Leah Turner – New Artist Spotlight – CMA Close Up Interview

leah turner

Leah Turner

Leah Turner – New Artist Spotlight – CMA Close Up Interview

Leah Turner was raised on a California ranch, the daughter of a rodeo champion. Her parents bought her a piano when she was 5. Within a year, inspired by the Country classics her mom and dad enjoyed, she had written her first song.

In a college songwriting class Read more →



CMA Song Writers Series

CMA Song Writers SeriesThe First CMA Television Events of Their Kind will Feature the Music of Lady Antebellum and a Special 10th Anniversary CMA Songwriters Series Celebration with Dierks Bentley and Nashville’s Top Songwriters

NASHVILLE — CMA will partner with Public Television’s critically-acclaimed concert series “Front and Center” to present two separate hour-long concert specials for the 2014 Fall season. The shows will feature the music of CMA Award winners Lady Antebellum as they are joined by special guests, and a special 10th Anniversary CMA Songwriters Series celebration with CMA Award winner Dierks Bentley joined by top songwriters Jim Beavers,Ross CoppermanBrett James, and Jon Randall. The episodes, which tape later this month in Nashville, are scheduled to air this fall leading up to “The 48th Annual CMA Awards.”Dierks

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“What began as a discussion to highlight the 10thanniversary of the CMA Songwriters Series is evolving into what we believe can be a long-term partnership that not only highlights the Songwriters Series and our songwriter community on an ongoing basis, but also provides a platform to reach a wider audience through PBS,” said Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer.

“CMA resides at the epicenter of Country Music’s past, present, and future. It is an honor and a privilege to be partnering not only with such a prestigious organization, but with an organization that truly understands the bedrock upon which the genre is built – the songwriters and its performers,” said Don Maggi, Executive Producer, “Front and Center.” “Lady Antebellum and Dierks Bentley are two of Country Music’s best and the shows that have been created for their fans will be shows that nobody will want to miss.”

LadyAntebellumThe Music of Lady Antebellum will include an intimate evening of the trio’s signature hits and a first taste of new music from their upcoming fifth studio album. The group will share personal stories from the road, the writing room, and the events that inspired their music along with special guest songwriters with whom they have worked throughout the course of their career.

Bentley will be joined on stage by songwriters for a special 10th Anniversary CMA Songwriters Series celebration. The “Front and Center” taping will capture a CMA Songwriters Series style round featuring Bentley joined by Beavers (“5-1-5-0” written with and recorded by Bentley, “Red Solo Cup” recorded by Toby Keith); Copperman (“Tip It On Back” recorded by Bentley, “Beat of the Music” recorded by Brett Eldredge); James (“I Hold On” written with and recorded by Bentley, “Jesus Take the Wheel” recorded by Carrie Underwood); and Randall (“Draw Me A Map” written with and recorded by Bentley, “Whiskey Lullaby” recorded by Alison Krauss and Brad Paisley).

“The CMA Songwriters Series is always a really cool gig,” said Bentley. “It’s like everybody in the room is in on a secret or something. You’ve got a couple guys with guitars, telling stories and drinking whiskey — anything can happen!”

The CMA Songwriters Series kicked off the 10thAnniversary season with standing-room-only shows at the Sundance Film Festival in January, and has performed shows in New York and London already in 2014. Other planned performance locations this year include Austin, Chicago, Nashville, New York, and Paradise Island, Bahamas, as part of the Paradise Music Festival Presented by CMA partner HGTV.

For a decade, the CMA Songwriters Series has been exposing fans across the country and the globe to the artisans who, through their craft, pen hits that touch the lives of millions of music fans. Since it began at Joes’ Pub in New York City in 2005, the CMA Songwriter Series has presented more than 75 shows in 13 cities, including  Boston, Belfast, Dublin, Los Angeles, Paris, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C. at the renowned Library of Congress.

The series has featured 127 of music’s most gifted storytellers who collectively have 61 CMA Song of the Year nominations. CMA Triple Play Award winner, CMA Board member, and member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame Bob DiPiero has championed and hosted the series since its launch.

