In acknowledgement of his grandfather’s Italian heritage, McGraw was honored by the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) in 2004, receiving the NIAF Special Achievement Award in Music during the Foundation’s 29th Anniversary Gala.
Seven albums into one of country music’s most-respected and most-unpredictable careers, award-winning singer/songwriter Dierks Bentley continues to grow. His latest evolution comes in the form of RISER, a project due early 2014 that stands as his most personal to date.
Written and recorded in the year following his father’s death, the album draws its title from “I’m A Riser,” a song about resilience and determination. “I’m A Riser” works as a commentary on spiritual, personal and societal recommitment, but it also applies to the competitive battlefield of the music industry. It’s particularly appropriate for an album about rejuvenation delivered by Bentley.
“Life in general has a way of knocking you down,” Bentley says. “It’s different reasons for different folks – could be personal reasons, could be family reasons, your job, drugs, alcohol. That song really applies to anybody that’s lived. There have always been those moments when we have to get back up and get on our feet. They are defining moments…breakthrough moments.”
Accepting change – and growing from it – is a key theme in RISER, and it’s reflected by the tone of the album, which demonstrates a new artistic depth and an extralevel of intensity for Bentley. It evolves from track to track, exuding a range of emotions, all the while impressing upon the listener that Bentley’s instinct for a hit is stronger than ever. Bentley made significant reconfigurations in his creative team to shake up his sonic texture without sacrificing his commercial drive. He re-enlisted executive producer Arturo Buenahora Jr., who worked on Bentley’s first two albums; and utilized producer Ross Copperman, who co-wrote “Tip It On Back” for Bentley’s current album Home.
The new atmosphere yielded the most focused and intense vocals of Bentley’s career. Some were recorded live with the band as the musicians laid down the tracks, but others were captured in less-than-obvious locales. One track’s vocal was recorded on Bentley’s tour bus. Still others were cut at Copperman’s house with the producer literally at Bentley’s side, pushing him to some of his most emotional, and seasoned, performances.
“It’s not even really a studio,” Bentley says of Copperman’s set-up. “It’s just kind of a corner of the house he’s taken over, so there was a kind of intimacy to the vocal process. It was important to get out of the studio and sing in different places, and to do it with other people in the room. That way, you have an audience and you get a sense of what’s working, what’s not working, when it’s feeling good, not feeling good. It brings a little more emotion and energy out of your voice.”
Since making a life-altering drive with his father from Phoenix to Nashville when he was 19 years old, Bentley has forged his own path in an industry built predominantly on formula. He has mixed elements of modern country, classic country, bluegrass and rock, maintaining an unmistakable identity while constantly reinventing his sound. His album Home debuted at No. 1 and spawned three consecutive chart-topping hits, marking 12 career No. 1 songs for Bentley as a singer and songwriter. His five previous studio albums have sold more than five million copies, garnered 11 GRAMMY nominations and earned him an invitation to join the Grand Ole Opry.
– See more at: http://www.dierks.com/bio#sthash.roC9B6lu.dpuf
Brad Paisley is a critically acclaimed singer, songwriter, guitarist and entertainer whose talents have earned him numerous awards, including three GRAMMYs, two American Music Awards, 14 Academy of Country Music Awards and 14 Country Music Association Awards (including Entertainer of the Year), among many others.
He has been a proud member of the Grand Ole Opry since 2001. Paisley has written or co-written 20 of his 23 #1 singles with the first being his 1999 hit “He Didn’t Have To Be” and his most recent, “Perfect Storm,” from his chart topping 2014 album Moonshine in the Trunk.
Paisley’s current single is “Crushin’ It” from the same album and Paisley will kicked off his Crushin’ It World Tour the middle of May by playing to over 50,000 fans. Paisley has recently partnered with Boot Barn® and developed an exclusive line of jeans, hats, T-shirts, jewelry, belts and woven shirts called Moonshine Spirit by Brad Paisley.
On a personal note, this guy is one of my all time favorite artists and entertainers, who deserves everything he has been given and much more.
I am looking forward to his next be country ballad for sure, it would also be so cool if he would let out that amazing vocal range he has more often. He has one of the best pure male country voices in the world, but would sure love to here him rock out one of these days with his vocal chops, I know he could if he wanted to.
My name is Granger Smith. Sometimes long, fancy industry bios are helpful, but other times you just need to hear from the guy actually living it, so here’s my story.
