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Exclusive Q and A: Trisha Yearwood Talks About Her New TV Show, Next Album, and Garth

OurStage Exclusive InterviewsTrisha Yearwood definitely doesn’t want to be thought of as “that cooking woman.” Sure, she wrote two cookbooks that made it to No 1 on the New York Times’ Bestseller List of Advice, How-To and Miscellaneous, but music is her true passion. That’s not surprising for this star whose accolades include three GRAMMY Awards, two Academy of Country Music Awards, three Country Music Association honors and had nineteen Top 10 singles.

It might seem odd, then, that she has agreed to star in a cooking show titled Trisha’s Southern Kitchen that debuts at 10:30 a.m. ET/PT on Saturday, April 14 on the Food Network.

Of course, the program is something of a natural extension of her two successful cookbooks, Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen— the 2008 cookbook which references her Georgia roots and the state where she and husband Garth Brooks and their family make their home—and Cooking for Family and Friends released in 2010. But it was the death of her mother, Gwen Yearwood, last October that convinced the much-loved country singer to keep her music on the back burner for just a bit longer and do the show.

“For me, cooking is very connected to my family and friends,” said Yearwood.   “Every recipe on the show carries wonderful memories with my loved ones…I really see this as a tribute to my mom.”

The six-episodes of the show were all filmed in a Nashville home and Yearwood has special guests including family and some of her dearest friends.

Just before the show debuted, Yearwood talked to OurStage about what viewers can expect, her mother and just why the daughters she shares with husband Garth Brooks likely won’t be on the show.

OS: You have been offered cooking shows in the past. Why didn’t you do them?

TY: I was just not interested. I fell into the cookbook [writing] and enjoyed doing it, but never thought I’d continue. I don’t want to be known as always standing behind a cup of sugar. When this came up, I thought if we could make the show like the books, like the story about families, if I could make it a show with sister and uncle and friends it could work. We did that and it was so much fun!

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Your Country’s Right Here: Steep Canyon Rangers Grab the Solo Spotlight

Steep Canyon Rangers certainly grabbed a lot of attention when they collaborated with Steve Martin on projects including the GRAMMY Award-nominated “Rare Bird Alert”, but they’re much more than those collaborations.

The International Bluegrass Music Association [IBMA] Entertainers’ of the Year are proud to continue working with Martin—including at the much anticipated DelFest in Maryland during Memorial Day Weekend—but they also have a jam-packed schedule sans Martin as they support their just-released album Nobody Knows You.

“It was time for us to do a solo record,” said Woody Platt, guitarist and lead vocalist. “We had great success with Steve and got great exposure but we still want to play our own songs.”

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The ACM Awards Should Renew your Faith in Country

When “Crazy Girl” by the Eli Young Band won the ACM Song of the Year at the April 1 awards telecast from Las Vegas, my faith in country music was renewed.

Don’t get me wrong—I have nothing against mainstream performers including Blake Shelton, Toby Keith, Taylor Swift and Miranda Lambert or their music. They were all celebrated, and rightfully so, at the ACM. They’re great musicians and terrific entertainers. I was one of the first music journalists that had the pleasure of interviewing some of the now big-names in country, and found the majority of them to be down to earth and passionate about their music.

But I’m also one of those fans that thinks it’s something of  a tragedy that so many widely loved and incredibly talented performers—think Willie Nelson, the Avett Brothers, Ricky Skaggs, and countless others—are, let’s say shunned, at these shows. We could go into all the reasons, but why? The bottom line is that they aren’t on the industry shows. I love KISS and LL Cool J and U2′s Bono, but really? They’re featured at the ACM awards?

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Exclusive Q and A: Justin Moore Talks about Life as one of Country Music’s Young Guns

OurStage Exclusive InterviewsJustin Moore has been called one of the latest outlaw country artists. I was relieved, in a way, when I read Moore doesn’t think of himself that way. I don’t either.

Maybe the moniker came about because he is one of country music’s up-and-coming young guns—pun intended due to Moore’s hit song “Guns.” So is his buddy Josh Thompson. And Kiefer Thompson, of Thompson Square. Scotty McCreery is another. The list goes on.

I formed my impression of Moore after talking to him a few times in the past eighteen months. I found him to be straightforward, honest, down-to-earth and incredibly humble. Let’s put it this way—mama would let her babies grow up to be cowboys if they were half as genuine as Moore.

But rather than tell you about Moore, we’ll let him tell you about himself in this exclusive Q&A.

