Chesney Packs Soldier Field For Big Revival

Kenny Chesney

Kenny Chesney

Kenny Chesney brought down the house at Soldier Field in Chicago during his recent Big Revival tour on Saturday night (June 6), and though the temps were a little less than island-ish with many in the crowd donning polar fleeces, the sun-soaked vibe was still in full effect.

“It was amazing to me, cold as it was, how loud and how hard Chicago brought it,” Chesney marveled after the show. “To play somewhere as historic as Soldier Field is truly an honor—and I think about it every time we’re there—but to have that audience who are so wild and willing to share the music, that makes it one of those shows every single tour. And I tried to dress for the weather… I wore sleeves,” he joked.

Miranda Lambert, who appeared for just one date, lent a hand to Chesney during the show on his smash “You And Tequila,” and the two had so much fun together singing that they added an impromptu version of the George Strait classic “Carried Away” to the bill.

“Miranda is a fine artist and a world class singer,” Chesney said. “To be able to sing with her on ‘You and Tequila’ was amazing, because of the grit she brings with the sweet. After that, we couldn’t do just one. And man, there’s a woman who loves George Strait as much as I do, so she understands the core of what ‘Carried Away’ is all about.”

Chesney has been testifying before unprecedented crowds at huge stadiums on the Big Revival Tour, even breaking his own record at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field with over 55,000 in attendance.

See his interview with the Chicago Tribune.

CMHoF Celebrates Dylan And Cash With Free Concert

Nashville Cats: A New Music City Album Cover

Nashville Cats: A New Music City Album Cover

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum will host a free concert on 5th Avenue South, between Demonbreun Street and Korean Veterans Boulevard on July 7 to celebrate the release of Dylan, Cash, and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City, a two-disc audio companion to the exhibition.

The family-friendly evening begins at 5 p.m. with face painting and balloon artists for kids. Food trucks will be on hand, and guests will be able to purchase Mexican cuisine from Bajo Sexto Taco, located at the museum. The concert begins at 6:00 p.m. and the first 500 attendees to arrive will receive a commemorative Hatch Show Print poster.

Hosted by Hippie Radio’s Whit Hubner and Chris Lucky, artists set to perform include John Carter Cash and Ana Cristina, Julie Christensen, Radney Foster, Jeff Hanna (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), Jamie Hartford, Al Kooper, Kathy Mattea, Tracy Nelson, Michael Nesmith (Monkees), Jason Ringenberg (Jason & The Scorchers), Britt Ronstadt, Steve Young, and special guests.

Tracks from the new album will be performed live by the Long Players led by Bill Lloyd (serving as the evening’s house band) and by some of the legendary session players from the original recordings, including Nashville Cats Mac Gayden, Country Music Hall of Fame member Charlie McCoy and Norbert Putnam.

“When Bob Dylan came to Nashville, he provided a catalyst for many other pop, rock and folk artists to record in Music City,” says Kyle Young, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum CEO. “We are thrilled to assemble some of those artists on one stage for one night only. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate that magical time and the unforgettable recordings they created than with a community concert.”

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum exhibition Dylan, Cash, and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City Presented by Citi, opened March 27, 2015, and runs through December 31, 2016. For more information about the exhibit click here.

Industry Ink: NASH Country Weekly, Big Loud Shirt, Martin Guitars, Buddy Lee

Country Weekly and NASH Magazine’s Big Reveal

Country Weekly and NASH magazine have a new name and redesign. The magazine, now named Nash Country Weekly, tweeted out the new look today with Sam Hunt as the first face on the redesigned cover.


Amy Allmand

Amy Allmand

Amy Allmand Exits Big Loud Shirt

Amy Allmand is exiting Big Loud Shirt after a decade with the company to pursue her photography business.

Amy can be reached here.

Jordan Kolodka joins Big Loud Shirt & Big Loud Mountain as Executive Assistant and can be reached here.

