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Nashville Ballet Celebrates Its 10th Anniversary Of “The Nutcracker”, And It’s Magical!

Dew Drop Fairy. Photo by Karyn Photography

The 1.2 million dollar production launched 10 years ago in Nashville by the Nashville Ballet is celebrating its 10th anniversary of their interpretation of the beloved Christmas classic.

Clara and the Nutcracker. Photo by Karyn Photography

Nashville Ballet spared no expense as period costume designs of the late 1800’s/early 1900’s were beautiful.  Elaborate set designs set this production apart, as it moves from scene to scene with ease and elegance abounds.

Clara. Photo by Heather Thorne

I would put our highly-skilled ballet troupe up against any world class ballet troupe in the world.  They are confident and talented, certainly capable of holding their own with the best out there.

Madame Bonbonniere and her Bon Bons. Photo by Heather Thorne

Adding to this spectacular, whimsical production is our own award-winning Nashville Symphony, who proves once again just why they win awards.

Stellar.  This whole production is stellar from top to bottom.  The audience is treated to nearly 2 hours inside the vivid imagination of a young girl’s mind, Clara, guided by a magician who offered her a gift of a nutcracker as he leaves the party after entertaining the children for the evening.  As she drifts to sleep after the holiday party with her family on Christmas Eve, visions of nutcrackers come to life, sugar plum fairies dance, mice in uniforms scurry, the Rat King runs amuck, the Fat Lady sings, the Chinese dragon dances, and so much more.

Watch the official trailer for it HERE.

I don’t want to give too much away, but one of the special elements added in celebration of the 10th anniversary, is they even make it snow inside the entire theatre at one point along with the stage.

It’s a pure delight and a must-see for Nashvillians looking for some culture this holiday season.  Only running now through December 23rd at TPAC’s Andrew Jackson Hall.  Get your tickets fast by going HERE.  You don’t want to miss it!

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Dustin Lynch Dominates The Charts With Fifth Consecutive #1 With “SMALL TOWN BOY”

Photo credit: Ford Fairchild

Praise Pouring In For Bold Third Album CURRENT MOOD

Country Star Continues Release Week With Hurricane Harvey Benefit And Performance On Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Certified hitmaker Dustin Lynch has cemented his spot as Country music’s newest superstar, celebrating his latest chart-topper “Small Town Boy” and the release of his third album – the sonically ambitious, boundary-pushing CURRENT MOOD – which released Friday (9/8) on Broken Bow Records.
Already GOLD-certified, “Small Town Boy” is Lynch’s FIFTH consecutive #1 hit, topping the Country Aircheck/Mediabase Country Airplay chart and continuing its reign on the Billboard Country Airplay chart for a second week. Penned by Rhett Akins, Ben Hayslip, and Kyle Fishman, the grooving track follows #1, GOLD-certified “Seein’ Red,” the white-hot first single off CURRENT MOOD.
“This week has truly been one of the most amazing and humbling of my career. This album is incredibly personal, and for two singles to already hit #1 is just crazy,” said Lynch. “I can’t think of a better way to welcome CURRENT MOOD than with ‘Small Town Boy’ being in the top spot.”
Rave reviews continue to pile up for the “sexy” (CMT) project that “showcases Lynch’s depth as a singer and songwriter” (Taste of Country), with The Boot observing, “he isn’t afraid to break the mold of what is considered normal in Country music.” Critics have gravitated towards CURRENT MOOD cuts such as “gut-wrenching torcher” (People) “Love Me Or Leave Me Alone.” Lauded by Billboard as “one of the standout performances on CURRENT MOOD,” the “stirring ballad” (Sounds Like Nashville) features Karen Fairchild on harmonies. Other standouts include the “smoldering vocals and R&B vibe” (Rolling Stone Country) on “Why We Call Each Other” and  “powerful and hypnotic” (Country Music Chat) “Back On It.”
In case you missed it, watch Lynch discuss the making of CURRENT MOOD and more on AskGaryVee with Gary Vaynerchuk here
Lynch will punctuate his album release week with a Hurricane Harvey benefit show tomorrow (9/12) at Cowboys Red River in Dallas, donating all ticket proceeds to the American Red Cross. Ending the week on a high note, Thursday (9/14) he’ll return to ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! to bring “Small Town Boy” full circle with an outdoor stage performance, having debuted the summer smash on the late night program earlier this year.
The all-star entertainer will hit the road this fall with his headlining THE RIDE OR DIE TOUR kicking off November 3 in Fayetteville, NC. Michael Ray, LANCO, and Ryan Hurd will serve as support on select dates.
For more information, visit, and reach out to him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Since releasing his PLATINUM debut single, “Cowboys and Angels,” Lynch has been on a steady path toward superstardom with five consecutive #1s, two Top 5 albums, PLATINUM-level certifications and tours with the biggest names in Country music (Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, and Brad Paisley). Racking up over 113 million views on YouTube/VEVO, scoring 245 million-plus streams on Spotify, soaring to #1 on the MTV Music Meter, and selling 3 million digital tracks, he brings a fresh combination of traditional influence and edgy intensity to the genre. Following his sophomore album, WHERE IT’S AT (Broken Bow Records) – which debuted at #1 on the iTunes Country Albums Chart and has tallied over 1 million tracks sold to date – Lynch’s hotly-anticipated follow up, CURRENT MOOD, arrived September 8. Produced by Brent Anderson, Mickey Jack Cones, Ross Copperman, Zach Crowell, and Will Weatherly, the boldly adventurous project features the GOLD-certified, #1 singles “Seein’ Red” and “Small Town Boy,” and aims to push the envelope of Country music even further. Realizing his longtime dream of creating a fashion line, Lynch has also branched out to launch Stay Country. The line of accessibly-priced men’s and women’s shirts, hats, and accessories, all emblazoned with the distinctive Stay Country logo, can be found online at
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Mayor Megan Barry Proclaims May 10th Ryman Auditorium Day In Nashville  

