Willie Nelson To Receive Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song

Willie Nelson Photo: Danny Clinch

Willie Nelson. Photo: Danny Clinch

Willie Nelson will be honored by the The Library of Congress tonight (Wednesday, Nov. 18) as he has been named the 2015 recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. The event will take place in Washington D.C. and will include a concert event featuring performances by Nelson himself along with Edie Brickell, Leon Bridges, Rosanne Cash, Ana Gabriel, Jamey Johnson, Alison Krauss, Cyndi Lauper, Raul Malo of The Mavericks, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Paul Simon, Neil Young and Buckwheat Zydeco. The master of ceremonies for the event will be actor Don Johnson.

“It is a great honor to be receiving the Gershwin award,” said Nelson.  “I have been a fan of Ira and George Gershwins‘ music since I was a little guy and in appreciation for the award-and also I wanted to make some great music-I’ve just recorded a complete Gershwin album. It’s called Summertime.”

The two-day celebration began with a presentation yesterday (Tue. 11/17) and special display on in the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building with a group of the nation’s lawmakers, who recognized Nelson for his contributions to popular music.

“Willie Nelson: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize” will air on PBS stations nationwide at 9 p.m. ET on Friday, Jan. 15. The program also will be broadcast at a later date via the American Forces Network to U.S. Department of Defense locations around the world.

CMT Artists Of The Year Honorees Announced

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CMT announced today the top country artists that will be honored during the 6th annual “CMT Artists of the Year” special that will premiere live on CMT from Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center, on Wednesday, December 2 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

This year’s list includes Blake Shelton, Florida Georgia Line, Little Big Town, Luke Bryan, and Sam Hunt.

Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan are returning for another year of being honored while Shelton, Hunt, and Little Big Town are receiving the honor for the first time.

The 90-minute special will feature live performances, tributes, and toasts from stars of music, film, and television. It is executive produced by Switched On Entertainment’s John HamlinJayson Dinsmore and Margaret Comeaux serve as executive producers for CMT.

 

Warner Music Nashville, Uber To Give Artists A ‘Big Break’

warner music nashvilleWarner Music Nashville and Uber have teamed up to give rising talent a way to their music heard. Today (Tuesday, Nov. 10), the #UberBigBreak campaign will allow artists to request a meeting with top industry executives by entering the code BIGBREAK to unlock a special option in the app slider any time between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. today. If connected, they will be picked up and taken to an exclusive, face-to-face meeting with a top industry executive set to hear their music.

“We live in a songwriter’s city, and our core mission at Warner Music Nashville is to discover the best new talent and develop careers for artists that we believe in,” said John Esposito, CEO, Warner Music Nashville. “Uber Big Break is a groundbreaking partnership that marries technology and music in a fun new way to give aspiring artists a chance at stardom, and we always look forward to hearing new music.”

In addition to Esposito, the Warner Music Nashville executives available for meetings include Executive President of A&R Scott Hendricks, Vice President of A&R Cris Lacy and Vice President of National Promotion Kristen Williams as well as Damon Whiteside, Senior Vice President of Marketing & Partnerships at the Country Music Association and Hunter Kelly, Senior Correspondent at Rare Country.

“Nashville truly is Music City, full of incredible artists, and we’re super excited to provide an opportunity for folks to showcase their talent to some the industry’s leading executives at the touch of button,” said Luke Marklin, general manager of Uber Nashville. “Being able to leverage our technology and bring a once-in-a-lifetime experience like this to Nashville residents is something we hope our users will really enjoy.”

Early CMA Award Winners Announced For Video, Vocal Event

Logo for the 49th Annual CMA Awards

Winners in two categories of the 2015 CMA Awards were revealed early today (Nov. 4) on Good Morning America — and it certainly is a good morning for Keith Urban, Eric Church, and Maddie & Tae.

Maddie & Tae earned Music Video of the Year honors for ‘Girl In A Country Song.” The clip was directed by TK McKamy.

Meanwhile, Musical Event of the Year went to Church and Urban’s “Raise ‘Em Up.”

Tim McGraw performed live from the plaza in front of the Bridgestone Arena in downtown Nashville for Good Morning America, and Male Vocalist of the Year, Album of the Year, and New Artist of the Year nominee Chris Stapleton was also on hand.

The 49th annual CMA Awards, co-hosted by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, will air live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena tonight on ABC.

