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Chris All About Making a Connection With Fans

Chris Stapleton Is All About Making a “Connection” With Fans

Inspired by the Honesty in Waylon Jennings’ Music

It’s no secret Chris Stapleton holds Waylon Jennings in high esteem. Chris is quick to cite Waylon as one of his seminal influences, and critics are fond of drawing comparisons between the two artists famous for their powerful voices and gritty lyrics.

“[Waylon is] in a lot of what I do, whether I am trying or not, just like a lot of other guys and heroes,” says Chris to Nash Country Daily. “If you listen to someone enough, you don’t necessarily have to try to emulate them, they will wind up in what you do. Hopefully it will make people feel like there’s a connection there.”

If you’ve seen Chris perform live, there’s a good chance you’ve felt the aforementioned “connection” as he covered one of Waylon’s songs, perhaps “Ain’t Living Long Like This,” “Amanda” or “Outlaw Bit.”

“There’s a lot of, a lot of honesty in Waylon Jennings’ music . . . he had his own sound, and I think that’s something that everybody that plays music is always looking to try to get to—whatever that may be—and sometimes you wind up having your own sound and you don’t know that you’re doing that, but I think they were just playing music and having fun and you can hear that. What you got on a recording was pretty much what you were gonna hear when you went to watch ’em play and that informs things that I do, you know? You try to keep it as straight ahead as you can and don’t go doing too many things that you can’t show up and play live for the people.”

Cole Swindell’s New Video “Beer in the Headlights”

Watch Cole Swindell’s New Video for “Beer in the Headlights”

Cole Swindell dropped his new EP, Down Home Sessions IV, on November 24

The five-song EP features acoustic versions of songs Cole wrote for other artists, including “Beer in the Headlights,” a tune Luke Bryan recorded on his 2013 album, Crash My Party.

“‘Beer in the Headlights’ was the song that—when Luke recorded it, it was right before I got my record deal—I said, ‘Man, if I ever write another song I love this much, I’ve got to keep it,’” said Cole to Nash Country Daily. “Two months later, I wrote ‘Chillin’ It’ and here we are.”

Watch Cole’s new video for “Beer in the Headlights” below.

written by Jim Casey | NashCountryDaily

Sugarland Announces New Single, ‘Still The Same’

Sugarland Announces New Single, ‘Still The Same’

After a nearly five-year hiatus, Sugarland is back and ready to make a huge splash! The GRAMMY-winning duo has announced their first single since reuniting, “Still The Same,” which is set for release on December 21.

“We are thrilled for fans to hear our new music, especially this new single,” said Jennifer Nettles in a press release. “The title of the song is so meaningful to us as we want fans to know, we are still the same, we are still the same Sugarland they’ve known and loved.”

Added Kristian Bush, “We want to finish where we left off. We always knew were going to make music again, so this has been the best of both worlds. We were able to take time to feed our personal passions, and we’re excited to come back together to create music as a band again.”

Sugarland shocked fans when they made their first appearance together during the 51st Annual CMA Awards. While presenting the award for Vocal Duo of the Year, Nettles and Bush teased that they’d soon be making a return to the country world. Following the awards ceremony, the duo performed their hit ballad, “Stay,” at the Big Machine Label Group afterparty.

Nettles and Bush later revealed during an interview on the Bobby Bones Show that they’d soon be sharing their new tunes, as well as hitting the road for a 2018 tour.

In addition to releasing their new song, Sugarland has been tapped to perform at this year’s Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2018 special. Hosted by Ryan Seacrest, the end-of-the-year television special will also feature performances from Nick Jonas and Camila Cabello. Additional performers will be announced in the coming weeks.

Fans can catch Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Even with Ryan Seacrest 2018 on Sunday, Dec. 31, beginning at 8:00 p.m. EST on ABC.

“Still the Same,” a joint release between Big Machine Records and UMG Nashville, will hit country radio on December 21.

 – TasteOfCountry

Gwen Stefani’s Early Christmas Present Is Blake Shelton

Gwen Stefani’s Early Christmas Present Is Blake Shelton

Christmas has come early for Gwen Stefani, and she’s revealing her favorite holiday gift this year: her boyfriend Blake Shelton.

The superstar shares a handsome photo of the country singer on her Instagram page, where he gives the camera a sultry look showing off his blue eyes while representing his new Ole Red brand in a shirt and hat. “Got my Christmas present already,” she writes in the caption of the sharp picture with the hashtags #youmakeitfeellikechristmas and #yum.

The couple has been actively getting fans in the holiday spirit with their duet on the title track of Stefani’s new album, You Make it Feel Like Christmas. Seeing as Shelton is her Christmas present this year, Stefani is returning the favor, revealing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon that she’s getting her boyfriend a couch for Christmas that he can sit on when he makes fires outside her L.A. home.

