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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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Tracy Lawrence New Music Coming

Posted on 06 March 2013 by Bill West

Tracy Lawrence / Southern Arkansas University

Tracy Lawrence / Southern Arkansas University

Tracy Lawrence is back to putting out new music.  After a break for a special acoustic project he’s set to release a new album and single called “Stop Drop and Roll.” It’s been 20 years since country music singer / songwriter Tracy Lawrence released the hit Alibis to country radio and he’s been at it ever since.

Lawrence has made it through the changing media world strong getting active in social media and locking into the Mac world. The Paint Me a Birmingham singer is a true American country music singer songwriter who began his career at a small club/restaurant named “Live At Libby’s” owned by Libby Knight. Knight helped new local talent get a break in the country music world.

Lawrence was born in Atlanta, Texas on January 27, 1968 and was raised in Foreman Arkansas. He made headlines in 1991 over a shooting incident and has since fully recovered.

Tracy Lawrence’s first hit was the number one Sticks and Stones released in November of 1993. He later charted over 20 top ten hits including at least seven Billboard number ones including Alibis, Texas Tornado, and Time Marches On. In the early 2000’s he released a unique collaboration song called “Find Out Who Your Friends Are.”  The album cut featuring guest appearances from Tim McGraw  and Kenny Chesney became another big hit.

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Jana Kramer Ready For The Next Step

Posted on 27 January 2013 by Bill West

Jana Kramer is one of the latest breakthroughs in modern country music.  She has received the distinction of having one of the fastest rising debut singles for a solo female in recent history as her debut single “Why Ya Wanna” made her an instant player peaking at number three on the country airplay charts.

Jana Kramer

Jana Kramer

One of Kramer’s claim to fame is her movie star good looks.  The Detroit native, born 12/2/1983, has also established herself in the Hollywood acting community with roles large and small in TV shows like One Tree Hill (Alex DuPree) and reoccurring spots on Entourage. “The guys usually notice me from Entourage and the girls remember me from One Tree Hill,” she says.   But soon more will find her familiar from her singing and sultry videos on CMT.

Kramer released her first album called Jana Kramer (mostly produced by Scott Hendricks) on June 5th 2012 and has also released the single “Whiskey.”  She also has a remake of the song “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” on the soundtrack to the film Footloose.

Kramer’s personal life is followed by the usual showbiz gossip rags that note she was once married to Mike Salais aka Michael Anthony Gambino (divorced in 2009) and married

again to Johnathon Schaech (they quickly divorced within about a month.  On January 20th of 2013 she became engaged to country singer Brantley Gilbert (the date is his birthday) after months of quietly building the  relationship out of the public eye.

Kramer credits her mother and grandmother for getting her into country music saying her grandmother was constantly playing

Jana Kramer / Emblem

Jana Kramer / Elektra

cassettes of Patsy Cline as she was growing up. She’s a fan of The Voice and says she would love to record a duet with Adam Levine (of Maroon Five).

She is currently touring with artist like Brad Paisley and tracks her tour dates at

Twitter @kramergirl

photos Elektra

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Miranda Lambert’s Next Move

Posted on 11 January 2013 by Bill West

MirandaAll eyes are on country music hottie Miranda Lambert as she comes into her own as country music’s next big superstar woman.  Lambert has had astounding success lately with accolades for her song writing (Over You won her a song of the year honor) and Female Artist of the year wins.

How will Lambert top such success?  She also has to stand beside the jaw dropping mass media success of her husband Blake Shelton who is enjoying unprecedented fame for a country star.

Lambert was born in Longview Texas (born Miranda Leigh Lambert November 10th 1983) to a musical mom and dad.  Dad at least as her father Rick Lambert wrote and performed country music.

Lambert, like former tour mate Chris Young, got one of her big breaks on the now defunked TV talent show Nashville star where she ended up coming in third (Buddy Jewell became the breakout star of her season). To this day she aligns with music competition show contestants as a knowing mother figure having “been through it.”