Jacqueline Renner named President of C.F. Martin & Co.

Jacqueline Renner

Jacqueline Renner

Jacqueline Renner has been named President of C.F. Martin & Co. Renner will work closely with Chairman and CEO Chris Martin IV on direction for the 182-year old acoustic guitar and strings manufacturer. Renner will also lead global operations for the Pennsylvania-based company. Renner was previously President of Franke Consumer Products, Inc., a subsidiary of Franke AG, where she was responsible for Franke’s consumer business in North and South America for both the Franke and KWC brands used in the luxury home market.

“Jacqueline is an outstanding business leader whose strategic thinking and brand-building experience will serve us well as we continue to grow our brand while maintaining unparalleled business and manufacturing standards expected by our customers worldwide,” said Chris Martin IV, Chairman/CEO of Martin Guitar. “We warmly welcome Jackie to the Martin Guitar family.”


Halfway To Hazard

Buddy Lee Attractions Adds Halfway To Hazard to Roster

Buddy Lee Attractions has added Halfway To Hazard to its roster following the duo’s decision to reunite earlier this year. “Halfway To Hazard is a pairing chock-full of talent; the combination of David Tolliver and Chad Warrix is loaded with entertainment value,” stated Mike Meade, Buddy Lee Attractions. “We are pleased in their decision to reunite and to be a member of their team at the brink of a major comeback.” A Los Angeles-based production company plans to film a docu-series following Halfway To Hazard’s reunion. The docu-series will include support from fellow friends in country music such as Lee BriceKeith Anderson, and Troy Gentry.



Ben Folds To Release New Album In September

ben foldsBen Folds’ new album, So There, is set for release on September 11. This will be the first album for Folds on his new label New West Records. The album was recorded in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and his own historic Grand Victor Sound (RCA Studio A) in Nashville. It includes the debut recording of the 21-minute “Concerto For Piano and Orchestra,” with the Nashville Symphony conducted by Giancarlo Guerrero. The original idea for this three-movement concerto came from a commission from the Nashville Ballet along with the Nashville Symphony and Minnesota Orchestra, to create original music for a brand new ballet.

“I don’t recall ever being quite so excited about an album I’m making,” Folds said. “I’ll let you decide if that’s a good thing or not. It’s just that we don’t often get to make a record that we’ve never heard before. The arrangements you will hear on this record are straight up rock – not ornamentation. The odd instrumentation – piano, cello, viola, violin, flute/piccolo/alto flute, trumpet/French horn, and clarinet/bass clarinet, with no bass and more often than not, no drums – is yielding something that I can’t wait to release. It’s a pop record, if that’s what you call what I write.”

Folds will be playing Bonnaroo on June 12 at at The Greek in Los Angeles on June 27. A fall tour and more dates into 2016 are being planned now.

ben folds album

Music City Walk of Fame Grows with Jack White and Loretta Lynn

Loretta Lynn and Jack White with Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. Photo: Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp

Loretta Lynn and Jack White with Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. Photo: Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp

Loretta Lynn and Jack White were inducted into the Music City Walk of Fame yesterday (June 4) in downtown Nashville.

The newly renovated park now boasts more usable green space, increased electrical and sound capabilities, enhanced Nashville Music Garden (home to nearly 300 roses), and 63 platinum/granite stars, each tributing musicians from all genres whose music has made a significant contribution to preserving the musical heritage of Nashville and who have contributed to the world through song or other industry collaboration.

Mayor Karl Dean, Metro Parks Director Tommy Lynch, Metro Parks Board Chair George Anderson, Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. President and CEO Butch Spyridon and NCVC Board Chair-Elect Beth Courtney and other dignitaries honored the two stars during the ribbon-cutting of the newly-renovated Walk of Fame Park.

