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“Love Can Go To Hell” – Ashley Gearing

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Ashley Gearing’s “Love Can Go To Hell” is honest and speaks about real relationships.

“I wanted to record that song for me and all my girlfriends – twenty somethings,” the 24-year-old said. “Love happens to everyone. Sometimes it’s really great and sometimes and it’s really bad.”

Gearing and her team added “Love Can Go To Hell” to her 6-song, self-titled EP at the last minute.

“We just knew we had to put that song on there,” Gearing said. “It really represented a different side of me as an artist. It’s kind of a jarring title. And then you listen to the song and it represents something totally different than you thought it would.”

Gearing signed to Curb Records at 16. She pursued college and graduated from Belmont University 2 years ago with a major in Entertainment Business and minor in Public Relations.

“I was really anxious to get started on this new EP,” she said. “It was a really long process because I really wanted these songs to represent who I am as a 24-year-old.”

Gearing was inspired by female artists who were great storytellers like Celine Dion, Martina McBride, Carol King, Shania Twain and Faith Hill. She’s also a fan of Motown and soul artists infused with a country background.

“I was born in the time when songs were so meaningful,” she said. “That was one of our requirements when we started looking for songs. We want them to be fun songs that you can sing in your car but also meaningful.”

Gearing is writing a lot right now, building her artistry in the Nashville community and developing relationships within the music industry. She said both the competition and support can be overwhelming as a young person in the music scene.

“My advice to anyone just coming in is to keep your head down and focus on what you’re doing rather than getting distracted by everyone else’s timeline,” she said.

Ashley Gearing is just scratching the surface.

“The great part about Nashville is there are a lot of people who want to help you and succeed with you,” she said. “I think we can all succeed at the same time doing a lot of different things.”

Ashely Gearing’s signature black roses were a popular gift in February for Valentine’s Day and a perfect representation of her latest single.

Among the recipients was Bobby Bones of the Bobby Bones Show. He made a “Making a Murderer” style documentary about the anonymous roses, complete with a guessing game that finally led him to discover they were from Gearing.

Check out “Love Can Go To Hell” and the rest of Gearing’s EP on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon. Keep up with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Love and Theft – “Whiskey On My Breath,” Aliens and Drinking with Pets

Eric Gunderson and Stephen Barker Liles of Love and Theft with Alanna Massey of Focus on the 615

Eric Gunderson and Stephen Barker Liles of Love and Theft with Alanna Massey of Focus on the 615

Love and Theft is making a stand about addiction with their latest single “Whiskey On My Breath.” The duo, comprised of Eric Gunderson and Stephen Barker Liles, has dealt with losing family members to alcoholism.

“It’s a pretty heavy topic,” Stephen said. “But it’s not all about drinking. It’s just about addictions in general. Almost everyone has their own addiction. It doesn’t have to be alcohol. It could be social media.”

GUILTY 🙋🏼

The single skyrocketed from #200 to #2 on iTunes with a little support from the Bobby Bones Show.

“Bobby heard ‘Whiskey On My Breath’ and really related to it,” Eric said. “His mother died of alcoholism at 46.”

Eric struggled with alcoholism and was proudly 311 days sober at the time of our interview.

“Singing about it every night when I was still drinking was almost like I was giving myself a guilt trip in a way,” Eric said. “I was getting up there singing about the one thing that scared me to death more than anything – whiskey on my breath. It’s been good to get away from it and change my lifestyle.”

Eric’s new go-to drink is soda water or Diet Coke with a few limes. Stephen still enjoys an adult beverage every now and then.

“I drink vodka and water pretty much because you’re hydrating while you’re drinking.”

Good strategy, Stephen! That’s not his only advice about drinking.

Stephen, since you’re a year older and so much wiser than Eric, give us your words of wisdom. This is your legacy!

Eric: Give us like half of a tweet – so you get like 13 characters or something. Make this count, this is it. This will live on forever. Ladies and gentlemen, Stephen Barker Liles’ words to live by.

Stephen: You’re not drinking alone if your pet is with you.

Eric: Wow.

Stephen: It’s for all the pet lovers out there.

Eric, what’s the deal with your Twitter bio: “Life coach, alien expert, ceiling fan collector…follow me”?

Eric: Oh just two things I’m really passionate about. I’m really obsessed with aliens and area 51. No I’m kidding… I just put it on there as a joke. And then I watched an episode of something on TV where this guy collected oriental fans, and I thought it was so weird and strange. So I thought I’d put it on there, too. None of that’s true.

Stephen: CMA Fest we could get Love and Theft fans… for the fans.

Eric: Oh yeah the ones where you mist yourself!

OK guys… back to the important stuff. What do you have going on this year?

Stephen: We’re traveling all year playing tons of shows. We’ve been doing about 100 shows a year for 6 or 7 years. Some years we’re gone 200 days. There’s no telling how many shows we’re gonna do this year. We’re on pace for a lot.