I was born and raised Texan, and I’m proud of that. I grew up along with two brothers, a couple of yellow labrador retrievers and parents that stayed together because they loved each other. My life changed when I was 14 years old and decided I would teach myself to play guitar. This was motivated by two things: I thought the guitar would make girls pay attention to me, and George Strait played one. By the time I turned 15, I was performing weekends on small town stages in North Texas, and doing my best as a fan club member to attend every George Strait concert within driving distance. Playing high school football was an important rite of passage for me, along with hunting and fishing, but the dream of a music career consumed me. At age 19, I was satisfied with enough songs I had written to make an album. As a freshman at Texas A&M, I was able to scrape together some studio money by pre-selling the album to friends around campus. For being just a kid, that album did pretty well. It landed me a songwriting deal with EMI Music Publishing in Nashville, and the following year, I took the leap to Tennessee.
My time in Nashville was important. I absorbed the craft of songwriting from some of the best, learned my way around studios and recording gear, (which paid off for me later) and cut my teeth on countless stages as both a singer and as a steel guitar player for other singers. After four years, I had a shelf full of song demos, a little bit of music business know-how and a strong conviction to move back to Texas, finish my degree at Texas A&M, and start a band.
Moving back to College Station meant basically starting over. The gigs were hard to book and when they did, nobody showed up to watch. But I was happy and felt creative. I saved money by making albums out of my house and using my band. We wore out vehicles and went from two pickup trucks, to a suburban, to a van and then another van. The trailers we towed got bigger, and ever so slowly, so did our crowds. I learned how to use a camera and some editing software for making homemade music videos and we made lots of them.
My little brother, Tyler joined me in 2008. He traded a pretty good job at the bank to jump in an old van and sell t-shirts in honky-tonk dive bars. I think he did it not only because he shared the same vision as me, but also because his competitive nature was excited about proving a bunch of people wrong. And that’s exactly what we did. Together we conspired and worked from the ground up with the goal of not only building an artist, but a brand. We embraced social media, searched for real connections with fans, studied our predecessors and ignored our doubters. The good shows helped pay for all the bad ones, and the songs that sold helped fund all the others that didn’t. We put communities first, knowing that without the people, we were without a job.
We created alter-egos through videos to help promote the music and that’s where Earl Dibbles Jr. came from in the summer of 2011. It started as a short, funny video that my brothers and I filmed out where my parents live in Central Texas, but it turned out to be something that completely changed the shape of my career. I actually like to think of it as an “intentional accident” because as planned, the video went viral and became a huge promotional tool for my music. But we had no way to know if it would actually work, especially since many of my videos before it never caught fire.
In the early morning of April 16, 2013, I woke up and checked the iTunes store on my phone with tired eyes. I was absolutely shocked to see my new album, Dirt Road Driveway sitting at #1. Things were rapidly changing on the road, too. We were seeing sold out shows in markets we had never played, and a passion in fans unlike anything I had seen before. After independently releasing 7 studio albums, 1 live album and 2 EPs, I finally signed my first record deal in 2015. I met some great people at Broken Bow Music Group (BBR Music Group) in Nashville who sought us out, believed in my dedication and wanted to take what I was already doing, and magnify the message. We worked together not only as colleagues, but as friends unified on the same mission. Within only weeks of the signing, my debut single “Backroad Song” was a hit at mainstream country radio faster than any of us expected.
A few years ago, I was standing with my boots in red, sandy, Iraqi soil watching a beautifully majestic Middle Eastern sunset, when one of my band members asked me, “Can you believe music got us here?” No, I can’t. What a journey it has been since I decided to chase this crazy dream. We’ve played 10 countries, 3 continents, even the White House a few times, and I still can’t believe it all started with a few guitar chords. In my song called “Sleeping On The Interstate,” I wrote, “Connecting map dots like poets and prisoners, trying to live more like a lover than sinner, slave to dreams so far away.” That’s me. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the music business, it’s that you don’t really choose this life, you are this life. That’s the truth no matter if you’re selling albums or not. I do what I love and love what I do, and there’s no sweeter freedom than that.
FarmBorough, music festival set for June 17th through 19th, has been canceled. This was to be the second year for the event, which launched in June 2015 at New York’s Randall’s Island Park. Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw and Toby Keith were tapped as headliners
A message on FarmBorough’s site explains the cancellation.
“FarmBorough Festival will not return to Randall’s Island in June of 2016. All of us at FarmBorough Festival appreciate the support we have received, but conditions dictate that we redirect our energy at this time,” reads the statement. “We appreciate the opportunity you afforded us to present FarmBorough in New York City, and apologize for any inconvenience.”