– TasteOfCountry

Lee Ann Womack’s More Where That Came From

Vintage Album Review – Lee Ann Womack’s “There’s More Where That Came From”

What is so groundbreaking about a ragingly-traditional country record released in the dead middle of an artist’s career that has gone mostly overlooked by time? When its 2005, and the artist is Lee Ann Womack, just about everything. It’s not that There’s More Where That Came From deserves to be enshrined on the very top row of country music’s landmark records in history. But it might be the best effort from one of modern country music’s best singers, and at the time it was such a bold, unabashed expression from someone reasserting her own voice, it works as a great lesson of what to do, and what not to do in country music.

Womack was still very much residing in the shadow of her landmark, signature single “I Hope You Dance” in 2005 when There’s More Where That Came From first graced the shelves, even though it had been a good five years since the song’s release. Though the output from Lee Ann’s first couple of records was quite traditional in nature (go back and listen to a song like “Am I The Only Thing That You’ve Done Wrong”), the success of “I Hope You Dance” had MCA Nashville, and perhaps Womack herself seeing dollar signs, or maybe willing to stretch the limits to see just how far the franchise could go, and had Womack both looking and sounding like something not completely herself.

Lee Ann’s 2002 record Something Worth Leaving Behind was all over the place. It was partly rock, partly who knows what to call it, where you hear a song like “I Need You” with it’s muffled drum intro almost like a drum machine chased by braying guitars, and it sounds like a precursor to some of the worst music of modern country today. That said, “He’ll Be Back” from that record might be one of the best gems of Womack’s entire career—if you made it that far into the tack list to hear it. Something Worth Leaving Behind didn’t produce a Top 10 hit, and so whatever experiment was going on there was ultimately deemed unsuccessful, and for good reason.

So why not press the reset button, start over, and go back to what you do best, which is making traditional country? For so many that still hear Womack’s name, they instantly think of “I Hope You Dance,” and don’t give a second thought of giving her music a shot. Recently when she called out the modern sound of country radio, calls of hypocrisy came raining back on her. And that’s one of the many reasons a re-evalution of There’s More Where That Came From is in order for anyone who believes the Womack name is synonymous with country pop.

From the very beginning with the title track’s twin fiddle intro, until the very end with Lee Ann covering the Jack Clement-penned “Someone I Used to Know,” There’s More Where That Came From is a hands down, knockout, hardcore traditional country record full of heartbreak, cheating, fiddle and steel guitar, with not a damn bit of let up in how it comes at you with one tearjerker after another.

One great thing about a great vintage record is pouring through the liner notes to see all the great names who contributed to the effort, who may have seemed rather commonplace or maybe even unknown at the time, but turned out to be quite significant later. Chris Stapleton was a co-writer on the title track, a good decade before he would release his first solo record and become a superstar.

Odie Blackmon writes the excellent song, “I May Hate Myself in the Morning,” bottling up all those emotions of not being able to leave a past lover behind and putting them into rhyme and verse, and giving Lee Ann the Top 10 hit her previous record failed to deliver. And even though Womack has never been considered a prolific songwriter, her name is on some of her most signature tunes, including the tear-jerking “Twenty Years and Two Husbands Ago,” co-authored by Dean Dillon.

Musicians who appear include steel guitar player Robby Turner of Waylon Jennings and The Highwaymen fame, fellow steel player Paul Franklin, Stuart Duncan on mandolin, Randy Scruggs and Bryan Sutton on guitar, along with a host of other of Nashville’s top session musicians that in the 12 years since have virtually disappeared from the mainstream sound, but give this record those warm, familiar tones that grace all great timeless projects.

After the failure of her previous record, There’s More Where That Came From became both a creative and commercial success. It won the CMA for Album of the Year in 2005, and “I May Hate Myself in the Morning” was named Single of the Year.

With how notorious Music Row is for taking the true voices and styles of artists, and either hiding them, leading them astray, or stifling them completely, no artist should be forced to answer for any one song or album they may release that seems less than themselves. Lee Ann Womack’s career will forever be defined by “I Hope You Dance,” and the reason is because it was an iconic song that resonated so far and wide it went beyond the boundaries of country, and became the perfect sentiment for some people’s most important moments in their lives, regardless of how “country” it was.

But when you dig deep into the career of Lee Ann Womack, and when the true listeners take stock, Lee Ann will also be remembered as one of traditional country’s most staunchest champions, and during an era when pop was encroaching on country like never before. A record like There’s More Where That Came From proves this unarguably.

– SavingCountryMusic.com

Luke Bryan American Idol Makes Me A Better Artist

Luke Bryan On ‘American Idol’: ‘It Makes Me A Better Artist’

American Idol is a new ballgame for Luke Bryan, but not only does he love being a judge, he also feels it’s making him a better artist and more well-rounded person. Speaking to Taste of Country and other media, Bryan is open about the fact that he enters opportunities like this “naively,” but sees it as a learning process.

