CMT To Honor Year's Top Artists Tonight

Screen Shot 2013-12-03 at 11.23.39 AMCMT‘s Artists of the Year gala celebration of the careers of the hottest acts in Country for 2013 happens tonight (Dec. 3) live on CMT at 8 p.m. ET. Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Hunter Hayes, and Tim McGraw are the artists who will be tributed by Alabama, Dierks Bentley, Peter Frampton and Hayden Panettiere, Lady A, Train’s Pat Monahan, Cassadee Pope, Lionel Richie, Travis Tritt, and Dwight Yoakam on the 90-minute special.
Ron White will host the fourth annual celebration, which includes performances, collaborations, and speeches saluting the careers of the five honorees.

Mitchell Tenpenny – Black Crow

MitchellTenpenny_BlackCrow (2)Mitchell Tenpenny is a rare combination. Not only is he a lifelong Nashville native, he is also one of Nashville’s top emerging songwriters known for his extensive musical talent. He has played the guitar since the age of 13, and his talent and dedication to his craft has expanded his repertoire to include many other stringed instruments, the organ, and the drums. He also sings both lead and back-up vocals, and his unique voice lends credence and believability to a diverse array of genres ranging from rock to country and blues to pop.
As a twenty-five year old musician and graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, Mitchell has grown up in and around the music business. His grandmother was the late Donna Hilley, who for years ran Sony/Tree Music Publishing and exposed him to singers like Brooks & Dunn and Blake Shelton as well as some of the best artists, songwriters, producers, and engineers in the business. The advice gleaned from these industry experts as well as his own broad musical interests have laid the groundwork he needed to develop the distinct style for which he is known today.
A few of the artists who can claim the greatest influence on his career are Brooks & Dunn, Vince Gill, John Mayer, Justin Timberlake and Michael Jackson. A life spent learning from the best country music has to offer combined with his own R&B and pop interests has produced the artist that Mitchell Tenpenny is today. His songs are eclectic, powerful, and memorable, and both on the stage and in the recording studio, he always gives the audience more and more of himself through his music.

Vish – I Was Born To Love You

Vish (1)“Doctor by day Artist by Night”
I am the lab coat crusader saving lives with a stethoscope in one hand and a guitar in the other. Music is a great healer and common denominator for what I do musically and as a physician.
I originally grew up in the suburbs of the Chicago and about 10 years ago after finishing residency, I moved south-eastern Missouri were I start my career as a physician and be close to Nashville TN to kick start my music career.
Singing and my interest in playing various instruments started at the age of 7. I recall stealing my brothers guitar in the middle of the night while he was sleeping. I wasn’t very successful in being discrete as my brother woke up minutes later after hearing the loud strumming and eventual yanked the guitar right out of my hands. From that moment on I was destined to show him that I could play. He later became very instrumental in encouraging me to learn the guitar and take some singing lessons.
I always wanted to be a professional singer and artist from my teenage years. But my methodical and wise parents wanted me to first become a physician like my oldest brother and then pursue anything else I wanted. They encouraged me to first to first build a strong foundation in something stable as a physician and chase my music career later in life. The “later” is has finally arrived.
I have a very diverse interest in various musical styles and genres. My greatest country music influences to date have been George Strait, Kenny Rodgers, Garth Brooks, Waylon Jennings, Blake Shelton, Tim Mcgraw, Kenny Chesney and Jason Aldean just to mention a few. In addition to country music, I also enjoy listening to some current pop and rock music. The genre of my music would fit in current mainstream country music.
My debut album “Your Prescription” was “officially” released on itunes, cdbaby, and other online distribution sites June 27th 2014. The name “Your Prescription” describes my interests as a physician in prescribing my music to heal others. The goal of the album was to incorporate fresh, new country and pop sounds that parallel what is happening now in “Country Music”.
Gaining the support from Major A list Artists and popularity from others would serve to validate what I’m doing musically. That would be my ultimate goal.