“The super fans of Nashville’s elite songwriting community are the artists who record their work,” said DiPiero. “The CMA Songwriters Series showcases that creative interaction between artist and songwriter like no other event in the world.”

Some of the artists that have been part of the series include Bentley, Clint Black, Ix Brooks, Kristian Bush,Kenny Chesney, Billy Currington, Randy Houser,Jamey Johnson, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town,Patty Loveless, Ronnie Milsap, Kip Moore, David Lee Murphy, Gretchen Peters, Kellie Pickler, The Band Perry, Josh Turner, Underwood, Phil Vassar, and Chris Young.

For more information on the CMA Songwriters Series, visit CMAsongwritersseries.com.

FrontAndCenterAbout “Front and Center”: “Front and Center” is a popular music performance series that was launched in the Spring of 2012. The one-of-a-kind 55-minute all-music program airs nationwide on Public Television. Through the years, it has presented an eclectic mix of Grammy winning, multi-platinum selling industry vets and chart toppers, including the likes of the Jack Johnson, Train, The Avett Brothers, Cyndi Lauper, The Goo Goo Dolls, and more. “Front and Center” is a production of Front and Center Entertainment, LLC in association with WLIW21 for WNET, and distributed by American Public Television.

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Tyler Farr – New Artist Spotlight – CMA Closeup

Tyler Farr


By Bob Doerschuk

Tyler Farr celebrates girls and trucks. Just what Country Music needs, right?

In Farr’s case, absolutely. He follows a familiar path through much of Redneck Crazy, his Columbia Nashville debut. But every now and then he slams on the brakes and veers in an unexpected direction.

Farr’s drawl draws from somewhere south of his hometown, Garden City, Mo. He rasps too, whether it’s from loving the outdoorsman’s lifestyle or working four nights each week at Tootsies Orchid Lounge. (The legendary Nashville venue hired him originally as a bouncer.)

His music is catchy, riff-heavy and steeped deep in tradition. He knows what kind of image he projects. But he has fun with it too, on “Wish I Had a Boat,” which is all about … wishing he had a boat. On various tracks, he compliments his ladies by comparing them to moonshine.

Then hold on for those sudden turns. The title track, let’s be honest, paints a scary picture of a jilted lover beaming his truck’s lights into his ex’s window at 3 AM and hurling empty beer cans at “both of your shadows” inside. This guy sounds dangerous; but on the other hand, Farr fully conveys his raw fury and pain without apology.

Yet on the last track, “Living With the Blues,” Farr goes solo, just acoustic guitar and a near-whispered lyric that reflects fragility and doubt. These yin and yang performances suggest there’s much more in Farr’s artistry than mere boat lust.

For more on Tyler Farr, visit www.CMACloseUp.com.


“George Jones.”

“Hank Williams Jr.”

“The Bible.”

“People posting food on Instagram.”


“My truck.”

“The last day is spent with my grandpa.”

“Vienna sausages.”

One Hell of a Ride.”

“What the hell is a time capsule?”

“I buy things at Bed Bath & Beyond.”

On the Web: www.TylerFarr.com

On Twitter: @TylerFarr

© 2013 CMA Close Up® News Service / Country Music Association®, Inc.


Rachele Lynae – New Artist Spotlight – CMA Close Up by Bob Doerschuk

Rachele Lynae

Rachele LynaeRachele Lynae


The daughter of a fisherman, Rachele Lynae was raised on Alaska’s Kodiak Island. From the start, she set her eyes far beyond the snow-capped mountains that towered on the horizon, toward the Lower 48 and a career in Country Music. She began singing in church at age 5, did her first show at 11 in the Kodiak Lions Club, started writing songs at 12 and embarked on her first tour at 17. Enrolled after that in Belmont University, she polished her chops at Tootsies Orchid Lounge and other Lower Broadway venues.

In her senior year, Lynae cut an EP that soon made its way to Jamie O’Neal. The celebrated Country artist took Lynae under her wing, eventually producing her self-titled, six-song “party pack” digital EP on O’Neal’s Momentum Label Group imprint. Her single, “Fishin’ for Something” (written by Lynae and Hannah Bethel) dropped July 2, immediately receiving five new adds on Mediabase.

