CMT Artist Of The Year Awards Seat Fillers To Front Row Wannabe Celebrities

About one month ago my friend and I got an email about being a seat filler for the CMT Artist Of The Year Awards. Of course, we signed up right away. I haven’t been a seat filler for any award show yet; I just turned 18 this past summer. This was going to be my big break.

We got our email saying we were in, picked up our tickets the night before and were ready for our night of fame. We didn’t think 24 hours later we’d be sitting directly next to Luke Bryan and his wife.

We bought our dresses and had our hair done, because what else would two teenage girls do for an award show? We showed up thinking we’d just be in general admission, sitting up high, and far away from our idols. However, we checked in and the casting lady was staring directly at me for about 10 minutes. I was terrified to be completely honest. She pulled me out of the crowd and said, “You.. you’re going to sit in one of the front tables.” In that moment, my life flashed before my eyes.

We were sitting at the table right next to Luke Bryan. Jason Aldean, Vince Gill, Keith Urban, Chris Stapleton, and Florida George Line were all in the same area. So yes, I was freaking out.

All of the artists performed, so I’m going to share with you some of my favorite performances of the night, starting off with Keith Urban’s stripped-down version of “Blue Ain’t Your Color.” If Keith Urban is on stage, you’re never going to be disappointed. He is the most humble, down-to-earth artist I’ve ever seen perform, and you don’t even need to meet him to see that. He always dedicates his songs to his wife, Nicole Kidman, who I think I was obsessing over more than Keith the entire night. He points to her right at the end of the song and says, “I love you, baby.”

One performance I didn’t even see coming was Philip Philips singing “Body Like A Backroad,” honoring Sam Hunt’s single because Sam couldn’t be there. I was extremely skeptical about it, hearing that he was going cover it, but it was actually one of my favorites from the night. He made the song his own and killed it. It was funky and groovy, and reflected on what we can expect in Philip’s new album coming out soon.

Lastly, my all-time favorite performance was the closing one: Jason Aldean, Keith Urban, Chris Stapleton and Little Big Town’s cover of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down.” Jason Aldean has been performing this song paying tribute to the Las Vegas shooting victims. It gave me the chills hearing this and honestly every artist covering this song at times like these. Music does heal all. This performance just proves it.

Jason’s cover of “I Won’t Back Down” is now on iTunes supporting charity for Las Vegas victims. You can buy it here.

It was a perfect night of pretending we were famous for an hour and a half. It was like the artists were in a bubble and we had the opportunity to look in. Even though we weren’t allowed to take pictures with the artists, just having our night of acting like we were one of them was good enough for us. We couldn’t have had better seats, and because of that we’re going to have PCD (Post Concert Depression) for a long time.

Since we’re famous and all now, if you want to get in contact with us make sure you call our publicist.

When was the last time you had your night of fame?

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Russell Dickerson: Yours Album Release Kick-Off

Russell Dickerson proved himself on Wednesday night that he’s the up-and-coming entertainer of the year. His energy and love for his fans made the opening night in Nashville for his album release even more special. There wasn’t one second where you weren’t jumping around not having a care in the world. That’s when you know you’re at a good show; you’re making remarkable memories dancing like a complete idiot.

Russell’s debut album Yours dropped on Oct 13, and has nothing but absolute jams left and right. Even though his album is all about being confidently taken and in love, it’s refreshing because I think we’re all a little too used to break-up ballads, along with the catchiest songs you’ll ever hear.

“Some people try to put on this facade of being single and desirable, but some people want a relationship. That’s what’s changed for me, is being confident in being taken. It’s the best thing ever.” – Russell Dickerson, Billboard.

Russell being in love and not caring who knows, has made Yours a 12-track love letter to his wife. Along with Yours being his album title, his single “Yours” fulfilled his big break on the charts. “This is my splash into this industry and this business,” Russell tells Billboard about the song “Yours.” “I’m so proud of everything on the record, but that song in particular has done it for me, so I wanted to continue on with that title.” 

He sang almost every song on Yours, and lucky for you I recorded all of them. I won’t give too much away; you’re going to have to go see him live yourself.

“Low Key” is one of the stripped-down songs on Yours, but it’s high key the slow song that still makes you want to sway back-and-forth. It’s a laid-back love song that I think everyone can relate to, staying in with your partner and doing absolutely nothing but ordering takeout and watching Netflix. Even if you don’t have a partner, honestly just relate it to yourself, staying in and doing nothing like it’s your job.

“Would You Love Me” is the most romantic bop I’ve ever listened to. Can you tell he’s in love yet? Russell had the crowd letting loose to this one. His “relationship goals” with his wife are reflecting to think we’re also involved in their relationship with this song. It positively struck the crowd even though the whole front row were 18-21 years olds.