Bryan, Shelton To Return As ACM Hosts for 2014

ACM awards_Gold_no dateIt’s double trouble at the ACM Awards again in 2014 as Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan both return for more mayhem, mischief, and overall fun as hosts of the 49th Annual ACM Awards, which will be held April 6. The show will be Shelton’s fourth consecutive turn in the hosting chair, and Bryan’s second.
The show airs live on CBS from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Florida Georgia Line will host the 4th Annual ACM Fan Jam April 6 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, with live performances via remote airing during the awards show telecast. Other artists performing on the Fan Jam will be announced soon. An all-star concert special is also being planned for April 7; the concert special will feature top country acts and benefit the organization’s Lifting Lives program. ACM members can purchase tickets for the show beginning Dec. 10. General public tickets will go on sale Dec. 13.
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Jake Owen Premieres Video Trilogy On CMT Platforms

Jake Owen

Jake Owen

Jake Owen is world premiering a trilogy of videos today (Nov. 25) for  “Days of Gold,” “Beachin,’” and “Ghost Town” at  Artists. CMT is introducing the video for “Ghost Town” for the first time, in addition to world premiering the edited video trilogy.
The three clips will make their broadcast debut during VJ For A Day: Jake Owen on Friday, Nov. 29 at 9 a.m. ET and will mark the first time “Beachin’” and “Ghost Town” will be aired on television. The premieres will be promoted across all of CMT’s digital platforms, including, CMT Pure, CMT Mobile and to the network’s more than 7 million social media fans, along with MTV and VH1’s social media platforms.

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean Honored By CMA

Nasvhille Mayor Karl Dean (center) receives the CMA Founding President's Award from Ed Hardy, CMA Board President (l), and Troy Tomlinson, CMA Board Chairman and President/CEO of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, during the CMA Board of Directors meetings today in Nashville.Photo Credit: Christian Bottorff / CMA

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean (center) receives the CMA Founding President’s Award from Ed Hardy, CMA Board President (l), and Troy Tomlinson, CMA Board Chairman and President/CEO of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, during the CMA Board of Directors meetings today in Nashville. Photo Credit: Christian Bottorff / CMA

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean’s many contributions to the music industry in Music City were recognized during the CMA Board of Directors meetings in Nashville today (Nov. 20) when Dean was presented the CMA Founding President’s Award by CMA Board President Ed Hardy.
“Mayor Dean has been a constant and ardent supporter of CMA and the music industry,” said Hardy. “Music is a powerful tool and under his leadership, the Music City brand has achieved new heights as a positive, differentiating identity for our community. The CMA Board of Directors values our relationship with the Mayor, as well as his commitment to make Nashville a better place to live and do business.”
The Founding President’s Award was established by the Board of Directors in 1963 in honor of CMA’s first Board President Connie B. Gay. The Award is given in recognition of that person (or persons) who is not currently serving as a Director of the Association, and who in the Board’s opinion has rendered the most outstanding service to the Country Music Association in the current year
At the Board meeting, Hardy praised Mayor Dean’s leadership and passion for Country Music, and tireless efforts on behalf of the format in Nashville, including formation in 2009 of the Music City Music Council, which focuses on economic development by working to recruit entertainment companies and visitors to Nashville; contributing to the success of CMA Music Festival with the opening this year of the Music City Center; and his ongoing support of Music Makes Us and CMA’s Keep the Music Playing, which has donated more than $7.1 million to support music education programs in Metro Nashville Public Schools.

