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Craig Campbell Outta My Head and Latest Newsongs

Posted on 19 March 2013 by Bill West

Outta My Head Craig CampbellBigger Picture recording artist Craig Campbell is back on the scene with his latest newsongs and a new hit making attitude.  He broke into the mainstream with two songs recently.  The first “Family Man” is an ode to fatherhood and regular guy family life.  The next hit “Fish” was a controversial and fun romp.   His follow up to his self titled debut album, Craig Campbell features the latest newsongs Outta My Head and  My Baby’s Daddy.

We talked to Campbell at 2013′s Country Radio Seminar where he had just wrapped recording the new video (watch to see what his wife thinks of Craig kissing another woman in the video) and told us about his affinity for Google Maps and Words with Friends.

Campbell grew up in small town Lyons, Georgia and after moving to Nashville attained a key spot at one of the towns mot sought after clubs.   Lately he’s been traveling internationally where his music and shows have been well recieved.

Campbell says among the albums he’d most like his music to be compared is Clint Black’s Killin’ Time and Tracy Lawrence’s Sticks and Stones.

His collection of his five latest newsongs including the song Outta My Head are available now at iTunes.

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3 Things You Never Knew About Billy Dean

Posted on 12 March 2013 by Bill West

Billy Dean Songs

Dean talks to Twangz

Country Singer Songwriter Billy Dean and his songs are on the road to a comeback in country music.  The “Let Them Be Little” singer (he says that’s his favorite of all his hits) has released a new single to country radio called “I Can’t Leave a Good Thing” from his album A Man Of Good Fortune. In fact Dean has had a lot of good fortune over the years.

Three Billy Dean Song Facts That may Surprise you:

 

He’s charted twelve top ten Billboard Country singles but it was his vocal work in Kenny Roger’s “Buy Me A Rose” that nailed down his first number one single.   Many of his biggest hits like the early ’90′s “Somewhere In My Broken Heart,” “If There Hadn’t Been You,” and “Billy The Kid” are still heard on the radio Today.

He says his favorite song (most important to him) is his 2004 hit “Let Them Be Little.” “That song just meant a lot to me inside and out…” says Dean. “I think the family unit is something that’s really under attack in our country and it’s really the fabric of what this country is made of. So that song has a lot of layers of meaning for me…Let ‘em laugh let ‘em giggle let ‘em sleep in the middle. Let them be little.”

He says he almost missed the social media revolution. “Lucky for me I got in early and I saw it wasn’t gonna go away… I was really worried about how we could market music though at a time when everyone was sharing music for free… But we really got a good following going now.”

Dean is an April Fool’s Day baby.  Born 4/1/62 in Quincy Florida the singer is blessed with the rugged good looks (and great hair) of artists decades younger than him.

Watch our TwangZ interview for more with Billy Dean Here and get more from Dean’s official site BillyDean.com.

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Chesney Flaunts Hot New Album Art

Posted on 26 February 2013 by Bill West

20130226-073725.jpg

Kenny Chesney, country music’s Carribean cowboy leaked the rustic new artwork for his forthcoming album Yestereday.

No official word on when you can get your hands on it, but it’s coming as Kenny enthusiastically teased to his online fans:

Hey, Guys…

By now you know, we’re coming… for another summer, another round of remembering what music means, being together and making memories… Me & the guys are so read! I love that you’re loving “Pirate Flag” as much as I did when I heard it. Pretty much says it all about a whole lot of life, right?

Life. You’ve shared so much of yours with me and my music, and I can’t wait to get the next record out to you. It’s snapshots of places I’ve been, people I’ve loved and moments I wish I could bottle up. Kind of like the album cover… literally, pictures from my life.

It’s called Life On A Rock. It looks at where I’ve been, what I’ve learned and hopefully how we grow. I can’t share the music for a bit, but here’s the cover. It’s a lot like this record actually sounds!

