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I.B. BAD: RISE OF THE
NEXT-GEN BALLERS
A hot list of buzzing execs and entrepreneurs (8/17a)
TOP 20: KESHA
AND CARRY
Just how big is Rainbow's pot of gold? (8/17a)
GREER HEADING TO DEF JAM AS EVP MARKETING & COMMERCE
The times (and labels) they are a changin'... (8/17a)
RATING THE BRITS
Ferdy on fire. (8/17a)
GREER HEADING TO DEF JAM AS EVP MARKETING & COMMERCE
The times (and labels) they are a changin'... (8/17a)
HITS' 31ST ANNIVERSARY ISSUE
It seemed like a good idea at the time.
WHAT'S FOR LUNCH
What we're eating. How long it took to arrive. How cranky we got.
A MASSIVE MIXTAPE?
Two giants of the form are rumored to be collaborating.
THE RETURN OF ROCK
Turns out it was just napping.
Music City
TWAIN SETS FIRST TOUR IN 3 YEARS
8/17/17

Shania Twain will hit the road next year in support of her new album, NOW (Mercury Nashville) starting 5/3 in Tacoma, Wash., and playing , Nashville on 7/21. It will be her first tour since 2015.

Twain premiered her new single "Swingin' With My Eyes Closed" Wednesday night on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

… Read more

 

JO WALKER-MEADOR, RIP
8/16/17

BY HOLLY GLEASON

She had the demeanor of one of Truman Capote’s “Swans,” the dignified New York socialites of a certain age who were so gracious and unflappable. But Jo Walker-Meador, who passed away this morning at 93, was a working-class young woman who took time off from her education to save money for college.

In one of those thankless “entry-level” positions so many women were filling in the ‘50s, Jo Walker excelled, as the Country Music Association’s only full-time employee. When the original director stepped down, no less than Minnie Pearl suggested the newly formed organization give Walker the Executive Director post in 1962. It was a good decision.

Under Walker-Meador’s leadership, the genre quickly expanded. Moving from 81 full-time stations to over 2,400 at the time of her retirement in 1991, country music had become the biggest radio format in America. She helped spearhead a movement to take country music overseas, opening an office in London and paving the way for country artists to tour, building enduring fan communities.

Even more importantly, Walker-Meador was the force behind creating (and building) the Country Music Hall of Fame. To recognize the very best the genre produces, the Hall includes artists, songwriters and business people. Walker-Meador was inducted in 1995.

Walker-Meador mentored, embraced, supported and especially maintained the refinement of a genre often dismissed as “hillbilly.” Under her guidance, she managed CMA Boards of disparate personality, agenda and vision. Somehow during upheaval periods, she managed to maintain cohesion and move the genre forward.

But just as importantly, she made people feel welcome, whether they were superstars like Willie Nelson—whom she watched rise from songwriter for Patsy Cline and Ray Price to failed recording artist to Outlaw icon—and Dolly Parton—a songwriter who teamed with Porter Wagoner and went on to be an actress, activist and ambassador for East Tennessee—or unlikely outsiders like Lyle Lovett, whose Texas country built on jazz, Western and Texas distinct singer/songwriters. Second generation stars Pam Tillis, Hank Williams, Jr, Carlene Carter, Lorrie Morgan and Rosanne Cash, and mainstream breakouts from Garth Brooks, George Strait and Reba McEntire to Faith Hill, were all seen in an individual light.

Walker had the rudder during identity crises, including The New York Times’ 1985 pronouncement that country music was dead, the post-“Urban Cowboy” pop fall-out, the scruffy songwriter-driven Outlaws, the return of traditionalists, the alternative credibility scare and every color in between. She loved all, she mitigated much—and she kept the genre growing.

When Columbia Nashville had a bookish Brown University grad who’d lived all over the world and came from the D.C. folk clubs, she and CMA Awards producer Irving Waugh came to New York’s Bottomline to figure out what to do. Impressed by her verve and intelligent lyrics, she wow’ed the audience in the first year, truculently skewering her fate with “Opening Act” all by herself. Charmed when she had an actual hit single, they allowed her to bring her band and perform the Cajun-steeped “Down at the Twist & Shout” the next year.

Mary Chapin Carpenter was nothing like a Barbara Mandrell, a Loretta Lynn or a Tammy Wynette, yet Walker-Meador’s faith in the buoyant songwriter was life-changing. Her second CMA performance was enough to convince Tisha Fein and Walter Miller to book the first-time nominee on the Grammys to perform the same song with Louisiana’s BeauSoleil.

For a woman who’d only heard church music, whose family didn’t own a radio, she was an amazing advocate for artists. She was also an unstoppable champion for a genre and industry that had perception obstacles, less access to the media centers and the bias of sophisticated people everywhere.

Sometimes the ones with the biggest impact aren’t the people banging the drum, shouting from the rooftops or surging ahead. Jo Walker-Meador brought a Jackie Kennedy Onassis refinement to how she worked for country music; juxtaposing expectation with its antithesis. Without her, who knows what would—or would not—have happened.


**Photo Credit: Beth Gwinn / CMA

A HAYES-Y SUMMER AFTERNOON
8/16/17


Atlantic Nashville
's Hunter Hayes popped by the Academy of Country Music offices this week to play some acoustic tunes and chat about what's new. 