Bobby Wills – Never Didn't Love You

An acclaimed musician with a reputation for writing from the heart, Bobby Wills (MDM Recordings Inc. / Universal Music Canada) is best know for two things; his signature cowboy hat and a diverse musical personality – combining a classic country sound with a toe-tapping, dynamic twist. A consecutive 2013 – 2014 Canadian Country Music Association® (CCMA®) Male Artist of the Year nominee, with the release of his third album Crazy Enough (street date June 23, 2014) Wills musically shifted gears, exploring a heavier country sound. The album features an array of tracks blending an intense mixture of rock-inspired country tracks featuring an attack of the senses with fuller percussion and a bevy of string instruments, complemented by his signature melodic harmonies and intimate lyrical story telling. As he spent countless hours in studio completing his new album over the last few years, Alberta native Wills simultaneously was the proud recipient of numerous additional accolades including winning the 2013 Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA®) awards Rising Star title, as well as successively taking home the Alberta Country Music Association (ACMA) Male Artist of the Year award (2012/2013). Kicking off this year with a bang, Wills signed with premiere Canadian country music label and distributor MDM Recordings Inc. in January 2014. Following the release of his new album, he toured throughout Canada this summer, including a performance during the Calgary Stampede. Fans can look forward to Bobby’s first national tour, as he opens for Chad Brownlee during the 2015 When The Lights Go Down Canadian tour in March of next year.
From the new 10-track album, the first single “Crazy Enough” (released to Canadian country music radio on January 27, 2014) locked in as the Mediabase #1 Most Added at Country [radio] the week ending Feb. 4, 2014, peaked at #13 on the Billboard chart and the video hit the Top 10 on CMT. Pushing the envelope the featured track is a departure from his previous sound, introducing an edgier angle with greater instrumentation and party-anthem lyrics, “I don’t back up and I don’t back down… I’ve never been a play it safe kinda guy, so if you’re thinking about calling my bluff, I ain’t all the way crazy, just crazy enough.” The single is an explosion blending acoustic and electric guitars paired with hefty drums.
Collaborating once again with Walt Aldridge and Mike Pyle, on an annual writing trip to Galiano Island, British Columbia in the summer of 2012, the new album was conceived with an ocean view. Shares Wills, “I feel it is important to step away and focus when writing, clarity comes from such solitude and committed concentration. My music, I guess like most artists, is a true extension of myself, and telling such stories with great mates takes time. Creatively this is my most diverse record to date.” The trio also collaborated on the second single, “Never Didn’t Love You” which peaked at #14 on the BDS chart. Bobby released his third single “Undressed” in October 2014. Co-written with Patricia Conroy, and produced by Michael Pyle, “Undressed” is a romantic ode to the sacred intimacy of enduring love and palpable passion. The video for the new single was shot in the California dessert.
In contrast to the first single, “Something There” is a lyrical memory reflecting on the invisible connection between lost lovers and the release of “what-if’s” haunted with warm memories. Showcasing Wills signature vocals, the track highlights his new sound layering deep instrumentation with electric guitar solos and chorus filled harmonies. Shares Wills, “We all have that person that remains in our heart and mind long after a relationship has ended, this song explores such memories.” A fusion of sound for fans old and new, tracks “That’s Why I Pray” (celebrating protective familial love and faith) and “The End Of The Day” (a tribute to his wife and commitment to his family) harken back to Wills’ earlier work, lyrically inspired by the love of his family echoed through his enchanting deep voice.
A committed philanthropist, Wills performed during the 2014 Golden Globe® Awards weekend in Los Angeles on the stunning Roof Garden of the exclusive The Peninsula Beverly Hills as part of the 2nd annual Oh Canada Cocktail Party to benefit the Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Human rights activist/producer/director Kweku Mandela, a grandson of the late South African activist and former president Nelson Mandela, has joined actress/comedienne Catherine O’Hara and comedian/director David Steinberg on the host committee for the a brand new national museum scheduled to open September 2014 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Wills will donate all proceeds (50% of the proceeds to the Canadian Museum of Human Rights and 50% to the Shoah Foundation) from iTunes downloads worldwide (between January 2014 through December 2015) of his Canadian #1 hit single “Show Some Respect”.
Some people are born with a special talent, perhaps even a musical soul; adopted as a baby to a family in Calgary, AB, no one knew what an impact his biological DNA would have on his life path. “My dad was a huge country music fan,” he says of the man who raised him, “so that’s where I get my love of it from, but no one ever played music in my family when I was growing up.”
Following a spontaneous dare while traveling in Australia, and an unexpected phone call, the course of Wills’ life would literally change forever. “We were at an open mic night and my buddy bet me $20 that I wouldn’t get up and sing with the band, so I did,” Wills says of the Australian trip. “I sang “The Dance” by Garth Brooks and there was a reaction from the crowd that I didn’t anticipate. It was amazing. I’d always poked around music but I’d never put any real effort into it, so I started to learn to play guitar while I was over there.”
Returning from his world travels, he received a call from the adoption registry learning his biological mother had registered to request contact (as had he), quickly resulting in their first meeting. Wills could not have anticipated the artistic genealogy he was about to discover, including five siblings and a musical streak a mile wide that ran throughout his biological family. “The first night I visited my biological father, we sat up all night listening to records. We both shared an affinity for a great lyric, and it was then that I realized ‘this is real. This is in my blood. This isn’t just a crazy dream I had; this is part of who I am.’ It really crystallized for me then. This journey solidified my love of music and aspiring passion to pursue this love on a professional level.”
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Crab Apple Lane – Hit The Ground Runnin'