Historic date commemorates the day Captain Thomas Ryman was inspired to build
the “Soul of Nashville”

(L to R) Vince Gill, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry and Chairman and CEO of Ryman Hospitality Properties, Colin Reed
Credit: Steve Lowry

In a ceremony held earlier today on stage at Ryman Auditorium, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry issued a proclamation celebrating May 10, 2017 as Ryman Auditorium Day in honor of the iconic venue’s 125th anniversary.

“From its beginnings as a church to its years as the home of the Grand Ole Opry to its revival as the coolest concert venue in the world, the Ryman has a story like no other building – anywhere,” Mayor Barry said. “I’m grateful for everything the Ryman means to Nashville, and I’m excited to celebrate its first 125 years while looking forward to many more.”

Colin Reed, chairman and chief executive officer of Ryman Auditorium’s parent company, Ryman Hospitality Properties and Opry Member Vince Gill joined Mayor Barry onstage to celebrate Ryman Auditorium Day, which is also the 132nd anniversary of the meeting between Captain Thomas Ryman and Reverend Sam Jones that inspired Ryman to construct a grand tabernacle for the people of Nashville.

“As the owners of this Nashville treasure, we view ourselves as both the stewards and protectors of its rich and storied legacy,” said Reed. “We are thankful that Mayor Barry has chosen to recognize not only the historical significance of the Ryman but also its continued influence on Nashville’s thriving music and tourism industries.”

“If you think about it, music has had a great history here, but the real purpose of this building was to save people… and 125 years later it’s still saving people,” expressed Gill. “This place just has spirit that you can’t even put into words. It really is a magical place. The very first time I ever sang in this building it was just me and a guitar, and it was one of the most majestic experiences I’ve ever had in my life. I really felt that spirit move through me. This place more than any place I’ve been…I really felt that spirit. Whether I play here with a seven-piece band or a bluegrass band… no matter what you throw at this place it takes it and elevates it.”

