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Aldean and Jake Owen Launch Stadiums – Twangz Weekly

Posted on 22 April 2013 by Bill West

Faith Hill says farewell to Monday Night Football, Jason Aldean and Jake Owen start playing Stadiums and Sarah Darling announces an engagement.    Twangz is a weekly country music news digest of the biggest stories in Country music from http://twangz.com

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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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Aldean Rocks the Night Train – Free Concert

Posted on 10 November 2012 by editor

Jason Aldean marks the success of his new studio album with an electrifying live performance of new music.  Aldean is without a doubt one of the new superstars in country music.  Aldean says “The wide range of music I grew up listening to probably has a lot to do with the way I go about making music. My parents listened to a lot of country music. I loved country music, but I always loved different stuff too. I always thought great music was great music; I really didn’t care what genre it came out of.”

He connects like never before thanks to his connection with influences and by going with his gut “If I like the song and think it’s cool, I wanna cut it. Whatever happens to it from there on out is kinda outta my hands. All I can do is go and cut songs that I want on my record. It’s never been something that we’ve tried to force and prove a point.”

But don’t just compare the new “Night Train” stuff to “My Kinda Party.”  “What I hope is people listen to this record and don’t compare it to THAT album. It’s a completely different thing. This ‘Night Train’ album is an album that we had two years to go out and find songs for, plenty of time to go in the studio. We spent more time making this record than we have any other album. I feel like we have some of the best songs we’ve ever had on this record.”

Jason Describes His Music as “… a little bit raw. It’s not so perfect. It’s not pro-tooled to death. I’ve never wanted my records to sound like everybody else in Nashville.”

Take a look as his intimate yet powerful performance – a freebie from Walmart.

Get even more HERE

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Five New Stars Of Country Music – Is Your Favorite One?

Posted on 01 November 2012 by Bill West

Longtime country music fans remember the day when the songs were traditional and the big names were super familiar. It changes with the time. In 1989 there was a new “class” that launched a NEW COUNTRY movement. Names like Clint Black, Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks, Travis Tritt, and Mary Chapin Carpenter were all breakthrough artists that year. Interestingly it was they year one of our new leaders, Taylor Swift, was born.

Now, almost like the circle of life, country music is ushering in a new class of stars. These days the genre is casting away stars like Alan Jackson and George Strait to make room for these new names.

Lately radio play and country song single sales have been all bout five newbies. Taylor Swift, Zac Brown, Eric Church, Lady Antebellum, and Jason Aldean.

Jason Aldean is on top of the mountain as a male vocalist with new country songs spiking to number one at radio and online with downloads and album sales. His 2012 album “Night Train” surprised critics with another instant jump to number one on the all genres Billboard Top 200. His ascent to the pinnacle was clinched with his signature song “Dirt Road Anthem” that blended a modern rap vibe with real country lyrics. His latest releases promise rabid fans that there’s more to come.

Taylor Swift is a somewhat polarizing leader in the new team. Her country songs are undeniably pop leaning, but over one million albums sold in one week (she’s achieved those sales twice) can not be ignored. She is, in fact, bigger than country music now. Still she carries the torch for the country genre and is almost always introduced as a COUNTRY superstar. Swift hit her pinnacle with her most country sounding song so far. The fan favorite “Mean.” It’s hard to tell just how high her star will rise but there’s now doubt she is a good influence for younger fans.

Lady Antebellum is a trio primarily from Georgia (like Aldean). They launched in 2006 with a self titled album and have not slowed down since. The trio broke through to mainstream audiences with the powerful ballad “Need You Now.” That went on to garner pop and mainstream airplay. Three members Hillary Scott, Dave Haywood, and Charles Kelly (brother to singer Josh Kelly) came up with the unique name after noting some of their early press photos had a very “antebellum” feel. Fans often shorten the name to just “Lady A.”