OS: So you have been on tour with Blake Shelton on the Well Lit & Amplified Tour. What is that like?

JS: It has been a blast! Miranda [Lambert, Shelton’s wife] and I are good friends. We’ve toured together a lot in the past couple of years. Blake is as down to earth as they come.

OS: What’s the biggest difference in your show these days?

JM: This tour is different than any other tour [we’ve done]. For one thing, we have got production and I never had that before this tour. We have a tractor trailer pulling gear. That all makes a huge difference. The lighting, the staging. It takes so much pressure off me as an artist. People are not only looking at you, they see the cools staging.

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Your Country’s Right Here: Connie Smith’s Star Glistens in Hall of Fame Spotlight

It’s not that Connie Smith wasn’t thrilled to receive the news that she was one of three inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame. It’s just that when the news arrived, she was completely unprepared.

It came out of the blue, really, one night when Smith and her husband, country legend Marty Stuart, were having dinner. At Stuart’s request, she grabbed the ringing phone and heard the news that she was one of three 2012 inductees—Garth Brooks and session musician Hargus “Pig” Robbins are the others. She admitted to being speechless for a minute until she shared the announcement with Stuart.

“It just floored me. I wasn’t expecting it would ever happen to me—maybe sometime after I was gone,” said Smith, who established her country stardom in 1964 with the release of her first single “Once a Day,” that was the first No. 1 hit for a female country singer’s debut. “Marty and I just grinned at each other.”

For all her modesty and hesitation to keep herself in the spotlight, Smith’s credentials speak for themselves. During the inductee announcement ceremony earlier this month, music fans were reminded that Smith has recorded fifty-four albums and had a string of hits including “Ain’t Had No Lovin’,” “Just One Time” and “The Hurtin’s All Over.” The multi-GRAMMY Award nominee—who was most recently nominated with Stuart for their duet on “I Run to You,” which was on Stuart’s 2010 Ghost Train album—is cited by many other female vocalists including Dolly Parton to Martina McBride for her vocal quality and range.

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Exclusive Q and A: Kevin Costner and Modern West Saddle up for a Tour

OurStage Exclusive InterviewsKevin Costner just feels right about making music with his band Modern West. You could say that comfort came easily because he has played guitar and piano since childhood. Or you may say his dozens of acting roles in such human interest dramas as Dances with Wolves and Wyatt Earp allowed him to reflect sonically. Even Costner seems unable to pinpoint the exact reason his music career—which we’ll call it, though he might not—seems such a natural fit. What we can trace are the roots of his music, that began in earnest when he met future band mate John Coinman in a Los Angeles acting workshop. The two began to perform and write together. Then they teamed with friend Blair Forward, and formed their own band The Roving Boys. The band was working its way to success, when Costner’s acting career skyrocketed. The Roving Boys was shelved until a 2005 reunion restarted the band’s creative engine.  Now a six piece band—with members Teddy Morgan, Larry Cobb and Park Chisholm—and called Modern West, the band has begun a tour behind its latest release From Where I Stand (now available in Europe; a US release may soon be announced).Costner took time out of his schedule to chat a bit about his latest album, the band’s original songs and just why his music career worries his children.
OS: Why did you decide to record this new record?

KC: Making the record came from my desire to play live wherever I want hanging out. I didn’t see it translating into a tour. I found myself at golf tournaments and charity events, and I would be more comfortable onstage [performing] than standing out there signing autographs. I wanted to be part of the party instead of a prop. I have always loved performing and I love performing original music. There was no end game. This was not the idea, to tour. It was not the idea to make a record. Things unfold and I bent with the wind.

OS: And now you have this major record deal.

KC: I do not have a major record deal. I have to be very, very clear. There is no machine behind me, behind us. That has been the heart burn for the guys in the band. We could play 200 or 300 nights [a year], and that would change the lives of everyone in the band. I don’t want to do that. So one satisfaction has led to others’ dissatisfaction.

OS: So it seems everyone in the band writes?

KC: I write a lot of lyrics and occasionally I do a melody line. It all depends on how I’m feeling. More [of my] songs get tossed than are kept. Most often one of the guys [in the band] writes a song based on something I say. I might say “Hey, that is catchy,” and they’ll say “those first four lines are what you said.” Then we flesh the song out. That’s how our band operates.

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Your Country’s Right Here: Enter the Haggis Make a Splash with ‘Whitelake’

Maybe I’m just a pushover for a band that has both a fiddle player and the more-than-occasional bagpiper, but there’s something about Enter the Haggis—the Canadian-Scottish folk rock band that just knocks me out.