Still her radio success has been, until recent years, slow and hard fought.  Her early singles like Kerosene and Me and Charlie Talking got limited airplay (although may are revisiting Kerosene).  All that changed after a few big songs like Gunpowder and Lead and more recently with The House That Built Me, White Liar, Baggage Claim and the award winning Over You (gut wrenchingly written with and about Blake Shelton’s deceased brother).  She has even launched a new female vocal group and album  called the Pistol Annies to strong interest.

With the recent major awards success and A List Hollywood status her house hold has just acquired thanks to Network Television attention there’s no telling where Miranda Lambert’s road will travel next.  More television, another headlining tour, and perhaps a late 2013 album may be in the works.  There’s will be more tweeting for sure.  Follow her tweets @mirandalambert.

Lambert’s official website is

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Chris Young Plays ABCs Nashville

Posted on 10 January 2013 by Bill West

Chris YoungChris Young is forging a huge career in country music.   Next up he will get some major face time on ABC’s Nashville this month and it’s happening at a time when traditional country music is starting to slide out of vogue, and country songs are crossing over to pop more and more.  Still Young has a string of real hits to carry him through until a time comes and hats and twang and weeping fiddles get more credit.

Young has always had that twang.   He grew up just outside of Nashville in Murfreesboro, TN (born Alan Chris Young June 12, 1985) where you can’t avoid the country influence or the recording industry money.

His undeniable “big break” was as a contestant of Nashville Star in the shows early years.  He won the contest along with a recording deal on RCA Nashville.  Still the accolades and fans from the show were not enough to land Young a real hit record as his two singles from his self named debut album failed to crack the country Top 40.

Although he released Voices in May 2008 it never became a hit until it was later rereleased in late 2009.   The “Voices” album launched big hits to finally plant Youngs flag as one to watch in country music.   Gettin’ You Home, The Man I want to Be and Voices all hit number one. With the release of his third album “Neon” his momentum and stellar music pushed him even further.  His lead single from the album, Tomorrow was a quick success as was the fan favorite You.  Both hitting number one.

Young has joined major tours with Miranda Lambert and Jason Aldean and looks to continue to work his way into headlining his own show like his Liquid Neon Tour.

With the release of Neon in 2011 Young stepped away from his signature cowboy hat to go hatless.  It was a move he says was not over calculated but fans noticed.

He continues on a path to become one of the young A-listers winning awards at the American Country Awards and the CMT Music Awards.

Next up he showcases his acting chops with a guest spot on the ABC hit series Nashville.  The episode – also featuring Brantley Gilbert will air January 23rd.

Find out more about Chris Young at his offial website from RCA

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Little Known Facts About The Zac Brown Band

Posted on 08 January 2013 by Bill West


Zac Brown October 2009

Some country music fans think the Zac Brown Band is and overnight success story.  The Little known fact is they they have been working hard for years to build a strong audience and were a successful traveling country folk rock band long before the breakthrough success of their signature song “Chicken Fried.”

His Albums The FoundationYou Get What You Give and Uncaged are top sellers but it took a while to get there.

Zac Brown has always called Georgia his home and  in 2002 Zac Brown put together his version of the band that quickly took on a touring schedule of about 200 dates a year.   Each year the band’s following grew thanks to dynamic jam band performances and a focus on true musicianship, solid song choices and dazzling live performance.

In 2003 he released a little know album called “Far From Einstyne” and followed it up with “Home Grown.”  Home Grown featured Chicken Fried and Whatever It Is.  Two songs that would later make it onto the album “The Foundation” and become major radio hits that continue to be played in heavy rotation to this day.