The Zac Brown Band is another game changing group. Lead singer Zac Brown (again, from Georgia) set the table for early success by building a strong jam band following in smaller clubs in the South East. Shortly after number one airplay of “Chicken Fried” they were playing arenas, then stadiums and creating their own music festivals. The unconventional and organic approach struck a chord with all music fans winning them a Grammy Award for best new artist and a non stop string of number one songs.   The ZBB album “Uncaged” was one of the groups strongest sets to date.

Eric Church is perhaps the freshest face in this line up. After years of struggling to get significant airplay he has seemed to lock into his fan base and his sound. He built his base of followers with dynamic live shows and party songs like “Smoke A Little Smoke.” Watch for mainstream music industry and critics to really start to pay attention to Church as his concert tickets continue to sell out (and bigger rooms keep filling) and his album sales sell more and more. Church’s sound (with help from “Pontoon” producer Jay Joyce) has a gritty experimental vibe to it but his vocal twang is almost as country as Willie Nelson.

A few that almost made the list include Blake Shelton (starting to peak with Network TV exposure), Miranda Lambert, Scotty McCreery (radio has not caught up to his massive record sales and fan base yet) and Hootie front man Darius Rucker. These new voices are leading the way to a new country revolution.

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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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What Everybody Ought To Know About Joe Diffie

Posted on 20 October 2012 by Bill West

Seems like there’s a new buzz about the country music of the 90’s.   Thanks to a fun cut on Jason Aldean’s platinum Album Night Train and a song called 1994.   The central figure of the song is Joe-Joe-Joe-Diffie!   The shout out to Diffie is a deserving moment to look back at Diffie’s solid career.

joe diffie


Diffie is still doing his hit filled shows at casinos and honky-tonks across the country.   He just released the Diffie Family cookbook and has relaunched his website and we can see he’s tamed down that once legendary mullet!!

The biggest mark this Oklahoma native (born 12/28/58 in Tulsa Oklahoma) has made is a list of big hit songs.

After moving to Nashville in 1986 to work for Gibson Guitars Joe Diffie’s first single was a  song called “Home.”   Signed to Epic Records in 1990 he created most of hits hits under the Epic imprint. It hit number one in September of 1990 and it launched a string of notable hits.

“If The Devil Danced In Empty Pockets,” hit Billboard #1 in April of ’91.    Just after the beginning of 1994  Diffie released multiple week #1’s including:  “Third Rock From The Sun,” “Pickup Man,” and “Bigger Than The Beatles” (1995).  Some of these songs also spawned notable music videos on CMT as the music video format began to created much higher visibility than country had seen before.    Diffie’s fun lyrics and almost novelty songs proved to be well suited for memorable videos.

Other big radio hits – but not necessarily #1 chart toppers – include “New Way To Light Up an Old Flame,” “Is It Cold In Here,” “Ships That Don’t Come In,” “Honky Tonk Attitude,” “Prop Me Up Beside The Jukebox (If I Die),” “John Deere Green,” “So Help Me Girl,”  and the late 90’s top tens “Texas Size Heartache,” A Night To Remember,” and “It’s Always Something.”

To this day a Joe Diffie concert offers a lot of OH WOW hits to pack into 90 minutes.

Diffie was also inducted as a member of the Grad Ole Opry in 1993.

Hey – Joe – Joe – Joe Diffie! with a new Aldean song giving him shout outs is there a new possibility of a comeback?

Photo DeniseMattoxPhotography.com

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Aldean Live Night Train

Posted on 18 October 2012 by editor

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Jason Aldean – Night Train Review

Posted on 16 October 2012 by Bill West

night train

Hold on to sumthin.  Jason Aldean‘s street cred is about to take off more like a rocket instead of a “Train”.  But his latest album -Night Train ( out everywhere now) is apt to surprise and get the attention of any remaining non believers.

