Changes to the monthly competitions

Hi and welcome back to Amazing OurStage. We want to let you know that there will be changes to the prizes we are offering. Every month will be different.
This month we are awarding prizes of $100 to winners of the competition finals. In the future there will be prizes to help your musical career. Check back to find out.

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Category: Country
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Win Festival Passes By Judging In The Capital Hoedown Showdown Competition

Yee Haw! The “Capital Hoedown Showdown” Competition on OurStage is in full swing and it’s the fans turn to take the reigns. Some of Canada’s finest country artists are competing for a chance to audition for a performance on the main stage at Capital Hoedown 2011. Judge in the competition by July 11, 2011 and you could win two 3-day passes to the festival to watch the Grand Prize winner perform!

Did we mention stars like Kenny Chesney, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Rascal Flatts are also performing? Help your favorite country artist rise to the top and score free tickets to an awesome festival—what more could you ask for? Head to the playlist below to listen to the top acts currently competing in the channel.

ARTISTS, submissions for the “Capital Hoedown Showdown” Competition are open until June 22nd, so if you want to audition for a performance alongside today’s mega country music acts, don’t wait a second longer. Enter now!

Your Country’s Right Here: Justin Moore Presents “Outlaws Like Me”

Justin Moore‘s single “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away,” is a red-hot hit with country fans, but the best may be yet to come.

Moore is confident the other songs on his soon-to-be-released sophomore album, Outlaws Like Me, will also catch listeners’ ears and make the album a classic. Industry insiders and record company representatives arguably agree, bumping the album’s release date up to June 21, a full one-and-a-half months ahead of its originally scheduled date.

“I am very, very proud of this album,” said Moore. “I put the proverbial blood sweat and tears into it. It really is about my life over the past couple years.”

His life has had plenty of high points including four Top 40 singles from his self-titled 2009 debut album. The hits include “Small Town USA” that went to No. 1 and “Backwoods” that went to the Top 10. Let’s not forget personal milestones too, including the 2010 birth of his daughter Ella Kole.

Of course, there has been sorrow including the death of some of those close to him. His beloved grandfather died of cancer just about eighteen months ago.

At the time, Moore’s wife was about six months pregnant. One of the most joyous memories Moore has of his grandfather’s last days was sharing his then unborn daughter’s name with him.

Such memories are one reason the song “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away” resonated so strongly with him.

“The whole entire song is incredible,” said the Moore. “Songs like this are the reason I got into country music and play country songs. It evokes every emotion you have. It makes you laugh, it makes you cry.”

Fans arguably feel the same way as evidenced by the single’s debut in the Top 40 and a quick jump into the Top 20 of Billboard Hot Country songs.

“I never lost anyone until a few years ago and then it was like ‘Bam, Bam, Bam,’” said Moore. “Unfortunately everyone can relate to [the song]. You know, I am a country fan first and foremost. I grew up in a town in Arkansas with 300 people. I can’t wait to share this music with other fans.”

Justin has some solo shows scheduled and is also part of the Revolution Continues Tour with Miranda Lambert and Josh Kelley. For concert dates and other news, check Justin’s Web site.

Heard It In A Love Song

McClain

When couples perform together in bands, it’s tempting to snuff out any clues on the state of their union in the lyrical content. Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way” signaled the imminent crash and burn of Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, for example. But with McClain, husband and wife team Travis and Lindsay McClain talk about longing more than leaving. Their delicate folk songs are spacious, romantic vignettes. “Central Park”’s lithe harmonies gain a deeper resonance thanks to a violin and piano, as the McClains sing in unison, “All I want is for you to walk through that door.” A simple statement, but one that rings true. “Growing Old” ups the tempo with tambourine rattle and electric guitars, exposing the duo’s country patois. Probably their strongest track is “Nobody Town,” a graceful, somber number with a mellotron and cello and vocals that flutter up into effortless harmony. As long as the McClains keep longing for each other, we’re in for some lovely music.

Your Country’s Right Here: Eli Young Band Introduce “Crazy Girl” On Just-Released EP

The Eli Young Band are having plenty of success with a particular  ”Crazy Girl.”