About Ryman Auditorium  

A National Historic Landmark, Ryman Auditorium was built as a tabernacle by Captain Thomas G. Ryman in 1892, served as the home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1943-74 and was completely renovated in 1994. The Ryman is open for tours during the day and at night offers a wide variety of entertainment performances, just as it has for over 125 years. The venue was voted the 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 Pollstar Theatre of the Year and recently took home its fifth-consecutive CMA Venue of the Year Award. Ryman Auditorium is owned by Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc. (NYSE: RHP), a Nashville-based REIT that also owns and operates the Grand Ole Opry, and 650 AM WSM. For more information, visit

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CMT CROSSROADS is back with two new artists for a night of collaboration like no other. Chart-topping rock band REO Speedwagon and country singer/songwriter Sara Evans are the latest musicians to be paired together for an all-new episode of CMT’s flagship music series. Evans returns to the CROSSROADS stage for the third time, teaming up with the popular ‘80s band in Franklin, TN for CMT CROSSROADS: REO SPEEDWAGON AND SARA EVANS which premieres on Saturday, September 19 at 10 pm ET/PT.


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Video: ACM Party For A Cause [PREVIEW]

Keith Urban and bandmates performing during ACM Party For A Cause.

Keith Urban and bandmates performing during ACM Party For A Cause.

Article, full videos with interviews, and many more clips of performances are coming! Until then, enjoy this short video preview from ACM Party For A Cause at The Linq during ACM week in Las Vegas.  Watch the video here!

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Want A Free Song Download From Green River Ordinance?

Well, it’s safe to say that FOCUS have become big supporters of Green River Ordinance and, as a special gift to our readers, Green River Ordinance is offering a free download of their song “Dancing Shoes”.  You’ll be seeing and hearing Josh, the lead singer, performing this song acoustically right here on FOCUS in the next few days along with his interview.   Until then, enjoy a free download of this song just by subscribing to this site on the left hand side of this page.  When I see your email subscription, I’ll send you the free download.  It’s that easy AND by subscribing to the site, you’ll never miss a thing!

Stay tuned for a lot more fun and more giveaways in the future from FOCUS on the 615!

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Laura Bell Bundy, You’ve Been GHERMed!

Here’s a fun picture of Matt Williams with the uber-talented, Laura Bell Bundy! Continue Reading →

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Song Review: More Trucks Than Cars By Craig Morgan

While I have sometimes criticized artists for being too cliche about their subject matter for their country songs, Craig Morgan has made a career out of writing songs that paint a portrait of life in small towns in the south and he does it well.  Puts me in mind of visits to my relatives’ towns in Arkansas during the summertime growing up and a simpler time.  This is what he’s known for and he does it right with strong vocals to go along with it.   I love the pictures that he paints with his songs.  They just make me feel good. Continue Reading →

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Song Review: Home To Me By Sarah Darling

Some songs you just know it’s going to be a hit because they get stuck in your head for days and you catch yourself humming along without even realizing it.  This is one of those songs.

I first heard Sarah Darling’s new single “Home To Me” back in June live during CMA Music Festival and then I heard it again on XM The Highway just the other day.  The song just grabbed me right away and I loved it instantly.  If it’s not a hit on the country charts, then something’s wrong.  I don’t even mind that it’s repeated about 5 times now on my computer since I’ve been writing this.  Just doesn’t get old.

It’s well-written by Caitlyn Smith & Bobby Hamrick.  So catchy with a great hook and flowing melody with great imagery.  Should make for a good video.  It’s a mid-tempo, contemporary country song that just makes you feel good inside and is beautifully-sung by Sarah Darling.

Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

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Song Review: Little Big Sky By Susan Cattaneo

Susan CattaneoI was pleasantly surprised by this single “Little Big Sky” that was co-written and sung by Susan Cattaneo. I found the vocals pretty strong and natural, enjoyed the melody, and the whole optimistic message behind this mid-to-uptempo song featuring a heavy dose of fiddle. I don’t know that it will enjoy much commercial success because of today’s standards or radio airplay, but it was a good song that I would listen to again. Good production qualities, but no real “wow” moments in this one or that made it really stand out. Her style of vocals put me in mind a little of Trisha Yearwood.

Overall a good effort not great, but still a song that I think today’s country music enthusiasts might enjoy listening to.

Rated 3 out of 5 stars.

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