Bold, true, daring, and honest… those are just a few of the words that you could use to describe Brandy Clark’s debut album, 12 Stories. You may be wondering if this fresh and unique approach of storytelling is going to fit with what is currently being played. Well, this one album has 12 Stories that are ready to shake up your radios.
12 Stories stays true to Brandy’s self-proclaimed dark comedy theme and is full of diverse characters. In a recent interview with Billboard, Brandy says, “My goal as a songwriter has always been to write a song that someone who wasn’t a songwriter would write if they could write a song.” With song titles like “What’ll Keep Me Out Of Heaven,” “Take A Little Pill,” and “The Day She Got Divorced,” you can imagine the depth and range each story covers. In a different light, Brandy’s first single, “Stripes,” is about a woman who hesitates from killing her cheating lover because prison uniforms aren’t flattering.
From beginning her career as a behind-the-scenes songwriter, country music should be considered lucky to have 12 Stories told through the smooth voice who promises to pen many more bold, true, daring, and honest stories.
1. “Pray To Jesus”
2. “Crazy Women”
3. “What’ll Keep Me Out Of Heaven”
4. “Get High”
5. “Hold My Hand”
7. “In Some Corner”
8. “Take A Little Pill”
10. “Illegitimate Children”
11. “The Day She Got Divorced”
12. “Just Like Him”
Watch Brandy perform her current single, “Stripes,” on the Opry!
Chris Young has accomplished more by 28 than some artists do in a lifetime. Already a Grammy-nominated recording artist, he’s also a dynamic live performer consistently in demand, an international ambassador for his genre, and a talented songwriter. Now, with the release of his fourth album, A.M., the man known for his classic baritone and melt-your-heart ballads has suddenly revealed himself to be king of the good time, too, with lead single “Aw Naw” electrifying crowds and storming up the charts.
Chris co-wrote six of the eleven tracks on A.M., including “Aw Naw,” which sets the tone immediately. An irreverent story about what he calls “an accidental party – ‘Hey, I just came to have one, and ended up staying all night,’” it’s got an addictive four-on-the-floor vibe that’s tailor made for live sing-alongs, and a tongue-in-cheek title that’s inescapable. “It’s just a slang way of saying, ‘Oh, hell no,’” Young explains. “The guy that brought it up was [co-writer] Ashley Gorley. He goes, ‘Aw naw!’ And it was like, ‘How do you spell that?’”
Combined with the album’s equally raucous title track, one might expect A.M. to be something of a concept album about things getting crazy after midnight. Instead, “It’s things that you wouldn’t necessarily expect,” says Young, citing tracks like power ballad “Lighters In the Air” and a tender, traditional love song called “Goodbye” as evidence that there’s something deeper going on in the hours before the dawn. “’Lighters in the Air’ is about meeting someone and falling in love at a concert, losing yourself in that night with the band playing in the background,” he says. “And ‘Goodbye’ – when you look at the title, you might assume it’s a breakup song. But it’s about a relationship worth fighting for, showing up at somebody’s house in the middle of the night and trying to work it out.”
More than anything, A.M. is defiantly, definitely country. “Everybody’s got a definition of what country music is,” Young says. “Never before has it been so broad as to what can be on a country radio station, and what country music can be. It really just has to be what you feel as an artist.” With its double guitars and occasional moments of arena-rock glory, A.M. sounds unlike any album Young has ever made – but that doesn’t change what he calls the “core principle” of his music: “I’m never going to lose the acoustic guitar and the steel and the story in the song,” he says. “When I open my mouth, I sound country. No one’s going to confuse my records with being outside of the genre. Will I push some boundaries for some people? Hopefully. But I’m a country singer.”