Like other mainstream country stars in the past (Kenny Chesney, even Conway Twitty) Aldean has never really been  embraced as a critic’s artist and – probably because of the hat – Big New York media don’t “get him” — yet.   That should chance this week as Night Train is due for a massive release.     Unintentional buzz from TMZ plus a solid iTunes free listen (another opportunity radio just lost ) and a multiple week radio hit (Take A Little Ride) have set Aldean up for the biggest first week album sales of his career.

And the album is GOOD.    There’s a solid layer of the mainstream power country that has become his trademark (Feel That Again) plus surprising jaunts back into the spoken word (some say rap) songs.    Older country fans will get a kick out of the hilarious “1994” a tribute to Joe Diffie of sorts.   Younger fans may decide to Google Diffie and discover some of the 90’s biggest hits.

Another buzz cut is “That’s The Only Way I Know” where Aldean recruits the red hot Eric Church and Luke Bryan to create something bigger than just a song.   Watch for Vocal event buzz.

Fifteen tracks deep there is a lot to feed the radio and the tour (announcement on 10/18?) machine.   The usual midtempo Aldean tunes sound almost perfected on this album and there are also some riskier tracks like Black Tears (yeah a stripper song).

Aldean is a true original and the stars are aligning to create another country superstar that is cool and bad-ass enough to cross over to pop and rock fans.


Grade:  A

Don’t Miss: 1994 (We’re ready for the “club” mix now thank you.)

Jason Aldean “Night Train” Track List

1. This Nothin’ Town (Busbee/Neil Thrasher/Wendell Mobley)
2. When She Says Baby (Rhett Akins/Ben Hayslip)
3. Feel That Again (Thrasher/Mobley/Vicky McGehee)
4. Wheels Rollin’ (Thrasher/Mobley/Hillary Lindsey)
5. Talk (Thrasher/Mobley)
6. The Only Way I Know (with Luke Bryan and Eric Church) (David Lee Murphy/Hayslip)
7. Take A Little Ride (Dylan Altman/Rodney Clawson/Jim McCormick)
8. I Don’t Do Lonely Well (Thrasher/Tom Shapiro/Chuck Wicks)
9. Night Train (Thrasher/Michael Dulaney)
10. 1994 (Rhett/Luke Laird/Barry Dean)
11. Staring At The Sun (Thrasher/Mobley/Tony Martin)
12. Drink One For Me (Thrasher/Mobley/Martin)
13. Black Tears (Canaan Smith/Tyler Hubbard)
14. Walking Away (David Lee Murphy/Rodney Clawson)
15. Water Tower (Jason Sellers/Paul Jenkins/Dulaney)


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2011 American Country Award Winners

Posted on 06 December 2011 by Bill West

Carrie Underwood pleases at the ACA’s with Fan Voted wins in multiple categories.  American Idol’s Scotty McCreery showed off his fan appeal with a new artist award.

Trace Adkins hosted the other Vegas Awards show and this year was assisted by Kristin Chenoweth at the MGM Grand.

The full list of nominees are listed below, and the winners’ names noted.

American Country Awards Winnersfor 2011 are:


Artist of the Year
Jason Aldean — WINNER
Kenny Chesney
Lady Antebellum
Taylor Swift
Zac Brown Band

Artist of the Year: Male
Jason Aldean
Luke Bryan
Kenny Chesney
Brad Paisley — WINNER
Blake Shelton

Artist of the Year: Female
Sara Evans
Alison Krauss
Miranda Lambert
Taylor Swift
Carrie Underwood — WINNER

Single of the Year: Female
Sara Evans, ‘A Little Bit Stronger’
Miranda Lambert, ‘Heart Like Mine’
Reba McEntire, ‘Turn On The Radio’
Taylor Swift, ‘Mean’
Carrie Underwood, ‘Mama’s Song’ — WINNER

Single of the Year
Billy Currington, ‘Let Me Down Easy’
Tim McGraw, ‘Felt Good On My Lips’
Thompson Square, ‘Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not’
Chris Young, ‘Voices’ — WINNER
Zac Brown Band Feat. Alan Jackson, ‘As She’s Walking Away’

