DISClaimer: The blue grass grows all around

Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out

Disc of the Day winners Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out

The blue grass grows all around.
And so does the musical style that bears its name. In this week’s stack of platters, we find such stars of the idiom as Rhonda Vincent, Del McCoury and The Steeldrivers.
The Disc of the Day goes to Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out. This band has long been known for its clever, bluegrass rearrangements of hits from outside the genre. Now it has a whole CD full of them. Goody.
Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers already have a 2012 IBMA Award as Emerging Artists of the Year. Now they also have a DisCovery Award from DisClaimer.
Writer: Buck Ram/Andre Rand; Producer: Barry Bales; Publisher: Hollis/Screen Gems-EMI, no performance rights listed; Cracker Barrel (track)
—Having trouble finding a record store these days? Drop into your nearest Cracker Barrel restaurant, because this chain always carries plenty of CDs in its gift shops. Bluegrass stars Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out are the latest act with a Cracker Barrel CD. Timeless Hits from the Past Bluegrassed consists mostly of new versions of pop and country favorites. When you get to their doo-wop, a cappella performance of this 1955 golden goodie by The Platters, the only proper response is, “Wow.” Sonya Isaacs drops by to harmonize on “Golden Ring.” Pam Tillis guests on the lone Moore co-write “John & Mary.”

DisCovery Award: Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers

Writer: Don McKinnon; Producer: Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers; Publisher: Sony/ATV-Tree, BMI; Rebel (track)
—Winners of the bluegrass association’s 2012 Emerging Artist of the Year award, Mullins and his band hail from southwestern Ohio, where they also recorded their latest CD, They’re Playing My Song. Its first single is this rolling, mid-tempo coal miner’s plea. It’s extremely well written, with plenty of hooks both lyrically and melodically. And it doesn’t hurt that Mullins has a wonderfully restrained, effortlessly mournful vocal style, and that both he and his band mates pick brilliantly. Enthusiastically endorsed.
Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Rounder (track)
—The new Steeldrivers CD comes out the first week in February, but if you go to the Nashville band’s website now, you can get a free download of this track. It’s a splendidly languid, mournful lament of a lover left behind. The mandolin work is simply poetic, and the group harmonies have never sounded better. The album is titled Hammer Down. Look for it.
DARIN & BROOKE ALDRIDGE/Lonely Ends Where Love Begins
Writer: Billy Austin/Don Pfrimmer/Lisa Shaffer; Producer: Darin & Brooke Aldridge; Publisher: Songs of Platinum Plow/Don Pfrimmer/KLMS, ASCAP; Mountain Home (track) 
—This North Carolina couple and their band have been a steadily rising force on the bluegrass scene for the past few seasons. Their newest CD is a live record that kicks off with this upbeat Music Row toe tapper. The Aldridge’s hearty harmonies remain the central focus, but the band gets its licks in during the romping performance. The concert also contains versions of the country classic “Making Plans,” Neil Young’s “Powderfinger,” and Phil Spector’s “To Know Him Is to Love Him.”
Writer: Jessi Colter/Bo Jan Erik Andersson; Producer: Jim Rooney; Publisher: Universal Songs of Polygram, BMI; Red House (track)
—I am a big, big fan of these Prairie Home Companion regulars. Now celebrating their 40th anniversary of entertaining, lustrous vocalists Robin & Linda have a dandy Nashville-recorded CD titled These Old Dark Hills. It includes a heaping helping of their original tunes, plus this standout rendition of the much-loved Waylon & Jessi 1981 duet. The pedal steel of Al Perkins underscores every sentiment in the lyrics. As far as I’m concerned, all musical couples should have this beautiful song in their repertoires. A standing ovation from this corner.
Writer: Harley Allen; Producer: Audie Blaylock; Publisher: EMI Blackwood/Song Island, no performance rights listed; Rural Rhythm (track) (www.audieblaylock.com)
—Their current CD is titled Hard Country and includes this cool single. It’s a bracing, bouncy tempo tune led by lightly bowed fiddling. What Blaylcock’s voice lacks in passion is more than made up for by the band’s breathtaking instrumental abilities.
Writer: G.A.A. Thacker; Producer: none listed; Publisher: Bridge Building, BMI; UM (track)
—The Queen of Bluegrass went back home to her Missouri church to record her live Sunday Mornin’ Singin’ CD. It includes this heart pounding, exciting, thrilling, frothing slab of call-and-response fervor. With more than 80 honors, Rhonda Vincent & The Rage are the most honored act in bluegrass. Performances like this are why.
BILL EMERSON & SWEET DIXIE/My Baby Thinks He’s a Train
Writer: Leroy Preeston; Producer: Bill Emerson; Publisher: Bug, BMI; Rural Rhythm (track)
—The co-founder of the legendary Country Gentlemen, banjo player Emerson now leads his own band, Sweet Dixie. The instrumental contributions on this Rosanne Cash/Asleep at the Wheel oldie are all simply outstanding. You’d think with its leader’s experience and connections, he’d be able to find a more soulful lead singer than this.
Writer: none listed; Producer: David Grisman; Publisher: none listes; Acoustic Disc (track) 
—Grisman’s mandolin playing can be all over the map, everywhere from jazz to new age. But teamed with Nashville’s McCoury bunch, he clings closely to bluegrass tradition on chestnuts including “John Henry,” “A Good Woman’s Love,” “Hit Parade of Love,” “Tennessee Waltz,” “I’m Sitting on Top of the World” and this 1955 Jimmy Martin oldie. It may be billed as a “Dawg” disc, but this is Del’s show all the way.
Writer: Casey B. McPherson; Producer: Jimmy Gaudreau, Moondi Klein & Stuart Martin; Publisher: AlphaRev/Seven Peaks, ASCAP; Rebel (track) 
—The team’s new disc is titled Home from the Mills. Despite the presence of more familiar fare such as “Close the Door Lightly When You Go,” “If I Needed You,” and “It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie,” it’s this lilting, melodic song from the repertoire of a band called Alpha Rev that gets the emphasis. Whatever. I could listen to these guys sing the phone book.