“Great music and great parks are two of my favorite things, so it’s a very special occasion to open this fantastic new park and induct two incredible artists into the Music City Walk of Fame,” Mayor Dean said. “Walk of Fame Park is an expression of what our city is all about: a place that celebrates and honors great music — because music makes Nashville what it is. Loretta Lynn and Jack White capture the spirit of today’s Nashville–spanning multiple musical genres and generations. It’s more than fitting that they joined the Walk of Fame together today.”

“Nashville has been so incredibly open and supportive of what I and everyone at Third Man Records have tried to create since day one, and I will never forget it,” said White. “Art can thrive in oppressive conditions and also in supportive ones. I thank the community of Nashville for being the supportive kind and giving back to us.”

The Music City Walk of Fame–an official project of Music City, Inc., the charitable foundation of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.–was created in the fall of 2006 on Nashville’s Music Mile, a roughly one-mile stretch that connects downtown to Music Row. Founding sponsor Gibson Guitar leads additional contributors Durango Boot, Hard Rock Café, the City of Nashville and Metro Parks.

Walk of fame nominations are open to the public and are accepted in the categories of Artist, Musician, Songwriter, and Producer/Music Industry Executive. Application forms are reviewed by the Music City Walk of Fame anonymous selection committee.

Additional stars have gone to Boudleaux & Felice Bryant, Fisk Jubilee Singers, Reba McEntire, Ronnie Milsap, Roy Orbison, Kenneth Schermerhorn, The Crickets, Emmylou Harris, John Hiatt, Wynonna Judd, Frances W. Preston, Michael W. Smith, Buddy Killen, Barbara Mandrell, Vince Gill, Bob DiPiero, Rodney Crowell, Kings of Leon, Keith Urban, Steve Winwood, Kix Brooks, Kris Kristofferson, Ernest Tubb, Dolly Parton, Kid Rock and Jimi Hendrix.

Photo: Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp

Photo: Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp

In Her Own Words: Taylor Talks Tour

taylorTaylor Swift’s 1989 World Tour is in full swing and will visit eight countries and span four continents by the time it wraps. Swift is upping the ante on everything this go-round, including playing stadiums as well as arenas, and weighs in on the bonuses of hitting those super-sized crowds.

Almost leaves you breathless.

“The benefits of playing stadiums are kinda endless,” says Swift. “It’s so many people — you’re looking out into this packed football stadium of seventy thousand people. The energy coming at you from seventy thousand people is the most unbelievable feeling in the world. It’s almost like…it almost leaves you breathless knowing that many people would want to come see you play a show so we’ll start there, that’s a benefit of playing a stadium. Also, you know you don’t have to play as many shows in a week if you’re playing stadiums so it gives you time to recharge and down time and leaves you generally not that overworked when you’re doing a stadium tour.”

Swift has also changed her thinking regarding costuming for the 1989 Tour. The fashion plate artist is working her street style into the show a bit more this time around and says she’s toning it down a notch in a sense.

More fashionable than anything done before.

“We decided on costumes for each song based on kind of the mood that they evoked. It all starts with the emotional DNA of a song and we take it from there. And I knew that I wanted this tour to be more fashionable than anything we’ve done before. In the past, our tour show clothes have seemed more like costumes and this one with the show it just seems more like really insane moments of you know, fashion, things I would love to wear on a red carpet, things I would wanna wear walking down the street. You know, I definitely wanted to pull it back into that world rather than like a Halloween costume vibe (laughs).”

Swift admits she is also very specific about ensuring that the sounds you hear on her records are replicated in the live show, meaning hours of meticulous rehearsals before the show ever gets off the ground.

I want to be as true to this album as possible.

“The first month of rehearsals was just musical so we’re in a recording studio trying to figure out how to get the live band to sound exactly like the album, ’cause I want to be as true to this album as possible. I want the drum sounds to be exactly the same drum sounds that you heard on the album etc… So, then we moved into production rehearsals which is doing all the choreography, learning all the changes in between the songs you know, finding a flow to the show. But a year in advance is when we draw up the stage and when we figure out what the stage is gonna look like. So it’s a pretty extensive, long process.”

