woman, please if you don’t mind, tell me if you would be happy if your husband wants to hug this tight everywhere he goes.
Some more Intense Hugging below. Well there are more hugs on Google, but that’s all I had time for. Thank goodness not all Presidents are out to get the Hugging Vote, some want a give the ladies better futures instead a 15 second or more Presidential thrill in exchange FOR A VOTE.
– First published in 2014
CMT’s Nashville may have left the Volunteer State for the Broadway stage, but Music City shows no signs of giving up its Hollywood connections. Recent entertainment headlines announced a new TV project from Dolly Parton, and Dierks Bentley is making his first foray into episodic television with a development deal at FOX. Plugging country music stars into movies and TV is by no means a new concept, but it’s one that moves in cycles, and success as a country star is no guarantee for silver screen stardom.
The challenge for country music artists is not a lack of opportunity, but the type of roles available within a given trend or cultural cycle. The 1980s set a benchmark, fueled by several pop culture influences that created nostalgia for a South that never existed in films like Smokey & The Bandit and CBS’ The Dukes of Hazzard. When Urban Cowboy hit theaters in 1980, it kicked opened the door for country music stars to find new audiences in Hollywood. The 1980 film 9 to 5 made Dolly Parton an internationally known actress, but Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982) made her a movie star. Kenny Rogers extended his brand to made-for-TV movies adapted The Gambler (1980) and The Coward of the County (1982) before driving audiences to see Six Pack. Though no sequel followed, a TV series based on the film aired in 1983 featuring Don Johnson in the role of Brewster Baker and Joaquin Phoenix.
The big question marks for movie studios, producers, and artists: Will fans who follow the music follow the artist into the theater? Or can the artist create new fans who may not necessarily like the music?
The best example of this is Kris Kristofferson, whose career includes music and acting in equal doses. Whether starring in the critically acclaimed Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore or sharing the screen with Barbara Streisand in A Star Is Born, Kristofferson demonstrated a legitimate talent that could eclipse his music career. As an actor, Kristofferson would reach a different level of celebrity in the 1990s with the international success of the Blade vampire action films.
Without a franchise platform, even the most beloved talent can struggle at the box office. Even Dolly struggled with making the connection: Her 1984 film Rhinestone was a box office and critical disaster. Despite the film’s poor reception, her soundtrack contributions were embraced by fans and became Top 10 radio hits at the time.
The best example of this frustrating dichotomy may be George Strait and Pure Country: The soundtrack proved to be the highest selling of his career with more than six million units. It’s hard to find even a casual country music fan who doesn’t know “I Cross My Heart.” The movie, however, was far short of blockbuster material, returning $15 million against a $10 million budget in 1992. It wasn’t until the film reached rural markets through home video and near-continual airing on TNN and then CMT that it found a near-cult-level status amongst fans.
The cultural shift to home video is what saved so many artists’ performances for new generations of fans to find and explore. Today, the best way to find episodes of Shotgun Slade with Johnny Cash is to order them from Amazon. Fans of Conway Twitty can find his nearly forgotten performance in the 1960 comedy College Confidential starring TV icon Steve Allen. Home video is also where fans can explore more recent successes that may have passed unnoticed.
Roy Rogers is still the “reigning” king of singing cowboys with 118 credited roles. His TV appearances later in his career helped him surpass Gene Autry. Fans who visit the Cash Museum can see clips of a young Johnny Cash and movie posters, who made 26 appearances in film and TV shows. In the modern era, Billy Ray Cyrus and Trace Adkinswho lead country music artists who act with a combined 62 roles between them.
But the number of roles doesn’t really address the strength of the impression an artist can make on audiences. If the measure of crossover success for country music artists is durability and audience reach, there is only one atop the rankings.
Reba McEntire burst onto the movie scene in 1990 with the role of Heather Gummer in the monster thriller Tremors. The film performed well at the box office and, again thanks to home video, found a cult audience that propelled the film to five sequels, the most recent released in 2015. As if starting a second career, McEntire honed her skill with walk-on and guest roles and built her acting resume throughout the 1990s. In 2001, The WB network aired a pilot for a new show about a recently divorced mother and her pregnant teenage daughter. In the role of Reba Hart, McEntire would catapult to a different type of stardom.
With a total of 127 episodes across six seasons (2001 – 2007), Reba proved to be a solid ratings performer for The WB in its effort to challenge the “Alphabet Networks.” While the Nielsen ratings slotted the show in the bottom of its prime-time reporting, Reba regularly drew nearly 4 million weekly viewers. That was enough to ensure McEntire a contract worth more than $100,000 per episode. Syndication become a lucrative audience booster as fans in nations as far flung as the Czech Republic and Croatia connected with McEntire’s charm and the show’s comedic spin on family strength in challenging circumstances. In total, foreign syndication carried Reba to 30 different countries around the globe. The final episode reached more than 8 million international viewers.
Reba would return to TV in 2012 as Reba MacKenzie in Malibu Country, an ABC sitcom that offered a different spin on the same plot concept behind Reba. The show ran one season before being cancelled. McEntire continues to balance her career: Her new album, Stronger Than the Truth, will be released on April 5 and MCA Nashville is re-issuing a 25th anniversary edition of Read My Mind exclusively on vinyl. Meanwhile, McEntire is reportedly developing a TV project with super-producer Marc Cherry, best known for Desperate Housewives.
Dolly’s place as the Queen of Country is secure, but McEntire deserves her own accolade. While both artists were recognized with Kennedy Center Honors, McEntire carved a separate lane for her career that can’t be compared. Like Kristofferson before her, McEntire demonstrated a wholly separate set of artistic skills while continuing to thrive as a country music icon. With those accomplishments informing McEntire’s next steps, her third act may be the best yet.