“Party ‘Til the Cows Come Home” (Lynae, O’Neal, Stephanie Bentley and Jimmy Murphy) is a full-bore barn burner, complete with a high-impact guitar lick, internal rhymes and a powerful chorus that summons the listener to join the fun. Equally impressive, Lynae employs multiple arrangement devices — sing-along riffs, sudden breaks and other elements that change constantly yet never impede the groove.

And, oh, yeah, she can sing too. On the power ballad “Done Is Done” (Lynae and Luke Sheets), check out how her intensity varies from delicate to resonant and assertive within the space of a few bars, making it all sound easy and never losing focus. Even in these few moments, Lynae’s fiery delivery could illuminate the Northern Lights.



“My Bible is sitting next to a copy of Pride and Prejudice.”


“Driving under the speed limit.”


“When I’m on the West Coast, I have to hit up In-n-Out Burger at least once! Other than that, does coffee count as food?”


“I want people to say that I have always been inspiring and empowering – a cheerleader for love.”

On the Web: www.RacheleLynae.com

On Twitter: @RacheleLynae


© 2013 CMA Close Up® News Service / Country Music Association®, Inc.


Angie Johnson – New Artist Spotlight

Angie Johnson by Alan Matthews

Angie Johnson

– New Artist Spotlight
Apparently, it’s not enough for Missouri-born Angie Johnson to have served as an intelligence analyst in the United States Air Force; she also sang and toured with The Air Force Band. Then, following an initial attempt to find a break in Nashville, she studied psychology at Columbia State Community College in Franklin, Tenn., to help children and veterans struggling with PTSD.

When a soldier posted his video of Staff Sgt. Johnson performing Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” for troops in a spirited acoustic performance on YouTube, it eventually drew more than 3 million views. Millions more watched her during Season 2 of “The Voice.”

That’s only the beginning. On May 21, Sony Music Nashville released her debut EP, Sing for You, produced by Josh Leo. On these four tracks, she doesn’t just sing the lyrics – she inhabits them. On “Grandpa’s Farm” (written by Brent Cobb, Adam Hood and Jason Saenz), a slide guitar shimmers like heat from a sun-baked field as Johnson evokes a lazy day, which transforms on the bridge, as the drums drop out, into a whispered promise, as if behind Grandpa’s back, to turn up the temperature in a different way.

In dramatic contrast, the deep feeling of the title track (Johnson, Catt Gravitt and Leo) chills the listener. Here, Johnson offers a different gift, a soft and soothing song, to a young man bloodied and broken most likely in battle. Never mind her impressive technique; Johnson has a gift for bringing beauty to a story, even one of unfathomable sadness.



“Garth Brooks or Keith Urban. I have harmonized with both of them repeatedly via the CD player in my car, and I can already tell you that we sound fabulous together!”


“I can’t name just one. The people who inspired me early on and made me really want to pursue a career in music were Patsy Cline, Elvis Presley, Reba McEntire and Wynonna Judd, in that order.”


“First, carbs. Next, carbs. And then probably carbs. Did I mention carbs?”


“My CMA notebook that I got in my CMA membership package!”

On the Web: www.OfficialAngieJohnson.com

On Twitter: @AngieJohnson



cma music festival

Nashville’s Signature Music Event Benefits Music Education And Will Once Again Be Filmed for ABC Television Special

luke bryan 2013 CMA Music Festival

NASHVILLE – The one-of-a-kind, award-winning 2013CMA Music Festival takes over downtown Nashville for four days this summer, Thursday through Sunday, June 6-9, with a star-packed lineup that includes Luke Bryan, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Carrie Underwood, and more artists to be announced soon.

The Ultimate Country Music Fan Experience began in 1972 as Fan Fair®, bringing 5,000 fans to Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium. More than 40 years later, the legendary festival has become the city’s signature music event, which annually attracts tens of thousands of fans from all 50 states and around the globe and has raised millions of dollars for music education. The event will once again be filmed for an ABC Television special airing later in the summer, shining a national spotlight on both Country Music and Music City.

lady antebellum 2013 CMA Music Festival“What an exciting lineup – and we are just getting started,” said Steve Moore, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “Ticket sales are stronger than ever and we are always researching and developing ways to enhance the Festival experience for our attendees and the artists who continue this time-honored tradition of giving back to the fans.”