Between being on the road and devoting a significant amount of time for for his Idol duties, the singer says it can take a toll on his personal life. “With Idol, it is a strain on our family unit,” he admits. “But the way you get through it is you communicate first.”

Bryan has a rock in his wife Caroline, who he says is observant yet self-assured. She takes a step back to look at a situation, gather information and work through it to ensure that the ventures Bryan is taking on are worthwhile — a process that helped his decision in accepting the Idol gig. “The big question was, ‘Am I going to enjoy it and love it?’ And here in the early stages, I’m having a blast with it,” he raves of the experience. “I’m loving every second of it.”

  – TasteOfCountry

Chris Stapleton: ‘Sad Songs Make Me Happy’

Chris Stapleton: ‘Sad Songs Make Me Happy’

Where some find hurt, Chris Stapleton finds happiness.

The country star, who won Album of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year at the 51st annual CMA Awards, is known for his soulful and emotional country ballads. And according to Stapleton, those somber songs bring him a sense of comfort.

“In the strangest way, sad songs make me happy,” Stapleton tells Taste of Country. “My wife (Morgane) is the same way. She likes sad songs. … I think I like sad songs because when you sing sad songs or heartbreak songs, everybody’s been there at one point or another. It makes everybody feel less alone if they are in that space. … I feel like those songs have more power than happy songs, sometimes. Not that happy songs don’t have power, but they’re harder to come by.”

Stapleton, who released his third album, From A Room: Volume 2, on Dec. 1, also prefers his songs to be released in album format as opposed to singles format, so listeners can fully comprehend his body of work. And though albums may appear to be declining in popularity as the music business evolves, Stapleton believes singles will never fully trump the album format.

“I think if a certain segment of our population as consumers and as creators want to have that (singles) culture we’re gonna have that, but I think there’s always gonna be a set of listeners who want something a little more than that,” he says. “I think if we take care and are mindful to keep creating albums that people actually want to listen to; it falls over on this side. … There’s always gonna be somebody making an album because they’re in love with it in some way, shape or form. I don’t think it will ever go away, personally.”

From A Room: Volume 2 is Stapleton’s second album release of 2017. His CMA Award-winning From A Room: Volume 1 came out in May.

 – TasteOfCountry

Home Free Shines in Brand New “MayDay” Video

Home Free Shines in Brand New “MayDay” Music Video

Home Free is back with a new cover video for their take on Cam’s “Mayday”

“Mayday” is featured on the group’s latest album TIMELESS, their fourth Top 10 entry on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. They originally recorded the song in 2016, but it quickly made the cut when selecting tracks for the then-planned 2017 release. The accompanying music video was filmed at The Machine Shop, a renovated turn-of-the-century mill in Minneapolis.

“’Mayday’ is such a well-written song to begin with, but there are so many interesting musical elements on the original that it gave each of us room to have some fun and put our individual twists on it,” says bassist Tim Foust, who exercises his full five-octave range on the track, taking high lead.

The quintet is set to celebrate the holiday season from coast to coast on their A COUNTRY CHRISTMAS Tour kicking off November 29 in Rochester, MN. After ringing in the new year with a special NYE performance in Morton, MN, they will continue their TIMELESS Tour into 2018, visiting more than 30 cities across the country including two-night stints in Dallas, TX and Knoxville, TN, plus a much-anticipated stop at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium on April 6. Tickets for all dates are on sale now and selling fast.

– TasteOfCountry

Kelsea Ballerini is Hitched!

Kelsea Ballerini is Hitched!

Kelsea Ballerini is a married woman! According to People, Kelsea and her fiance Morgan Evans said ‘I do’ surrounded by friends and family beachside in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Ballerini wore a classic lace gown and the couple exchanged rings with personal messages engraved on them. You can see a photo of the stunning bride and her groom below

– TasteOfCountry

Sugarland Hints at a Reunion…and Very, Very Soon!

Sugarland Hints at a Reunion…and Soon!

Get excited Sugarland fans are back together again and everything is “Still the Same”!

During the 51st Annual CMA Awards, Nettles and Bush shocked the country music world when they took the stage together, made a cryptic comment, and immediately reignited their joint social media accounts for award-winning duo Sugarland.

In the process of Sugarland’s social media accounts becoming active again, the pair continued to tease an uproarious fan base by using #StillTheSame.

What does this mean for those of us who have been longing for a Sugarland reunion? Well, first and foremost, our eyes are glued to the duo’s website and social media accounts, waiting to find out what this mysterious hashtag means. Our prediction is there a single is around the corner — we just aren’t quite sure when it will emerge.

What are your Sugarland predictions? New single? New album? Tour announcement? All of the above? Let us know!

– TheNashvilleGab

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