The song—the first single off the group’s just-released EP that debuted at No. 1 last week on the iTunes charts—has been percolating in the EYB’s live shows for more than a year. At last year’s Country Throwdown Tour, the quartet were enthused to not only hear audiences cheer for the song but see many of them singing all of the song’s lyrics.

“We saw that song spread through YouTube [and other online sites] as soon as we started performing it,” said drummer Chris Thompson. “It was just great and quite simply, an endearing way to say something to the audience in a way that’s a little goofy.”

Fans love that approach, as evidenced by the success of the single’s video that rocketed to No. 1 on CMT.com and other sites. Just after the single’s release, it was the the most added single at Billboard and went to No. 1 on the iTunes Country singles chart.

“Crazy Girl,”  written by Lee Brice and Taylor Swift-collaborator Liz Rose, tells the tale of a man’s mad love for a woman, not a woman’s insanity.

“It’s always been about having fun,” said guitarist James Young of the EYB philosophy. “That’s why we knew this video would be fun to watch. When we were getting ideas [for the video], we thought it’d be a cool thing to do, to make it a play on words. We just wanted to go with it.”

That’s why the quartet transformed Nashville’s Rehabilitation Hospital into the fictional Youngsville Psychiatric Hospital for the video, directed by Brian Lazzarro.

The four band mates play employees of the hospital that are distracted by music. So distracted, in fact, that they each fail to notice one of the patients devising an escape plan. But not to worry, it’s only a dream.

“This is the first video where we actually used a story line with that involves amateur acting,” said Young. “It was just fun and one of my favorite parts is where I’m sitting behind a desk just goofing off.”

Although the band’s past videos were shot around candid, casual moments, the chance to act gives EYB fans a chance to see the band in a different setting.

“We have been building a fan base for a long time and they have been holding onto the new songs that we put out,” said bass player Jon Jones. “That’s why we wanted to choose this great new song as our single.”

If anything, the single and video have fueled more EYB fever as evidenced by the band selling out a host of 1,5000 to 3,000 seat venues since its released.

“I think we all dreamed of getting to this point where we’re making national records and doing national tours,” said lead singer Mike Eli. “But I think as far as having that immediate goal, we just wanted to get around the next corner.”

That will soon be the release of their new full-length album this fall.

Making the EP to proceed the album was a “no brainer,” said Jones, who added that the band wants to satisfy their fans’ demands for new music.

“The fans make it really easy for us because they always want new music,” he said. “As long as the fans are winning, we are totally on board.”

The Eli Young Band is on tour. For a complete list of dates and locales plus information on the band’s new EP, check here.

Win An Audition To Perform At Capital Hoedown 2011!

Want a chance to audition for a performance at one of Canada’s premiere country music festivals with Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts and Kenny Chesney? In May, OurStage and Capital Hoedown are giving OurStage Canadian country artists the opportunity to do just that. By competing in the “Capital Hoedown Showdown” Competition on OurStage, you could be one of three finalists to audition on July 28, 2011 for a performance on the MAIN STAGE at Capital Hoedown 2011! Enter your original country song by June 24, 2011 and you’ll be on your way to rocking out with the stars.

OurStage country music FANS will also have a chance to win big in May. Judge in the “Capital Hoedown Showdown” Competition by July 11, 2011. You can help one undiscovered country act score the performance of a lifetime AND win two 3-day passes to the Capital Hoedown festival! Save some of those hard earned dollars for the beer tent, we’ve got your tickets right here.

Running On Full

Jesse Terry

If you’re an artist looking for a break in Nashville, chances are you’ll play at least once at the Bluebird Café, the city’s unofficial woodshed for raw country talent. Jesse Terry has performed his fair share of showcases at the Bluebird, which has helped to establish him as one of Nashville’s most promising up-and-comers. The singer-songwriter crafts big, soulful country music polished to a shine in the studio. “The Runner” is a tale of restlessness, where yawning guitar riffs, piano pangs and the mournful warble of lap steel bear the chorus up. Dark and sultry, “Devil May Dance” explores infidelity and the bottle. “AM static on the radio / Looking for last night’s clothes,” Terry sings over the wail of an organ and electric guitar. Trading alcohol-fueled fire for a more contemplative sobriety, “Edges” takes the production down a notch, letting a poignant guitar and dusty percussion do the talking. Terry’s got a lot of material, and the talent to become one of country’s great storytellers.

