• • • • Today’s (8/17) announcement of the 2011 IBMA Award Nominees will be streamed live at www.MusicCityRoots.com and will air on Sirius XM’s Bluegrass Junction. The announcement will take place at The Loveless Barn at 5:00 p.m. CT with hosts Doyle Lawson, Russell Moore, Josh Williams and Sierra Hull, who will follow that with performances at Music City Roots at 7:00 p.m.
• • • • Billboard reports layoffs at Sony’s New York office. About 25 people exited yesterday, and more cuts are expected as new chief Doug Morris settles in at the company.
• • • • Nashville’s new music venue will be called Marathon Music Works.
• • • • The LA Times has been checking out concerts by Toby Keith and Eric Church, and Wanda Jackson with Adele.
• • • • NPR’s Ann Powers gives an insightful take on country’s rising stars.
…in Nashville this year, where most of the best-selling artists are neo-traditionalists who seamlessly integrate current styles and attitudes into classic approaches. Of this year’s best-selling artists, three are relatively young country acts coming into their own on their third or fourth albums. Aldean is the exemplar of an updated take on rural roughneck that treats melding rap, hard rock and outlaw country like it’s no big thing. Church writes drinking songs that celebrate debauchery and mourn its aftermath in equal measure, in a style that embraces bad jokes and psychological depth. Blake Shelton, the best-groomed and most accessible of the bunch, is a good/bad boy whose Red River Blue album melds contemporary Christian ballads with swaggering sexiness. This new guard isn’t changing country so much as making the genre comfortable with the cultural shifts that have inevitably affected even the most traditional aspects of people’s lives.