Blog Archives

Bucky Covington Blazes a Path toward Fire Safety

Bucky Covington and members of the Nashville Fire Department film the “Be a Hero/ Save a Hero” PSA. Photo credit: Tim Miller Spectacular entrances are traditional at the CMA Awards along the Macy’s Walk of Stars, but it’s safe to say no one will soon top the 2012 arrival of Bucky Covington, who showed up aboard a vintage Nashville Fire Department truck as red flashers whirled.

Aside from fulfilling every kid’s fantasy, Covington chose this vehicle to inspire support for firefighters who lost their lives or suffered debilitating injuries while on the job.

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NEW ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Lucky Ned Pepper

Josh Graham and Rick Russell of Lucky Ned Pepper. Photo credit: Made U Look PhotographyIf Westerns are your type of film, then the name Lucky Ned Pepper might ring a bell: It’s the bad guy in True Grit, a nasty, cantankerous character typical of those that prowled the plains and prairies. It’s also the name Josh Graham and Rick Russell chose for their new duo.

While there’s nothing particularly villainous about these two Bakersfield-based singers, they do infuse their music with some wide-open, big-sky flavor. The songs on their debut album, Get Lucky, are contemporary, each written by some of the best songwriters along Music Row. But they look at home in scuffed boots, jeans and farmland fashion. Their singing complements these images by evoking the courtliness, swagger and easy-going humor of cowboy life.

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Miranda Lambert Rides the Milk Wagon

Miranda Lambert joins the MilkPEP National Milk Mustache’s “got milk?” campaign. Photo: courtesy of MilkPEP

Miranda Lambert joins the MilkPEP National Milk Mustache’s “got milk?” campaign. Photo: courtesy of MilkPEP

Country artists are hardly strangers to the National Milk Mustache “got milk?” campaign. Still, when Miranda Lambert chose the day before the 2012 CMA Awards to unveil her portrait as the latest in this long line of celebrities, athletes and even cartoon characters, media filled the CMA atrium to witness the occasion.

The image captures the CMA Female Vocalist of the Year on a weathered wood porch, a grassy field stretching toward trees and hills, with a glass of milk in her hand, a bowl of cereal on the ground and the inevitable white frost above her upper lip. Lambert looks as though she was at home on her Oklahoma farm, although the wall was a backdrop and the photo was taken in New Jersey, at a site scouted by photographer Annie Leibovitz and her staff.

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“CMA Country Christmas” Celebrates the Holiday Season on ABC-TV

John Legend. Photo credit: John Russell/CMAFor Robert Deaton, Executive Producer of “The CMA Awards” and “CMA Country Christmas,” there’s a world of difference between the two ABC-TV specials. It ultimately comes down to one word.

“Tension,” he specified. “There’s a lot of tension in the room for the Awards show because there’s so much riding on who’s going to win and it’s a live broadcast. The Christmas show is very different. It’s warm and open. People are there to have a good time. “

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Bucky Covington Blazes a Path toward Fire Safety

Bucky Covington and members of the Nashville Fire Department film the “Be a Hero/ Save a Hero” PSA in September. Photo credit: Tim Miller Spectacular entrances are traditional at the CMA Awards along the Macy’s Walk of Stars, but it’s safe to say no one will soon top the 2012 arrival of Bucky Covington, who showed up aboard a vintage Nashville Fire Department truck as red flashers whirled.

Aside from fulfilling every kid’s fantasy, Covington chose this vehicle to inspire support for firefighters who lost their lives or suffered debilitating injuries while on the job.

This story begins about a year ago, when the young singer got involved with Help the Good Guys, which supports the families of firefighters and police officers killed or injured in the line of duty. “The first guy I met through them was Brad Dean, a carpenter who volunteered with the fire department in Birmingham, Ala.,” he recalled. “Fifty percent of his body from the waist down had been burned in a fire, which made it impossible for him to work.”

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NEW ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Florida Georgia Line

Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line. Photo credit: Adam TaylorYou don’t need to know that Tyler Hubbard comes from Monroe, Ga., or that his partner in Florida Georgia Line, Brian Kelley, comes from Ormond Beach, Fla. It’s the music that lets you know these two guys know how to kick it in the studio and onstage, Dixie style.

Scheduled to release Dec. 4 on the Republic Nashville imprint, Here’s to the Good Times is a pastiche of prickling banjo, walloping backbeats and muscle guitar, run through a blender of Country, Southern rock and a hint of hip-hop.

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NEW ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Kelleigh Bannen

Kelleigh Bannen never made the trek to Nashville — she was already there. Born and raised in Music City, she was singing and writing songs when she was 2 years old. Well, actually, as she notes in her self-written bio, “it was a little song with two lines that I would sing to myself inspired by the ‘word of the day’ from ‘Sesame Street.’”

Safe to say, at least, that her ears were wide open at an early age, taking in music beyond the Country playlist and kiddie show themes to include Frank Sinatra, Patty Griffin and other eclectic performers. However, Country proved to be her true calling, so after graduating from college in Virginia, she hastened back home to develop her writing and discover her own sound as a singer.

That sound shines on her upcoming debut album, produced by Paul Worley and Jerry Smith and set to release on EMI Records Nashville. Written by Bannen and Troy Johnson, its first single, “Sorry on the Rocks,” recounts a relationship melting down, like ice in an untended glass past last call. Bannen’s strong, assertive vocals underscore the clever metaphor that flows through each verse and chorus.

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NEW ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Bill Gentry

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.

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Dierks Bentley Dedicates a Day to CMA

Through the CMA Songwriters Series, fans around the United States and abroad continue to experience first-hand the creativity of those behind-the-scenes Nashville pros who write hits for the stars. At most of these shows, they benefit as well from hearing one participant who straddles both sides of the line between writing and performing.

That honor went to Dierks Bentley when he performed in a Songwriters Series show Sept. 6 at New York’s Joe’s Pub. But he also devoted that morning to a visit to PS 103, the Hector Fontanez School, in the Bronx, where a CMA donation of $20,000 enabled the school to open a music program for students for the first time. To commemorate this first outreach beyond the Nashville area of CMA’s Keep the Music Playing program, the artist shared his thoughts with an assembly of fourth-graders about the value of learning about music – and was delighted when they started singing along as he performed “5-1-5-0,” which they had rehearsed prior to his arrival.  Read the rest of this entry

CMA Inducts Garth Brooks, Hargus “Pig” Robbins and Connie Smith into Country Music Hall of Fame

The sky could not have been more blue, or the weather more agreeable, on Sunday afternoon, October 21, when Country Music notables began arriving at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

Hundreds of spectators had gathered on the far side of Demonbreun Street, stretching the full block from Fifth to Sixth Avenue in Downtown Nashville and clustering near the drop-off point where WSM AM/Nashville radio personality Bill Cody heralded each celebrity’s red carpet appearance.

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