Refunds for the festival, along with pre-purchased ferry passes to reach Randall’s Island, will be available.
While the specific reason for the festival’s demise is unknown, it doesn’t appear to be any lingering physical issue with the venue: the rock and pop Governors Ball Music Festival is set for the same site June 3rd through 5th.
FarmBorough is just the latest country music gathering to be canceled. The Big Barrel Country Music Festival, scheduled for June in Delaware, was called off last month. It too was entering its second year.
In September 2013 Urban released his seventh studio album F– USE. His fourth #1 album marked the first time that a male Country artist has debuted atop the all-genre charts in the United States, Canada and Australia.
The album’s first single, “Little Bit of Everything” took the top spot on the Country Singles Chart, as did “We Were Us”, featuring Miranda Lambert, which gave Urban a streak of five consecutive #1 songs (dating back to 2011’s “Without You”).
In 2001, the Country Music Association honored Urban with its Horizon Award, designating him a talented artist with a bright future. He is the first Horizon Award winner in history to go on to win the CMA’s Male Vocalist of the Year, a title he’s captured three times, and the coveted Entertainer of the Year. Since then Urban’s career has seen a long list of groundbreaking firsts and accomplishments reserved for the music industry’s elite.
He’s the first Country artist to be named an American Idol judge, a role he will reprise for the show in its 15th season, and is a four-time GRAMMY® Award winner who has also won a People’s Choice, American Music Award and been nominated for a Golden Globe. He’s won eight Academy of Country Music Awards, is nominated for six more (in 2014), and has had 16 #1 songs and five consecutive platinum or multi-platinum albums. In 2012 he became a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
His reputation as a premier songwriter, vocalist, musician and virtuoso guitarist has afforded Urban the opportunity to collaborate with the likes of The Rolling Stones, John Mayer, Steven Tyler, John Fogerty, Alicia Keys, Tim McGraw and Taylor Swift, Vince Gill, Eric Church and countless others. He was asked to perform on both nights of Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Festival and earlier this year on CBS’ “The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute To The Beatles.”
Hello Matt Austin, Before we get into all the amazing things you have going on right now, let’s start from the beginning! you grew up in Detroit, Michigan , can you tell us what growing up there was like for you as a kid and was music a strong influence in your family? How did you come upon your interest to be a musician?
Well, I grew up in the Metro Detroit area, in a city called Woodhaven that is about 20 minutes south of Detroit. It was cool growing up there, it wasn’t a big city, but it wasn’t rural either and if you wanted find the country roads, we didn’t have to go very far.
Music was a strong influence in my family. My Dad played guitar as a hobby and really loved music. My mom was the singer though. My Dad gave singing a good effort but it was my mom that had the voice.
Then my Uncle Gary moved in with us when I was 9 years old and he showed me this Stevie Ray Vaughan album, “Texas Flood,” and I was hooked, by the sounds and asked my parents for a guitar for Christmas.
They got me one that Christmas and everything started when I was 10 years old!
2) You have a fascinating list of musicians that have influenced your path in music. Artists like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Lynard Skynard, Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix. Such a variety of styles of music! you can definitely hear the rock roots in your music , what was it about these artists that captivated your interest to follow their direction in music?
I have to give credit here to my Dad again. We would rock out these artists when I was growing up. I think Country Music now has a lot of these influences in it today!
I will also add to that and say with such an influence of these Rock Icons in your music , it’s no wonder you have such a rich, solid sound that is all your own!
3) What some people may not know is that your actually the frontman for a rock band The Paper Street Saints in your early performing years, opening in Detroit area for such heavyweight acts such as Bon Jovi , Def Leppard, Styx and Tesla! those are some pretty great bands to share the stage with! What was it like to perform with these artists? you must have some memorable moments to share with us of those times.
Well, I wasn’t the front man in this band. I was the lead guitar player and I sang backing vocals. It wasn’t until after I left this band that I started to develop my own solo career as an artist.
When I opened for Bon Jovi it was at The Palace in Auburn Hills MI with Paper Street Saints and it was incredible to look out to 20,000 fans while we were playing. My Dad roadied for us when we were eating in the catering room, I nearly spilled my drink all over the table when Bon Jovi walked in the room.
When I opened for Def Leppard and Styx I was with the Matt Austin Band and this was at DTE Energy Music Theatre, formally know as Pine Knob.