The band consists of Brown, Jimmy DeMartini, Coy Bowles, Daniel de los Reyes, John Driscoll Hopkins, and Clay Cook.   Cook was playing with the Marshall Tucker Band and collaborating with Shaun Mullins and John Mayer prior to joining Brown.  Another little known fact according to Wikipedia is that Cook was  an addition to the band after the release of Chicken Fried and that he and Brown actually attended and graduated High School together but were not acquainted then.

Zac Brown opened his own southern fried restaurant and music club called “Zac’s Place” with his father in 2004.  The joint, located in Lake Oconee, Georgia, was soon sold and Brown took the show on the road.   His food obsession is still woven into his material and products as he offers rubs, sauces and food items and highlights culinary delights as part of his current day “Southern Ground Music and Food Festivals” (in Charleston and Nashville).

Brown has also proven to be an entrepreneurial artist launching his own record label (Home Grown) in 2003 and released several independent small batch records under that name.  He has created Camp Souther Ground and has his own leather goods production.  Later the band got a strong start with mega concert promoter Live Nation when the company dabbled in artist “360” and label deals (larger names like Madonna were inked to deals worth upwards of 120 million over ten years).

The song “Chicken Fried” was originally released to country radio with some early success by the Lost Trailers (who later has the hit Holler Back).  In a controversial move Brown pulled the singles rights to the song because he planned to record and release on his own album.  The move proved to be a wise one as the song (his debut single) ascended to number one on the country radio charts in November of 2008.  It began a string of number ones for the band that made “The Foundation ” a smash and winning the Zac Brown Band a Grammy for Best New Artist in early 2010.

More recently Zac and the Band have branched out into more elaborate touring including a growing music and food festival that features on stage box seats and big name guest appearances.




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Beer With Jesus and 3 Things You Need to Know About Thomas Rhett

Posted on 21 December 2012 by Bill West

Thoams Rhett Akins

Beer With Jesus’ Thomas Rhett/photo: Valory Music)

Country music has a string of new and edgy stars breaking through.  One of the fastest rising male singer songwriters is Thomas Rhett.  He’s broken into the country radio world with “Beer With Jesus” and his debut and top 15 single “Something To Do With My Hands.”

So who is Thomas Rhett?  Here’s three things you should know:

If the name Thomas Rhett alone seems familiar it may be because you’ve been a fan of country music for a while.  His daddy, Rhett Akins,  has been rockin’ the country world for about twenty years.  Akins scored a number one hit single back in May of 1996 called “Don’t Get Me Started,” but he is more remembered for hit top 3 hit “That Ain’t My Truck.”   A song that has lived on in Gold playlists on radio stations across the United States.  Lately he’s been writing some of the biggest songs in Nashville.

Thomas Rhett is also a songwriter.   He has a “cut” on one of the biggest multi platinum selling country albums of the last few years with the song “I Ain’t Ready To Quit,” on Jason Aldean’s “My Kinda Party” album.

He was schooled in country at a young age.  His official bio on his website admits he played in front of his Dad’s audience when he was 8 or 9.  He performed songs like Will Smith’s Gettin’ Jiggy With It.”  He was able to go to Reba’s Halloween parties and one time he got help on his English homework from Blake Shelton.

Thomas Rhett (Akins) was born March 30th 1990 and is originally from Valdosta Georgia.

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American Beautiful Sets Debut For The Hennigsens

Posted on 19 December 2012 by Bill West

hennigsensCountry radio has embraced a new family trio called The Hennigsens.  The singer songwriters from Atwood, Illinois have been immediately accepted by a record number of playlists  and their new song “American Beautiful” has jumped onto the country top forty chart.

When you hear the band for the first time you may mistakenly think it’s another family trio called The Band Perry.  It’s not total coincidence   The  Hennigsens wrote the Band Perry hit “All Your Life” and the female vocals from both groups sound similar.

The Hennigsens consist of a Dad (Brian Hennigsen on bass, guitar and vocals), one son (Aaron on guitar and vocals) and the blonde knockout  Clara (lead vocals).