His concert was the right amount of fun you needed to take the stress off. Russell is always up-beat and made to be an entertainer; his album clearly reflects that. His uplifting and positive personality indicates what kind of artist he is and what he is going to become. Even if you’re not in love and feel as if you can’t relate to Yours, I’m an 18-year-old blasting this in my dorm with my friends since it came out, trust me, you can do it. Go ahead and take a listen; you might surprise yourself.

 

Association Of Independent Music Publishers: 3rd Annual Songwriter Series Takes The Country

I think the title of this is pretty interesting. I mean, Independent Music Publishers, what isn’t eye catching about that? The third-annual AIMP Songwriter Series was held at The Country on Monday, Sept 25. Shout-out to my mom for sending me important writers rounds she knows I wouldn’t want to miss. Yes, I just shouted-out my mom.

The round included Hannah Ellis, Ross Ellis, Michael Hardy, Daniel Ross, and Sarah Turner. It was short, but sweet, and just the right amount you needed to hear in a night. It started out with Ross Ellis, Hannah Ellis, and Daniel Ross in the first round.

I had never heard of Ross Ellis before this night, and for sure I thought Hannah and he were related because what did I know? Long story short, they weren’t even related. Yes, it was bothering me the entire show. I’ll get to the point now.

Ross Ellis was born and raised in Monterey, Louisiana. He got the attention of BMI’s Bradley Collins after playing writers rounds in Nashville. Long story short, Ross signed with Big Deal Music, and now he’s writing and playing shows. His voice reminded me of Kip Moore at the end of the night. Then I went to his Soundcloud and got even more of a Kip Moore meets Brett Young sound, if that’s even possible. Here’s a snip of his song “Neon Church.”

Hannah Ellis is that singer/songwriter you can just relate to every song she comes out with. She has a special voice, and it just makes you never want to stop listening to her. Her single, “Temporary Feeling,” was just released last Friday and already has over 400,000 loops on Spotify. Also, she just came out with “ILYSoWhat” that’s an absolute jam. However, as much as I am in love with “Temporary Feeling” and “ILYSoWhat,” the song that stood out to me the most was the second one she sang, “Never In Love.” She said she wrote it with Josh Kerr and how it basically “spilled out in conversation.” I wish my conversations spilled out like this…

Look out for Hannah Ellis, because she’s going places with her new EP coming out soon. Especially touring with Russel Dickerson this fall, things are just getting started for her.

Daniel Ross, Big Machine Music and Tree Vibez Music signee, moved to Nashville after graduating from Western Carolina University in 2015 and quickly put himself into the songwriting scene. My first time ever seeing him was summer of 2016 here in Nashville, and I remember him saying it was his first time playing a round, being fairly new to him. Even though he says he doesn’t play rounds often, I don’t believe him for one second. I see your Instagram posts; Ross, you can’t hide from me when you post when you’re playing. Here’s one of my favorites he sang, “Break It In.”

Sarah Allison Turner and Michael Hardy played in the next round, and if you haven’t heard “I Should Go To Church Sometime” sung by Tyler Farr, these two geniuses wrote it along with Brinley Addington. Rolling Stone explains the song as “A Christian-specific view of guilt, with Farr figuring the answer to his torment in a Church pew, but it asks bigger questions about how and why we put off our opportunities to heal.” This song puts a different perspective on break-ups, which is why it’s so successful. Here’s a snip of Sarah and Michael’s version of “I Should Go To Church Sometime.”

These five artists are just beginning to leave their mark in the Nashville music scene. Keep your eyes and ears open.

Which of the artists were your favorites after listening to the snips?

 

 

 

 

Carly Pearce’s Album Release Party: Inside Every Little Thing

After hearing most of Carly Pearce’s album this Monday night, I don’t think the world is ready for her. After just signing to Big Machine Label Group in the past year, Carly’s single “Every Little Thing” breaking top 10 on country airplay this week is just the beginning for her.

Her compassionate and humble mindset bringing everyone that was involved in making her album on stage showed just how thankful she was for not only getting to make a record, but also for everyone who was a part of her journey.

Lucky for you, I’m going to give you a little taste of Carly’s new album Every Little Thing before it comes out on Oct 13.

I’m not going to show you EVERY little “thing” of the show (see what I did there),  but I am going to share some of my favorites that I think could go a long way. Not just on country airplay, but songs for girls to relate to.

She brought up Shane McAnally, who is an absolute genius in the songwriting industry. If you’re not familiar with him, he wrote “Body Like A Backroad,” sung by Sam Hunt, which is currently No. 1 on country airplay. Emily Shackelton, who has written songs for Cassadee Pope and Sara Evans. You can’t forget the one-and-only Hillary Lindsey who is a legend on music row, writing hits for Carrie Underwood and Little Big Town.