Top Country Dance Hits of 2012

Marco Club ConnectionMarco Club Connection, a division of Nashville-based secondary radio promotion company Marco Promotions and The Aristo Media Group, has revealed the Top 10 Country Dance Club hits for 2012. Each December, the company surveys a panel of 250 club owners, DJs and dance instructors across the nation to compile its ranking.
The Top 10 listing for 2012 is as follows:
Little Big Town – “Pontoon”
Eric Church – “Springsteen”
Kip Moore – “Somethin’ ‘Bout A Truck”
Luke Bryan – “Drunk On You”
Easton Corbin – “Lovin’ You Is Fun”
Dustin Lynch – “Cowboys And Angels”
Parmalee – “Musta Had A Good Time”
Toby Keith – “Beers Ago”
Florida Georgia Line – “Cruise”
Carrie Underwood – “Blown Away”
Bobbe Morhiser, Manager of Venue Marketing, says, “This year’s top ten contains a number of young, fresh talent. I’m proud to see new music impacting the club and dance community so quickly. We also saw a few ballads in the top ten, which is a switch from the surge of remixes seen in previous years, proving that a great song will thrive in a high energy dance setting just as well as a dance remix.”

Nashville Songwriter Celebrates 20 No. 1 Hits

Photo (L-R): Mike Sistad (ASCAP Senior Creative Director), Barry Stock, Adam Gontier, Craig Wiseman, Neil Sanderson, Brad Walst and Seth England (Big Loud Shirt). Photo: ASCAP

Photo (L-R): Mike Sistad (ASCAP Senior Creative Director), Barry Stock, Adam Gontier, Craig Wiseman, Neil Sanderson, Brad Walst and Seth England (Big Loud Shirt). Photo: ASCAP

Songwriter Craig Wiseman celebrated his 20th No. 1 hit with Canadian rock band Three Days Grace‘s single, “Chalk Outline.” Wiseman, along with family and friends, gathered at the band’s recent show at Nashville’s Exit/In to commemorate his achievement.
Wiseman won a Grammy for Best Country Song in 2005 for Tim McGraw‘s No. 1 hit “Live Like You Were Dying.” He also earned the Country Music Association’s Song of the Year trophy for the same song in 2004. In 2009, Wiseman received the Nashville Songwriters Association’s highest honor, Songwriter of the Decade.
Wiseman has had over 100 singles thus far in his career and more than 300 cuts.

International Bluegrass Museum Plans Music Center

Preliminary design for the new International Bluegrass Music Center.

Preliminary design for the new International Bluegrass Music Center.

The International Bluegrass Museum notes it has received pledges of $5.8 million for its plans to establish an International Bluegrass Music Center in Owensboro, KY. The center is expected to house its museum collection in addition to a 1,000-seat indoor theater and 2,000-seat outdoor festival space.
Under the plans, an existing state office building will require a $10 million renovation. So far, the city of Owensboro has pledged $3 million towards the proposed project granted the museum is able to raise the additional $7 million needed.
Located just four blocks from the current museum, the expansion is said to nearly triple the space and feature a restaurant, expanded gift shop, library and teaching room.
Earlier this month, International Bluegrass Music Museum’s Terry Woodward noted to the Messenger-Inquirer plans are to raise $3 million from large donors, $3 million from small donors, and $1 million from local businesses.
The museum is working hard to host events expected to raise the funds. In recent months, the museum planned multiple music festivals, fundraisers and traveling exhibits to reach its financial goals.
To receive city assistance, the museum must have all funds in place by August 2013.
To donate, click here.