Bryan was nominated for CMA Male Vocalist and Album of the Year for tailgates & tanlines and will launch his first headline tour, the “Dirt Road Diaries Tour,” this week. Bryan last performed at CMA Music Festival in 2012, where he also co-hosted the “CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock” special on ABC last summer.

Platinum-selling group Lady Antebellum, made up of members Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley, and Hillary Scott, has won seven CMA Awards, including Vocal Group (2009-2011), Single (2009 for “I Run to You” and 2010 for “Need You Now,” which also earned them an additional Award for producing), and New Artist of the Year (2008). They last performed at the Festival in 2012.

carrie underwood 2013 CMA Music FestivalReigning CMA Vocal Group of the Year, Little Big Town – consisting of members Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Phillip Sweet, and Jimi Westbrook – has received a career total of 11 CMA Award nominations and two wins in 2012 for Single of the Year for “Pontoon” and their first Vocal Group of the Year trophy.

A five-time CMA Award winner, Underwood will also perform on the Nightly Concerts at LP Field during 2013 CMA Music Festival. Underwood has won three CMA Female Vocalist of the Year Awards (2006-2008); and has co-hosted the CMA Awards for the last five consecutive years. After winning “American Idol” in 2005, she made one of her first public appearances at CMA Music Festival, and has been a strong supporter of the event ever since. Underwood last performed at CMA Music Festival in 2012.

Fans can purchase tickets through Ticketmaster at Ticketmaster.com or 1-800-745-3000. They can also purchase them by calling 1-800-CMA-FEST (262-3378). Ticket prices are based on the level of seating at LP Field for the Nightly Concerts, and range from $125 to $350 plus handling fees. A limited number of four-day parking passes for LP Field are also available (parking is not included in the Festival ticket price), ranging from $60 for Cars to $140 for an RV/Motorcoach, plus handling fees.

Ticket and parking prices are subject to change without notice. All sales are final and non-refundable. Four-day ticket pricing corresponds to seating levels at LP Field. Children 3 years and younger are admitted FREE. For information on ADA seating, please call 1-800-CMA-FEST.

Fans can stay in the loop by visiting CMAfest.com, the official website of CMA Music Festival, where they can sign up for the CMA Exclusive e-news, follow the CMA Facebook and Twitter feeds for more insider info and of course see the entire lineup of Country Music’s biggest stars as they are announced in the coming weeks.

CMA Music Festival celebrates the unique relationship between Country Music artists and their fans in the heart of Music City. The artists participate for free, and on their behalf, CMA donates half the net proceeds of the Festival to support music education through the Keep the Music Playing program.

To date, more than $6.1 million has been donated to purchase musical instruments and supplies, providing thousands of students with the resources and opportunities they could not have afforded on their own, and giving many of them the motivation to remain in school. The total also includes a $1 million endowment for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s Words & Music program, which assists language arts and music teachers with classroom instruction in the basics of songwriting. CMA will announce the donation from the 2012 CMA Music Festival in February.

Featuring concerts, autograph signings, family activities, and more, CMA Music Festival is an unparalleled celebration of America’s music.

In 2012, more than 450 artists performed more than 200 hours of concerts. The event drew a record 71,000 fans daily from all 50 states and 24 nations and for the third consecutive year sold out each nightly concert at LP Field. According to the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau, direct visitor spending generated by the Festival totaled more than $35 million. CMA Music Festival is a four-time winner of the International Entertainment Buyers Association’s LIVE! Award for Festival of the Year (2004, 2006, 2008, 2010).

CMA Music Festival will once again be filmed for a national television special to air on the ABC Television Network. This is the 10th consecutive year that the event has been filmed for a network television special, a feat no other music festival has achieved. “CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock” will be executive-produced by Robert Deaton.

CMA Music Festival is organized and produced by the Country Music Association. Fan Fair® is a registered trademark of CMA. Chevrolet™ is the Official Ride of Country Music. Transitions Optical; The Official Eyewear of the CMA Music Festival.