Nashville fans will get to experience 1989 when the tour comes to town September 25-26 at the Bridgestone Arena.



Kix Brooks ‘Steaks Out’ New Cooking Channel Series

Kix Brooks.

Kix Brooks

Kix Brooks will set out across America to find the best steakhouses in a new Cooking Channel series, Steak Out with Kix Brooks–including Nashville’s Cork & Cow and The Standard.

During six, half-hour long episodes, Brooks will visit Dallas, Denver, Nashville, New Orleans, New York City, Omaha and Washington D.C. 

While on the road touring as a part of country music duo Brooks & Dunn, he discovered that it was rare for a city not to have a steakhouse that put a unique spin on the classic steak.

“Kix Brooks is a great addition to Cooking Channel as an aficionado of food and wine,” said Michael Smith, GM/SVP, Cooking Channel. “Over the years, viewers have come to know him as a legendary country music artist. Now, on Steak Out with Kix Brooks, they get to meet a different side of him – Kix Brooks: the passionate meat-lover.”

“We searched the country for some of the best steakhouse,” said Brooks. “If there is one thing I love as much as music–it is a great steak, so I can’t wait to share with viewers what we found.”

Produced by Giant Pirates Entertainment, it premieres Tuesday, July 14 at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.

Brooks & Dunn will reunite in Las Vegas, beginning June 17, when it joins forces with Reba for REBA, BROOKS & DUNN: Together in Vegas at Caesars Palace.

Kip Moore Launches Nationwide Skatepark Project

(L-R): Kip Moore speaks at "Comeback Kid Skatepark Project" press conference on 6/3. Photo: Alan Poizner.

(L-R): Kip Moore speaks at “Comeback Kid Skatepark Project” press conference on 6/3. Photo: Alan Poizner.

Kip Moore has joined forces with Nashville based Salemtown Board Co. to launch the Comeback Kid Skatepark Project, a series of skateboard parks that will be built around the country to benefit communities and kids in inner cities. At a press conference today in Nashville, Moore and Mayor Karl Dean announced plans for initial projects in Nashville, Boston, San Marcos, TX, and Annapolis, MD.

The inspiration for the project’s name comes from Moore’s song “Comeback Kid,” an anthem from his upcoming album Wild Ones. Each park will be uniquely designed to provide the optimum place for people of any age to learn how to skate. Plans call for most of the phase one parks to be up and running by fall 2015.

“What started off as a pipe dream of mine years ago, has truly become a passion project,” said Moore. “It came from me wanting to give kids in inner cities a safe outlet, where they can form the bonds I know can be made from having somewhere awesome to go and be a part of something they enjoy. I wrote the song ‘Comeback Kid’ at a time when I felt like a comeback kid, but now when I sing it I think less about myself and more about the kids we are doing this for and how much I admire and respect them. We’re starting with these four cities, but the plan is to keep growing this as far and wide as we can.”

The Skatepark project is the first initiative of “Kip’s Kids Fund,” a donor fund through The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee focused on youth and teens. Moore is an avid rock climber, surfer, and skateboarder, and has enjoyed alternative sports for much of his life. Because of his heart for small town and inner city kids growing up with too few options for activities, he created the fund to provide alternative outlets promoting healthy habits and physical activities.

Moore’s sophomore album, Wild Ones, is set to be released Aug. 21.

LifeNotes: Songwriter Toni Dae Passes


Toni Dae (Helen J. Hamm )

Songwriter Toni Dae passed away peacefully in her sleep on Wednesday, June 3. She was 76 years old. The songwriter had cuts by such iconic artists as Alan Jackson, Conway Twitty, George Jones, Aaron Neville, Tammy Wynette, Tracy Byrd, Mark Chesnutt and many more.