Artist of the Year: Breakthrough Artist
Eric Church
Eli Young Band
Justin Moore
Jake Owen
Chris Young — WINNER

Music Video of the Year
Sara Evans, ‘A Little Bit Stronger’
Jerrod Niemann, ‘What Do You Want’
Blake Shelton, ‘Who are You When I’m Not Looking’ — WINNER
Thompson Square, ‘Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not’
Josh Turner, ‘I Wouldn’t Be A Man’

Music Video: Male
Jason Aldean, ‘My Kinda Party’
Jerrod Niemann, ‘What Do You Want’
Blake Shelton, ‘Who Are You When I’m Not Looking’ — WINNER
Josh Turner, ‘I Wouldn’t Be A Man’
Keith Urban, ‘Put You In A Song’

Album of the Year
Jason Aldean, ‘My Kinda Party’ — WINNER
Kenny Chesney, ‘Hemingway’s Whiskey’
Brad Paisley, ‘This Is Country Music’
Taylor Swift, ‘Speak Now’
Keith Urban, ‘Get Closer’
Zac Brown Band, ‘You Get What You Give’

Artist of the Year: New Artist
The Band Perry
Scotty McCreery — WINNER
Jerrod Niemann
Pistol Annies
Thompson Square

Single of the Year: Duo or Group
The Band Perry, ‘You Lie’
Rascal Flatts, ‘Why Wait’
Sugarland, ‘Stuck Like Glue’
Thompson Square, ‘Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not’ — WINNER
Zac Brown Band, ‘Colder Weather’

Single of the Year: New Artist
The Band Perry, ‘You Lie’
Craig Campbell, ‘Family Man’
The JaneDear Girls, ‘Wildflower’
Jerrod Niemann, ‘What Do You Want’
Thompson Square, ‘Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not’ — WINNER

Music Video: New Artist
The Band Perry, ‘You Lie’
Craig Campbell, ‘Family Man’
Brett Eldredge, ‘Raymond’
Jerrod Niemann, ‘What Do You Want’
Thompson Square, ‘Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not’ — WINNER


Music Video: Female
Sara Evans, ‘A Little Bit Stronger’
Reba McEntire, ‘Turn On The Radio’
Ashton Shepherd, ‘Look It Up’
Taylor Swift, ‘Back To December’
Carrie Underwood, ‘Mama’s Song’ — WINNER


Single of the Year: Male
Jason Aldean, ‘My Kinda Party’ — WINNER
Luke Bryan, ‘Someone Else Calling You Baby’
Billy Currington, ‘Let Me Down Easy’
Tim McGraw, ‘Felt Good On My Lips’
Chris Young, ‘Voices’

Music Video: Duo, Group or Collaboration
Jason Aldean Feat. Kelly Clarkson, ‘Don’t You Wanna Stay’ — WINNER
The Band Perry, ‘You Lie’
Lady Antebellum, ‘Hello World’
Thompson Square, ‘Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not’
Zac Brown Band with Alan Jackson, ‘As She’s Walking Away’

Single of the Year: Vocal Collaboration

Jason Aldean Feat. Kelly Clarkson, ‘Don’t You Wanna Stay’ — WINNER

Kenny Chesney Feat. Grace Potter, ‘You and Tequila’
Brad Paisley Feat. Alabama, ‘Old Alabama’
Zac Brown Band Feat. Jimmy Buffet, ‘Knee Deep’
Zac Brown Band Feat. Alan Jackson, ‘As She’s Walking Away’

Touring Headline Act of the Year
Jason Aldean — WINNER
Kenny Chesney
Toby Keith
Tim McGraw
Brad Paisley
Rascal Flatts
George Strait
Taylor Swift
Carrie Underwood
Keith Urban

Artist of the Decade
Keith Urban
Brad Paisley
Garth Brooks
Rascal Flatts
Brooks and Dunn
Alan Jackson
George Strait
Kenny Chesney
Tim McGraw
Toby Keith — WINNER

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