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Your Country’s Right Here: Phil Vassar Reminds Fans “Don’t Miss Your Life”

Phil Vassar’s new video for his song “Don’t Miss Your Life” should come with the following warning: Side effects may include a lump in the throat and tears.

Although fans know the story of how Vassar was hard at work on an airplane while traveling between gigs when a conversation with another passenger inspired him to write the song, the just-released video gives the emotional song even more power. Doubt that? Vassar played the song for a friend in radio who insisted—his exact words were something to the effect of “I’m not leaving until you agree to let me play that song on the air” —he release it as a single sooner rather than later.

“I would never, ever have put out a ballad in the spring or summer, but this is a good song and really deserves to come out now,” said Vassar, who is working on a new album to release on his own label. “So I had a friend of mine (videographer and director Steve Condon) come on the road with me and my band [to film parts of the video)”.

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Get The Lowdown On Capital Hoedown


Bad news. We regret to inform our community that we must close the “Capital Hoedown Showdown” Competition on OurStage. In recent weeks, it has been revealed that the festival is experiencing financial difficulties, resulting in venue changes and the loss of multiple headlining acts, including Taylor Swift, Reba, and Brad Paisley.

We had hoped that the festival would rebound from these setbacks in time for us to confidently stage a great competition. But given these recent developments, we feel it necessary to manage the expectations of our artist community and close the competition.

This is a disappointment to us all, and we regret any inconvenience our artists have experienced. We want to thank you for entering the competition, and for being a valued member of the OurStage artist community.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us at


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Ernie Ball To Hook Up Alt Country Acts With Free Strings In June

Are you an aspiring country star whose not afraid to add little rock and roll to the mix? Do you compose whiskey-soaked jams about endless summers and times with friends, but know there is always room for a good ballad? If so, OurStage and Ernie Ball have an opportunity for you.

Submit your best track to our ““Ernie Ball Alternative Country” Competition by June 22 and you could win a year’s supply of Ernie Ball strings and accessories to help you further chase the dream. Just upload your track, tell your fans to sign on and judge for you, and we’ll let our fans and the judges at Ernie Ball decide who has the chops to be alt-country’s next heartbreaker.

What are you waiting for? Click here and enter now!

Your Country’s Right Here: Janie Fricke Joins with the Roys for “The Country Side of Bluegrass”

Janie Fricke has once again added to her already hefty musical arsenal.

After going from a jingle singer (Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Red Lobster are among the corporations that featured her vocals) to a back up singer for A-list hit makers including Elvis Presley, Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton, to a duet partner with Merle Haggard and Charlie Rich, Fricke became an A-list singer herself starting with the 1981 solo hit “Down to My Last Broken Heart.” Now the singer, who has 18 No. 1 singles, is touring behind Country Side of Bluegrass and reintroducing her songs and voice to a new generation of fans.

“At first when they asked me to do it, I thought it’d be pretty interesting,” said Fricke of the album she completed with famed Nashville producer Bil VornDick. “Then the whole plan came together that included [recording and some touring] with the Roys.”

Combining the sound of the brother and sister duo of Elaine Roy and Lee Roy, two-time Inspirational Country Music Duo of the Year award winners, with the much-lauded Fricke whose awards include the much coveted CMA “Female Vocalist of the Year” Award, give the album’s 12 tracks (plus the “Ring of Fire” bonus track) true distinction.

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Exclusive Q and A: Grace Potter Talks Music, Kenny Chesney and Teenage Dreams

OurStage Exclusive InterviewsThere’s little doubt that Grace Potter, front woman of the Vermont-born Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, is the favorite cousin of the country world.

Ever since her duet with Kenny Chesney on the Metraca Berg and Deana Carter song “You and Tequila”—that resulted in two nominations for GRAMMY Awards—Potter has been a constant presence on all kinds of high-profile events including the Academy of Country Music Awards show, the Academy of Country Music Awards show and everything in between. Some of her appearances have included joining with Chesney to sing “You and Tequila,” which he included on his 2010 album Hemingway’s Whiskey, and others have been solo. Whatever the event, though, it seems that Potter is constantly in the public eye. At least to onlookers.

Potter said she remains somewhat unaware of her turn in the spotlight. Perhaps that’s because she and her band, which formed a decade ago, have been hard at work on their June release The Lion The Beast The Beat, an 11-track indie rock powerhouse that includes four bonus tracks, including one where she duets with Chesney and another where she sings with Willie Nelson.

Potter took time out of her schedule to talk with OurStage about her latest album, Chesney and more.

OS: Tell us about making the new album.

GP: There was a moment when we were set up to make the whole record and I pulled the plug.  There were a lot of moments of doubt—not to do with country/Americana vs. singer-songwriter—but I wanted this album to make a statement. It became a very long and arduous process, a labor of love. Of hate really.  You can hear the struggle and the glory that comes with it.

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Judge And Win VIP Tix To See Taylor Swift And More At Capital Hoedown!

