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THE POP LOGJAM: RADIO BATTLE ROYALE
Standing-room only on the airwaves (5/22a)
HARRY STYLES LIGHTS UP TROUBADOUR WITH SURPRISE GIG
...with a little help from Stevie Nicks. (5/22a)
IRVING ON VALUE OF YOUTUBE TO BIZ: "NONE"
But what does he really think? (5/22a)
IN OTHER NEWS,
TODAY IS WEDNESDAY
Same as it ever was. (5/22a)
RATINGS DROP FOR BIBLE'S AWARDS SHOW
At least the reviews were... Never mind. (5/22a)
A&R IN THE AGE OF STREAMING
You know you were wondering.
LORDE'S NEXT LEVEL
How Melodrama took shape.
NASHVILLE BIG CAT
His last album made him a star. Will this one explode?
APPLE'S NEXT MOVE
The plan for domination.
Music City
JASON ALDEAN BRINGS HIS FANS ON THE ROAD WITH NEW MUSIC VIDEO
5/22/17

Broken Bow RecordsJason Aldean takes his fans behind the scenes of his tour in the music video for his latest single, "They Don't Know."

His seventh studio album's title track—currently #36 and climbing at Country radio—is about celebrating his country roots and the unique experience that comes with being from a rural place.

Aldean makes his fans the focus of his video, and expresses his gratitude for them and everyone who played a role in putting his tour together at the start of the video. Aldean, who took home the 2017 Academy of Country Music award for Entertainer of the Year, released the video exclusively with USA Today and you can watch it here

 

WARMING UP TO WHEELER'S "SUMMERS"
5/19/17

"Summers in Kentucky," the new single from Wheeler Walker Jr., will go for adds at all major Country stations on 5/22. And while some would say it's a stretch for the format, programmers with a flexible outlook are finding it a surprisingly good fit. 

Like so many great country songs, "Summers" (written by Walker and appearing on the album Ol' Wheeler, which drops 6/2 on Pepperhill Records) addresses relationships and the passage of time, and how life's changes can transform the way we connect. Check it out (warning: NSFW).

"Originally, I thought that doing an expensive radio tour to promote a single that contains language about a stretched out p*ssy was a waste of time," said Walker. "But I'm so glad it's paying off! I expect every radio station in America to put this song in heavy rotation, even the sh*tty stations that play that butt-awful Sam Hunt song. Also, what does it mean if your body is like a back road? Does that mean it's covered in gravel and sh*t?"

COUNTRY STARS GO TO BAT FOR CITY OF HOPE (UPDATE)
5/17/17

More heavy hitters have been added to the City of Hope Celebrity Softball Game. Craig MorganThe Swon BrothersJessie James Decker and her husband, NFL player Eric DeckerJackie LeeMaggie RoseDrew Scott from HGTV's Property Brothers and Todd Chrisley, Savannah Chrisley, and Chase Chrisley of USA’s Chrisley Knows Best are the announced additions.

This year's event also features a murderer's row of play-by-play announcers. Brenda LeeLee GreenwoodJeannie Seely and Tim Rushlow are the confirmed yakkers.

Previously announced participants include Bobby Bones, Sara Evans, Trent Harmon, Reba McEntire, Kellie Pickler, Lauren Alaina, Aaron Watson, Danielle Bradbery, Kaitlyn Bristowe and Shawn Booth. Word is Reba is a double threat: She will be throwing her wicked curve and singing the National Anthem.

Held 6/10 at 11am at First Tennessee Park in Nashville, the game pits teams repping iHeart Media versus SiriusXM/Grand Ole Opry. All net proceeds benefit City of Hope. Click here for more information. 

AMERICANA ORG TO HONOR MORRISON
5/12/17

The Belfast Cowboy will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting at the 2017 Americana Honors & Awards at the Ryman Auditorium on 9/13. That cowboy, Van Morrison, will also headline the Ascend Amphitheater show on 9/14 during AmericanaFest.

"We are humbled and couldn’t be more excited to honor Van Morrison at our premier event of the year and are thrilled to present Mr. Morrison at Ascend Amphitheater,” Jed Hilly, Executive Director of the Americana Music Association, said. “Mr. Morrison has created a catalog of music that has served as a soundtrack for our lives."

For more information about the Americana Honors & Awards, click here.

  

SCOTTY'S CRUCIAL "MINUTES"
5/10/17

Without benefit of a label or promotion department, Scott McCreery has had a gangbusters opening for new single "Five More Minutes." The American Idol winner sold 11k singles on day of release (5/5), and was #2 over the course of the weekend, behind only Sam Hunt. He's also doing 2k+ tickets per market as headliner, with label interest growing and social-media response to the moving single becoming intense (he has 1m Twitter followers and 2.2 Facebook).

