Tearin’ It Up – Your Weekly Country Round Up – December 1st

Ho-Ho-Ho – You can officially mention the ‘C’ word now that it is December. Yes, it’s only 98 days till the C2C Festival!!!!

Hope everyone who wanted CMA Songwriters tickets got them today, or in the pre-sales. Wonder who will be on the bill? It’s amazing that the show sells out without a single name being revealed upfront – testament to the trust we put in the organisers.

 

Chase Rice begins his UK tour this weekend and with dates in London and Manchester selling out it looks like it will be a well attend run of shows!! We are seeing and interviewing him in Birmingham and London next week, so keep an eye out for that after. In the meantime, here’s his heart-warming new video for ‘Three Chords and the Truth.’

 

CMT had this to say about this week’s Grammy nominations:

Below you’ll find a general list of 2018 Grammy snubs and surprises. The 60th annual telecast airs live from New York City on CBS on Jan. 28.

Snub: There is no country or Americana music in the top all-genre categories.

Many Music Row professionals are disappointed to see country and Americana music missing from the 2018 top all-genre categories for album, record, song of the year and best new artist. But then again, it takes a small army of songwriters, lyricists, track makers and producers to make some of America’s most popular albums. For example, 64 music makers contributed to album of the year nominee DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar. That doesn’t discredit from the album’s artistic merit, but it could help with block voting. And artistic merit always outweighs any other criteria. But it would have been nice to see The Nashville Sound by Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit nominated for album of the year. And damn. Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Back Road” was everywhere in 2017, and to loyal Hunt fans, it deserved at least a nod for record of the year. It broke the record for most weeks at No. 1 on Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart, and it easily had the most recognizable opening notes in the genre this year. Plus, the live reaction to that song is immediate.

Surprise: Midland

Way to go, Midland! Jess Carson, Cameron Duddy and Mark Wystrach head to the 60th annual telecast as first-time nominees for their breakout hit “Drinkin’ Problem.” And the song’s success represents a long-awaited return to neo-traditional country among the mainstream listeners. Many Music Row insiders hope this is a trend that sticks. “The Grammys are the pinnacle of musical achievement, and we are so honored to be associated with the caliber of these nominated artists,” the band said in a statement. “It’s beyond our wildest imagination to be recognized by our peers in this way.”

Snub: Miranda Lambert’s The Weight of These Wings

Lambert poured her heart out on her first double album. Among country fans, it is considered a major contribution to the genre, and it should have at least been nominated for best country album. “Tin Man” is a gorgeous performance and it deserves nominations for best country song and best country solo performance. But still, hands are in the air on this one.

Surprise: Lady Antebellum’s Heart Break

Lady Antebellum offered a lot of heart, soul and horns on their latest genre-bending release, and “You Look Good” is some major ear candy. But it’s also one of the band’s lowest-selling albums to date with just over 141,000 copies sold since its June release. But Hillary Scott, Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley are, however, five-time Grammy winners. After they won their first trophy in 2009, Scott said she kept hers by her bedside.

Snub: Americana artists with loyal followings.

The Grammy Awards are famous for recognizing obscure acts and turning them into the superstars of tomorrow. It would have been nice this year to see Hurray for the Riff Raff be recognized for The Navigator or Angaleena Presley for Wrangled. Dan Auerbach’s Waiting on a Song, Rhiannon Giddens’ Freedom Highway, Lillie Mae’s Forever and Then Some, Nikki Lane’s The Highway Queen, the eponymous Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real and Valerie June’s The Order of Time were each solid works of art, and they each have huge followings around the world.

 

Reba McEntire becoming the fifth Little Big Town member is good, but Chris Young singing with Alan Jackson during the 2017 CMA Country Christmas special is great! The show kept it country this year, with 19 songs aimed to get you in the holiday spirit.

During the Nov. 14 taping for the Nov. 27 ABC telecast (8PM ET) Jackson and Young performed “There’s a New Kid in Town” as recorded on Young’s 2016 It Must Be Christmas holiday album, which was a tribute to the Jackson an Keith Whitley duet recorded on Honky Tonk Christmas in 1993.

“I wanted this song on that album because my favorite Christmas record growing up was the Alan Jackson christmas record,” Young told Taste of Country and other media prior to the taping. “I actually sang where he sang and had him sing where Keith Whitley sang on his version. This song is just super important to me.”

The newest Country Music Hall of Famer (Jackson) also performed “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” It was the second time both men took part in the yearly Christmas celebration. McEntire was also celebrating her second appearance on the show, but 2017 marks her first as host. In addition to leading the other stars to tell stories of their Christmas plans and Christmases past, the legend performed a medley of classics, a solo version of “Holly Jolly Christmas” and two collaborations. Her version of “Mary, Did You Know?” with Little Big Town is a highlight, with several outlets (including People) reporting that McEntire dove right into their four-part harmonies to effectively become the fifth member.

Gospel singer CeCe Winans is the only non-country performer, which is a change from 2016 when artists like Andra Day and Idina Menzel performed. Kelsea Ballerini will sing “White Christmas.” Lady Antebellum will perform “Silver Bells” and “This Christmas” and Jackson sings a solo version of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Chistmas.” Luke Bryanperformed at his second CMA Country Christmas special and sang “O Holy Night.”

The show usually airs in the UK over Christmas on Sky Arts channel so keep your eyes peeled.

Riding high from the momentum of their current No. 1 single, “Greatest Love Story,” Lanco announced the Jan. 19 release of their debut album, Hallelujah Nights.

The Southern five-piece band—which consists of Brandon Lancaster, Chandler Baldwin, Jared Hampton, Tripp Howell and Eric Steedly—shared a four-song video trailer for the album via YouTube.

Every tune on the 11-song offering was penned or co-penned by Lanco frontman Brandon Lancaster.

“We all go through more of the same experiences than we realize and songwriting is a process of observing those moments,” said Brandon. “Our stories have different people, different names, different places, but they all have the same emotions attached to them. It’s not fantasy related. To me, this album is about glorifying the reality of life.”

Eagle-eyed readers or hard-core Lanco fans will have spotted that the band have self-declared their appearance at next year’s C2C Festival on the tour section of their website so they can be soon seen in the UK at an aftershow party or on the Indigo stage.

Though he’s got an impressive seven Number One singles to his credit, Cole Swindell has thus far played a supporting role on tours with superstars Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney and Jason Aldean, among others. That changes in 2018, when Swindell launches the Reason to Drink Tour, his first-ever headlining trek.

The Reason to Drink Tour embarks February 15th at Allentown, Pennsylvania’s PPL Center, with 19 dates currently stretching through early April. “Fix a Drink” singer Chris Janson and Lauren Alaina will support the “You Should Be Here” singer on all dates of the tour, which concludes with an April 6th show at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. Tickets will be on sale December 1st.

In other Swindell news, he’s in the midst of his fourth consecutive Down Home Tour, named for his yearly Down Home Sessions EPs. The fourth installment of that series was released Friday, November 24th, and includes Swindell’s stripped-down renditions of his songs that were recorded by others, including “This Is How We Roll” (Florida Georgia Line with Luke Bryan), “Roller Coaster” (Bryan) and “Get Me Some of That” (Thomas Rhett).

Wouldn’t it be great to see that line up in the UK? Fingers crossed.

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