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Show & Album Review: Ashley Monroe ‘The Blade’

Ashley Monroe joined by Miranda Lambert on stage.

Ashley Monroe joined by Miranda Lambert on stage.

On Wednesday, July 22nd, I had the pleasure of attending Ashley Monroe’s album preview show at The Basement East, an intimate venue in East Nashville.

As soon as I stepped into the room, I noticed it was filled with a who’s who of the music industry, everyone from booking agents, publishers, media to many artists out to hear Ashley Monroe perform her new material.  Everyone anxiously awaited Monroe to take the stage.
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Album Review: Kelsea Ballerini | ‘The First Time’

Produced by Forest Glen Whitehead and Jason Massey, THE FIRST TIME highlights Ballerini’s skillful songwriting and contagious personality on all 12 songs.

This debut effort from Black River Entertainment artist Kelsea Ballerina can be summed up in one word by me: FABULOUS!

It is rare that a song, let along an entire album captivates me so.  Since I received the advance copy last Wednesday, it has not left my CD player.  I have even worn it out to the point that it is skipping now!

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From the catchy, upbeat first song “XO” to the last song, a beautiful ballad, “Underage”, you will be drawn into Kelsea’s engaging world.  I literally can not get enough of it.  A perfect fit for summer to roll the windows down to and sing along with her fresh, contemporary country grooves.

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Album Review: Dylan McDonald And The Avians | ‘Fueled By Dreams Of The Future’

Dylan McDonald and the AviansGrab your lava lamps and your bellbottoms, this debut album from Dylan McDonald And The Avians will make you feel like you’ve taken a rocket ship ride back to the 70s in this retro-infused pop release entitled ‘Fueled By Dreams Of The Future’.   Continue Reading →

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Album Review: Jordyn Stoddard | “Like Me ‘Til You Love Me”

Jordyn StoddardCountry newcomer Jordyn Stoddard is breaking into the music scene with salty roots and sandy boots. This 16-year-old Jacksonville Beach, Fla., native released her debut single “Like Me ’Til You Love Me” on Monday, and it sums up her personality perfectly.

This carefree song will send you daydreaming about the earliest days of a relationship when it feels like you’re floating together… or maybe you’re just floating down a lazy river by yourself with a drink in your hand. Either way, this song takes you to a great place, and you’ll put it on repeat. Promise.

“You’re smiling, we’re vibing, admit it / This feeling, you’re feeling, go with it.”

Could this be a better debut single?! When Eric Paslay, Chris Wallin and Matt Nolen wrote this song, it was about a couple falling in love. But a clever Stoddard picked it up and spoke directly to her fans, who won’t be able to resist liking her until they love her.

Stoddard began singing karaoke at home when she was 3 years old. She sang a Hilary Duff song at her local fair’s competition when she was 7 and received a guitar for Christmas when she was 12. It sat under her bed for a year until she taught herself how to play from YouTube videos. She may be young, but her maturity translates through her conversation style and music.

Influenced by Stevie Nicks and Kenny Chesney, this girl has an old soul with a fresh approach. She’s been shaped by artists from other genres as well, such as the Dirty Heads and Sublime.

“I want to be country but beachy country, so you can have your windows down and just enjoy it,” Stoddard said.

She’s excited to release her album Southern Tide on March 9.

Everything’s gotta start somewhere / Might as well start right now, right here.

 

Twitter: @jordyn_stoddard

Rated 5 out of 5 stars

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My Top 10 Picks In Country Music For 2014

FOCUS on the 615Well, it’s that time of year that I thought I would reflect on the top 10 artists in country music that I think you should be listening to and worth some time.  Obviously, these are not based on anything but my subjective taste.

Give them a listen and hope you enjoy!  Continue Reading →

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Jerrod Niemann | “Buzz Back Girl”

Jerrod-Niemann-Buzz-Back-Girl-2014

Arista Nashville

I can’t tell if it’s that last shot of Fireball or Jerrod Niemann’s latest release that has me buzzin’ right now! The country-rocker stuck to his favorite theme – drinking – with “Buzz Back Girl.” But this time he shifted gears from tipping them back to tipping his hat.

Lookin’ like that, lookin’ like that/You don’t even know what you’re doin’ to me/You got my buzz back, girl, my buzz back, girl,” Niemann sings in the cheerful chorus.

The special someone in this song cured Niemann’s hangover and turned him into a happy-go-lucky guy. Who needs bloody marys when you have this girl around?! The secret’s out, guys. Niemann confirmed there’s no more reason for that hair-of-the-dog to turn into a 12-pack-deep Saturday afternoon. All you need is a morning with your lady, and you’ll be fine

Niemann nixed the Auto-Tune found in his last two singles – “Donkey” and “Drink to That All Night” – and stuck with a classic-country-meets-pop vibe for “Buzz Back Girl.” However, he did include simulated scratching sounds, which are primarily associated with rap. Is Niemann taking a step in the emerging country rap direction? It’s hard to say, but I doubt it since he’s pretty established in his own style.

“Buzz Back Girl” was written by fellow country star Lee Brice; Kellie Pickler’s songwriting husband, Kyle Jacobs; and founder of Nashville Songwriters in the Round, Phillip Lammonds. This track from his High Noon album, which also features his past two singles, peaked at 35 on the U.S. Country Airplay chart. Niemann is wrapping up his Get Your Buzz Back Tour on Saturday in Orlando, Fla. But that’s not the only thing he’s wrapping. I’d imagine a few gifts are in store for his new bride, Morgan Petek, with their first Christmas as a married couple quickly approaching.