Recently named one of the summer’s top tour openers by Entertainment Weekly, Young is on the road through the fall with Opry member Brad Paisley – the latest in a string of high-profile supporting slots including tours with Jason Aldean and Miranda Lambert. He’s also plotting his next headlining run, with an eye on playing a stadium someday. And with the release of A.M. he says, “I’m happy. I think this is probably the happiest I’ve been in my life. I love the record that I made, I’m happy that it’s different, that I’m stretching a little bit – and that people seem to be liking it. And I’m on a great tour. It’s just a really, really good time right now. Maybe that’s why I felt so compelled to put party songs on this record. ‘Cause that’s kind of how I feel.”
We sat down with Chris Young to ask him YOUR questions, check out the video and some of our favorite Opry performances of Chris below!
1. “Aw Naw”
2. “Hold You To It”
3. “Lonely Eyes”
6. “Nothin’ But The Cooler Left”
7. “Who I Am With You”
8. “Text Me Texas”
9. “We’re Gonna Find It Tonight”
11. “Lighters In The Air”
Opry member Craig Morgan is well known for his music, the outdoor adventures on his hit TV show and for being great to his fans. Craig’s new album, The Journey (Livin’ Hits), takes us down the road to where he is today, showing us that he has no sign of slowing down.
“I’m so excited about the new music,” shares Craig. “You can listen to this record and join me on the journey where I’ve been to where I’m headed. I think we’ve put together a really great album with new music that looks ahead to the future as well as some of the fan-favorite songs that speak to who I am at my core and what my fans love in my live shows.”
The Journey (Livin’ Hits), co-produced with his longtime creative partner Phil O’Donnell, contains four emotional new tracks, including his powerful new single “Wake Up Lovin’ You.” The project also contains eight of his biggest hits, including the six-week #1 single “That’s What I Love About Sunday.”
“Wake Up Lovin’ You” is grabbing immediate attention for Craig’s “electrifying performance” (Music Row) and being called “one of the best of his career” (Roughstock). The song is a heart-wrenching tale of indulgence and distraction that demonstrates the power love has to hold on, even when desperately trying to let it go. “Wake Up Lovin’ You” exemplifies Craig’s trademark vocal abilities and is one of his edgiest singles to-date.
If you’re a fan of Craig Morgan, then this album is a must-have. It takes us along The Journey that took Craig to where he is, showcasing the Livin’ Hits… and those that are about to become hits!
Charlie Worsham has devoted himself to honing his musical vision by collaborating with many innovative musicians in Nashville. Charlie’s debut album, Rubberband, proves that his hard work, dedication and passion have paid off. “They say you’ve got your whole life to make your first record, and that couldn’t ring more true for me,” says Charlie of Rubberband, which he co-produced with Ryan Tyndell.
When Charlie first moved to Nashville, he quickly began working as a writer as well as a session musician for Opry member Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, and others. While Charlie grew his skills as a musician, he continued penning his own songs and recording demos, eventually landing a deal with Warner Music Nashville and opening on tour for the likes of Taylor Swift and Miranda Lambert.
Charlie has said that he is inspired by artists of remarkable longevity, such as Opry members Marty Stuart and Vince Gill. Marty gave Charlie an autograph saying “Follow your heart,” a message that is now tattooed on his arm. After listening to Rubberband, you can see Charlie’s reverence for country’s rich heritage while ultimately delivering a bold sound entirely his own.
Boundary-pushing but endlessly catchy, Rubberband offers a selection of songs that integrate elements of bluegrass, country, pop and rock and roll. The album also finds Charlie revamping classic country with intricate arrangements, left-of-center flourishes, and deeply inventive riffs. On the album’s title track, “Rubberband,” for instance, Charlie sets the groove with a low-toned guitar lick created by the extremely-warped loose tuning of his E string. “Could It Be,” the album’s first single, opens with a shimmering, delicate tumble of notes achieved with an in-studio experiment playing slide on the mandolin, leading into soaring harmonies.