Cole Swindell’s Debut Album Certified Gold

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Cole Swindell’s self-titled debut album has officially been certified Gold from the RIAA. The Warner Music Nashville release has sold over 3.5 million tracks and more than 159 million streams. Swindell took the first three singles to No. 1 and his current single, “Let Me See Ya Girl” is now in the Top 5. The first three singles have all been RIAA Platinum Certified.

“All I ever wanted to do was get one of my songs heard on country radio, but to now have my fourth Top 10 single is unbelievable to me,” Swindell explained. “It’s even more unbelievable that my debut album is certified Gold. I’m so thankful for my fans and country radio for helping me achieve all these huge milestones in my career.”

Other accomplishments for Swindell in 2015 were being named the ACM New Artist Of The year and earning the CMA Triple Play award for three consecutive No. 1 songs in a 12-month period.

Swindell will close out 2015 headlining his Down Home Tour as part of the inaugural country edition of the Monster Energy Outbreak Tour, beginning at the PlayStation Theater (formerly Best Buy Theatre) in New York on Nov. 11.

Carrie Underwood Sets Media Appearances For ‘Storyteller’ Release

Carrie Underwood Storyteller

Carrie Underwood is set to release her fifth studio album, Storyteller, tomorrow, Oct. 23. She will make multiple appearances in New York and Los Angeles before heading back to Nashville to co-host The 49th Annual CMA Awards on ABC with Brad Paisley on November 4.

Tomorrow, Underwood will headline a special outdoor performance on NBC’s Today, as part of their Citi Concert Series. On Tuesday, Oct. 27 she will chat and perform on The Ellen DeGeneres Show as well as make a guest chat appearance and an outdoor concert performance on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!

On Monday, November 2 Carrie will appear and perform as part of the pre-CMA Awards special, Countdown to the CMA Awards: Country’s Greatest Crossover Hits with Robin Roberts, on ABC. That same evening Carrie will make a special appearance on The Late, Late Show with James Corden on CBS. On Nov. 5, Carrie will appear on Lifetime’s Emmy-nominated Project Runway. She will join Emmy Award winners Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn along with Nina Garcia and Zac Posen as a guest judge for the season finale.

In addition to the Oct. 23 digital and CD release of Storyteller, a limited-edition version of the album will be released on 150-gram vinyl on Dec. 4. The vinyl edition will also include special etched artwork featuring Carrie’s name and the album name on one side of the two-LP set.

Storyteller was produced by Jay Joyce, Mark Bright, and Zach Crowell with six of its 13 songs co-written by Carrie, including the first single, “Smoke Break.”

Seven Shows Added to ‘Reba, Brooks & Dunn: Together in Vegas’

reba brooks & dunn111Seven more shows have been added to Reba, Brooks & Dunn: Together in Vegas. The newly-added shows are Dec. 7, 2015 and May 3, 6, 7, 10, 13, 14, 2016.

Tickets for all seven shows go on sale this Friday, Oct. 16 at 10 a.m. PT. and may be purchased in person at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace Box Office, by calling 866-320-9763 or online at thecolosseum.com or axs.com.

Since opening in June 2015, Reba, Brooks & Dunn: Together in Vegas has performed nine consecutive sold-out shows to 38,000 fans. The trio returns to The Colosseum at Caesars Palace with another sold-out run Dec. 1 – 12.

CMA Awards Add Top Female Performers

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Kelsea Ballerini, Miranda Lambert, Maddie & Tae, Kacey Musgraves, and host Carrie Underwood will perform during the 49th Annual CMA Awards.

“From Miranda Lambert’s explosive debut CMA performance in New York in 2005 to Reba’s performance in that famous red dress that now resides in the Country Music Hall of Fame, the females in our format deliver some of the most dynamic and talked about awards moments and this year should be no different,” said CMA Chief Executive Officer Sarah Trahern.

Ballerini is nominated for the first time this year, earning a spot in the categories of Female Vocalist and New Artist of the Year.

Lambert received her third Entertainer of the Year nomination in 2015 along with nominations for Female Vocalist, Musical Event, and Music Video of the Year for “Little Red Wagon.” Lambert is the most awarded female in CMA Awards history with 11 wins and 38 nominations.

Duo Maddie & Tae received their first nominations for Vocal Duo of the Year; Music Video of the Year for “Girl in a Country Song,” and New Artist of the Year.

