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Academy of Country Music Awards Nominees

I wonder how long country music awards shows think they’re going to be able to claim Taylor Swift as a country artist. I think that train has sailed. Swift was among this year’s nominees for Album of the Year at the Country Music Awards for her shit-kickin’, twang fest Red, and garnered four other nominations, including Entertainer of the Year. Miranda Lambert, another Entertainer of the Year nominee, ties Swift with a total of five nominations.

The big leaders, though, are Eric Church, with seven nominations around his album Chief, and Hunter Hayes, with six, including Song of the Year and Single of the Year (because maybe the Song of the Year will be a deep cut, right?) for his song “Wanted.”

The 48th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards will be broadcast live on CBS on April 7th and will be hosted this year by Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton.

See the full list of nominees below.

Continue reading ‘Academy of Country Music Awards Nominees’

Oh My Darling

Separately, Elora Taylor and Dee Filc are just two twenty-something ladies from Oakville, Ontario. Together, they become something even better, a folk duo called Tallulah Darling that plays stripped down, bare bones rock and country. Though the two cite influences like Miranda Lambert, Loretta Lynn, Dixie Chicks, and Toby Keith, you’ll find more street edge in tracks like “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop.” There, a serpentine bass, buzzsaw guitar riffs, and cheeky lyrics are loosely combined for raw, unrefined rock. “Metal Heart,” on the other hand, is a more lackadaisical meditation on love, wrapped up in acoustic guitars and falsetto vocals. Finally, on “This Is Not A Joke,” those country roots are unearthed. With the wistful, confessional appeal of Taylor Swift, Mulligan delivers her simple request: “This is not a joke so please stop smiling.” Mute adoration, however, is permitted.

Exclusive Q and A: Chris Young Talks Hit Songs, Radio Requests and Female Fans

OurStage Exclusive InterviewsChris Young is on fire and that’s not just because he’s on the Miranda Lambert tour of the same name. Young’s 2011 release Neon debuted at No. 4 and his last five singles have gone to No. 1 at country radio while “Tomorrow,” “Voices,” and “You” were certified Gold.

Just before hosting a recent online chat with hundreds of his fans, during which he debuted his video for “Neon,” the multi-award winner took time to talk a bit about his music, radio requests, and just how fans show their enthusiasm for his music.

OS: This has been quite a year or so for you. Looking at everything, all the songs, all the awards, what has been the best thing so far?

CS: Well, when you are booking [concerts] a year out, that’s really nice! I remember a time when we weren’t even booking weeks out.

OS: How have things been going on Miranda’s “On Fire” tour?

CY: We have been out with her since January and it has been unreal! She is a sweetheart and one of the best people to tour with. Everything is “what is mine is yours.”

OS: So what does that allow you to do on stage?

CY: I love to mess with our intros and [the ends of songs] and do covers, and sometimes do a song in a show that is really broken down, have the drummer kick down the brushes and pull the acoustics out and kind of mess with some of our songs.

Continue reading ‘Exclusive Q and A: Chris Young Talks Hit Songs, Radio Requests and Female Fans’

Sound and Vision: The Pop-Star Chatroom: Collision and Communion on Twitter

For a good time, call…

On second thought, don’t.

That might have been what Justin Bieber was thinking in March when he found out he might be facing legal action for tweeting a fake phone number minus one digit to his 19 million Twitter followers, resulting in more than 1,000 phone calls being made to a man and a woman in Texas who threatened to take him to court. (The potential plaintiffs’ requests: an apology, concert tickets, free publicity and financial compensation for out-of-pocket expenses.)

It was a harmless enough prank, yes, but the next time Bieber tweets something, he might want to consider doing what so many pop stars are doing and tweeting it to someone who’s also famous—like his new BFF Carly Rae Jepsen, the recipient of several recent Bieber tweets, including one wishing a “happy easter” to his fellow Canadian and fellow Top 10 resident on Billboard’s Hot 100 (Bieber with “Boyfriend,” Jepsen with “Call Me Maybe”).

Who else is connecting on Twitter? “I love you, you cray,” Katy Perry tweeted on March 31 to Rihanna, who made news when she began “following” her ex Chris Brown on Twitter. Rihanna’s sometime collaborator Nicki Minaj had a brief war of words with Cher last November on Twitter over a third party’s misinterpretation of Minaj’s lyrics: “@cher did you know that b***h @NICKIMINAJ dissed you in her song DID IT ON EM.” Cher flipped. Minaj fans flipped, too, explaining that it was a “rap metaphor,” not a jab. Cher conceded defeat. Minaj offered, simply, “@Cher #stopit5.” Case closed.