ACM Hosts Revealed

570Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan will co-host Country Music’s Party of the Year®, the 48th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, broadcast live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas Sunday, April 7 at 8:00 p.m. live ET/delayed PT on the CBS Television Network. This will mark reigning ACM Male Vocalist of the Year Shelton’s third consecutive turn hosting the Awards and Bryan’s first time hosting a live televised event. The show is produced by dick clark productions, inc.

Country music fans “unlocked” the press release announcing Bryan’s hosting gig in the first-ever ACM “Tweet to Unlock” promotion. Fans sent out 25,000 tweets in less than four days so that the information would be released to the public.
ACM Fan Jam: Going on simultaneously as the Awards will be the 3rd Annual ACM Fan Jam, hosted by Brad Paisley at Las Vegas’ The Orleans Arena. Some of the performances from this live remote will air during the ACM Awards telecast. Details and other participating talent will be announced soon but fans can tweet to immediately unlock a special message from Paisley, by visiting the ACM Social Splash page at www.ACMsocialsplash.com.
All-star TV special: As they have done for the past four years, the Academy and dick clark productions will tape an all-star concert TV special on the day after the awards. This year that will be on Monday, April 8 at 7:00 p.m. at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Talent announcements are forthcoming. The special will air later on CBS and ticket proceeds will benefit ACM Lifting Lives.
The ACM Experience: Part of The Week Vegas Goes Country™ is the ACM Experience, to be held April 5-7 at The Orleans Hotel and Casino. In its sophomore year, this is a free, family-friendly open-to-the-public country music lifestyle event with tons of performances.

Ticket info: Professional ACM members can purchase tickets beginning at 10:00 a.m. (PT) Wednesday, Jan. 23 by visiting www.ACMawards.com. On-sale details for the general public and ACM A-List members is also at www.ACMawards.com.

Benefit News

hope• Top Christian artists will share a message of “Hope & Healing” on Tuesday, Jan. 15, from 6 – 10 p.m. at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, CT. TobyMac, Chris Tomlin, Mandisa, Laura Story, Casting Crowns, Steven Curtis Chapman, and Building 429 will lead the night. Speakers Louie Giglio, Max Lucado, and Mary Beth Chapman will also make appearances. The tribute concert honoring victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy is free and open to the public. Tickets are available free on ticketmaster.com and at the Webster Bank Arena box office.
• Will Hoge, Jay Knowles, Jessi Alexander, Jon Randall Stewart and Mayday Malone will perform at “Parents Rock! A Celebration of Family, Music and Early Childhood Education” at Marathon Music Works on Wednesday, Jan. 23. The 7 p.m. concert and silent auction is a fundraiser for Belmont Weekday School. General admission tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. Tickets may be purchased at marathonmusicworks.com or at the box office.
The popular Beatles tribute band The WannaBeatles will celebrate Betty White’s 91st birthday with a concert from 7 – 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17 at 3rd and Lindsley. Part of the proceeds will benefit the Nashville Humane Association and donated items for dogs, cats and other pets will be accepted. Admission is $10 at the door.

Hatch Print Helps Develop Stamp for U.S. Postal Service

usps stampNashville’s Hatch Show Print, one of the oldest working letter print shops in America, was recently tapped to assist in designing and producing the U.S. Postal Service’s 2013 Emancipation Proclamation (Forever ®) stamp, which commemorates the 150th anniversary of the proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln on Jan. 1, 1863.
The stamp is one of three Civil War-era commemorative stamps to be released, though Hatch Show Print was not involved in the design process for the other two stamps. Stamp designer Gail Anderson and Antonio Alcala, an art director who works closely with the U.S. Postal Service to find talented designers, spent two days at Hatch Show Print last spring, working alongside Hatch Show Print manager Jim Sherraden in the final design of the stamp.
“It is just great that in the 21st century, we are able to draw on a process such as letterpress printing, to add texture and authenticity to a project such as this,” Celene Aubry, project manager for this project at Hatch Show Print, tells MusicRow. This is the first stamp issue where Hatch Show Print has had a hand in the process.
Hatch Show Print’s archive of wood types and ornaments that match the era of the Emancipation Proclamation made it a natural fit for the project’s design and production needs. Hatch Show Print opened in 1879, 16 years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.
The stamp was originally printed poster-size. “When the [stamp] committee saw the posters and heard about Gail and Antonio’s experience at Hatch, they decided they wanted a run of posters to sell alongside the stamps,” says Celene. 5,000 posters were printed. “Once the final design was so enthusiastically accepted by the stamp committee and they decided to have Hatch print the additional posters, we spent about a week and a half here at the shop printing, trimming, numbering and packing up the 5,000 posters,” says Celene.
The stamp was issued on Jan. 1, 2013. To purchase the 2013 Emancipation Proclamation (Forever ®) stamp, visit usps.com.