While there, ACM CEO Pete Fisher (pictured) attempted to convince Hayes of just how country Encino could be. We'll let you figure out if he was successful or not.

Hayes, who can be seen in a clip from his visit here, recently put out single "Rescue," which has since been streamed 5m+ times. The video for that song is currently at 604k+ YouTube views.

DOLLY BELIEVES IN KIDS
8/16/17

By Holly Gleason

Few things other than a handful of Ritalin can maintain calm and quiet among 60+ children under six. But leave it to Dolly Parton, resplendent in pink, liquid-velvet capri pants and a matching fitted jacket, to enthrall a roomful of little kids with her high-wattage smile and unfettered charm. While she directed her comments to both “the little kids” and “the grown-ups,” it was clear that the children took precedence in her heart as she announced I Believe In You. Her first children’s album arrives digitally on 9/29 and physically on 10/13 from RCA Nashville/Dolly Records. The project grew out of Parton’s Imagination Library, a charity the Country Music Hall of Famer began in 1997 to provide a book every month to the children around Pigeon Forge.

Read the rest here.

LEE ANN WOMACK'S ATO DEBUT, AND A TOUR TO BOOT
8/15/17

Lee Ann Womack has set the drop date for her ATO Records debut, The Lonely, The Lonesome & the Gone, for 10/27. The album was produced by Womack's husband, Frank Liddell, and is a blend of country, soul, gospel and blues. A majority of the songs were co-written by Womack herself, but also features her rendition of George Jones' "Please Take The Devil Out of Me," along with three other covers.  

The Lonely, The Lonesome & the Gone is preceded by the single "All The Trouble," co-written by bandmates Adam Wright and Waylon Payne, which you can listen to below. Prior to the release of her album, Womack will be embarking on a 21-date nationwide tour; dates below. 

All The Trouble (Audio Only) by Lee Ann Womack on VEVO.

 

Tour Dates:

8/25    Evansville, IN*
8/26    Champaign, IL*
8/27    Glasgow, KY
9/8      St. Charles, MO*
9/9      Cedar Rapids, IA
9/10    Turtle Lake, WI
9/14    Nashville, TN
9/22    Charleston, WV*
9/23    Erie, PA*
9/28    Marfa, TX
10/7    Clinton, TN
10/20  Hickory, NC
10/27  Green Bay, WI
10/28  Minneapolis, MN*
10/29  Ottumwa, IA
11/3    Lafayette, LA*
11/4    Belton, TX*
1/5      Steamboat, CO
1/23    New Philadelphia,  PA
2/4      New Orleans, LA
2/16    Scottsdale, AZ

CHESNEY CHRONICLES NO SHOES NATION ON LIVE ALBUM
8/15/17

For his new live album, due 10/27 from Blue Chair Bay/Columbia Nashville, Kenny Chesney pulled out jams with Taylor Swift, Eric Church, Zac Brown Band and Dave Matthews in creating a “sonic document” of No Shoes Nation.

“I’ve always said the energy that comes at us, it lifts us up – and really makes us take things even further. Listening, I realized we can’t take that intensity all the way in in the moment,” Chesney says. “I wondered if everyone who’s come out to one of our shows realizes how incredible they sound; if like us, they’re so in the moment, they had no idea. They’re what makes this music special—and this, to me, was a great way to let them know it.”

To create his 29-track live album Kenny Chesney: Live in No Shoes Nation, Chesney went back 10 years and started listening to tapes of his shows to select the best performances. A medley of Steve Miller and Bob Marley with Matthews is from 2007;

the recording of “Flora-Bama” is from the first time he played it live; the

homages to Guy Clark and Bruce Springsteen provide the quieter moments.

Here’s the track listing.

Flora–Bama
Summertime
Big Star (with Taylor Swift)
Boston
When I See This Bar (with Eric Church)
No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems
Anything But Mine
Down the Road (with Mac McAnally)
Guitars and Tiki Bars
Hemingway’s Whiskey
Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven (with Zac Brown Band)
I’m Alive
Save It for a Rainy Day (with Old Dominion)
Pirate Flag
Somewhere With You
I Go Back
One Step Up
American Kids
You And Tequila (with Grace Potter)
Young
There Goes My Life
Out Last Night
Dust on the Bottle (with David Lee Murphy)
Coastal
The Boys of Fall
Noise
Old Blue Chair
The Joker/Three Little Birds (with Dave Matthews)
Happy on the Hey Now

 

 

 

CMA SECOND-ROUND DEADLINE LOOMS
8/14/17

The voting deadline for the Second Round of balloting for the 2017 CMA Awards is Thursday, August 24, 2017 at 6:00 PM/CT. Please make a note of it. Speaking of the Sarah Trahern-led org, you can watch the CMA Fest broadcast on ABC this Wednesday night (8/16).

BRAD PAISLEY PONYS UP FOR HIS FIRST RODEO
8/14/17

Brad Paisley's very own comedy special is coming to Netflix. The show, titled Brad Paisley's Comedy Rodeo, will feature the Grammy-winning Arista Nashville star as host and MC, playing songs and bringing up comedians who include Nate Bargatze, Sarah Tiana, Jon ReepMike E. Winfield and John Heffron.

The posse all got together with Paisley during Nashville's Wild West Comedy Festival, where the special was shot. You can peep the trailer right here and catch the full special when it hits Netflix on 8/15.