Born and raised in Knoxville, TN both Kirk and Deena carried many different roles as local and mainstream musicians. Deena grew up in a family that just poured musical talent and this apple didn’t fall far from that tree at all. From her first steps on, she’s been a natural born performer with a set of pipes on her that country music may or may not be ready for. Kirk fell on his musical talents a little later in life. Though always having been around country music as his grandfather was a well-known “pic n grin”er in the area, he didn’t really focus on his musical talents much until around high school. But soon after, he saw the light and threw everything he had at making a life out of music. Fast forward a few years, throw in a few chance meetings and gigs, and then you’ll find the precursor to what eventually became known as Crab Apple Lane. Kirk and Deena had played here and there together around town but never thought much of it. But as time went on, a few conversations about creating a band, and one “for the heck of it” recording later, they realized there was something special there and decided they had nothing to lose but to join forces and bring the world of country music to Crab Apple Lane.

Elizabeth Lyons – #PartyRules

Country songstress, Elizabeth Lyons, is an independent artist who is smart, talented and a force to be reckoned with in Nashville. A 2013 graduate of Vanderbilt University Lyons was included in CMA Close Up’s “Who New to Watch in 2014” with Lucy Hale, Swon Brothers and Chase Rice and spent the summer performing alongside Country greats at events such as Country USA in Oshkosh, WI as one of the openers for Luke Bryan, Summerfest in Milwaukee, WI for Cole Swindell, Windy City Smokeout in Chicago, IL, for Eli Young Band, Chase Rice & Iowa State Fair Knapp Amphitheater in Des Moines, IA for Dustin Lynch & sang the National Anthem at Wrigley Field Chicago Cubs game. Her past touring throughout the United States has included opening for: Joe Nichols, Thomas Rhett, Cheap Trick, Phil Vassar, Charlie Worsham, Glen Templeton, Josh Gracin, Charlie Daniels Band, Haley and Michaels, Gunnar & the Grizzly Bears, BlackJack Billy, Tim Nichols, Jacob Martin Band, NHL Predators Hockey game National Anthem.
Lyons released two brand new singles this summer “Jeep!,” a fun, feel-good cool track anyone who loves Jeeps is sure to love she co-wrote with producer Matt Nolen former keyboard player for John Fogerty and “#PartyRules,” co-written with Dan Swinimer. Both songs loved & purchased by fans which was shown by the two singles both charting on iTunes right along with many label driven singles. Lyons’ work hard-play hard motto and love of life shine through on the new tracks. Multi-talented she plays both piano and guitar in her performances differentiating her from many of her country female counterparts.
“Jeep!” and “#PartyRules” are the anticipated follow-ups to Lyons’ highly successful self-titled EP (all six songs co-written by Lyons), which was released in November 2012. The debut EP was an All-Time Best Seller under $8 on iTunes and continues to remain on the National iTunes Albums chart. The EP charted at #42 on the National Country Album iTunes chart in less than 24 hours and remained in the top 200 for a week, and on December 6, 2012, the EP debuted as #10 on Billboard’s Heatseekers East North Central chart.
Lyons’ debut single, “Everything Tonight,” which she co-wrote in 2012 with producer Matt Nolen and Grammy-nominated songwriter Ryan Tyndell, charted #96 on the MusicRow chart also on iTunes. The video for the track, which was directed by Mason Dixon, (who produced Jake Owen’s “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” and “The One That Got Away,”) charted at #8 on iTunes Top Country Music Videos chart and #18 on iTunes Top Videos chart for all genres. “Everything Tonight” has been played on Sirius XM Channel 56 The Highway On the Horizon. Featured as a Top 30 song of the week. Lyons has sold over 75,000 downloads of her music online to date and has had over 8,000 streams on Sound Cloud, which is impressive for an indie artist! While an amazing singer/songwriter/artist she has shown her smart entrepreneurial business side that effectively knows how to market her music and ultimately sell records. She is the full package: a true emerging leader in the music industry. Most importantly, loves and connects to her fans.