The three family members have other solid writing credits behind them as they have  also penned songs for Wynonna and Sara Evans and have now teamed up with Brett Beavers for the debut single “American Beautiful.”

The country credibility has been baked into the family. For seven generations the family has maintained a 1700 acre farm where they have tended soybeans, corn, cows and most recently kids.  The Hennigsens are a family of many.   Aaron and Clara are just two of ten kids.

Expect to hear more of the Hennigsens lyrics on their debut album produced by four time Grammy winning Paul Worley (Lady Antebellum)to be released in 2013 on Arista Nashville.

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Keith Urban Is Somebody Like You

Posted on 12 December 2012 by Bill West

Keith Urban

Keith Urban is somebody like you if you’re a good looking country rock superstar married to a award winning actress.  That’s not you?  Well you may have more in common with this country superstar than you thought.   Born Keith Lionel Urban in New Zealand the singer’s musical success has grown well beyond his Australian roots.

Urban, known for his pumped up banjo tinged songs, Keith Urban lyrics have also become legendary.  His second US single as a solo artist “Your Everything” made him the first New Zealand artist to have a top ten country hit in the U.S.  Since then he has delivered more than fifteen number one country singles from “Somebody Like You” to 2012’s “You Gonna Fly.”

In recent years Urban, who is one of music’s highest paid stars, has taken his act to the small screen with stints on Australia’s  version of the hit talent show “The Voice.”

He signed on for the 2013 season of arguably the most watched TV series in the World, American Idol, where he is judging talent along with Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, and Randy Jackson.

Nine critically acclaimed albums under his belt for Capitol Records Nashville, Urban has announced in a fun video that he will tour in future years.

Somebody Like You’s Keith Urban is married to Superstar actress Nicole Kidman on June 25th 2006 and have two children Sunday Rose and Faith Margret.

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Hunter Hayes Lyrics Define New Country Music

Posted on 10 December 2012 by Bill West

Country Singer Hunter Hayes

Hunter Hayes Photo:

When you hear today’s country music songs online or on the radio Hunter Hayes’ lyrics may catch you by surprise.

His voice is fresh and his lyrics are modern and while Hayes just turned old enough to drink in 2012 he’s been honing his country music songs since his early childhood.

Born in Breaux Bridge, Louisianna on September 9th, 1991 he was quickly influenced by the musical culture of his state. At the age of two his grandmother gave him a toy accordion. By the age of four he was making national television appearances showcasing his talents. Millions have seen of Hayes performing on stage during an massive outdoor Hank Williams Jr. concert recorded for the now defunct Nashville Network cable channel. His performance of the Hank Williams country song Jambalaya (On The Bayou) went on to become a viral YouTube hit.

It has been reported that actor Robert Duvall gifted Hayes his first first guitar at the age of six and since that time Hayes has also developed skills on drums, piano, mandolin and more.

His self titled album Hunter Hayes is special not only for the impressive lyrics but also because Hayes had a hand in writing every song on the album and he played every song on the album. He shares Producing credit with superstar Producer Dann Huff (Faith Hill and others).

In 2012 his star continued to rise with the success of his songs at country radio. His debut single Storm Warning received Top 15 status on the charts, but it was his power ballad Wanted that made him the youngest male solo act to ever top the Billboard Country Songs Chart. The album has gone on to certified Gold status.

The radio success has also brought Hayes awards in the form of the coveted Country Music Association New Artist (formerly Horizon) Award. Additionally he was named Male Country Artist at the 2012 Teen Choice Awards and was nominated for three Grammy Awards (Best New Artist, Best Country Album, and Best Country Solo Performance for Wanted).

In 2012 he was honored to be named a brand ambassador for the prestigious Martin Guitar company. Touring is the next frontier for the young star. He has already hit the road with mega-stars Rascal Flatts and Taylor Swift and there is no doubt you’ll hear many Hunter Hayes lyrics and new country songs on stage for many years to come.

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