Along with creating the lushly textured soundscapes on the album, each of Charlie’s songs have a heart-on-your-sleeve emotionalism that showcases his natural storytelling ability. On “Trouble Is,” he weaves scorching electric guitar into delicate acoustic plucking while detailing an encounter with a dangerously irresistible object of affection. On “Mississippi in July,” Charlie spins a gorgeously rendered and regret-soaked tale of returning home for an old flame’s wedding.
Charlie began taking piano lessons in kindergarten, and in second grade caught a performance by Opry member and bluegrass banjo player Mike Snider while visiting the Grand Ole Opry with his family. “When we got home my parents bought me a banjo and got me lessons. After that, I got into the habit of taking on a new instrument every year, including the guitar, mandolin and fiddle,” Charlie recalls. He won the Junior National Banjo Championship at age 12 and later that year, joined Snider on stage at the Opry.
Considering Charlie’s musical history, it’s no wonder that Rubberband emerges as such a sophisticated yet refreshingly simple collection of songs.
1. Could It Be
2. Want Me Too
3. Young To See
4. Trouble Is
6. How I Learned To Pray
7. Tools Of The Trade – feat. Marty Stuart & Vince Gill
8. Mississippi In July
9. Break What’s Broken
10. Someone Like Me
11. Love Don’t Die Easy
Here’s Charlie performing “Could It Be” on the Opry!
Country music superstar and reigning ACM Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan is not slowing down anytime soon! Luke just released Crash My Party, which many are saying is his best album yet.
Crash My Party builds on the success of his prior releases and shows this is only the beginning of Luke’s multifaceted career. The first single and title track of the album “Crash My Party,” which was a multi-week No. 1 single—another first for Luke’s career—is full of flirtation. “It’s a great hook and a great way to say, ‘come love on me,’” says Luke. The single has now sold a million copies since its release.
“I decided Crash My Party was the perfect title for this album because, like the song, the album goes beyond the literal meaning of the title,” Luke explains. “The song isn’t what you think it is, it is unexpected, and in the same way fans will definitely hear some surprises on my new album. It still reflects my sound but you will get to hear a little bit deeper, different side to me musically as well.”
Keeping things diversified, Crash My Party includes, “Goodbye Girl,” which explores a new territory for Luke. “Usually I’m singing kind of loud and forceful and on ‘Goodbye Girl’ I’m using my tender, Conway Twitty-like, soft voice,” Luke says. “It’s one my favorite things I’ve ever recorded.”
A topic we think Luke covers well is backwoods parties. “Beer In The Headlights” showcases the side of Luke we’ve grown to love, but the song finds Luke stretching vocally. “This album has some songs that showcase a big voice and long notes and we’ve never done that before.” Luke calls the sticks-in-your-head “Play It Again” “one of the biggest hits on the album. How many times have you or your girlfriend had a favorite song and when it comes on it fires you up?” Luke says.
“Dirt Road Diary,” which Luke co-wrote with fellow Georgians Dallas Davidson, Rhett Akins and Ben Hayslip, is the story of his life, he says. “It wrote itself. Dirt roads were an important part of my childhood. “Dirt Road Diary” is a song that I can envision country boys driving around on a dirt road listening to,” Luke adds.
And those are just a few of the highlights of the album.
1. That’s My Kind of Night
2. Beer In The Headlights
3. Crash My Party
4. Roller Coaster
5. We Run This Town
6. Drink A Beer
7. I See You
8. Goodbye Girl
9. Play It Again
10. Blood Brothers
11. Out Like That
12. Shut It Down
13. Dirt Road Diary
Opry Member Clint Black has teamed up with Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® to release his new album, When I Said I Do. The new CD features eleven of Black’s heartfelt favorites as well as three new recordings exclusively created for this album. Black wrote or co-wrote all 14 songs on the album, and produced all the tracks except for “She Won’t Let Go,” which he co-produced with the song’s co-writer, Frank Rogers. A heartfelt song, and one of the highlights on the album, is the title track on which Black’s wife of almost 22 years, singer/actress Lisa Hartman Black, joins him. In addition to joining her husband on “When I Said I Do,” which was a No. 1 hit on the Billboard Country Singles chart, Lisa also appears on “Easy For Me To Say.”