Until we find you on the road, or in your car, or on the beach

Be As You Are,

Kenny

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Biggest Country Albums of The Year

Posted on 03 January 2013 by Bill West

Taylor Swift Red2012 was another big year for country music.   The Billboard Year End Rankings just came out and although Adele’s 21 grabbed the best selling number one slot for the second year in a row (a record feat) the top ten was chock full of Nashville brewed country.

Taylor Swift makes the cut at number two with Red.  Swift has made the year end list three other times in 2008, 2009, and 2010.

One Direction, Mumford and Sons and Justin Bieber round out the top six (One Direction has 2 albums in the mix) but the rest of the top ten is all country.

Arista Records

Arista Records

Carrie Underwood continues to “blow away” sales numbers with her latest effort which ends 2012 with 1.2 million units in sales, followed by Luke Bryan’s Tailgates and Tanlines, and the underrated “Tuskeegee” collection of duets from Lionel Richie with 1.07 million.  Jason Aldean’s recent release of Night Train took only a few months to sneak into the number ten slot with 1.2 million in sales.

night trainThis was a significant showing for country according to Billboard.com.  They state that previously the country genre has only claimed up to four slots and you have to go back to 2002 and 1992 for those successes.

Taylor Swift starts the new year with a number one week with Red topping the Billboard 200 all genres Album chart.

The full year end stats are available at Billboard.com

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Country Songs – 2012′s Best and Worst

Posted on 30 December 2012 by Bill West

Pontoon LBTBest and worst of 2012? In the past year many songs were both.  It was more case of who’s the most polarizing. Little Big Town’s Pontoon, Taylor Swift’s” We Are Never Getting Back Together” and Jason Aldean’s “The Only Way I Know” cover both extremes.

Little Big Town scored the song of the year with an unlikely song about boating’.  After lukewarm success with initial hits like “Boondocks” followed by a dry spell and then “Little White Church” and then more quiet some industry insiders had left LBT for dead.  Still, everyone seemed to like the group.   So when “Pontoon” came along it planted their eight feet back on the path to the A list.

Some immediately hated the song.   Others were smitten, and – like all the songs on our polarizing list – airplay was undeniable.  For a moment Country music was pop culture.

In fact “Pontoon” written by Natalie Hemby, Luke Laird and Barry Dean, went on to win the 2012 CMA Single of the year award at the Country Music Association Awards.   The song hit number one on the radio and is the band’s first Platinum selling single.

LBT is keeping up the momentum by launching The Tornado Tour with David Nail and Kacey Musgraves in the new year.

Taylor Swift RedIn a different twist, Taylor swift came to radio with an obvious pop song that was instantly memorable.  Despite producing a “Country Mix” that was nearly identical to the pop mix (both super bubblegum) hundreds of country and pop stations jumped on the launch of the- then mystery- single’s world premiere.  In an evening YouTube live release Swift played the song to a room full of teenage girls and disclosed “Never Getting Back Together” as the first single and the album art and title (RED).   Clear Channel issued every hour airplay on hundreds of stations.  Many listeners complained about the repetition with dislike. Clearly many others were humming along with a smile as “We Are Never Getting Back Together” became an instant number one on iTunes and helped propel the full release of “Red” to epic sales numbers.   Records include the first artist to sustain 6 weeks at #1 on the Billboard album charts with three consecutive albums.   Also she is one of the first artists since Garth Brooks to hold a number one slot the week before TWO Christmas Holidays (with 2 different albums).

night trainJason Aldean has never played it safe. In 2012 he released a unique “event” song called That’s The Only Way I Know where he teams up with fast rising country stars and tour mates Eric Church and Luke Bryan.
It was another bold step towards infusing rap into mainstream country on the radio. Aldean has been the only one to succeed with the spoken word delivery in the past so it was a daring move but proof that he can pull it off as more than just a novelty. There could be more of e sound to come as a future track on Night Train called 1994 gives us a hilarious Joe Diffie tribute is rumored for a 2013 radio single choice.