This was another incredible moment for me to step on that stage to perform. My Dad used to take me to concerts here and I always wanted to perform on that stage!
4) It’s hard to imagine a hard rocker as you listen to your current playlist today, what were you doing the day the emerging new country sound caught your ear and you made the decision to turn the dial to country? This direction has proven to be highly successful transition for Canadian Country artist Dallas Smith, who has found tremendous success as a country artist .
I actually had taken a little break from the music business and was going to college for a Nursing Degree and my wife had seen Brantley Gilbert’s music video on CMT. She woke me up and told me that she thought I would be good at this type of music. I started posting some covers of me and an acoustic on YouTube and ended up getting a better response than I had ever had and it felt more natural to me than anything I’ve ever done.
5) Your music reflects feel good lyrics and catchy – crank up the volume – and thinking of your favorite memory kind of songs, are these drawn from your own personal experiences? what do you like to do when your not performing?
Some of my songs that I’ve written do reflect on my own personal experiences, and some of my songs are from songwriters out of Nashville.
It’s all about the song for me.
I was an athlete before I got in to music, so I love to try and keep my youth and stay in shape by working out, and playing basketball. I love to watch football and movies as well.
6) How does a lyric typically trigger an idea for a song? Where does the inspiration usually hit you?
There is really no specific answer for this. Song lyrics and inspirations have come from all different angles. It could be something I see on a TV show or a movie, or something a friend is doing or dealing with, or something in my life.
7) What can you tell any new listeners what to expect from one of your shows? From what I see you are definitely in your element onstage , the energy from you and your band is very infectious and the fans are truly having a great time!
Haha. Yup. You pretty much explained it all in a nut shell there. It’s hard to explain, but when we get on the stage we lay it all out on the table. There is definitely an energy in the room and the crowd can feel it too!
We just want everyone to feel good and have a great time while we are performing. More than just being a good singer, and have great songs, being able to perform and entertain is a key element to all of this!
8)Tell us some of the great Country acts you have worked with or shared the stage with in the past or upcoming shows
We have been super fortunate over the last couple of years to be able to share the stage with Lee Brice, Sam Hunt, Chase Rice, Brantley Gilbert and many more, including performing at some of the largest country music festivals with artist’s like Cole Swindell, Parmalee, Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan and more!
We are currently working on tour dates for 2016 to support the our sophomore single at national country radio. Hopefully fans will be able to catch us out on the road with one of these artist’s!
9) What is your favorite song to perform live at your concerts? one of my favorites is Cold One Tonight, such a great tune! but your whole playlist is fantastic!
Awe thanks so much! Ya, that’s a fun one! It’s funny because when we perform that song, even people who haven’t heard it before are singing the tag line by the end of it. I’m not sure if I have a favorite one though. I love them all in a different way.
10) You had a pretty exciting 2015 with your recent signing with Arrow Entertainment of Nashville/Seattle and a new EP being released, what were some other highlights of the year for you
2015 we have ended with a bang. We released our debut single, “Summer I’ll Always Remember,’ to country radio and it just hit #9 on the New Music Weekly Country Main Chart and close to 60 radio stations across the country have added it to rotation. We are super excited to release our next single, “Bad Feelin,” to country radio in January!
11) Your brand new EP “The Island presale is now going on with some cool insentives when you purchase , Tell us a little more about that and when the album officially becomes available in digital stores,
Ya, this is pretty cool. So the pre-release is available now on iTunes and Google Play for just $3.99 and you will get 3 songs instantly. The EP then comes out on Christmas Day, and you will get the remaining 4 songs automatically on Christmas Day! The first 250 people to get the presale and post a screen shot on social media with the hash tag #TheIslandEP get an autographed copy of my debut self-titled EP and they are entered for a chance to win a personal skype acoustic performance from me!
12) From The Island album has already released two great singles, ” The Island” and “Summer I’ll always Remember” give us a hint of what we will find when listening to the rest of the album?
For me, the hardest thing to do with this album was to pick which songs we would release as singles. Honestly, they are all so good. If you like the singles we release from it, don’t be surprised if you like the other songs on the EP even better. They literally could all be singles.
Well thanks Matt for taking the time to chat with us! We wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from us here at Country Music Weekly!
Matt Austin Photo
Thank you so much for chatting with me! We wish you and all your families at Country Music Weekly a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year as well!