One of my first favorites was “Hide The Wine,” which Carly cut from Hillary Lindsey. This is the most throw-back country women’s 2000 song I’ve ever heard, and it could unquestionably go far up those charts. As we all know, Hillary Lindsey would not steer you wrong on any song that she writes, and this one for sure is a hit. Take a listen, and if you love wine, this is your song…. just saying.

This one, she wrote with Emily Shackelton, called “Careless,” is for sure a Carly Fierce song. This hard-core girl anthem is going places. It’s one song that every girl can probably get over her ex right after hearing this gem. I think every girl out there is trying to find a song to relate to in this category; Carly and Emily hit the target on these lyrics.

Next up I can’t tell if it’s one of my favorites because Carly’s voice sounds amazing with it, or that Shane was a part of writing it, or both…. definitely both. This one’s called “Feel Something.” Carly explained during the show that when she showed her mom the song, her mom said, “Omg cut it.” I’m glad she listened to her mom, because this one is special.

Do you feel too teased yet? I told you this album is going to be a game-changer. After all of the controversy over the years with women not getting the recognition and airplay time they deserve, I believe Carly will start a movement and her sales will go through the roof. Carly deserves all of this, seeing what she’s gone through the years to get here, and it’s heartening to see that everyone else is recognizing that too. Every Little Thing can and will be revolutionary for representing women in country music; you heard it here first.

If you haven’t pre-ordered Every Little Thing yet, I suggest you go and do that now. Let’s start supporting women in country music and giving them the acknowledgment they deserve.

Carly’s heading out on Brett Young’s CALIVILLE tour this fall; do you have your tickets yet?

 

 

 

Guys And Guitars: Bluebird Cafe Edition

Let me just start off with this.. going on The Bluebird Cafe website and looking for shows is sometimes like Christmas morning. As a fan of country music, you always have a wish-list of artists you are hoping to catch live, and oh boy did The Bluebird Cafe’s schedule did a great job catching my eye.

It was the night before I found out one of my favorites, Ryan Griffin, was playing at The Bluebird Cafe. However, there were no tickets left. We had to go an extra two hours early to wait on the line for wait-listers. Finally we got in and sat in the pews all the way in the back. As long as I was there that’s what mattered to me.

The round included Josh London, Steven McMorran (who has now gained a new fan… me duh), Ryan Griffin, and Taylor Davis.

It started off with the guy I was initially coming for, Ryan Griffin. Ryan climbed the country charts with co-writing Kelsea Ballerini’s hit single “Dibs,” that he sang during the round yet also said he felt awkward because.. well.. just listen to “Dibs” and you’ll get the point. Ryan has also dropped his EP in March of 2017 and you bet every single song on there is a HIT. His recent single “I Would’ve Left Me Too” has almost 3 million plays on Spotify, and you could hear for yourself on why that is..

You’re welcome after hearing that beauty acoustic. Like he said, “It was kind of terrifying to release honestly, but It was cool because they said that viral chart is no manipulation.. it’s just people are connecting to the music..” This song sat on the Spotify charts for awhile, but finally took off like it was meant to.

One of my new favorites after the show was over was 100% Steven McMorran. I don’t know where he has been hiding from me all this time but I’m glad the wait is over. His voice just echoes throughout the room; he doesn’t even need a microphone. It’s a completely different and unique sound that you can’t compare much to. From growing up in Little Rock, Arkansas, to taking his songwriting career to Los Angeles.. I’m glad he ended up in Nashville. Here’s just a little take on what Steven brought to the table..

Next up was Taylor Davis, and man did I get a Chris Young meets Zac Brown vibe. Magic Mustang Music signed Taylor to its publishing roster in 2015. Taylor recently just got his first cut on Big & Rich’s new album “Did It For the Party,” called “Long Way Home.” He said he’s been in Nashville for 10 years.. a 10 WHOLE years and this is his first cut. Well watch out Nashville, because this guy has an even more cuts coming. I have a snip of him singing one of my favorites “Make Her Change Her Mind”, it’s a classy-country-bop for sure. Give it a listen.

BBR Music Group signee, Jimmie Allen, who was supposed to play the round originally that night but cancelled, came and played a song with Josh London. It was honestly the most perfect collaboration i’ve ever heard. Jimmie Allen, who I met over one year ago at a round in Nashville, has one of the best up-coming voices in the music industry. Not only is he the sweetest human but he takes the time to make sure his fans feel like they’re friends, and that’s the most important part of trying to grow your fan-base. Here’s a little snip of “Best Shot” that Jimmie and Josh wrote together.