In a recent interview Clint said, “It’s exciting to have new music available for the fans. I hope listeners love the new songs and enjoy rediscovering the ones we’ve previously released.” Clint, we’re always excited to have new music from you!
1. “When I Said I Do” – Duet with Lisa Hartman Black
2. “Our Kind Of Love” – Duet with Carolyn Dawn Johnson
3. “Something That We Do”
4. “You Made Me Feel”
5. “Like The Rain”
6. “One Emotion”
7. “My Imagination”
8. “Easy For Me To Say” – Duet with Lisa Hartman Black
9. “You Know It All”
10. “That Something In My Life”
11. “Half The Man”
12. “Samantha” – Exclusive Track
13. “Only A Woman” – Exclusive Track
14. “She Won’t Let Go” – Exclusive Track
Click here to see Clint on the Opry on October 8th! Enjoy his Opry performance of “We Tell Ourselves.”
Brett Eldredge Bring You Back
Atlantic Records’ powerhouse vocalist Brett Eldredge is pretty busy these days. Brett is celebrating the launch of his debut album, Bring You Back, with national TV appearances, concerts, and a performance on the Grand Ole Opry on August 13th. This album has been a long time coming for Brett. After a trip to Nashville, where he heard his cousin Terry Eldredge — a veteran of Opry member Dolly Parton’s band and a member of The Grascals — play at the Station Inn, Brett was inspired to move to Middle Tennessee, immersing himself in studying the vocal stylings of country singers like George Jones, Ray Price, and Vince Gill.
The two singles he’s released so far certainly prove his range. His 2010 debut, “Raymond,” was inspired in part by Eldredge’s own grandmother and her struggle with Alzheimer’s. Brett’s current single “Don’t Ya” hits the opposite end of the spectrum, an up-tempo flirtation that ponders the mystery of romantic relations, and showcases the sexy baritone in his voice. Brett says, “This new music is me, and it’s taken every song I’ve written up to this point to get to where I am. I feel better about my music now than I ever have felt, and I can’t wait for people to hear it.” Brett, it was worth the wait!
1. “Tell Me Where To Park”
2. “Don’t Ya”
3. “Bring You Back”
4. “On and On”
5. “Gotta Get There”
6. “One Mississippi”
7. “Beat of the Music”
8. “Waited Too Long”
9. “Mean To Me”
12. “Go On Without Me”
13. “One Mississippi” – Live from CMT Listen Up
Click here to see Brett on the Opry on August 13! Brett will sign copies of his debut CD, Bring You Back, in the Opry Shop immediately following the show from approximately 9:15 – 10:00 p.m. To participate in this signing, you must have a valid Grand Ole Opry show ticket for August 13. Enjoy his Opry performance of his smash hit, “Don’t Ya!”
The Civil Wars The Civil Wars
The Civil Wars’ highly anticipated sophomore self-titled album is the follow up to the three-time Grammy Award-winning duo’s acclaimed debut, Barton Hollow. The Civil Wars was recorded in Nashville between August 2012 and January 2013. The album was recorded amidst a grueling touring schedule, exhausting workload and a growing disconnect from their families.
One of our favorite songs from the album is “From This Valley.” Joy Williams sat down to describe the origins and story behind this track. “[This is] our Grand Ole Opry song. A new spiritual. It’s actually the oldest song written on the album. We wrote it before Barton Hollow came out. Even though we didn’t have our own recording of it, we started performing it live and it became a fan favorite. It made sense to finally put it on an album. One of my favorite moments on stage every night was singing the acapella part together.” Watch the live performance of “From This Valley” on the Opry stage below to see why it’s on our list of favorites.