Years before they climbed the country charts with songs like “Stay a Little Longer” and “Rum,” the Brothers Osborne grew up in Deale, Maryland, a small fishing town on the Atlantic seaboard. It was a cozy place, filled with blue-collar workers who made their living on the water. During the weekends, many of those workers would head over to the Osborne household, where a series of loose, all-night jam sessions filled the Maryland air with the sounds of Bob Seger, Hank Williams, Tom Petty and George Jones.
The Osborne siblings strummed their first chords during those jam sessions. From the very start, TJ Osborne was the brother with the voice. He sang in a thick, low baritone, crooning like Johnny Cash long before he was even old enough to drive. Older brother John, on the other hand, was the family’s guitar shredder, his fingers capable of down-home bluegrass licks, arena-worthy rock riffs, country twang, and everything in between. Combined, the two Osbornes could play everything from traditional country music to rock & roll, creating a broad, full-bodied sound that would eventually fill the 11 songs on their major-label debut, Pawn Shop.
Like its title suggests, Pawn Shop offers a little bit of everything. There’s bluesy slide guitar, country duets, southern rock solos, harmonies, and plenty of groove. The hooks are big, the guitars are loud, and the songs — every last one of them co-written by the Osbornes, who reached out to award-winning songwriters like Shane McAnally and Ross Copperman for help — introduce a duo whose music bridges the gap between the mainstream and the alternative world. Some songs were written at home in Nashville, while others came together on the road, where the guys spent several years headlining their own club shows, touring the country with Darius Rucker, and playing some of the biggest arenas in America with fellow rule-breaker Eric Church.
“Most duos are built on singing,” says TJ “But John is an incredible guitar player, and this band is built on me singing and John playing guitar. It gives us two parallels that work nicely together.”
“It’s like an old-school rock approach,” adds John, who cites classic bands like Aerosmith and the Allman Brothers as influences on the duo’s dynamic. “Groups like that always had the lead singer as well as the sideman guitar player. That’s what we’re going for, too. We’re carving our own path in country music.”
That unique path has already led the band toward the upper half of the country charts. “Rum” got them there first, mixing the feel-good sunshine of a beach tune with a far more realistic storyline. There’s no actual beach in “Rum,” after all. Instead, Brothers Osborne turn the song into a tribute to the simple pleasures that their Maryland hometown offers: friends, good weather, and the occasional drink. They even filmed the song’s music video in Deale, filling the clip with footage of friends, relatives, and locals.
“Most people we grew up with don’t go to these beautiful beaches,” says TJ. “They can’t afford to do it. They don’t have the time for it. What we’re most familiar with is people going to the local bars and hanging out with each other.” John adds, “We tried to have the biggest time possible with what little we had. ‘Rum’ explains that.” The brothers agree, “We had to say it from our own perspective.”
A similar theme runs throughout “Dirt Rich” and “Pawn Shop,” two songs that stress the importance of appreciating what you’ve got. Pawn Shop dishes up plenty of love songs, too, from “Loving Me Back” — an old-school country duet featuring vocals from Lee Ann Womack — to “Stay a Little Longer,” the band’s biggest hit to date. While a three-minute guitar solo brings “Stay a Little Longer” to an epic, anthemic close, Brothers Osborne also devote time to more laid-back songs, from the nostalgic California country of “21 Summer” to the 420-friendly “Greener Pastures.”
Brothers Osborne, who co-produced the album with Jay Joyce (the award-winning producer behind Little Big Town’s Painkiller, Eric Church’s The Outsiders, and Carrie Underwood’s Storyteller), recorded most of Pawn Shop during breaks in their busy touring schedule, using members of their own touring band rather than session musicians from the Nashville community. The result is an album that’s stamped with the unmistakable mark of a band. It doesn’t sound like two singers, flanked by anonymous players. Instead, it sounds like a group of road warriors who’ve spent years sharing bus seats and hotel rooms, creating the sort of chemistry that can’t be faked. Pawn Shop is both raw and real, and Brothers Osborne — who, years after those household jam sessions in Deale, now have a handful of nationwide tours under their belts, songs on the charts, and a career on the rise — are no longer a family secret.
Thomas Rhett is staying on top of the charts with “Die a happy man” This is a fantastic easy listening country song that just feels good. Its great to see such a nice song ruling the top of the charts. Country needs a few more songs like this, and a few less whiskey drinking lets get drunk songs, not that we do not need those from time to time of course:) Everybody loves a good easy going song from time to time, whether they will admit it or not. Die a happy man for sure delivers that good old country feeling.