There’s a chance “Buzz Back Girl” could get lost in the mix of cookie-cutter, mainstream music compared to his past, distinct hits like “Lover, Lover” and “What Do You Want.” But for now, I’m jammin’ to this fun song and loving the idea of being someone’s hangover remedy!

Twitter: @jrodfromoz

Rated 4 out of 5 stars

 

 

 

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Ray Scott Talks About His New Album And Being “The Other White Meat” In Country Music

Ray-Scott-Drinkin-Beer-600x600Ray Scott, who I would describe as humble and authentic to the core, just released his new 11-track album produced by Dave Brainard from deciBel Nashville.  Production began just over a year ago on this project as he compiled the songs together and started recording. Continue Reading →

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Album Review: Brad Paisley | “Moonshine in the Trunk”

Moonshine in the Trunk by Brad Paisley country musicBrad Paisley’s Moonshine in the Trunk is exactly what you’d expect of the country star’s 10th studio album – party songs mixed with a little love, quirky lyrics and his signature guitar licks. Its release was infused with just as much humor as some of its songs, in true Paisley fashion. After a few months of #LeakingMoonshine on Paisley’s Twitter, the album officially dropped Aug. 26 and became his eighth to hit #1 on Billboard’s Country Albums chart. Paisley stirred up attention releasing tracks without permission from his label, Arista Nashville, and had fellow celebrities contribute to his fun.

Paisley tweeted that he was looking for a CD he really thought he had in his truck, and this quickly followed:

But Paisley certainly brought the album to life with his leaking locations.

“I wanted this to be a modern honky-tonk record, but not one that’s a ‘cry in your beer’ honky-tonk record,” Paisley said in a “Rolling Stone” magazine interview. “More like a honky-tonk record that Buck Owens would’ve made.”

He accomplished that goal in the first four songs on the album, which represent the themes running through all 15 tracks.

1. The crisp pop of a beer can usually signifies the start of a great night out or a relaxing day on the water. In this case, it kicks off the album by opening the first track, “Crushin’ It.” The promise of crushin’ cold Bud Light cans every weekend carries many of us through the workweek and keeps us livin’ for the weekend. He co-wrote the song with Kelley Lovelace and Lee Thomas Miller.

2. Just when you’re longing for the weekend to arrive, “Riverbank,” the lead single off the album, follows in perfect time. It peaked at #2 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart and quickly became a song of the summer. It will have you daydreaming of a simple afternoon on the river with an inner tube, friends and plenty of laughter. “Riverbank” was co-produced by Paisley and Luke Wooten. Paisley also co-wrote this one with Lovelace, and their clever rhymes prove they’re a dynamic songwriting duo.

We’d sail around the world and go to shore in a dingy / But ‘til that dream comes true, why don’t ya grab your bikini.

“Crushin’ It” and “Riverbank” along with two more party tracks from the album – “Moonshine in the Trunk” and “Limes” – certainly accomplish the modern honky-tonk goal Paisley was shooting for.

3. Paisley slows down with the second single from the album, “Perfect Storm.” It paints a beautiful picture of a woman using a potentially record-breaking number of analogies in just under four minutes.

If she was a drink she’d be single-barrel bourbon on ice – smooth with a kick, a chill and a burn, all at the same time / She ain’t just the song, she’s the whole mixed tape / She’s sunshine mixed with a little hurricane.

This love song leaves ladies with a desire to be depicted like this. Men, it might not be a bad time to help your kids with their homework. Remember thinking, “When will we use this in real life?” Your time is now, my friends. Paisley also co-wrote this one with Miller and co-produced it with Wooten. “Shattered Glass,” “You Shouldn’t Have To” and “Cover Girl” are three more tracks on the album that illustrate Paisley’s sweet side.

4. “High Life” brings the first bit of humor to the album. The classic upbeat Paisley song depicts a “low life” family’s journey to becoming “thousandaires.” Grandpa dyin’, Mama slippin’ on ice out front of Chick-fil-A and Carrie Underwood singin’ a song like a poem Brother wrote took this family to the top. Paisley and Underwood collaborated on the track as a joke inspired by a lawsuit claiming they ripped off the song “Remind Me.” Paisley co-wrote “High Life” with Chris DuBois, Brent Anderson and Lovelace. Three more songs – “4WDP,” “Gone Green” and “JFK 1962” – add Paisley’s quirkiness to the album.

Overall, Moonshine in the Trunk is everything Paisley’s fans could hope for. He distributed party, love and humor throughout the album to make it flow. It’s nothing drastically new or groundbreaking, but why change a good thing?

Twitter: @BradPaisley

Rated 5 out of 5 Stars

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Album Review: Brian Collins | ‘Healing Highway’

Brian CollinsThe new 13-track album by Brian Collins entitled ‘Healing Highway’ releases on iTunes October 7th.   Not only did Collins co-write every song on the album, but he produced it along with Mills Logan and Kenny Greenberg. Continue Reading →

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Song Review: Nate Green | “Wild And Free”

Nate GreenCountry newcomer Nate Green is grabbing attention across the globe with his debut single “Wild and Free.” And his good looks certainly aren’t hindering him.
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