"We all knew the song was a big hit," says WME's Rob Beckham. "It just had to be delivered the right way. Scotty and manager George Couri did a masterful job."

GARTH GETS BACK TO THE FORUM
5/10/17

The last time Garth Brooks appeared at the Forum, Bill Clinton was President, Brooks’ album Fresh Horses was a phenomenon, and he was in the midst of one of the largest grossing tours of the 1990s. Brooks returns to the venerable Inglewood arena for the first time in 21 years 7/29 as part of his 2017 world tour–it’s also his last stop in the California/Nevada/Arizona area on his current sojourn. Opening is Trisha Yearwood, who also accompanied Brooks during the halcyon world tour of 1996-98.

 Tickets go on sale 5/19 at 10am PDT via Ticketmaster. There is an eight ticket limit per person.

THE AMERICANA NOMS ARE IN
5/9/17

BY HOLLY GLEASON

Just six awards, that’s all that are voted on for the Americana Music Awards. Though myriad lifetime achievement awards are also presented, the roots music organization—presided over by Jed Hilly (pictured)—only sends six categories to their members for vote. This year, with perhaps the most coherent ballot ever, finds brutal competition amongst a cadre of longtime Americanans.

Post-outlaw insurgent Sturgill Simpson leads with three nominations: Artist, Album (for A Sailor’s Guide to Earth) and Song (for “All Around You”). Southern roots rockers The Drive By Truckers, Boston alt-songwriter Lori McKenna and post-country icon Rodney Crowell are the others with multiple nominations. DBT picks up a Duo/Group and a well-deserved Album of the Year nod for American Band, while McKenna finds herself up for both Artist and Song of the Year (“Wreck You”). Crowell picks up Song with “It Ain’t Over Yet,” a high-profile event single with The Civil WarsJohn Paul White and Rosanne Cash, and Album of the Year with Close Ties.

“Every category is fantastic,” says Hilly of this year’s slate. “If I have a problem, it’s that the quality of the music coming out of this genre is so high, we don’t have enough categories.”

While many years have seen streamlining superstars recognized (Bob Dylan, Robert Plant), this year’s nominees make up a more focused group of core artists who exist solidly in the Americana tent. The other Artist of the Year nominees include last year’s Song of the Year winner Jason Isbell, raw country upstart Margo Price and John Prine, while Hurray for the Riff Raff’s Navigator and Rhiannon GiddensFreedom Highway fill out the Album of the Year category.

In an awards show universe where women are routinely a minor slice of the nominees, two women are nominated in both the Artist and Album of the Year categories, and two of those women (one in each) are relatively emerging artists.

The press conference, hosted by The Milk Carton Kids, hit a high note when Isbell joined Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley for an ad hoc reunion of the former Trucker with his bandmates. As Cooley pointed out in a deadpan manner, “This is weird.” That said, their voices on Isbell’s back-in-the-day “Outfit” held all the spark of back when.

  L-R, Back Row: Mike Cooley (Drive-By Truckers), Jason Isbell, Jerry Douglas, Caitlin Canty, Patterson Hood (Drive-By Truckers), Abi Tapia (Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum) / L-R, Front Row: Joey Ryan (The Milk Carton Kids), Jed Hilly, and Kenneth Pattengale (The Milk Carton Kids) /  Photo: Rick Diamond, Getty Images

As Americana continues to grow, hearkening back to the early days of South by Southwest, the AMAs are becoming a place for validation. Emerging artists Brent Cobb, Sam Outlaw, Amanda Shires and Aaron Lee Tasjan have all seen significant critical acclaim over the past year and feel poised for the Simpson/2016 Artist of the Year Stapleton/Isbell lift.

With The Lumineers joining Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives to fill out Duo/Group, instrumental prowess is as important in this category as songs, touring and the records made. Longtime Texas hotshot Charlie Sexton finds himself vying with Spencer Cullum, Jr., Jen Gunderman and Courtney Hartman for Instrumentalist of the Year.

For the nominees, it all comes together on 9/13 at the Ryman Auditorium. As always, the kick-off event for the annual Americana Music Conference & Festival sets the tone for an extended week of panels, shows and other events.

BALLERINI, RHETT, URBAN
TOP CMT AWARD NOMS
5/9/17

Kelsea Ballerini, Thomas Rhett and Keith Urban received four CMT Music Awards nominations today for their music videos and social media presence. Ballerini’s "Peter Pan," Rhett’s "Star of the Show" and Urban’s "Blue Ain't Your Color" are up for Video of the Year.

... Read more 

 

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