Pontoon, Never Getting Back, and The Only Way I Know are songs that may not receive continued strong airplay(or GOLD as it’s called)  on the radio due to their polarizing nature, but – love ‘em or hate ‘em – there is no doubt they’ve left their mark on 2012.

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Rucker Covers Wagon Wheel by Dylan and Old Crow

Posted on 18 December 2012 by Bill West

Rock Me Mama, Wagon WheelLooks like the lyrics “Mama Rock Me”  from the song Wagon Wheel by various voices will soon be heard on Country Radio.   Darius Rucker has had a long tradition of covering other singer’s hits in concert.  In Hootie and The Blowfish the band happily  catered to fan’s desires for covers like “Family Tradition” and “Purple Rain.”

When Rucker first launched his country career before (Learn To Live) he had indicated a desire to do a cover album, but had reservations with the idea of covers as radio singles.

Now it looks like the time is right and Rucker’s choice of this cover seems to be spot on.    He has released his own version of Old Crow Medicine Show’s  “Wagon Wheel” to radio and is set to include it on his next country album.

Darius Rucker

Wagon Wheel by Dylan?

The song is a unique but brilliant choice for the singer who has been linked to Bob Dylan since the “Only Wanna Be With You ” days.  The song Wagon Wheel (sometimes called Mama Rock Me) was popularized by O.C.M.S. but was first inspired by the chorus written by Dylan as part of his “Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid Sessions.”  After discovering it on a bootleg Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show wrote the rest of the song around the lone chorus and released the tune under the name “Wagon Wheel” in 2001 and again on the Old Crow debut album O.C.M.S. in 2004 where it became a grass roots signature song for the band. The additional lyrics are said to be autobiographical for Secor.

The song has previously been covered by Mumford and Sons as well as many others.

Rucker notably sang the song “Rock Me Mama” / Wagon Wheel by/with Old Crow Medicine Show this past summer at the Grand Ole Opry  to rave reviews.  Rucker’s new album (he co-wrote 9 of the 11 tracks) will be called “True Believers” and will hit stores January 22nd.

Track listing for True Belivers Below:

  1. “True Believers”
  2. “Miss You”
  3. “Wagon Wheel”
  4. “Love Without You”
  5. “Radio”
  6. “Lost in You”
  7. “I Will Love You Still”
  8. “Take Me Home”
  9. “Shine”
  10. “Heartbreak Road”
  11. “Leavin’ the Light On”
  12. “Lie to Me”

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Tim McGraw Partners Up with a New Blonde

Posted on 14 December 2012 by Bill West


tim_mcgrawTim McGraw has been experimenting lately.  It’s not that McGraw needed to reinvent himself.  He’s the biggest country star of the last fifteen years.  But he has had some legal tussles with the record label that brought him to the table so he has branched out recently with unique collaborations that allowed him to record under different umbrellas.   His last full studio album on Curb records was a long time in the making and it was released as Emotional Traffic in 2012 to solid acceptance despite McGraw feeling it was long overdue for release.

Next up for McGraw is a new studio album on a new home, Big Machine Records.  Big Machine is also the home to superstar Taylor Swift so it may be no surprise to some that she appears on a special new cut on the album along with Keith Urban called Highway Don’t Care.

The new album, along with a “deluxe” version that includes a live performance of his recent hit “Truck Yeah” is set for a February 5th 2013 release.

Tim McGraw ‘Two Lanes of Freedom’ Track Listing:

Tim Mcgraw album1. ‘Two Lanes of Freedom’
2. ‘One of Those Nights’
3. ‘Friend of a Friend’
4. ‘Southern Girl’
5. ‘Truck Yeah’
6. ‘Nashville Without You’
7. ‘Book of John’
8. ‘Mexicoma’
9. ‘Number 37405′
10. ‘It’s Your World’
13. ‘Highway Don’t Care’ (Feat. Taylor Swift and Keith Urban)

Deluxe Version Includes:

14. ‘Annie I Owe You a Dance’
15. ‘Tinted Windows’
16. ‘Let Me Love It Out of You’
17. ‘Truck Yeah’ Live