Musgraves, who won New Artist of the Year in 2013 and Song of the Year in 2014, has three nominations this year including Album of the Year for Pageant Material, which she co-produced with Luke Laird and Shane McAnally, Female Vocalist; and Music Video of the Year for “Biscuits.”

CMA previously announced the performance collaborations of Eric Church with iconic country rocker Hank Williams, Jr. and Thomas Rhett collaborating live with Fall Out Boy, as well as performances by CMA Awards hosts Brad Paisley and Underwood.

The 49th Annual CMA Awards will air live Wednesday, Nov. 4 (8:00-11 PM/ET) from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on the ABC Television Network.

Kelsea Ballerini

Kelsea Ballerini

Miranda Lambert

Miranda Lambert

Maddie-&-Tae-featured

Maddie & Tae

Kacey Musgraves

Kacey Musgraves

BRAD PAISLEY, CARRIE UNDERWOOD

Industry Ink: Carrie Underwood, Big & Rich, Natalie Hemby

Carrie Underwood Storyteller

 

Carrie Underwood Launches Album on NBC

Carrie Underwood will sing on NBC’s Today on Oct. 23, the day she releases her new album, Storyteller. Her lead single from the project is “Smoke Break.” RollingStone.com and RollingStoneCountry.com premiered the lyric video earlier this week. Storyteller is produced by Jay Joyce, Mark Bright, and Zach Crowell.

 

Photo: Courtesy Morris Artist Management

Photo: Courtesy Morris Artist Management

 

Big & Rich Join Bass Pro Shops, NRA Country for Memphis Festival

Big & Rich will perform a free show at the Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid in downtown Memphis, Tennessee, on Oct. 24. The concert is co-presented by NRA Country and part of the World’s Hunting & Waterfowl Festival, taking place Oct. 16-25. Other performers confirmed for the festival are Mo Pitney (Oct. 20) and Tim Dugger (Oct. 21), as well as Liz Moriodo and Matt Stillwell (Oct. 22).

 

Natalie Hemby

Natalie Hemby

Natalie Hemby Will Sing at Gala for The Raining Season

Songwriter Natalie Hemby will perform at the inaugural TRS Gala, on behalf of The Raining Season, a non-profit foundation aiding those recovering from a brutal civil war in Sierra Leone West Africa. The gala event will take place at Marathon Music Works in Nashville on Nov. 7. Individual tickets are $75. Hemby’s songwriting credits include seven songs on Miranda Lambert’s 2014 album, Platinum.

Grammy Museum Mississippi Reveals Grand Opening Dates

9cdb8e7f22a5d22af7607cf7fe5abddb_400x400The Grammy Museum Mississippi will celebrate its grand opening on March 5 and 6, 2016, in Cleveland, Miss. The new location marks the first Grammy Museum to be built outside of Los Angeles.

Built and operated by the Cleveland Music Foundation — a non-profit organization developed in 2011 — in association with the Grammy Museum at L.A. LIVE and The Recording Academy, the 27,000-square-foot Grammy Museum Mississippi will be housed on the campus of Delta State University, home of the Delta Music Institute, the state’s sole accredited music industry studies program.

Chris Young’s Nashville Show: “One Of The Best Nights Of My Life”

Chris Young headlines hometown show at Nashville, Ascend Amphitheater on September 30, 2015

Chris Young headlines hometown show at Nashville, Ascend Amphitheater on September 30, 2015. Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Sony Music Nashville

The wet weather wasn’t able to dampen spirits last night (Sept. 30) at Nashville’s Ascend Amphitheater as RCA Nashville Records’ Chris Young stepped out on home turf to entertain 5,000 of his closest friends. For anyone needing a strong dose of country music, this was the place to be.

Just days after returning stateside following the European leg of his I’m Comin’ Over World Tour, Young admits, “I was both excited and anxious to come home and play a show in Nashville. I knew I was going to have a lot of friends and family in the audience so I didn’t want to screw up. The audience at Ascend Amphitheater blew me away and I could have kept playing all night long.”

Chris Young performs at Nashville's Ascend Amphitheater (Aug. 31).