Josh London is a singer/songwriter from Kentucky who has been labeled as “up-and-coming-songwriter/artist” by Music Row magazine. He’s co-written a song with Sam Riggs called “Waiting For The Fall” that has over 50,000 plays on spotify and soon will be making its way up the charts.

This writers-round was one of the best ones i’ve been to since i’ve moved down here. There wasn’t one song I didn’t like. I’m pretty positive my phone storage is close to being full after seeing how many videos/audio I recorded. I don’t regret a thing. All five of these guys brought something different to the round and not surprisingly, it was music to my ears — sorry that was an awful pun. If you haven’t checked out The Bluebird Cafe’s schedule, let’s change that. If you haven’t been to a writers-round ever in Nashville, like, ever… what are you doing? No, but seriously, grab a group of friends and make a reservation or wait on the wait-list line. I think some of you would be surprised on how much you’d appreciate local songwriters/artists.

Which song was your favorite out of the four?

Who wouldn’t want “Life Changes” with Thomas Rhett by your side?

Even if you don’t like country music, you still like Thomas Rhett. If you don’t like Thomas Rhett, then you want his love life after hearing this album.. let’s be real.

I think we all know country music is changing. It’s been up for debate whether it’s a good or bad thing. Thomas Rhett has definitely not let critics stop him. His album includes a little bit of everything, from singing country with his dad, Rhett Akins, in “Drink A Little Beer,” to soul R&B in “Kiss Me Like A Stranger,” and finally to EDM in  “Leave Right Now.” Thomas Rhett for sure has a variety of genres on “Life Changes”, and the best part is that he’s written 10 out of 12 of the new songs.

If you haven’t listened to Life Changes yet, let me give you a quick summary before we get into detail….

 

Spotify Premium (I totally suggest it) Along with using ProCreate for iPad

Now that you get my quick synopsis on how obsessed I am, let’s get behind the scenes on some of the different country vibes..

“Leave Right Now,” written by Julian Bunetta, Ed Drewett, John Henry Ryan, and Thomas Rhett.

Right after hearing this song for the first time, I knew there were some Chainsmokers/Zedd vibes. Thomas says from The Boot “This song started out just three dudes and a guitar; there was no element of EDM in this song at all, until it got to be about two or three o’clock in the morning, and we all decided that everything was a better idea than it actually was.” Julian Bunetta, who has written many hits for One Direction over the years, was the one who came up with the built electronic post-chorus, or what we all like to call the “bass drop.” You don’t see the bass drop coming at all, and I think that’s what makes this song most unique. This song certainly stands out from the entire album, and is definitely one of my favorites.

“Drink A Little Beer” written by Rhett Akins, Jesse Frasure, and Ben Hayslip.

This song is probably the most old-school country mixed with new country that you’ll hear on the album. Thomas says, “My dad sent me this song in an email; his email said, I know you will never cut this, but I wanted you to hear it. I think when your dad tells you you will never do something, it makes you want to do it more.” I think this song definitely throws back to some of Thomas’ old stuff, like from his album It Goes Like This. Involving his dad in his album has been just a touch of what family means to him, which is a never ending theme in ‘Life Changes”.

“Kiss Me Like A Stranger” written by Dave Barnes, Jordan Reynolds, and Thomas Rhett.

Of course, what’s a Thomas Rhett album without a “feel good” song? This is an old school romantic ballad with a soul, R&B flare. If his goal was to bring back Barry White sounds, he nailed it. If you didn’t get a “You’re The first, My Last, My Everything” feel then you probably need to listen closer. Actually not probably, you just do. Thomas says from The Boot” I don’t know what to call it, but it’s my take on a Marvin Gaye-meets-Barry Manilow kind of thing.” He says his love for doo-wop comes from his grandparents; they influenced him on Carole King And The Drifters. Sometimes I think Thomas asks himself, “what kind of sound have I not yet tried?” and then somehow pulls nostalgic-feeling songs that make you wonder how he pulled that lyric out, or that beat.

“Life Changes” is as honest as it gets. Listening to these songs from “Sixteen” to “Unforgettable,” you feel as if you’re reliving his past as he’s trying to recapture as much as he can. Not going to lie, I was kind of nervous when he was putting out singles every other Friday for sneak peaks. Hearing the different kind of sounds he was exemplifying in “Sweetheart” and “Kiss Me Like A Stranger” took me a while to get used to the vibes, and I think that’s exactly what he was trying to do, give us a taste of each sound living in his past. A lot of this album is autobiographical and sentimental, and it has a little bit of everything that you want to hear when you’re looking for it.

Thomas Rhett achieved his No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, earned 123,000 identical album units in the ending week of Sept 14 making this his best sales week ever and the third largest sales week of 2017 for a country endeavor. So do yourself and I a favor, listen to this album, you won’t be disappointed.