Category Archives: Country Artist
Most have heard the story of Johnny Cash, but how many know the Carter Family story, how it began and how the Cashes and Carters intertwined?
The Winding Stream tells the story of the Carter family… The struggles, their start and journey in country music, leading to a life-long legacy with the marriage of Johnny and June.
Eager for the screening of this film, and having watched it, I believe Johnny Cash fans who want the whole story should see it. Note… It’s NOT a film all about Johnny Cash. If that’s what you’re hoping too see, you’ll be slightly disappointed.
I must admit, this film educated me quite a bit on the foundation of country music, and the impact the Carter family had in regards to its growth. They were instrumental in building what is now known, as real country music.
Photo credit: Glynis Carpenter
Country Music headliner Martina McBride’s catalog overflows with powerfully communicative performances. The playful “I Love You,” the heartbroken ballad “Wrong Again,” and the empowering anthems “Independence Day,” “This One’s for the Girls” and “Wrong Baby Wrong” unfold along clear lines of melody, which the five-time CMA Award winner animated with her own distinctive phrasing and interpretive sense.
Dallas Smith got into Country Music by Default. Default, of course, was the superstar band whose neo-grunge anthems shot them to the top of Canada’s indie-rock pile in the early ’00s. Their No. 2 smash in the U.S., “Wasting My Time,” exemplified their sound, particularly in Smith’s vocals: hurt, angry and ecstatic, all at the same time.
So here is Smith again, this time singing about moonshine, the Fourth of July, tan lines, Mountain Dew, Daisy Dukes and even “panties in your purse.” His angst has yielded to a more ebullient and exuberant approach. Somehow a little down-home drawl has softened his delivery, and even his song titles have started dropping their “g’s.”
Photo credit: Kristin Barlowe
And guess what? With the release of his EP Tippin’ Point, produced by Joey Moi, we may be meeting the real Dallas Smith for the first time. Raised in rural British Columbia, he grew up to the tune of his mother’s Country albums, with plenty of Garth Brooks, Brooks & Dunn and Alan Jackson on the playlist. To these influences, he added Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban and other Country connoisseurs of strong melodies and expressive vocals. From Default, he learned to project with deep emotion; from Country, he stirred in some humor and accessibility. And on the title track and first single, written by Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley, with Jaren Johnston, he ties it together with a lip-tripping hook, like he was born to sing this way. By Bob Doerschuk
For more on Dallas Smith, visit www.CMACloseUp.com.
IN HIS OWN WORDS
Pistol Annies guitar straps, created by Terry Misner of Action Custom Straps.
Photo Credit: Courtesy Action Guitar Straps
A guitar strap is more than a means to support a piece of musical equipment. It’s also a canvas for personal expression and for helping audiences see exactly who you are.
Take Marty Roe. When the Diamond Rio guitarist wanted a strap with a prisoner-of-war theme for the video of “In God We Still Trust,” he called on Jeri Hart, founder of the St. Louis-based jeri designs. She fashioned a one-of-a-kind strap: thick but supple belt leather, painted blue, airbrushed with the words “You are not forgotten” and adorned on the front with a hand-cut kidskin POW logo.
Saloon pianos clink, guitars crunch and fiddles, well, they fiddle throughout Write You a Song, Jon Pardi’s debut album on Capitol Records Nashville. And it fits together into a package that practically dares you not to get up and dance.
A lot of Pardi’s energy stems from days on the road and long nights on stages throughout his home state of California. He was already absorbing the spirit of real-world Country when he performed “Friends in Low Places” at age 7 for his father’s 30th birthday party. His first songs came at 12, his first band debuted two years later. The move to Nashville followed two restless years at Butte Junior College.
Justin Moore is a man who listens to his gut … and his gut was telling him that Off the Beaten Path, his third studio album on The Valory Music Co. label, was complete. In fact, he was sure that these 16 tracks would tell the story he wanted to tell, as an artist and a person, more clearly than anything he had recorded previously.
There was just one problem.
Rather than flow in one direction, similar to a storyline in a single song, Bill Gentry’s life has veered in a dozen directions. The son of a minister who died when he was 2, Gentry won the state 4-H performance contest, got kicked out of his high school band, was kidnapped along with two of his colleagues in a rock band, served as president of his junior college class, ran for city council, launched a successful data-compiling company, interned for Sen. Sam Nunn in Washington, was lovingly told by his sister that she never wants to sing with him again and most recently founded and ran Wild Bill’s, the huge and successful Country venue near Atlanta.
In that last incarnation, Gentry booked many of the biggest acts in the business. Though he’d never really stopped playing, being witness to great shows night after night rekindled Gentry’s determination to aim for his own place in the spotlight too.
“The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
of things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard on the distant hill
We are so excited to share that our new album A Thousand Miles Left Behind is now available everywhere! Go download it on iTunes, order it in our online store, or pick it up at your local music store. We can’t wait for you to hear these new songs!
Yesterday we had a blast playing on Good Morning America then heading to Nashville to play at the Billboard Pepsi Summer Beats Concert. Last night’s video is up on demand HERE. Don’t forget, we’ll be performing on Fox & Friends All-American Summer Concert Series this Friday, August 3rd at 7:30am EST on the FOX News channel. Check your local listings.
Tom, Rachel, Mike
There’s a noble lineage in Country Music composed of singers who are short in stature but towering in talent. From Brenda Lee to Little Jimmy Dickens, this group is often overlooked (so to speak) — an injustice that Beth Cayhall is determined to rectify.
Raised in Ocean View, Del., she first made her presence known at age 4 by soloing on “Dear Mr. Jesus” at her church. Growing up, she drew inspiration from Garth Brooks, Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, Martina McBride, Reba, Shania Twain and other Country stalwarts. Other influences enriched her development, most notably Otis Redding; elements of his intensity, along with other soul music icons, flavor her performances.
Country, though, is Cayhall’s cornerstone. That’s what her paternal grandfather and his siblings featured in their band. Her parents were musicians too, as were two brothers and her sisters. Like the spray of the nearby Atlantic, playing and singing were in the air around her; this may explain the confidence she exudes during each moment of her debut album on Go Time Records, Worth Fighting For. Read the rest of this entry