Participants must be eighteen (18) years of age or older at time of entry and must reside within the forty-eight (48) contiguous United States or Canada. Only submission materials that are determined, at the sole discretion of the Sponsors, to be classified as Country or Alternative Country as defined on the OurStage FAQ’s will be deemed valid entries.



Your Country’s Right Here: Mary Gauthier Shows Country Still Cares About New Artists

Who says old-style mentoring among country music artists has gone the way of 8-track tapes?

You sure couldn’t prove it by the musical kinship forged when alt-country artist Mary Gauthier met now fifty-something, behind-the-scenes music guy Ed Romanoff about five years ago at a festival. A friendship developed that included Romanoff taking songwriting classes from the Nashville singer-songwriter and accompanying her on a world tour. Now he’s got a brand new album, Breakfast for One, is winning songwriting competitions and is on a tour with Gauthier.

“It took me two years of writing [to develop] the songs” said Romanoff. “I learned from Mary about the diligence needed for writing. Then I recorded the song in four days; a lot of those are from one pass.”

That’s the old-style, down and dirty country way that has brought Gauthier acclaim and will arguably do the same for Romanoff. Both Gauthier and Romanoff are quick to point out that while they have worked closely together, other Nashville royalty including Josh Ritter stepped up to write with and otherwise mentor Romanoff. The resulting songs are a combination of the storytelling that Gauthier has famously honed—most recently on her last album The Foundling, that won kudos including selection as Los Angeles’ Times music critic Randy Lewis top album of 2010—stellar, guitar-based playing with plenty of fiddle and a dose of down-home fun.

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Exclusive Q and A: Justin Townes Earle Comes Clean about Rehab, Music, and His Future

OurStage Exclusive InterviewsJustin Townes Earle, the son of much-loved music icon Steve Earle, may be Nashville royalty, but you’d never know it by talking to him.

Even after winning all kinds of critical and popular kudos for his 2010 album Harlem River Blues, the now thirty-year-old Earle stayed focused on his music and moving his career forward. He’s done just that on Nothing Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now, an Americana feast filled with blues and soul. As lush as the music is, it’s the personal stories told in the songs—about his father, loneliness and longing—that grab at the listeners’ heart strings.

Just before he began his spring tour behind the just-released album, Earle spoke to OurStage about his music, his life and just what he hopes to find moving ahead.

OS: You had amazing success with Harlem River Blues, winning all kinds of awards including the Americana Music Association Award for Song of the Year for the title track. Now you’re again nominated for Americana Music Association Awards for your latest album Nothing Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now. That’s great, but why did you decide to turn around and release another album so quickly?

JTE: I just didn’t see that after Harlem River Blues it was any time to rest on my laurels. It did a lot of things (including winning popular acclaim and media attention) that my other records didn’t do. In this environment, in this industry, it definitely takes extreme hard work and extreme luck to make it these days. Also, I keep writing and getting ideas for records.

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Spotify’s Australia Launch Met With Support And Skepticism

Internet denizens from down under received a special hello yesterday. The message rang out a little differently depending on one’s country of origin. “G’day,” it began for the Aussies and “Kia Ora,” for the Kiwis. Both audiences were then encouraged to “Spotify here.”

Yes, the interactive music streaming service Spotify made its debut in Australia and New Zealand yesterday. But it wasn’t all free tunes and good news for the company. Triple J reporter Sophie McNeill addressed some of the typical complements and complaints lobbed at the service during an interview with Spotify Managing Director Kate Vale. While some have questioned the depth and presence of local Australian artists on the service, Vale was quick to point out that Spotify’s 16 million song catalog would present a wealth of options for users. Vale has also noted Spotify’s desire to make everything available globally.

However Vale had an issue addressing questions regarding royalty payments and transparency:

Sophie McNeill: “Is Spotify going to make public its finances when it comes to contracts with the labels and how much they receive per play of the songs that they own?”

Kate Vale: “I don’t think so at this stage.”

McNeill: “Why?”

Vale: “I’m not sure.”

Vale did not go into further detail regarding the issue. Vale later asserted that Spotify has been instrumental in combating music piracy in every country that it is featured in and refuted a claim that Lady Gaga had only earned $167 for a million streams of her song “Poker Face.” So while Spotify is sure to hit big with music lovers in the Southern Hemisphere there are still some questions about the service to be addressed.

You can listen to the full radio piece here.

Your Country’s Right Here: Amelia White Creates “Beautiful and Wild” Musical Tribute

Amelia White didn’t set out to write an album that honored her mentor, much-loved musician Duane Jarvis, perhaps best known for co writing “Still I Long For Your Kiss” with Lucinda Williams.

Yet when fifty-one-year-old Jarvis died of cancer in 2009, White felt her songwriting muse take over.

“I think it just comes naturally to me,” said White of the songwriting. “A lot of people learn to write because they sing and play; I learned to sing and play because I write.”

Although the songs on Beautiful and Wild, White’s recently released fifth studio album, are beautifully written, there’s no denying that she and the players on the album—including John Jackson (Dylan, Shelby Lynn), Frank Swart (Patty Griffin) and Tim Carroll (Elizabeth Cook)—are first rate.

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