Nashville Unites for Fundraising Tribute Concert

cowbodyjcHonoring A Legend: A Tribute to Cowboy Jack Clement, presented by Artist Growth, will be held Wednesday, Jan. 30 at Nashville’s War Memorial Auditorium. Matt Urmy, founder of Artist Growth and the most recent artist Clement has produced, and Dub Cornett, a long time protege of Cowboy’s, have pulled together an A-list tribute to the music legend, now 81-years-old.
In 2011, Cowboy Jack Clement faced significant personal loss when he lost his house in a fire, along with his famous studio, and tapes from sessions with Johnny Cash among others. An award-winning producer, performing artist, songwriter, publisher, and executive, Cowboy Clement has worked with some of the biggest stars in country music and rock ‘n’ roll, including Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Louis Armstrong, Roy Orbison, Chris Isaak and U2.
All proceeds from the event will benefit the The Music Health Alliance and launch the Cowboy Jack Clement Fund to help curb the cost of medical bills incurred by musicians not covered by insurance.
Tickets start at $45 and can be purchased here. Additionally, VIP floor tables are available for purchase by contacting Sara Breigh Foster at [email protected].
Honoring A Legend: A Tribute to Cowboy Jack Clementincludes performances by:
Dan Auerbach
Bobby Bare
T-Bone Burnett
Billy Burnette
Shawn Camp
Marshall Chapman
Rodney Crowell
Jakob Dylan
Mary Gauthier
Emmylou Harris
Kris Kristofferson
Nikki Lane
Charley Pride
John Prine
John C. Reilly

Chris Young, Brantley Gilbert to Appear on ABC's 'Nashville'

Nashville Chris Young and Brantley Gilbert will make guest appearances on an upcoming episode of ABC’s Nashville, scheduled to air on Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 10 p.m. ET.
In the episode, country star Rayna James (played by Connie Britton) and new star Juliette Barnes (played by Hayden Panettiere) attend an industry party to celebrate the success of their hit duet “Wrong Song.” Gilbert and Young, who cameo as themselves, also attend the party.
The episode also has plenty of drama to keep viewers’ attention: at the party, Rayna is aggressively pursued by an executive from a competing record label, while Juliette brings her mother to the event (her mother has had a history of substance abuse). Rayna’s husband Teddy (played by Eric Close) also confronts her over his suspicions regarding her relationship with producer Liam (portrayed by Michiel Huisman).

Upcoming Music Releases

TMCurb Records will release new music from Tim McGraw exclusive to Walmart on Jan. 22, titled Tim McGraw & Friends. The eleven-track project is expected from Curb just two weeks before McGraw’s first Big Machine Records album, Two Lanes of Freedom (Feb. 5). CMT notes the music was recorded prior to McGraw’s departure from the label. Collaborative partners include Faith Hill, Randy Travis, Jo Dee Messina, Lionel Richie, Tracy Lawrence, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kenny Rogers, Jerry Lee Lewis, Tony BennettRay Benson, and a single with Colt Ford titled “Twisted.”

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GNCapitol Records and The Recording Academy’s GRAMMY Recordings will release 2013 Grammy Nominees album on Jan. 22. The 19th edition of the series features 22 songs, including tracks from artists Taylor Swift, Hunter Hayes, Black Keys, Kelly Clarkson and Jack White. With a pre-order and in-store purchase, fans will have two opportunities to win a trip to the Grammys. A portion of proceeds will benefit the MusiCares Foundation and the GRAMMY Foundation. This year’s 55th Annual Grammy Awards will air live on CBS Sunday, Feb. 10.

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AGAndy Griggs will release a song written with fellow songwriter Bobby Pinson for those affected by the Newtown, Conn. tragedy titled “20 Little Angels.” Available through iTunes this week, proceeds from the song will be donated to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund. “United Way says there will be no fees for the administration of this project,” says Griggs. “Even credit card companies have waived their fees for credit transactions benefiting this cause.” Listen to the track here.