Your Country’s Right Here: Colt Ford Sings With His Buddies ‘Every Chance I Get’

Colt Ford is living proof that good things happen in threes.

No sooner was he grabbing kudos for his nomination on the April 3rd broadcast of the Academy of Country Music Awards show in Las Vegas, than he was lauded for co-writing Jason Aldean‘s red-hot hit “Dirt Road Anthem.” On May 3rd, Ford released a new album Every Chance I Get, that gives him plenty of chances to show off his musical range and build his ever-increasing fan base.

“I had this guy in $300 jeans telling me I’m not country,” said ACM nominee Ford with a laugh. “I said ‘Really?’ I guess you think of country a bit different than I do.’”

Those that think Ford’s “country rap” style isn’t genuine should talk to Hank Williams Jr., who invited Ford on his Rowdy Friends Tour along with Charlie Daniels, Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean, Eric Church and the many other artists who work with Ford when they get the chance.

Take Aldean, a good friend of Ford’s. Although Colt had recorded “Dirt Road Anthem,” he was enthused when Aldean followed suit, putting his own spin on the song.

“Jason is one of those guys who can relate to the song. He’s authentic and he made the song sound just like him…That’s just great,” said Ford, noting that he and Aldean both grew up as small town country boys. “He’s one of my close friends. Of course when we talk, we don’t talk [business]. We talk football, fishing, trucks, all those things we both like.”

One of those things, though, may well be country music legend George Jones, who gets a special call out in “Dirt Road Anthem.” “When you think about driving down the road swerving and smoking, you just think of George Jones,” said Ford likely speaking for most country music fans. “It just made sense.”

It also made sense for Ford—who loves the variety of sounds in country music—to invite his friends to join him on the latest record. He spent plenty of time writing songs that would match up well with his guests.

Consider the song “Twisted,” which is all about a small town boy struggling with mixed emotions as he plans to go to a big city university and try to be a football star. So many of the references about sweet tea and other points of small town life would be lost to many, but for guest artist, small town guy and football fan Tim McGraw, they arguably resonated.

“That’s probably one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written,” said Ford. “I want to tell kids that it’s cool to be a country kid. You can be cool and sure of yourself without your pants hanging down. I think that’s why a lot of parents can relate to it.

“The thing is, I believe in God, family, friends and hard work. I can’t not be who I am.”

Country fans are glad of that!

Check out the track listing and featured guests on Ford’s new album:

1. “Country Thang” featuring Eric Church

2. “Work It Out” featuring Luke Bryan

3. “Waste Some Time” featuring Nappy Roots and Nic Cowan

4.”‘Do It With My Eyes Closed” featuring Josh Thompson

5. “This Is Our Song” featuring Danny Boone of Rehab

6. “Titty’s Beer” featuring Trent Tomlinson

7. “She Wants to Ride in Trucks” featuring Craig Morgan

8. “Pipe the Sunshine In” featuring Tyler Farr

9. “Every Chance I Get”

10. “What I Call Home” featuring JB & The Moonshine Band

11. “Overworked & Underpaid” featuring Charlie Daniels

12. “Skirts & Boots” featuring Frankie Ballard

13. “Twisted” featuring Tim McGraw

Find out more about Colt Ford’s new record, tour and other news on his Web site.

Your Country’s Right Here: The Band Perry Savor Treats On Tim McGraw Tour

The Band Perry‘s fans really know how to win the hearts of the three siblings —they say it with candy!

Kimberly, the sour drop fan; Reid, the one who loves mini Reese’s Mini Peanut Butter Cups; Neil, who can’t get enough of Whoopers, say the fans bring the food to meet and greets and other events, and that puts them in touch with the fans.

“We always sign [autographs] for a couple hours after shows,” Reid said. “It’s great when they bring those!”

Chances are good that the Perry siblings will have almost more sweet and sour treats than they can handle in the coming weeks now that they are on Tim McGraw‘s Emotional Traffic Tour that features Luke Bryan.

The Band Perry started the tour just days after they won the awards for Best New Artist of the Year and Top New Vocal Group or Duo at the Academy of Country Music Awards on April 3rd in Las Vegas.