Eric: It’s been the busiest beginning of a year for us as far as acoustic shows go.

Stephen: I’m gonna have a Companion Pass at the end of the year if I keep flying Southwest!

“Whiskey On My Breath” soaring to the top of the charts, drinking with pets, aliens and a busy year ahead. There ya have it, folks – Love and Theft!

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Darryl Worley – Embracing Change

 

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Darryl Worley and Alanna Massey at Country Radio Seminar

Change is in the air, and Darryl Worley is embracing it.

“Country radio has been so inundated with things that I really don’t understand, like music that doesn’t speak to me on many levels,” Worley said. “I got a little bit of a hope and a hint that may change.”

Worley has a big year ahead of him – a greatest hits album, his first Christian album and a documentary of his travels to war zones.

“If that change is in the air, this would be the right time for me to try to get back on the radio,” he said. “It sounds like a good place to almost start over.”

He has spent a lot of time in Muscle Shoals, Ala., preparing to release his 2-volume greatest hits album.

“That’s kinda like home away from home for me,” Worley said. “It’s where I started out as a songwriter, so it’s sorta been like a homecoming to go down there with a bunch of folks I used to hang out with. We’re having a blast.”

Worley’s Christian album will release later this year, but don’t expect it to sound anything like his country music. He said it’s very uplifting, yet it has a nature of the blues.

“It’s coming from life’s lessons I’m passing on that could help people through tough times or situations,” he said. “It’s gonna speak to people I think on a whole different level, and we’re excited about that.”

As the 15th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, Worley’s documentary “Unsung Heroes: Music and Memories” will illustrate his experiences entertaining soldiers, seamen, airmen and marines all over the world. Worley said he wanted to do something to uplift them. The raw and real footage spanning 5 years will shine a light on what American troops do for our country.

“It’s a powerful piece, and I can’t wait for people to see it,” he said. “I’m very proud of it.”

Worley left us with a little advice for upcoming musicians:

“Figure out who you are musically and don’t let anybody change that. If you know who you are, if you really know who you are, they’re not gonna want to change you anyway. They’re gonna go, ‘Man, that’s just what we were lookin’ for.’ That’s the most important thing. I believe it with all my heart.”

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Clay Walker | 6th Annual “Chords of Hope” Benefit

 

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Clay Walker playing “6th Annual Chords of Hope.” Photo Credit: Alanna Massey

A curveball is flying toward you. You have two options — let it knock you down, or catch and return it to the world as something positive.

Clay Walker sent it soaring back into the world, leaving a trail of hope and inspiration.

He was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at age 26, only a few years after bursting into the mainstream country music scene. Instead of letting the news knock him down, Clay pursued his career and founded a non-profit organization called Band Against MS.

He also established an annual benefit in Nashville called “Chords of Hope.” This is the 6th year the event has raised money for MS education and research at Vanderbilt Medical Center.

“I think the loyalty and commitment has grown from the community, and therefore I could see us very easily doing another six years,” Clay said.

Clay took time to meet with friends and supporters before the night kicked off. Tim Dugger took the stage, followed by Clay. There were 400 people united by a great cause at the sold-out show.

“We love doing it at this quaint place, at 3rd and Lindsley, because it’s just more personal,” Clay said. 

Clay Walker performing while streamer pop into the audience during "Live Laugh Love."

Clay Walker performing while streamer pop into the audience during “Live Laugh Love.”

Clay spread his own laughter and love by popping streamers into the audience during “Live Laugh Love.” Fans twirled and threw the paper ribbons into the air as Clay rocked the stage. It was truly inspiring to feel the joy and energy within the audience, especially for those also living with MS.

Clay is a spokesman for Stick With It, an organization that encourages MS patients to stick with a normal routine.

“It’s real important to me to always make sure that I take medication three times a week, exercise and eat somewhat healthy,” Clay said.

Touring provides an unpredictable environment and makes it difficult to maintain a normal routine. He might be on the bus one night and in a hotel the next, but when it comes to his health routine he’s sure to “stick with it.”

Clay Walker and Alanna Massey backstage at "Chords of Hope."

Clay Walker and Alanna Massey backstage at “Chords of Hope.”

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@alanna_massey               @focusonthe615

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First CMA Fest Media Experience

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The last time I rose with the sun was for a deep-sea fishing trip when I lived in Florida. Now, three weeks into my new Nashville life, I was up at 5:30 a.m. twice in one week to live the dream of covering CMA Fest. With a media pass around my neck, I ventured into the chaos of downtown Nashville and surrounded myself with artists, fans and four days of country music.

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Tortuga Music Festival

Sun, sand and a drink in my hand. Tortuga Music Festival was a collision of my two favorite worlds — country music and island life. Festival-goers left the cowboy boots at home and went barefoot in the Florida sand to watch a lineup of 25 bands in two days. 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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Jerrod Niemann | “Buzz Back Girl”

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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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