She is preceded in death by her husband of 61 years, James E. Hamm and is survived by her children, Daffie Gayle (David) Moore, Janice Kay (James) Schlichting, Dennis (Lynda) Hamm; six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Visitation for Dae will be this afternoon at Nashville’s Woodlawn-Roesch-Patton Funeral Home from 4-7 p.m. The funeral is set for tomorrow, Saturday June 6, at 1:00 p.m. All arrangements are listed under her legal name, Helen Jo. Hamm and can be viewed here.


Artist Action: Reba, Darius Rucker, Wade Bowen, Thompson Square, Emi Sunshine

Reba and Darius Rucker.

Reba and Darius Rucker.

Reba and Darius Rucker Reveal Impactful Movies During CMA Fest

Fandango will debut new episodes of I Love Movies, part of its Movieclips Original Video Series, featuring Darius Rucker and Reba during the nightly concerts at LP Field during the CMA Music Festival in Nashville on June 11-14.

The episodes will offer interviews from Esquire Magazine‘s writer-at-large Cal Fussman, sharing how movies have inspired and influenced country superstars in pivotal moments of their lives.

Other venues will display the features throughout the week, in addition to inclusion on Fandango’s digital network, which runs through the fall and is timed with the 49th Annual CMA Awards in November.

“Movies helped shape who I am today,” said Rucker. “It’s joyous to see something meaningful on the big screen, providing important moments in your life. I remember the first time I saw Purple Rain, I was instantly changed. I’m getting chills just thinking about it.”

“Music and movies have inspired me in so many ways,” said Reba. “Both are not only significant parts of my career but my life. A great lyric or line from a film has the ability to take your mind somewhere new. I’m excited to share some of my favorite moments with I Love Movies.”

“Country Music and the movies are kindred spirits, as both share authentic life stories that leave meaningful, lasting effects on their audiences,” said Adam Rockmore, head of marketing at Fandango.

Fandango sells tickets to more than 26,000 screens nationwide, entertaining and informing consumers with reviews, commentary, celebrity interviews and trailers.

Wade Bowen's 17th Annual Bowen Classic, Photo: Todd Purifoy, Purifoy Photography

Wade Bowen’s 17th Annual Bowen Classic, Photo: Todd Purifoy, Purifoy Photography

Wade Bowen Raises over $275k for Local Texas Charities

Wade Bowen‘s 17th Annual Bowen Classic raised over $275,000 this past weekend (May 31-June 1) in Waco, TX with performances from Randy RogersTuff Hedeman, Cody Canada and The Departed and Willian Clark Greek.

The celebrity golf tournament was held at Cottonwood Golf Course.

Over $1.25 million has been raised in total, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting local Waco charities: Avance and The Boys and Girls Club of America.

Thompson Square. Photo: Weston Heflin

Thompson Square. Photo: Weston Heflin

Thompson Square Releases “Trans Am” Music Video

Thompson Square revealed its new music video for current single “Trans Am” today (June 5) exclusively with CMT (CMT Pure,, CMT Artists App). and also helped in the roll-out of the video, which was directed by Wes Edwards. Shot over a 15-hour day inside Nashville’s Soundcheck sound stage, the treatment offered the duo its first live performance video, which includes bandmates and the actual staging and lighting rigs from Thompson Square’s live concerts.

This Sunday (June 7), Keifer and Shawna Thompson guest star on popular DIY Network program Salvage Dawgs, at 9 p.m. CT.

Emi Sunshine.

Emi Sunshine.

Emi Sunshine Launches Kickstarter For Broken Down Van

Ten-year-old performer Emi Sunshine has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for her van, which broke down prior to her upcoming summer tour. Prizes, limited edition t-shirts, and more are available to aid in buying a new mode of transportation.

Her tour is planned to hit destinations including Canada, New York, Las Vegas and California.

“We hope that this Kickstarter will give us the funds needed to purchase a new van/bus and we hope that it can be a way for the fans to directly take part in our journey to spread our music to as many ears as possible,” said a release from Sunshine’s mailing list.