“We had never seen a Tim McGraw concert until we started opening for him,” said Kimberly, noting they grew up in Greeneville, Tenn., and large concert arenas were a distance from them. “Where we grew up, I don’t remember his tour [coming near our hometown]. But we listened to his music all the time.”

And they recently discovered McGraw has listened to theirs!

That came about when they met McGraw and his wife Faith Hill at the Country Music Association Awards. They also met Vince Gill and  other musical heroes but Kimberly confirmed she was “speechless and starstruck” upon meeting McGraw—especially when the longtime superstar  said he knew the Band Perry

Of course, with their song “You Lie” burning up the charts, it’s difficult not to know these 20-somethings.

“‘You Lie’ is really a different flavored song than any other we have done,” said Kimberly. “When we heard it, we knew we could really, really wrap our arms around it.”

The song was written by a family that the Perry siblings said are among their closest friends—the Henningsen family.

And there might soon be more musical magic brewing between them.  The Perry siblings said the Illinois-based Henningsens will soon join them on the road for songwriting sessions.

Kimberly noted that when she and her brothers perform,  they often see many fans singing along to “You Lie” and the band’s No. 1 hit that Kimberly wrote, “If I Die Young.” She’s taken a page from McGraw’s book and often leans down and touches fans’ outstretched hands as a way to even further connect with them when the trio performs.

“We have gotten [a few dates] under our belts opening for Tim,” said Kimberly. “He’s been incredibly gracious. It’s all just surreal.”

Find out more about The Band Perry, including their upcoming concert dates, on their Web site.

Your Country’s Right Here: The Secret Sisters Dish About Fame, Fans And ‘Mama’s Cooking’

In the months since famed producer T-Bone Burnett introduced The Secret Sisters, the Muscle Shoals, Alabama sisters have won thousands of hearts—and fans—with their brand of country music and their down-home personalities.

“I have been making music for over 40 years and The Secret Sisters album is as close to pure as it gets,” Burnett has said.

“Listening to The Secret Sisters sing, you hear in their voices a sound that is timeless and of the moment. You hear the history of rural American music from the 1920s and a reverence for every musical genre this country has produced. Popular music requires the absolute honesty of The Secret Sisters, and I’m thrilled to be involved in presenting them to the world.”

Laura and Lydia Rogers have spent a great deal of time talking to the news media about their backgrounds (harmonizing in church; a musically inclined family), their influences (everyone from Frank Sinatra to the Everly Brothers to classic country stars including Johnny Cash), to the happenstance Nashville audition that led to their discovery, but fans hunger for more about the just-turned-20-something sisters.

Now touring with Amos Lee, Loretta Lynn and others behind their self-titled debut album, the sisters chatted with OurStage to answer a bevy of questions about their backgrounds, their new-found fame, and just what inspired their classic style.

OS: What is the first song you ever heard that you wanted to buy?

Laura: When we were younger, our parents had the music we were raised on. I think the first one I bought—back in the days of cassette tapes—was a [Frankie Valli & the] Four Seasons tape.

Lydia: I was all into Mariah Carey and Hanson and Paula Abdul. I didn’t have any money, but when I did I probably bought one of those.

OS: Who was your first celebrity crush?

Laura: Mine was Michael Jackson. I would sit and cry because I loved him so much.

Lydia: Mine was the Backstreet Boys. I loved Nick Carter and all the guys from that band.

OS: What is your guilty musical pleasure?

Laura: I have the tendency turn my nose up at pop and have a bad attitude (about it) but I’m telling you when I come across Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, I love their music.

Lydia: I am a fan of Lil’ Wayne. He’s the only hip hop rapper guy I can stand all the time. That’s a confession!

OS: Where is your favorite place to shop?

Laura: I’m one of those weird girls who loves to furnish my house rather than buy clothes. I go shop for kitchen utensils, new plates, pillows. I always spend money on house things. I love Crate & Barrel.

Lydia: Urban Outfitters. I’m a big fan of that store. And I love Target. I don’t mind saying that. They have good bargains and it’s a great place to shop.

OS: What is your oddest fan encounter?

Lydia: I think both of our oddest was when we were in Texas on tour with Willie Nelson. This lady was pregnant and she wanted us to sign her belly! She came up and said “Would you sign my baby?” I was looking around for a kid and she pulled her shirt up. We do what we have got to do!