Cody Joe Hodges – Getting Back To Country

Cody Joe started playing music at an early age, but it wasn’t until his senior year in high school that he became serious about his art. Impassioned by such country greats as George Strait, Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings, Cody Joe wrote his first song, “Daddy’s Dream”, his freshman year in the dorms at Texas A&M University.
Not long after graduating from Texas A&M in 2006, Cody Joe took off to Nashville, where he was lucky enough to find a place to stay with the late, great Johnny Paycheck’s steel guitar player, Jay Andrews. After his stay in Nashville, he decided to move back to Texas and join the Army. While in the Army, he ended up singing with the group “Harmony in Motion,” a vocal ensemble based out of Fort Carson, Colorado, and began traveling across America playing for large entertainment venues. Upon discharge, his dad had a talk with him about a career in the power line business as a lineman. This sounded like something exciting and also a great opportunity to draw upon for songwriting, so he joined the energy field in 2010. At the same time, he started a band called “Cody Hodges & The Linemen”, they came out with their first album as a band in 2012. In the spring of 2013, he decided to focus on his music and see what plans God had for him. So far, it has been a blessing. Cody Joe was recently nominated as Rising Star for the 2014 Texas Music Awards. This past year, Cody Joe Hodges and his band moved on to Round 2 of the Shiner Rising Star Competition, and he was nominated as Male Country Vocalist of the Year for the International Music and Entertainment Association.
Cody Joe is a traditionalist in the sense that he loves the sound of traditional country; with a steel guitar, fiddle and good, old-fashioned story-telling songs, the way country music was when he was growing up. As a true Texan, he grew up idolizing George Strait and aspires to the lifelong career he has had in the music industry. He is also a huge fan of the true country and outlaw country greats such as: Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard. Not only were/are they storytellers, but fantastic writers, artists and personalities.
Cody Joe Hodges’s music has been described as “outlaw country”, with a large influence of the country greats and performers who started the genre in the late 70’s and 80’s. Cody Joe’s voice ranges from silky smooth to raspy seduction. A Cody Joe Hodges live performance is one you will not forget. He and his band always thrill, putting on a high-energy performance at every show. It is rare that you will find someone that reaches across the aisle to both the old and new generations, but Cody Joe Hodges does it every time. With a steel guitar, fiddle, stand-up bass, guitar and drums, Cody Joe’s sound is something out of the past. Be prepared to dance because his goal for every show is to fill the dance floor.
Cody Joe tries to put a positive message in every song. There is a lot of negative in this world, and when people listen to music, whether it is to escape or to be entertained, his goal is to put a grin on your face or a smile in your heart.
While Cody Joe and his band currently play a lot of bars and honky tonks, they love playing fairs, festivals and concerts where they can reach out to all ages and play for folks they wouldn’t normally reach in the bar and honky tonk scene.