Continue reading ‘Sound and Vision: The Pop-Star Chatroom: Collision and Communion on Twitter’

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.

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

“The Voice”: Let The Games Begin

After several weeks of blind audition shows, battle rounds on The Voice finally began on Monday night…and they didn’t disappoint. For those of you unfamiliar with the structure of this show, each team has twelve members after blind auditions. The coaches then create six one-on-one battles, for which they also choose the song and celebrity mentor to help train the contestants. The contestants sing the song as a duet, with the coach choosing the winner immediately afterwards.

It’s always interesting to see how the judges match up their battle pairings. More often than not, they’ll choose two artists with very similar styles in order to make their final set of six as strong and diverse as possible. Other times, though, it kind of seems like they just picked names out of a hat. On Monday night, we saw a little of both… Continue reading ‘“The Voice”: Let The Games Begin’

Exclusive Q and A: Lee Ann Womack Readies Her Next Album

OurStage Exclusive InterviewsThe rumors are true! Lee Ann Womack plans to release new music this year.

Perhaps the writers at Billboard summed it up best when they recently wrote: “When you consider the quality of her albums, any time Womack releases a new album is truly an event!”

Fair enough. Just consider the popular and critical excitement over her last album, Call Me Crazy. The 2008 album set the bar high for those that hope to meld contemporary and traditional country. What you hear in Womack’s music is flavorings from both sides that can only be from this very modern artist with a love for country greats of the past.

Although Womack is knee-deep in work, she took some time out to talk to OurStage about her new album, future acoustic shows and just what you might expect if you spent an evening at her house!

OS: I know you’ve just done the tour ” Girls with Guitars and a Piano Man” with Sara Evans, Sunny Sweeney, Joanna Smith and Phil Vassar, and I hear that you’ll be doing more intimate shows in the future, too. What prompted your interest in acoustic shows?

LAW: I was on stage opening for George Strait last year. I spent two years doing that, well, for this round actually. I did it earlier in my career, too. He’s a great man and I love his music and it was a great experience, of course. But we were in these huge venues. The problem in those situations is that those buildings aren’t built for [concerts].”
Continue reading ‘Exclusive Q and A: Lee Ann Womack Readies Her Next Album’

Sound and Vision: Is Chris Brown’s Comeback and GRAMMY Honors Another Slap in the Face to Women?

With Whitney Houston’s tragic, untimely death and Adele’s big sweep grabbing our near-undivided attention, the 2012 GRAMMY Awards were, in some ways, a two-woman show.

But if any guy came close to upstaging them, it was Chris Brown. And not necessarily in a good way. Brown, who performed two songs on the telecast, did not emerge unscathed from what was foolishly touted as his GRAMMY “comeback”—as if he is a supernova among stars, and three years is such an eternity. Some viewers were outraged that he was invited to perform at the ceremony at all, after what he did to his ex, Rihanna, during GRAMMY season three years ago.

The unfortunate irony of Houston’s passing on GRAMMY weekend is that, like Rihanna, she had been the victim of domestic abuse by another Brown, her ex-husband Bobby. And the honor of paying tribute to her went to Jennifer Hudson, whose mother, brother and nephew were murdered, allegedly by the estranged husband of Hudson’s sister, just a few years ago. If anyone knows that people often hurt the ones they claim to love, she does.

But that one display of good taste doesn’t let the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences off the hook. Brown’s inclusion in the ceremony almost felt like an unintentional f**k you to Houston, to Rihanna, to any woman who has suffered because of domestic abuse.

The big question, though, is this: Has Brown suffered enough? It has, after all, been three years since he pummeled Rihanna in a car. Is it time for us to move on as Brown and NARAS, apparently, both have.

For Brown’s many GRAMMY-night detractors (which included singers Miranda Lambert and Michelle Branch as well as actors Wil Wheaton and Eric Stonestreet), it might be hard to move on when Brown has never acknowledged the gravity of the situation in any meaningful way that didn’t seem like a public-relations pose. Whether he’s onstage, in videos, plugging his music on the morning talk-show circuit, or ranting on Twitter, he never seems sorry enough.

Continue reading ‘Sound and Vision: Is Chris Brown’s Comeback and GRAMMY Honors Another Slap in the Face to Women?’

 


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