Leah Marie Mason releases single “Hannah”

Leah Marie Mason single Hannah

Hannah Single and Music Video Double Release

Rising country starlet Leah Marie Mason released her new single “Hannah” on September 14th, with an accompanying music video debuting on the same day. You can listen to “Hannah” here:

Listen to “Hannah”Click to listen

and view the music video here:

The song debuted simultaneously on The Boot and Taste of Country, as well as Read more →


Kayla Calabrese on The Nashville Rocks Podcast Episode 11

Kayla Calabrese

The Nashville Rocks Podcast Episode 11 with Singer Songwriter Kayla Calabrese


Kayla Calabrese is the featured guest on this the 11th episode of The Nashville Rocks Podcast with Jason Coleman. Kayla hails from New Jersey, but is now a Nashville, TN resident and making waves in the industry. She has a new EP launching now on iTunes and other outlets. She’s written and been produced by Kent Wells and has cowritten with and been courted by some of Nashville’s finest writers. Now releasing her single, GIVE, Kayla shares three tracks with us including her single and talks about how she got such a great start in the business.

Celebrate independent music on this 11th episode of The Nashville Rocks Podcast with Jason Coleman.




The Country DJ Phenomenon

dj du

Country DJs?

Yup, about 15 years ago, a few electronic musical pioneers started sneaking Country snippets into their DJ sets at dance clubs. Meanwhile, at some Country bars, DJs were adding club beats to the records they were spinning.

dee jay silver

Photo by: Jamie Vess

Today, a new crop of DJs have built national reputations specifically in Country Music. They keep the party going between sets and add to the live show on major tours. One prominent practitioner, Dee Jay Silver, has even signed with RCA Records Nashville.

Download Dee Jay Silver’s – Country Club on Amazon

DJs have achieved undeniable visibility in Country Music. To understand how, start with the terminology.

A remix manipulates and rearranges elements from an original recording, adds beats, loops and other components and then assembles them to create a new musical entity. A mashup is a remix that takes two or more songs and blends them together. Typically, the songs getting mashed up have lyric and/or melodic themes that can play off each Read more →


DownDay – New Artist Spotlight – CMA Close Up Interview


downdayDownDay could fit in equally at CMA Music Festival or on a bill with Metallica.

But the Arkansas quartet’s hearts are pure, if power-chorded, Country.

Download DownDay Music On Amazon

Christian Dean and Rockey Jones, along with bassist Damon Shores and drummer Mike Martin, signed with Render Records in April 2013. Nearly two months later, the label released the band’s earlier, regional album, Chapter 1, along with “Back in the Day” (written by Jones, Dean, Steve Freeman and David Oneal). From the structure of the song to the catchy chorus, that debut single leaned strongly toward Country and began earning adds within a month on Country radio. 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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Eric Church – New Artist Spotlight – CMA Closeup Interview

Eric Church

Eric ChurchEric Church Looks Inside The Outsiders

Eric Church has spent nearly two hours in an old church-turned-recording studio in East Nashville, playing his new album, The Outsiders, for a group of Nashville media reps gathered to hear his latest offering. And when the listening session ends, the sense of satisfaction and, yes, pride that Church exudes as he answers questions about the project is undeniable. And justified.

The album, Church’s fifth (four studio and one live), is ambitious in its musical and lyrical scope and fearless in continuing the mission of Church and his producer Jay Joyce to push the boundaries of Country Music. Whether by adding a 90-second instrumental section to the end of the title cut and first single (written by Church and Casey Beathard), cleverly reflecting the lyrics in the melody of “Roller Coaster Ride” (Church, Jeff Hyde and Ryan Tyndell), pulling no punches in describing a passionate reunion with his wife after a long road trip in “Like A Wrecking Ball” (Church and Beathard) or including a powerful three-and-a-half-minute spoken word section during what he describes as “the trilogy” near the end of the record, the album is unpredictable.

“For this record, we did ‘A Man Who Was Gonna Die Young’ (Church and Jeremy Spillman) first,” said Church, speaking later during a quiet moment on his bus. “Then we did ‘The Outsiders.’ And I’m looking at these two very different things, thinking, ‘What is this? Where are we going?’ I hate to use the word ‘artistic,’ but it was just so damn artistic, I couldn’t wait to see where it was going from there.”

“(The project) is a whole entity,” producer Joyce explained. “But we’ll sit back and think, ‘What is this little family (of songs) missing?’ And we’re smart enough to stand back and let the record reveal itself. Sure, you’ve got to show up and do the work. But Eric came into the studio with three new tunes this time, so you’ve got to allow for a great song at the last minute. On the last record, I think it was ‘Springsteen’ (Church, Jeff Hyde and Ryan Tyndell) that came in at the last minute. This time it was ‘Wrecking Ball.’”

Joyce knows to expect these last-minute arrivals because he understands Church’s work ethic. The man and his co-writers wrote an astonishing 121 songs in preparation for The Outsiders. Other than family time spent with his wife Katherine and their 2-year-old son Boone, or cutting and splitting wood on the 800 acres they own west of Nashville, writing and otherwise making music is Church’s life — so much so that while he’s involved in suggesting and approving marketing strategies to promote the music, he abstains from another key marketing activity: social media.

“I’ve always kept it about the music,” he said. “I’ve always kept it about ‘this is what I’m good at.’ But it’s allowed our fans to empower themselves. Instead of me tweeting or me getting on Facebook, they do it. Then the next person does it and it spiderwebs. Some people have dogged me for not being on Twitter or Facebook, but we have the same impact. The people are doing that for us. They have a sense of ownership.”

Church’s manager, John Peets, couldn’t agree more. “We have always come from the perspective that music is for people,” he said. “Eric has always written and played for the people in the room. Once you release a record, the music is theirs. We respect them and count on them to spread the word.”

Church even made consideration of his Church Choir fan base a factor in releasing the title cut as the album’s debut single. “Could we have come first with another song off this record that might have been a big hit? Sure. But we didn’t, because I wanted to make a statement that that’s not what this is about. It’s about making sure that we’re pushing boundaries and honoring where we come from. I wanted to make sure that the people who built this foundation hear this record and go, ‘This is the one we’ve been waiting on. This is when they were fully in the screws,’” Church noted, using the golf term that means hitting in the sweet spot of the club.

“I believe with any artist, there’s that moment when you’re writing your best, singing your best and playing your best,” he continued. “The producer’s producing his best and playing his best. There’s that ‘in the screws’ moment. I think we started to hit it with Chief. And I think we hit it on this one.”

“When I make albums, I want to lay my head on the pillow 20 years from now and not regret one thing,” he noted. “I want to have stayed true to my musical and moral compass, because that’s what I trust, regardless of what’s popular or whether you get rich or famous. It’s about looking back and being proud of the work you’ve left behind.

“I may be the most rock ‘n’ roll-influenced artist in the format,” Church concluded. “I’ll admit I love to listen to Pantera. But I revere Country Music. I don’t just do it. I revere it. And I want to make albums to put up on the Country Music shelf with all the Country records I revere and go, ‘This is what we did.’”

More on Church and The Outsiders can be found at www.CMACloseUp.com.

On the Web: www.EricChurch.com

On Twitter: @EricChurch

By David Scarlett

© 2014 CMA Close Up® News Service / Country Music Association®, Inc.