1. “The One That Got Away”
2. “I Had Me a Girl”
3. “Same Old Same Old”
4. “Dust to Dust”
6. “Devil’s Backbone”
7. “From This Valley”
8. “Tell Mama”
9. “Oh Henry”
11. “Sacred Heart”
Two really does seem to be better than one when it comes to the Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan collaborative album that was released July 23. Tillis and Morgan have combined to form a duo called Grits and Glamour. Dos Divas is the duo’s first album, but the two have been singing together on the Grits and Glamour tour since 2009.
As far as the album title goes, “We’ve been called divas a time or two,” Morgan explains. “Now, I’m sure they meant it in the best sense of the word,” Tillis added.
Having been raised in the country music spotlight, the two have certainly earned their “country diva” status. They are both members of the Grand Ole Opry and daughters of Country Music Hall of Famers. Pam is the daughter of fellow Opry member Mel Tillis, and Lorrie is the daughter of late Opry legend George Morgan.
“Although we’ve practically grown up together, running in the same circles and backstage at the Opry as children, it truly is a newfound friendship,” said Tillis.
“We’ve known one another for years, but over the last few years we’ve grown from ‘someone you know’ to having a real ‘got your back’ kind of friendship,” said Morgan.
Dos Divas features fourteen tracks, consisting of six duets and four solos from each artist. Among the duets is a take on an old Mel Tillis song that was performed together by Tillis and Morgan’s fathers on a television show. The song, “I’m Tired,” brings a flair of traditional country music to the album while also paying tribute to the country music veterans they just so happened to call “Dad.”
The album ranges in moods almost as much as two women on tour together might. Songs like “What Was I Thinkin’” and “I Know What You Did Last Night” are lighthearted and playful, while “Another Chance To” and “Even the Stars” lean on the more serious, compelling side.
It’s not every day two country music queens join forces, so Dos Divas is quite the force to be reckoned with.
Track List (Click here to purchase)
1 I Am a Woman
2 I Know What You Did Last Night
3 Dos Divas
4 I’m Tired
5 Last Night’s Make Up
6 Ain’t Enough Roses
7 Another Chance To
8 Even the Stars
9 That’s So Cool
10 Old Enough to Be Your Lover
11 Next Time It Rains
12 Envy the Sun
13 Bless Their Hearts
14 What Was I Thinkin’
Watch the Grits and Glamour duo perform “I Know What You Did Last Night” live at the Grand Ole Opry.
News anchor and host of “Morning Express with Robin Meade,” New York Times best-selling author, and now successful country music singer and songwriter, Robin Meade has developed a well-balanced, all-encompassing résumé.
Meade wrote seven of the 12 tracks on her sophomore album, Count on Me, which hit stores this week. She collaborated with several big-name artists, including platinum-seller Lee Brice, blues artist Keb’ Mo’, Sugarland‘s Kristian Bush, and Kenny Loggins’ Blue Sky Riders.
As a news anchor turned songstress, Meade has experienced two very different worlds. Somehow Meade finds common ground among journalism and songwriting—ground many may fail to find. “I look at it as I’m writing about people and their experiences and my own experiences in a way I can convey to somebody else,” she says to USA Today. “You’re writing about loves and wins and losses, just like you are for a news story — but I’m doing it in a different form, a form that’s about 3 minutes, 30 seconds long and set to a melody and can move you emotionally.”
Four of the five songs Meade did not write herself are covers, including a banjo-infused version of “True Colors,” originally released by Cindy Lauper.
“You can’t help but love that song,” says Meade. “I already had an emotional connection to it. So when producer, Victoria Shaw, suggested not only that song choice, but that we do it up bluegrass-style, I loved the idea, and thought the message was a perfect fit.”
Among the other covers found on Count on Me are Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down,” Garth Brooks’ “The Dance,” and The Pretenders’ “I’ll Stand By You.”
Though it is often said, and rightfully so, that television or movie stars turned wannabe-singers should not quit their day job, this just isn’t the case for Robin Meade.