Chris Young headlines hometown show at Nashville, Ascend Amphitheater on September 30, 2015

In his first headlining show in Music City since 2012, Young packed his 75-minute set with such hits as “Gettin’ You Home,” “Voices,” “Tomorrow,” “You,” “The Man I Want To Be,” “Who I Am With You,” and “Lonely Eyes.” Young shared how amazing it was to be playing to a packed audience 4.8 miles from the El Chico Mexican restaurant where he used to play “for chips and free quesadillas.”

Wearing all black with perfectly coiffed hair, the Middle Tennessee native surprised the crowd midway through his set, inviting friend and country superstar Brad Paisley to join him on stage to perform Eric Clapton’s “Change The World.”

Brad Paisley joins Chris Young at show at Nashville’s Ascend Amphitheater on September 30, 2015. Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Sony Music Nashville

Brad Paisley joins Chris Young at show at Nashville’s Ascend Amphitheater on September 30, 2015. Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Sony Music Nashville

During his performance of “I Can Take It From There,” Young asked the cheering crowd if they knew Conway Twitty. He challenged anyone who didn’t know the legendary artist to stop watching the show and immediately download Conway’s Greatest Hits album. Young suggested couples in the audience should play Conway’s Greatest Hits in the car on the way home quipping, “If you get home and can’t close, then there’s no hope for you.”

“Thank you for the fastest-selling single of my career,” shouted Young after singing “I’m Comin’ Over,” the title track to Young’s upcoming album, slated for a Nov. 13 release. Prior to taking the stage, Sony Music Nashville presented him with a plaque celebrating the single’s recent RIAA Gold certification.

Sony Music Nashville presented Chris Young with a plaque celebrating the recent RIAA Gold certification of his current single, “I’m Comin’ Over.” Back Row (L-R): Paul Barnabee (SVP, Marketing, Sony Music Nashville), Jim Catino (VP, A&R, Sony Music Nashville), Bill Simmons (Fitzgerald Hartley), Larry Fitzgerald (Fitzgerald Hartley), Steve Hodges (EVP, Promotions & Artist Development, Sony Music Nashville), Caryl Healey (VP, Sales, Sony Music Nashville), Angie Magill (VP, Legal & Business Affairs, Sony Music Nashville), Keith Gale (SVP/National Promotion, RCA) Front Row (L-R): Randy Goodman (Chairman & CEO, Sony Music Nashville), Young, Josh Easler (Director/National Promotion, RCA) Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Sony Music Nashville

Sony Music Nashville presented Chris Young with a plaque celebrating the recent RIAA Gold certification of his current single, “I’m Comin’ Over.” Back Row (L-R): Paul Barnabee (SVP, Marketing, Sony Music Nashville), Jim Catino (VP, A&R, Sony Music Nashville), Bill Simmons (Fitzgerald Hartley), Larry Fitzgerald (Fitzgerald Hartley), Steve Hodges (EVP, Promotions & Artist Development, Sony Music Nashville), Caryl Healey (VP, Sales, Sony Music Nashville), Angie Magill (VP, Legal & Business Affairs, Sony Music Nashville), Keith Gale (SVP/National Promotion, RCA) Front Row (L-R): Randy Goodman (Chairman & CEO, Sony Music Nashville), Young, Josh Easler (Director/National Promotion, RCA) Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Sony Music Nashville

Before ending the evening with a couple of encore songs, Young proclaimed, “This has been one of the best nights of my life.”

Labelmates Jerrod Niemann and Cam joined Young earlier as openers for the Nashville show.

Niemann’s 45-minute set included noteworthy hits such as “Lover, Lover,” “What Do You Want,” “One More Drinkin’ Song,” “Drink to That All Night,” “Shinin’ on Me,” and his current single, “Blue Bandana.” Confessing this was “a bucket list moment,” Niemann surprised fans by bringing out Diamond Rio as a special guest to sing “I’m Here ‘Cause I Ain’t All There,” a song he recorded with the country group.

Jerrod

Jerrod Niemann performs at Chris Young’s hometown show at Nashville’s Ascend Amphitheater on Sept. 30, 2015. Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Sony Music Nashville

Cam included performances of “Burning House,” which the audience gladly sang along to, and “My Mistake” in her set. Both songs are from her EP, Welcome to Cam Country.

Cam performs at Chris Young's hometown show at Nashville’s Ascend Amphitheater on September 30, 2015. Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Sony Music Nashville

Cam performs at Chris Young’s hometown show at Nashville’s Ascend Amphitheater on Sept. 30, 2015. Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Sony Music Nashville