Jennifer Nettles Signs to Big Machine; Haggard and Nelson Announce Tour; Jason Isbell Salutes Guy Clark

Mere weeks after parting ways with UMG Nashville, Jennifer Nettles has been snatched up by Big Machine. The deal covers only her solo work, not future Sugarland recordings. Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard are teaming up for a Django and Jimmie Tour this fall, with shows in seven states already announced. Chris Shiflett finagled a rare hour-long chat with Haggard for his Walking the Floor podcast, and they broached topics I hadn’t heard Merle discuss at such length. Very cool. Many other fine … [Read more...]

New Carrie Underwood Music; Help Out Phil Kaufman; Paul Simon Added to “All for the Hall” Benefit

There’s a GoFundMe campaign to help beloved road manager Phil Kaufman, who was critically injured in a motorcycle accident last month. Help if you can. Carrie Underwood released a new single, “Smoke Break,” and announced the release of a new album called Storyteller (October 23). By Underwood’s own report, much of the new album is more traditional and ‘twangy’ than her past work. Here’s the Storyteller album cover. Country Universe and Saving Country Music offered differing takes on “Smoke … [Read more...]

Quotable Country – 08/23/15 Edition

Click the bullet after each quote to visit the source. I’m never going to be one of those guys that gives you politically correct answers. I can’t do it. It’s not in me. ● --- Kip Moore to Taste of Country. This is one subject I do have to hold my tongue on. ● --- Kip Moore to the Washington Post's Emily Yahr, in what I like to imagine was his very next interview. What'd he have to hold his tongue about? Changes in the music business, of course. Well, I mean, obviously we’ll have … [Read more...]

New Donnie Fritts Music Coming in October; Will Hoge Talks Ray Charles; Maddie & Tae Album Stream

At their album release party, Maddie & Tae brought Lee Ann Womack out to sing “A Little Past Little Rock” with them. Rare Country captured the performance for posterity. Kenny Chesney’s dad was arrested on aggravated assault and vandalism charges. Not especially worth mentioning (we’re not our parents) except that it gives you a chance to see what Kenny Chesney’s dad looks like. Picture Kenny in 20-30 years. NPR has album streams for Ruby Amanfu and Maddie & Tae. Otis Gibbs and his … [Read more...]

Luke Bryan Has a Big First Week; Deana Carter Has a Stalker; Bill Murray Enjoys Chris Stapleton

Record producer Bob Johnston (Johnny Cash’s At Folsom Prison, Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde) passed away at the age of 83. Luke Bryan’s Kill the Lights sold 345,000 copies in its first week, the biggest sales week for a country LP since Luke Bryan’s Crash My Party sold 528,000 copies in its first week back in August 2013. So Bryan is either doing amazingly well or down 34%, depending on whether you see the hayloft as half full or half empty. Chris Stapleton posted another video of concertgoer … [Read more...]

Quotable Country – 08/16/15 Edition

Click the bullet after each quote to visit the source. It begins with a Doobie Brothers-like funky rhythm guitar, slams into a Maroon 5 “Sugar”-style chorus and pushes toward a scratchy Bee Gees “Jive Talkin’ ” guitar fade. ● --- Description of a country single in a country radio trade publication. We were eating pizza and listening to Rihanna — not even country — now we're here. ● --- Co-writer Josh Kerr, at the song's Number One party, on the birth of "Love Me Like You Mean … [Read more...]

Isbell Sings “24 Frames” on Conan; Bonnaroo Weighs Country Festival; 2015 IBMA Nominees Announced

Carrie Underwood is country's best-selling digital singles artist. The organizers of Bonnaroo are exploring the possibility of launching a separate country music festival on their festival grounds in Manchester, Tennessee - which would be similar to what AEG Live does with Coachella and Stagecoach here in California. AEG Live competitor Live Nation purchased a controlling stake in Bonnaroo earlier this year. Billboard's Tom Roland on the faster ascent for today's young (male) country … [Read more...]