1.Here For You (feat. Blue Sky Riders)
2.Gonna Be Days
4. Better Than Me
5.Slow It Up (feat. Keb’ Mo’)
6. I Won’t Back Down
7.Your Glory Days
8.This Just In
12.I’ll Stand By You
Trace Adkins has been working extra hard lately, and it is all paying off, landing him one very successful week. Not only did he win NBC’s “All Star Celebrity Apprentice” on May 19, raising more than $1.5 million for the American Red Cross, he also released his 11th studio album, Love Will… on May 14.
As the title suggests, the album is comprised almost entirely of love songs, which is a bit out of the ordinary for the blue-collar, country boy Adkins has defined himself as. But before we can begin to think he is changing his rough and tough image on us, Adkins stopped any rumors in their tracks. He told TheBoot.com, “Hold on one second! This is an album of love songs, but in my book, ‘Hot Mama’ and [Honky Tonk] Badonkadonk’ are love songs! So don’t start thinking these are all ‘I’ll love you ’til the end of time’ ballads … but yeah, we’ve got those, too.”
Adkins worked with Colbie Caillat on his current single and one of the fan-favorites from the album, “Watch The World End.” He told Billboard, “I knew I wanted to have a female vocalist on this song, but not every female voice works with mine. Sometimes, the contrast is too great, and for me, it just doesn’t sound right. But, she has that sultry sound to her voice. I thought it would work, and I think it does. I really appreciate her agreeing to be on this record. She just killed it.”
Despite the romantic theme, Adkins manages to avoid any two songs sounding alike. From heartbreak to hot and heavy, Love Will… encompasses all avenues that love travels and presents Adkins’s interpretation of the complex emotion with the vocal assistance of Exile and the Harlem Gospel Choir, as well as Caillat.
Track List (Click Here to Purchase)
1. When I Stop Loving You
2. So What If I Do
3. Come See Me
4. Right Now
5. Every One Of You
6. The Altar Of Your Love
7. Kiss You All Over (Featuring Exile)
8. If The Sun Comes Up
9. Say No To A Woman
10. Watch The World End (Featuring Colbie Caillat)
11. Love Will (Featuring Harlem Gospel Choir)
Watch Trace Adkins perform the title track of his new album on NBC’s “All Star Celebrity Apprentice” finale.
The newest member of the Grand Ole Opry is continuing to reach new heights in his country music career as his third album, on which he co-wrote 10 of the 12 songs, was released this week.
Darius Rucker’s True Believers is evidence that the singer has found a home in country music. He tells Billboard, “On the second album (2010′s ‘Charleston, SC 1966′) I was still trying to solidify my place in country music. With this one, I feel like part of the family, but I also still feel like I have so much to prove. There’s still the naysayers or whatever out there, so I’ve still got to make great records. It’s kind of like once you’re in the family you don’t want to disappoint the family.”
So far, he hasn’t done anything to disappoint. His second single from the album, a remake of Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel,” is his most successful hit to date, reaching number one faster than any prior single. He collaborated with Lady Antebellum on the ultimate crowd sing-along, not expecting the song to receive the attention and praise it has.
“I didn’t know that, like, every college student of the last eight years knew that song. I just cut it thinking it would be a great song for my record; I didn’t cut it thinking it was going to be a big single for me,” Rucker tells Billboard. “But then when we got Lady A on it, it was like, ‘Wow, that song could be a monster,’ and, sure enough, it was.”
True Believers also embodies a deeply emotional side of Rucker, more so than either of his two previous albums. Mallary Hope accompanies Rucker in the melancholy “I Will Love You Still,” and Sheryl Crow, a fellow crossover artist, helps emphasize the heartbreak found in “Love Without You.”
“Every time I make a record, it’s make or break time,” Rucker says to Rolling Stone. “I hope I always have that mentality – that’s what keeps me fired up. I’ve got to solidify my place in Nashville, and to do that I’ve got to keep making records that people want to listen to.”