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Video: Carrie Goes Dark In This New Clip

Posted on 28 November 2012 by Bill West

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Florida Georgia Line Cruises To Top with New Album

Posted on 26 November 2012 by editor


FGL Cruise

Florida Georgia Line

Country radio is experimenting with a lot of new sounds these days. Jason Aldean has introduced an edgy rock with a hint of rap. Taylor Swift and her followers are mixing in a healthy dose of Pop, and now a new duo called Florida Georgia Line is creating an juiced up redneck arena rock sound that is unlike anything else out of Nashville.

Florida Georgia Line is a country rock band led by the duo Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelly. The origin of the name is simple: Hubbard is from Macon, Georgia and Kelley hails from Ormond Beach, Florida.

The two met in Nashville while both attending Belmont University and started writing together and have been playing ever since.

Florida Georgia Line’s following swelled on Facebook in early 2012 and on July 16th 2012 they signed a record deal with Republic Nashville. Part of the successful Big Machine Label group that is also home to acts like The Band Perry.

The bands first single was an almost instant success by country radio standards where new groups are often shunned. However, the immediate fan appeal to the hooky and modern sounding “Cruise” got them fairly quick airplay and fans in the country programming world hungry for tempo.

In less than twenty five weeks the song reached the pinnacle of radio airplay charts while defining a new young party fresh sound for the group. The success of the single bodes well for the future sales of the groups first major album out December 4th called “Here’s to The Good Times.” The collection includes five tracks from their “It’z Just What We Do” EP and injects some additional party favorites like “Hell Raising Heat Of The Summer” and “Party People.”

The new album also weaves some juiced up production into the mix courtesy of popular producer Joey Moi who has worked with the likes of rock acts such as Nickleback, Daughtrty, Hinder and Santana.

The band continues to fuel their newfound exposure with major touring slots opening for CMT On Tour with Jake Owen and Love and Theft plus Luke Bryan’s Dirt Road Diaries Tour. They also churn out a fun and viral weekly web series “Inside The Line” on YouTube and are featured in Jake Owen’s new “Endless Summer” EP with a Cruise-like sounding “Summer Jam.” They also get songwriting credit (and publishing cash) for “Black Tears” on Jason Aldean’s platinum selling “Night Train.”

Recently the group has received some additional attention for ushering in a new acceptance of rap overtones in traditionally white bread country music. FGL, along with others like Jason Aldean, Jake Owen, and Colt Ford have been heard rapping lyrics to strong fan response in live shows. More is sure to come for this turbo charged duo from the South East.

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Aldean and Scotty Shocking Debuts

Posted on 25 October 2012 by editor



night train
Big week for country music on the Billboard charts as Jason Aldean and Scotty McCreery launch jaw dropping first week album sales.

Aldean was expected to post heady numbers for first week sales of “Night Train,” featuring the multi week number one radio hit “Take A Little Ride.”   The album walks in at #1 Billboard 200 and #1 Country with over 400,000 copies sold.  For Broken Bow Records – an independent label – this is akin to hitting the jackpot.  However Aldean’s talent and career development are a testament to the feat being mostly hard work and talent over any luck.

McCreery can also add a number one feather to his hat with the debut of “Christmas with Scotty McCreery” hitting number one on the Billboard Seasonal Album Charts.   He also will surprise many as next in line after Aldean on the Country Album chart.  McCreery is number 2 with  41,000 copies sold to kick off a busy holiday season of appearances (including one brilliant booking on QVC).  Blake Shelton also has a high Profile Christmas CD competing with McCreery.

Christmas With Scotty McCreery

 

Just last October McCreery solidified his staying power with an all genres #1 first week with almost 200,00 sold of his debut album “Clear As Day,”  (now Platinum).

Now all eyes will be on Taylor Swift as she is expected to break records with her unmatched launch of “Red” her fourth studio album.

Let the Christmas shopping begin.

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