OS: Who is the most famous person’s email address that you have?

Lydia: We have Jack White’s email address. What’s even weirder to have is cell phone numbers. We have Martina McBride’s.

OS: When you are on tour, what’s the main item you miss from home?

Laura: Our mama’s country cooking! When we were in Europe we were sitting in fancy restaurants eating nice European meals. Lydia asked me if I could eat anything what would it be? I said fried potatoes and corn bread.

OS: What’s the one negative about fame that people don’t realize?

Lydia: How much time it takes! You lose so much time and you work about 30 minutes a day. Everybody sees that and thinks your job is so easy because you perform 30 minutes, you travel so many places and it’s a unique job. But you’re also never in your own bed, you live out of a suitcase and you are homesick and exhausted. I think that has been a really tough adjustment.

OS: Have you ever asked another musician for an autograph?

Laura: When you’re a musician it feels strange, but we have definitely done it.

Before we started [as musicians] we were huge Brandi Carlile fans. We went to see her a few years back and did the whole thing fan. Now we’re going on tour with her! I hope she doesn’t remember I took a picture with her and was a total fan girl!

The Secret Sister are on tour. Find out concert and other news on their Web site.

Your Country’s Right Here: Miss Willie Brown Tends Country Roots

Life is all about what you make it.

Anyone who needs evidence of that need only turn to Kasey Buckley and Amanda Watkins, know collectively as Miss Willie Brown, who are currently on their first major tour—in support of Dierks Bentley—behind their just-released EP. Listening to the lush harmonies and elegant arrangements of their country songs one can be forgiven for thinking the duo was born into music.

“People tell us ‘Wow, Nashville is treating you guys good,’” said Buckley just before the two left on their current tour. “‘You look so much better. How do you have so much energy?’ It’s because I don’t have to serve ribs today!’”

Texas native Buckley met Watkins, who hails from West Virginia, when the two took jobs as waitresses in Los Angeles. Although they both admit to being bone weary as they worked to support themselves while trying to break into their careers, they found their way to each other as friends and then as co-writers of country songs.

“It just literally wasn’t a decision. It is just what happened. We gravitated naturally toward country,” said Buckley. “It wasn’t like ‘We should start a rock band.’ We started writing songs…and it just came naturally to us.”

Their friendship also formed in much the same way.

“That was not a coincidence but something that is beyond us,” she said of the happenstance meeting. “Our relationship is proof there is a God…We were brought together for a reason.”

Fans would likely say that reason is pure country music, as evidenced by the songs on their recently released self-titled EP. The four songs on the EP, produced by Keith Stegall (Zac Brown Band, Alan Jackson, George Strait), has plenty of contemporary funk but is filled with a down-home passion that puts one in mind of queens of country including Loretta Lynn and Reba McEntire. The duo share writing credits on each song and take turns on lead vocals.

Although the two each enjoyed music through their lives,  neither set of parents were musicians or in the music business. The parents of both women did encourage them to pursue their professional dreams.

For Watkins, who grew up listening to Waylon Jennings, Bob Seger and other greats, and began singing in church, the goal was always music. Although Buckley, a fan of soul and hip hop, saw herself as an actor and dancer, meeting Watkins about  three and a half years ago switched her pursuits to music.

Although happenstance brought the two together and jumpstarted their careers, both insist that they carefully tend their music.

“We feel like our music is much further along than acts that have been doing this as long as we have,” said Buckley. “From day one, we’ve been very, very, very particular about how our show came together, the musicians we use, our set list,” she said. “We are still extremely anal retentive because we want to do the best job we can to entertain the crowds as much as possible.”

Think the two will soon forget their hometown roots. Not a chance. As they prepared for their first “bus call”—getting on the bus and taking off on tour— Watkins’ parents Mardee and Roger Watkins, were there to wave them off.

“My parents are always so supportive,” said Watkins. “That the reason I am here. I told them ‘I don’t want to go to college. I want to sing.’ They gave me the chance to flourish at something I love.”

Miss Willie Brown is currently working on their debut album and touring with Dierks Bentley. For more information and news, check their Web site.

 


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