Anyone who has been to a show by the Toronto-based band can likely tell you that I’m in good company. I never really thought the whole “band’s energy igniting a crowd” was more than an overused phrase until I saw Enter the Haggis fire up their audiences especially when playing the aptly named “Gasoline.” Suffice to say, the crowds went wild and, really, the energy was palatable.

“We have a great fan base and they know we won’t do the same thing twice,” said Haggis bass player Mark Abraham from Baltimore, where the band had just finished a gig, about the band’s recently released album Whitelake. “Even people who like our older Celtic songs wouldn’t expect us to do that.”

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Superlatones: The Lone Wolf

Lately, it seems that we are hearing more and more from new and unexpected partnerships between artists of different genres. This is why, through Superlatones, we are creating our very own directory—a musical wish-list, if you will—of artists who have yet to join the collaborative bandwagon.

We think it is safe to say that Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes are two of the greatest bands of our time. With Bon Iver’s recent GRAMMY win for Best New Artist (despite more than three years of success in the underground folk scene) and Fleet Foxes’ self-titled album dubbed Billboard’s Critic’s Choice Album of The Year in 2008, one can’t deny the raw talent of these musicians. However, it is inevitable that the efforts of some members of these talented acts may disappear into the sidelines, falling into obscurity save for the few fans who are willing to seek them out. This week, we celebrate these individuals by bringing their solo projects into the limelight.

The Dynamic Duo:
S. Carey
and J. Tillman






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Your Country’s Right Here: Fred Eaglesmith’s “6 Volts’ is Electrifying

Listening to Fred Eaglesmith’s latest release, “6 Volts,” makes you feel as if you’re having a cozy midnight chat with a kindred spirit.

Perhaps that’s because each song on this album has spirit – in every sense of the word – whether its offers a well-deserved swipes at Johnny-Cash-come-lately fans such as on the song “Johnny Cash” or tells tales of love gone horribly wrong such as on the song “Katie.” The much-lauded Canadian folk artist is one of the few musicians who is brave, savvy and talented enough to dig beneath the pretext of a subject and expose its true meaning. Not to carry word play too far, but he’s a true artistic spirit — not that he will admit it.

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Exclusive Q and A: Lukas Nelson Talks “Wasted”

OurStage Exclusive InterviewsDismiss Lukas Nelson at your own peril.

Sure, he’s the son of Willie Nelson. And yes, he arguably inherited a huge dose of his dad’s voice and talent. But Lukas Nelson is no imitator. He’s proven so by carving his own musical path that started in earnest when he left college, against the wishes of his parents. When they cut him off financially, he raised cash around Venice Beach, California while living in his car or sleeping on friends’ sofas.

Fast forward to today when Nelson and his band Promise of the Real are ready to release their next album Wasted, on April 3, which Nelson wrote last year when he was on the Willie Nelson Country Throwdown Tour.  A lot has changed for Nelson since he penned the songs on the album. Not only has he and his band developed a solid and rapidly growing fan following, but Nelson is sober and engaged in all aspects of music.

He took time out recently to chat with us about his fans, his music and what he hopes listeners realize about this next album.

OS: People always debate if your music is country or rock. What do you think of that discussion?

LN: It’s fine. I think that, at the risk of sounding cliché, putting labels on things takes away from the kind of infinite nature of them. [That's especially true of] music because it can be interpreted in so many different ways. A lot of times a song that seems very simple can be looked at in many different ways. But basically how people [classify] my music doesn’t affect me at all. That’s the bottom lineI go out and do what I want to do and play what I feel I was meant to play. And I want people to listen, to hear it. However they [define] it is their choice.

OS: The songs on your new album Wasted were all written when you were, literally, wasted. How did you manage to write them when you were in that state?

LN: After everyone was asleep, I’d still be full of energy. I’d go sit in the back of the bus and just write. I’d write what had happened or what was happening then.

OS: Are you the kind of writer who keeps a notebook or jots down different lines or phrases you hear?

LN: I’ve never been much of a record keeper of any sort. I’ve tried to keep journals and things like that and I can’t. I live too much in the moment. I don’t take pictures too often either just for the same reason. If I’m writing down what happened, I’m missing what’s happening now. I just write what I feel. Shoot, it’s not a big process.

OS: You make songwriting sound so simple and we all know it’s not!

LN: (laughing). Well, it’s just the way I was raised, around it all the time. It just comes really naturally.

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