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Music City Memoirs Directed by Deion McCarter

Music City Memoirs

Jessica Dawn

Music City Memoirs – Award Winning Film by Deion McCarter

Deion is an up and coming director and this piece on Nashville and what it takes to move here and pursue a dream in music is worth a watch. See Jessica Dawn’s story. It’s alot like many others who come to this town to make it big Read more →

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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.

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Charlie Worsham – New Artist Spotlight – CMA Close Up by Bob Doerschuk – On Nashville Rocks

Charlie Worsham

 

Charlie Worsham

Born in Mississippi, Charlie Worsham learned enough banjo by age 10 for bluegrass legend Jimmy Martin to invite him onstage at the Ryman Auditorium. Two years after that, he joined Mike Snider on the air at the Opry. After attending Boston’s Berklee College of Music, he headed to Nashville and eventually earned himself a deal with Warner Bros. Records.

 

On his new album, Rubberband, released today, Worsham distinguishes himself by his unerring taste and musical subtlety. As co-producer with Ryan Tyndell and co-writer on all 11 tracks, he knows his way into each lyric. He does play some burning leads, but most of the album is toned down, rich in acoustic texture. His banjo stays in the background, enhancing the Country flavor. Drums are often muted and minimal.

 

This gives Worsham room to tell his stories. Starting with solo guitar and vocal, “How I Learned To Pray” (written by Worsham, Tyndell and Jeremy Spillman) points not to church services “with a chapter and a verse” but to small epiphanies in everyday life as sources of redemption. On “Love Don’t Die Easy” (Worsham, Tyndell and Steve Bogard), metaphor mixes with clear-eyed observation to mourn broken souls haunted by love long or recently lost. Worsham finds daylight too, stirring cautious hope for the future during a morning after on the album’s first single, “Could It Be” (Worsham, Tyndell and Marty Dodson). His gift is to be able to whisper intimately one moment and, with minimal effort, rock the house the next — and that’s something they don’t teach at Berklee.Charlie Worsham

 

For more on Worsham, visit www.CMACloseUp.com.

 

IN HIS OWN WORDS

 

SONG YOU WOULD LOVE TO COVER

 

“I’d really love to cover a Katie Perry song – maybe ‘I Kissed a Girl’?”

 

MUSICAL HERO

 

“I grew up on Vince Gill and Marty Stuart. Earl Scruggs is in that category too, as is Jimmy Martin.”

 

SONG YOU WISH YOU HAD COVERED

 

“Any songwriter would say they wish they had written ‘The House That Built Me.’”

 

ACTOR TO PORTRAY YOU IN A BIOPIC

 

“Christian Bale – although I’d really get a kick out of hanging with Jack Nicholson.”

 

MOMENT YOU’D LIKE TO RELIVE

 

“I could relive playing at the Opry when I was 12 a million times.”

 

On the Web: www.CharlieWorsham.com

 

On Twitter: @CharlieWorsham

 

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

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Artist Showcase – June 2013 – Alexes Aiken

Alexes Aiken in boots on pallets

Alexes Aiken CD Cover for Nashville Rocks Artist Showcase

Nashville Rocks Artist Showcase – Alexes Aiken

In this months Nashville Rocks Artist Showcase, we present Alexes Aiken. As a 17-year-old country-pop sensation, Alexes Aiken has been showing off both her musician skills and her songwriting capabilities this year, and it has not gone unnoticed. The new member of the Country Music Association (CMA) is a New Orleans native, but, as Nashville-based producer Jonell Polansky describes, she “sings like she was born on the Opry stage.”

 

After releasing her debut self-titled album in December 2012, Alexes kicked off 2013 by accepting awards and getting together a band to complement her vocals. Alexes earned the title of Future Star Female Vocalist of the Year in the 17- to 20- year age group at the North America Country Music Associations, International (NACMAI). NACMAI also awarded her with the honor of Songwriter of the Year for New Gospel for her song “Note on the Mirror” and Co-Songwriter of the Year for New Country for her song “Best in Me.” Both of these original songs are on her debut album. After months of practice, Alexes and her band had their first public performance together on Saturday, May 11 at the Cajun Fest Volunteer Party in Marrero, La.

 

As Alexes becomes more successful, both in the Nashville and New Orleans music industry, she is also giving back through her music. She has partnered with the National Military Family Association (NMFA), an organization that raises money for veterans and their families, including education funds and financial support for injured veterans. This is a cause particularly close to Alexes’ heart, coming from a veteran family. “I’m super excited about this partnership because of my family involvement in the military with my paternal grandfather as a World War II veteran,” she says. She has decided to donate 10 percent of digital sales of her remake, “These Boots are Made for Walkin’” to the cause.

 

Alexes continues to improve her live presentation and play in Nashville more and more. Alexes and her entire band will appear together at the Flood City Music Festival in Johnstown, Pa. on Saturday,

Alexes Aiken Red Leather Jacket for Nashville Rocks Artist Showcase

August 3.

Alexes Aiken’s album is available from several vendors right here on Nashville Rocks and she was the first artist interviewed on the pilot episode of Nashville Rocks Internet TV Show. See it here.

 

It is obvious that Alexes is not slowing down when it comes to her music career, and you can expect to see and hear a lot from her this summer. To find out more about upcoming events or to check out music and videos from country music’s newest rising star, please visit her website www.alexesaiken.com.

 

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